“Listen – Jimmy Hughes – Steal Away – MP3″
If you follow my movements through the blog-o-mosphere, you know I don’t plug things too often (other than Presidential candidates). This is due in large part to the fact that I don’t get a ton of promo stuff, and most of what I do get is grossly inappropriate considering the kind of music I cover here.
Every once in a blue moon, the stars align and something falls through the mailslot that is both Funky16-appropriate, and musically exciting.
A while back I got an e-mail informing me that the legendary Fame label was being reactivated and a number of reissues of classic Southern Soul were planned. The first of these is a retrospective of the man who recorded the very first 45 for the label, Mr. Jimmy Hughes.
I first heard the name Jimmy Hughes was in relation to a cover of his song ‘Neighbor Neighbor’ by the Graham Bond Organisation’ (which, if you’re not familiar, is a killer), which I first encountered during my garage/beat revival days in the mid-80s.
Some years later I picked up a copy of today’s selection, ‘Steal Away’, which was both Hughes’ first hit and the first hit (and recording) for Rick Hall’s Fame label.
‘Steal Away’ is classic southern ballad, and a great showcase for Hughes’ soaring tenor (almost falsetto).
Other than the two songs I already mentioned, I was largely unaware of the rest of Hughes’ catalog.
This was remedied earlier this week when the aforementioned ‘Best of Jimmy Hughes’ arrived at the house. I ripped it to the MP3 delivery device forthwith, and to say that I was blown away is an understatement. I listened to the entire disc at least three times today, and probably would have given it a few more spins were I not worried about pissing off my boss.
Not only was Hughes a fantastic singer, but the Fame house lent its remarkable sound to all of these recordings. It just doesn’t get any better than this, and if you haven’t figured it out already, I dig it.
In related southern soul news, my man Red Kelly over at the B-Side blog (maybe the finest soul blog out there) has been a mover in the effort to raise money to place a headstone on the grave of the mighty O.V. Wright. The O.V. Wright Memorial Fund met its goal and a marker has been selected by the singer’s widow and will be placed at his grave. There will be a memorial service in Memphis on Sunday, November 16th, the 28th anniversary of Wright’s death.
There will also be a tribute concert on November 15th (also in Memphis) featuring the great Otis Clay and the Hi Rhythm Section performing the songs of O.V. Wright. I certainly wish I could be there, and if you do to, more information can be found at www.ovwright.org.
That said, I hope you all have an excellent weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday with a new edition of Funky16Corners Radio.