Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Jeanie Tracy Cause I Love Ya! Smogville

Jeanie recently performing in Europe

Jeanie Tracy is a wonderful singer who has a larger than life personality. I once spent a Monday evening listening for several hours to her stories about her career often with tears of laughter and also sharing the sorrows of her life. Her career these days is dominated by the popularity of her hi-energy/disco styled cuts which began with her close relationship with Sylvester in the 70's. However, on the UK rare soul scene, she will always be remembered for her floater "Making New Friends" on Marvin Holmes's Brown Door label.

I decided to feature here a track which is not that well known. I recall Jeanie was not too impressed with me for reminding her of the song! I don't think it is the greatest record ever made but it has a certain charm and a historical importance. I would have to listen to the tape again but if I remember rightly we moved swiftly on after she acknowledged recording the song and therefore I don't know how it came about!

My favourite by her is a duo she recorded with Bobby Womack of the classic "It's A Man's, Man's World" but not the fast 12" version but the slow one which was only issued on CD.

Eddie Foster Closer Together Ocampo

After a previous post on Eddie, I had a few people contact me about his whereabouts and what he recorded. To date though I have had a few leads I still haven't tracked Eddie down to hopefully interview him about his career.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share the above track which is possibly the rarest of Eddie's 45s and has had plays on the UK rare soul scene. You can find it on Goldmine CD "The Northern Soul Of LA Vol 2".

Zack Slovinsky was one person who contacted me and provided me with a partial discography:-

IN 6311 I Never Knew/I Will Wait
Lyons 621 I May Be Wrong/Won't Be Your Fool
Lyons ? I Need Love/?
Progress 116 I'm Grown / What You Putting Down
Ocampo 100 You Are The Only One/Closer Together

I know Eddie played guitar around the Bay Area for many years because his name has come up in conversations with Bay Area artists and he is documented as performing on The Natural 4's ABC album and Lonnie Hewitt's Wee album.

Sidney Hall I'm A Lover Shrine

The Shrine label is one the most famous labels on the rare soul scene because it is so difficult to find the 45's, and there are some vintage sides on the label, which have been popular on the dance floor. Ace Records issued 2 CDs compiled by Shrine "expert" Andy Rix in the 90's which allowed people access to these rare sides along with background liner notes based on Andy's extensive knowledge of the label. Goldmine also issued a further CD in 2003 of Shrine sides with a couple of 45's which didn't make the Ace collections. You can also find futher information on the label in Issue 20 of Derek Pearson's Shades Of Soul magazine.

I have picked out Sidney Hall's immaculate beat ballad from the mid- 60's which is reminiscent of Jimmy Radcliffe and others of that period. Besides choosing it for quality, it remains one of the few Shrine sides I have had my hands on and I still wish I had it my collection!!! You can find "I'm A Lover" on Volume 2 of Ace's Shrine CD. The above MP3 you can hear is from the original crackling 45 - pure atmosphere!!!!

Sidney was a former member of the Enjoyables who had a 45 on Shrine themselves as well as working behind the scenes at the company.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Martells Where Can My Baby Be A La Carte

An intriguing 45 with a postal address for the label from Knoxville, Tennessee, though whether it was recorded there would only be a guess. Clifford Curry was born in Knoxville hence the probable connection though biographical information on Clifford Curry doesn't throw up any links. It is possible that it is a Nashville recording because by 1968, Clifford Curry was recording there with Elf. Beyond that I have no further information.

Clifford Russell and The Martells did have another release on a Florida based label Great World Of Sound 11582 entitled "Voice Crying In The Wilderness"/"The Ring Of Change".

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Celebrities You Didn't Tell The Truth Boss

When I was searching my archives and fell upon the above 45, I was sure that I had read about it on Soulful Detroit in the past but couldn't find anything when I searched their archives. I looked at the label listings on Soulful Kinda Music which indicated that this was a Philly 45 but it looks and sounds Detroit to me.

I also checked a few Dennis Edwards interviews to see whether he mentioned anything because I had a sneaking suspicion that he may have been involved given the writing credit but that really is only supposition!!!! I also wondered whether Storball was Don Storball of the Detroit group The Capitols?

The group did have another release on Boss 503 I Choose You Baby Voc & Instr.

