Features

FAME

By Tony Rounce

Vintage southern soul is more popular now than at any time since its mid-60s heyday. Timeless songs and genre-defining singing enjoy an appreciation that extends way beyond hardcore devotees, and the southern soul fan club just gets bigger and bigger. The music produced by Fame Records’ founder Rick Hall and the incredible musicians, performers and songwriters who plied their trade in his studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama have contributed greatly to this growing popularity.

Although others would emerge in its wake, it was FAME Studios that put the “Muscle Shoals Sound” on the map. Artists such as Wilson Pickett, James & Bobby Purify, Arthur Conley, Clarence Carter, Candi Staton and Aretha Franklin cut some of their most important hits there in the 60s. As well as performers, Fame also cultivated the writing talents of – among others – Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, and published many of southern soul’s most revered songs.

Muscle Shoals eventually became a recording Mecca for artists from all genres of popular music, and FAME’s remit expanded to embrace Bobbie Gentry, Tom Jones, Mac Davis, Paul Anka, Liza Minnelli and – perhaps most famously – the Osmonds. These and others all made a different kind of memorable music under Rick Hall’s supervision, but it’s the incredible southern soul recordings which poured out of FAME in the 1960s upon which the studio’s reputation stands.

We’re very proud of the CDs in our Fame reissue programme. A listen to any one of the nine featured here will show why. 

Selected releases

© Ace records 2012