Monday, February 23, 2009

Spooner Oldham among 2009 class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees

Congratulations to American Studios/Press Music Co. alum Spooner Oldham for his upcoming induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

From his bio at:

Spooner Oldham

Keyboards, Vocals
Born: June 14, 1943

Dewey Lyndon “Spooner” Oldham is a linchpin of the Southern Soul Music sound. The Alabama-born (Center Star in Lauderdale County) musician was part of the crew that made records at FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in the northwest corner of the state. Oldham played keyboards on such seminal soul songs as Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally,” Arthur Alexander’s “You Better Move On” and Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).” He was a co-founder of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, which also included guitarist Jimmy Johnson, bassist David Hood and drummer Roger Hawkins. When Oldham moved to Memphis, he brought in his own replacement, keyboardist Barry Beckett.

In Memphis, Oldham struck up a songwriting partnership with singer/guitarist Dan Penn at Chips Moman’s American Sound Studios. Oldham has written a brace of Soul classics with Penn, including James and Bobby Purify’s “I’m Your Puppet,” James Carr’s “The Dark End of the Street,” the Box Tops’ “Cry Like a Baby” and Janis Joplin’s “A Woman Left Lonely.” Since 1967, the duo estimate that they’ve written between 400 and 500 songs.

A subsequent move to Los Angeles found Oldham recording with a variety of artists across the stylistic spectrum, including Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Gene Clark, Ry Cooder, the Flying Burrito Brothers and many others. He played on Bob Dylan’s Saved album and added his churchy, soulful keyboards to Dylan’s Saved and Shot of Love tours. He has also recorded with Neil Young in a relationship that dates back more than a quarter century. He backed up Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on the 2006 tour at which the foursome performed Young’s Freedom of Speech album in its entirety.

In 1994,
Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn came together as a duo for some live shows, following the release of Penn’s solo album, Do Right Man. They have occasionally toured as a duo since then, performing highlights from their vast catalog of Southern Soul classics. More recently, Oldham has recorded or toured with such contemporary artists as the Drive-By Truckers, Frank Black, Bushwalla and Cat Power.

Center Star, Alabama is beaming with pride... as is the rest of the state! Spooner will join other folks with Memphis ties (the late Bill Black and D.J. Fontana) as well as Muscle Shoals and Memphis/American Studios connections (Bobby Womack) in the class of 2009 inductees. Memphis has plenty of reason to be proud as well.