The Lovers One Way To Love Frantic

This 45 is the other side of "Without A Doubt" which was played on the UK Northern Soul scene back in the early 90's.

The group were a West Coast one and started out as the Emotions before changing their name to The Lovers. The group consisted of Otis McHenry on lead; James Gregory second tenor; Daniel Sanders tenor; Robert Coleman baritone; and Melvin Williams bass/baritone. Otis McHenry left the group before the Frantic outings and was replaced by Cliff Butler. The group later became the Pacesetters with Darry Cannady joining them before he left to join the Natural 4.


Vardan 201 Do This For Me/Love A Girl 1965

The Lovers

Gate 501 Someone/Do This For Me 1965
Phillips 40353 Someone/Do This For Me 1966
Frantic 801 I Can't Believe/Everybody Needs Somebody
Frantic 2133/4 Without A Doubt/One Way To Love


Boola Boola 1004 Don't Love Hurt Pts 1 & 2
Minit 32043 I'm Gonna Make It/What About My Baby 1968
Fantasy 779 I Can handle It/Lovin' 1976

The Infernos Air Mail Special Ten High

I know nothing about the above 45 - the group doesn't even get a mention in the Soul Harmony Singles book.

The song is a largely unknown Vietnam themed one which were so popular with soul records in comparison to other genres. Kent Records have issued 2 volumes of Vietnam themed 45s which are well worth picking up.

James Bowens Baby I Want You Roosevelt Lee

I have known this 45 for many years but knew little about the artist or the label until I read on the Dante Carfagna's Ohio Soul site that it was a Cincinnati label and there were 2 other releases on the label as follows:-

16115 The Cincinnatians "Do What You Wanna Do/ Magic Genie" (also on Emerald 16115)

90556 Rev. A Jones & Choir of Pinehurst, N.C. "After While/ I Don’t Know" (gospel)

Earlier this year, I picked up a copy of a book on the Cincinnati black music scene by Steven Tracy called "Going Back To Cincinnati" published back in 1993. Roosevelt Lee, the producer of the above 45 was interviewed by Tracy for the book and even though he doesn't say anything about the James Bowen 45 there are details about his involvement in the Cincinatti scene.

Roosevelt Lee was born in 1930 in Cincinnati and grew up listening to the burgeoning blues scene in the city. He formed his own band Roosevelt Lee and Roulettes in the early 50's playing across the board music and first recorded at Rite Records in 1951. He later went on to have releases on Excello and Decca. He eventually stopped performing and concentrated his efforts on promoting before becoming Albert Washington's manager in the early 70's.

The Rite Studios where the above 45 was recorded was located on Spring Grove Street in Cincinnati and was used by Albert Washington to record several sides. Accordong to Gravedigger Video, Eddie Ray's crossover classic "Glad I Found You" for Prix and Ronnie Taylor's "Without Love" issued on Nassau where recorded at the studios.

Porgy & Monarchs Magic Music Makers Verve

Porgy & Monarchs Musicor Publicity Shot

Magic Music Makers

I have always enjoyed soul harmonies and one my real favourites from the 60's is the group Porgy & The Monarchs led by Porgy Williams. I don't think the above has appeared on CD even though Ace and others have issued several of their cuts.

I knew the other side "Love Chains" for years because it occasionally got plays on the UK Rare Soul scene but until earlier this I had not heard " Magic Music Makers". I picked up the 45 while in New Jersey in May which is very appropriate given that State is well known for group harmony sounds!

I would think given Richard Tee's involvement that the 45 was recorded in New York circa 1968. The group had also previously worked with New York maestro Teddy Randazzo on their Musicor cuts.I have not been able to turn up any details of the group.

The Ace liner notes are sparse for their issue of the group's sublime "If It's For Real" on the CD "New York Soul Seranade".

The book "Soul Harmony Singles" documents Porgy & The Monarchs had the following releases:-
Mala 462 Stay/Somebody Said (I'd Cry Someday) 1963
Sylves 123 That's My Girl/The Girl And The Boy 1966
Musicor 1179 If It's For Real Baby/That Girl 1966
Musicor 1221 My Heart Cries For More/Think Twice Before You Walk Away 1967
Verve 10597 Magic Music Makers/Love Chain 1968
Goldmine also issued a track entitled "Keep A Hold On Me" on their "Big City Soul Vol 4",which had lay in the can since the 60's which was also covered by the Platters and Diane Lewis.
Porgy Williams also had a solo outing on Sylves "Let's Form A Committee/Lonely Man's Hum which I haven't heard.

