hightowerI'm not sure if you've heard, but I've been asked to interview Soul Legend Willie Hightower at this year's Ponderosa Stomp Music History Conference on October 1st. One of the truly great voices of Soul, Willie's records have remained under the radar far too long. I am positively thrilled to have been given this opportunity, and I can't wait to meet him.

As you may have noticed, our Clarence Nelson investigation here has sort of taken a back seat, as I've been busy doing my homework on Willie... but, check this out:

argoFURY 5004

I Love You (Yes I Do)

Is it me, or does that sound like Clarence Nelson on the guitar? It was John Broven who first pointed it out... "Impossible," I said, "Bobby Robinson never recorded in Memphis!" Well, as it turns out, I was wrong (again). Using 'Bowlegs' Miller as his arranger, Robinson produced the classic Junior Parker LP Like It Is for Mercury at Royal Studio in Memphis in late 1966. According to the Soul Discography, Bobby would also produce a session for Mercury on Willie Highower in January of 1967, which apparently went unreleased when Willie (and Bobby) signed with Capitol a few months later... It seems entirely possible, then, that this session was also held in Memphis, and that Robinson used those un-issued tapes as the basis for Fury 5004 in 1968. Hmmm... stranger things have certainly happened, and I'll be sure to ask Willie about all of this when I see him.

Right now, though, I'd like to thank Dr. Ike, Susan Grazer and the rest of the Mystic Knights for giving me the chance to participate in the Conference, and tip my hat to friends like John Broven, Seamus McGarvey and Dickie Tapp, who have travelled this road before me...

It's A Miracle...

- red kelly, September 2015

case 8
case 8
  ...continued from PART TWO

Another giant of Memphis music that we've only mentioned in passing so far is the indefatigable Quinton Claunch (please see Soul Sauce Archives).

Blue Seal PalsLike Sam Phillips, Claunch and his 'hillbilly' band The Blue Seal Pals got their start at WLAY in Muscle Shoals. Extremely popular throughout their listening area, the group soon landed at the powerful WSM in Nashville (which broadcast the Grand Ole Opry) and became hosts of the bang-up Sun-Up Serenade on Saturday mornings. As the industry developed, demand for 'live' radio shows began to wane, and The Pals broke up, with Quinton and his fiddle player Bill Cantrell heading for Memphis to join forces with their other pal, Sam Phillips at his Memphis Recording Service.

Flip 503Sam hooked them up with bad boy Charlie Feathers at this point and, according to Colin Escott and Martin Hawkins, "Cantrell and Claunch rehearsed Feathers at a small home studio, and the fruits of their work were released in February 1955... I've Been Deceived, with its haunting images of recrimination, ranks alongside almost anything that Hank Williams wrote or performed." Quite a statement, really, which speaks as much (if not more) about the quality of the songwriting as Charlie's tortured vocals. That would be our friend Stan Kesler on pedal steel, by the way... amazing.

fernwoodAnother artist that Claunch and Cantrell were working with around the same time as the Feathers release was named Bud Deckelman. After they brought a composition they had worked up with Bud to Phillips and he wasn't interested, they brought it to Lester Bihari at Meteor who was. They cut Daydreamin' at the Meteor studio up on Chelsea Avenue, then brought it to Sam at Sun to master. After showing some regional clout, the song was picked up by Dot who scored a top ten C&W hit on it in May of 1955 with a cover by Jimmy 'Cajun' Newman, who was knocking 'em dead out on the Louisiana Hayride alongside Sam's boy Elvis (who wouldn't see any chart action himself for another six months).

