Arthur Alexander, born in Florence, Alabama on 10 May 1940, was probably the greatest country soul singer ever. His influence was immense and he inspired countless singers and musicians. His fans included the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Dusty Springfield, the Bee Gees, Ike & Tina Turner and Ry Cooder, all of whom recorded cover versions of his records.
Arthur’s first record ‘Sally Sue Brown’ released on the Judd label in 1960 as Junie Alexander, had picked up some airplay, so Rick Hall brought Arthur into his newly built FAME studio in Muscle Shoals to record a follow up. He cut another of the Arthur’s songs ‘You Better Move On’ which was released on the Dot label and made it to #24 on the Billboard chart in 1962. A string of classic recordings followed over the next few years including ‘Anna’, ‘Soldiers of Love’, ‘Where Have You Been’, ‘A Shot of Rhythm & Blues’, ‘You’re The Reason’. Although several of his best known recordings were his own compositions, Alexander was also a masterful interpreter of other’s songs.
Arthur’s unique singing style was very precise, but laid back in a sombre down home way and the timbre of his voice seemed to add to the emotion and poignancy he invested in every recording.
In later years, Arthur drifted into obscurity and spent many years as a bus driver. Ace’s reissue of his classic early recordings did much to focus on his wonderful talent and eventually, Arthur was persuaded to start performing again. Sadly, in 1993, after recording a new album and playing some live shows, he died suddenly of a heart attack three days after performing in Nashville with his new band.
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