Tag Archives: Southern Soul

Today: The late Donald “Duck” Dunn was born in 1941 – 71 years ago

As the bassist for Booker T. & the MG’s, Donald “Duck” Dunn became, like James Jamerson at Motown, the man who provided a groove for an entire generation to dance to. In Dunn’s case it was the legendary Memphis record label Stax/Volt, where he laid down basslines for soul stars such as Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and Albert King, helping to create one of the largest bodies of soul and R&B music that exists.
~Steve Kurutz (allmusic.com)

Short intro:

Booker T & the MG’s – green onions:

From Wikipedia:

Birth name Donald Dunn
Also known as Duck
Born November 24, 1941
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Died May 13, 2012 (aged 70)
Tokyo, Japan
Genres Rock, soul, rhythm and blues
Occupations Songwriter, producer, actor
Instruments Bass guitar
Years active 1960–2012
Associated acts Otis Redding, Booker T & the MG’s, Albert King, Mar-Keys,The Blues Brothers, Sam and Dave
Website duckdunn.com

Donald “Duck” Dunn (November 24, 1941 – May 13, 2012) was an American bass guitarist, session musician, record producer, and songwriter. Dunn was notable for his 1960s recordings with Booker T. & the M.G.’s and as a session bassist for Stax Records, which specialized in blues and gospel-infused southern soul which became known as Memphis Soul. At Stax, Dunn played on thousands of records including hits by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, William Bell, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, and many others. Dunn also performed on recordings with The Blues Brothers, Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Isaac Hayes, Levon Helm, Neil Young, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Wilson Pickett, Guy Sebastian, Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Roy Buchanan, Steely Dan, Tinsley Ellis and Arthur Conley.

Booker T. & The MG’s – Time Is Tight (Live, 1970):

Dunn played himself in the 1980 feature The Blues Brothers, where he famously uttered the line, “We had a band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline!


  • In 1992, Dunn was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Booker T & the MG’s.
  • In 2007 Dunn and several Booker T & the MG’s members (Lewie Steinberg, Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, and Barbara Jackson, the widow of Al Jackson) were given a “Lifetime Achievement” Grammy award for their contributions to popular music.


Album of the day:

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Continue reading Today: The late Donald “Duck” Dunn was born in 1941 – 71 years ago

Today: Dan Penn is 71

At the dark end of the street
That’s where we always meet
Hiding in shadows where we don’t belong
Livin in darkness to hide a wrong
You and me
At the dark end of the street
You and me

Dan Penn was an important player in the development of the “Southern Soul scene” in Memphis in the early 60’s.

Here he performs one of the greatest soul songs ever, which he wrote together with Chips Moman in 1966:

Dark End of The Street:

I also need to include the best version of this fantastic song – James Carr:

From Wikipedia:

Dan Penn (born Wallace Daniel Pennington, 16 November 1941) is an American singer, musician, songwriter, and record producer who co-wrote many soul hits of the 1960s including “Dark End Of The Street” and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” with Chips Moman as well as “Out Of Left Field” and “Cry Like a Baby” with Spooner Oldham. Penn also produced many hits including “The Letter” by The Box Tops. Though considered to be one of the great white soul singers of his generation, Penn has released relatively few records featuring his own vocals and musicianship preferring the relative anonymity of songwriting and producing.

I’m Your Puppet (Penn/Spooner Oldham):

Steve Kurutz (allmusic.com):
Songwriter/producer Dan Penn has been a quiet force behind Southern soul music for over thirty years. Always moving just out of view of the limelight, Penn has produced and written hits for the Box Tops, Solomon Burke, Aretha Franklin and Ronnie Milsap, among others.
Originally from Vernon, Alabama, Penn began his career as a performer, leading several white R&B bands around the Muscle Shoals area. Achieving early success by selling a hit song to Conway Twitty (“Is a Bluebird Blue?”), the songwriter eventually moved to Memphis, joining producer Chips Moman at his American Studios. Together the two, along with Penn’s writing partner, organist Spooner Oldham, wrote and/or produced several hits for the Box Tops, such as “The Letter” and “Cry Like a Baby,” throughout the late ’60s.
…read more over @ allmusic.com

