Spooner Oldham: Lord Loves A Session Man

Oldham's 1972 album "Pot Luck" was reissued this fall.

uploads_2F1433532517254-g8y1o9h6sbp4x6r-0a21296e4c6c527f57c909d2f13595ef_2F4SpoonerOldham_CourtesyOfTheArtist Spooner Oldham, circa 1972.

In the early 1960s, when funk descended upon Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Spooner Oldham was at the forefront of a core group of all-star session men. Acts like Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Clarence Carter poured into northern Alabama to sing songs, and a rotating house band cut records with them all. Everybody brought their own dish to the party. That’s a fair analogy for how Oldham approached recording with these artists and with his peers, and a literal take on the title of his album Pot Luck, which originally came out in 1972 and was reissued on Light In The Attic Records this fall. When I met him in Rogersville, Alabama, one late-August afternoon, he was wandering through the parking lot outside a resort lodge on the banks of the Elk River, swishing a styrofoam cup of coffee and wearing a pair of crisp white Converses decorated with Simpsons characters and a button-down shirt dotted with cartoon drawings of sushi. “Yeah, I like sushi,” he says, “but I don’t seek it out like some people do.”

Oldham is a mild guy, with big, concerned eyes, a kind drawl, and just the one solo record to his name. The label that released Pot Luck, a small operation in Los Angeles called Family Productions, released seven other albums the month that Oldham’s came out and then promptly went... Sign In to Keep Reading

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