Saturday, January 31, 2009

More Atlanta Soul

Images above:

Open book with photo of Sam Cooke is "Honkers & Shouters" by Arnold Shaw. Buddy Skipper of Jetty Jumper fame recommended this book to me . I have really enjoyed it so far. It is very detailed, includes a great deal about the record companies as well as stories of how some of our favorite R& B groups evolved. It appears that Mr. Shaw may have left a few artists out but it is certainly an interesting and entertaining retrospective.

Also pictured is the cover of "One Hit Wonders" by Wayne Jancik. There were many Beach Music bands and artists included in the book. The fact is that many of the all-time greats of Beach Music bands and groups never attained the status as high as "One Hit Wonder," as defined by Billboard Magazine. Many of those included in the book will surprise you. I have referred back to the book through the years because of its detailed information on some of the bands.

Finally, The image of the liner notes from the CD illustrate what we talk about below. It is laid over a copy of The Hey Baby Days, illustrating that you will need to get your microscope out to read the very interesting article about Atlanta's Unacknowledged Master of Soul Music, Bill Haney.

We will relate some of the more interesting connections between these publications and The Hey Baby Days over the next few weeks

Recently, a gentleman (Buddy L.) called me and asked for some assistance in evaluating a first edition of Gone With The Wind. Seems he was the beneficiary of his great aunt’s estate which included a couple of early editions of the book including the Limited Edition set published in 1939. I have been a collector and seller of rare books for almost 15 years, an illness that I caught from my brother who has never met a book he didn’t like.

The whole point of this posting is to relate how one things leads to another and to illustrate how many unconnected dots still remain out there as it relates to the production of R&B music of the 60s.

Buddy L. grew up in Atlanta and is about my age. The critique of the book wandered from what appears to be his genuine May 1936 printing of the book signed by Margaret Mitchell on the ffep to bands he enjoyed back in the 60s. After, he went through a litany of nationally known acts, I asked about local Atlanta area soul bands. The first band out of his mouth was the Soul-Jers. I should have known. When I asked about Wayne Logiudice and Kommotion, he smiled. Yea, he knew and liked them too. He mentioned another band that won a battle of bands called the Four out of Twelve or something like that. He also mentioned a friend of his Tommy Dean who lived right down the street from where our office is located. It’s hard to imagine living and growing up on Piedmont Road near Peachtree in Atlanta. Anyway, his friend has a band that currently plays around Atlanta called the League of Decency, which I remember seeing at a company party at least 10 years ago. They were very good… had the required horns. I looked up the band on the web and they are still pounding it out with a play list that will take you several minutes just to scan. Only thing I didn’t see in the list was a Tams’ song. Interestingly, their apparent booking agent is Pat Andrews who took over on drums when Ervin Hicks left the Pieces of Eight. More indication of all the unconnected dots.

Anyway, back to books, I am going to post a little later today an image of a pile of books and other material that I continue to pour through gleaning for overlooked or unexplored tidbits. One of the more interesting pieces is the liner notes from one of two CDs sent to me from a gentleman across the big pond, Ady Croasdell. “Bill Haney’s Atlanta Soul Brotherhood” produced by Kent is exceptional for its notes and especially the music. And to think I thought Soul music had completely died in 1969. Bill Haney was still producing it in fairly good quantities here in Atlanta and in Muscle Shoals. Ady sent this to me prior to the publication of the Hey Baby Days but I never took the time to read the notes thoroughly… but then again I never seemed to have a microscope at the right time.

The notes are great but most people who would have the most interest are my age or older and there is NO WAY MOST OF THEM HAVE EYES GOOD ENOUGH TO READ THE SMALL FONT. That is why we used large font in the Hey Baby Days.

Regardless of the size of the font, the material is very good, the music is great and Bill Lowery’s name is spelled Lawry several times. Maybe I should not have pointed that out because we misspelled a few names in the Hey Baby Days. There are several items in the liner notes and about the music that interested me which I point out later. Until I played the CD when Ady sent it to me back years ago, I had never heard most of the music but I did hear distinctive parts of several of the songs that reminded me of several well known performers of the Hey Baby Days including Willie Tee and the Tams.

More Later…

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