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Albums Of The Week: Texas & Spooner Oldham | The Muscle Shoals Sessions

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “After an emphatic 2023 that saw the release of the career-spanning The Very Best Of 1989-2023, as well as a performance at Glastonbury, Texas and legendary American songwriter / pianist Spooner Oldham have teamed up for their first joint album: The Muscle Shoals Sessions.

Recorded at the renowned Fame Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, during the summer of 2022, the album features 12 of Texas’s greatest hits and two covers (Would I Lie To You by Charles and Eddie and Save The Last Dance by The Drifters) — reimagined and laid bare. Stripped back to their bones, guided by the soulful voice of Sharleen Spiteri, accompanied by the delicate piano lines of Oldham, the songs simply shine in this format and prove their worth as sheer standalone timeless classics.

Spiteri recalls: “To have the option to go to Muscle Shoals to record was like being a little kid in a sweet shop. Working with Spooner was inspiring, fun and he’s just a wonderful human being. The fact that Northern Soul music has been such a massive influence for Texas made the fit with Spooner just right. Him writing Keep On Talking was essential to us recording it for this album.”

Photo by Clyde Gates.

She continues; “To reimagine the classics and break them down so you hear the clarity in the lyrics — it may give you a different take and a different feeling on these songs. It’s just vocal and a piano with some beautiful backing — all recorded live. I think you’re going to get something quite different from what you will have heard on the original versions.”

Inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2009, Oldham has shaped American soul music with his formidable talent. A songwriter, producer and session keyboardist, Oldham has left his mark on classics such as When A Man Loves A Woman, Mustang Sally and I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You). Oldham went on to play on a string of Aretha Franklin albums and co-write some classics, including I’m Your Puppet, Cry Like A Baby and Sweet Inspirations with Dan Penn.

After the end of the pioneering era of Southern soul, Oldham put his considerable talents to work for other artists, including Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, and The Everly Brothers, playing piano and organ. He remains a respected figure among music aficionados, not only for his tasteful keyboard playing, but also for his compositions.”