CASE THREE: J. Hines
Some twenty years in the making:
LATEST UPDATE: 12/29/08
Back in the day, as they say, there used to be this incredible woman who sold things from a table on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. Her name was Laura. You never knew what you were going to find on her table. One time I bought a hand-colored framed photograph of the "100th Anniversary of the Jos. P. Schlitz Brewing Company, 1949 ". It's awesome. Anyway, we got to be pretty good friends, Laura and I, and I shopped there almost on a daily basis.
One thing she always had was records. Piles of records. Although most of them were in rough shape, I bought them anyway. Some nights I'd walk away with a shopping bag full of scratched-up vinyl for like 10 bucks. I viewed it as some kind of expedition into the unknown, as most of the discs, the ones I bought anyway, were by people I had never heard of. I used to make tapes of the best of 'em for friends. (I guess it was kind of like the 'origin of the B side' or something.)
Laura taught me a lot over the years, and not just about vinyl. She was a mighty woman. A force of the universe... maybe even, in the best sense of the word, a "witch". I miss those nights at her table when time seemed to stand still as the rush hour madness swirled all around us, and we talked of many things...
Anyway, my favorite of all of Laura's records was this one:
Can't Think Of Nothing (Blank Mind)
I just love it to death. That guitar, the sax, the drums, the bass... the whole deal is just pure soul heaven to me. Another record that never leaves the ol' jukebox. Now, in those innocent, pre-google days, I didn't even know where to begin to look for info on J. Hines or his Boys. I used to call radio stations and stuff. Nobody had ever heard of him.
Years later, quite by accident, while I was digging for info on Joe Haywood, I came across this on Jason Perlmutter's excellent South Carolina page:
J. Hines and the Boys ???
"Funky-Funk/ Pt. 2" (Nation Wide N-100)
"A Funky X-Mas To You/ Funky Funk (Pt. 1)" (Nation Wide N-100/ 1)
"Going Down- For The Last Time/ Can't Think Of Nothing (Blank Mind)" (Nation Wide 105)
"Camelot Time/ Victory Strut" (Deluxe 150) as J. Hines and the Fellows
BINGO! An actual discography of sorts... I started looking around for these other records, and found out that "Camelot Time" actually spent 5 weeks on the R&B charts in the summer of 1973, climbing as high as #71. Well, well! Next, I found out that none other than good ol' Larry Grogan (you just knew he'd turn up somewhere) had uploaded a copy of it to Funk45.com (a great site which right now appears to be on the fritz...). Alrighty then.
Next, I e-mailed Jason at Carolina Soul, and he replied with:
"As for J. Hines, I don't have any info. There is one local SC release by him on the Roadway label from '75, and I've heard he's from SC, but I don't have any further specifics at this point."
Sure enough, elsewhere on his site, I found this:
500 J. Hines and the Boys "J. Hines Mood/ The Funky Bumble Bee" 1975
(the Columbia in this case refers to a city in South Carolina, not the record conglomerate.)
Vinyl diving continued, and I found this on eBay:
Funky Funk (Part 2)
I'm going with the B side here, as it has more of the vocals on it. Towards the end, whoever is singing (it may not be J.) says; "...down in Georgia, hey, my hometown, Savannah". That's a clue, I guess. The only reason Jason had them on his page as a possible South Carolina band is their appearance on the Roadway label:
Funky Bumble Bee
It took me a while, but I found us a copy of this one. According to the label, it's from 1975, two years after they charted with their record on Deluxe. No longer calling themselves "Fellows", it's back to just plain ol' "Boys". I love the name of the publishing company - "Chitterling Music". You can't get much more down home than that!
SO, I'm guessing that "J." was the guitar player, and a great one at that.
I'm all ears.
OK, first out of the box is detective Dan with:
"Looks like the R. Hammond on the Nation-wide releases is, Roy C. Hammond, a/k/a, soul artist Roy C.
J. Hines is also shown in the BMI database as James Hines and James L. Hines, with about 30 titles. Only one, as far as I can tell, 'Funky Funk', matches your singles and that discog. But that's a start.
Since J. Hines was associated with Roy C, maybe he played in Roy C's band. I am not up on Roy C, but maybe somebody has some of his albums (?) that might have musician listings..."
Cool. The BMI database, now why didn't I think of that?
SO, we've got a first name here anyway! Way to go, Dan!
Well, I hope everybody had a great weekend... the weather here in the Northeastern US was just great, like somebody turned on the "summer" switch all of a sudden. So, here I am, sunburned, mosquito-bitten and a bit hungover, and loving every minute of it...
Going Down For The Last Time
Here's the 'A' side of the single that started all of this. It's just about as good as the flip... Hines' guitar work may be even better on this one, and the freakin' SAXAPHONE!! (There's another question, guys, who's blowing dat horn?) Amazing stuff.
NOW, you've all been busy while I've been out playing... the Roy C connection looks very promising. Roy is from New York, and first charted in 1959 (as a member of vocal group "The Genies") when he was 16 years old. His biggest hit, "Shotgun Wedding" hit #14 on the R&B charts in 1965. By the late sixties he apparently owned his own publishing company (Johnson-Hammond Music) and record label, Nation-Wide. The first release on the label was probably #100, "Funky Funk", co-written with J. Hines, and produced by "Dupree-Ross-Jefferson".
