Thursday, April 2, 2009


"...Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals went through a few distinctive eras of rhythm sections: the one that became most famous was the 2nd incarnation - they were the ones who, for example, worked on Aretha Franklin's debut Atlantic album (and were at the center of the drama that went down between Fame, Atlantic, Aretha and her then-husband/manager Ted White). After the fall-out, almost all of the rhythm section left Fame to go found Muscle Shoals Studios across the street.

When Rich Hall rebuilt the rhythm section, the 3rd incarnation became known as The Fame Gang that that included a scorching Junior Lowe on guitar (he was the lone stay-over from the last Fame section) and Clayton Ivey slapping it down on organ. It says a lot about how deep talent was out in Alabama that Fame could lose most its studio staff and then rebuild just as good as ever. It's also notable that the Fame Gang was far more integrated; 5 of the 8 new members were Black unlike the previous generation which was all white...

...The Fame Gang isn't just a title for whatever musicians happened to be available on a given day. It was eight special players plus arranger-producer Mickey Buckins. They liked Rick, Rick liked them, and they all had a thing for the music they played. That's the reason it worked out so well. The Fame Gang cared … they didn't do it for the money alone. Primarily, the Fame Gang backed-up singers like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Clarence Carter, Bobbie Gentry, Etta James, Candi Staton, and many more of the best." (Courtesy of

Below, one of their funkiest tracks, "Soul Feud."

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