Archie Himons has had a long and very varied life in music, covering many different styles and incarnations. He was born in Huntington, West Virginia on 22 September 1942 and grew up enthralled with music. He played drums and sang in various doo-wop and R & B groups in the late 50s and early 60s, recording for Fern and Lemco as part of the Magnificent 7 before coming to the attention of Dial owner Buddy Killen, who arranged a session at the AGP studios in Memphis. Before he arrived there, apparently Himons and Chips Moman had recorded some songs in a hybrid rock soul vein soon to be popularised by Sly Stone, but these were rejected by Killen in favour of more orthodox southern soul sides. The uptempo stomper “All I Have To Do” was complemented by the double tracked vocal on “You Can’t Tie Me Down”, but his second release is the superior one. The intriguingly titled “I Am A Carpet” is a fine funk piece, but the jewel in the crown is the delicious deep soul ballad I Need You, on which Himons gives a much more emotionally wracked performance – more super double tracking. Wonderful musicianship from Reggie Young et al of course and even the meandering flute adds to the mood of the piece but not as much as the really splendid horn section.
And apart from the Magnificent 7 cuts he recorded for Dial at around this time, that just about wraps up Archie Himons’ involvement in soul music. However, he continued in the biz, trying his hand at activities as disparate as busking in New York and Seattle to playing in Canadian music festivals and living in Central America. In the early 70s he started a blues band under the name of West Virginia Slim, and went on to found the quality roots reggae group Afrikan Dreamland in the 90s. In between he fronted a long-running community access TV show in Nashville as Aashid Himons, and was instrumental in founding the Society Of Black Artists (SOBA), the city’s first black music association. Most recently he is back in his home town of Huntington recording mostly acoustic music, combining the blues and country music traditions of the area, a hybrid he is calling “Mountain Soul”. Add to that his involvement in anti-drug awareness movies and I think you can get a picture of this most eclectic personality.
You can find his own webpage here.
UPDATE ~ Dave Thorley kindly writes with the info that Archie Himmons "was also a member of the WV Parliaments on Cabel and co-wrote 'This is my rainy day'". Dave also sent me the wonderful vintage pic of the Parliaments, with Archie being the tall guy thrid from the left.
I'm very grateful to Dave for both the info and the great pic.
All I have to do / You can’t tie me down ~ DIAL 4056 (1967)
I am a carpet / I need you ~ DIAL 4080 (1968)
Thanks to Pete Nickols for the suggestion.