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(december 16th, 1999)

Ex Volt/Stax artist Bobby Marchan, one of New Orleans' most colorful rhythm and blues artists, died Dec. 5 after a lengthy illness. Mr. Marchan, whose given name was Oscar James Gibson, was 69. Mr. Marchan's biggest hit, "There Is Something on Your Mind," was a No. 1 rhythm and blues single in 1960.
As a member of Huey Smith and the Clowns, he sang on the hits "Don't You Just Know It," "You Don't Know Yockomo," and "Havin' A Good Time." Mr. Marchan was born in Youngstown, Ohio.
In 1954, Marchan was discovered by Aladdin Records. He later recorded for Dot before beginning a long and successful association with Ace Records. After Mr. Marchan left Ace and The Clowns, he contacted Fire Records' Bobby Robinson about recording the Big Jay McNeely song "There Is Something on Your Mind." Mr. Marchan's version hit No. 1 on the R&B charts. Mr. Marchan continued to cut R&B records for Fire, but they didn't chart.

In 1963, Otis Redding recommended him to Jim Stewart at Stax/Volt and Mr. Marchan began making the transition to contemporary soul (see his Volt/Stax discography).

He later cut the original version of "Get Down With It," a hit for the British glam-rockers Slade in the 1970s.
By the mid-1970s, Mr. Marchan was living in Pensacola, Fla., and barnstorming the South again. In 1977, he returned to New Orleans as emcee at Prout's Club Alhambra. In the 1980s, Mr. Marchan began appearing annually at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and presenting gong shows at local clubs.
A bout with cancer and the removal of a kidney in the early 1990s cut down his performing, but he remained active in the music business. He started Manicure Productions, a company that scouted, promoted and booked hip-hop acts, and was also a key figure in the formation and success of Cash Money Records. Mr. Marchan's last public appearance was at the 1999 Essence Music Festival.
He is survived by an aunt, Anabelle E. Adair of Youngstown, Ohio.


Just happened to know that Ruby Johnson died in April 1999. See her Stax discography on this site. She was one of the greatest underrated female singers at Stax. Her Ace/Fantasy CD 'I'll Run Your Hurt Away" with the whole reissues and unissued tracks is a real gem.


(december 8th, 1999)

I got in touch with Luther's sister and she had some good news. I thought I share it here and I'm sure she won't mind. She passes on some nice words Luther said but, the spirit is about how Luther is doing, which is good, thank God. I left private phone numbers out of course. They are very kind, gracious and friendly people. Sometimes people don't even respond to e-mails etc.

Pete Carr



Please accept my apology for the delay in responding to your recent  e-mail. I have been off line for a few days.  I am always happy to hear from Luther's friends and to pass along messages to him, feel free to e-mail me at anytime. Luther is doing real good, his kidney transplant will be a year old december l2th and  his doctors are pleased with his progress  He was so happy to hear that you have asked about him and he said yes indeed  he would like to hear from you.  Though you would not know this, you are fabled throughout our family as the great guitar player on "If Loving You Is Wrong", and often times down through the years I would hear him say, " I wish I had Pete on this one.  So, please call Luther at xxxxxx  My number is xxxxxxx. Sincerely,

Daisy Ingram

Live In Concert Bluesville, Horseshoe Casino
November 4, 1999
(november 9th, 1999)

I first saw this band perform live at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis. If memory serves, I was 15, because I wasn't driving yet and walked to the Shell from my parents' house. Based on that,  I think it was the summer of '67, just after the release of Hip Hug Her. As shy as I was back then, I chased down Steve Cropper after the show to shake his hand and express my amazement over the music I'd heard. He gave me the same Cropper smile he has today, and said thanks.

After that, I saw them five times, the most recent, until last week, in '93 at BB King's in Memphis. Prior to their show, they were given a parade and  a VIP reception etc., which I was lucky enough to attend. With apologies to the guys, the highlight for me was getting an autograph and a hug from Estelle Axton. The band was great in that '93 performance; because it was a general admission show, I stood in line for over 2 hours to be one of the first inside, and had a table front and center. Same deal for last week's show, general admission, first in line, front row center seats. And boy was it worth it.  

I rarely go to the casinos in Tunica about an hour outside Memphis, first because I'm not a gambler, and second because most of the music available there is from people that I just don't want to see. Creedence Clearwater Revisited, needless to say without Fogerty? 2 Dog Night? Excuse me? Even Little Richard was disappointing when I saw him there, spending a lot more time signing autographs than performing, and actually lip-syncing some songs.

