Mel and Tim

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-73)

- Mel Hardin -- vocals

- Tim McPherson (RIP 1988) -- vocals




- The Welcome Travelers (Mel Hardin and Tim McPherson)





Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Good Guys Only Win In the Movies

Company: Bamboo

Catalog: BMS 8001

Year: 1971

Country/State: Holly Springs, Mississippi

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: small cut out hole top left corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5116

Price: $70.00


Born and raised in Holly Springs, Mississippi, Mel Hardin and Tim McPherson were first cousins.  Raised in religious families, the cousins started their professional musical careers as members of The Welcome Travelers.  Hoping to hit the big time, by the mid-1960s The Welcome Travelers had relocate to St. Louis, Missouri.  Success didn't come and the cousins found themselves drafted into the military, followed by a stint paying their bills as bus drivers.


Having decided to abandon gospel in favor of secular music the pair moved to Chicago where they caught the attention of Gene Chandler.  Chandler signed the pair to his newly formed Bamboo label where they debuted with the single 'I've Got Puredee (Part 1)' b/w 'I've Got Puredee (instrumental)' (Bamboo catalog number BMB-106).  Their sophomore release proved magic with 'Backfield In Motion' b/w 'Do Right Baby' (Bamboo catalog number BMB-107) quickly going top-10.  As was standard marketing procedure, on the heels of their sudden success, the pair were rushed into the studio to cut a supporting album. 


Produced by Chandler, 1969's "Good Guys Only Win In the Movies" pulled together the two earlier singles with a first rate collection of late-1960s soul.  Featuring a mix of originals and outside numbers, the collection was uniformly impressive.  The cousins both had nice voices that blended together nicely.  They also had an ear for strong melodies and cutesy lyrics (witness the title track and the earlier 'Backfield In Motion').  To be honest, virtually any one of these ten tracks would have made a dandy single - other good choices would have included 'Groovy Situation', 'I Found That I Was Wrong' and 'Ain't Love Wonderful'.  Curiously the most intriguing selections were the anti-war themed 'Mail Call Time' and 'Feeling Bad'.  Perhaps due to the fact it was so different from the rest of the collection, their unexpected cover of the Spooky Tooth song was pretty cool.  Pumped on by some cool horn arrangements and dirge-like vocals, it was actually even better than the original.  The rock-oriented 'Caught You In the Act' was almost as good.  A classic soul album that should have garnered massive sales for the cousins.


"Good Guys Only Win In the Movies" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Good Guys Only Win In The Movies    (Thompson - Dixon) - 2:45

Sure they weren't anywhere as well known as Sam and Dave and other '60s and '70s soul duos, but there was no denying the title track was a classic slice of '70s soul.  Great hook; great vocals, and the sound effects were a hoot.  As mentioned, Bamboo had previously released it as a single:

- 1969's 'Good Guys Only Win In The Movies' b/w 'I Found That I Was Wrong' (Bamboo catalog number BMB-109)   for younger fans, Cypress Hill sampled the tune for 'Insane in the Brain'.   rating: **** stars
2.) Forget It, I've Got It   (Miller - Wright) - 2:43

Maybe because it had a rock-ish background (check out the fuzz guitar pattern), 'Forget It, I've Got It' was one of my favorite performances.   The track also showcased the cousins' exquisite harmonies.  Sam and Dave couldn't match them in that department.   rating: **** stars
3.) I've Got Puredee   (Tim McPherson - Tim Hardin) - 2:22    

Their debut 45; 'I've Got Puredee' sounded like they were trying to channel Sam and Dave a little too ard, but it was still one of their best and most overlooked performances.  

4.) Feeling Bad   (Mike Kellie - Gary Wright) - 3:01

Hard to imagine a soul act covering a Spooky Tooth; let alone a group turning in a cover that was as stunning as this one.  It may actually be even better than the original given both Mel and Tim had better voices than Gary Wright.   Bamboo tapped this one as another single:

- 1970's 'Feeling Bad' b/w ' I've Got Puredee' (Bamboo catalog number BMB-112)

  rating: **** stars
5.) Groovy Situation   (Davis - Lewis) - 3:10

Musically 'Groovy Situation' had one one of the album's most memorable melodies with kind of a stark production feel and one fantastic bass line.   Interestingly, most people recognize the tune for Gene Chandler's version (which didn't sound all that different).   rating: **** stars


(side 2)
1.) Backfield In Motion   (Tim McPherson - Tim Hardin) - 2:33

The tune they're best known for ...I've always loved the football metaphors.  The sad thing is that in  this day and age of misogynistic pop and rap songs, the lyrics sound hysterically niaeve.  
2.) Caught You In The Act   (Davis - Lewis) - 2:31
   rating: **** stars

With what's always sounded like a Stax flavor to my ears, 'Caught You In the Act' was another tune that could have been a massive hit for the pair.   Heartbreak has seldom had such a killer backbeat.   rating: **** stars
3.) I Found That I Was Wrong  (Tim McPherson - Tim Hardin - Dixon) - 2:41

The breezy ballad ' I Found That I Was Wrong' was probably the album's most commercially friendly tune and while it may have been a little lightweight, it was hard to deny the tune had a wonderful hook.   rating: **** stars
4.) Mail Call Time  ( Tim McPherson - Tim Hardin - Dixon) - 3:15

Perhaps I've read too much into it, but I've always taken 'Mail Call Time' to be a subtle anti-war tune.   makes you wonder if they got their share of Dear John letters during their service time.  Sweet, slightly doo-wop-ish flavored ballad.   rating: *** stars
5.) Ain't Love Wonderful   (Mayfield - Scott) - 2:21

