The Fame Studios Story Various Artists (Fame)


Southern Soul
Catalogue Id:

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 three CD set derived from two years’ worth of excavations by the intrepid Ace team at the hallowed FAME vault. The result is a full programme of FAME-related releases slated for issue 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 recognise 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 Osmonds, Tommy Roe and Bobbie Gentry, as well as more obscure recordings by the Del Rays, Mark V and Terry & The Chain Reaction.

With unprecedented access granted to its 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 with an 84 page book 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.

By Alec Palao

The FAME STUDIOS STORY was mastered by Nick Robbins at Sound Mastering Ltd


Track listing


Side 1

  • 01 Preview You Better Move On - Arthur Alexander

  • 02 Preview Laugh It Off - The Tams

  • 03 Preview Night Rumble - Pt 1 - The Mark 5

  • 04 Preview Everybody - Tommy Roe

  • 05 Preview I Hope They Get Their Eyes Full - Boy (Arthur Alexander)

  • 06 Preview Steal Away - Jimmy Hughes

  • 07 Preview Let Them Talk - Dan Penn

  • 08 Preview Hold What You've Got - Joe Tex

  • 09 Preview A Man Is A Mean, Mean Thing (Alternative) - Barbara Perry

  • 10 Preview Fortune Teller - The Del-Rays

  • 11 Preview Funny Style - Bobby Marchan

  • 12 Preview Almost Persuaded - June Conquest

  • 13 Preview Too Much - The Entertainers

  • 14 Preview Keep On Talking - James Barnett

  • 15 Preview Searching For My Love - Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces

  • 16 Preview Wish You Didn't Have To Go - Spooner & The Spoons

  • 17 Preview Let's Do It Over - Joe Simon

  • 18 Preview Neighbor, Neighbor (Version 2) - Jimmy Hughes

  • 19 Preview Feed The Flame - Billy Young

  • 20 Preview I'm Your Puppet - James & Bobby Purify

  • 21 Preview I Can't Stop (No, No, No) - Arthur Conley

  • 22 Preview Gonna Make You Say Yeah - Terry Woodford

  • 23 Preview Two In The Morning - Spooner's Crowd

  • 24 Preview Why Not Tonight - James Gilreath

  • 25 Preview Land Of 1000 Dances - Wilson Pickett

Side 2

  • 01 Preview You Left The Water Running - Otis Redding

  • 02 Preview A Shot Of Rhythm & Blues - Clyde McPhatter

  • 03 Preview Slippin' Around With You - Art Freeman

  • 04 Preview Without A Woman - Kip Anderson

  • 05 Preview Sweet Soul Music - Arthur Conley

  • 06 Preview Thread The Needle - Clarence & Calvin

  • 07 Preview I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) - Aretha Franklin

  • 08 Preview Miss You So - Ted Taylor

  • 09 Preview You Put Something On Me - Don Covay & The Good Timers

  • 10 Preview Tell Mama - Etta James

  • 11 Preview Keep Your Cool - Terry & The Chain Reaction

  • 12 Preview Cheater Man - Irma Thomas

  • 13 Preview Don't Make Me Hate Loving You - Jeanie Greene

  • 14 Preview Everytime - Linda Carr

  • 15 Preview I Stayed Away Too Long - The Wallace Brothers

  • 16 Preview As Long As I Got You - Laura Lee

  • 17 Preview Don't Lose Your Good Thing - The Blues Busters

  • 18 Preview Slip Away (Demo) - Clarence Carter

  • 19 Preview Do Right Woman, Do Right Man - Otis Clay

  • 20 Preview Once In A While (Is Better Than Never At All) - Spencer Wiggins

  • 21 Preview Thief In The Night - Ben & Spence

  • 22 Preview Take Me Just As I Am - Mitty Collier

  • 23 Preview Why Don't You Try Me - Maurice & Mac

  • 24 Preview Search Your Heart - George Jackson

  • 25 Preview Ten Miles High - David & The Giants

Side 3

  • 01 Preview Lady In The Rain - Lowell Fulson

  • 02 Preview Hey Jude - Wilson Pickett

  • 03 Preview Another Man's Woman, Another Woman's Man - Unknown Female

  • 04 Preview Snatching It Back - Clarence Carter

  • 05 Preview I Got You Babe - Etta James

  • 06 Preview Wanted: Lover (No Experience Necessary) - James Govan

  • 07 Preview Find 'Em, Fool 'Em And Forget 'Em - George Jackson

  • 08 Preview I'm Just A Prisoner (Of Your Good Lovin') - Candi Staton

  • 09 Preview Grits And Gravy - The Fame Gang

  • 10 Preview One Bad Apple - The Osmonds

  • 11 Preview I'd Rather Go Blind - Spencer Wiggins

  • 12 Preview Take Me Back - Brothers Unlimited

  • 13 Preview Walk A Mile In My Shoes - Willie Hightower

  • 14 Preview Patches - Clarence Carter

  • 15 Preview Fancy - Bobbie Gentry

  • 16 Preview Double Lovin' - George Jackson

  • 17 Preview Greenwood, Mississippi - Little Richard

  • 18 Preview What Color Is Love - Roscoe Robinson

  • 19 Preview Bring It On Home To Me - Lou Rawls

  • 20 Preview I Can't Let You Break My Heart - Bettye Swann

  • 21 Preview Back Road Into Town - Willie Hightower

  • 22 Preview The Thanks I Get For Loving You - Candi Staton

  • 23 Preview Get Involved - George Soule

  • 24 Preview Put On Your Shoes And Walk - Clarence Carter

  • 25 Preview You Better Move On - Travis Wammack

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Press quotes


"It's an essential purchase!" 
Record Collector ★★★★★ 

"Revelatory 3CD history of epochal Southern soul label. This beautifully curated boxset shows how Fame’s success came via Hall’s sonic obsessions and a team of gifted players and writers, Dan Penn prominent among them." 
UNCUT ★★★★

"Why [did] the Fame studio, become such a prolific hit factory while similar establishments in other near-identical small cities struggled to get a distinctive sound or consistent Hot 100 action. The explanation is Rick Hall."
MOJO ★★★★★

" exhaustive 3CD set derived from two years worth of excavations by the intrepid Ace team at the hallowed vault of Fame."
Blues and Soul


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