Dixies Daily Doses: of Food for the Soul

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Get sweet as a honeycomb before you get up there hollering. Show the people you have some voices. And we could sure enough do that because that was how we started. But the instability that befell the Heavenly Gospel Singers following the unexpected death of their leader, Fred Whitmore, may have played a role. In addition, Bryant may have been more trouble to the group than he was worth. Bryant was one of those guys who liked to be in the spotlight.

When he gets all up in the air, he some kind of salty! But when he got to the program, all that is under the table. That was his best night. He worked harder that night! But, oh man, when he got back in the car, he start up right again! He was a lot like that fellow who plays basketball in Chicago— Dennis Rodman. He was a lot like Rodman! A bad boy. As for the Heavenly Gospel Singers, they did not mind losing Bryant because they had discovered a local bass singer, William Bobo, who they thought might be even better for the group.

Bobo decided to take over that night—and boy, he did! He was blowing everybody out of the place—and the people went crazy! Kids just went wild over him. They knew him. He was very popular. Jimmy Bryant. Oh, man! They were not out to develop a new repertoire but to bring as much originality as they could to the singing of the staid old spirituals.

So-called hard soul gospel—the intense bring-down-the house style the Birds would become famous for decades later—was not yet fully formed. In the years between and , though, the Dixie Hummingbirds stayed with the tried and true to win over the widest possible spectrum of listeners as they traveled from town to town, church to church. Mostly, they performed for African Americans, but often enough audiences were mixed and on some occasions entirely white.


Healthy Soul Food, Your Way

When they performed for whites, they began with at least one song that conformed to white expectations of what blacks ought to be singing before moving on to the rest of their show. The Dixie Hummingbirds were aware that they were validating white stereotypes, but they viewed it as part of the price paid for the privilege of accessing wider audiences. We got all kinds of letters.

But we knew the audience was mixed, so we were trying to make enough harmony and do it in a way that everybody would buy it, you know. We sang different to white audiences. We were blessed because we could sing sweet and get very sweet. We would dress it up. They just went for that. Same songs, and they bought it. It was just a song white folks went for. When they performed for African Americans, though, the Hummingbirds moved the songs differently. The songs, never schooled or written down by the singers, were an ever-changing oral inheritance passed on from one generation to the next.

The harmony of the true spiritual is not regular. The dissonances are important and not to be ironed out by the trained musician. The various parts break in at any old time. Falsetto often takes the place of regular voices for short periods. The congregation is bound by no rules. The Hummingbirds celebrated this tradition when they performed for black audiences.

When they started as young boys, Davis and the others learned the traditional arrangements and melodies. They had to find ways to put their own spin on the old formulas.

The Birds were inspired in part by what they were hearing on radio and phonograph records. Groups that a decade before had no hope of being heard outside their hometown communities were now, thanks to a thriving media industry, being heard over wide areas. The expanded exposure was helping popularize innovative ways of using the voice, constructing harmonies, and arranging songs.

Records and radio were putting a lot of fresh ideas into the air, and the Dixie Hummingbirds found they had to respond if they wanted to attract and keep audience interest. The Hummingbirds were able to draw on a variety of traditional a cappella performance techniques—African American vocal conventions like stretching and playing on notes, switching leads, carrying the rhythm along in the bass voice, adding soaring falsetto ornamentation, shifting tempos, and introducing counterpoint harmony weaves. But now as professionals, they also had to think about putting on a show.

There was room for spontaneity and improvisation, but they had to be highly practiced. I would say that Davis was the brains as far as singing. I give him that credit. We always did it ourselves. The Dixie Hummingbirds together and everything. I would just write the words down, and once I go over it one time, I could throw it away. And we would never let anybody else be in our rehearsals.

Never did. I wanted them to feel comfortable. See what I mean? Especially when you had already been singing in the choir. While Davis may have written out the words or taught the basic melody, the working out of harmonies and arrangements remained a group effort. To succeed in the Dixie Hummingbirds required more than just a good voice or a pleasant stage personality.

