Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sam Hutchins - Dang Me (AGP 106)

Dang Me

A lot has been said over the past few years about the 'deep melancholy' of Chips Moman and his 827 Thomas Street Band. As the guys who seemed to cut Dark End of The Street and Everyday I Have To Cry Some on everyone who walked through the door, I suppose that's true to a certain extent, but there is another side (literally) to the story...

A rollicking, good time, infectiously fun side that never fails to get you out of your seat. Sides like Skinny Legs And All, Funky Street, I Found A True Love and Broadway Walk come to mind right off the bat... or how about cooking instrumentals like Memphis Soul Stew, Memphis Underground or In The Pocket? These guys were not crying in their beer, man. They were making great music, and having a great time doing it.

Sam Hutchins had come to American from Dallas at the urging of his friends The Masqueraders in 1968, and cut one Tommy Cogbill produced 45 for Mala before being signed to the house label, AGP. This rocking little number we have here is one more illustration of American's fun side. Although the flip (erroneously posted on The A Side back in 2008), is an awesomely wistful deep soul record, Chips and Cogbill let it rip on this side, and Sam is really belting it out! Check out those punchy horn charts and Ed Kollis blowing that way cool harmonica while the 'Moman Tabernacle Choir' takes it to Church and 'The Boys' drive it the rest of the way home.

Sam would cut one more AGP single (the rocking Big D Breakdown), and remain a part of the crew at American till the end, even making the ill-fated move to Atlanta with Chips in 1972. When Lee Jones left The Masqueraders, Sam joined the group, and that's him singing lead vocal on great Darryl Carter produced Hi 45s like Wake Up Fool. He has remained with them to this day, and still sounds as great as ever.

In 1985, Chips told Jim Dickerson of The Commercial Appeal: "Memphis should be Music City, not Nashville... At the time when Memphis was the hottest thing going, the city didn't seem to really care... I said 'You know this place doesn't seem to like us too much, why don't we just tear this studio down and leave?'... and we left, every one of us. We pulled the kids out of school and left... I've always considered that a mistake. Not in the sense that we didn't do better when we left. We did. But if we had done the right thing, and stayed there... who knows, we might have done more there than we did away from there."

As The City of Memphis' complicated love-hate relationship with Chips Moman continues, at first glance it may seem that the historical marker dedication at 827 Thomas Street next Wednesday is too little, too late... When asked by music historian Keith Abel a few years ago about his lack of recognition by institutions like The Grammys and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Chips replied, "We made hits before they had those clubs." Ever the outlaw, ever the rebel, ever the industry outsider, that's precisely what makes him so great.

Maybe a plaque in front of a Family Dollar says it all...

Chips Moman stands alone.


Blogger Unknown said...

Very well said Red!

9:28 PM  
Blogger Richie1250 said...

I love that mala 45. I lost it and tired of pretending (which i first heard on your A side blog)when i left a box of records on a train a few years and somehow tired of pretending popped into my head today so I googled up the a side blog to have a listen. then i thought "I haven't looked at The B Side for a while, wonder what he's been posting..." and here's the other side of it posted up 5 days ago! something in the air...

10:19 PM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

Richie - there is no such thing as coincidence... thanks!

1:35 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home