Album of the day:

Do Right Man (1994):

From allmusic.com (Chris Nickson):
If James Brown is Soul Brother Number One, you can make a very credible case for Dan Penn being number two. The Alabama native has had a hand in writing a fair number of classic soul songs, and here he commits his versions of them to tape for the first time, recording, of course, in Muscle Shoals, with their fabulous house band, and a horn section including former Memphis Horn member Wayne Jackson. It’s a tall order Penn sets himself, offering himself up for comparison with greats like James Carr, Aretha Franklin, and James and Bobby Purify, who have sung his songs — and that’s just the start of the list. However, he comes out very well, beginning with a quiet take on”The Dark End of the Street,” coming across like a note to a secret lover, rather than a cry of pain.
…read more – allmusic.com 

Other November 16:

Continue reading Today: Dan Penn is 71

Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul


From Wikipedia:

Released September 15, 1965
Recorded April 19 and July 9–10, 1965
Stax Recording Studios
(Memphis, Tennessee)
Genre Soul, R&B
Length 32:22
Label Volt/Atco
Volt 412
Producer Jim StewartIsaac HayesDavid Porter

Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, or simply Otis Blue, is the third studio album by soul singer Otis Redding, released September 15, 1965 on Stax Records. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” was originally recorded and released as a mono single in April 1965 whilst the rest of Otis Blue was recorded in a 24-hour period over July 9/10, and mainly features cover songs by popular R&B and soul artists. Two other original songs, “Ole Man Trouble” and “Respect”, were written during the sessions in the Stax Recording Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.

Otis Blue was critically acclaimed upon release and became Redding’s most successful studio album to date, peaking at number 6 on the UK Albums Chart, and his first to reach the top spot of the Billboard R&B chart. Furthermore, it produced three popular singles, all charting at least in the top 50 on both the Billboard R&B and the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It is considered by many critics to be Redding’s first fully realized album.


After Otis Redding‘s appearance in a session with guitarist Johnny Jenkins, producer and co-founder of Stax RecordsJim Stewart. was so deeply affected by Redding’s rendition of “These Arms of Mine” that he signed him immediately. Following the moderately successful Pain in My Heart and The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads, both of which performed well in the newly-established Billboard R&B LP chart but not in the Billboard 200, preparations for the third studio album followed soon after. The album would be Redding’s third studio album and second on Stax’s sister label Volt.

Redding recorded the album with the Stax’s house band Booker T. & the M.G.’s—guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn, drummer Al Jackson Jr.—pianist Isaac Hayes and a horn section consisting of members of the Mar-Keys and the Memphis Horns. The album was recorded in two sessions, lasting from July 9 to 10, between Saturday 10 pm and Sunday 2 am,  as the backing band had to omit several gigs. The album opens with “Ole Man Trouble”, which was finished on the sessions earlier than other songs, and was later released as a B-side of “Respect“. 

The fifth track, “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long“, was the only one not recorded during the 24-hour session. It was, together with “Respect”, recut in stereo during the Otis Blue-session, with the remarkable change that on the latter song the line “hey hey hey” was sung by Earl Sims and not by Redding, while the first song was completely rewritten. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” was released with B-side “I’m Depending on You” and became a number-two hit on Billboard‘s R&B chart.

Critical Response:

