Sunday, July 27, 2008

Roy Head

From his biographical entry on
Actually a country and rock vocalist rather than an R&B star, Roy Head nevertheless cut one of the great pieces of up-tempo soul in the mid-'60s. "Treat Her Right" on [Houston's] Back Beat made it to number two on the R&B charts and number two pop, and the fact that Head was white was soft-pedaled in R&B circles while the song made its way up the charts. That performance alone was enough to qualify Head as one of the finest blue-eyed soul singers of the 1960s.

Novella Smith [a.k.a. "Dizzy Lizzy"] and Skipper Lee Frazier were the Deejays who "broke" Head's famous single in 1965 on Houston's black R&B station, KYOK. (In radio lingo, breaking a new record means to introduce it with constant, heavy airplay.) The rest is history.

It was history once again yesterday when Novella and Roy reunited after 40-odd years, first at Shangri-La Records (1916 Madison), and later at his Hi-Tone performance, to close the 2008 Memphis Pops Festival.

Yours truly was there with a camera.

We meet up with Roy and his wife Carolyn, backstage at the Hi-Tone.

Out front, Ardent's Terry Manning is finishing up his set.

Roy was backed by the Bo-Keys.

Of special note, two Memphis artists with a bit of history of their own. Seen on the left in this poicture is Skip Pitts, the wah-wah guitar on Isaac Hayes' oscar-winning Theme From Shaft.

On trumpet, Ben Cauley, one of the original Bar-Kays. He was plucked from the water as the sole survivor of the 1967 Otis Redding plane crash.

Roy brings a fan on stage to help him perform. I don't think this cutie is even half old enough to have heard Dizzy Lizzy spin Roy's hit record!

Roy "treats her [Novella] right," just before performing his most famous hit.

Deejay-nerations: Novella and a DJ from Q107.5.

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