Tag Archives: Chips Moman

Dan Penn (1995)

 

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Dan Penn is far from famous, but most everyone – at least most everyone of a certain age – knows his work. Penn produced the Box Tops’ immortal “The Letter” and co-wrote a clutch of stone soul classics (“Dark End of the Street,” “Do Right Woman,” “I’m Your Puppet,” “Cry Like A Baby,” “Sweet Inspiration,” “You Left the Water Running”) covered by a lengthy list of artists including Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, Solomon Burke, Dolly Parton, Etta James, Ry Cooder, Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt, the Flying Burrito Brothers and on and on; his list of credits on All Music Guide runs to 1,262 entries and no doubt there’s plenty missing.

However much a behind-the-scenes player, Penn is a legend among one subset of music aficionados: Southern soul fans.

Gary Talley of The Box Tops

“…the record started going up the charts. We were just dumbfounded.”

 

 

 

The Box Tops circa 1967: (l. to r.) Bill Cunningham, Danny Smythe, Alex Chilton, Gary Talley, John Evans

The Box Tops circa 1967: (l. to r.) Bill Cunningham, Danny Smythe, Alex Chilton, Gary Talley, John Evans

 

 

 

 

Circa 1999: (l. to r.) Talley, Evans, Chilton, Cunningham, Smythe

Circa 1999: (l. to r.) Talley, Evans, Chilton, Cunningham, Smythe

By phone from his home in Nashville

June 8, 1999

Not unknown but close to it, Gary Talley played guitar for The Box Tops, who had one of the indelible hits of the ‘60s, “The Letter.” And as a member of this Memphis band, he was an early (and again much later) colleague of Alex Chilton, one of rock and soul’s most mercurial characters.