  • Otis Blue has been regarded by music critics as the Redding’s best work. Bruce Eder of Allmusic wrote that “Redding’s powerful, remarkable singing throughout makes Otis Blue gritty, rich, and achingly alive, and an essential listening experience.” He also felt the album “presents his talent unfettered, his direction clear, and his confidence emboldened.”
  • Angus Taylor of BBC Music viewed that it stands “at the crossroads of pop, rock, gospel, blues and soul”, and asserted that the album contains “a set of short, punchy covers and originals, flawlessly ordered to ebb and flow between stirring balladry and foot stomping exuberance”. He dubbed the album “[Redding’s] definitive statement.”
  • Blender music critic Robert Christgau called Otis Blue “the first great album by one of soul’s few reliable long-form artists” and gave its 2004 collector’s edition four out of five stars, which he said “comes with many useless alternate takes, but also with live tracks that preserve for history Redding’s country-goes-uptown style of fun”.
  • Nate Patrin of Pitchfork Media cited the album as “[the] 1960s’ greatest studio-recorded soul LP”, and furthermore stated, “[the album is] a hell of a record, the crowning achievement of a man who could sound pained and celebratory and tender and gritty and proud all at once, with a voice that everyone from John Fogerty to Swamp Dogg to Cee-lo owes a debt to.”
  •  Claudrena N. Harold of PopMatters also praised the diverse sound, which, according to her, is a mixture of “Motown pop, the blues, British rock, and Southern Soul”, although she cited Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul as Redding’s best album.
  • Rolling Stone described the album as “Redding’s true dictionary of soul, a stunning journey through the past and future vocabulary of R&B … documenting a masterful artist rising to … the immense challenge of his times.
  • In The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Rolling Stone journalist Paul Evans gave Otis Blue five out of five stars and cited the album as Redding’s “first masterwork”.

  • NME ranked it 35 on their list of the “Greatest Albums of All Time”.
  • The album was also ranked 74 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list
  • 92 on Time magazine’s list of the All-Time 100 Greatest Albums
  • included in Q magazine’s Best Soul Albums of All Time list.
  • The album appeared in “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die”

Track listing

  1. “Ole Man Trouble” Otis Redding
  2. “Respect” Redding
  3. “Change Gonna Come” Sam Cooke
  4. “Down in the Valley” Bert Berns, Solomon Burke, Babe Chivian, Joe Martin
  5. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” Redding, Jerry Butler
  6.  “Shake” Cooke
  7. “My Girl” Smokey Robinson, Ronald White
  8. “Wonderful World” Cooke, Lou Adler, Herb Alpert
  9. “Rock Me Baby” B. B. King
  10. “Satisfaction” Mick Jagger, Keith Richards
  11. “You Don’t Miss Your Water” William Bell


I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (Monterey ’67):




Also check out this one:  The Best Songs – ” Rock Me Baby”


Today: Joe Tex passed away in 1982 – 30 years ago

From Wikipedia:

Birth name Joseph Arrington, Jr.
Also known as Yusuf Hazziez
Born August 8, 1935
Rogers, Texas, United States
Origin Baytown, Texas, United States
Died August 13, 1982 (aged 47)
Navasota, Texas, United States
Genres Rock’n’roll, R&B, soul, southern soul, deep soul, country soul,funk, disco, rap
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1955-1982
Labels King Records, Ace Records,Dial Records, Atlantic Records,Mercury Records, Epic Records

Joseph Arrington, Jr. (August 8, 1935– August 13, 1982), better known as “Joe Tex“, was an American musician who gained success in the 1960s and 1970s with his brand of Southern soul, which mixed the styles of country, gospel and rhythm and blues.

Born in Rogers, Texas, and raised in Baytown, Tex’s career started after he was signed to King Records in 1955 following four wins at the Apollo Theater. Between that year and 1964, however, Tex struggled to find hits and by the time he finally recorded his first hit, “Hold What You’ve Got“, in 1965, he had recorded thirty prior singles that were deemed failures on the charts. Tex went on to have three million-selling hits, “Hold What You’ve Got” (1965), “Skinny Legs and All” (1967) and “I Gotcha” (1972).

Tex’s style of speaking over the background of his music helped to make him one of the predecessors of the modern style of rap music.

From allmusic (Dave Marsh):

Joe Tex made the first Southern soul record that also hit on the pop charts (“Hold What You’ve Got,” in 1965, made number five in Billboard). His raspy-voiced, jackleg preacher style also laid some of the most important parts of rap’s foundation. He is, arguably, the most underrated of all the ’60s soul performers associated with Atlantic Records, although his records were more likely than those of most soul stars to become crossover hits.

Read more here – allmusic.com

Hold On What You’ve Got @ Shindig in 1965:

I Gotcha:

Album of the day:


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Continue reading Today: Joe Tex passed away in 1982 – 30 years ago