• Howlers, Clangers & Myths – The By The Bayou Series

    27th February 2015

    During the compiling of the first ten CDs in the “By The Bayou” series, due to the plethora of alternate takes and incorrectly labelled tape boxes both within the J.D. Miller and Eddie Shuler tape vaults a number of mistakes occurred and it is clear to Ace Records, and to me personally, that it is to the benefit of all if these are cleared up. 

    Not all of the instances that have been flagged as errors are errors, some are clearly alternate takes and others are a little more complicated, but in order for readers to appreciate the complexity of the situation, I think it best to lay a little background. The Miller tapes - over the course of three years I spent a number of months listening to some 9,000 tracks of which I selected just over 3,000 for transfer and this task was carried out by Alec Palao. The Shuler tapes were transferred a number of years ago and have remained with Ace - a small proportion of these has been previously used. In both cases there are a considerable number of alternate takes of many of the titles.

    In the Miller vault I would estimate that between 10% - 20% of the tapes were in their original boxes and the information on these is accurate, although one is now in dispute. Of the remainder, the majority have been re-boxed at some stage, frequently as result of termite or water damage. On these boxes, sometimes the information was transferred, but frequently it was lost and Miller employed an individual to go through the tapes and identify the material. This has meant that titles were frequently the subject of guesswork from the lyrics and in many cases the same song taped at different sessions has been given more than one title. Also, on a number of occasions the artist was incorrectly identified.

    Obviously there were similar problems with Eddie Shuler’s Goldband material as again some tracks are wrongly titled, but where artists have been wrongly identified it appears that more than one vocalist took part at a session, but only the principal artist was named.

    In many cases I was able to correct titles and artists’ names but obviously I didn’t spot them all and a number of collectors have got together and pooled their information to raise criticism. Fair enough - although obviously I would have preferred if it had come to me or to the company rather than through another publication.

    Getting down to specific cases, I think sharing our tape logs might help your understanding. Let’s start with three cases which I consider to be absolute howlers on my part:



    Mad Dog Sheffield

    Watching The Clock



    Mad Dog Sheffield

    You Move Me Baby



    Mad Dog Sheffield

    Pretty Little Dolly



    Mad Dog Sheffield

    Wicked Old Fever



    Charles Sheffield

    Boogie Children



    Charles Sheffield

    Boogie Children


    29th July 2014

    OK, who out there agrees with Ace that the world’s greatest dog-walker, original “Tiger Man” and former oldest living teenager/funkiest man alive Rufus Thomas ought to be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame by now?

    Right, that’s everybody then. So what are we going to do about it?

    Well, fortunately for us we don’t have to do much, as Rufus’ daughter (and friend of Ace) Vaneese is already doing all she can to make it happen. Vaneese has a petition on her website and is asking all lovers of Memphis music to log on and sign that petition. She needs all the signatures she can get, so get your friends to do it too.

    Fine artists they might all be in their own way but if the likes of Heart, Rush and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are in, there’s really no excuse for Rufus not to be – so log on to and add your name to the list right now! 

  • Poretta Soul Festival 2014

    29th July 2014

    And so it came to pass that the Porretta Soul Festival turned 27 years old this July. This wonderful three-day event, held in the small and friendly spa town of Porretta Terme – about an hour south of Bologna on the train – grew from a desire by music mogul and diehard soul fan Graziano Uliani to pay tribute to his own hero, Otis Redding, by bringing some of the finest artists from he American South to Europe and presenting them in the charming surroundings of Porretta. In the years that have gone by since Porretta 1, Graziano has made his dreams – and those of southern soul lovers everywhere – come true time and time again.

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