With the publication of E. Mark Windle’s book House Of Broken Hearts about the 60s soul of Nashville, that city’s black music is being studied in detail for the first time since Kent issued the CDs “Music City Soul” and “Uptown Down South” in the late 90s.
We have coordinated a “Nashville Soul” CD release with the book, concentrating on the work of multi-talented producer/arranger/songwriter Bob Holmes from the 1965 to 1980 time span. Considering the number of tracks he was involved with on this and the previous CDs, Holmes can be described as Nashville’s premier soul provider.
Since we accessed the Ted Jarrett and Excello tapes for those earlier compilations, more music has emerged from Holmes’ vault and elsewhere. The Hytones are the most prolific of the acts, with their superb harmony song ‘Runaway Girl’ only previously available on a Kent/100 Club promo CD. We also feature their rare deep soul Abet release ‘I’ve Got My Baby’ and a great previously unheard group duet with the Avons called ‘Ooh Gilly Baby’, dedicated to a local DJ . The Avons also provide their rare Abet 45 ‘Got To Get Used To You’ which, like most of these songs, is debuting on CD. Sandra King’s ‘Leave It Up To The Boys’ is an expensive record to find and shows how Holmes was stylistically influenced more by New York and Detroit than Memphis. Freddie North’s beautiful big beat ballad ‘Don’t Let Me Look So Bad’ could have been cut at Scepter, and the Paramount Four’s stunning ‘You Must Leave Her Because You Love Her’ is similarly polished.
Holmes worked extensively with R&B producer Ted Jarrett and they combined with great Nashville singers such as Gene Allison, Roscoe Shelton and Freddie Waters to make superb late 60s soul with a strong funk feel. Holmes even wrote and produced a blues hit on veteran Slim Harpo with ‘Tip On In’. By the 70s his expertise was appreciated by other companies and he arranged Joe Tex’s hit dance track ‘Under Your Powerful Love’ for Dial as well as Bill Brandon’s modern soul classic ‘The Streets Got My Lady’ for Piedmont. Holmes could deliver the authentic southern sound as well with Jimmy Church’s ‘Right In The Palm Of Your Hand’ on his Southern Artists label and a beautiful unfinished version of ‘Crying Won’t Help You Now’ by Johnny Truitt for Excello. The Golden Bond’s ‘I Know It’s All Over’ is a superb harmony single on DeLuxe, Roger Hatcher’s Volt 45 ‘I Dedicate My Life To You’ demonstrates great musical sensitivity and Ruthie’s smooth ‘Let’s Try Love Again’ from 1980 is evidence that Holmes could move with the times.