By the time #102 was released, production was by "Roy C-J.Hines". This scan comes courtesy of detective Colin , who goes on to mention other Nation-Wide artists like "Dynamite Singletary" and "The Attractions" that performed songs written and produced by Hammond and Hines. (Colin's sending along a CD of some of this stuff, and I'll be putting it up as I get it...).
He mentions that although the artist on Nation-Wide 102, James Shaw, shares the same name as The Mighty Hannibal, he's a different guy entirely. In this case he was "NY based - had one release? Owned a label - Shaw?? and worked with Little Buster, James Hines & Willie White..."
Wait a minute! Little Buster???? As I'm sure you all know by now, I was a huge fan. I pulled my copy of Jubilee 5527 (It's Loving Time/I Got A Good Thing Going) out of the jukebox, and, sure enough, it was produced by one James Shaw... the 'A' side was co-written by him as well. Buster's guitar style was kinda like Hines'... as a matter of fact, I always thought that J. Hines & the Boys sounded almost exactly like Little Buster & The Soul Brothers, that's why I dug the record so much.
Now, this is getting interesting to me. I'm always on the look-out for the elusive "New York Soul", a term you just don't hear. I mean you've got your Motown, Chicago Soul, the Sound of Philadelphia... all of that, but the Big Town just never got credit for having it's own "sound". Even though labels like Atlantic, Sue, Jubilee/Josie, Wand/Scepter, and Arock/Sylvia were based there (not to mention Bobby Robinson's Fire/Fury empire), the music they recorded in the city somehow never got identified with it. Although Little Buster had lived in New York since the late fifties, and played local clubs in the metropolitan area for over 40 years, even his music was not considered "New York Soul"... Anyway, between Roy C, and J. Hines, James Shaw, Joe Haywood, Sterling Magee, and Buster, maybe we're on to something!
According to Colin, James Hines continued to work with Roy C on his Alaga releases, and was featured on at least three of his Three Gems albums, co-producing 1987's Let Me Take You To Paradise.
This 1998 CD, Stella Lost Her Groove Again, appears to be a compilation of Roy related artists that has three of our featured Hines & the Boys tunes on there.
Roy is still active today, and continues to produce great records. Here's a real audio clip courtesy of Bad Dog Blues from his 2005 release, Hey Mista' :
That could just be James Hines on the guitar... anybody have any of these recent Roy C albums?
Thanks for all the great input... look at what we've found out already!
Hey everybody, I just got a CD from Colin with some more Nation-Wide material on it, and I'll be putting some up for us a bit at a time. First, here's the A side of the Roadway record:
J. Hines Mood
This one's really grown on me since I first heard it. Hines' guitar here is phenomenal... check out the strings!
Next up is a record by James Shaw (you know the one that's NOT the Mighty Hannibal...) taken from Colin's CD:
Guilty Of Adultry
That's definitely James on the guitar... I'm diggin' the flute! How is it that a guy with as soulful a voice as this only put out one record? A very cool "Roy C.-J. HinesProduction" of a song they co-wrote as well.
SO, here's a partial NATION-WIDE Discography I put together from various sources:
100 - J. Hines and The Boys: Funky Funk Pt 1 / Funky Funk Pt 2
102 - James Shaw: Got To Get Me A Wife / Guilty Of Adultry (Now What We Gonna Do)
103 - Dynamite Singletary: Got To Get Enough/I Ain't Gonna Take No For An Answer
104 - Attractions: Did I Do The Right Thing / Got To Say What You Mean
105 - J. Hines and The Boys: Going Down For The Last Time / Can't Think Of Nothing (Blank Mind)
106 - Attractions: Honey I Still Love You/Since God Made Women
The label was apparently owned by Roy C.
(...according to Colin, the Attractions went on to become "Mark IV", and #106 was also released on Mercury.)
Anybody know of any other releases on Nation-Wide?
Alright folks, the saga of the hard drive continues, but I figured I'd upload the A side of the James Shaw single for ya, anyway:
Got To Get Me A Wife
More great J. Hines guitar on this one, and poor lonely James is just feelin' it, ya know? Sounds a lot like ol' Joe Haywood there at the end, don't ya think? More New York Soul!
Hope you dig it, and I'd like to wish a Happy Father's Day to all you Detective Dads out there... you know who you are!
More next week... thanks!
Alright guys, here's some interesting facts on the case taken from an excellent In The Basement article on Roy C. that was written by Dave Cole, and submitted to us by Colin.
Roy had moved from Georgia to Long Beach, New York when he was 16. He began singing on the boardwalk every weekend with a group of guys who called themselves "The Genies". They got picked up by the local SHAD label and had a moderate local hit with "Who's That Knockin'" in 1958. His first solo success came in 1965 when the great "Shotgun Wedding" shot to #14 on the national R&B charts for the small Blackhawk label which was based in Jamaica, Queens.
By 1968, Roy had opened up his own record shop in Brooklyn, and had decided to start his own record labels, ALAGA and NATION-WIDE.
"I used my band and a guitar, James Hines, - J. Hines & the Boys, and I used them on the NATION-WIDE label... I started training him in the studio around '68, doing some things, getting preparations for later on...", Roy said. The first ALAGA release (1000) was "In Divorce Court", and according to Roy he "had to break Hines in with that song, and a couple of other songs, and after that we were pretty tight."
