The Tempests (pt. 9): Winds of Change

E. Mark Windle 29 August 2021 “We were always messing around” says Nelson Lemmond. “At one point, Ray Alexander had joined us to replace Jim Butt who quit to go to college by late 1968. Ray’s a talented musician; one hell of a trumpet player and had been with The Rivieras before us. In muchContinue reading “The Tempests (pt. 9): Winds of Change”

The Tempests (pt. 8): Touring, Boston’s Sugar Shack, and the LP release

E. Mark Windle 19 August 2021 Touring was relentless. In between it all, the Premier Talent Agency pushed The Tempests through a couple of multi-artist events, at The Mariners Festival, a USO show at Fort Eustis, Virginia. Then it was onto another at Trenton, New Jersey where a local promoter took all the money andContinue reading “The Tempests (pt. 8): Touring, Boston’s Sugar Shack, and the LP release”

The Tempests (pt.7): The Mercury-Smash Sessions Begin

E. Mark Windle. 2 August 2021 Mercury was a prominent player in the recording industry, owing much of its commercial success to astute activities of the founding fathers in the Chicago R&B and jazz recording industry through the 1940s and 1950s. The label had its ear to the ground and anticipated potential in exploiting theContinue reading “The Tempests (pt.7): The Mercury-Smash Sessions Begin”

The Tempests (pt. 6): Ted Bodnar and the Road to Mercury-Smash

E. Mark Windle July 2021. The Tempests were ready to take on the world, no doubt about that. Musicianship, vocal talent and enthusiasm for live performance were all there. What was needed now was a new industry link to point them solidly towards a fresh recording contract. Someone with local knowledge, connections, and production andContinue reading “The Tempests (pt. 6): Ted Bodnar and the Road to Mercury-Smash”

The Tempests (part 5): Hit Attractions

E. Mark Windle 13 June 2021 Whether it was the Branch’s decision or that of other members to extend the horn section in The Tempests is unclear. Personnel in the early days was fluid, though Jim Butt (trumpet) and Rick White (tenor sax) had already been with group for some time, and Jim had takenContinue reading “The Tempests (part 5): Hit Attractions”

The Tempests (part 4): Ready for the Soul Explosion

E. Mark Windle, June 2021. Whilst new bass guitarist Van Coble was an only child whose birth father who was killed in service during World War II, his childhood was otherwise reasonably comfortable. His mother Helen, who was a nurse, eventually remarried. The musical talent came from his Helen Coble and her sister: “My motherContinue reading “The Tempests (part 4): Ready for the Soul Explosion”

The Tempests (part 3): Finding Hazel

E. Mark Windle. 27 May 2021 The backing of Mike Williams and a record release on a major label, even if not more than a regional success, had given the Branch brothers a taste for what could be, and they were shooting for a recording contract. Within a short few years, the group had progressedContinue reading “The Tempests (part 3): Finding Hazel”

The Tempests (part 2): Love Have Mercy! Atlantic Records.

E. Mark Windle. 16 May 2021 You could say music was in the family genes. But it was country, not R&B, that first inspired the Branch children to pick up an instrument. John Roger Branch’s grandmother was a not-too-distant relative of the famous Carter family, and a pretty competent guitar player at that. When notContinue reading “The Tempests (part 2): Love Have Mercy! Atlantic Records.”

Redressing the History Books. The Soul of Music City

By E. Mark Windle, May 2021. Regarding what has been pretty much an obsession with writing about 1960s southern soul themes since I started over ten years ago, “House of Broken Hearts: The Soul of 1960s Nashville” was undertaken in an attempt to resolve a nagging omission. A fair chunk of my travels (both realContinue reading “Redressing the History Books. The Soul of Music City”

It’s Better to Cry: The Appreciations of Charlotte

E. Mark Windle 20 November 2020. The Appreciations’ recordings are well known within rare soul record collecting circles, with tracks such as “I Can’t Hide It” and “It’s Better to Cry” played and loved on the northern soul scene for decades. Despite that, the group’s history was virtually unknown until 2013, other than that theyContinue reading “It’s Better to Cry: The Appreciations of Charlotte”