music The Mighty Hannibal, Freddie Terrell, Noot D' Noot
9:00PM - - - Price: $10 in advance / $12 at the Door
AT THE EYEDRUM * FRIDAY JANUARY 16 THE MIGHTY HANNIBAL with backing band
FREDDIE TERRELL & THE SOUL EXPEDITION w/ DELIA GARTRELL
and special guest openers: NOOT D' NOOT $10 in advance / $12 at the door / 9pm / Music begins at 9:30
The Mighty Hannibal James T. Shaw, who released records in the '60s and '70's under the names "Hannibal," "The Mighty Hannibal," and "King Hannibal" was born to Corrie Belle and James Henry Shaw on August 9, 1939. He grew up in the Vine City neighborhood of Atlanta, but spent a good part of his adult life living in Los Angeles, New York, and other cities around the country. Still, he remained connected to the Atlanta R&B and soul music scene through the early '70s, releasing records for Wendell Parker's Shurfine label in the '60s and singles and an album on Michael Thevis' Aware label in the early '70s.
Shaw started performing in 1954 as a member of the doo-wop group The Overalls. The group, which consisted of Shaw, Edward Patton, Robert Butts and Merald Knight, performed on WERD after coming to the attention of DJ "Jockey" Jack Gibson, but never recorded. Patton and Knight went on to national fame as The Pips, the backup singers for Knight's sister Gladys. Among the groups Shaw from the mid-'50s Atlanta R&B scene were The Condors ("the pioneer group at the time"), as well as L.B. Williams and the Blue Dots and Arthur Conley's group The Corvets. Shaw credits Grover Mitchell, who sang with The Blue Dots and later had several records on the Philadelphia-based Josie label, with teaching him how to sing. Shaw recalls seeing such R&B legends as James Brown and Jimmy Reed in Atlanta venues like the Peacock Club and other lesser-known spots.
He relocated from Atlanta to Los Angeles and in 1958 released his first record, Big Chief Hug-Um An' Kiss-Um,a novelty number which appeared under the name "Jimmy Shaw" on the Concept and then Imperial labels. He credits Kent Harris, a musician and producer who released records under the name 'Boogaloo and his Gallant Crew' with teaching him "the prescription on how to write songs." He worked for a year as a vocalist for legendary West Coast bandleader Johnny Otis, then began performing in a smaller group with H.B. Barnum and Jimmy Norman. At this time he became friends with blues player Johnny "Guitar" Watson and Larry Williams, an R&B singer who recorded for Specialty records. He adopted the name "Hannibal" in 1959 at the suggestion of Aki Aleong, who released three singles by Hannibal backed by a group called the Angels (actually Darlene Love and the Blossoms) on his Pan World label.
In 1962 he signed with Syd Nathan's Cincinnati-based King label, which resulted in four single releases. The best selling of these was Baby, Please Change Your Mind, which by Shaw's estimation sold around 300,000 copies. During this time he also claims to have worked as a pimp in L.A., a lifestyle which would inform many of his releases in the 1970s. According to Shaw, he quit the pimping game in 1965 when the record labels refused to do business with him: "Los Angeles wasn't like it is now. Everybody knew what you were up to. Johnny Watson, they cut him off, cut me off, Larry Williams, my whole gang." For whatever reason-the pimping and a dispute that Shaw claims to have had with Nathan are among the possible contributing factors-he was released from his obligations with King.
He returned to Atlanta in the mid-'60s and released several records on the Shurfine label, owned by a white engineer named Wendell Parker. The first, Jerkin' the Dog, was a moderately successful teen dance record in 1965. He followed up with the similarly-themed Fishin' Pole in 1966, then il content ("crying in this trench-hole covered with blood") this is not hard to believe. n the same year released Hymn No. 5 (from Hannibalism!, Norton Records, 2001), which would prove to be his biggest hit. The song, a ponderous, gospel-tinged anti-Vietnam balled, was banned on Armed Forces Radio according to Shaw. Judging by the lyrical content ("crying in this trench-hole covered with blood") this is not hard to believe.
St. John and the Cardinals, a white band led by drummer Dennis St. John and including guitarist Paul Goddard, who would later rise to fame as the bass player for the Atlanta Rhythm Section, backed Hannibal on most if not all of his Shurfine releases. St. John and the Cardinals also played live engagements with Shaw in and outside of Atlanta during this time. Shaw describes the give-and-take involved in playing in an integrated band during the twilight years of segregation: "Sometimes we'd go to these white gigs and the guys'd tell me, 'Look, Han, you better be cool over there.' That's what they'd do, but when we'd play they black clubs they'd go, 'Hannibal, see those guys in them overalls? They ain't gonna beat us up, are they?'"
The success that Shaw enjoyed during this period only fueled a growing heroin addiction. Around the same time, his failure to pay a large tax bill landed him in prison for eighteen months. Out of prison and off of drugs in the early '70s, he began recording again. As "King Hannibal," he released several singles and an album, Truth, in 1973 on the Aware label owned by local businessman Michael Thevis. Several of these songs displayed prominent social or political themes, such as Wake Up or The Truth Shall Make You Free (Aware Records, 1973) which used gospel overtones to convey an anti-heroin message. In the liner notes to Truth, radio DJ Paris Eley writes that "his gospel background prevailed through a very trying period of his life," but this is the extent of the information available on the obviously profound influence of religious music upon Shaw's work.
Freddie Terrell & the Soul Expedition Freddie Terrell got his first guitar at the age of twelve and began playing in his father's Gospel group at the age of thirteen. He started his first group, Freddie Terrell and the Blue Rhythm Band, in 1967. This started a fruitful career as a professional musician, producer, writer, and recording artist that continues to this day. In 1970, Freddie got together with Ralph Favors and Eli Rivers to start The Soul Expedition Band, which would go on to play an important role in the Atlanta R&B and Soul scene. Together with the Rev. Dr. W.J. Stafford, Freddie recorded the coveted "Soul Expedition" album for LeFevre Sound, a popular gospel label in the South. In addition to his work with the Soul Expedition and other Atlanta area bands, Freddie has toured with and played for The Drifters, Jackie Wilson, Wilson Pickett, Major Lance, and The Shirelles. A well-respected session artist, Freddie now co-owns the Atlanta International Music Group with Levoski Brown. He continues to record and produce and is currently working on a landmark re-issue of the famous "Soul Expedition" album that helped to cement his place in Southern music history. For more information about Freddie, please see the interview conducted by Colin Dilnot of N'Soul magazine at: http://darkendofthestreet.blogspot.com/
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