Here's both sides of an incredible record (hunted down for us by Colin) from someone named "DYNAMITE SINGLETARY":
I Ain't Gonna Take No For An Answer (Got To Have Some Of Your Love)
Hines' "training" sure pays off on this one... it rocks! Dynamite is just laying it out, parents or no parents, he's gettin' him some!
Got To Get Enough (Of Your Sweet Love Stuff)
This cookin' tune was also covered by Roy himself (on ALAGA 1006), and that version rose to #45 R&B in the summer of 1971 (I'm not sure which was released first...). None other than Louis Farrakhan denounced it on New York radio, going off for about ten minutes about the line "I can't see nothing wrong if a man want to make love to another man's wife, as long as he do it right"... nothing like a little free advertising, huh?
Both sides of the Dynamite single were co-written by Hammond and Hines and were produced by "Roy C.-J.Hines for Dr. K. Lawrence Productions".
Anyway, Roy and James "broke off somewhere around '73", the year that saw Roy signing with MERCURY, and Hines & the Boys going with DELUXE... more on that later on.
So, detectives, WHO was ol' 'Dynamite', and while you're at it, how about 'Dr. K. Lawrence'?
OK... as you might have noticed in the 'comments' section, James was back working with Roy by 1977 on Mercury (thanks, Dan). I DO have a Mercury 45 from 1974 (Loneliness Has Got A Hold On Me), however, and James is nowhere to be found... so I guess the 'break-off' was indeed a short-lived one.
I met a very interesting cat by the name of Henry Henderson at the Get Busterized tribute and benefit last week. Henry had been friends with Buster since 1964, and was the MC and leader of the house band at a legendary establishment called "The Highway Inn" here on Long Island. The Inn was THE premier club for Soul in the area, and was an obligatory stop on the circuit for all the top performers. From 1967-72, Henry was at the center of the NY Soul universe as he opened for, and in many cases provided the back-up band for, everyone from Wilson Pickett to the Stylistics.
He, of course, knew (and worked with) Roy C, J. Hines and James Shaw (the name 'Dynamite Singletary' drew a blank stare, however). According to Henry, the ALAGA/NATION-WIDE office was located in Grand Central Station, and Roy re-located to Freeport, Long Island after he signed with Mercury and started Three Gems. Let's go back to the In The Basement article...
"...I was doing a show somewhere in South Carolina [the state where James Hines was living], he came over and his wife got us back together again, and we stayed together again for a while", Roy said, "I had an office in New York. I had moved from Jamaica out to Freeport, and the rent was not bad out there... next thing I know, they were going to triple my rent... so I said 'time to move!' - I purchased a building and I moved my operation down to Allendale, South Carolina in 1989."
Some time back, Colin had gotten me the e-mail address of Sheila Cauthen, the head of Roy C's current record company, Roya. I contacted her and told her of our quest for information about J. Hines, she replied:
"...J Hines expired 2 years ago from cancer. He had long left Roy C and was heavily into gospel. I am in possession of and the owner of all of the Masters on J. I plan to start working on them in October to see where I will go with them."
Looks like we're a little late, once again.
I checked the Social Security Death Index and found:
Name: James L. Hines
Last Residence: 29810 Allendale, South Carolina
Born: 6 May 1944
Died: 11 Oct 2004
State (Year) SSN issued: New Jersey (1966 )
I next contacted a Columbia, SC newspaper called The State where a very helpful reference librarian named Lee Hemphill dug this out of their archives:
SOUTH CAROLINA OBITUARIES (Abridged)
Published on: 10/15/2004
James Hines Sr.
ALLENDALE - Services for Minister James Hines Sr., 60, 11 a.m. Saturday at Revelation Ministries, Sycamore. Cave Funeral Service is in charge. Born to William and Lucile Ross, he died Oct. 11, 2004. Surviving: wife, Ruth Satchell-Hines; children, Cynthia Makell, Tyrando Sr., Constance Satchell, James Jr., Carl Hines; siblings, Elizabeth, Pearl, Sylvia, Elaine, Walter, Sidney, Bennie, David, Ralph, Larry; 8 grands.
Wait a minute, I thought, MINISTER James Hines? Sheila had said he was "heavily into gospel", but didn't say he had been ordained. So, I e-mailed her back with the info I had uncovered (and while I was at it asked if James had ever recorded any gospel material), and she answered:
"Yes this is the James L. Hines that you are looking for. I don't know of a gospel album but I think that I can find out for you. J was truly a Master at what he did. It was so sad the way he and Roy C parted."
So, detectives, there ya go. James Hines, New York Soul guitar great went on to become an ordained Minister serving his community at Revelation Ministries.
God rest his soul.
Sheila's Roya label, meanwhile, has become one of the last strongholds of true Southern Soul. In addition to Roy C, she has an impressive roster of artists that are all about keeping the groove alive!
Here's a newly released track by Brooklyn born Judi Brown Eyez:
This girl has got it goin' on! Another NY/SC soul connection!
I'll certainly be looking forward to seeing what Sheila does with those J. Hines masters this Fall...
Hey folks - yes I know that things are moving kinda slow here at soul detective lately, but it's a summertime 90+ degree thing...
