Though Spencer Wiggins did not make the R&B charts until his
Fame 45 'Double Lovin' in 1970, it is his eight Goldwax
singles, released in the latter half of the 60s, for which he is
rightly famous among soul fans. They epitomise Memphis
soul, veering from deep melancholic ballads to raucous
Wiggins' fans dig every aspect of his music; his voice is ideal
for the southern soul sound. That genre is close to the blues
and 'Lover's Crime', his first 45 on the Bandstand subsidiary,
was an early Isaac Hayes composition of that ilk. 'Sweet
Sixteen', which was unreleased until 1977, is a full-on blues,
but presumably not issued by Goldwax as they wanted to keep
Spencer known as a soul singer, even though he excels on the
number. Goldwax's strong country influence is apparent on 'I
Never Loved A Woman (The Way I Love You)' which certainly
rivals Aretha's breakthrough single from a couple of years
previously. 'Once In A While (Is Better Than Never At All)',
written by ex-country singer and Goldwax boss Quinton
Claunch and George Jackson's 'Old Friend' are also in the
The dramatic ballad 'Uptight Good Woman' was penned by Dan
Penn, Spooner Oldham and Jimmy Johnson and is probably
Wiggins' best-known recording; it is a highlight of his live
performances. Penn and Oldham also provided 'Take Me Just
As I Am', another stand-out track. 'He's Too Old' and 'I'm A
Poor Man's Son' are vibrant, warm-hearted numbers taken at a
jaunty pace, still very much southern soul; 'Lonely Man' is the
only song which hints at Detroit's influence and has
consequently cost Wiggins' 45 collectors appreciably more
than the norm.
Wiggins' career suffered by being in the shadows of James
Carr at Goldwax and that may have been the reason why
Claunch, a very fair-minded man, let this superb singer move
to nearby Fame, along with some Goldwax tracks they had
already cut on him in those studios. He also had artistic
success at Sounds of Memphis in 1973; unissued tracks from
there as well as Goldwax have strengthened his reputation. He
is primarily a preacher now but his 2010 appearance at the
Cleethorpes rare soul weekender demonstrated he is still a
great performer and he recently completed a successful two-
date visit to London and Manchester with his brother, manager
and fellow singer Percy.
Vinyl release of Spencer Wiggins - The Goldwax Years. Released through KENT and available on LP.
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Cat No: KENT511
Packaging: LP Regular
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