Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Andy Chapman - Double Your Satisfaction (ATCO 6558)

Double Your Satisfaction

So, over on The B Side, we established that the guy singing on the other side of this 45 was not Andy Chapman, but in reality Tommy Tate. Naturally, one would assume that this must be Tommy on the flip as well, right? Wrong!

Another very cool Thomas, McCree, Thomas number, the vocalist on here, everybody seems to agree (except Huey Meaux, who says he never heard of him), is a guy named Big Ben Atkins. Atkins came up out of Vernon, Alabama (the same town that gave us Dan Penn), leading a college circuit band called The Nomads, mining the same territory as Penn's Pallbearers. He cut his first single at Fame, a double sider of Penn/Oldham tunes that was actually produced by Dan, and released on original American Sound partner Seymour Rosenberg's Youngstown label in Memphis.

Singles on Statue and Goldwax would follow, before he wound up at Grits n' Gravy. It certainly seems odd that Atlantic would agree to put out a record on a guy with an established 'name' out there on the street under a different moniker, especially seeing as how there were in reality two different Andy Chapmans on the same record. Like Tommy Tate said, this was also probably cut as a demo, and shopped out to Wexler who remained unaware of the ruse. I wonder what Huey would have done if it was a hit?

Quinton Claunch leased a couple more 45s to Josie, before Ben was picked up by Stax, who released the critically acclaimed Patchouli LP on their Enterprise subsidiary in 1971. Produced by Bobby Manuel and Duck Dunn, it was cut at Muscle Shoals Sound, and broke into the top 100 on the Billboard album chart that year. Like most white guys singing R&B in the late seventies, however, he ended up getting lumped in with the 'Country' guys (just like our friend Len Wade), and his biggest hit would come on the Country charts with We Don't Live Here, We Just Love Here in 1978.

Ben Atkins cut an LP per decade in the eighties and nineties, and is still around. According to his website, he is now performing as a founding member of The Class of '65, "...a complete show and dance band with a rhythm section, four piece horn section, light show, and female background and lead vocalists." His early material routinely fetches big bucks on eBay, and his own hard driving brand of 'blue eyed soul' still holds up today, as evidenced by this rockin' side that Huey Meaux produced on him over forty years ago (even if Huey doesn't remember it).

You can't make this stuff up.