Wednesday, March 12, 2008

O.V. Wright - I'm Going Home (To Live With God) (Back Beat 631)

I'm Going Home (To Live With God)


You know how I feel about O.V. Wright. Arguably the greatest soul singer that ever lived, he's been featured on these pages many times.

My good friend in Memphis, Preston Lauterbach, ran a piece on his excellent site Backroads of American Music about how Wright's contemporary (and fellow member of Gospel quartet The Harmony Echoes) James Carr just recently received a headstone at his final resting place in the New Park Cemetery in Memphis. The monument was apparently purchased through the anonymous donations of Soul fans like yourself.

Preston mentioned the story on the Southern Soul Group, and pointed out that O.V. Wright "still lies in an unmarked grave nearly 30 years after his premature death." The ensuing response has been overwhelming, with people far and wide offering to chip in and help purchase a fitting memorial for this incredible talent. Preston spoke with O.V.'s widow, Alberta, this afternoon. She said that after O.V. passed in 1980, Willie Mitchell paid the funeral expenses. The gravestone was supposed to be covered by insurance, but somehow it just never came through. She was gratified to hear that there were people out there who cared enough about her husband to join together and finally make it happen.

This amazing record we have here today shows just how deep O.V.'s Gospel roots were. An adaptation of the traditional hymn Soon I Will Be Done, it was produced by Poppa Willie in 1973.

It gives me chills.

Preston and I (along with fellow Southern Soul Group member Ricky Stevens) have joined forces to try and make this dream a reality by establishing The O.V. Wright Memorial Fund. You can donate to this fund via PayPal (or any credit card) by clicking on the image (or the link) below:


There will also be a 'button' in the sidebar of all of my pages from now on. If you have a 'blog' or a website of your own and would like to link to the fund, please contact me and I will furnish you with the code.

We hope to have some sort of ceremony in Memphis when the monument is completed, and we'll keep you up to date on our progress as things move ahead. In the meantime, please take the time to become a part of Soul History and help make this dream a reality.

That's How Strong Our Love Is.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a good thing you're doing for O.V....I'm not much of a religious man, but God bless ya, anyway.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...


The response to our campaign here has been positively amazing

We've raised almost $700 in the first 24 hours alone!

I can't thank all of you enough... how great is this?

Be sure to check out Preston's cool post on all of this:

R-E-S-P-E-C-T for O.V.

Spread the word!


10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read your blog every week and you do agreat great job.
Thank you

6:02 PM  
Blogger lil m said...

I will certainly contribute something to this effort in honor of the man who gave me a Nickel & A Nail..

thanx for creating the awareness Red...

Really appreciate all the effort, cool rare music & historical perspective you share here...

3:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your wonderful blog!
I'm a huge O.V. Wright fan from Norway. He's my all-time favourite soul singer, no doubt about it! I have a question regarding his "Ace of Spades". I have a compilation cd called "The soul of O.V. Wright" that features a shorter version of AOS than the version on the album "A Nickel And A Nail And Ace Of Spades". Was this shorter (and better) version the one that was released on single? (I also have another long version released on the album "Treasured Moments")

11:04 AM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

Hey Tom -

I just put up the original vinyl of Ace Of Spade over on The A Side...

Hopefully that'll help answer your question.


9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Red,

First, great Blog - there are those of us out there that much appreciate the the effort and sharing of the stories and info.

Second, would love to help out all I can with the OV Fund. I have setup a myspace page for OV and would be very happy to put up a link and do a Blog (use yours etc) to help promote.

I couldn't find your email, but if you can get ahold of me, I can get you mine direct.

Again, all the best and thanks (for the blog and for the OV Love!)

12:36 AM  

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