When we issued the box set “Take Me To The River” in August 2008, we hinted that we had many more projects in the pipeline that would gladden the hearts of Southern soul fans. My colleague Dean Rudland’s trawl of the Sounds Of Memphis tape library continues to yield awesome results and we’re both very proud that we are bringing you “The Complete Goldwax Singles” across three double CD volumes, with the third to come early next year. Dean's “Memphis 60” project will soon spawn a follow-up volume and its 1970s companion is also doing very nicely.
This month, it’s with no small amount of pride that we welcome the repertoire of Fame Records to the Ace/Kent catalogue. We have been working on a deal with Fame for some years and we are thrilled that the Hall family has agreed to let us loose on their superb vintage repertoire. What better way to consummate a relationship than with a two-volume project that will reissue every surviving master of the flagship artist of Fame’s early years, the great Jimmy Hughes.
The recent “Best Of Jimmy Hughes” CD has inevitably led to demands for the reissue of all his tracks. Happily, Jimmy actually recorded enough material for Fame to fill two CDs. The halfway mark in the repertoire comes around the point where Rick Hall switched Fame’s distribution from Vee-Jay to Atlantic. Thus is it that “Steal Away”, the first of our two CDs, concentrates almost totally on the tracks that Jimmy cut between 1962 and 1965. The only exception is ‘Steal Away Pt 2’, one of Jimmy's final Fame masters from 1968 and a better fit on a CD that also contains the original hit version of ‘Steal Away’.
That track is one of several fantastic unissued masters that Rodney Hall and the Fame folks have unearthed for this CD. Among the others here is Jimmy's fine version of ‘My Adorable One’, which he cut while Joe Simon was scaling the charts with his original recording of the song. Perhaps the best is the ‘You Better Move On’-like early Dan Penn gem ‘Have You Done Got Over Me’ from 1962 but, as with the released material, there’s not a bad track among them. There will be more previously unissued Fame masters on our follow-up volume.
As for that issued material, Jimmy’s original “Steal Away” album is augmented by all the non-LP sides that came before and after its release, from his debut Guyden 45 ‘I’m Qualified’, through to the final Vee-Jay-distributed Fame release, Penn and Oldham’s ‘You Really Know How To Hurt A Guy’. The highlight for many will be the majestic ‘You Might As Well Forget Him, a Tommy Roe composition that has been recorded by many but that is heard at its best in Jimmy’s dynamic rendition. Label shots of all the singles and the album make an indispensable package all the more attractive to the Southern Soul connoisseur.
Look for “Why Not Tonight: The Later Fame Sides” in the spring of 2010.
by TONY ROUNCE