So... here's what happened. As our Clarence Nelson investigation progressed, we seemed to be creating more questions than answers. People would ask my opinion about whether a specific song featured Clarence on the guitar, or did I think it was possibly Reggie Young. To tell you the truth, I had to tell them I had no idea. With Clarence passed on now over 30 years, I figured our best shot at getting some answers was to go straight to the source. I decided to call Reggie Young.

smokieWe had met and spoken briefly with Reggie several times over the years at various Memphis Boys events, like the Beale Street Note dedication and the Graceland shows, and he was always cordial and friendly and willing to answer whatever questions we threw his way. This time was no different, and he and his marvelous wife Jenny Lynn agreed to meet with us in August, when we would be down their way in the Mid-South. They welcomed my wife and I into their home, and showed us the sights to be seen in Leiper's Fork, Tennessee, like the legendary Puckett's Grocery.

smokieSomething else they showed us kind of blew my mind... I had heard that Reggie had 'session books' in which he kept track of all the work he was doing, but to actually see them and hold them in my hands was truly an amazing experience. Here was living history, boys and girls, here was a priceless record of over fifty years of American music - here was the 'Holy Grail' I had heard about for so long. We, of course, didn't have time to comb through them looking for specific answers to our questions, but I had an idea; What if we were to somehow 'digitize' them, and make them available online? What if Soul Detective were to host some kind of interactive project (you know, like The Cosimo Code) that attempted to examine the nuts and bolts of Reggie's illustrious career?

smokiePlans were made to travel back to Leiper's Fork last October, and spend a couple of days hanging out with Reggie and Jenny while scanning every page in the log books with this home-made contraption I came up with made out of a telescoping desk lamp, a selfie stick and an iPhone 6s. Hey, I know it sounds crazy, but it worked! Yeah, Baby!

smokieThe first step, I thought, would be to get Reggie his own website and, after many months of behind-the-scenes activity, I am extremely happy to report that reggieyoung.org is now up and running! In addition to documenting his incredible, uniquely American musical journey, the site also features rare photos from Reggie's personal collection, cool video clips, and a revolving selection of some of the greatest music ever made. We will host The Discography Project separately here at Soul D, and update the latest findings regularly on Reggie's site... that, anyway, is the plan. It is a monumental body of work, and it's going to take us some serious time to annotate everything and get it ready for the web... but, I promise you, it is going to happen!

So, what kind of information is in those books?

moc
M.O.C. 664

Hey Little Girl

Well, if you recall, all the way back in Part One of our Clarence Nelson saga, this was the song that finally got us started on the case, when both Howard Grimes and Darryl Carter told us that they thought it was definitely Clarence playing that phenomenal guitar on here. It certainly sounds like him... or does it?

smokieWell, according to the entry for Tuesday, February 15th 1966, a three hour session was held at Royal Studio from 2:30 to 5:30 on Norman West. Jerry 'Satch' Arnold was the session leader. Three songs were cut that day; Baby That's Good, Please Don't Go, and HAY LITTLE GIRL! So there you have it, irrefutable evidence in black and white that it is not Clarence Nelson playing guitar on here at all (although I admit it sure does SOUND like him), but our man Reggie Young. This is the stuff a Soul Detective's dreams are made of, folks... who knows how much more remains to be discovered within these pages? I hope you are excited as I am about the prospect of exploring all of this together. Please bear with us as we try to make sense of it all, and get the project off the ground.

smokieWords cannot express the love and gratitude we feel towards Reggie and Jenny Lynn Young, who welcomed us in and listened to our grandiose schemes about all of this... who trusted us enough to allow us to copy their precious photographs, who believed in the importance of preserving Reggie's legacy enough to agree to this massive undertaking in the first place... who taught us about Hummingbirds and Crows, about Elwood Suggins and Skip Morris, The Natchez Trace and biscuits with jelly.

I am proud to call them my friends.

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