Arthur Conley – Sweet Soul Music

When I heard Conley shout out “Do you like good music” I knew this song was for me. Sweet Soul Music makes me mourn where digital recording has gone now. Such an in-your-face narrow tight song with a perfect sound.

Redding discovered Arthur Conley, a singer who sounded remarkably like himself. Redding became Conley’s mentor… the second release on Jotis Records was Conley’s “I’m a Lonely Stranger,” which Redding produced. It was not too successful and soon the record company folded.

Redding believed in Conley’s talent. In January 1967 Redding and his managers, Phil Walden (future ABB manager) and his brother Alan Walden (future Lynyrd Skynyrd manager) brought Conley to producer Rick Hall’s FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Conley recorded two singles at FAME Studios but they were not successful and Hall did not want to work with Conley anymore.

By this time Otis was fed up and took Conley himself to FAME and used his own band. With Jimmy Johnson engineering they recorded Sweet Soul Music. It was a million-selling single. It peaked at #2 on the Billboard 100, #2 in the R&B Charts, and #7 in the UK in 1967.

It was written by Conley and Otis Redding. It was based on “Yeah Man” by Sam Cooke and was a tribute to soul singers. The songs mentioned in this song are “Going To A Go-Go,” “Love’s a Hurtin’ Thing,” “Hold On I’m Coming,” “Mustang Sally” and “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song).” The artists mentioned are Otis, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, James Brown, and Lou Rawls.

The opening horn intro sounds very similar to Elmer Bernstein’s score for The Magnificent Seven, popularly known as the Marlboro cigarette ad theme.

Conley could not duplicate the success he had with this record. He settled in the Netherlands and in 1980 legally changed his name to Lee Roberts — his middle name and his mother’s maiden name. Conley promoted new bands through his Art-Con Productions company and continued to record and perform, fronting Lee Roberts and the Sweaters.

Sweet Soul Music

Do you like good music
That sweet soul music
Just as long as it’s swingin’
Oh yeah oh yeah

Out here on the floor now
We’re going to a go go
Ah dancin’ to the music
Oh yeah oh yeah

Spotlight on Lou Rawls y’all
Ah don’t he look tall y’all
Singin’ loves a hurtin’ thing now
Oh yeah oh yeah

Spotlight on Sam and Dave now
Ah don’t they look boss y’all
Singin’ hold on I’m comin’
Oh yeah oh yeah

Spot light on Wilson Pickett
That wicked picked Pickett
Singing Mustang Sally
Oh yeah oh yeah

Spotlight on Otis Redding now
Singing fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa
Oh yeah oh yeah

Spotlight on James Brown now
He’s the king of them all yeah
He’s the king of them all y’all
Oh yeah oh yeah


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

13 thoughts on “Arthur Conley – Sweet Soul Music”

  1. This may surprise you, given my punk and rock leanings (it sure surprised me!) but I loved this song!

    I loved it so much, I was banned by my pals from putting in on the juke box in our local pub, The Burnbrae, any more. Even the barman asked that I stop shoving my 10p or whatever into the machine and playing the track virtually on repeat. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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