:: Fed Up with the Blues ::
Here we have a song sung by deeply unappreciated soul artist, O.V. Wright. It’s the b-side to one of his biggest hit singles, “Eight Men, Four Women,” released on Don Robey’s Backbeat Records in 1967. Overton Vertis Wright had been singing gospel professionally since the age of six, and by his teens he’d made a couple of records with gospel group, The Sunset Travelers, for Robey’s Duke/Peacock label. This gospel background is evident in all of his recordings; his voice is FILLED with the Spirit – raw, emotional and brought forth from the deepest recesses of his soul. Listen to the way he finishes off “Fed Up with the Blues.” That’s some deep, sweet, soulful, soulfulness, folks. Can I get a witness?
Both sides of the single are credited to D. Malone, which was Don Robey’s nom de guerre. (Deadric Malone - names just don’t get any more bad-ass than that.) According to Peter Guralnick’s Sweet Soul Music, most of O.V.’s material was written by Roosevelt Jamison and/or Melvin Carter. Robey bought all of the Carter songs for a fee, and then put the D. Malone credit on them and collected all the royalties. So this song was most likely written by Carter.
Roosevelt Jamison was a music scout and songwriter who penned, “That’s How Strong My Love Is,” made popular by Otis Redding, but first recorded by O.V. Wright. Jamison had brought the song to O.V. after hearing him rehearse with a gospel group, The Harmony Echoes, and they decided to use it as a means for a solo crossover bid from the gospel field to commercial success. Goldwax picked it up and released it in late 1964. Only problem was, Wright was still contractually obligated to Robey with The Sunset Travelers, and Robey promptly filed a lawsuit. Goldwax released Wright back to Robey, in exchange for complete rights to the “That’s How Strong My Love Is” single, and Wright continued his solo career for Robey’s R&B label, Backbeat, with Willie Mitchell producing a few of his later albums. He then moved to Mitchell’s Hi Records label in the 70’s. Jamison, undeterred, went on to focus his energies nurturing the career of another unappreciated soul artist who had been singing with Wright in The Harmony Echoes: James Carr.