Each person had to have the ability to work out his own part in the mix. I was a baritone singer, but we each knew all the different parts. We got ideas like that. Right now, I can follow just about anybody I want to. Start up a song in church, if I want to sing a part, I just follow. Texas-born guitar evangelist Blind Willie Johnson recorded a sanctified version for Columbia in Both featured solo voice and guitar selfaccompaniment.

The group laid it out slow and somber, James Davis taking the lead. In the starkest terms, the lyric bemoaned loss, loneliness, and isolation. Though the message was simple, the means of communicating it was musically intricate and beguiling. Davis began in his high voice, taking his time, singing the opening lines in his own indeterminate tempo. The rhythm of the syllables imparts to the song a steady beat.

Davis lets his emotions come through and the harmony voices respond in kind, building intensity as he does, backing off when he cools down. When mom is gone, Have mercy, Lord. Have mercy, Lord When mom is gone. Have mercy, Lord Davis keeps the song at an even emotional level until this point. He then turns up the intensity. Davis moves into the last verse. Like your mama did! Have mercy, Lord, And then settles the song down as he winds it to a close.

When mom is. He holds the note, and then shifts it down lower. The background catches up with him and they join together on a last augmented chord. The performance is complete. Their style evolved in response to their perception of what listeners wanted and needed from them as spiritual entertainers, very much a product of particular place and time.

Their performance skills were pointless, however, if nobody came out to the programs. Inspired by their initial forays into the Carolinas and beyond, the Dixie Hummingbirds worked without pause throughout the s to build their reputation and expand their audience. The Birds began working small Carolina towns and country churches, eventually taking chances on long road trips to Florida, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan where they were entirely unknown.

The roads were poor, the car unreliable, and around every bend lurked the threat of a racially charged encounter. The Hummingbirds were savvy, though, and understood they would not go far as professionals if they stayed too close to home. The extensive travel and time commitment required for musical success obliterated any possibility of a normal family life.

The situation that confronted James Davis was typical for all. He knew from the start the price he would have to pay.

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She wanted to get married. I love you all right. I mean the day after our wedding! And I know you will be back. I give her credit. She had more sense. She knew me better than I did.

Great God A'Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds: Celebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music

When we started doing pretty good, got into Ebony magazine, Sepia, and all those magazines, she was more proud than I was. That was her name. We got married in Each of the Hummingbirds did his best to juggle career with family, friends, and romantic relationships. As for traveling, they had not so much a precise plan as a general strategy, a take-it-as-it-comes campaign of touring and self-promotion.

James Davis laughs when he thinks back on it. Sometimes we had little promoters who would set things up for us. We did it all kinds of ways, you name it, we saw it. By the late s, James Davis had firmly established himself as group leader and musical director. Barney Parks oversaw the bookings and business affairs. The group stayed on the road for weeks and even months, performing any place that would have them, but mostly in small African American country churches.

They took whatever money came in the collection plate or when the hat was passed. Getting from place to place was difficult. Mostly old Fords. The Dixie Hummingbirds of many entertainers. The pop-oriented Charioteers and Delta Rhythm Boys, and the more purely gospel Golden Gate Quartet out of Norfolk, Virginia, were breaking through to mainstream America by regular network radio broadcasts and subsequent record sales.

They chose selections and sang in a technically brilliant but minimally expressive style designed to appeal to the broadest audience. These groups, however, did not garner their widest popularity until the s. Even the Golden Gate Quartet, by far the best with their tight harmonies and swing arrangements, never did achieve the level of fame and success of their secular counterparts like the Ink Spots or the Mills Brothers.

But their ambition was still to reach the widest expanse of listeners by performing live on radio. Radio during the Great Depression came to hold a special place in rural southern households. Local stations were unencumbered by metropolitan marketing concerns and could originate programming tailored to community tastes and needs. Losing oneself for a half-hour or an hour or an evening in jokes, laughter, and song was a welcome alternative to total despair. Program hosts, sponsors, and especially performers were homegrown and familiar to listeners, and this helped make small town radio a smashing success.

Rural radio was quick to follow suit. A wire connected to a radio in a local storeroom would be extended cross-country over fences, phone poles, bushes, and trees. Anyone along the route was welcome to tap into the signal, providing they paid a fee to the system owner at the point of origin. Of course, subscribers had no control over the programming or even the tone or volume.