phillipsPhillips saw the error of his ways, and told Claunch and Cantrell he wanted 'right of first refusal' on their future compositions (which was something they thought they already had). After a few minor sides that went nowhere, Sam had Carl Perkins cut one of their Country ballads in December of 1955, and told them he planned on issuing it as the flip of Carl's next single. After having sold Elvis' contract to RCA the month before, Phillips had second thoughts about his future in the C&W market and released one of the most rockin' 'double-siders' of all time instead, Blue Suede Shoes b/w Honey Don't in January of 1956. By late April, Sun 234 had become the company's first million-seller, topping off at #2 on Billboard's Top 100 - kept from the top slot by Elvis' first RCA release, Heartbreak Hotel. "From that moment on," Cantrell told Colin Escott, "Quinton and I decided that we should put our songs on the back of every record we could. The only way to control that was to have our own record company."

hi 2002In the fall of 1957, after wildman Ray Harris figured his sun had set as an artist at Sun, he joined forces with Cantrell and Claunch and they approached juke-box operator and record store owner Joe Cuoghi about starting up their own label. Much as Lucchesi had done with Kesler, Cuoghi agreed to provide the financial backing and give them artistic control. Taking a cousin of Jerry Lee Lewis (that Harris had met at his day job) to Nashville, they cut what Billboard called a 'bright rockabilly' version of You Are My Sunshine and, with Cantrell-Claunch composition Tootsie 'on the back', it became Hi Records first 45. As was often the case, as the single began to pick up steam in early 1958, the fledgling label had trouble keeping up with demand. Sam Phillips came to their rescue that June and picked up the masters for release on his new Phillips International label.

hi 2002Hi used the money Sam paid them to build their own studio in the old Royal Theater in South Memphis. I'm not sure if it was already 'in the can', but their next release on McVoy featured Cantrell-Claunch songs on both sides, including a hokey version of their old standby Daydreamin'. After issuing a dozen or so other singles that went nowhere, Hi was floundering, and by mid-1959 Cuoghi was looking to cut his losses. As you may recall, back in part two we mentioned that Fernwood cut smash hit Tragedy at Hi's studio (which must have driven Cuoghi just a little further up the wall), with Scotty Moore and Bill Black providing the accompaniment. Black got together with Ray Harris shortly after that and hatched the idea of forming an instrumental group anchored by himself and a local guitarist named Reggie Young.

smokieChristened Bill Black's Combo, their first release on the label, Smokie Part 2, took the country by storm in the Fall of 1959, and Hi's new distribution deal with London Records helped them move some serious wax. When original members Martin Willis and Joe Louis Hall (who, as we've seen, went on to work with Earl Forest) balked at Joe Cuoghi's idea of paying them with stock options instead of cash, they were let go and replaced with Ace Cannon and the aforementioned Carl McVoy. At this point something happened...

In Sweet Soul Music, Peter Guralnick says "By this time Claunch, to his eternal regret, had left Hi for a number of cogent reasons..." Huh? According to Colin Escott in Good Rockin' Tonight, "Claunch left Hi with considerable ill will on all sides in 1960 after he recorded a Bill Black sound-alike for another label." Which is echoed on a Black Cat Rockabilly page where it goes on to say that "Carl McVoy bought Claunch's share for $7000."

Hmmm... John Broven asked Escott if he might be able provide any further information on all of this and he replied "My understanding...and I can't remember if it came from Gene Simmons or Cantrell or Ray Harris or Ace Cannon or McVoy... but there were some Bill Black soundalike records on Chess or some other label, and Quinton did those, pissing off Cuoghi, Cantrell, and Harris... I think it was the Bobby Stewart Combo on Argo."

argoARGO 5374

Cold, Cold Heart

A straight up co-opting of Black's 'untouchable' sound, I'd say the decision to call the group a 'Combo' (preceded by the name of the bass player) pretty much seals the deal. Also included in the group were brothers Carl and Jumpin' Gene Simmons. Like Ray Harris, the Simmons brothers were Sun also-rans who had recorded prolifically for Sam Phillips without any commercial success. Although Gene's lone Sun single (featuring Carl on the guitar) Drinkin' Wine is considered a stone classic today, it had fallen on deaf ears when it was released in April of 1958. After a couple of minor records on other small independents, the brothers showed up on Cuoghi's doorstep in early 1960. Both Checker 948 (released under the name of Gene Simmons) and Argo 5374 were cut at Hi soon after and leased to Leonard Chess, but there doesn't seem to be any indication of Quinton Claunch's involvement in that process... in fact there may be evidence to the contrary:

