R.I.P.  January 4th 1946 / November 16th 2003

the Funky Soul story - Arthur Conley 01


As his genius asserted on stage and in the studio, Otis Redding took on the different aspects of his career be them stage, studio or writing. In 1965, he even decided to produce other artists, to give a chance to those who would come after him. On that year, his road crossed the one of a nineteen year-old singer from Atlanta named Arthur Conley.


After taking him on his tour, Otis put him in studio, at Stax in Memphis or in Muscle Shoals. Their first collaboration, "I'm a Lonely Stranger" is followed by "Sweet Soul Music", inspired by Sam Cooke's "Yeah Man", which Otis Redding gives the distribution to Atco, division of Atlantic.

Coming second in the R&B and Pop charts in the spring of 1976 (a thing Otis had never managed to do yet), "Sweet Soul Music" became a Soul anthem, with references to all the legends of the genre, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Lou Rawls and Sam & Dave. Meanwhile, the album Sweet Soul Music turned into one of the best selling records of the season.


I'm A Longer Lonely Stranger


Sweet Soul Music


Sam Cooke - Yeah Man



Coming back from the Stax tour with Otis and others, Arthur Conley got back in touch with the charts during the summer with an other Otis production, "Shake Rattle & Roll".


Shake, Rattle & Roll



The death of Otis a few months later is catastrophic for Arthur Conley who lost his best protector. Atlantic, not willing to give up such a talented artist, placed Tom Dowd, the sound engineer of the company, as artistic director for the album Soul Directions.


Without doing as well as Otis, Tom Dowd managed to get "Funky Street" to the Black Top 10 and the Pop Top 20 during the first semester of 1968 which allowed Arthur Conley to take part in the short Soul Clan adventure along with Joe Tex, Ben E. King, Don Covay and Solomon Burke for the recording of the 45rpm "Soul Meeting".


Funky Street


The Soul Clan - Soul Meeting



After a last Atlantic compilation entitled More Sweet Soul, giving Arthur Conley two minor hits in 1969 (among which a reinterpretation of the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-la-Da") his career faded despite a contract with Capricorn Records. He ended up settling in Holland where he lived for a long time on his reputation of Soul music legend.


Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da


the Funky Soul story - Arthur Conley 02


source : Encyclopédie du Rhythm & Blues et de la Soul (éditions Fayard - 2002).



Sweet Soul Music - 1967

Arthur Conley - Sweet Soul Music - 1967

A1. Sweet Soul Music

A2. Take Me (Just as I Am)

A3. Who's Foolin' Who

A4. There's a Place for Us

A5. I Can't Stop (No, No, No)

B1. Wholesale Love

B2. I'm a Lonely Stranger

B3. I'm Gonna Forget About You

B4. Let Nothing Separate Us

B5. Where You Lead Me

Shake, Rattle & Roll - 1967

Arthur Conley - Shake, Rattle & Roll - 1967

A1. Shake Rattle Roll

A2. I've Been Loving You Too Long

A3. Love Got Me

A4. A Change Is Gonna Come

A5. Hand And Glove

B1. Ha Ha Ha

B2. You Don't Have To See Me

B3. Baby What You Want Me To Do

B4. I'll Take The Blame

B5. Keep On Talking

Soul Directions - 1968

Arthur Conley - Soul Directions - 1968

A1. You Really Know How To Hurt A Guy

A2. Funky Street

A3. Burning Fire

A4. Get Yourself Another Fool

A5. Otis Sleep On

B1. Hear Say

B2. This Love Of Mine

B3. Love Comes And Goes

B4. Put Our Love Together

B5. People Sure Act Funny

More Sweet Music - 1969

Arthur Conley - More Sweet Music - 1969

A1. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

A2. Shing-A-Ling

A3. One Night Is All I Need

A4. I Got A Feeling

A5. Aunt Dora's Love Soul Shack

A6. Stuff You Gotta Watch

B1. Something You Got

B2. Is That You Love

B3. Speak Her Name

B4. Run On

B5. That Can't Be My Baby

B6. Take A Step