Anyway, both Colin and I finally got our grubby little hands on a copy of J. Hines' only chart hit, Camelot Time (#71 in 1973), around the same time... so here ya go:
Funky stuff, huh? I'm not sure if the Camelot Time was supposed to be some kind of new dance craze or something (you know, like Twine Time), but James is just cookin' along here! I wonder whose decision it was to change the "Boys" to "Fellows"? Here's the B side:
I like it better than the A side, actually (it's a red kelly thing, you know...). The guitar is great, and that bass line! yeah, baby... Anyway, if you notice, the publishing company is listed as "Chitterlin Music", kind of like the ROADWAY sides from 2 years later, only they left off the 'g'... also, the record is produced by "Gingerbread Doughboy", any clues as to who that might be, guys?
Now, check THIS out - Colin, noodling around on the internet as usual, found this on good ol' Jason Perlmutter's Carolina Soul site:
Dynamite Lake City?
N-6807 Dynamite Singletary "The Same Way You Love Your Man You Can Love Me/ I Really Love You"
Wow, yet another South Carolina/New York connection... I e-mailed Jason to see if we could locate a copy of this record, or at least find some more info on it. We'll see!
OK... I've heard back from Jason Perlmutter, and he informs me that Dynamite (aka Henry David) Singletary is still around, living quietly in his home state of South Carolina.
He also told me about two more releases by him:
Moe The Rooster: (no catalog #) The Funky Mule/Git Down
Free Soul Inc.: FS 101 - Super Good/?
Needless to say, I'd love to hear them if anybody's got 'em!
NOW, I woke up this morning to find THIS in the 'comments':
"I have read your current article on Soul Detective and would like to inform you that your information is wrong. I am the daughter of Roy C. Hammond and the administrator of his affairs. He is in no way connected with Shelia Cauthen. She is not the head of anything in this company. Mr. Hammond (My father) has no dealings with Roya Records. He is not under Roya Records label. This company is not associated with Mr. Hammond. Mr. Hammond is the CEO of Carolina Record Dist. and Three Gems Records. He is under his label and his label only. Ms. Cauthen does not own any of J. Hines masters. All masters on Nationwide, Three Gems and Alaga is owned solely by Roy C. Hammond. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact Mr. Hammond..."
Well, there ya go!
I just sent an e-mail out to Roy C... we'll see what happens!
So, the phone rings last night at about 10:30 and, you guessed it, Roy C was on the other end! I was pretty much flabbergasted, but I did the best I could...
First off, Roy wanted us to know that he has absolutely nothing to do with Sheila Cauthen's Roya Records, and that he was pretty annoyed that she would continue to act as if he did. As far as her being "in possession of and the owner of all of the Masters on J. Hines", Roy could only snort, "she never even met the man!". He continues to control all the rights to his ALAGA, NATION-WIDE, and THREE GEMS masters, and characterized Ms. Cauthen as an opportunist, at best... (I tried to e-mail her and give her a chance to respond, but the address I had used for her just a month ago is no longer valid... )
As we talked about his music, it became apparent that, in much the same way as Allen Toussaint does, Roy decides pretty much every note he wants each instrument to play in advance of a session. He told me that "even though I'm not a musician, I can hear the music in my head, and I know just how I want it to sound on the record". He went on to say that all the musicians playing on his 1965 hit "Shotgun Wedding" were nothing but High School kids that he taught how to play his way. This is what he meant when he said he started "training" J. Hines in 1967, he wanted him to have "that tone", and he sure did.
He went on to say that he and James were "like brothers", and that (much like other famous songwriting teams) he would list a song as being composed by 'Hammond and Hines', even if James had nothing to do with it. According to Roy, it was Hines who drifted away from him as he got more and more involved with religion, and became more interested in playing his guitar in church than in the studio.
The conversation was just amazing, and Roy was kind enough to be patient with me as I stumbled through this impromptu interview. I did find out some interesting stuff, and the answers to a few of the questions we've raised:
1.) That is ROY singing on "Funky-Funk", and yes, Savannah Georgia IS his hometown!
2.) Speaking of that first NATION-WIDE release, Roy said that the band on the record was supposed to be none other than Little Buster & The Soul Brothers! When he drove out to the island to meet with them, and explain the parts he wanted each instrument to play, the bass player (presumably Val Thomas) balked, and told him that he had no business telling him what to play. Roy just picked up and left, and put together J. Hines' Boys instead.
3.) He met Dynamite Singletary while he was performing in South Carolina, and his promoter, a doctor named K. Lawrence, convinced Roy to sign him to his label. He brought both of them up to New York to cut NATION-WIDE 103, hence the "Dr. K. Lawrence Productions" credit on the label. Roy said that his ALAGA version of "Got To Get Enough" was released first (in the summer of 1971), so that would put the Dynamite single shortly after that.
4.) The "Johnson" of Roy's publishing company, "Johnson-Hammond Music" was fellow member of The Genies, Claude Johnson, who co-wrote their big 1959 hit "Who's That Knocking". Claude went on to become half of Don & Juan the seminal doo-wop/soul duo that scored the huge top ten smash What's Your Name in 1962. He later became a member of New York City, the smooth soul vocal group that hit big with I'm Doin' Fine Now in 1973. Claude apparently passed away in 2002.
