Subject: [MFV] jackson highway
tommy thanks for sharing that story ,, pete took me to that old studio one night and we hung out there for awhile , it gave me chills just being in that place and knowing the history behind it , pete took me in little office and told me he layed down "mainstreet" and i think "like a rock" in there ? when he told me that the hair on my head stood on ends , ha ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, there is a pic i think dick has it of mick jagger standing on that back porch
Subject: [MFV] Cher 3614 Cat Tale
Awhile back some of you had posted some stuff about the Cher album "3614 Jackson Highway".
One night after one of the Rod Stewart sessions for his "Atlantic Crossing" album here in Muscle Shoals, we all went out to eat. Tom Dowd who was producing the record started telling old Jerry Wexler stories and told us this funny account of the Cher album sessions.
He said although Sonny was there it wasn't a Sonny and Cher record. The rhythm section was running down a song and had a great feel on the tune when Sonny jumped up and said "I have a great idea for this song. Let's put a Tuba on it doing this 'om pa pa' thing". Well this stopped the pickers and the great groove they had going. Everyone looked at each other and rolled their eyes. Wexler told the musicians to run it again while he and Sonny did the 'back porch test'. For those of you not familiar with the old studio on Jackson Highway, we would stand on the back porch and listen to the playback, and if it sounded good out there it passed the test. Wexler led Sonny to the back door, he opened it to let Sonny walk out. As soon as Sonny walked out on the porch Wexler slammed the door behind him and locked it. This left Sonny outside by himself. The band continued to cut the song without the Tuba.
Dowd said "If you listen real close to that song you can hear Sonny beating on the back door trying to get back in the studio" lol.
Another note about that record. You can see on the album cover the sign over the front door of the studio that reads 3614 Jackson Highway.
At that time there was not actually a sign on the front of the building that said that. But after Jimmy Johnson and the guys saw the pic for the album cover with the address over the door, they thought it was cool so they had one painted and put up there.
Thought I would share this with all you Mighty Fieldhands.
I don't have a scan of the picture, but I have the album, and I cantell you who they are.From the left, Eddie Hinton
, Jimmy Johnson
, David Hood
, Arif Mardin
, Roger Hawkins
, Jerry Wexler
, Barry Beckett
, Jeannie Greene
, Donna Thatcher
[later Donna Godcheaux with the Grateful Dead]
and Tom Dowd
.Dowd, Wexler and Mardin were co-producers, and Dowd was the engineer.
From Harry Young's liner notes for "3614 Jackson Highway"http://www.geocities.com/marcapreguntas/chernotes.htm
So Atlantic Executive Vice President Jerry Wexler, Atlantic Vice President In Charge of Engineering Tom Dowd and Atlantic A&R director Arif Mardin produced Cher’s ‘3614 Jackson Highway’
Not coincidentally, the same team had recently produced Dusty Springfield’s ‘Dusty In Memphis’
(Atlantic album SD 8214, released 17 January 1969, Cash Box review 1 February 1969, entered Billboard 15 March 1969, #99). According to ‘Rhythm and the Blues: A Life in American Music’ by Jerry Wexler and David Ritz, all vocals on ‘Dusty In Memphis’ were cut in New York.
Regarding Cher’s ‘3614 Jackson Highway’
sessions, Wexler wrote, “I picked up pneumonia and went to the hospital before the actual singing started, so Dowd and Mardin took over. I never made it to the control room.”
Jerry Wexler did select the songs for Cher’s album, including three controversial tunes from Bob Dylan’s just-released ‘Nashville Skyline’
album (Cash Box review 19 April 1969).
The '3614 Jackson Highway'
sessions day by day:
Monday, 21 April 1969: Eddie Hinton’s
“Save The Children” (strings, French horn, no backing vocals) and Dylan’s “I Threw It All Away” (Soul horns, gospel backing vocals).
Tuesday, 22 April 1969:
Dylan’s “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” (Soul horns, no backing vocals).
Wednesday, 23 April 1969:
“Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” (assertive, at times indignant lead vocal, Soul horns, no backing vocals), “For What It’s Worth” (male and female backing vocals), “(Just Enough To Keep Me) Hangin’ On” (strings, gospel backing vocals) and the unreleased now lost Laura Nyro cut “Wedding Bell Blues” (Master 17005).
Thursday, 24 April 1969:
“(Sitting On) The Dock Of The Bay” (Soul horns, no backing vocals or whistling at end!) and “I Walk On Guilded Splinters” (Soul horns, backing vocals, sizzling organ).
Friday, 25 April 1969:
the unreleased and now lost Eddie Hinton-Dan Penn-Wayne Jackson cut “Always David” (Master 17007). Marlin Greene soon produced a hit version of “Always David” by Ruby Winters (Diamond single 265, Billboard review 30 August 1969, Billboard R&B #23). In February 1969 The Sweet Inspirations had recorded "Always David" (Master 16453, 'Sweets For My Sweet,' Atlantic album SD 8225 released 20 June 1969) at FAME with Mardin, Dowd, Johnson, Hinton, Beckett, Hood and Hawkins. The Sweet Inspirations' excellent version of "Always David" (3:26) can now be heard on the Stereo 'Sweets For My Sweets' reissue CD
(Spy 46004-2, released 19 November 2002).
Saturday, 26 April to Tuesday, 29 April 1969:
Sonny & Cher in California to visit seven-week-old daughter Chastity.
Wednesday, 30 April 1969
: “Cry Like A Baby” (Soul horns, restrained backing vocals) and “Please Don’t Tell Me” (strings, no horns or backing vocals). This date also included the unreleased and sadly, now lost Sonny & Cher track “Honey Lamb” (Master 16887).
