[JPL] Release keeps Muscle Shoals legacy alive

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Sun Oct 12 19:08:38 EDT 2008


Release keeps Muscle Shoals legacy alive

By Russ Corey
Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 3:30 a.m.

Photo courtesy of FAME studios
"The Best of Jimmy Hughes" is the first reissue of historic recordings from
the vaults of FAME Records. It will mark the first time many of Hughes' hits
have been released in digital format.
FAME records is about to open the doors to its vaults and release some of
the classic recordings that helped create the Muscle Shoals sound.

"The Best of Jimmy Hughes" will be released on the relaunched FAME Records
label on Oct. 28.

The label, sister company to the world famous FAME Recording Studios founded
by Rick Hall in 1959, plans to release other historic reissues, new
recordings, and never-before-heard tracks from its extensive archives
through a new arrangement with EMI Distribution Co.

"It's been nearly 50 years since my father built FAME Studios, and the music
made here is more influential now than ever," said Rodney Hall, vice
president of FAME Records and son of Rick Hall.

"Our mission with FAME Records is to keep the legacy of this essential
American music alive and show the world that Muscle Shoals still thrives as
a music mecca today."

"The Best of Jimmy Hughes" is a fitting inaugural release for FAME.

Hughes' signature hit, 1964's "Steal Away," was the first song recorded at
the Avalon Avenue location of FAME studios. It also was the first release on
the original FAME label.

"Jimmy was the first hit artist out of Muscle Shoals and he had a string of
them," Rodney Hall said.

He said Hughes is one of the only FAME artists who has never had an album
released on compact disc, only tracks included in compilation albums.

"His stuff has never been off vinyl until now," Hall said.

The music, which has been digitally remastered from the original master
tapes, was originally recorded between 1962-65, Hall said.

Hall said FAME plans to release other albums by Hughes including "Steal
Away" and "Why Not Tonight."

Though he retired from recording in the mid-'70s, Hughes still lives near
Muscle Shoals and sings in church most Sundays.

"The Best of Jimmy Hughes" features all seven of his chartingsingles.

Sixteen of the disc's 18 tracks are being made available for the first time
in the digital age.

The package includes an excerpt from "Hell Bent For FAME," the Rick Hall
biography being written by local writer and music historian Terry Pace.

It also includes a two-hour roundtable discussion with Hall, who produced
the album, Hughes and legendary Muscle Shoals musicians Norbert Putnam,
Spooner Oldham, Jerry Carrigan, Peanut Montgomery and David Briggs.

The additional material will be included on the compact disc, Hall said.

Fans who prefer the vinyl version can access the additional material via the
Internet through a special code.

"The Best of Jimmy Hughes" will be available locally at Pegasus Records,
Tapes & CDs, The Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Best Buy as well as through
various online retailers, Rodney Hall said.

The music will not be available in electronic format, Hall said.

"We did some research, and the fans that want to buy this stuff want the
liner notes, they want the music and they want the pictures," Hall said.
"They want it in the most pristine quality they can get it in."

Rodney Hall said plans are to release a couple of reissues a year, along
with albums of new artists.

Albums by local artists Gary Nichols and Angela Hacker are expected to be
released in early 2009, Hall said.

FAME has already released recordings by country artist Gary LeBlanc in
digital format only and country blues artist Twinkle.

Hall said it's possible other FAME releases will include additional material
such as the Hughes album.

FAME Studios, an acronym for Florence Alabama Music Enterprises, was founded
in 1959 in Florence as a music publishing company.

In 1960, Rick Hall moved the facility across the Tennessee River to Muscle

The studio has been at its present location at near the corner of Avalon and
Woodward avenues in Muscle Shoals, since 1962.

FAME has earned worldwide renown as the birthplace of The Muscle Shoals

The studio has hosted such music titans as Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding,
Duane Allman, Etta James, Wilson Pickett, Little Richard and many others.

The studio remains a destination facility to this day.

Blues artist Bettye Lavette enlisted the help of Athens, Ga., rockers the
Drive-By Truckers to record a comeback album at FAME last year and
Huntsville based country artists Heartland released Grammy-nominated albums
that were recorded at FAME.

Hall founded FAME Records in 1964 as an outgrowth of the studio and released
music by soul legends Candi Staton, Dan Penn, Clarence Carter, Arthur
Conley, The FAME Gang and many others before mothballing the label in 1976.

FAME Publishing has earned multiple Song of Year awards from The Grammys,
ASCAP and others, and published songs recorded by country superstars such as
Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride and


Songs recorded or published by FAME have sold more than 300 million copies

Russ Corey can be reached at 740-5738 or russ.corey at TimesDaily.com.

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