5.) ALAGA and NATION-WIDE were not headquartered in Grand Central Station, as we erroneously reported earlier, but had a PO Box in "Central Station" Post Office in Jamaica, Queens. Most of the recording for the labels was done at either Broadway Recording or 39th Street Recording studios in Manhattan.
6.) The positively SMOKIN' saxaphone on "Can't Think Of Nothing (Blank Mind)" and "Going Down For The Last Time" was played by a gentleman named Fred Ezekiel, who is now apparently a member of the Columbus Jazz Society down in Georgia. I e-mailed the society, and am hoping Fred will consent to speak with us.
Roy told me he was saddened to hear of Little Buster's passing when he was up here on Long Island to perform at a wedding earlier this Summer. He is scheduled to do a show with Denise LaSalle in the Washington D.C. area on August 26th, and said he hopes to visit with Don Covay, who has apparently taken a turn for the worse, in Maryland while he's up there.
It truly was an incredible phone call.
Here's Part One of "Funky-Funk", which somehow never made it up here:
NATION-WIDE 100 A
Funky Funk (Part 1)
This is just GREAT stuff, ain't it? As I said before, J's guitar playing is a lot like Buster's. Little did I realize how close he came to taking his place! And, yeah, now that you hear it again, we should have realized that was Roy on the vocals, right? Very cool.
All in all a great day for soul detectives everywhere, folks!
THANK YOU ROY C!!
Hey y'all! I'm back from our 2000+ mile road trip, and am trying to ease myself back into things over here.
First things first:
I received another phone call from our man Roy C the day before we left. He said he just wanted to answer any other questions we might have (unreal!). Ok, I sez, what about this James Shaw guy?
The way Roy tells it, James got a little greedy, and basically ruined his shot at success. After his NATION-WIDE single (#102) was released, Roy had set up a gig for him in support of the record, and was promoting it with a DJ from a local radio station. Shaw figured he was a big star at this point, and refused to perform unless he was paid $2000 up front. Both Roy and the DJ tried to give him a reality check, and hold things together, but James wouldn't hear of it. Roy had no choice but to drop him from the label, and he sank like a stone.
The James Shaw that did production work for Jubilee and worked with Little Buster is a different guy entirely, according to Roy.
He also told me a story about Mark IV, the group that was originally called The Attractions, and had the last NATION-WIDE release (#106), "Honey I Still Love You". Roy had convinced them to change their name, feeling that "The Attractions" would get lost on a concert poster ("you know, like 'featuring The Attractions'... what attractions?", he said. I guess Elvis Costello never thought of that!) When Roy signed with Mercury, Mark IV wanted a major label deal too, and he helped them get one. "Honey I Still Love You" was released on Mercury in the summer of 1972, and climbed to #13 on the R&B charts. Their next two singles would chart as well, and they were well on their way. At this point, according to Roy, he helped put together a show through legendary Philadelphia DJ Butterball Tamburro. This time, the group WAS paid $2000, and they "jumped the gig", which means, I take it, that they never showed up. "That was it for them", he said.
OK... NOW, check this out - I spent about 45 minutes on the phone yesterday with Shelia Cauthen, you know, the lady form ROYA Records... well! I won't go into details here, folks, but let's just say that her and Roy are involved in a dispute about (what else?) money, and that the matter will apparently be decided in the courts. Until such time, Shelia wants everyone to know that she is indeed the president and CEO of Roya/Chessboy Records, and that, although it's association with Roy's Carolina Records Distributing has been dissolved, she continues to produce "real music" for a variety of artists on her label. As far as the "J. Hines Masters" are concerned, Shelia maintains that she is indeed in posession of them, and that their ownership may best be decided by the courts as well.
At this point, I told her, our primary focus here at Soul Detective remains on the music, where it belongs.
That being said, here's a cool example of the Hammond/Hines collaboration from 1989, some 20 years after they first got it together (both the mp3 and the label scan come to us courtesy of ol' pal detective Dan Phillips, the guardian of 'Da Groove'... thanks bro!):
THREE GEMS 114 A
Rock Me All Night
Although James is not listed as a composer here, he is credited as both a producer and arranger. That trademark J. Hines guitar is just cookin' along holdin' the whole thing together, man. Check out them strings! The label says it was recorded in NYC, but was apparently released just after Roy moved the whole operation down to Allendale, SC in 1988. Roy's typically risque lyrics made this one somewhat of a regional hit down there, and, if you can believe this, the song has actually been redone by Roya Records singer Judi Blue Eyez for her forthcoming album.
It's all good!
Hello folks, let me fill you in on what's been going on here in the past few weeks.
I was contacted by James Hines' stepdaughter, on behalf of her mother. As it turned out, someone at Mrs. Hines place of business told her about our case over here at Soul Detective, and she was understandably concerned. All this talk of the "J. Hines Masters" was news to her, and she felt 'out of the loop' to say the least! I apologized for our not attempting to contact her sooner, and put the family in contact with Shelia Cauthen.
Yesterday, the Hines Family asked me to post the following (moved up from the 'comments'):
The Hines Family of Allendale, SC would like to thank you for successfully reaching out to us. We would also like to express our appreciation and gratitude to all of the J. Hines’ fans around the world. The widow of J. Hines and the siblings would like to say we love each and every one of the fans, and a great ‘Big Shout’ out to the fans in London, Spain, Africa, West Indies, Japan, and Germany, WE LOVE YOU!!!