Persians When You Said Let's Get Married Goldisc

Over the next few posts, I will be digging back into my archives to feature 45's that have passed through my hands over the years. I sometimes regret all the 45's I have not held onto but most record collectors that I know always buy and sell or exchange.

There were at least several groups with the name The Persians. The book Soul Harmony Singles catalogues 4 groups; the ABC, GWP and Capitol group; the Sir Rah one and another on Pageant as well the one who recorded for Goldisc and was also issued on Music World 102.

Goldisc was owned by the legendary music entrepreneur George Goldner.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Patrizia & Jimmy Trust Your Child ALA

As I have mentioned before, I spoke to Jimmy Robins in-depth about his career. I am currently working on a project to cover all his work and I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, I thought I would load up one of his more obscure sides. I didn't know this "existed" until Jimmy told me that he had 2 releases on ALA. I knew his other side on ALA "Repossessing My Love"/"For Goodness Sake" but hadn't put 2 and 2 together that Patrizia and Jimmy was actually Jimmy Robins! In fact, I had the side on CD-R for many years and not made the connection. As you can hear Jimmy hardly features on the 45 and can only be heard in the background shouting encouragement to Patrizia.

Jimmy spent many years in LA, where this side was recorded, either pursuing his music career as singer and organ player. He was a stalwart of the LA club scene in the late 60's and 70's before moving to the East Coast where he still resides. Jimmy couldn't recall Patrizia's last name or much about her career.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Towanda Barnes If I'm Guilty

As you can see I've now decided to start posting audio on the blog!!

We kick off with what I believe to be Gloria "Towanda" Barnes's first recording for the Groovy label circa 1967/68. I feel that it must be a New York recording with the involvement of Billy Frazier who I presume is the same guy who recorded for Verve and Capitol which were New York productions.

"If I'm Guilty" pre-dates Towanda's work with Johnny Brantley by about a year with her first recording for him on the A&M label circa 1969 before the Maple recordings in the early 70's.

Unfortunately, to date I have still not turned up any biographical details on the lady.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Helena, Arkansas: Main Street of the Blues

Crossing the Mississippi into Arkansas 2005
Last year, my wife and I did an extensive tour of the Delta journeying down from Memphis to New Orleans using the old highway

On the way down, we took a detour and headed off across the Mississippi into Arkansas to visit the delightful town of Helena which has a very special place in blues history.

For blues musicians in the 1930s and 1940s, Helena was the place to be. Cherry Street and Walnut Street served as Helena’s main daytime business district. But at night, the business was entertainment. With saloons, cafes, billiard halls, gambling parlors and juke joints, Helena was a wide-open river town and blues music filled the air.

Downtown Helena

Though we only spent a day there it was sufficient to have a pleasant walk around visiting the small but friendly Sonny Boy Williamson museum and the Delta Cultural Centre located in the old railway station. The railway station fascinated me as a former rail enthusiast and I recently found a photo of the station in the 50's. The Sonny Boy Williamson museum is also the main office for the famous annual King Biscuit Musical Festival. You can checkout some great photos of the festival here.

The Delta Cultural Centre has a current exhibition called Helena, Arkansas: Main Street of The Blues which focuses on the town's rich blues history.

Sonny Boy Museum Helena
Inside Sonny Boy Museum

Sonny Payne

One person who is synonmous with blues in Helena is Sonny Payne. Sonny Payne has been on the radio in Helena, Arkansas, USA since 1948. His live broadcasts of Sonny Boy Williamson, Frank Frost, Howlin' Wolf and others influenced young artists from Memphis south through the Delta. He still broadcasts every week for the Delta Cultural Centre.

He has recently been nominated for induction to the The Blues Hall of Fame. Please take time out to nominate him because his outstanding work to promote blues music over such a long period is well worthy of recognition.

Sing It Joe Part 2

Joe Tex with his producer Buddy Killen

Here's the man again!!!

James Carr Porretta Early 90's

James Carr on Beale Street, Memphis Early 90's

I have recently posted about 2 late greats Joe Tex and O.V. Wright and here is a third - the mighty James Carr.

