Lee Moses

ravel throated Lee Moses made a few 45s and a rare LP from the mid 60s until the early 70s. Several of these tracks were deep soul masterpieces – and my only regret is that he didn’t record more of them. Moses himself might have wanted a hit or two but it wasn’t to be. But make no mistake he was a top class singer – and he deserves much better recognition for his talent.

ike his friend Hermon Hitson, Moses was one of the key Atlanta musicians of the 60s being an excellent guitarist and a session player of note on the Georgia recording scene. Like Hitson, Moses fell into the arms of hustler / producer Johnny Brantley and it is a matter of some dispute as to whether this relationship helped or hindered his career.

efore he met Brantley Moses recorded one 45 for the terminally obscure Lee John label – but what a scorcher it is. His screaming version of Joe Simon’s ListenMy Adorable One is a deep soul killer, on which his vocals are almost unbearably intense. He is backed by his own fine guitar figures and the involvement of Atlanta axe player supreme Freddie Terrell  as arranger and second voice (?) can only have assisted this superb track. There is an unreleased version of this song in existence where Lee kicks off with a short rap before coming in on the song – after which it sounds exactly like the 45. So this unreleased version may simply have been edited down before being put out.

ee’s career then moved along at the pace dictated by Brantley and it was a couple of years later that Lee had further product on the market. Sadly his instrumental takes on “Reach Out I’ll Be There” (here labelled as “Reach Out For Me”) on which you can just about hear Lee’s vocal as it bleeds through, and “Day Tripper” are instantly forgettable. Much better was his second Musicor 45, the two-part workout “Bad Girl”. This returns Lee’s tough, hard-edged vocals to vinyl I’m pleased to say – and doesn’t he sound quite brilliant, raw and uncompromising. Both parts have a Moses rap before he hits uptempo groove that has captivated the dancers for so many years.

rantley also took Lee’s fourth 45 to Musicor. The killer double sider ListenI’m Sad About It a doom laden slow ballad full of pain and despair was coupled with the more rhythmic Listen(How Much Longer) Must I Wait on which Moses sounds almost out of his mind with anguish and longing. This is southern soul vocalising at its most heart rending. Quite superb.

nd if that 45 was outstanding, Lee raised the bar even higher with his misery and agony on ListenIf Loving You Is A Crime (I’ll Always Be Guilty which appeared on Dynamo early in 1968. A total masterwork of deep soul misery. The appointed top side “Never In My Life” falls away in comparison sadly. After a short gap Brantley took Moses to Bobby Robinson’s Front Page label for the slow ballad “I Can’t Take No More Chances” which was almost certainly cut in New York  or New Jersey rather than Atlanta. The flip “Time And Place” gave some prominence to Moses’ guitar licks but the song lacked the impact of the deep soul side.

ut this song did form the title track of Lee’s only LP which Brantley put out on his own Maple label. This 9 song set has become something of a cult item over the years and although a rather patchy LP in truth it does have some real highlights. The instrumentation came from Lee’s own “Disciples” rhythm section and the (uncredited) Ohio Players. Unfortunately his cut of the Big O’s “I Got that Will”, despite name checking just about every soul star and Jimi Hendrix (see below) is pretty messy, but was captured for the only Maple 45 off the album. “California Dreaming” and “What You Don’t Want Me To Be” can be ignored, but “Every Boy And Girl” has a much better Moses vocal as well as some strong chord changes. “Hey Joe” is OK and better than Hendrix thanks to Lee’s far superior voice, the socially conscious “Free At Last” has its moments as does “Would You Give Up Everything” but the true highlight is the astonishingly good “My Adorable One” extended by one minute on the album.

Back In Atlanta Moses recorded his final 45 for Gates (which also had an excellent Tony Baxter 45 on it) which reprised “Bad Girl” as “She’s a Bad Girl” and had the essential ListenDark End Of The Street as the top side. Lee used Clarence Carter’s cut as his model on this one, following Mr C C’s rap almost word for word – and sadly not quite pulling it off. Really sad as this could and maybe should have been a real career highlight to go out on.

Now while there is no doubt that Hermon Hitson and – occasionally – Jimi Hendrix played on some of Lee’s sessions, it may come as no surprise that the hustler in Johnny Brantley couldn’t resist packaging anything that MIGHT have included Hendrix as “Jimi Hendrix” performances once Jimi hit the really big time. Brantley renamed tracks from a range of artists in this way including Hitson (obviously), Lonnie Youngblood, Sam Williams, and Nate Adams. Often these “Hendrix” tracks were fiddled about by Johnny to disguise what he was doing – losing the horns, bringing guitar lines up in the mix etc etc. There is an excellent website that has covered all this fakery here.

In addition to this there are also several unissued Moses tracks that have surfaced over the years since his death in 1997. “Pouring Water On A Drowning Man” and “What Do You Do” have appeared on a recent commercial CD from Future Days, but there a good few others. A full list is in the discography, but I want to mention a couple of fantastic sides here. ListenI Will Never Stop Loving You is just wonderful, a classic southern soul performance of great power from Lee. The other really important track is Lee’s vocal over ListenYou Are Too Much For The Human Heart which is best known for its incarnation on the Atco 45 by Hermon Hitson. Lee Moses actually penned this for his friend Hitson and his version – with just a rhythm section – is sensationally good and may well be the demo for Hitson’s recording.

Lee Moses was a real giant of deep soul music and fully deserves his place in my Southern Soul Superstars series of articles.





ListenMy adorable one / Diana (from NYC) ~ LEE JOHN 618 (1965)
Reach out for me / Day tripper ~ MUSICOR 1227 (1967)
Bad girl Pt 1 / Pt 2 ~ MUSICOR 1242 (1967)
ListenI’m sad about it / ListenHow much longer (must I wait) ~ MUSICOR 1263 (1967)
Never in my life / ListenIf loving you is a crime (I will always be guilty) ~ DYNAMO 115 (1968)
Time and place / I can’t take no chances ~ FRONT PAGE 2301 (1970)
Got that will / Free at last ~ MAPLE 1001 (1971)
ListenDark end of the street / She’s a bad girl ~ GATES 1502 (1973)


Time and place ~ MAPLE 6001 (1971)


Time and place ~ CASTLE UK CMQCD1350 (2007)
Singles and Rarities 1965 – 1972 ~ FUTURE DOGS 635 (2019)

Unissued tracks:
Pouring Water On A Drowning Man
What Do You Do
My Adorable One
Tell Me Why (Do You Wanna Leave)
The Thrill Is Gone
California Dreaming
Sweet Thing
ListenYou Are Too Much For The Human Heart
The Letter
Why Don’t You Leave Me
ListenI Will Never Stop Loving You


Back to artist index | Top of Page