Memphis artist Eddie Mayberry started out with Ray Franklin singing a really fine version of A Losing Battle, best known as a Johnny Adams hit for Ric. The funky/jazzy arrangement was really ear catching and Mayberry’s gospel drenched vocal style matched it very well. In the 80s he worked with Reginald Eskridge whose Blue Town label had some excellent releases from such artists as Howard Everett and the Hilites and who often eschewed the synth fad in favour of a traditional southern soul approach – and whose discs were all the better for it.
On Mayberry Eskridge released the pounding throwback String Of My Heart featuring some great horns behind a gravel voiced lead from Eddie. Even better was the similarly styled I’m A Rover which quickly secured a reputation as one of the very best southern independent productions of the decade. Over a hypnotic mid paced bass line and drum pattern Mayberry screamed and howled as though he were back in the mid 60s instead of two decades later, assisted by some fine horn charts. We could do with a lot more sides like this but sadly Mayberry – and indeed Eskridge didn’t continue their wonderful partnership.
UPDATE ~ Marc Demuynck has beein in touch reminding me about Chris 112 which features Eddie on the excellent "Big Otis Blues" with an instrumental by Ray Franklin's Orchestra on the other side. Marc says "Nice is a forgettable soul instrumental; Otis, however, is a surprisingly good blues. Flashy guitar and fine band arrangement, lyrics and Eddie Mayberry vocal." And I agree wholeheartedly with that. The 45 is now in the discography.
I'm very grateful to Marc for his time and trouble.
That's not nice / Big Otis Blues ~ CHRIS 112 (1970/1)
A losing battle / Break it on down to me ~ CHRIS 1030 (1972)
I’m a rover / Pt 2 ~ BLUE TOWN 3301 / NIGHT SOUND 3202 (1983)
String of my heart / When you come back for love ~ BLUE TOWN 853210 (1985)