Archive for Stax Records

Frank Gutch Jr: Thoughts on Big Star, The Little Band That Wasn’t Until One Day, Forty Years Later, It Was; Plus Updates and Voluminous Notes of a Lugubrious Nature

Posted in Opinion, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2017 by segarini

It was a epiphanal moment, one where an aura engulfs something or someone with angelic choir background.  In this case, it engulfed the first two albums released by new and tiny Ardent Records: Cargoe‘s self-titled classic and Big Star‘s #1 Record.  I held them up and asked Gary Haller, co-owner of Eugene’s now famed House of Records if they were any good.  They looked good, the slick glossy covers showing artsy pictures of the bands, the neon Big Star sign classy in an Andy Warhol sort of way.  “Dunno,” Gary replied.  “Nice artwork, though.”  I brooded over them for the next hour or so, pulling other records from the racks to read liner notes I had already read numerous times, hoping that this time I would find inspiration.  To buy.  To listen.  To covet.

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Frank Gutch Jr: Ardent Studios/Records Founder John Fry Passes – A Look Back

Posted in Opinion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2014 by segarini

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Tulsa/Memphis radio disc jockey Robert Walker just a few moments ago posted on Facebook that Memphis legend John Fry passed away of a heart attack today (Thursday, Dec. 18).  His passing is the proverbial ton of bricks people always say they get hit by only the reality is much worse than the saying.  Fry was one of the good guys.

This one is personal.  Fry allowed me an interview years ago in which I asked him about the studio, the record label (which had at that time folded) and his thoughts on the business.  It was an eye-opening talk and provided the basis for what I wrote years later, The Story of Cargoe, an in-depth look at the band and the label, Ardent Records.  (Read the story here)  I will forever be grateful for the interview and the insights he provided, but more importantly, the music, for without Fry, both Cargoe and Big Star very well would have taken very different paths.

You will be hearing a lot about Fry and his accomplishments over the next few days, as well you should.  I only wish he had been able to grab the brass ring he so richly deserved.

The following is a reposting of a column I wrote about Fry many moons ago.  Read and learn.

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Frank Gutch Jr: Ardent’s John Fry Talks About Ardent Records, Big Star, Cargoe and Stax…..

Posted in Opinion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2013 by segarini

FrankJr2Sometimes you hit the wall and sometimes the wall hits you.  Well, the wall hit me this week.  I had five good starts on columns and all five fizzled out.  Lucky for me, I have a bathtub full of gin and older articles and interviews to which I can turn when the brain cells stop operating.  Lucky for you, one of those interviews is one I conducted with one of the seventies’ key people on the Memphis music scene:  John Fry.  Here, he talks about Ardent Records‘ deal with Stax Records, the disaster which brought both labels to the edge of oblivion and the promise of two bands which would gain popularity long after the fact:  Cargoe and Big Star.  It is is fascinating for a number of reasons, not the least of which was Big Star‘s rise to the top years later without the media hype such rises usually entail.  I give this to you exactly as I posted it right after the turn of the century.

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