BIRMINGHAM RECORD COLLECTORS
DEDICATED TO THE COLLECTING OF MUSIC, ITS PRESERVATION, AND LASTING FRIENDSHIP
MONTHLY MEETING THIS SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12th 2017
2:00 PM HOMEWOOD LIBRARY – 1721 OXMOOR ROAD 35209
NEXT MEETING SUNDAY, MARCH 12th, 2017 THE SECOND SUNDAY
THIS MONTH’S MEETING
Our February meeting will bring back some good memories for those of us from the Birmingham area. 2016 BRC Hall of Fame inductee WSGN Good-Guy Joey Roberts will be with us to tell us about his career in radio and what it was like at one of Birmingham’s popular radio stations, WSGN. Be sure not to miss Joey’s story and his memories of B’ham radio in the early rock era.
Because of last month’s meeting being canceled due to the library closing for weather conditions, Henry Lovoy will be with us in April which moves our having Andy Millard talk about his new book, Magic City Nights, to the May meeting. At the March meeting we plan on playing the final part of the video, Twenty Feet From Stardom, the movie about backup singers who did so much to help recordings become hit records. We watched part one late last year.
SWEET HOME ALABAMA
As most of you know, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song, ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ has the following lyrics:
“Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers – And they’ve been known to pick a song or two –
Lord they get me off so much – They pick me up when I’m fleeing blue – Now how ’bout you.”
What is a or are the Swampers? As we continue to look at the guys and gals who backed the singers on many hits we heard over the years we take a look at the studio musicians at Muscle Shoals, Alabama’s Fame studio. Four session players from the Fame Studios, Berry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), David Hood (bass) and Jimmy Johnson (guitar) were inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1995 and in 2008 the same four plus Spooner Oldham (keyboards), Pete Carr (guitar), Albert Lowe, Jr, Clayton Ivey, Randy McCormick, and Will McFarlane were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.
It was during a recording session with Leon Russell that music producer Danny Cordell gave the guys the nickname, Swampers. He thought the guys had a funky soulful Southern swamp sound, thus, Swampers.
Over the years the Swampers recorded with Arthur Alexander, Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Johnnie Taylor, The Staple Singers, Rod Stewart, Duane Allman, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tony Joe White, Glenn Frey, The Rolling Stones, and the list goes on and on. And, when you listen to Bob Seger’s recording of ‘Old Time Rock and Roll, you’ll be hearing the Swampers backing him up.
The group has left quite a resume of session work over the years, over 500 recordings which includes 75 platinum LP’s, staring with Rick Hall at Fame and going on after they formed their on studio, The Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. The first hit coming from the new studio was R B Greaves’, Take A Letter Maria’. That studio was located in Sheffield, Alabama at 3614 Jackson Highway. If that address sounds familiar then you may have an LP by Cher which is entitled, 3614 Jackson Highway with Cher on the cover standing in front of the building along with The Swampers and all the gang associated with the making of the LP. After recording the LP at the studio she affectionately used the address as the title.
That building closed up and they moved the operation to 1000 Alabama Avenue. In 2006 the original studio was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has since been purchased by the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation. That group renovated the studio and just recently opened it up as a museum. I can see a BRC road trip soon to visit the studio and soak in some of the history the place holds. More info on that later.
Have I named some of the groups the Swampers recorded with? How about Joe Cocker, Levon Helm, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, Cat Stevens, Julian Lennon, Delbert McClinton, John Prine, J J Cale, Eddie Floyd, and Boz Scaggs, which by the way was Boz’s first solo America LP. His debut LP was recorded in Sweden. I’m sorry I just realized I already named a few of the artist the guys backed – but know you know how talented these guys are. It is quite a list and it continues, Joe Tex, Bobby Blue Bland, Clarence Carter, Little Milton, Sawyer Brown……OK I’ll stop.
As we look at the guys and gals who did the musical backup over the years you can see just how important they were and quite often we hear the song and don’t take the time to wonder about the session players. Studios all across America had talented musicians that made the music go. Each month for many months and years to come I could go on and on about studios and the backup players – who were session players at the famous Brill Building, for the Chess label hits over the years, in New Orleans studios, and so on. So next time you are listening to some tunes just remember to pay respect for the session players and as we will see more of at the March meeting, the backup singers. Without them we would have grown up in a much more ‘a cappella’ world.
UPCOMING RECORD SHOWS
ARCA – March 3-4 at the Bessemer Civic Center, 1130 9th Avenue SW Bessemer, AL 35022. Friday 4PM-9PM and Saturday 9AM-5PM. $3 admission. Early bird on Friday starting at 1PM- $10. BRC members can get in free with their BRC membership card but not for the early bird times.
Savannah Record Dig & Super Groovy Art Fair – Saturday, April 1. Savannah, GA under tents on DeSoto Street between 40th and 41st in Starland. Over 40 tables of vinyl. Free admission. Www.fearnoarts.com or 1-313-898-1350.
BRC RADIO – HEART AND SOUL OF ROCK AND ROLL
Don’t forget to check out the radio shows the club offers on our website. We now have over 100 shows with over 1600 different songs. Check it out at http://www.birminghamrecord.com/brc/. Tell a friend!
HEY! HAVE YOU HEARD THIS ONE?
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HEARD THIS HIT?
#22 – 1960