If you would like to learn more about J. Hines the master lead guitarist, song writer, and music composer; and the Reverend James Hines (Ministry), please contact the Hines family. Each letter will be answered personally by J. Hines’ widow or one of his children. Now, you can’t get any better than these sources. Here it straight from the mouths’ of the ones who loved him and he loved so dearly in return. You may write to:
The Family of J. Hines (James L. Hines)
P.O. Box 783
Allendale, SC 29810
Finally, much love and appreciation to Mr. Red Kelly & Ms. Sheila Cauthen. GOD bless you both.
The Hines Family
You know, sometimes it's easy to forget that we're talking about people's lives here, and I can't thank Mrs. Hines and her family enough for being so open and gracious with us. Once again, I do apologize for not seeking out the family sooner.
Needless to say, I will be talking further with the Hines clan, and will report back to you.
In my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined that Laura's record would have brought us this far! God certainly does work in strange and mysterious ways, folks.... stay tuned!
Hey everybody. I'm not sure if you saw the 'comment' from Roy C the other day, but in it he mentions two things:
- He and J. hines 'split up' in 1972
- after they split up, J. Hines worked with Benny Gordon for two or three years.
Benny Gordon is a local South Carolina soul man who, with his band The Soul Brothers, did some recording for national labels like Wand and RCA.
Now, we've already established that Hines' Deluxe single 'Camelot Time' came out in '73, and his Roadway 45 was released in 1975, so that would place his work with Gordon somewhere in that time frame. A search of Jason Perlmutter's Carolina Soul site revealed that Benny also had some releases on local labels like Estill and Soul City USA.
An eBay search by your humble detective netted us two singles that appeared to be from that era:
ESTILL 1000 - Sugar Mama Part 1 b/w Sugar Mama Part 2
SOUL CITY USA 931 - Suga Mama Suga Daddy b/w La-La-La- I Am Falling In Love Again
Here's one of 'em:
SOUL CITY USA 931
La-La-La- I Am Falling In Love Again
That sure sounds like ol' J on the guitar, right? I asked Mrs. Hines if James ever did any recording with Benny, and she wasn't sure. She promised to ask Mr. Gordon (who still lives in Allendale), and get back to us. It sounds like our man Hines on the Estill single as well, but I'm gonna hold off posting it until we find out more information.
I spent a fascinating two hours on the phone with the great Benny Gordon last night. A true soul original, Benny's got some tales to tell!
He grew up in the small town of Estill, South Carolina down along the Columbia Highway, and started a band with his brother Sammy on guitar. Originally a Gospel outfit, they called themselves Benny Gordon and the Christian Harmonizers. According to Benny, their song Brightly Beam Our Father's Mercy was a huge hit, and put them 'on top' in the Gospel field. That song led to an appearance at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, which would become "the only gig I ever got fired from!", says Benny. They were apparently just tearing the house down, and the local headliner complained to Joe Crain (the Apollo's booking agent), and refused to follow their act. Joe sent them packing!
Benny soon saw where the money was, and moved to Brooklyn, where he and Sammy crossed over and formed the infamous "Soul Brothers". Their first record was the legendary Camel Walk on Teddy McRae's New York based Enrica label, which became somewhat of a local hit in 1961. It becomes difficult to sort out the labels he recorded for at this point (as Benny said himself, "I don't think I missed any of 'em!"), but great records on Wand, RCA, Shadow, NewMiss, Phil LA of Soul (and more) would follow.
The incredible Give A Damn (About Your Fellow Man) has become a Funk favorite, and his version of J.D. Bryant's (Get It) Come And Get It is a much sought after slab of dynamite as well.
We talked for awhile about New York soul, and how it never got the press it deserved, which led to the subject of Bobby Robinson. Bobby was the king of the whole scene, according to Benny, and there didn't seem to be a time when he didn't have a hit on the R&B charts. J.D. Bryant used to hang around in Benny's basement in Brooklyn while he rehearsed with Sammy and the rest of the Soul Brothers, and they "shared quite a few drinks" together. If you take a look at the publishing credits on the lousy ebay scan of 'Come And Get It' above, you can make out that it was published by 'Bob-Dan Music', which was of course owned by Bobby Robinson and his brother Danny. More evidence of the existence of New York Soul!
Even back in the sixties, Benny realized that there was money to be made in the "white market," and the Soul Brothers soon became the house band at Trudi Heller's legendary discotheque and club on Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village. Frequented by all the 'glitterati' in town, Trudi's gave them exposure they just wouldn't find anywhere else. It seemed only natural, then, that Truman Capote would turn to Trudi to provide the entertainment for his legendary Black And White Ball, otherwise known as the Party Of The Century. With all of New York (as well as Hollywood and D.C.) vying for an invitation, Capote ruthlessly selected 500 guests to attend the extravaganza at the Plaza Hotel in 1966, with music provided by the Soul Brothers. Benny said they were "really gettin' down heavy", when he noticed Frank Sinatra heading for the stage! He wasn't sure what to expect, but when 'Old Blue Eyes' got up there he told him, "Boy, go ahead and sing them blues - blow their minds!" Can you imagine? "His eyes were really blue!," Benny told me.