James's career was resurrected in the early 90's after years in the wilderness and he came over to Europe for a few shows including one at the Porretta Soul Music Festival in Italy. Here is some superb film of him performing there:

Syl Johnson

Syl Johnson performing at Poretta Soul Festival 2002 Courtesy Ray Ellis
I have posted below one of 2 videos I have fallen across on You Tube of Syl Johnson from the early 70's.

I have a wonderful interview with Syl in the can which I recorded at the Porretta Soul Festival in 2002. I will be posting a snippet of this interview with Syl on the blog via Hipcast in the near future.

O.V. Wright

In my opinion, O.V. Wright always seems to get overlooked by compilers and reviewers etc for the likes of Pickett, Womack, Redding and James Carr. Here is why he should be up with the greats.

Lee Morgan with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messangers Goldie

Lee Morgan
It has become very difficult over the last couple of months to tear myself away from Youtube as more and more tasty pieces of video are posted up. I have recently begun to explore what jazz offerings are on Youtube.

I have always been interested in jazz since the mid-70's when the UK rare music scene split and some punters and DJs went off with progressive DJs such as Colin Curtis to explore new horizons.

My travels took me first to jazz funk which was all about the dance floor then I began to explore jazz further. This exploration started to go deeper after an old northern soul mate, John Clement returned from working the jazz festivals in Europe in late 1977. John had been turned onto a host of new sounds which he began to collect on the Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside labels etc and I was suddenly exposed to Big John Patton and reaching further back to Lee Morgan, Art Blakey and others. I even ended up going back to Beebop with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

Here is a wonderful piece of jazz with Lee and the Art Blakey Band filmed in France.

Juke Joint Blues Party In Santa Monica

Publicity Shot Juke Joint Blues Party 1

Juke Joint Blues Party Publicity Shot 2

I had a message from a West Coast contact, Cadillac Zack for what sounds like a great night:

"I would simply like to announce the discovery of a great 64 year old bluesman from Greenwood, MI named Mississippi Bo.

I have been playing with Bo for about 6 years now. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Mississippi Bo (vocals/guitar), Cadillac Zack (vocals/guitar), Jeff Henry (bass) and TC Markle (drums) continue to play exciting, gutbucket blues shows:

EVERY WEDNESDAY at Harvelle's in Santa Monica, California(1432 N. 4th Street, LA, CA 90401)

The show starts at 9:30pm and goes til 12:30am

Cover charge is a mere $6 for a taste of a real Mississippi Fat Possum styled juke show

Look for the listing as "Ass Pocket Of Whiskey" on Harvelles.com

See you there today (Nov. 22)! Come on down!

There are some weeks we alternate with a different band, so please email ahead of time if you need confirmation that we'll be there.

Mississippi Bo

Zack also sent me the following video which has some fine images of old juke joints!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sing It Joe

A young Joe Tex

I recently mentioned that Joe Tex had collaborated with Hermon Hitson on a song featured on Hermon's new CD Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow. I decided to post up a piece of video to show Joe at his best while performing on the 60's TV show "The Beat".

Joe Perkins Forever

While I was searching Innercalm's videos on Youtube, I came across the Joe Perkins clip below which makes reference to one of my previous post on Joe!

I have made several attempts to trace Joe without luck! Perhaps I should get Red Kelly on the case with the Soul Detective! I will post up some audio on Joe in the near future.

Bobby Lee Fears Aka Bobby Dixon

Bobby Lee Fears Circa 1968

It's funny sometimes how pieces just fall into place when you are researching soul music and that's why Red Kelly set up Soul Detective to gather together the evidence! As regular readers of the blog will know, I embarked on research of Johnny Brantley's Vidalia Productions at the back end of last year. I have interviewed Hermon Hitson, Freddie Terrell and others during the research and in one of the converstions the names Bobby Lee Fears and Bobby Dixon came up. I think it was Freddie who told me that they were the same person. This then allowed me to put a few things together! I had already done a short post on Bobby Lee Fears when I first started my Johnny Brantley research.