But to the MG's on November 4th. I invited my best friend up from New Orleans and happily he obliged. The MG's with Steve Potts on drums, took the stage right at 8 o'clock and mesmerized the big crowd for 90 minutes. For the entire performance, all four players showed an exuberance and energy that  far exceeded that of the '93 show. Booker T, as cool and seemingly in control as ever, hypnotized me with his incredible, effortless playing. Duck Dunn, as always, provided solid-as-a-rock, steady, dependable bass. And while no one will ever replace Al Jackson Jr., Steve Potts' performance went far beyond pure competence as a drummer. His reverence for the music came through in every stroke. For me though, and I think for many others in the audience, Cropper made the show. He has always been a master of his instrument. But on this night he wasn't just "playing the old songs". He was making the guitar do whatever he wanted it to do, as few people are capable of doing, and he knew it. While my friend and I sat there with our mouths open, frequently jabbing each other to point out some incredible note Cropper had hit or riff he had tossed off, Cropper had this big contented smile on his face that made us almost as happy as his playing. Cropper may never be called a "god" in the way that Clapton and others have ben anointed, but on this night, he took the audience to heaven and kept us there for 90 minutes.  

Personal highlights of the show for me were the always killer extended version of "Time Is Tight", "Hip Hug Her", which sent me  flying out of my seat for an impromptu dance in front of the stage, "Melting Pot", and the beautiful "Sarasota Sunset". But let's get real, this band doesn't do any songs that aren't great.

To close, anyone who hasn't visited Shangri-La Records in Memphis, do so on your next visit. The day of the show, my friend and I went there, and after he had purchased a 45 of "Melting Pot", I found up on the wall the sheet music to "Time Is Tight",  with a picture of the MG's on the front, above them the song title in large purple, lime green, blue and orange letters.  We got both items autographed at the show, and the autographs just made for a great end to an excellent show. That sheet music is going in a very special frame in a very special place.  

William Colton, Memphis

(november 8th, 1999)

MGs.jpg (7371 octets)

William Colton, from Memphis, reports: "The MG's performed at Bluesville in Horseshoe Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, on November 4th. As  has been the case with all shows I have attended at Bluesville, there was no opening act/filler. the band took the stage promptly at 8p.m. and played non-stop until 9:30. I have seen the band six times in my life. I have never seen them better, both in terms of their musical expertise and their obvious energy, enthusiasm, and love of the music. I will write a brief description of the show, and will try to have it for you by the end of this weekend. We were the first in line since it was a general admission show, and were rewarded for our wait with front row center seats. Much more details later, including a description of one fan's (me) bolting out of his seat during their performance of Hip Hug Her to do a totally spontaneous dance which had all band members smiling and most of the crowd on their feet. More later."

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"About Al Jackson's grave, it is at New Park Cemetery, 4536 Horn Lake Rd. in South Memphis. Beautiful headstone that stands out from all those surrounding it as it should. Bears the initials AJ with an inscription of a drum set. We spent a very nice 20 minutes there. Anyone wanting to visit should know that the staff is extremely courteous.  When I called the cemetery to confirm that Al was buried there, the very nice lady said "Oh yes he's here" without even having to check the records.  When we arrived, two enthusiastic employees  got in their  van and had us follow them in our car  from the cemetery office down the grave site, then returned to the office so we could have a private visit."


(october 19th, 1999)

According to the CD notes by Keith E. Abel on Carl Sims' 'House Of Love' release on Paula in 1995, it is stated that Carl toured extensively with The Bar-Kays opening shows for Otis Redding. Carl is quoted as follows: 'We stayed together until the terrible tragedy of the plane crash [on December 10th 1967]. Otis and four of The Bar-Kays boarded his private plane and James Alexander and I caught the commercial flight because we were late and were bringing all of the equipment. Ben Cauley was on the plane with Otis and was the only one to survive the crash. I was the one to identify all of the bodies in Madison, Wisconsin. After we returned to Memphis, we all went our separate ways.'

Carl Sims was born 18 October 1949 in Memphis, Tennessee.  His first school group was called The Mustangs, after which, out of all things, he did Elvis' birthday party at a dj lounge in Memphis.  Next he got with the Bar-Kays as the lead singer, and opened shows for Otis Redding.  He then identified all the bodies after the tragical plane crash. Next in mid-70s he recorded for Wet Paint Production, went with a rock group called Steel, worked in army bases in Germany with Element Of The Universe, recorded for Epic with Fiesta in late 70s, worked a lot with Denise LaSalle in early 80s, in '85 recorded for his own Cash Money label as Carlo Cash and the Money Masters.  Then it was time for 17 days, after which Carl hooked up with Al Bell (fist single was called Smooth Ride), and finally House Of Love on Paula Records, which brings us to his Waldoxy career today.

Infos from Ray Ellis and Heiki Suosalo for the
southernsoul mailing list.

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