goldDOT 16076


This way cool instrumental was released in March of 1960 (a month before Gene's Checker single), here's what Carl Simmons told 706 Union Avenue; "It was a minor hit. It sold about 100,000 copies. It sounded too much like all the Bill Black stuff coming out on Hi and there was some discomfort around that on Bill's part. That's why Joe Cuoghi leased it out to Dot Records. I was actually glad to see it on Dot. They were a very successful label at the time." The site lists Cuoghi as the engineer and producer of these sides, on which he also retained the publishing (Jec = Joe E. Cuoghi). It's hard to imagine Quinton muscling his way into the middle of this arrangement and suddenly cutting a deal with Chess... and, if Cuoghi showed no 'discomfort' in outsourcing these Simmons brothers 'Bill Black soundalike' records to another label, how could he object if one of his partners did the same thing?

Hmmm... let's back up a moment here and talk about a gentleman named Walter P. Maynard, Jr.

20052007Walter first shows up as the composer of Joe Fuller's You Made A Hit, which was released on Hi 2005 in May of 1958 and cut soon after by Sam Phillips on Ray Smith and Charlie Rich. By Hi 2007, Maynard shares songwriting credits with both Claunch and Cantrell on He's The Most, which is published by Jec. Hi Records looks like one big happy family... but things were about to change.

walmayAccording to Colin Escott, "Cantrell and Claunch had something to do with Walter Maynard. They produced Charlie Feathers for Wal-May in 1959-1960..." Hmmm... apparently Maynard had formed his own company by then, and super sleuth Jim Cole was able to unearth an actual 45, released under the name of Charlie Morgan (no doubt for contractual reasons). The publishing on these Cantrell, Claunch, Feathers compositions is shared by Jec and 'Walmay Music'. I'm not sure what went down, but it seems odd that Cuoghi wouldn't have wanted these sides released on Hi, and why two of his partners felt it necessary to go to work for another company. Although the label on this 45 reads 'WALMAY', printed in smaller type underneath it says 'Pink Record Co.'

90Jack Clement had cut a kid from Missouri named Narvel Felts at Sun in early 1957, but he signed with Mercury shortly thereafter on the advice of a disgruntled Roy Orbison. After three singles that didn't do much, Mercury passed on a song Felts had cut at a radio station while on tour in Canada in February of 1959, Three Thousand Miles. "Hi Records had just been formed in Memphis," Felts said, "so I sent them a copy... I got a call back from Hi saying that they thought 'Three Thousand Miles' was a smash, and to get on down to the studio and record it." After several takes, everyone agreed that the original radio station demo was better. "...it came out on Pink Records and was my first national chart hit." Although the publishing was still shared by Walmay and Jec, Maynard had apparently gone with the infinitely sexier Pink as the name of the label.

90"Walt Maynard, who was running Pink Records, wanted us to come back to Memphis and record again," Narvel went on to say, "We went to Memphis to the Royal Studio with Jack Clement engineering. Honey Love was one of the songs we did... and then Walt decided that should be the one for the next record" Felts' whitebread version of the Drifters' classic spent two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in February of 1960, stalling at #90. With Jec no longer having a share of the publishing, I'm sure Cuoghi was not amused at the idea of Maynard cutting hits at his studio.

so goodPINK 707

Boll Weevil

After issuing a few more Pink 45s that died on the vine, Maynard released this one in October of 1960, while Bill Black's Don't Be Cruel was still riding the R&B top ten. Talk about a soundalike! Wow! I'm not sure where Bill Robbin (or his Bluejays) came from, but I'd say it's a safe bet they were trying to cash in on the Combo's success. The A Side was a cover of old chestnut Near You "done in a Bill Black Combo styling," according to Billboard, but I think the flip we have here is more interesting. Long in the public domain, the arrangers are listed as 'Maynard-Landon-Gold'. Hmmm...

