Fame Studio Story Box Set


The acronym is F-A-M-E, but it may as well be S-O-U-L.

It was a full half-century ago that the recording studio, record label and publishing operation originally known as Florence Alabama Music Enterprises established itself and its trademark sound with the hit recording of ‘You Better Move On’ by Arthur Alexander. In the fifty years since, Fame Studios and its idiosyncratic founder Rick Hall have been at the forefront of the Muscle Shoals Sound. Fame begat the process whereby a little known Alabama backwater would evolve into the very crucible of southern soul, a holy place to where musicians, singers and fans still make a very specific pilgrimage in the hope of experiencing a little bit of the magic behind so many hit records: ‘I’m Your Puppet’, ‘Land Of 1,000 Dances’, ‘Tell Mama’ and countless others.

Rick Hall is now a grand old man of the music business, but back in the 60s he was more akin to an enfant terrible, with an unbending will that helped him make it against almost insurmountable odds, matched by an attention to detail that bordered on obsession. There have only ever been a handful of truly self-sufficient producer/engineers in the history of popular music, and Hall is pre-eminent amongst them. Atlantic, Chess and so many other legendary labels flocked to Fame to avail themselves of the sound, the players, the material, and most importantly the vibe that Rick Hall had created.

The Fame Studios Story 1961-1973 is an exhaustive 3 CD set derived from two years’ worth of excavations by the intrepid Ace team at the hallowed vault of Fame. The result is a full programme of Fame-related releases slated for release on Ace, Kent, and BGP over the next couple of years, but the lynchpin is this definitive anthology that focuses upon the halcyon days of the studio and the label. It’s an open-minded, celebratory overview that, across 75 tracks, spotlights both artists and records that are either acknowledged greats, or lesser known – yet no less worthy – entries in the lexicon of soul.

The line-up is a virtual who’s who of 60s soul, and includes Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Arthur Conley, Irma Thomas, Joe Tex, Joe Simon, Lou Rawls, Spencer Wiggins and Otis Clay. Deep soul fans will recognize names such as The Blues Busters, Billy Young, Maurice & Mac, Willie Hightower, Bettye Swann, James Govan and many, many others. Special attention is paid to those acts closely associated with the Fame label – Candi Staton, Jimmy Hughes and Clarence Carter – as well as its inestimable stable of writers, producers and players, including Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham, George Jackson and The Fame Gang. And the programme also includes several of the notable pop hits recorded at the studio by the likes of the Osmonds, Tommy Roe and Bobbie Gentry, as well as more obscure Fame releases by the Del Rays, Mark V and Terry & The Chain Reaction.

With unprecedented access granted to its legendary tape and photo archive, well over a third of the contents of The Fame Studio Story 1961-1973 are new to CD, and of those, over a dozen tracks are fully unissued – including previously unheard rarities by Otis Redding and Arthur Alexander. The heavily-illustrated package also comes laden with two informative essays and extensive track notes, all of which are based upon fresh interviews with many of the principals involved.

If you know anything about soul music, you know Fame, which is why The Fame Studio Story 1961-1973 is an essential purchase.



Disc: 1

  1. You Better Move On – Arthur Alexander
  2. Laugh It Off – The Tams
  3. Night Rumble – The Mark 5
  4. Everybody – Tommy Roe
  5. I Hope They Get Their Eyes Full – Arthur Alexander
  6. Steal Away – Jimmy Hughes
  7. Let Them Talk – Dan Penn
  8. Hold What You’ve Got – Joe Tex
  9. A Man Is A Mean, Mean Thing (Alternate Take) – Barbara Perry
  10. Fortune Teller – The Del-Rays
  11. Funny Style – Bobby Marchan
  12. Almost Persuaded – June Conquest
  13. Too Much – The Entertainers
  14. Keep On Talking – James Barnett
  15. Searching For My Love – Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces
  16. Wish You Didn’t Have To Go – Spooner & The Spoons
  17. Let’s Do It Over – Joe Simon
  18. Neighbor, Neighbor – Jimmy Hughes
  19. Feed The Flame – Billy Young
  20. I’m Your Puppet – James & Bobby Purify
  21. I Can’t Stop (No, No, No) – Arthur Conley
  22. Gonna Make You Say Yeah – Terry Woodford
  23. Two In The Morning – Spooner’s Crowd
  24. Why Not Tonight – James Gilreath
  25. Land Of 1000 Dances – Wilson Pickett

Disc: 2

  1. You Left The Water Running – Otis Redding
  2. A Shot Of Rhythm & Blues – Clyde Mcphatter
  3. Slippin’ Around With You – Art Freeman
  4. Without A Woman – Kip Anderson
  5. Sweet Soul Music – Arthur Conley
  6. Thread The Needle (Unedited Version) – Clarence & Calvin
  7. I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) – Aretha Franklin
  8. Miss You So – Ted Taylor
  9. You Put Something On Me – Don Covay & The Good Timers
  10. Tell Mama – Etta James
  11. Keep Your Cool – Terry & The Chain Reaction
  12. Don’t Make Me Hate Loving You – Jeanie Greene
  13. Cheater Man – Irma Thomas
  14. Everytime – Linda Carr
  15. I Stayed Away Too Long – The Wallace Brothers
  16. As Long As I Got You – Laura Lee
  17. Don’t Lose Your Good Thing – The Blues Busters
  18. Slip Away (Demo) – Clarence Carter
  19. Do Right Woman, Do Right Man – Otis Clay
  20. Once In A While (Is Better Than Never At All) – Spencer Wiggins
  21. Thief In The Night – Ben & Spence
  22. Take Me Just As I Am – Mitty Collier
  23. Why Don’t You Try Me – Maurice & Mac
  24. Search Your Heart – George Jackson
  25. Ten Miles High – David & The Giants

Disc: 3

  1. Lady In The Rain – Lowell Fulson
  2. Hey Jude – Wilson Pickett
  3. Another Man’s Woman, Another Woman’s Man – Unknown Female
  4. Snatchin’ It Back – Clarence Carter
  5. I Got You Babe – Etta James
  6. Wanted: Lover (No Experience Necessary) – James Govan
  7. Find ‘Em, Fool ‘Em And Forget ‘Em – George Jackson
  8. I’m Just A Prisoner (Of Your Good Lovin’) – Candi Staton
  9. Grits And Gravy – The Fame Gang
  10. One Bad Apple – The Osmonds
  11. Take Me Back – Brothers Unlimited
  12. I’d Rather Go Blind – Spencer Wiggins
  13. Walk A Mile In My Shoes – Willie Hightower
  14. Patches – Clarence Carter
  15. Fancy – Bobbie Gentry
  16. Double Lovin’ – George Jackson
  17. Greenwood, Mississippi – Little Richard
  18. What Color Is Love – Roscoe Robinson
  19. Bring It On Home To Me – Lou Rawls
  20. I Can’t Let You Break My Heart – Bettye Swann
  21. Back Road Into Town – Willie Hightower
  22. The Thanks I Get For Lovin’ You – Candi Staton
  23. Get Involved – George Soule
  24. Put On Your Shoes And Walk – Clarence Carter
  25. You Better Move On – Travis Wammack


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