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Bluesbreakers: Reuben James Richards

From Memphis to Norfolk alongside the Muscle Shoals brass section.

Back in 1994, Reuben James Richards, then just Reuben James, released his debut single Hold On My Heart.

Equal parts effusive gospel, gutsy blues and deep soul, it was produced and co-written by Dave Williams, the one-time Stax song plugger, and featured blaring horns from the Muscle Shoals brass section and heavenly background harmonies by Rhodes, Chalmers and Rhodes of Al Green and Hi Records fame. It caught the ear of Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler. It was Wexler, of course, who had teamed Aretha Franklin with the Muscle Shoals brass section back in 1967 at Rick Hall’s Fame Studios. He knew a good thing when he heard it, and declared Hold On My Heart a great thing. But sadly, due to a lack of promotion, the single sank without trace. 


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