BMIIn the BMI Repertoire Database, however, the 'arrangers' are credited as songwriters and, lo and behold, our man Quinton Claunch is first on the list! Notably absent, however, is the name 'Cantrell'. I'm not sure whose idea the 'Gold' nom-de-plume may have been, but I don't think it fooled anybody on South Lauderdale. I'm thinking that this just may be the record that precipitated the 'considerable ill will'...

GoldWithin a few weeks, Maynard had released a Christmas 45 on Robbin, featuring the same kind of 'untouchable' arrangement, this time of Jingle Bells (I'll spare you the audio - well, at least until December)... By then, Claunch's name was printed plainly there on the label for all to see, so I ace imagine the final break with Hi (and the sale of his share in the label to Carl McVoy) must have come somewhere right around in here. It is also interesting to note that Pink (which had been originally distributed by Ember) was now a part of the Johnny Vincent Ace empire. There may have been a reason for that...

ace 1014Released in August of 1961, the film Teenage Millionaire starred Vincent's main attraction Jimmy Clanton in the leading role. With cameo lip-sync appearances by other performers like Jackie Wilson, Chubby Checker, Marv Johnson, Dion and (yes) Bill Black's Combo, it was targeted at the same acne-plagued, sock-hopped, record buying segment of the population that Vincent drooled over. He couldn't resist the idea of a Soundtrack LP on Ace, but he wasn't about to fork over the cash to license any material from the movie that was performed by another label's artists. Maynard, apparently, was only too happy to help out and (according to Dik de Heer) "the two Bill Black Combo recordings on the soundtrack album issued by (US) Ace Records are not by Bill but by a soundalike band led by Bill Robbin." I'm not sure if Quinton was still involved at this point, but the damage had already been done, and this must have been viewed by Cuoghi as adding insult to injury...

last nightAll of this was happening while Last Night had begun its ascendancy of the charts, on its way to becoming an even bigger hit than Smokie Part 2 had been. As Floyd Newman told us a couple of years ago, he and tenor sax man Gilbert Caple were the ones who came up with that memorable intro and punchy horn line. In Soulsville, U.S.A., Floyd told Rob Bowman that he resented not being sent out on the road in support of the record. "When they started traveling and making money, Gilbert Caple and I knew nothing about it. They didn't even tell us that they were going to do none of this. That's the way it went down." Newman elected to stay on with the company anyway as Satellite evolved into Stax (lucky for all of us), but Caple had apparently had enough and decided to move on. As it turned out, Walt Maynard was right there waiting for him.


Late Date

Starting up another label named Safire (probably to sidestep whatever arrangement he had with Johnny Vincent on Pink), this time Walt made sure that even the name of the group was a sound-alike. Although he gave Caple and Fred Ford (who had been recruited to take Newman's place) writing credit on the flip, Maynard took both the songwriting and publishing here on the top side. I'm not sure who the rest of the band was, but I'd say it's a safe bet that these tracks were cut at Fernwood with Earl Forest (although it doesn't sound like Clarence on the guitar).

90Maynard worked out some kind of deal and leased the record to ABC-Paramount, which helped propel it to #89 on the Hot 100 in October of 1961 (one notch higher than the Narvel Felts chart entry six months before). Although ABC would release one more single by the Parkays in January of 1962, it didn't even 'bubble under', and it appears that their deal with Maynard had run its course by then. As you may recall from Part Two, Gilbert Caple then went on to be the driving force behind Earl Forest's own 1962 Mar-Keys sound-alike records on Duke before he moved to Texas to become an integral part of Don Robey's studio machine. According to fellow Duke songwriter Vernon Morrison, it was Caple who was the uncredited composer of O.V. Wright's Ace of Spades. Imagine?