Another sweet, upbeat, inspirational, and highly commercial tune with one of those lyrics that make parents cry.   rating: **** stars 



Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Starting All Over Again

Company: Stax

Catalog: STS-3007

Year: 1972

Country/State: Holly Springs, Mississippi

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: was sealed; opened to tape.  Still in shrink wrap; small cut out notch in spine

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4648

Price: $20.00


In the wake of a top-10 hit with 'Backfield In Motion' b/w 'Do Right Baby' (Bamboo catalog number BMB-107).  The duo released a series of follow-on singles with little success:


- 1970's 'Mail Call Time' b/w ' Forget It, I Got It' (Bamboo catalog number BMB-114)

- 1970's 'We've Got the Groove To Move To' b/w 'Never On Time' (Bamboo catalog number BMB-116)

- 1971's 'I'm the One' b/w 'Put An Extra Plus To Your Love' (Bamboo catalog number BMB-118)


By mid-1970 Chandler's Bamboo label was facing serious financial problems.  Hardin and McPherson asked to be released from their contract, but the company refused.  for their part the cousins simply refused to record any more.  The standoff finally came to an end in late 1971 when a friend of the cousins (Chicago DJ Charles Johnson) took one of their tapes to Muscle Shoals sessions players Barry Beckett and Roger Hood.  Interested in expanding the horizons to include production, Beckett and Hood quickly signed the cousins to a production contract.


Today Mel Hardin and Tim McPherson are all but forgotten soulsters.  You don't even hear the cousins on oldies stations ...  That's a crime since they were one of soul's more talented and entertaining duos.  


Recorded in Muscle Shoals Studios with Barry Beckett and Roger Hawkins co-producing, 1972's "Starting All Over Again" is nothing less than a lost classic.  Backed by the cream of Muscle Shoals sessions players the album offers up an intriguing mixture of old school southern soul, and more sophisticated Chicago soul moves.  That probably sounds like a stupid description and in a way it simply doesn't matter since virtually all of the ten tracks are highly catchy and commercial.  Elsewhere the pretty title track provided the duo with a top-20 pop hit (b/w 'It Hurts To Want It So Bad' Stax catalog number STA-127).  Personal favorites include the irresistible 'I May Not Be What You Want' and 'Free for All'.  Simply a great soul album !!!  Stax also tapped the album for a pair of follow-up singles:


- 1973's 'I May Not Be What You Want' b/w 'Too Much Wheelin' And Dealin' ' (Stax catalog number STA-0154)
- 1973's 'Heaven Knows' b/w 'Don't Mess With My Money, My Honey, Or My Woman' (Stax catalog number STA-0160)


"Starting All Over" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Don't Mess with My Money, My Honey or My Woman   (Phillip Mitchell) - 3:38

2.) Starting All Over Again   (Phillip Mitchell) - 4:05

3.) I May Not Be What You Want    (Phillip Mitchell - Shelby) - 3:07

4.) Carry Me    (Phillip Mitchell - Shelby) -3:43

5.) Free for All   (Shorter) - 2:38


(side 2)
1.) Heaven Knows   (Homer Banks - Hampton - Jackson) - 3:52

2.) Wrap It Up   (Isaac Hayes - David Porter) - 2:21

3.) What's Your Name?   (Johnson) - 2:52

4.) I'm Your Puppet   (Spooner Oldham - Dan Penn) - 2:58

5.) Too Much Wheelin' and Dealin'   (Homer Banks - Jackson) - 2:48


Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Mel & Tim

Company: Stax

Catalog: STS-5501

Year: 1973

Country/State: Holly Springs, Mississippi

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: small punch out hole lower right corner

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 4866

Price: SOLD $30.00



Reflecting their long standing ties to Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins and the Muscle Shoals organization, 1973's "Mel & Tim" was recorded at Muscle Shoals Studios with the cream o the organization's sessions players (Barry Beckett, David Hood, Roger Hawkins, etc.).  Produced by Beckett and Hood the album showcased the talents of songwriter Phillip Mitchell.  Mitchell was credited with writing or co-writing eight of the ten tracks.  As you might expect, musically the set wasn't a major change from their two earlier sets.  Reflecting the pair's Gospel roots, the album offered up a pleasing mixture of 'love man' ballads ('Keep the Faith' and 'Ain't No Love In My Life') and more up-tempo funk numbers ('Forever In a Day'). While they have a nice touch on the bluesy numbers ('The Same Folk'), to my ears the cousins are at their best when they go for the up-tempo material.  Their cover of Allen Toussaint's 'Yes We Can-Can' rips The Pointer Sisters' cover a new one, while 'Making Love Is My Thing' is absolutely killer.  Elsewhere Stax tapped the album for a pair of singles:


- 1974's 'It's Those Little Things That Count' b/w 'The Same Folk' (Stax catalog number STA-0202)

- 1974's 'That's The Way I Want To Live My Life' b/w 'Forever And A Day' (Stax catalog number STA-0242)


"Mel & Tim" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Keep the Faith  (Mark James) - 3:56

2.) The Same Folk   (Phillip Mitchell) - 3:36

3.) Oh How I Love You   (Phillip Mitchell) - 3:17

4.) Yes We Can-Can   (Allen Toussaint) - 4:12

5.) I'd Still Be There   (Phillip Mitchell - B. Clements) - 3:54


(side 2)
1.) Making Love Is My Thing   (Phillip Mitchell) - 3:38

2.) It's Those Little Things That Count   (Phillip Mitchell) - 3:12

3.) Ain't No Love In My Life   (Phillip Mitchell) - 3:45

4.) That's the Way I Want To Live My Life   (Phillip Mitchell) - 3:06

5.) Forever In a Day   (Phillip Mitchell - B. Clements) - 4:43