Talk AM 790 - WPNN

Talk AM 790 - WPNN

AM 790

The annual “Radio Today: How America Listens to Radio” 2009 edition has been published by Arbitron and according to the study, “Thanks in part to ... See more a historic presidential election and important congressional campaigns, news/talk/information ranked as the #1 format in fall 2008 with a 12.6% share of Persons 12+, far above its 10.7% share of Spring 2007, and slightly ahead of Country’s 12.5%. With 30 more AM and FM stations than in Spring 2007, and more than 1,000 HD channels and internet streams, N/T/I boasts more broadcast signals by far than any other format in “Radio Today 2009

Talk790 is Pensacola, Florida's Premier Talk Radio Station, and is home to Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Jerry Doyle, Mike Gallagher, and Alex Jones

Locally owned and operated by "Papa Don" Schroeder since 1980

A little bit about the founder, Papa Don: PAPA DON SCHROEDER REMINISCES ABOUT PRODUCING JAMES & BOBBY PURIFY, MIGHTY SAM, AND OSCAR TONEY, JR. FOR AMY/BELL/MALA RECORDS... -By Bill Dahl How did you get started in the music business? I was going to school to be a doctor. And I had written a song. In the summer as a college kid, I worked at a place called Castle Park Resort for the affluent in Holland, Michigan. The only way you could get a job there was to be recommended by a previous employee, a college student that had worked there. And my mother had a really nice four-unit apartment house in Pensacola, and three schoolteachers rented one of our apartments. One of them had worked there and recommended me for the job. And that’s how I got the job. I was a waiter, and I got the lifeguard job too. And I’d sit up there as a lifeguard with my guitar, and I’d sing my little songs that I’d written to all these kids. Anyway, I really got excited about being a songwriter. And one of the guys — in fact, the guy that I waited on — was Harry Smart, who was at that time was president of Blair TV, who was and still is one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, in Chicago. And he just loved one of my songs. To make a long story short, he went back to Chicago and told a friend of his, Ewart Abner at Vee-Jay Records, about me. And they brought me to Chicago. At my audition, I sang that one song, and the next afternoon I was in the studio with Calvin Carter, who produced Jerry Butler, Dee Clark and many others. So I had a record, it was a regional hit. It was back when songs with girls’ names, were popular. The song was ‘Melanie.’ It was a pretty big regional hit-in the south, anyway. And I was the first white artist on Vee-Jay Records. I have a 41-year old daughter and guess what her name is? But I really had eyes, when I saw Calvin Carter, to do what he did. And I went on, I was one of the Hollywood Argyles with Gary Paxton. I’ve done several things as an artist. I was a single act for Philips Records out of Nashville, and Shelby Singleton was my producer. I never had anything happen as a solo artist. But I really had eyes to do what that producer was doing. My wife was from east Tennessee. I followed her to UT, my second year of college. We got married, lived in the married student housing. I took my little single record, ‘Melanie’ on Vee-Jay Records, to a local program director, Johnny Pirkle, at WATE and he loved it. He said, ‘We’re goin’ on this!’ And we started doing sock hops together. He hired me, ‘cause I had to have a job anyway. So, while I was going to school at UT, I had this job at WATE. I fell in love with radio, and I was making pretty good money back then, ‘cause I was doing the sock hops and all these little promotions. And then I had an offer to go to Nashville. Well, now that got me closer to the record business. And I went over there, and John R, John Richbourg at WLAC, became my manager as an artist, and he’s the one that put the Philips record deal together for me. John R and I were dear friends, and he and I were also involved with Bobby Hebb. The three of us were together there for a while. But I hated Nashville. Nothing really happened with John R, so I pursued a job with Jim Denny at Cedarwood (Denny was the president of the powerful Nashville music publishing company). He said, ‘What do you really want to do, Papa Don?’ I’ve been Papa Don since I was 19, ‘cause it made me sound older on the radio. It was a joke back then — now I really am Papa Don! Everybody still calls me that. But, back to Jim Denny at Cedarwood. I went in there to try to get a job as a staff writer. And he said, ‘What do you really want to do?’ I said, ‘I can write hit songs. I think I can write hit songs. But I really want to produce records.’ And he heard my demos that I’d done down in Muscle Shoals on some stuff. And Jim Denny hired me. So between my salary at WKDA, the number one station in Nashville, and my salary at Cedarwood Publishing Company, we were doing pretty good. I wrote songs for them, and I wrote with hit songwriters they already had like Mel Tillis and Wayne Walker. But I think he really hired me, though, to take these country songs and produce pop demos on them. And I did that, and actually wrote with the great M-M-M-Mel Tillis and Wayne Walker. Wayne Walker lived across the street from me. He wrote ‘Are You Sincere’ and a bunch of other hits. And Mel Tillis and Wayne Walker and I were just dear friends. But I just hated Nashville. I hated having to hang out. I mean, we’d go and rent a hotel for a week, and we’d sit around and pass the guitar around with Webb Pierce, who owned half of Cedarwood Publishing Company, who recorded my first #1 BMI song, ‘Those Wonderful Years.’ I wrote it especially for Webb Pierce. I’ve got a BMI award in my office for that. I’m proud of it. I’d hang out — I mean, I was a young man with a daughter, and I’m out all night, gone for a week at a time, hanging out with Roger Miller, Webb Pierce, George Jones, Faron Young, Mel Tillis, and Wayne Walker. It was putting a strain on my marriage, to say the least. But you had to hang out with ‘em to get your songs heard. Webb Pierce didn’t write a note or a word of my BMI song that I wrote, ‘Those Wonderful Years.’ But I had to give him half the writer’s credit to get him to record it. And remember I worked for him. He also owned half of Cedarwood Publishing Company. He said, ‘Papa Don, man, I’m a big artist. I gotta get half the writer's, if you want me to cut it.’ And I had such a thing about this issue that when I got hot in the record business, I wasn’t aggressive at all. I wouldn’t ever take any of the writers’ credit, unless I participated in writing the song, but I could have been a little more aggressive and had some of the publishing. That’s where the residual income is in the record business. When a producer has a hit, if he didn’t write it, publish it, or own the company, the income ends right there. If I had just asked for part of the publishing when I retired from the business, I wouldn’t have had to go to work so hard for a living. ‘Cause all my guys that I cut hits for have guaranteed incomes for life. Buzz Cason calls me occasionally from the golf course. He’s making a great living today on ‘Everlasting Love,’ the smash record I cut on Carl Carlton, and two or three other hits he wrote or published. I just hated Nashville so much. I had the number one show in Nashville. And I called a friend of mine who was program director at WBSR in my hometown, Pensacola, Florida. I wanted to move home, where I knew everybody — and did, in ‘61. The highest ratings in the history of radio happened in Pensacola. I had a 78 share! I am really proud to be in the new Florida History Museum as one of the two top DJ’s and Record Producers. I began to produce every James Brown show when he came to Pensacola — he left the black station, WBOP, to come with Papa Don Productions, because all the black people listened to my show: 'the Papa Ding-Dong Diddley Daddy Debatably Daring Dig’in Out Dash’n Dip Dig’in Don Schroeder Show.' I used to frequent a place called Tom’s Tavern in Pensacola, because I promoted all these black shows. Wilson Pickett and many others came to town for us too. But I would have ‘em for white and black people. I dreamed of bringing white people and black people together…and we did it …and packed it out…and never had a problem. It was phenomenal. That was a phenomenal statement in the ‘60s. Never had a problem! And I loved R&B music. And my format — and I caught hell for it, ‘cause I was always in trouble with the program director, and the only thing that saved me was the manager, because he said, ‘Man, leave the guy alone! He’s got a 78 share!’ — but I played 75 percent black music and about 25 percent white music, and the white music I played was white music that I thought my black audience would put up with. But I was playing the black music I knew the white people would love, if they could just hear it. And that’s why we did the ratings we did. It was a great format then, and it’d be a great format today. How did you happen upon James & Bobby Purify? There was an act called the Dothan Sextet playing at Tom’s Tavern. And they knew I’d been in the record business, and they knew me from my radio show. First, let me back up — first, I went to Abe’s 506 Club, because Bob Pierce and Abe Pierce owned Abe’s 506 Club, which was a huge black