Brian Poust had done a piece on the former Fabulous Deno's member Rickey Andrews on his Georgia Soul blog, and while I was re-reading it , I came across Bobby's name as an original member of the Fabulous Denos! It all made sense now, Bobby is attributed to writing "Bad Girl"with Lee Moses and the song was also covered by Lee Moses and Hermon Hitson. I believe that the first recording of the song was made by the Fabulous Denos for King and then covered by Lee and Hermon at a later date. It is fascinating to listen to the 3 different versions which have slightly different words and vocal emphasis. Listening to the other Fabuous Deno 45s makes me believe that the gruff lead is always Bobby.

At some stage, Bobby left the Fabulous Denos and joined the Ohio Players up in New York. One can only assume that Bobby, then known as Bobby Lee Fears , was recruited by Johnny Brantley to front the Players due to his Atlanta contacts especially through Bobby's friend and associate Lee Moses.

Bobby certainly fits the kind of singer, Johnny went for, being a hard, emotion laden singer to front powerful driving productions. You can hear Bobby at his best on the Players's "Observation In Time" Capitol album especially on tracks such as "Cold Cold World" and "Bad Bargain". He is referred to as the lead singer of the group by New York based WLIB Musical Director Jack Walker on the sleeeve of the album. If you compare the photos of Bobby with one taken for ABC Probe you can tell they are the same person. I believe that you can also hear Bobby on the Players's Compass out-takes gathered by Brantley on the bootlegged Trespassin' album for Trip amongst many imprints. This would mean that he may have joined the Players circa 1967.

Bobby left the group sometime circa 1970, when the group re-invented itself away from Brantley and developed a new sound. Bobby appears to have still been working with Brantley in the early 70's with the release of "You Don't Wanna Love Me"/"Woman You Made Me!" for ABC Probe. Woman is probably the best side he recorded and is an archetypal Brantley type sound which Hermon Hitson or Lee Moses would not have sounded out of place on.

Bobby appears to have then reverted back to the name Fears to release 2 45s - "Exodus"/"Moon River" for Foward and "Let's Get Together"/"Brother Orchid" for Bell. A strange choice of material though this doesn't stop Bobby singing the heart out of them! As I stated in a previous post, Bobby hooked up with former Georgian Governor, Lester Maddox in what must rank as one of the strangest duos in history!

I still hope to locate Bobby and get the full story!

I will also return to a more in-depth look at Johnny's work with the Ohio Players in the future.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Esther Phillips Just Say Goodbye

Seeing Esther Phillips perform "Just Say Goodbye" is one of my favourite moments on the Nashville based 60's TV show "The Beat".

The 45 was one of many magical records which I first heard back in the mid-70's after one of my friends, Nick Cowan, first played it to me during one of our weekly get togethers. These get togethers always remain amongst my fondest musical memories as Nick and I would sit around playing our latest 45 acquisitions on an old record player before going out for a few beers.

When Nick sold up some of his sounds, "Just Say Goodbye" was high up on my wants list and that's how I got my copy. As the years went by this 45 became a firm favourite on the UK soul scene especially after Richard Searling used to play it on his then Jazz FM North West show Soul Sauce. By then, the song had become an anthem for me and my late first wife Clare and I will always associate the record with her.

Esther bleeds out every last ounce of bitterness of a failed love affair which sucks you into a melodramatic ensemble of emotions which always leaves me on the verge of tears. The melodrama is wonderfully enhanced by the arrangement of Oliver Nelson who takes a simple song and turns it into an opus.

See Esther performing the song circa 1965:

Brian Auger Trinity With Steampacket

Steampacket circa 1964 L to R Long John, Brian, Julie & Rod

One of my earliest musical mentors was a teacher named Roger Edwards who introduced me to the UK R&B scene which had passed me by as I was always more interested in black American music.

He had been friendly with Rod Stewart in the early 60's when Rod was a member of the Steampacket along with Brian Auger, Long John Baldry and Julie Driscoll. He regaled me with tales of that period and the excitement generated by the band. My friend Nick Sands has also told me how good Steampacket were and how he rated them amongst the best of British R&B bands.

Julie Driscoll 1964

Julie also became an icon for me in the early 70's when I saw her in a BBC Play For The Day called Season Of The Witch which had a big impact on me as a teenager. The film follows 3 characters around Brighton who had dropped out to pursue a hedonistic lifestyle which seemed so simplistic to me at the time.