After one more release on Safire, Maynard's trail appears to turn cold...

landonThere doesn't seem to be much information available about Claunch and Maynard's other Pink collaborator, Don Landon, except that he also co-wrote a song with Quinton named 'Bingo' that was released on a Pittsburgh label (go figure) in 1962 - a song that Quinton apparently liked so much that he decided to use it as the name of his own label that same year.

Every once in a while here on Soul D we get to do something awesome, like introduce to the world a 45 that nobody knew existed. Unearthed recently by our partner Frank Bruno (the Memphis Wax man), we believe that the record below represents the previously unknown inaugural release on Bingo. How cool is that?

BINGO 1000

St. Louis Blues

Sounding more like Ace Cannon than Bill Black, I'm guessing that the Skip Williams sheratonfeatured on the label must be the sax player... (ya think maybe these Tee-Birds started out as Robbin's Blue-Jays?) The fact that this release was 'Distributed by Sheraton Records' allows us to date it rather accurately (I think). In the March 17, 1962 edition of Billboard there was an ad placed by Sheraton offering small labels an 'excellent deal' on National Distribution. In the May 19th issue (see above), Bingo is listed as one of the new labels added to the New Jersey company's roster 'over the past three months'. As far as I can tell, it was the only Bingo 45 to be distributed by them and, judging from the Spring 1962 release date, I'd say most probably the label's first.

quintonLet's just pause here a moment and consider how important a figure Quinton Claunch really is. Perhaps the most independent of the 'independent record men', when he didn't like the way things were going at Sun, he had no problem leaving Sam Phillips behind and starting up his own label with his friends. Then, as far as Hi Records is concerned, in the liner notes of The Complete Goldwax Singles Volume 1, Claunch says "I did not think things were moving along fast enough, so I moved on to some independent projects..."  I'm sure Quinton felt that what was good for the goose should have been good for the gander, and if it was OK for Cuoghi to lease copycat records to other labels, then his projects should have been given the green light as well. When they weren't, he cashed in his chips and walked away. This idea that he was somehow 'muscled out' appears to be a misconception... one which Claunch has done little to dispel over the years. After all, why should he?

gw101In the Summer of 1963 Claunch hooked up with another Memphis businessman who was itching to get into the record business, Rudolph 'Doc' Russell. As a pharmacist, he had no problem leaving the musical end of things up to Quinton, which was just the way he liked it. Initially called 'Russell's Goldwax', the label's first release, the great Darling by R&B vocal group The Lyrics, was on its way to becoming a local hit when Claunch used his connections to secure national distribution with London Records. This effrontery was apparently too much for Cuoghi at Hi (which, if you recall, was also distributed by London), and, in Quinton's words, he "had our record stopped..." Considerable ill will indeed!

I think it was Claunch's courageous decision to step out on his own (becoming Persona non Grata at two major studios in the process) that opened his eyes to the thriving Memphis R&B scene, and brought him to Fernwood to record with Earl Forest. He then would become one of the first customers through the door at Chips Moman's American Sound, where he would be introduced to our man Clarence Nelson. We determined back in Part One that Clarence is definitely the guitarist on both Goldwax 106 and Goldwax 113.

Let's take a look at a few others:


So Hard To Get Along

In the 'comments' a while back, detective Mike Finbow said "The Lyrics 'So Hard To Get Along' with Percy Milem on lead vocal (Goldwax 105) employs the same fluid guitar sound as O.V. Wright's 'That's How Strong My Love Is'. Ace Records 'Complete Goldwax Singles Vol.1' shows Reggie Young as the guitarist, but it has to be Clarence Nelson.' Agreed, yes it certainly does! Good lookin' out, Mike! Like his erstwhile partner Walt Maynard, Claunch managed to get this one picked up by ABC, but as far as we can tell (there being no Billboard R&B chart at the time), without much action. Interesting that this song is written by Roosevelt Jamison, as that it was the release before 'That's How Strong My Love Is'...

[ed. note: Just let me say as we move forward here, our goal has never been to prove anybody wrong, but to make sure we get things right. I think this demonstrates just how 'under the radar' Clarence's work has remained, and why we're doing this in the first place.]


I'm Living Good

No doubt due to the fact that this one was written by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, it has long been thought to have been cut at Fame in Muscle Shoals. At this point, I don't know about that. It sure sounds like Clarence Nelson on guitar, doesn't it? I thought for a while that it might be Chips Moman, but in any event, I think it's a stretch to place either of them in Muscle Shoals the year before Wexler brought Moman down there to record with Pickett in 1966. The guitar could have been overdubbed at American, maybe? I don't know. I'd definitely say it's Clarence, though... what do you guys think?


Old Friend

When I first wrote about this phenomenal record on The A Side I said "Check out Reggie Young on here, man... is he great or what?" While Reggie remains just as great as ever, I'm thinking this is Clarence on here for sure. It was released in October of 1966, while Nelson was still in The Mustangs backing Spencer up in the clubs, according to David Evans. That would also be around six months before Reggie left Royal for American...

sam phillipsBy then Claunch and Russell were back cutting at Sam Phillips with Stan Kesler, as evidenced by this well-known photo from Sweet Soul Music and, as we've seen, Kesler had Clarence virtually on the payroll. I'm sure there are other Goldwax sides that feature Clarence on guitar (at least the flips of those we've mentioned so far), and I'd like to try and re-evaluate them in light of what we now know and compile some kind of list, leading to an eventual Nelson discography. Any other likely candidates you can think of? Any with James Carr?

To be continued...

Please use the new comment field in the sidebar at right to join us in the discussion...
As always, please feel free to email us any scans, photos or mp3s you might have that pertain to the case. You are now a Soul Detective... Welcome Aboard!

Special thanks to Quinton Claunch, Floyd Newman, Frank Bruno, Jim Cole, Colin Escott, Martin Hawkins, John Broven, Peter Hoogers, Eric LeBlanc, David Evans, John Ridley, Rob Bowman, Peter Guralnick, Dik de Heer, 706 Union Avenue, Black Cat Rockabilly and good ol'45cat.
(...back to Part Two)

slooths soul sauce

Henry Henderson

apolloI know we talk a lot around here about places like Memphis and Muscle Shoals, New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Nashville, but somehow it seems I haven't paid enough attention to my own hometown. As the site of the premier Black entertainment venue in the world, New York truly had it going on throughout 'The Soul Era'.

alonzoThe Big Town knew few rivals as a recording center in those days as, in addition to Bobby Robinson's Harlem empire, it was home to 'major independents' like Atlantic, Scepter, Big Top, Roulette, Sue, Jubilee and Bell, (to name a few), all of which cut at various 'hole in the wall' studios in and around Manhattan.


long islandHome to such luminaries as James Brown, Don Covay, Gary U.S. Bonds, Roy C and Freddie Scott, Long Island enjoyed a thriving Soul scene all its own, with night clubs and lounges that featured live music springing up wherever there was a sizable Black community.

celebrity club

Calling themselves 'The Showcase of Talent', the Celebrity Club on Sunrise Highway in Freeport was one of the most celebrated of those clubs, and when they brought in Leo Price to put together their 'house band' in the early sixties, he decided to stick around. As he told Seamus McGarvey in Now Dig This, "I stayed up there... playing around those clubs, and backing up groups. In those days [most] recording artists didn't have their own bands, and the Jimmy Evans Booking Agency - I was his band - he had the acts... we played behind."

shirellesIt was his connection with Evans that made Leo a favorite with Long Island club owners, as he was able to bring in national level acts like Wilson Pickett and The Shirelles to keep the cash registers ringing. Price soon had more work than he could handle, and helped install a young singer named Henry Henderson as the leader of the house band at another popular club named Mister C's in Roosevelt.

Henderson had grown up in Jackson, Mississippi, and by the time he was a teenager he was fronting his own group that was represented by Tommy Couch's Malaco Attractions. After cutting a few sides for them that were never released, Henry took off for the bright lights, and wound up here on Long island in 1964.

buster adThis was right around the time that Little Buster's phenomenal Lookin' For A Home was garnering some airplay on local radio. Henry met Buster shortly after that when he was performing at Brownie's Lounge in Lakeview and the two transplanted Southerners hit it off, following each other around the Long Island club circuit from The Freeport Yacht Club and The Steer Inn to Club 91 and The Bluebird Cafe way out in the sticks.

obiIn a scenario truly remiscent of Animal House, in the late sixties notorious bar owner Robert Matherson hired Little Buster to play for his all-white clientele every Sunday at The Oak Beach Inn. When Buster wasn't available, Henry took his place and, between the two of them, they introduced an entire generation of essentially clueless caucasians to the Real Soul music that was happening all around them.

henry 70sAs the sixties gave way to the seventies, The Highway Inn in Uniondale eclipsed the Celebrity Club as ground zero for Long Island Soul, with Leo Price's band once again providing the back-up. When Leo decided to move on, he called on Henry to take his place as leader of the house band, backing up everyone from Big Mama Thornton to The Ohio Players.

interstateIn the early seventies, Henry got together with producer Clyde Wilson and cut a single for a Long Island label named Interstate 95. As Henry recalls it, the studio was located in the Chrysler Building in Manhattan, and they were all set to release the 45 when the label owner, Daniel Yudow, died suddenly, and that was the end of that. Sir Shambling calls the L.L. Milton release that Clyde Wilson produced for the label "a real throwback to the 60s," and that's just what Long Island Soul has remained all these years.

henry discoAs disco began to take hold in the mid-seventies, Henderson had the good sense to lay low for a while, and returned home to Jackson for a few years. By the early eighties he was back on Long Island, starting up a new band, 'The Honey Holders' that would help him carry on in that soulful tradition...

busterizedAs you may know, I was a huge fan of Little Buster and, as I've said before, I'd seen him perform "more times than anyone else, ever." When Buster passed on in May 0f 2006, I was devastated. It was at a tribute to Buster held that June that I first met Henry Henderson. Once I heard him sing, I knew he was the real deal. We would become good friends, and his stories about the scene in those days have never failed to fascinate and enlighten me.

bash2010When Sir Lattimore Brown was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, we flew him up here to New York for treatment, and began arranging what we thought might be his final performance. I asked Henry if he would be willing to get The Honey Holders back together to back him up, and he jumped at the chance.

brothersOnce the two Mississippi natives got together, they were thick as thieves, and I knew that Real Soul was in the house. As anybody who was there that night can tell you, it was a performance we won't soon forget. After Lattimore tragically passed in 2011, both Henry and I decided to keep his memory alive by bringing back his Honey Holders every year to what has come to be known as the CLUB 91 SIR LATTIMORE BROWN MEMORIAL NOFO SOUL BASH.

sam and fredAlthough the personnel may vary from year to year, Henry has never failed to deliver the genuine article. Featuring veterans like Saxy Ric, guitarist Sam MacArthur (who was a member of Leo Price's Celebrity Club band), bass player Fred Thomas (of The JB's), sax man Bobby Gaither (who played on Joe Haywood's Warm and Tender Love), drummer Joe Mannino, bass player Douglas Jackson, and many more, The Honey Holders are the place where Long Island Soul lives!

Embedded below is a short video of Henry & the Holders at this Summer's Soul Bash shot by The New York Times' own Corey Kilgannon:

Like I said, Henry Henderson is the real deal. You can book him and his smokin' band by emailing us here at souldetective.com, or dialing Henry direct at 516-233-5196.

I love this man.

- red kelly, September 2015


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  109-1001-BOURBON STREET 222-1964
  174-1455 - BONATEMP 804 - 1965
  205-1898 - SAN 1516 - 1966
  1-161 - TULANE 103 - 1961
  53-1613 - SHO-BIZ 400 - 1966
  251-2578 - Soulin' 148 - 1968


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