club….the biggest and best in town. And Bob Pierce and I became dear friends. We still are today. Abe’s 506 Club advertised on the Papa Don show, ‘cause they knew all the black people listened. And then we began to co-promote all of these acts — Chuck Jackson, Wilson Pickett, you name it. We did it all together. And they’d play there; they’d do a show there and then come over to my other location where we had the white and black teenagers. We didn’t care, black or white, they’d come to either one, but it kind of went that way. We had it for the adult black people at the 506, and then we had it for the young black and white at another place that I rented called Fireman’s Hall. But Mighty Sam — Sam McClain — Mighty Sam was playing for Bob Pierce at the 506 Club. And Mighty Sam was my first R&B success story with moderate success. I just loved him. I always wanted to produce Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland and he was as close to him as I’d ever get. And Mighty Sam and I went back and forth to Muscle Shoals …we commuted, and I cut ‘Sweet Dreams’ on Mighty Sam, which was a wonderful record. I did it there at Muscle Shoals; Rick Hall wasn’t even there. Dan Penn, who wrote ‘I’m Your Puppet’ with Spooner Oldham, was my engineer. And we did it on a weekend, ‘cause Rick didn’t want to come in. You know, we stayed up night and day, and we cut ‘Sweet Dreams,’ and we just loved it, all of us did. And we left a copy — Dan wanted a copy, so I left him a copy so he could play it for Rick. And I left Muscle Shoals in my International Harvester Scout, and I went to Nashville. Now, what am I gonna do with a black record in Nashville? I didn’t know, but I went ‘cause all of my friends were there. And Buzz Cason, who wrote ‘Everlasting Love’ with Mac Gayden, and I were dear friends. Buzz loved the record and says, ‘Papa Don, there’s a guy here in town, Larry Uttal, from Amy Records — it’s an independent label, and he’s here trying to do business. You need to meet him.’ And I said, ‘Hey, set it up! I’d love to meet him.’ Larry Uttal heard that record and went berserk! ‘I want this record!’ Now, I didn’t know anything about the record business. I didn’t know how many points I should get. I didn’t know anything. And I don’t think many of us just starting out were smart enough to get a lawyer. But anyway, the bottom line was, I really liked Larry Uttal. We hit it off, and did the deal with him. Shook hands. And he said, ‘I’ll send you your money and send you a contract, and you send me the tape.’ Now I got home from Nashville, and I had a half dozen calls on my phone from Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records. Rick Hall’s buddy was Jerry Wexler, and I always wanted to produce records for Wexler. I mean, what a wonderful guy. Had great ears. I mean, he could pick a song. He was wonderful. And Wexler says, ‘Papa Don, man, I love your record! This Mighty Sam record, ooh, we gotta have it! Let’s do a deal!’ And I said, ‘Man, I’m sorry. I just did a deal with Larry Uttal at Amy/Mala/Bell Records.’ He said, ‘Have you signed the papers?’ I said, ‘No, but I shook hands.’ He said, ‘Papa Don, this is the record business. Whatever he did, I’ll double the deal!’ I said, ‘Oh my Lord! Wexler, I’ve always wanted…I mean I’ve dreamed of producing (for you).’ He said, ‘Man, do you know how many acts we’ve got, Papa Don? We’re looking for the right producers. Get rid of the deal with Uttal. Come with us!’ I called Larry Uttal, and he puts the coolest — ‘Papa Don, we shook hands! We had a deal!’ And you gotta know this, man — I was raised in a wonderful Christian family, and I was taught all my life that your word is your bond. And by the time Larry Uttal got through, and reminded me of everything I had learned from my parents that I had so much respect for, I said, ‘Larry, I’ll call him back and tell him I can’t do the deal.’ He said, ‘You’re doing right. You made a deal, you’re supposed to keep it. You gave me your word.’ He said the magic words, ‘cause it’s words I’d been taught all my life. I called Wexler back, and he did a number on me. Now he’s offering me the moon. ‘Well, pick an act! Who do you want on Atlantic Records?’ Oh my God! And I said, ‘Wexler, you’re gonna think I’m absolutely nuts, but I’m gonna have to pass, because I gave the man my word.’ ‘Papa Don, I just can’t believe you’re doing this.’ I said, ‘Well, I just did it.’ Needless to say, I had a wonderful, long, successful relationship that helped build Bell Records. And I’m so proud of it. I really am. And they put that record out. It happened R&B and almost pop. Unfortunately, Tommy McLain — isn’t that funny? Mighty Sam’s name is really Sam McClain, and the guy that had the pop hit on it was Tommy McLain — I can’t believe we were in the studio cutting the song at the same time. So we lost the pop thing. But it gave me enough action to continue on with Mighty Sam. That was the closest — that and ‘Fannie Mae’ was the closest to pop success that we had on Sam. I guess he was just a little too black for the white market…not for me though. He was over the line even from Bobby Bland. But he was a great artist…a great artist. And I really tried, man. You see all those sides I cut on him? We just couldn’t make it happen. He is still one of the great blues artist of today and was recently elected to the Blues Hall of Fame. I’m telling you, man — ‘Fannie Mae’ and ‘Sweet Dreams’ were wonderful records. And ‘Talk To Me’ — those were my three favorite records I cut on Mighty Sam. Mighty Sam brought me James Purify. Sam McClain and I went to Tom’s Tavern, and I heard the Dothan Sextet. And James Purify was the lead singer, and Robert Lee Dickey was the guitar player. And Dickey did the blues, soulful harmony parts for James. When I say soulful, he was more of the black soulful part of the act. I loved his singing. His singing knocked me out. And James Purify was more of the Sam Cooke polished R&B singer. And so I said, ‘Look, man, I’ll sign both of you guys. I want to do two sides on you, and two sides on you. Let’s go to Muscle Shoals.’ Great! We got in the studio in Muscle Shoals. Dickey, bless his heart, I don’t know, he was just intimidated by the whole thing. He just wasn’t getting it. He didn’t, or couldn’t, do what I was hearing. First of all, I don’t think either one of ‘em liked the song, ‘I’m Your Puppet’, from the get-go, ‘cause it wasn’t R&B enough to suit either one of ‘em. And I said, ‘Guys, if you’ll just work with me on this, I’m telling you, I’m trying to cut us a hit record not just for the black market, I’m trying to cut a record that white people will love too. Don’t you see what I’m trying to do with black music?’ I mean, we were one of the firsts to do that. Steve Cropper, Rick Hall, Papa Don, and Chips Moman — we were the ones that had a big hand in making the Pop/R&B thing happen in the south. Because we all had the same vision: cut black records that white people will love. That was what we were trying to do. Dickey just couldn’t get it, man. He was trying so hard to sing the lead like I wanted. I was trying to get a real soulful blues guy to do the lead on ‘I’m Your Puppet.’ James Purify said, ‘Hey, man, here’s what he’s talking about.’ He started doing the lead. Wow! Then I said, ‘Dickey, you do the harmony.’ And we created James & Bobby Purify on the floor at Muscle Shoals sound studio. And they agreed to be a duet. They were already working together. And I want you to know something: I brought Barry Beckett with me to Muscle Shoals to play organ. It was the first session he ever played on in his life; ‘I’m Your Puppet.’ After that session, then we got hot. But Barry went up there with us. He later headed up Muscle Shoals Sound. Great musician! Anyway, it was a 20-something hour session, ‘cause we were cutting mono. You had to get it all in one time. I mean, it was just incredible. Then you’ve got come back and do your overdubs… I mean, you went another generation. We cut ‘I’m Your Puppet,’ and it was an excellent record. I called Larry Utall — I didn’t have an exclusive deal then — and I said, ‘Larry, I cut another record. I’m telling you, I just cut a great record…a wonderful record.’ And he said, ‘What’s the name of the act?’ Well, I knew Robert Dickey-his name was Robert, and Bobby’s a nickname for Robert. And Purify, I thought was the funkiest soulful name I ever heard in my life. I said, ‘Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba...’ And I named ‘em James & Bobby Purify on the telephone, talking to Larry Utall. And Larry Utall said, ‘Wow, what a name!’ I said, ‘Yeah, it is funky, man, isn’t it?’ I still hadn’t even play him the record yet. He said, ‘Well, what do you want for it? You gotta know something — I didn’t get but $800 for Mighty Sam’s ‘Sweet Dreams’ and eight percent. That was to cover the producer and the artist. I mean, that’s what they paid back then. We didn’t know any better. All a record really did for the artist back then was let the world know who they were. It was like a paid promotion. If you had a hit, the act and the manager could make some money on the road. That’s why I also managed most all my acts. That was the only way either of us could make any real money back then. The biggest check at any one time that I ever got from Bell was $45,000 and I had to pay the act out of that too. Not just Bell…none of the labels shared the profits like they do today. And I said, ‘Well, I’ll tell you what — you tell me if you like the record, you give me 1500 bucks and eight percent.’ The up front money was really important, because the record probably didn’t cost but $6-700 and expenses. I said, ‘Give me $1500 and eight percent, and it’s your record.’ He said, ‘No, I’m not paying that much.’ I said, ‘All right, then I’ll shop the record. But don’t forget I offered it to you first.’ Now remember, he ain’t even heard the record yet. I hung up — by the way, I owned a really nice restaurant here in Pensacola, Papa Don’s Family Drive In Restaurant, that I’d built and my little rehearsal studio and my grand piano was sitting in the back by the kitchen where we cooked the chicken. It wasn’t 15 minutes later — I went back to work, decided I’d go see Wexler. ‘Larry Uttal probably began to remember the big conflict between he and Wexler over Mighty Sam. They hated each other for that. I don’t think they really hated, but they were strong competition. Wexler really never liked it, ‘cause he didn’t get that record. And it should have gone on Atlantic, ‘cause he’d have made it a bigger record for Mighty Sam. Larry just couldn’t do what Atlantic could do with a Pop/Blues record. So it didn’t work out that great for Sam, unfortunately. It ended up being okay for me and I never felt good about that. Mighty Sam should have been a big star and I let him down…but God knows I didn’t mean to. But anyway, it wasn’t 15 minutes, the phone rung. And he said, ‘This is Larry. I’ll do the deal with you. Now will you play me the record?’ He hadn’t even heard the record, and he knew he was gonna buy it before he heard it. He said, ‘It’s a done deal whether I like it or not. A done deal, Papa Don. I believe in you.’ I played him ‘I’m Your Puppet,’ he bought that record and hadn’t even heard it. Did it on the phone. Larry Utall could hear a record on the phone better than anybody in the world could. It was a very fierce competition going on between Wexler and (Utall). (They) went after each other! It was (Dan Penn’s) record on MGM that I used as a demo, and gave me the idea. I’d like to bounce a few of their song titles off you — "Wish You Didn’t Have To Go," the Purifys’ second hit? That was a Penn and Oldham song. It’s a nice little record. That wouldn’t have been my choice as the follow-up of ‘I’m Your Puppet’. Larry loved that one the most, and I went along with him. It was a nice hit. I cut the song ‘cause I loved it. It was a fair record. It’s not my favorite. It’s not on my ‘Favorite records that I produced’ list. Their first LP had a great version of "You Left The Water Running." That was a nice record. It’s one that we threw together fast in Muscle Shoals. Dan Penn wrote that. It was nice. Great song! Honestly, though, it’s just so unfair when you spend so much time cutting a great record, and then have to throw an LP together. I never could listen to my albums after I finished, ‘cause that’s the way it always was in the old days. You had to knock ‘em out so fast, ‘cause you had a deadline, and we’d end up cutting old songs instead of taking our time to find fresh new songs. That’s the biggest mistake that Larry Utall made with me….the pressure he would put on me for product when I didn’t have any songs. And if you ain’t got a new hit song, you’ve gotta go back and cut an old hit….all you had to do was make it a lot better and contemporary. A lot of times, I was forced into cutting hits on old songs ‘cause I didn’t have material. It takes time to find good material. Dan and Spooner wrote "So Many Reasons." Funny thing about that session. James Purify kept saying ‘folks aks me why instead of ask me why’ and I said, ‘James, it sounds great, but it’s not "aks," it’s "ask."’ ‘That’s what I said, man, aks!’ ‘All right, James, but try one more time for me. Let’s try it one more time.’ ‘Folks aks me why...’ Go listen to it! Oh, God, I went round and around with him on that. I finally said fine. 'Sounds like "ask" to me, man.’ What made you decide to redo "Shake A Tail Feather"? I was on the road for Webb Pierce promoting this song that I’d written, ‘Those Wonderful Years.’ And Webb Pierce told me I could take his big old gorgeous Pontiac convertible with the horns on the front with silver dollars imbedded in all the leather. And Webb let me hire Quitman Dennis, who was a great saxophone player, I had a hit on him, a chart record, to go with me and take care of the car when I was in the radio stations…and help me drive. We went all over the country to break this record pop. While on the way to KXOK to meet with one of the top jocks in the country, Johnny Rabbit, I’m tuning in the station, and I heard this funky little record, ‘Shake A Tail Feather’ by some new group. It was pretty good but I had an idea that would make it a much better record if it didn’t make it as a hit. I heard it on the radio there, went and bought the record and saved it for the Purify Bros. Found it in St. Louis, held it all that time, thought I could cut a good record on it, and we did…what a great, fun record. Melba Moore and Ellie Greenwich and I were out there in the studio beating our beer cans on a table…screaming and having fun as the engineer, George Shower, played the tracks. I wanted to create a party environment, and we’re out there doing it. And then we double-tracked, triple-tracked, laying tracks down. We did all those overdubs. How about "I Take What I Want"? You were challenging Sam & Dave, who cut the original? Well, what I was trying to do with that — that’s a wonderful record. I loved Steve Cropper. It was kind of like a ‘we’re in the same ballgame,’ cutting records in the same town, Memphis, where I ended up cutting some of my best records…me at American Studio with Chips Moman and Steve over at Stax… it was more of a tribute to him. I wanted to let him know I loved his stuff, and we’re cutting an album, and we were so rushed, I didn’t have time to hunt for songs! I mean, Larry said, ‘We’ve gotta have an album out in a month!’ Remember. that’s the way they thought back then. You get a hit, and you rush in and put out a piece of junk. They knew the song. I had to cut songs they knew. And boy, Reggie Young, one of the world’s greatest session guitar players, did a great job on that record. ‘Wish You Didn’t Have To Go’ was the last record that I cut in Muscle Shoals. And what happened was, I was bringing Chips Moman down to play guitar on my sessions, from Memphis. Chips pulled me over — we were having a cigarette together — and he says, ‘Papa Don, I’m building this incredible studio in Memphis, and I want you to be the first record producer there. I mean it, man — I need you.’ ‘I had a lot of respect for Chips Moman. He’s a talented guy. He said, ‘These guys in Muscle Shoals are great. But I’m telling you, Papa Don, I have found the best musicians in the world in Memphis… the best musicians I’ve ever worked with. Just try it — if you don’t like it, you ain’t gotta pay for it. The studio’s almost finished.’ I said, ‘Chips don’t call me ‘til that studio’s finished. I don’t want you building a studio around me while I’m trying to cut, ‘cause these guys are on the road.’ We went up there and that’s when I lost favor with Rick Hall — ‘cause I left, and it was so much better. Those guys were good down there in Alabama. Are you kidding? They were great! Roger Hawkins, David Hood, Jimmy Johnson…I love ‘em. They were wonderful. But the combination of American Studio with Chips Moman as my engineer, and my new musicians were simply magic….Reggie Young, Bobby Emmons, Tommy Cogbill, Bobby Wood and Gene Chrisman…what a band! Check their credits with everybody from Elvis, Wilson, Aretha, James & Bobby Purify, Oscar Toney Jr. (another great act I produced), The Box Tops, Neil Diamond, Merilee Rush…on and on and on. Tommy Cogbill was my best friend out of the Memphis bunch. I mean, we literally roomed together some in Nashville, when I was commuting between Florida and Nashville, before I made the commitment to move up there. But he died when he was 49 years old of a stroke. I guess God needed the best bass player in a new band He was putting together in heaven. I miss him so much. He played on just about all my records and even helped me mix a lot of them. I will never forget the fun we had mixing "Everlasting Love" by Carl Carlton, an act I produced for ABC Records. While we were fixing to go in the studio to do ‘Shake A Tail Feather’ — the song I found in St. Louis — in walks this guy named Oscar Toney, Jr. He comes to my kitchen, and my cooks hadn’t shown up that day, and I’m back frying chicken. And this guys walks in wearing a beautiful, full length, black, leather coat. Nice looking guy. And he says, ‘Papa Don? Mighty Sam sent me, and I’m Oscar Toney, Jr. And I want to cut a hit record for you.’ I said, ‘Man, I’m sorry, I just don’t have time to listen now. But if Mighty Sam sent you, I know you’re great.' I had a tremendous amount of respect for Mighty Sam. 'But I will commit to try you out in a couple of weeks, and if I like it, we’ll cut a couple of sides on you. I’m going to be in the studio with the Purifys’ on such and such date in Memphis. You meet me in there.’ Gave him the date. Get this, man. We’re there, Oscar Toney shows up, and he sat around waiting. It took, I think 27 hours straight, working on the tracks on ‘Shake A Tail Feather.’ I mean, it was unbelievable. We just reworked the whole thing. And finally, when we hooked it, we all thought it was just wonderful. And when I finally finished that record four or five days later, Oscar Toney’s still there. Now Larry Uttal and I had a deal, ‘I don’t care what time it is when you finish,’ he said. ‘You call me.’ ‘Cause you see, I’d go and rent the studio for a week. I’d stay up for a week. We’d just nap on the floor, and get up and go at it again. You had to for economics sake. You had to. And when I finally finished that record, except for my overdubs — I’d head from Memphis to New York ‘cause I used Ellie Greenwich, Doris Troy and Melba Moore as my background voices and that’s where they lived. I’d use them, and then also mixed in New York with a great engineer, George Shower…ironically at another hit studio called American on 42nd Avenue in the basement of a funky hotel. Larry Uttal turned me on to George Shower who also worked with Bob Crewe, who produced all the Four Seasons hits as well as Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels for Uttal. Anyway, Oscar Toney’s there. I said, ‘Oh, yeah. Oscar.’ The guys were tired. And I said, ‘Wait a minute, man. Let’s listen. Oscar’s still sitting here waiting.’ Everybody’s about to die, wanting to take a break. I said, ‘Oscar, step up to that microphone right there, guy. We don’t have any new songs, so I want you to sing me the greatest old song that you know. Let’s try to do a remake of something you know and love. Just sing me your favorite old song.’ He said, ‘Well, I wrote this little recitation to go with an old Jerry Butler song,’ who, by the way, was one of my favorite acts. And he stood up to that microphone and he started this little rap. Old Bobby Emmons, who’s the world’s greatest studio keyboard player for Hammond B-3 — I’m telling you, nobody’s better, and on Wurlitzer, Bobby Emmons is unbelievable — well, Bobby joins in while he’s doing that little recitation on the front. The guys kick in. This is starting to sound good! I said, ‘Go back to the top and let’s try this again, Oscar.’ He starts, the whole band kicked in, and we cut a smash version of ‘For Your Precious Love’. I think it was a number one R&B record, Top 20 pop record…and we cut it in 15 minutes. He just stood up to the mic, and sang the song one time and I couldn’t find a thing I wanted to change. That was one of those great rare one-take performances in the record business that you hear about. Unbelievable. It was absolutely unbelievable. I’ll never forget it. What a wonderful memory. Now I’ve got me another star. But I’ll never forget this. A few months later, Oscar called me from Fitch, Massachusetts and he says ‘Pop, I quit! I just don’t like being on the road all the time.' I couldn’t believe it! Dan Penn was there at American Studio when I was cutting ‘Shake A Tail Feather,’ and he was out of it, ‘cause he had been up for a week working in the studio. We all took diet pills to stay awake. We had to take advantage of every hour. He had been up for a week. And he said, ‘Papa Don, I just cut a dynamite record, and I sure hope you’ll try to get me a deal.’ ‘What do you want for it?’ He said, ‘Man, if you get me $800 and eight percent, I sure would be grateful.’ I said, ‘Done!’ ‘You ain’t even heard it,’ He said. I said ‘Dan, if you did it, I know it’s good. And I owed him, man — he and Spooner wrote the biggest record of my life, ‘I’m Your Puppet.’ I said, ‘Dan, it’s a done deal, but I can’t listen to it ‘til I get through.’ He said, ‘Alright, I’ll be right here.’ Well, man, by the time I finished with ‘Shake A Tail Feather,’ and then by the time I finished with ‘For Your Precious Love,’ old Dan’s still there. And he reminded me, ‘Pop, you gonna hear my record?’ Well, I’m on the phone calling Larry Utall at about by two, two-thirty in the morning and Dan, by this time…is out of his gourd. I get Larry on the phone . ‘Hey Larry, Papa Don!’ ‘Hey, man-how’d it go?’ I said, ‘I’ll tell you what — I think I’ve got us some records.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Crank her up, Chips!’ And I played him ‘Shake A Tail Feather.’ He went bananas. This is 2:30, maybe three o’clock in the morning. ‘I signed us another act.’ He said, ‘Yeah? What’s his name?’ I said, ‘Oscar Toney, Jr.’ Now what if you’re hearing that name for the first time? That a wonderful name for a soul artist. And then I played him ‘For Your Precious Love.’ And he said, ‘Wow!’ I said, ‘I’ve still

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