Soul Clan, Soul Clan

Posted on July 22, 2011 by

Artist: Soul Clan
Title: Soul Clan
Label: Atco SD 33-281
Released: 1969
Condition: Good

I was 16 years old and ten years removed from the original release of the Soul Clan LP. One could still find original and second pressings copies of Arthur Conley, Joe Tex and Solomon Burke LPs in the used bins. But the Soul Clan LP never surfaced.

Along with the aforementioned artists, the Soul Clan included Ben E. King and Don Covay. At one point, the Clan was to include Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding. There are stories of how they formed, beliefs and myths of what they were after, but the one solid truth is an album was pressed and released in 1969.

All the artists had a connection to Atlantic Records. Don Covay claimed the name he came up with the name from the British press when various members toured England, the headline reading, “Soul Clan Invasion.” Some believe it was a shot at the KKK, taking all the goodness and righteousness of soul music and creating the antithesis of the Klan. Some people say it was Covay’s conception to help his career. Don was known as a better songwriter than a performer. Hitching to these stars would put him on a soul rocket.

Solomon, always the entrepreneur, thought he could build an independent Black industry from their accumulative popularity and talents complete with hotel chains across Texas. I only knew of a record that existed, combining all these talents and I wanted it.

It was probably about ten years later when a friend of mine was selling off his 45 rpm collection. I went to his house with about $100.00 and started digging, sifting, dreaming and prioritizing. There were Al Green picture sleeves, the largest collection of Jackie Wilson 45’s I’ve ever seen, plus rock records ranging from the Stones to NRBQ. There, in the “S” section I pulled out a Soul Clan single. I purchased it for three bucks and asked if he had any more singles from the album. He informed me that “Soul Meeting” b/w “That’s How I Feel” was the only single they released. I then asked if he had the album and he didn’t, but he said I probably had already heard it, because the remainder of the album were just solo tracks, two each, by the members of the Clan. The Joe Tex tracks were, “Skinny Legs & All” and “Hold What You’ve Got.” Covays’s two major hits were included, “Mercy, Mercy” and “See Saw.” Arthur Conley’s smash, “Sweet Soul Music” was coupled with “Funky Street.” The Solomon Burke songs chosen were further removed from the time with 1961’s “Just Out of Reach” and 1965’s “Got To Get You Off My Mind.” Rounding out the album were Ben E. King’s “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” from 1962 and the then contemporary, “Til I Can’t Take It Any More.”

Becoming privy to that knowledge and now owning the only real collaboration from the album, the Soul Clan’s mystique waned. It didn’t ever leave my mind though. In June of 1992, Solomon Burke played a show at a local club. Between sets I got into Burke’s dressing room and got to ask him a few questions. Burke, who was amiable and gracious that evening, changed the tone in is voice at the mention of the Soul Clan. Burke felt that Atlantic Records never gave it the full support because they feared that together – Burke, Tex, Covay, Conley and King – possessed too much power. Atlantic didn’t want to let the artists have that kind of leverage. The single hit #91 in the US Hot 100 Chart and 34 in the R&B Charts in 1968. Atlantic claimed there was no such conspiracy. There will always be two sides to the story and Atlantic followed through with the release of the full album in 1969. Why more collaborative tracks were not recorded, I do not know.

Within the last year or two a friend of mine told me she had found a copy of the Soul Clan album at a local music store. I had confessed that I had still never seen a copy of it. She paid an ample sum for her copy but I totally understood why and it’s hard to explain why if you don’t have vinyl in your blood, love in your heart and soul in your bones.

Now the album is digitally available through Atlantic/Rhino on iTunes. For $9.99, anybody can own compressed files of soul and raw emotion. I got a tangible copy where I can still feel the grooves. Onward to the next quest…

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One Response to “Soul Clan, Soul Clan”

  1. Mike Elias says:

    I don’t believe any of the artists ever performed in their respective Soul Clan tartans.

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