But they had radio in their homes. Just walked in cold. And we would work in that area and popularize ourselves. Oh, yeah! Groups would try and get on the radio. It was new and the people were crazy about it.

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We did millions of that even before we left Greenville. We were not even thinking about making or selling records. We were making our way on the radio. It was really something we had cultivated. There was another distinct advantage to radio as far as the Dixie Hummingbirds were concerned. Skin color was simply not a factor. Station owners cared only that listeners stayed tuned, heard the advertisements, and bought the products.

Radio also regularly put black performance style in close proximity to white Americans. When they took to the radio, the Dixie Hummingbirds were connecting to a diverse audience and winning fans across racial lines. If you could make harmony—and we got that real good while we were in school—you could go down and get on a radio station. The Dixie Hummingbirds on you. This was especially obvious to James Davis who became a stickler for appearances. He believed unwaveringly that how they looked and behaved was as important to their success as singing.

It was a lesson that had come to him from a myriad of directions: his parents, the teachers at Sterling High, every church service he had ever attended, every spiritual program he had ever witnessed. James Davis was committed to the idea that the group had to sustain a positive public image. Spiritual entertainers were particularly held up to public scrutiny. To those within the African American community, the Dixie Hummingbirds and groups like them were seen as walking talking advertisements for the rewards of the good life. The Birds understood and delivered, taking great pains to look their best.

No matter how short they were on funds, some amount was always put aside for clothes. And they had to be just alike, down to the socks! We just felt like appearance played a part. People used to come to our programs just to see what we would wear. Schools, auditoriums, churches. We did them all. Every year. How group members behaved in public was also essential to James Davis. One is as important as the other. They may have been gospel singers but, like anyone, each had his own strengths and weaknesses.

Davis made it clear that anyone who strayed would be out of the group. In other words, you got to have sense enough to know how to carry yourself. No drinking was number one! And, of course, had things been like they are now, no dope would have been number one. But the main thing was, we had to keep a cool head. No way. Not our people. Reliability was another essential in the Davis rulebook. News of this sort spread quickly. We had come into this little town in Florida and arranged with people to sing at their church. We were just gonna make a little bit and go on over to Gainesville.

And, boy, the two of them, they had gone and driven the car downtown. Raised up quite a stir. We got away from that place, man. We dismissed that place. As far as Davis was concerned, from then on, no women other than wives in the car. His strictness became the rudder that steered the Hummingbirds toward the consummate professionalism that would be their hallmark in years to come.

You make so much beautiful harmony. On the road out in the cars. One of the things that made the group versatile was the fact that if a guy had a range just so far, we would switch parts with him. And switch all through the song. And we did that for years. Everybody in the group can sing four parts. The Dixie Hummingbirds worked the coal towns of West Virginia and from there occasionally headed up to Detroit, but the group traveled most often into the South, through the Carolinas, down into Georgia, and especially the area around Jacksonville and North Florida.

Sometimes Orlando. People liked us and they still follow us in Florida. The Birds had heard the Gates on the radio and admired their percussive a cappella jubilee style. The Gates were in town to cut in a makeshift hotel room studio the records that would soon propel them to nationwide popularity. They were big, but they were very nice. Bill Johnson, the leader, was very nice. They gave us some pointers. We got some good tips, information from them. Just had our program and we were on our way back to the motel, and I saw a joint, a place where I thought I could get a sandwich.

Started in there, they wanted to know where was I going. Asked me if I think this looked like a [hesitates] damn nigger joint. You know. No, we just hungry and would like to get anything to eat. Got whatever we wanted, and then kept going. Another time, we were working out of Albany, Georgia, and we came through Tifton.

Back at that time, everybody in the group had a rifle, a. The Dixie Hummingbirds some guys came up right along beside us and started calling us names. They followed us about two miles and went on back. That night we were traveling in two cars. One promoter even suggested they get out of gospel altogether.