Roger Edwards had gone to Sussex University in Brighton and it seemed logical that I should follow his example and go to Brighton and live like Julie and her friends. So I ended up in Brighton in the early 70's studying an appropriate course in American Studies.

I got the chance to study with David Morse, the first writer in the world to write a book about Motown published by Studio Vista in 1971. David and I would sit around his study room talking about Motown and I would play him Northern Soul tracks such as Eddie Parker Love You Baby. I recall him being dismissive of what he regarded as poor imitations of the real thing!

Julie Driscoll Circa 1969

While in Brighton, I did get the chance to visit one of the clubs featured in the play with Julie, the name of which escapes me, but it was located under the promenade not from the Steine in Brighton. I remember being cracked up that the decor of psychdelia hadn't changed from the film and the vibe was exactly the same. I don't remember going too many times because my fondest memories of Brighton's music scene are from my days of the Brighton Art College club which was located on the Steine and Wednesdays was soul night or going down to the Inn Place on the front which had a great funk night on a Saturday. Though I also recall with pleasure watching the go-go dancers in cages which a more sophisticated club, near The Lanes, still had every evening when I first went!!

Julie & Brian Circa 1968

Most of theses memories were sparked off by catching the Steampacket on Youtube. So catch the sheer excitement of one of their performances here:

Jackie Wilson Baby Workout

Thought I'd post a taster of the man prior to the BBC documentary after this morning's post.

Young Birds Fly

Young Birds Fly is the title of a new film in the making about the mod scene in Northern California by director Leonardo Flores and is due out in June 2007.

Cinedelica says that it "traces the wonder, discovery and disappointment of the contemporary Los Angeles Mod/Skin/Northern Soul movement through the eyes of a quiet teenage girl named Jill."

You can watch a mouth-watering trailer below:-

Or visit the director's MySpace for further details.

New Soul & Blues Blog

Andy Aitchison has started a new blog dedicated to soul and blues called Sing It One Time For The Broken Hearted!

He kicks it off with an interview with Ralph Soul Jackson and a review of The Birmingham Sound: The Soul Of Neal Hemphill CD Vol. 1 .

In Dangerous Rhythm wishes him every success and please drop by his blog!

Sugar Pie DeSanto Needs Help!

Sugar Pie DeSanto tragically lost her husband and home in a fire in late October.
The lady is a legend and a very sweet person and our heart goes out to her during this terrible time.

Let's try and help her during this tragic time by making a donation to the fund which has been set up for her . You can donate via an account set up at Wells Fargo. The number is 367-333-5752. Contributors also may call the branch, located at 151 40th St. in Oakland, at (510) 597-4210.

Andrew Jervis of Ubiquity Records also said the company would be reissuing some of DeSanto's tracks on their Bay Area funk compilations.

Ruth Brown RIP

Ruth Brown, one of the true pioneers of soul music, has died in Las Vegas from complications following a recent stroke.

Whether she was the "The Girl with a Tear in her Voice," "The Original Queen of Rhythm & Blues," "Miss Rhythm & Blues," or "Miss Rhythm," the lady was the first star made by Atlantic Records. Her regal hit-making reign from 1949 to the close of the '50s helped tremendously to establish the New York label's predominance in the R&B field, a track record for which the young label was referred to as "The House That Ruth Built."

All other female singers owe their fortunes to the path that Ruth laid out for them.

See her singing her singing and talking about her Atlantic song "Mama Treat Your Daughter Mean" on Youtube.

Jackie Wilson Story On BBC Radio 2

The BBC is airing a documentary on Jackie Wilson beginning in mid-December. This series will layout Jackie’s incredible career through archive of Jackie Wilson himself and new interviews with his biographers Tony Douglas and Doug Saint Carter, along with people that worked with and knew Jackie like his producer, Chicago soul legend Carl Davis, his friend Simon Rutberg, A&R king Johnny Otis who discovered him in 1951, songwriter Allen Toussaint, singers Sam Moore (Sam & Dave) and Otis Williams (The Temptations), and trombonist Bill Hughes who as a member of the Count Basie Orchestra teamed up with Jackie to record the album “The Manufacturers of Soul”.

