Featuring Jimmy Church, Randy Fox, the McCrary Sisters, Freddie North, Swamp Dogg, and Bob Wilson
The electrifying sounds of Southern-fried R&B and fervent black gospel exploded out of Nashville in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, on Excello Records and sister label, Nashboro Records. The record company operated originally out of Ernie’s Record Mart—“The Record Center of the South!” Excello founder Ernie Young formed a partnership with 50,000-watt, clear-channel radio station WLAC. The Nashville station’s broadcasts of R&B reached great distances, captivating millions of teenagers and crossing racial boundaries.
The panelists for this program were all musicians associated with Excello / Nashboro and its subsidiaries.
Regina McCrary is a daughter of renowned tenor singer Sam McCrary of gospel group the Fairfield Four. Regina grew up to make her own mark in gospel music, singing with the BC&M Mass Choir, Bobby Jones’s Nashville Super Choir, Bob Dylan, and today with her siblings, the McCrary Sisters.
The Rev. Freddie Carpenter—known in the secular music world as singer Freddie North—worked in sales and promotion for Excello and recorded the R&B Top Ten hit “She’s All I Got” before Johnny Paycheck issued his hit country version.
Los Angeles-based Jerry “Swamp Dogg” Williams is pleasantly eccentric, unmistakably eclectic, and undeniably one of the great cult figures in American music. He co-wrote “She’s All I Got” while overseeing productions for Excello-owned Mankind Records in the early 1970s.
After moving to Nashville from Detroit in the 1960s, Bob Wilson played keyboards on Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, joined the Earl Scruggs Revue, contributed to many R&B recordings, and produced the final sessions recorded by blues legend Slim Harpo for Excello.
Randy Fox, author of Shake Your Hips: The Excello Records Story (BMG, 2018), will moderate a discussion and sign books after the program.
Nashville R&B legend Jimmy Church will play a brief live set and lead the band. Church’s first group, the Seniors, recorded for Excello in 1958. The McCrary Sisters and Swamp Dogg also will perform.
The program is presented in partnership with the National Museum of African American Music. Ford Theater. Limited seating. Included with museum admission. Free to museum members. Program ticket required. The program will be streamed live at countrymusichalloffame.org/streaming.
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