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Memphis Boys - The Story Of American Studios Import

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

To celebrate the recent publication in paperback of Roben Jones' much-lauded book on Memphis' American Studios, and in collaboration with the author, Ace presents its own stellar overview of the hits and classics that the studio created between 1965 and 1972.

The American Studio's sound is just as much a part of Memphis' musical fabric as those of Stax and Hi (and just as recognizable). Among those who helped make that sound are guitarists Reggie Young and Bobby Womack, bass player Tommy Cogbill, keyboard men Bobby Emmons and Bobby Wood, drummer Gene Chrisman and songwriters Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham, Wayne Carson Thompson and studio-founder Chips Moman - legends one and all.

Some of the greatest worldwide hits of the 1960s and early 70s were recorded at American, and a listing of just the names of the artists who appear on our 24-track salute alone read as something of a Who's Who of pop and soul, never mind the names of those who don't.

American Studios packed a lot into what was a relatively brief life. Here are just some of its hundreds of fabulous recordings, carefully compiled to show exactly why they are still so revered by collectors, almost 40 years after the studio shut its doors for the last time.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. MEMPHIS SOUL STEW - King Curtis
  2. SON OF A PREACHER MAN - Dusty Springfield
  3. SHAKE A TAIL FEATHER - James & Bobby Purify
  4. THE LETTER - The Box Tops
  5. BORN A WOMAN - Sandy Posey
  6. YOU'VE GOT MY MIND MESSED UP - James Carr
  7. KEEP ON DANCING - The Gentrys
  8. NINE POUND STEEL - Joe Simon
  9. ANGEL OF THE MORNING - Merrillee Rush
  10. I'M IN LOVE - Wilson Pickett
  11. SUSPICIOUS MINDS - Mark James
  12. I'VE BEEN DOWN THAT ROAD BEFORE - B J Thomas
  13. FUNKY STREET - Arthur Conley
  14. FOR YOUR PRECIOUS LOVE - Oscar Toney Jr.
  15. SHAME ON ME - Solomon Burke
  16. THE DARK END OF THE STREET - The Glories
  17. SKINNY LEGS AND ALL - Joe Tex
  18. THE POWER OF A WOMAN - Spencer Wiggins
  19. MORE THAN I CAN STAND - Bobby Womack
  20. LET'S DO IT OVER - L.C. Cooke
  21. SUZY DO IT BETTER THAN YOU - Clay Hammond
  22. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU GOT (BUT IT'S GOT ME) - Percy Milem
  23. GOOD TIME CHARLIE'S GOT THE BLUES - Danny O'Keefe
  24. I'M MOVIN' ON - Elvis Presley


Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 13, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Ace Records UK
  • ASIN: B006WAF3ZO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,490 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By George O'Leary TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 22, 2012
Format: Audio CD
In the annals of Pop history - and with the possible exception of The Funk Brothers at Motown - it's doubtful that one in-house band was involved in more Hot 100 singles than The Memphis Boys (guitarist Reggie Young - Bobby Womack also functioned as a guitarist for a time as well - keyboardists Bobby Wood and Bobby Emmons, bass players Tommy Cogbill and Mike Leech, and drummer Gene Chrisman) who plied their profession at the famed American Sound Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, which was launched in 1967 by producer Lincoln Wayne "Chips" Moman and Don Crews.

The facility only existed to 1972, and yet well over 120 Hot 100 singles, not to mention some of the best albums of that era, flowed out of the studio. And the backing music on all of them came courtesy of The Memphis Boys, who were also known within the industry as The 827 Thomas Street Band, which was the studio's address. As you can see from the artists in this volume from my favourite CD outlet, Ace of London, those they backed read like a Who's Who of that era.

Nor does Ace reflect in this wonderful volume, which has their usual perfect sound, copious liner notes and discography, all the big stars who recorded there as they omit several such as Elvis Presley. His hit, In The Ghetto, made three charts, reaching # 3 Hot 100, # 8 Adult Contemporary (AC) and # 60 Country that summer. It was culled from his album Elvis In Memphis, also recorded in its entirety at the studio, and from that Ace gives you his cover of the Hank Snow hit I'm Movin' On. A few months later he had Suspicious Minds reach # 1 Hot 100 - his last # 1 - as well as # 4 AC. And before the year was out, yet another with The Memphis Boys, Don't Cry Daddy (written by Mac Davis), top out at # 3 AC, # 6 Hot 100 and # 13 Country.
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Until I heard about this CD on NPR, I was completely unaware of American Studios and I'm so glad I discovered this. This is a great, eclectic collection. The sound is terrific, and given the common theme of these tracks, it is wonderful to listen to and truly appreciate the incredible musical skills of the backing musicians and great production. The booklet that comes with the CD is highly detailed and a great part of the package. The tracks themselves represent a gamut of musical styles, with a significant emphasis on sixties R & B, as well as pop tunes. There are some songs that are likely familiar to anyone who ever listened to Top 40 radio - "The Letter", "Angel of the Morning" "Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues", "Son of A Preacher Man", "Keep on Dancing". While these are all great tunes that are fun to listen to again (particularly with the great care that has been taken with the musical mix here), what I particularly love about collections like these, is the opportunity to discover lesser-known musical gems. There are many such songs on this collection - for me this includes "Dark End of the Street" by The Glories, "Memphis Soul Stew" by King Curtis, and a great alternate version of "Suspicious Minds" by Mark James, who wrote the song, to name just a few. There is not a bad track on here, although given the diversity of musical styles represented, it's likely listeners will find some tracks more appealing than others, depending on their musical taste. As a whole, this is a a great collection and a great recognition of the contribution of American Studios to our musical heritage.
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Finally, some recognition for an under appreciated & rarely recognized recording studio. American Sound Studios in Memphis Tennessee pumped out tons of hit songs in their very short existence in the late 60's & early 70's. This CD is a great sampling of the rock & roll soul music (with a taste of funk & jazz) unique to Memphis music. Love Stax , Memphis Horns, the Mar Keys & Booker T & the MGs but this recording is long overdue. The Memphis Boys were a studio band to reckon with. Sound quality is very good. I love this CD. Sing, dance & smile.
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I love this album having grown up with Dick Clark's American Bandstand in Philadelphia. This music brings it all back
home for me so much better than the majority of sounds put out today. This music is the background to the Beatles ending
with a young Elvis Presley vocal. I only want more because it is better.
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Go read up on American Studios. The players there, most especially Tommy Cogbill, had at least us much influence on American music in the 60s and 70s as better known studios like Muscle Shoals (where some of the American players filled in occasionally), and Stax, which was not far away in Memphis. Tommy Cogbill is an amazing bass player (check out the famous line on "Son of a Preacher Man"). These players were repeatedly requested by Aretha Franklin for her New York recording sessions. This CD gives a sense of the range of music that American recorded, ranging from BJ Thomas, to Elvis, Dusty Springfield, The Gentrys (Keep on Dancin), Arthur Conley, James Carr and the Box Tops.
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We tend to forget the masters behind the scenes of so many great songs. Nice to see someone has put them on the world stage at last with some good material.
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Another wonderful collection by Ace Records. Too many great songs to mention, but all 24 are just terrific. Essential for fans of '60's soul music - including the blue-eyed variety.
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