Sonny & Cher then flew to London to appear on ABC-TV’s ‘This Is Tom Jones’ Friday, 2 May 1969. The duo performed “Yours Until Tomorrow” and “Just A Little”, the unreleased Gold Star version of which had been recorded 26 March 1969 (Master 28664). Interviewed by New Musical Express (“Sonny & Cher Kill Old Image”, 10 May 1969), Sonny focused on the ‘Chastity’ film with no mention of Alabama. The couple next traveled to New York for a spot on ABC-TV’s ‘Joey Bishop Show’ Friday, 9 May 1969.
Sonny & Cher returned to Muscle Shoals by Wednesday 14 May 1969
to cut Cher’s “Lay Baby Lay” (“A Whiter Shade Of Pale” organ, no strings, horns or backing vocals).
‘3614 Jackson Highway’
was previewed for Atlantic Records’ promotion and sales departments at the Hilton Plaza Hotel in Miami 23-25 May 1969
and officially presented at summer sales confabs in Chicago, New York and Hollywood 20 June 1969
Reflecting Atlantic’s high expectations, the vinyl album was unleashed in a Stereo commercial version, an alternate Stereo Promotional version and a CSG (Compatible Stereo Generator) Monaural Sample version. ‘3614 Jackson Highway’ also saw release on cassette, 8-track and reel-to-reel tape. In addition, Atco delivered a seven inch Promotional EP: “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” / “(Just Enough To Keep Me) Hangin’ On” / “For What It’s Worth” / “Please Don’t Tell Me” (Atco EP 4537, Stereo and Mono editions).
The commercial fortunes of Cher’s ‘3614 Jackson Highway’ may have been adversely affected by the album’s packaging. For example, the only colour photo of Cher was hidden in the interior of the flimsy UNIPAK gatefold sleeve. And the all-important song titles were not even listed on the exterior of the album cover.And the entire album concept centered on the address of a brand new, completely unknown studio.
Cher’s 21 April 1969 “Save The Children” date was the first session ever held at Muscle Shoals Sound.
The studio did not generate a hit until the Ahmet Ertegun-produced “Take A Letter Maria” by R. B. Greaves (Master 17634 recorded 19 August 1969, Atco single 45-6714, Cash Box review 27 September 1969, entered Billboard’s Bubbling Under 11 October 1969, #2).
Fred Bevis originally converted 3614 Jackson Highway into a four-track recording studio. Various sources claim the location was formerly a funeral home, casket warehouse or casket factory.In early 1969 Jimmy Johnson (guitar), Barry Beckett (piano, electric piano, organ), David Hood (bass) and Roger Hawkins (drums) purchased the building for $14,000 and upgraded to eight-track. The musicians previously served as the house band at Rick Hall’s nearby FAME (Florence Alabama Music Enterprises) studio in Muscle Shoals.
"A lot of the artists we worked with, especially at first, thought we were black", Hood told the Times Daily. "I was flattered by that, because most of the artists we liked were black. We loved that music, and we felt we had earned the right to play it”.Before founding Muscle Shoals Sound, varying combinations of Johnson, Beckett, Hood and Hawkins had played on major hits like “When A Man Loves A Woman” and “Take Time To Know Her” by Percy Sledge, “I’m Your Puppet” by James and Bobby Purify, “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)” by Aretha Franklin, “Sweet Soul Music” by Arthur Conley and “Slip Away” and “Making Love (At The Dark End Of The Street)” by Clarence Carter. So in terms of session credits, Johnson, Beckett, Hood and Hawkins were highly respected.But the black and white ‘3614 Jackson Highway’ cover photo buried Cher in a hazy sea of unidentified and mostly unfamiliar faces.Front row, left to right: guitarist Eddie Hinton, bassist David Hood, Sonny Bono, CHER, producer Jerry Wexler, background vocalist Jeannie Greene, background vocalist Donna Thatcher and producer Tom Dowd. Back row, left to right: lead guitarist Jimmy Johnson, producer Arif Mardin, drummer Roger Hawkins and keyboardist Barry Beckett. Missing: background vocalists Mary Holiday and Sue Pilkington.
Sonny Bono and Arif Mardin wear t-shirts depicting legendary University of Alabama Crimson Tide coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant walking on water underscored by the slogan “I Believe”.
Many musicians were not shown on the ‘3614 Jackson Highway’ album cover or mentioned in the credits. Cher’s horn section(s) probably involved Andrew Love, Charles Chalmers or Joe Arnold on tenor sax, Floyd Newman or James Mitchell on baritone sax, Wayne Jackson, Gene ‘Bowlegs’ Miller or Ben Cauley on trumpet and Joseph DeAngelis or Earl Chapin on French horn. Cher’s string section would have been directed by Arif Mardin and probably led by Gene Orloff on viola.On 6 December 1968, just prior to the founding of Muscle Shoals Sound, Wexler, Dowd, Johnson, Beckett, Hood, and Hawkins worked with guitarist Duane Allman at FAME on Arthur Conley’s “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” session (Masters 15812-15817, Atco single 45-6640, Cash Box review 21 December 1968, ‘More Sweet Soul’, Atco album SD 33-276, Cash Box review 15 February 1969).Since Duane Allman played on ‘Boz Scaggs’ (Atlantic album SD 8239, recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound 5-10 May 1969, Variety review 10 September 1969) and Lulu’s ‘New Routes’ (Atco album SD 33-310, recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound 10 September and 2 October 1969, released 16 January 1970, Billboard review 7 February 1970, #88), one might also suspect Allman contributions on Cher’s ‘3614 Jackson Highway’, especially “For What It’s Worth”, “(Sitting On) The Dock Of The Bay”, “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” and “Cry Like A Baby”.