They love the way you carry yourselves. What you need to do is start singing the stuff that the Ink Spots sing. Go on to New York and make that money! It was the music they knew best and the direction with which they felt most comfortable. The commitment ran deep. The Birds, while they chose not to stray from their religious roots, did however take note of the advice about New York City. They felt they had come as far as they could on the regional touring circuit.

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The major recording companies were in New York. The Hummingbirds needed to make records and get their music out through a company with nationwide distribution. For the Dixie Hummingbirds, income from sales was not the immediate incentive to make a record. For the Dixie Hummingbirds, records functioned more as advertisements that helped spread reputation and draw crowds. Requests for appearances might now come in from points outside the usual territory.

Even at home, a group with a record could anticipate more bookings, an increased draw, and higher admission prices. The Birds were ready, and they had an inside track not available to other groups. Bass singer Jimmy Bryant was a studio veteran, having recorded numerous sides for the Bluebird label as a member of the Heavenly Gospel Singers. Davis recalls that a single microphone was used. The lead and the bass would get closer, one on each side of the mike and the others back further.

We left from Florence, South Carolina. All the rubber was gone! I could see that little spot when we left Florence. It was a strange place. But we went to New York and got back to Florence. Jimmy got us in there. We just cut. If there was anything, I guess Jimmy got it. Just wanting to record. No fee, no royalties, just the self-satisfying knowledge that at last they had made a record. Thermon Ruth was with the Selah Jubilee Singers, a group of Brooklyn-based spiritual singers who also recorded for Decca during the same period. Mayo Williams. Andy Kirk and Louis Jordan.

Never did see any of it. Never did get royalties. According to the discographical account, the Dixie Hummingbirds recorded sixteen songs that day in New York City, a Tuesday, September 19, He says the Dixie Hummingbirds actually went into the studio in and that the records were released in Though Davis may question the exact date, the more important fact is that the initial recordings by the Dixie Hummingbirds were issued on the prestigious Decca label, a powerful company with national distribution.

Decca got its start in , an American offshoot of British Decca. The two most popular secular groups of the day, the Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots, recorded for Decca. The label was also open to religious singers. Bryant heard it before I did. We were in Florida and he asked me had I heard it. But we had a record out there and they were playing it! I just know we did it. The records would change their lives, but not immediately. In time, though, the records found their way south and gave the Birds the stability and edge they needed.

Now they were a group with credentials, truly professionals at last. Did I see the big picture? But I thought it could probably help me run into something. Ira Tucker, Sr. That year marked his sixtieth with the Dixie Hummingbirds. Tucker joined the group in shortly after they returned from making records in New York City. Ira Tucker would help the group break through on the national scene with his warm personality and singular lead vocal style.

He looked comfortable in well-used fishing clothes. The air was warm, the wind was up, and the squawking seabirds were a constant and welcome distraction. To be sure none got away, he always carried a mini—tape recorder all loaded and ready to go. He had been doing that for years. He cares for me. Rudolph was a fan, the Dixie Hummingbirds the headliners on the show. I had to work my way up. I told him how much I admired his singing and that he was my favorite singer in the group. He said anytime I see him at a program and want to talk, just come on.

They have been friends ever since. It was that kind of warmth along with his inimitable singing style that helped put the Dixie Hummingbirds over the top in the s. He had that scream. That was Ira Tucker. As a group, the Birds sounded better than ever, but the cohesion was short-lived. Jimmy Bryant, due to the usual internal squabbles and control problems, abruptly exited the Hummingbirds. The group found themselves in an unanticipated period of instability. But with bookings continuing to come in, the Birds needed a new spark in their lineup.

They heard about a young singer, thirteenyear-old Ira Tucker, from nearby Spartanburg, a town known for nurturing its singers. Like Davis, Tucker grew up struggling against poverty in a home where his mother was the rock and foundation. James Davis at least had a strong bond with his father. Ira Tucker barely knew his. Ira Tucker was born on May 17, I got strayed away from my daddy.

The Tuckers lived in a shotgun house on Golden Street. Then, through the hallway, to the right was a bedroom and to the left was a bedroom, then into the kitchen where we had an icebox. The lady my mother worked for kept us up in pretty good furniture. There was no pavement or nothing. It was all dirt roads. None of the houses were too good. One evening, we heard this great lumbering growl. There was this old man named Mr. Jacob Gray, and the house he lived in—the whole thing—had fell down, and Mr.

