Brinsley Schwartz


Band members               Related acts

- Travis Wammack -- vocals, guitar, percussion

 

  backing musicians (1972)

- Ken Bell -- guitar

- Jesse Boyce -- bass

- Jerry Bridges -- guitar, bass

- James Brown Jr. -- keyboards

- Harrison Calloway Jr. -- trumpet

- Don Cartee -- drums

- Ben Cauley -- trumpet

- Ronnie Eades -- sax

- Tim Henson -- keyboards

- Clayton Ivey -- keyboards

- Leo LeBlanc - pedal steel guitar

- Fred Prontee -- drums

- HarveyThompson -- sax

- Tarp Turrant -- drums

- Bob Way -- bass

 

  backing musicians (1975)

- Barry Beckett -- keyboards

- Pete Carr -- guitar

- Don Cartee - percussion

- Joe Cartee -- drums

- Roger Clark -- drums

- Jimmy Evans -- drums

- Rick Hall -- percussion

- Joe Hamilton -- bass

- Lenny LeBlanc -- bass

- Randy McCormick -- keyboards

- Ronnie Oldham -- keyboards

- Leon Sherrill -- guitar

 

 

 

- none known

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Travis Wammack

Company: Fame

Catalog: FAS-1801

Year: 1972

Country/State: Walnut, Mississippi

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: radio station copy; 

WAMV' written in ballpoint pen once on front; three times on back; two stickers on cover; cut top right corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6029

Price: $15.00

 

I originally picked this album up at a yard sale, took a look at the cover photo and thought 'redneck country artist' and put it back.  Luckily Travis Wammack's name rang a bell with me (as a soul music songwriter) and I went back and bought the LP.

 

So here's a quick thumbnail bio on this guy ...  Born and raised in Walnut, Mississippi Wammack was apparently one of those child progedies, playing guitar by the time he was seven, Memphis club dates within a couple of years and with help from Sun guitarist Roland James, recording his first material for Jack Clement and Slim Wallace's Fernwood Records  when he was 11 (1957's 'Rock and Roll Blues' b/w 'I Believe in Today' (Fernwood catalog number 103)).  Unfortunately that material didn't see a release for some three years at which time, Atlantic Records picked up distribution rights to several Wammack sides.  Released in 1964 by Atlantic's ARA subsidiary, Wammack debuted with the fuzz-propelled instrumentals 'Scratchy' b/w 'Firefly' (ARA catalog number ARA 45-402).  The single generated considerable local and regional attention, but follow-on efforts did little. and by the mid-1960s Wammack was paying his bills as a touring (including an American tour by Peter and Gordon) and sessions musician becoming part of the famous Muscles Shoals crew.  His studio credits are simply mind-blowing, including virtually every soul star you can name (Clarence Carter, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Picket, Lou Rawls, etc.) and are way beyond the scope of this summary.

 

Unfortunately Wammack's recording career is rather fragmented and sporadic.  Here's what I've been able to piece together without a lot of effort:

 

- 196?'s 'Don't Cry No More' b/w 'Two Little Love Birds' (ARA catalog number 45-210)

- 1962's 'Distortion (Part 1)' b/w I Ain't Lying' (ARA catalog number 8480 

- 196?'s 'Two Little Love Birds' b/w 'Don't Cry No More' (ARA catalog number ARA-8986)

- 1965's 'Upset' b/w ' Louie Louie' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2232)

- 1966 'Tomorrow Night' b/w 'Stay' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2337)

- 1966's 'Have You Ever Had the Blues' b/w 'Waiting' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2345)

- 1966's 'It's Karate Time' b/w 'Night Train' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2387)

- 'Wolverton Mountain' b/w ??? (Congress catalog number C-6005)

- 'Who's Gonna Love Me Tonight' b/w 'Twangin' My Thang' (Congress catalog number C-6008)

- 'Parchman Farm' b/w 'Shepard of Your Love' (Capitol catalog number 6008)

 