I realize this doesn't have much to do with J Hines, but I just couldn't resist giving you a little background on Benny.
He eventually moved back 'down home' with his family, and operated his own club for years. The Soul Brothers continued to work regularly on the 'beach music' scene, and when Hines became available after the infamous break-up between him and Roy C, Benny began to feature him at their performances. He would open the show playing with the band before Benny took the stage, and was a great crowd pleaser. They got to be close friends, and Benny has nothing but wonderful things to say about both Hines and Roy C Hammond.
One Sunday, as Benny tells it, his band came to him and told him to get dressed and come down to the club, that he just had to hear something. When he got there he heard a young kid named Maxie Mainer who had been hanging around the band, playing the guitar exactly like J Hines. "Red," he said, "if you closed your eyes you couldn't tell the difference!" He hired him on the spot, and he joined his regular guitar player Austin Jones in the band (brother Sammy had stayed behind in Brooklyn creating funk and proto-disco masterpieces like Upstairs On Boston Road and Making Love with his new band The Hiphuggers). Mainer is the guitarist on the Soul City USA and Estill singles that sounds so much like our man Hines. Benny's right, he sure did sound like him... imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery! Mainer 'got involved in drugs', Benny told me, and wound up committing suicide. A tragic loss.
ESTILL 1000 B
Sugar Mama Part 2
Here's Mainer doing J Hines on another cool single of Benny's on the label he named after his home town. I decided to put up Part 2, as Gordon gets to stretch out and rap a bit. Check out that bass! Beach music at it's best, baby!
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Gordon for taking the time to talk with us, and I promise all of you that we'll be hearing more from this great soul man!
Hey y'all... I just got back in town last night, and found this in the 'comments':
"I found your site researching the credits on an old Archie Bleyer 7", circa 1960, that I recently submitted to discogs.com. It's got a song called Jimmie's Blues credited to F. Linale (probably Frank Linale) and J. Hines - whom I assume to be James Hines...
The database on discogs also has a 1983 jazz fusion release by Oliver Sain, that has an engineer credit to Jimmy Hines (which is less likely to be the same person... (see the release here)"
Well thank you detective Kergillian! I thought the same thing when I found this 45 on eBay a while back. When I heard it, though, I changed my mind. It's a big fat Hammond organ blues groove with nary a guitar in sight. The A side of the single is credited to 'The Vagabonds with Jimmie Hines', and has a fairly wild vocal laid over the top. Your Oliver Sain reference got me thinking though, and I found a a site called STLBlues that has a review of a 2000 Sain tribute concert in St. Louis at which "Jimmie Hines and the All Stars opened the evenings festivities..." It seems safe to say, then, that 'Jimmie' Hines is apparently a St. Louis based organist and band leader, and not our 'J'...
We'll talk more about 'J' very soon, I promise.
Thanks for pitchin' in, K, stay tuned!
MEET J HINES
After many months of conversations with the family and friends of J Hines, all of whom have graciously consented to share their precious memories and photographs with us, I'd like to try and introduce him to you.
James was born in Flushing, New York on May 6, 1944, the third oldest in a growing family that would eventually include 12 children. While still a boy, it became evident that young James' albinism was affecting his vision, and he was diagnosed as 'clinically blind'. He was enrolled in the highly regarded Georgia Academy for the Blind when he was twelve years old. As the family had hoped, James thrived at the academy, graduating at the top of his class in 1964.
It was said that he had a 'photographic memory', but since his vision was so seriously impaired, that memory was transferred to his other senses. James became quite the mechanic, and he could take an engine apart and rebuild it with his bare hands. While still a teenager, a neighbor asked him to fix his electric guitar. He did such a great job, that his brother-in-law gave him one for his sixteenth birthday. From that day forward, James would use those hands, and that incredible mind to master the instrument, eventually providng the music for his niece's wedding.
In 1967, James walked into a record store in Brooklyn and began talking with the owner, a local guy named Roy Hammond. Roy had made a couple of singles himself by then (as we discussed above), but a series of rotten deals with various record labels had left him out in the cold. Hammond had a vision of building his own company, and making records his way. The two men began working together, crafting a unique and identifiable sound that they would make their own. James played guitar on the first release on Roy's new ALAGA label, In Divorce Court, and is also listed as the co-writer.
According to Roy, the two men became 'like brothers', and decided to split their songwriting and production '50/50'. As we've mentioned before, Hammond created a subsidiary label named NATION-WIDE to provide an outlet for other local artists. The first release on that label, Funky Funk Part I & II, was credited to 'J Hines and the Boys', the first recording made under his own name (as outlined above, Roy actually handled the vocals on that record). 'The Boys' went on to provide back-up for a couple of other label signees before releasing the phenomenal two-sider that started all of this - Going Down For The Last Time b/w Can't Think Of Nothing (Blank Mind), with the talented Fred Ezekiel joining them on saxophone.
