NMAAM In Partnership With Nashville Public Library Records Histories of Nashville’s Artists Who Performed In Historic Jefferson Street Nightclubs
The National Museum of African American Music hosted a reception in partnership with the Nashville Public Library to honor and commemorate the recorded histories of some of Nashville’s original artists, who performed in the nightclubs along Jefferson Street and Printer’s Alley. The reception held on Tuesday, February 3rd in the Special Collections Room of NPL, highlighted local African American artists and their impact on Nashville through their music, as well as celebrated the rich musical history of Jefferson Street.
From that stemmed an audio project with NPL to capture and record the histories of some of Nashville’s very own artists, which are housed at NPL and the Library of Congress in partnership with StoryCorp. Among those recored and honored were The Fairfield Four, Lorenzo Washington, Lucius “Spoonman” Talley, John “Daddy” Lucius Green, Jesse Boyce, the Queen of the Blues Marion James, Arnett Bodenhamer, Edward Cox, Carlos Deford Bailey, and Thomas Cain.
These recordings will be available to the public at the Nashville Public beginning in March. For more information, please contact Kim Johnson at the NMAAM, (615) 301- 8724.
Mr. John Lucius Green – In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, Mr. Green performed as a singer and master saxophone player with the house band of the famous New Era Club. As one of the original acts on the ‘60s T.V. show, Night Train to Nashville, a live performance show featuring local bands that predated Soul Train by nearly a decade, Mr. Green is part of the rich rhythm and blues legacy of Music City. He is also one of the founding members of the legendary New Imperials, a group formed from members of the famous band, The Imperials. Green performed with The New Imperials for more than four decades. Today, he can be found playing at local churches, Clark Memorial and The Temple Church.
THE FAIRFIELD FOUR – They started as a trio in Nashville, Tennessee’s Fairfield Baptist Church in 1921 and now has been existed for over 90 years. In 1989 they were designated as National Heritage Fellows by the National Endowment for the Arts and in 1998 won a Grammy for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album. They’ve even had movie acclaim since they appeared in the motion picture O Brother, Where Art Thou?The current Fairfield Four members are Mr. Joe Thompson, Mr. Bobby Sherrill, Mr. Levert Allison and Mr. Larry Byrd.
Mr. Lorenzo Washington – Opening his first record shop, The Soul Shack, in the early 1970’s, Mr. Washington has been involved with the music business for over 40 years. In 1976, he connected with Moses Dillard and Jesse Boyce, to form Dillard and Boyce Productions, the first AA production company on Music Row. In 2010, he became the CEO of Jefferson Street Sound which is the only AA music production company still in existence on Jefferson Street and still recording emerging and new artists. Mr. Washington is also the unofficial music historian of Jefferson Street because he has kept alive the memories of the “Club Era” of the 50”s and 60’s of performers and people who once enjoyed live music.
Mr. Carlos Deford Bailey – His grandfather, Deford Bailey, Sr was a pioneer member of the WSM Grand Ole Opry and its first AA star. Known as the Harmonica Wizard, his grandfather went on to play from 1927-1941 with many country music legends. His Father, Deford Bailey, Jr., was also a legend in his own right in the R & B world playing his bass guitar and other instruments. Carlos Deford Bailey continues the legacy of harmonica playing and is a professional musician who has produced his own CD demonstrating his versatile skills as a musician and artist.
Mr. Thomas Cain – He is first and foremost a great musician. Mr. Cain plays the piano, organ and trumpet, but he’s also a great singer, publisher, producer and songwriter. He has opened for Ray Charles, Ramsey Lewis, Melba Moore and Johnny Mathis, just to name a few. He has written jingles for national known brands, McDonalds and Oscar Meyer. In 1999, he was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Today, he performs with his group, The Thomas Cain Band, around Nashville. Meet Mr. Thomas Cain.
Mr. Lucius Talley – Known by most as the “Spoonman,” Mr. Talley learned to play spoons from his late friend, R & B sensation, Bobby Hebb, who wrote and sang the 1966 hit song, “Sunny.” As a professional drummer by trade, Mr. Talley has played with many musical artists, but today also adds the title, actor, to his resume. He has appeared in the hit TV show, Nashville, and on America’s Got Talent, while on roller-skates playing the spoons. He has also appeared in several commercials and videos. Please welcome, Mr. Lucius, Spoonman, Talley.
Mr. Jesse Boyce – Mr. Boyce is just one of those people you need to know. He’s a 3 time Grammy award nominee IMG_3383and 2 time Dove award nominee. He’s a producer, arranger, written and musician having played bass guitar for the legendary Little Richard. He’s worked with everyone from Lionel Ritchie to Shirley Caesar to the Osmonds. His song, Firefly, performed by the Temptations earned him his first platinum album. Mr. Boyce is a force to reckon with and today, he is the Founder and Executive Director of Mid-Town Music Academy for at risk children in the North Nashville community.
Ms. Marion James – Having “the house” on Jefferson street where musicians in the 50’s and 60’s could sleep or get their next meal was important for musicians when their money was low and their next gig was uncertain. This however characterizes the generosity of the lady, Ms. Marion James. During the early 1960’s, Ms. Marion’s touring band (again, her band) included a little-known guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, and bass player, Billy Cox. Their live performances electrified audiences throughout the South and in Europe. Today, Ms. Marion is officially known as “Nashville’s Queen of the blues” where she continues to sing the blues and help other musicians in need.
Mr. Edward Cox – Mr. Cox has been surrounded by music all of his life through his family performing on several instruments. After joining the army band, he has played tenor sax in many bands including B.B. King, Bobby Blubland, and Fats Domino. His sister owned the famous 1940’s jazz club in Nashville, The Down Beat, where he met many Blues and Jazz musicians like Sarah Vaughn, Nat King Cole, and James Brown. Mr. Cox describes himself as a “blues and jazz” enthusiasts!” Please welcome Mr. Cox.
Mr. Arnette Bodenhamer – Mr. Bodenhamer plays trumpet and he played in the Silas Green Show. He went on to play trumpet in the military and played for some of the great musicians in the day like Little Richard and Fats Domino.