By 1969  Wammack was on the Fame Records payroll as a full time sessions player adding his guitar to scores of  pop, rock and soul albums recorded in Muscle Shoals.  In 1972 Wamack was given a chance to record a solo album.  Produced by Hall, the cleverly-titled "Travis Wammack" proved surprising on a number of fronts.  1.) For a guy known for his speed-of-light fret work, Wammack had a great voice.  Quite versatile, he was one of those guys with an almost chameleon-like ability to adapt his voice to virtually any genre.  As a result he was equally adept at a pretty ballad like Cat Steven's 'How Can I tell You', or a crushing rocker such as 'Be Good'.  2.) I'm usually skeptical of cover album, but for a non-writer Wammack showed excellent, if eclectic tastes across these ten tracks.  3.) You can't ignore his guitar.  The fact of the matter is that Wammack may well be one of America's most overlooked rock guitarists.  Even though he seems to have made a concious decision to downplay his playing, what was on display was pretty amazing - anyone doubting his chops need only check out his performance on the James Gang's 'Funk # 49'.

 

- Co-written by Joey Levine 'Be Good' was a bubblegum rock song given a true hard rock arrangement.  It may not have sounded like a great concept, but Wammack managed to make it work with a great raw vocal (love the way he stretched out the phrase 'your love is so fine') and a fantastic solo.  Easy to see why Fame tapped it as a single.   rating: **** stars 

- I've never been a big Cat Stevens fan, but I have to give Wammack credit for making me change my mind via his cover of 'How Can I Tell You'.   Simply a beautiful song with a simple, but stunning acoustic arrangement (the simply guitar figure he played was nothing less than mesmerizing),   This was also one of the few songs I've heard where I actually liked the pedal steel guitar arrangement.   rating: **** stars 

- 'Put On Your Shoes And Walk' was the kind of country-soul story-teller song that someone like Clarence Carter, or Joe Tex would have loved to have recorded.  Surprisingly funky, it had a beat that drilled into your head and wouldn't let go.  Not only that, but it had a great lyric that should have won Wammack loads of admirers within the ranks of feminsts.   rating: **** stars

- It may sound like a strange comparison, but 'You Better Move On' was a smooth, tortured slice of soul with a jazzy flavor that sounded like something Marvin Gaye might have written and recorded during his mid-1970s prime.  Not to take anything away from Wammack, but whoever provided the bass (not sure if it was Joe Hamilton, or Lenny LeBlanc) deserved special kudos for their killer contribution to the tune.   rating: **** stars

- The album's first disappointment, it wasn't that I didn't like Wammack's cover of The James Gang's 'Funky $49', rather he really didn't mess with the song all that much - adding a hamronica solo to the song wasn't a significant enhancement.  I will give the song an extra star for sporting an amazing fuzz solo ...   rating: *** stars

- I'm not even sure how to begin to describe Wammack's cover of 'You Are My Sunshine'.  It isn't really bluesy.  It isn't really jazzy.  It isn't really soul.  It's a bizarre but fully engaging mixture of all of those genres and more.  Anyone know if he was playing a voicebox effect on the guitar?   Fantastic song.    rating: **** stars

- Anyone who doubted a white guy could sing real soul only needs to check out 'Whatever Turns You On'.  Play this for ten people and I guarantee you nine will think it was some old blues or soul guy ....   rating: **** stars

- While I found Wammack's ragged vocal really interesting and liked the Herb Albert and the Tijuana Horns styled trumpets, overall 'Darling You're All That I Had' didn't do a great deal for me.  On someone else's album it probably would have been a standout performance.  Here it was an also-ran.    rating: ** stars

- Kicked along by some great fuzz guitar, Wammack's cover of 'Slip Away' was a magical performance.  Commercial beyond belief, you had to wonder how Fame overlooked it as a single (it ended up on the 'B' side of ' Whatever Turns You On').   rating: **** stars

- The album's most commercial and radio-ready track, 'I Don't Really Want You' had everything you would have looked for in a top-40 single - great melody, killer hook, slashing fuzz guitar that would have made Clapton proud, and an amazing vocal.  I hummed this one for a solid week the first time I heard it.  My favorite performance on the album.    rating: ***** stars 

 

Elsewhere the album was tapped for a couple of singles:

 

- 1972's 'Whatever Turns You On' b/w 'Slip Away' (Fame catalog number 91001) # 93 pop

- 1972's 'So Good' b/w 'How Can I Tell You' (Fame catalog number 91007)

- 1972's 'How Can I Tell You' b/w 'So Goody' (Fame catalog number 91008)

 

I know I have a tendency to over-rate many album, but I have to tell you this was one of the biggest surprises of the year.