'J', as everyone called him, was playing the guitar on Roy's great ALAGA releases as well. Songs like Got To Get Enough (Of Your Sweet Love Stuff) (which broke into the R&B top 50 in 1971) and it's flip Open Letter To The President showed just how tight an ensemble the two men had put together. They toured the country, but were especially popular down south. J met his future bride at a show they were playing in South Carolina in the fall of 1972 that also featured Eddie Floyd and Benny Gordon. It was apparently 'love at first sight', and James and Ruth Ann were married on February 8, 1973 (a union that would continue for 31 years, and produce five loving children).
Meanwhile, Roy had signed with Mercury, and dissolved both ALAGA and NATION-WIDE. At this point there was some kind of falling out about money, and J set off on his own. Moving down to his new bride's home town of Allendale, South Carolina, he remained out 'on the circuit' playing with bands like Augusta's Howard Brothers (pictured above), and opening shows for Benny Gordon's Soul Brothers, who had also moved back to the area by then.
He formed his own band, J Hines and The Fellows, an outfit that would include the Brown brothers from Barnwell and Jerry Mack on the bass. Signing with Deluxe in the summer of 1973, they would record J's only chart hit, Camelot Time, which reached #71 R&B. By 1975, they were recording for Charles Derrick's local Roadway label in Columbia, and had traded 'The Fellows' back in for 'The Boys'.
Roy C came through town on a southern swing shortly after that, and Ruth Ann and her sister went to see him. Roy's contract with Mercury was just about up, and he was eager to get back out there on his own. The sisters helped Roy and J iron out their differences, and they were re-united and ready to kick off Roy's new Three Gems label in 1979. Big local records like To Make You Feel Like A Woman and I Should've Been Gone would follow, and the two men were back doing what they did best, making great music together...
Here is the last recording that J Hines would release under his own name, a cover of King Curtis' (and Luther Dixon's) classic Soul Serenade:
J is back together with another old friend on here, Columbus, Georgia's own Fred Ezekiel, who's wailing on the sax just as he did back in the NATION-WIDE days. Despite the eighties production, Hines' excellent guitar work still comes shining through on this one. He really did have a style all his own, didn't he? Excellent stuff, my friends. The B side was a re-issue of Funky Funk Pt II, which, as Roy told me himself, "should've been a hit!"
More Three Gems singles would follow, including the huge regional hit Rock Me All Night, and Roy and J had no trouble finding work, remaining in demand for concerts and gigs on the Carolina 'beach music' scene and beyond. That's Tyrone Davis in the picture at right (apparently taken backstage after a show in Washington DC in the late eighties). Yes, James Hines was at the top of his game. Towards the end of the decade, however, something stirred within him. Some would say he 'heard the call'...
In the early eighties, Hines had undergone revolutionary eye surgery that dramatically improved his vision. Now, like the biblical Saul, the 'scales dropped from his eyes', and he decided to walk away from his R&B career and dedicate his life to God. J studied day and night, and in 1993 he became a licensed minister. Working with the Reverend Virgin Johnson, Jr., he became a founding member of Johnson's new church, Revelation Ministries, in 1998. When I spoke with pastor Johnson about him he told me that Hines was "more teacher than preacher", a man who wasn't afraid to go forth and teach the word of God in the hospitals and prisons, forever helping those less fortunate than himself. "If he had to drive a hundred miles to help somebody, he'd do it," Reverend Johnson said, "and he'd pay for the gas, too!"
Revelation Ministries Intro
As Reverend Johnson brought his message to radio, 'Brother Hines' was right there, producing and recording both the 'intro' and the 'outro' for his weekly broadcast for over five years. James had put down his guitar after he joined the church, and considered it a part of his sinful past. Pastor Johnson brought him a new one, and insisted on him playing it at their services every Sunday, "His was a God given talent," he said.
Brother Hines, whose albinism made him particulary susceptible, was diagnosed with carcinoma, a severe form of skin cancer, in the late nineties. As the disease progressed, James never lost hope, insisting to his wife and family that the Lord would 'make him whole'. Friends like Benny Gordon were inspired by his strength. "If ever there was a Christ like man," Benny said, "it was James. He won me over... the way that man suffered, I can truly say I met the real Job." Reverend Johnson added "He had tremendous faith. As they wheeled him out of his house into the ambulance that would take him away to the hospital for the last time, he told us that he would 'trust in God to bring him back home'..."
That's just what God did, calling J Hines home on October 11th, 2004.
At his 'Homegoing Service', Roy C spoke to the congregation, telling them that he "loved James like a brother, and couldn't have asked for a better friend... he was a Christian before he even knew it!"
Ruth Ann told me that her husband was a "Good person, inside and out. A good husband, a good father, and just a sweet, sweet man..."
This is my small way of honoring his memory.
You really can't make this stuff up, folks. I was playing some Christmas music at the house here, with my iTunes set on 'shuffle' and it found this:
NATION-WIDE 101 B
A Funky Christmas To You
I have no idea where it even came from. I had already put Christmas records up on The B and A Sides, and even on holy ghost, but I just never got around to doing anything here on Soul D...
Our man J. Hines must have wanted us to hear this one, man. I really believe that.
Apparently released as an alternate B Side to Funky-Funk on Nation-Wide 101, I have never even heard of an existing vinyl copy.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
BENNY GORDONIt was through a comment left here on Case Three that I first learned of our friend Benny Gordon's passing on Christmas Eve. Words cannot express the sorrow that his family is feeling right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
Rest In Peace, Soul Brother.