Jake crawled out the window with a bucket of quarters he had saved. You could look out through a crack he wore from scratching his back off! The Dixie Hummingbirds Maggie Tucker had come to Spartanburg from Newberry, a small town about sixty miles to the southeast, where her family had labored as sharecroppers. So, she wrote and got a job as a maid. This was before I was born. She was making something like ten dollars a week.

Big money back then, ten dollars a week. He was around sixty when he died in Philadelphia. But he was a natural born artist. He could draw. He died young, too. So, my mother got so she quit worrying about him. Forget it. He did all of that and then some. Now, I had never killed a rabbit in my life, but when he spoke, he spoke with authority. Got up and practiced how to shoot, and then I shot another rabbit running. I came home that night with a rabbit and a half! Then, there was the story about the peas at the dinner table, a favorite that Tucker delighted in telling about his youth.

But my grandfather died trying to provide for us. He worked himself to death. All blacks went to the same school, Dean Street School. It went up to the seventh grade. After that, you had to go to Cummings Street School, a big old high school. When I got to where I could go to school, I had to quit because my mother got sick. I had to teach myself.

From the age of fourteen, I have been on my own. Just like when you hear all these blues, these guys from the Delta and the lower part of the South. They worked. They sung what they felt. Same is true with gospel. Gospel came from loneliness, bewilderedness and shortchanged in life, cursed out and knocked down and everything. And then after all that, you go to church and thank God for another day. The Dixie Hummingbirds Spartanburg. And everybody said these names, whites and blacks. The work available to Ira Tucker was also fraught with indignities. A local storeowner, Mr.

Turner, taught Tucker how to butcher. Turner would pay me off in chitlins, and he would make me get on the bus with them. Turner told him to get on here. Turner owned almost everything around and employed so many people. They had to get used to me. I think about it now and I just laugh. Soon after, I quit that one-dollar-aweek job and got one for two dollars a week in a grocery store. Spartanburg could also be a dangerous place. The white cops, when they would get ready to arrest a black man, it would take three or four of them. Now, if a black man had done something wrong, people would help the police to put the man in jail—if he was wrong.

Now, things were different in Greenville. They had a cop over there named Hugh Chisel and he had a bad way. If it was a black guy or woman, he would knock the hell out of you and then ask you your name. Biggest mistake they ever made. Tucker realized that if he remained in Spartanburg, this would be the life he too would face. He credits his aspirations and clear sense of direction to a strong religious faith and resiliency learned from his mother, Maggie.

I never wake up with a frown or a groan. Always, always, ever since I was a kid. I wake up halfway singing. Just my life. The way I am. My mother was like that, too. She was one of the most friendly women on earth. Anybody could get along with my mother. Always have been. I still have it somewhere up in the attic. It was a German accordion. And, man, that man could play that thing!

My mother used to sit on his knee when she was a kid and even then that accordion was thirty-six years older than she. Then, when I was a kid, I would sit on his knee. My front porch would be full of people. He used to sing in the choir. My mother was in the choir, too.

My mother had a beautiful voice, a soprano, but she only sang in church because she had to work to keep us going. Both of them learned with shape notes. Me, I never could understand shape notes. Tucker did sing, though. He learned from his family, but he acquired most of his musical education in private homes and on the streets of Spartanburg. In the s, the town was full of musical characters and situations.

However it happened, he would neigh and then start running. When the spirit hit Trotting Sally, he would jump up like a horse. I mean a racehorse! He would be burning the wind, man. But he would play that violin. He was an excellent violinist. He had that violin almost sounding like it was talking. I never will forget that. The blues were also part of the musical life of Spartanburg. Back then, it was one of the dominant styles. People played the blues and bought a lot of the records. In the s, he and another Spartanburg-based blues singer, Pink Anderson, had teamed up to perform with Dr.