 

"Travis Wammack" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Be Good   (Joey Levine - J. Carroll) - 3:52

2.) How Can I Tell You   (Cat Stevens) - 4:29

3.) Put On Your Shoes And Walk   (C. Williams - J.R. Baily) - 2:43

4.) You Better Move On   (A. Alexander) - 3:19

5.) Funk #49  (Jim Fox - D. Peters - Joe Walsh) - 4:05

(side 2)
1.) 
You Are My Sunshine   (J. Davis - C. Mitchell) - 4:09

2.) Whatever Turns You On    (George Jackson - B. Moore) - 3:10

3.) Darling You're All That I Had   (R. Carter - J. Betis) - 3:54

4.) Slip Away   (W. Terrell - W. Armstrong) - 2:50

5.) I Don't Really Want You   (D. Linde) - 3:09

 

I've never heard them, but there are at least two additional non-LP singles for Fame:

 

- 1973's 'New Orleans' b/w 'Hooker Girl' (Fame FM-XW-267)

- 'Muscle Shoals Alabama' b/w 'Judy Girl' (Fame FM-XW-373) 

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Not for Sale

Company: Capricorn

Catalog: CP-0162

Year: 1975

Country/State: Walnut, Mississippi

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: minor ring wear; promo copy; promo sticker on cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5027

Price: $15.00

 

Produced by Rick Hall and recorded at Fame Studios, 1975's "Not For Sale" may not have been the most appropriate title for an album, but it made up for that marketing faux pas in terms of quality and entertainment value.  Interestingly, for a guy best known as a guitar slinger the album came as a major surprise in showcasing Wammack's versatile, commercial and likeable voice.  With Wammack responsible for writing or co-writing most of the ten tracks, musically the set covered a broad spectrum, including soul ('(Shu-Do-Pa-Poo-Poop) Love Being Your Fooln'), pop ('I Forgot To Remember To Forget') and conventional rock ('Cookin' On the Front Burner').  Highlights included the pretty ballad 'I Forgot To Remember To Forget' and the rocker 'Looking For a Fox'.  Sure he may have been a good-ole-boy, but the man had soul !!!  To be honest, my only real complaint were Wammack's lame Spanish on 'Easy Evil' and the fact the album all but ignored his guitar chops.  Other than a little bit of voicebox effect on 'You've Got Your Troubles' and a rollicking fuzz solo on the closer 'Greenwood Mississippi you'd never have known he was one of rock's most talented guitar slingers.  Elsewhere Capricorn tapped the album for a three singles:

 

- 1975's 'Shotgun Woman' b/w '(Shu-Doo-Pa-Poo-Poop) I Love Being Your Fool' (Capricorn catalog number CPS 0239)

- 1975's - 'Easy Evil' b/w 'Greenwood MIssissippi' (Capricorn catalog number CPS-0242)

- 1975's 'You've Got Your Troubles' b/w 'I Forgot To Remember To Forget' (Capricorn catalog number CPS 0250)

 

"Not for Sale" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Cookin' On the Front Burner   (Travis Wammack - Leon Sherrill) - 

2.) A Lover's Question   (Brook Benton - Jimmy WIlliams) - 

3.) Shotgun Woman   (Travis Wammack - Al Carter) - 

4.) I Forgot To Remember To Forget   (Travis Wammack) - 

5.) Looking for a Fox   (Rick Hall - Clarence Carter - Marcus Daniel - Wilbert Terrell) - 

(side 2)
1.) You've Got Your Troubles   (Roger Greenaway - Roger Cook) - 

2.) (Shu-Do-Pa-Poo-Poop) Love Being Your Fool   (Jerry Williams Jr. - Charles Whitehead) - 

3.) Easy Evil  (Alan O'Day) - 

4.) Love Rustler   (Thomas Cain - Dennis Linde) - 

5.) Greenwood Mississippi   (Travis Wammack - Albert S. Lowe Jr.) - 

 

In case anyone is interested, Wammack has a modest website at:

 

http://www.traviswammack.com/

 

 

 

 

BACK TO BADCAT FRONT PAGE

BACK TO BADCAT CATALOG PAGE

BACK TO BADCAT PAYMENT INFORMATION