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News — nashville

If It Aint One Thing. The Spidells and the Exotics Band Story - E. Mark Windle.

1960s nashville northern soul R&B rare soul rhythm and blues soul southern soul

If It Aint One Thing. The Spidells and the Exotics Band Story - E. Mark Windle.

The Spidells were formed in 1962, by four students from Tennessee State University. This R&B vocal harmony group was comprised of Billy Lockridge (lead and second tenor), James Earl Smith (senior student, second lead and first tenor), Nathaniel Shelton (tenor), Lee Roy Cunningham (baritone / tenor) and Michael Young (bass / baritone). Sam Jones, of The Astors from Memphis, remembers being introduced to them by Larry Lee at the Club Del Morocco as early as 1962. Lee was associated with the group at that time, perhaps as part of the supporting band but also as songwriter.   Author collection.  Their...

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Stop and Start Over: The Berkshire Seven - E. Mark Windle.

1960s blue eyed soul nashville northern soul R&B rare soul rhythm and blues soul southern soul

Stop and Start Over: The Berkshire Seven - E. Mark Windle.

Nashville based Stop Records Inc. was perhaps an unlikely source of rare soul. The label was founded around 1967 by session guitarist and producer Pete Drake. An Augusta, Georgia born and raised son of a Pentecostal minister, he moved to Nashville in the late 1950s to pursue his dreams as a musician. Several country, folk, pop and religious hits featured Drake on guitar including Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man”, Bob Dylan’s “Lay, Lady, Lay” and Elvis’ take on “How Great Thou Art”. By 1970, Drake was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Walkway of Stars. Drake may...

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Nashville R&B: The Neptunes, Hal Hardy and P.W. Cannon Story - E. Mark Windle.

nashville northern soul R&B rare soul rhythm and blues soul

Nashville R&B: The Neptunes, Hal Hardy and P.W. Cannon Story - E. Mark Windle.

The Neptunes provide a central link to a couple of Nashville solo artists who are recognised on the rare soul scene. Between 1958 and 1964 the group recorded a handful of 45s, including Payson, Checker, Instant and Victoria. Discographies to date are not consistently accurate due to the existence of at least two or three ‘Neptunes’ around in the early to mid-1960s, including at least one LA based outfit. In reference to the Nashville group, various on-line sources also confuse individuals who were producers, promoters and song writers as group members. The 'Nashville' Neptunes were founded in the 1950s with...

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Alpha Zoe Hall and Hit Records, Nashville - E. Mark Windle.

1960s nashville northern soul R&B rhythm and blues soul southern soul

Alpha Zoe Hall and Hit Records, Nashville - E. Mark Windle.

Alpha Zoe (“First Life”) Hall is an only child, originally from Gallatin in Sumner County, Tennessee, but moved to Nashville when she was five years of age. Both parents were teachers who also had a common interest in music. Her mother was an accomplished pianist and her father was the tenor in a gospel quartet. “I started to sing as soon as I could talk. My mother was a trained pianist and had a beautiful voice. We became popular in the churches as I was a curiosity, singing at such a young age”, says Alpha Zoe. “As I grew older,...

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The Story of Frank Howard and the Commanders - E. Mark Windle.

1960s nashville R&B rare soul rhythm and blues soul southern soul

The Story of Frank Howard and the Commanders - E. Mark Windle.

The origins of this group go back to 1957 when the group The Marquees were singing around town and at sock hops, and originally included Frank Howard and older brother Bruce. Frank was school friends at Meigs High with Rufus Hunter. Rufus’ older brother Herbert was at the same school, and had already released his first record.. Herbert Hunter would be Frank’s inspiration to pursue a career in singing. An early unnamed group existed which would eventually became the Commanders, before a recording contract was secured. Members at that point all worked for the same downtown department store and included...

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