There were a couple of juke joints on it, and Blind Simmie would be outside in front of the juke joints. He would play his guitar and sing and then stop for maybe a half-hour and eat some peanuts. He had peanut hulls everywhere! If I did, she would have whipped my butt. Gospel was uplifting and wholesome and he felt better about himself when he sang that music. He also saw how the community revered spiritual singers. You went to church. You went to work. We had to make our own entertainment. And they would have two or three groups inside of a house. Always on Sunday.

Always spiritual. We would all be sitting around singing. The Heavenly Gospel Singers were real popular and we would sing a lot of their songs. Tucker loved the singing and begged his cousin to teach him. So, my mother taught me. Tucker loved how Porter extracted every drop of emotion out of a lyric.

He stretched notes, jumped in and out of falsetto, moaned, cried, and improvised scat vocals all around the melody line. Belton Woodruff. Like Arthur Prysock and his brother Red. Anyway, the light was the place where all the guys would meet to sing. And somebody would be there seven nights a week. I mean seven nights. Even the cops. I had to shed a few tears. The whole place is grown up. The other important singing spot was the Woodruff home. Singers crowded the front room and porch, learning new tunes, experimenting with harmony and chord changes, determining their vocal range.

Along with Tucker, there was the younger Julius Cheeks, who would someday make a name for himself as lead singer of the Sensational Nightingales. Also present would be Mr. Their quartet was called Hardy Blue Steel. I guess. Petty a baritone lead. At the Woodruff gatherings, the two threw out pointers and coached one-on-one. He worked the audience. All the women were crazy about him. I saw that singing was a way to be popular. It would do me good to be around Jimmy Bryant—and everyone else who could sing! Tucker became a fan of the Mills Brothers and developed a fondness for white country gospel performers like the Chuck Wagon Gang and Tennessee Ernie Ford.

The Dixie Hummingbirds they were a local group, Tucker paid more attention to the Dixie Hummingbirds after he heard them on the radio and on the record player. I even had some of those records. But back then, there was no such thing as a black disk jockey who played gospel. You could hear a group live, but nobody played gospel records on the radio.

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  • You could buy phonograph records in a lot of places. Ten-cent stores. Furniture stores. But you could buy records anywhere. It had moved up from a quarter. My seat was a tree! I remember they had on nice uniforms. Well, he just walked the aisle and smiled. He had a little technique with the crowd. Between and , they cut well over a hundred sides for labels such as Okeh, Paramount, and Decca.

    They were doing barbershop chords in gospel. You know the Four Freshman and the Hi Los? It might be a little bit different, but you could hear it like you hear my doorbell ringing! Living in the same apartment building in New York City! Tucker also had his own quartet, the Royal Lights, with a friend, Rayford Simms, handling the leads; Tucker and Mark Scott, a halfbrother to William Bobo, covering the middle; and an out-of-towner, Jimmy Brown, from Detroit, singing bass.

    He had landed in Spartanburg through his friendship with William Bobo, whom he had met on the road when Bobo was touring with the Heavenlys. Brown and his quartet, the Gospel Carriers, were traveling with the Heavenlys as the two groups worked their way across West Virginia. The Carriers, however, broke up in mid-tour, and Bobo invited Brown to visit him back in Spartanburg.

    There, Bobo arranged for Brown to board with the Tucker family. The timing was perfect. With Brown in the lineup, the Royal Lights made the rounds singing at local church programs and occasionally out of town. Late in , Jimmy Bryant left the Birds permanently. His departure was not a complete surprise. They talked and Davis offered Brown the job. It was an opportunity he could not pass up. The Royal Lights were simply not in the same league with the Dixie Hummingbirds. With the Birds, Brown could travel, earn decent pay, and establish himself as a singer on the professional circuit.

    But do you know what happened? I borrowed the money out of my pay and went in to see them. Jimmy had done what he said. He told me it was a tenor he needed. But I went by and asked my mother. She said I could go and I left with them that same night. It took place at night in the parking lot of the House of Prayer Church in Spartanburg. The program was over and the crowd had gone home. The Birds were standing around the car listening as Tucker sang.

    I remember when we tried him out. He wanted to make it so bad, when he was singing he almost bent himself all the way backwards. He had that drive and he still does. I just wanted to get out there. As soon as Tucker was ready, the Birds resumed touring. They bought a serviceable DeSoto for a few hundred dollars and took to the highway. Mobility brought mixed blessings.