Paul Welsh , the series producer, has sent me details of the shows:-

12th December 2006:Programme 1 – Reet Petite

The story of the Detroit entertainer who started singing blues and gospel on street corners. Jackie Wilson talks about his early boxing career from an archive interview shortly before his heart attack in 1975, before moving full time into music. He quickly progressed to singing with Billy Ward & The Dominoes in 1954. Soon a solo career beckoned and Motown Records founder Berry Gordy penned Jackie’s first string of hits including the classic “Reet Petite” and “To Be Loved” which reached #22 in the UK charts in 1958. Legendary soul A&R man, Johnny Otis, talks about spotting the young Sonny Wilson, as he was known and Otis Williams of The Temptations describes Jackie Wilson’s dynamic stage persona.

Biographers Tony Douglas and Doug Saint Carter talk about these early years and friend Simon Rutberg describes a meeting between “The Black Elvis Presley and The White Jackie Wilson” as the two men joked when Elvis met Jackie in the mid fifties. U.S. soul historian Robert Pruter relates stories of Wilson’s drug addiction and womanizing which led to a jealous ex-lover shooting Jackie in 1961.

19th December 2006: Programme 2 – Lonely Life

In this episode we hear how Jackie Wilson recovered from his shooting incident in 1961, his complicated love-life and the start of his financial problems. We hear from singer Linda Hopkins who actually performed with Jackie the night he was shot, and her duets with him including “Shake A Hand” in 1963. Jackie was still a hit maker in both the soul and R&B charts as well as crossing over to a white audience with songs like “Lonely Life”, “I’m Coming On Back To You” and “Baby Workout”.

At this point Jackie experienced a bit of a career dip, despite an exhausting live schedule. One recording that showed Jackie as a consummate performer was “Danny Boy”, and some close associates explain just what made this rendition so great. Biographer, Doug Saint Carter explains how racial discrimination affected Jackie when he toured the Southern States of America, and how The Mob entered Jackie’s life, when it came to his business affairs.

26th December 2006: Programme 3 – Mr Excitement

In 1966, Jackie’s career took an upturn when he moved from New York to Chicago to team up with soul producer Carl Davis making some of his most successful records. “Whispers (Getting’ Louder)” saw Jackie embrace a deeper Chicago soul sound, but it was “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher” that was to put Jackie back at the top of the charts. Carl Davis remembers the origins of that song and how he went about getting the best performance from Jackie in the studio.

Count Basie Orchestra trombonist Bill Hughes talks about the 1968 recording of the Basie and Wilson LP “The Manufacturers of Soul” and how Jackie failed to show up for subsequent gigs to promote the album. Wilson also failed to appear for a live radio spot on the Chicago “Soul Train” programme. Otis Williams of The Temptations recalls his horror of witnessing the flamboyant Jackie Wilson dressing for a show with no underpants! Simon Rutberg describes when his friend converted to Judaism and Jackie Wilson himself talks about his affection for all kinds of music including The Beatles and how he covered “Eleanor Rigby”.

2nd January 2007: Programme 4 – No More Lonely Teardrops

“I Get The Sweetest Feeling” was another worldwide smash for Jackie Wilson and producer Carl Davis talks with much affection for this record. Simon Rutberg reveals that Jackie Wilson recorded the original versions of both “Try A Little Tenderness” (later a hit for Otis Redding) and “For Once In My Life” (later a hit for Stevie Wonder).

Carl Davis and biographer Doug Saint Carter explain how some of Jackie’s final albums like “Beautiful Day” and “Nobody But You” were patchy but had some classic moments on them. Journalist Ian McCann talks about Jackie’s last visits to the UK, and how the British audiences loved the singer, and we hear archive clips of a very upbeat, supposedly cleaned up, Jackie Wilson talking about his career, and playing the oldies circuit.

We hear about the tragedy of 29th September 1975, when Jackie Wilson collapsed on stage singing his hit “Lonely Teardrops”, landing him in hospital in a coma and then living for a further 9 years so brain damaged he couldn’t even speak. At this stage, his career continued with a couple of releases, his desperate financial situation continued, still owing taxes and with former wives and girlfriends looking for their cut of the non-existent Wilson Fortune. When a proper gravestone was erected it read “Jackie Wilson 1934-1984 – No More Lonely Teardrops”. A sad end for such a dynamic performer. Friends and associates sum up the legacy of the great Jackie Wilson known as Mr Excitement!