Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Great Day In Memphis & For Papa Willie Mitchell: Royal Studios Historical Marker Dedication


This is so great – a historical marker was dedicated in front of Willie Mitchells’ Royal Studios (3-1-12). Remarks by Jack Hale, Teenie Hodges, Charles Hodges, Archie Turner, Otis Clay, Howard Grimes, the Rhodes Sisters, and Bobby Blue Bland!

From the site:

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. & "Real Talk With Tha Artivist" presents... "A Great Day In Memphis & One For Papa Willie Mitchell: Royal Studios Historical Marker Dedication" (3-1-2012) Recording Great Music since 1957 Constructed as a theater in 1915 and converted into Royal Studios in 1957, Royal Studios, home of Hi Records and the Hi Rhythm Section, grew from a minor rockabilly studio into one of the most successful producers of soul music worldwide. Willie Mitchell pioneered the Hi Records signature soul sound at Royal Studios, personified by singers O.V. Wright, Ann Peebles, Otis Clay, Syl Johnson and Al Green, whose “Let’s Stay Together” topped Billboard charts in February 1972.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Zoro's History of Funk Drumming Series / 1967 Memphis Soul Stew

Zoro's History of Funk Drumming Series  1967 Memphis Soul Stew - YouTube - Mozi_2013-01-28_20-28-37

From the YouTube site:

Presented by Zoro, this series of video lessons features some of the grooves that charted the course of history -- starting in the 1940s when shuffles ruled the airwaves, through the dawning of drum-machine inspired hip-hop beats in the late 1970s.

Zoro explains each groove in the series, why the beat made an impact as well as some insights into the feel. In all, Zoro breaks down 23 of the drum grooves that charted R&B/Funk/Hip-Hop history.

Check out the full feature on


Zoro plays and discusses Gene Chrisman’s drumming on “Memphis Soul Stew”

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chips’ Work Ethic

Here’s a screenshot from Chips’ website that was active in the early 2000s.


Note the quote from Chips in the first paragraph:

“We didn’t ever want to turn anybody away. We never thought that we were making music history. We were just glad to have the work and we thought if we turned anybody away, they would go down the street and find somebody that actually knew what they were doing.”

Of course, we now know that they were making music history and that they actually knew what they were doing! And that’s an understatement!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bulger's Beat: Soulful pianist highlights biggest hits


From the site:

Musical success isn't just about the star standing in front of the stage. You can't forget about the side musicians who really help make the songs come to life.

One of those very talented musicians, Bobby Wood, and his piano show up on some of the most popular songs you've been singing over the last 40 years.

Wood's piano chords are probably most familiar on Sweet Caroline, and he's still surprised to hear it belted during sports stadium sing-alongs.

"When it got to the chorus, Sweet Caroline, the whole crowd went, 'Bom-Bom-Bom.' We were all amazed, and our guys are all drawing social security, thinking 'you're not supposed to know that song,'" Wood said.

Chances are there's a lot you didn't think you knew about Wood, including many tunes with Elvis and a whopping 122 hit songs in one four-year-span.

His recipe for music success was always soul.

"I don't care what genre of music you're in, there ought to be some soul in it," Wood said.

That soul originates with a cotton-pickin' kid from rural Mississippi.

"Music was our love, cotton was our trade," he said.

Now, it's all told in his new book Walking Among Giants, where practicing piano at the age of 9 eventually led to the stage.

He's 71 now and modestly credits his success for knowing when not to play on a song.

"Some of these piano players play more in three seconds than I've played all my life," Wood said.

These days, Wood spends his time in his Music Row office with a couple of different keyboards at his fingertips.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

American Sound Studio On World Cafe

American Sound Studio On World Cafe  NPR - Mozilla Firefox_2013-01-19_04-41-28é

From the site:

"Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley. "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" by Aretha Franklin. "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield. "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond. All of these legendary songs were recorded at Memphis' American Sound Studio, the last of the five studios we're featuring in our trip to Memphis as part of the quarterly "Sense of Place" series.

Between 1967 and 1971, the studio produced approximately 120 hit songs. Musician and producer Ben Vaughn is uniquely poised to discuss the rise and fall of American Sound: Besides his love of the music, he worked with the American house band, The Memphis Boys, on Arthur Alexander's 1993 album Lonely Just Like Me. Vaughn goes through some of the most important songs to come out of American and shares his experience working with The Memphis Boys.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A Man Needs A Woman


Colin Dilnot’s liner notes from the Kent Records 2003 release of James Carr’s A Man Needs a Woman. Nice job describing the session – draws from a variety of sources, including my 2001 interview with Chips.

Is it possible that fate and chance, time and place can all combine to make a piece of music that continues to mesmerise us until today? One such meeting of fate, chance, time and place was the recording of James Carr’s “Dark End Of The Street” on Goldwax in the fall of 1966.

The song was a product of a multi-ethnic mix, which had been sown in the soil of Memphis and washed up on the banks of the Mississippi over several generations. It was the coming together of a disparate group of people – James Carr the son of a preacher, Quinton Claunch a businessman and record producer, Chips Moman a Georgian guitar player and Dan Penn a singer/song-writer from Vernon Alabama and several other players. The song was recorded at a time when Memphis was on the verge of disintegration because of the issues, which ran out of years of a segregated black population. The place of the recording was the only time Goldwax ever recorded there – the Royal Recording Studios, which also came about by chance.

I’ve tried to piece together the events, which produced what most people would agree was the archetypal soul record and demonstrate that sometimes the fates conspire to bring about the best creations.