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    They could travel, but they were now placing themselves more at risk. Tucker and Davis still bicker about who caused more near-fatal accidents. Tucker brings up the late night rollover coming back from a program in Laurens. Somehow, nobody got hurt. I had driven all night long and hit a slick spot, and the car wanted to go in the Enoree River. Just turned the car over and came on home. Water was coming in.

    You talk about a man coming out of a car. The Dixie Hummingbirds Tucker shoulders full responsibility for that one. The main thing, they both agree, is that by the grace of God, the Hummingbirds survived and lived to sing another day. James Davis remained the principal lead singer. With Jimmy Brown in place of the gruff Jimmy Bryant, the Birds retained their sweetness, sounding even smoother than ever.

    As they moved from town to town, though, Tucker was noticing the stylistic differences between the Birds and other groups. He was taking stock of which groups and lead singers were going over best with the crowd. He was thinking about what he would do if he ever got a shot at singing lead. Of all the groups the Birds crossed paths with back then, Tucker was most taken with the General Four. They had sewed up that part of the country. But they came to sing over in Greenville, and we had a contest with them with judges.

    And the judges gave it to us. Right there in the hometown of the Hummingbirds. And I told Davis we were going to have to do some of that stuff. As the s rolled over into the s, African American tastes were changing and gospel performers were gradually making the adjustments. Tucker sums it up succinctly. He was a showman. He had a strange voice and when he held a note, you know, he would start walking with the note. Then he had his sister, his family in the group. It was traditional but it was a unique style.

    They were unbelievable. They wrote their own material. They had odd sweet harmonies. They were great! What it came down to for Tucker was that Holden Smith had his own style. When you heard him, you knew it was Holden Smith and nobody else. Cropper notes a timelessness about Cavaliere that serves as a metaphor for the music itself.

    Working together on records like this reminds us of the kinds of things that go into the making of a good song. From his highly successful career in film and television to his co-founding the House of Blues, Dan Aykroyd has brought laughter, music and entertainment into the homes and hearts of millions of people around the globe. Dan Aykroyd has found a way to share his passion for great wine and his affinity for entertaining by creating a portfolio of new and exciting world-class tasting wines that people can proudly serve at their tables.

    The wines are said to be very good! Who knew a Tennessee country boy like Cropper could have such a far reaching impact on the typically snobby wine industry? Good work! At the same time, in the Northeast, there was a band called The Rascals, whose sound was epitomized by the brilliant songs, B-3 organ and voice of Felix Cavaliere. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Sign me up! Yet they are far more famous for their chicken salad. You heard me right — chicken salad! And you know what? Not sure exactly what the recipe might be. I can tell you there is lots of shredded white […]. This burger, without question, is one of my favorite dishes in North Mississippi. At last count, Currence operated 5 eateries […]. Oxford, Mississippi is a beautiful little college town. A very Southern town. And a foodie town. For a town of its size, Oxford has lots of interesting dining choices. Especially if you enjoy deep fried, bacon laced downhome cuisine.

    We took a 4-day tour around the Crescent City with the family. New Orleans has always been one of our favorite cities to visit. Not only is there a lot to do, there is a lot to eat. This particular trip with our boys was going to be a combined Dixiedining.

    Our home base was […]. What's not to like??? Dixie Dining. Tag Archives: Steve Cropper. Turn the lights down and the volume up. Join Us at the Table! Join other followers Sign me up! Plan a Road Trip Soon! RSS - Comments. P… twitter. Local students preferred but, hey, it's social media so all are welcome.

    Dixies Daily Doses: of Food for the Soul Dixies Daily Doses: of Food for the Soul
    Dixies Daily Doses: of Food for the Soul Dixies Daily Doses: of Food for the Soul
    Dixies Daily Doses: of Food for the Soul Dixies Daily Doses: of Food for the Soul
    Dixies Daily Doses: of Food for the Soul Dixies Daily Doses: of Food for the Soul
    Dixies Daily Doses: of Food for the Soul Dixies Daily Doses: of Food for the Soul

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