Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blackfoot's death ends record deal with Hughes

J. Blackfoot signed a two-year recording contract with Roy Hughes' Uptown Records on May 6, 2009, but Blackfoot never got a chance to deliver that soulful sound that Hughes was looking for. (Courtesy photo)

           The soulful sound that J. Blackfoot could easily summon from within set him apart from his contemporaries. He’d distinguished himself with The Bar-Kays, The Soul Children and as a solo artist on such chart-toppers as “Taxi,” a 1984 smash hit.
            Roy Hughes, who owns Uptown Records at 1217 Thomas St., was expecting Blackfoot to create that same sound when he signed the singer to a two-year, two-album contract on May 6, 2009. But Blackfoot, whose real name was John Colbert, died Nov. 30 before Hughes could get him into the recording studio.
            “I never got a chance to record him,” said Hughes, who paid Blackfoot a five-figure retainer. “He started getting sick and didn’t get a chance to add his part to three songs.”
Blackfoot performed in November for the last time in West Memphis, but he’d been busy prior to that retooling and recording the music that had catapulted him to the top in the genre of soul music.
Hughes, meanwhile, is left with an unfulfilled contract that was explicit, but now null and void. The contract called for Blackfoot to produce two albums – one album and the master for the first year, and another album and the master for the second year.
The contract was renewable if Blackfoot had met his obligations and the master recordings delivered, Hughes said.
Blackfoot signed with Hughes in May 2009, but Hughes collaborated with The Bar-Kays to produce an 11-track Blackfoot album for the group’s JEA/Right Now Records/IODA label more than three months later. “Woof Woof Meow” was released Aug. 18, 2009.
After wrapping up their joint session, Blackfoot would have been bound exclusively to the contractual agreement that he signed with Hughes’ Uptown Records.
“This was his home record company,” said Hughes, who was prepared to executive produce Blackfoot’s next two albums. The three tracks now in the hopper at Uptown Records are missing that one ingredient: Blackfoot’s soulful voice.
Though Hughes won’t be able to record Blackfoot, he has nothing but admiration for the soul crooner. “He was one of the music industry’s original legends and known around the world from his days at Stax Records. He tried to continue his recording career at Uptown,” said Hughes.
Hughes said some of Blackfoot’s label mates at Stax have also conducted business with him and Uptown Records. Blackfoot, he added, was one of the last legends in Memphis and a vocalist who was unmatched until the time of his death.
“My condolence goes out to Blackfoot and his family,” said Hughes. “He means more to me and his legions of fans around the world than my interest in recording him. There will never be another J. Blackfoot.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment