The Oxford American
WHAT HAPPENED TO MISSISSIPPI'S SOUL?
The renowned and highly repsected magazine "The Oxford American" have published an article by my great friend Greg Burgess and myself entitled "What Happened To Mississippi's Soul?". The article describes a series of possible reasons why the state of Mississippi never really became a center for Southern Soul like Alabama or Tennessee, despite it being the Home Of The Blues.
You can read it here.
SIR SHAMBLING INTERVIEW
The magazine has also published a text "tie-in" interview with Sir Shambling. This covers all sorts of angles on soul music and my involvement with it over the years. You can read it here.
Below are some of the artists and tracks mentioned in the interview - others can be found elsewhere on this website.
It was hearing Otis singing "My Girl" on a jukebox in a bowling alley when I was 11 or 12 that first caught my attention as a Southern Soul disc. I was pretty much hooked instantly.
You can hear "My Girl" here.
Referred to as "America's Best Kept Secret" by Malaco boss Tommy Couch, Tate is arguably the best singer / writer that ever came out of Mississippi. A really talented songsmith, he was also a singer with enormous authority. A brilliant phraser of a song, with a really gritty tone, and an almost peerless ability to convey emotional depth via his voice, he really should have been a superstar.
You can hear all of his phenomenal talents on the original demo of "When Hearts Grow Cold", recorded with the best musicians in the world at Muscle Shoals, which was covered by those giants of soul Bobby Bland and Otis Clay.
You can hear "When Hearts Grow Cold" here.
The most famous and successful of all the female voclaists who spent their time in Mississippi, Dorothy Moore remained true to her favoured country soul format long after it lost whatever wide popularity it ever had. Even into this new century Dorothy's big big voice continued to record melodic, meaningful music for Malaco. Long may it continue.
The only sonfg she is known to have written, "Too Blind To See", based I beleive on a period in her own life, is her most compelling performance. Check out the power, rage and regret she brings to this wonderfully arranged tune.
You can hear "Too Blind To See" here.
McKinley Mitchell was born in Jackson, MS in 1934, and, like so many others of his generation, moved northward to Chicago when he was growing up. He recorded R & B and soul there for the Leaner Bros group of labels, hitting big with "The Town I live In" in 1962. His rough, hoarse style of singing owed a bit to Bobby Bland, but his songwriting was good, and his intepretations of his own lyrics exemplary. In the 70s he returned to his home state, and made some fine music that threw back the years to the early 60s. The beautiful "The End Of The Rainbow", which he wrote, brings together all of this talented artist's key vocal abilities - passion, superb sesne of dynamics and lovely delay timing.
You can hear "The End Of The Rainbow" here.
Meridian, MS native George Soulé (pronounced "soo-lay") is a songwriter, singer, drummer, record producer and studio engineer, whose songs have been recorded by some of the most successful artists in soul music including Percy Sledge, Carl Carlton, Wilson Pickett, the Temptations and Bobby Womack. And although he had a top 40 R & B hit in his own name in 1973 with "Get Involved" it is as a writer that he is best known. This is a pity as he is one of the most soulful white singers of them all. His demos are almost always slavishly followed by the artists recording them commercially - alwys the sign of a vocalist who knows how to convet emotion. Thanks to recent CDs of his work there has been a keener appreciation of his proper status in the southern soul hierarchy. His own version of "I'll Be Your Everything", a top 20 hit for Percy Sledge in 1974, is a very good example of just why George is now so highly rated.
You can hear "I'll Be Your Everything" here.