Ernie Shelby

Ernie Shelby

Ernie Shelby's two early 45s were recorded on the West Coast. The Capitol is straight forward pop rather than soul. More intersting is the Melic which I can best describe as big band jazz. But none of the tracks warrant inclusion here.

By the early 70s Shelby was in Muscle Shoals writing and recording for Clayton Ivey and Terry Woodford who cut tracks at Quinvy and leased the tracks out to Polydor. His first 45 was the melodic and very catchy ListenCarry Me. Shelby's high rather thin baritone vocie was well suited to this sort of mid paced song - no wonder that Mel & Tim covered it for their first Stax LP. The flip "Right Here Where You Left Me" is taken at a similar pace but doesn't quite have the same tuneful impact. George Soule's demo shows the song was meant as a ballad - and it must be said knocks Shelby's version sideways both in the approach and in the vocal.

I also like "Punish Me", his next 45. The chord changes on this mid-pacer are really good and the nicely understated horns are very well arranged. The flip ListenBend Over Backwards is a typical early 70s Muscle Shoals piece of country soul. Fine melody and lyrics provided by the producers in concert with Goerge Soule. Really good listening. These 45s did nothing in terms of chart action and at the time fans just about ignored them. In a time of plenty better distributed product took most of the attention. But from a perspective of 40 years or so it is clear that the tracks were very solid southern soul, and that Shelby was a good, if understated vocalist.

Punish me - MOJO 2093 026


UPDATE ~ The great singer and songwriter George Soule has kindly been in touch to say he played drums on these sessions and that reading this page and listening to the music "brought back happy memories". Good to hear that George - and thanks very much for writing.

FURTHER UPDATE ~ I am delighted to say that Ernie himself has been in touch and provided some extra info on his career in the music biz - as well as sending the wonderful pic. This page is devoted to Ernie's recordings while the details of his life as a writer and producer is very well covered by Pete Nickols in the eleventh part of his definitive history of the Quinvy Studios which you can find here. The new info from Ernie himself is at the foot of the article.



Tonight you belong to me / That I'm in love with you ~ CAPITOL 4879 (1962)
Ducky (so can I) / Summertime ~ MELIC 4145 (1964)
ListenCarry me / Right here where you left me ~ POLYDOR 14124 (1972)
Punish me / ListenBend over backwards ~ POLYDOR 14137 (1972)



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