Firstly Fingers Like Saturn are our point of interest in this show. It is a remarkable story. Rob and Dennis (Black and Wyatt Records) have played a massive part in this. We are delighted to be intertwined in this story from afar. Besides Fingers Like Saturn, Tobin brings us The Frog Princess, a cautionary tale by The Divine Comedy.
Secondly, later on in the show we introduce Sammy Brue and his wonderfully rich voice. Further to that, we have a video from his recent gig in London where he and his guitarist KJ Ward were supporting Caamp. The impromptu trio of Sammy Brue, Taylor Meier and Matt Vinson covered The Avett Brothers classic Laundry Room and the video of that performance is right here in the show notes. Consequently we spin the original on the show as well.
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- Candy’s Dead Fingers Like Saturn
- The Frog Princess The Divine Comedy
- God Knows I’ve Tried Kelsey Karter
- Mary You Were Wrong Mary Lattimore
- Laundry Room The Avett Brothers
- I Know Sammy Brue
- Glam Lies Fingers Like Saturn
Fingers Like Saturn – 10 years in the making
What Robert at Black and Wyatt Records has to say:
Many Memphis rock musicians have great material in the can that has never been put on vinyl.Robert Wyatt – Black & Wyatt Records
We are starting by producing 500 to 1000 records for each band. We are about to release a single what could be the earliest garage rock band record. In 1956 five high school kids who went into Sun Studio, two days after the million dollar quartet session, to record their original song Steady Girl. The 14 year old drummer, Joe Bauer, later became the drummer for the Youngbloods.
The remarkable thing about Fingers Like Saturn is the cast of musicians in the group. Mike McCarthy, a well known Memphis filmmaker, has written all the songs on this LP. Mike grew up in rural northeast Mississippi in a town close to Tupelo and the songs reflect that heritage. Satnin is about Elvis‘ mother Gladys and his stillborn twin. Satnin is a Presley family term of endearment. It is what Elvis called Priscilla. The term is also used for others such as Gladys (and in the song Jesse).
Cori Dials Mattice, the vocalist, starred in McCarthy’s film, Cigarette Girl. Steve Selvidge, the drummer, has become one of the most highly regarded Memphis guitar players (Hold Steady). Jonathan Kirkscey, cello, recently put together the soundtrack for the documentary about Mr. Rogers. Our webpage should be updated soon with material on the Heathen’s Steady Girl, but it does have stories, photos and links for Fingers Like Saturn – www.blackandwyattrecords.com.
Memphis Flyer article: October 25th 2018
Why would two doctors want to start a record label?Chris McCoy
Ask Dennis Black and Robert Wyatt of Black & Wyatt Records, and they’ll tell you it’s because they love Memphis music.
Black is a pediatric gastroenterologist, and Wyatt is a pediatric nephrologist. They met through their work at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and bonded over their love of music, particularly Memphis rock-and-roll.
Wyatt says even though he’s lived and practiced medicine in Memphis since the 1980s, for many years he was unaware of the city’s fertile underground music scene. “When I had a division to run, a research lab, and a family to raise, I missed out. My lab techs were going to the Antenna Club, but I never did.”
The Harbert Avenue Porch Show
Black grew up in Covington and worked at the town’s radio station, WKBL, in high school, then for Memphis State’s WTGR. “Music has kind of been my hobby all along,” he says. “Unfortunately, I can’t really play. But I like hearing live music, and I have a good record collection.”
“About the time $5 Cover came out, I started paying attention to Memphis bands and meeting Memphis musicians,” Wyatt says.
After he got to know several Memphis musicians through the cleaning company, Two Chicks and a Broom (“Valerie June cleaned our house for a fairly long period of time.”), he started hiring bands to play for yard parties at his home in 2012. The Harbert Avenue Porch Show has since attracted Jack Oblivian, The River City Tanlines, Snowglobe, and James and the Ultrasounds, to name a few.
“He’s his own little institution, with the porch shows,” says filmmaker Mike McCarthy, a Memphis punk pioneer whose daughter Hanna Star was also featured in a porch show. “Mike approached me about wanting to put the Fingers Like Saturn album out,” says Wyatt. Fingers Like Saturn was a band McCarthy formed to feature Cori Dials (now Cori Mattice), a singer and actress he met while working at Sun Studios in 2006. He saw Mattice sing with her band The Splints. “They were good, but she looked like a Chrissie Hynde/Debbie Harry figure — lost in time, full of charisma.”
Mike McCarthy builds Fingers Like Saturn
McCarthy wrote a bunch of songs and gathered keyboardist Shelby Bryant, sax player Suzi Hendrix, cellist Jonathan Kirkscey, and guitarist George Takeda. Then he put guitar wizard Steve Selvidge on drums, which, amazingly, works just fine.
“I introduced Cori to this group of talented eccentrics,” says McCarthy. “She jumped right into it.”
The band recorded at Sun Studios and at Selvidge’s home studio. “I’ve always played in punk bands, but I wanted this band to be a well-produced glam-rock band,” says McCarthy.
Filled with Memphis heavy hitters and held together with Mattice’s powerful alto, the glam influence is palpable, especially in songs like the Bowie-worshipping Glam Lies. But, since it’s Memphis, the sounds are more eccentric. Satnin’ (Pine Box Lullaby) dabbles in Mexicalia by way of Johnny Cash. Black Ray of Sunshine, a ballad about the Black Dahlia, is an early example of the string-arranging skills that have made Kirkscey a sought-after soundtrack composer.
Cori drifts out of town…
Before the eponymous record could find a label, Mattice’s career took her out of Memphis, and the band drifted apart. Ten years later, McCarthy played the recordings for Black and Wyatt. “We listened to the recordings, and they were really good!” says Black. “It was just a conspiracy of events that it didn’t get a wide release at the time. If we were going to do it, we decided to make it a really nice record.”
Fingers Like Saturn will reunite at DKDC on October 24th for Black & Wyatt’s first record release party. But the label-mates are already looking forward to their next release: a single by The Heathens, a Memphis high school garage band that recorded at Sun Studios in 1956. Black and Wyatt plan to continue releasing a mixture of contemporary Memphis acts and lost gems from the 60-year history of Memphis rock.
“We’re not in it to become millionaires,” says Black. “We have our day jobs. We want to get the music out there.”
Thanks to Robert and Dennis for the 7″ recording of The Heathens’ track Steady Girl which has arrived this week and is due for release on March 9th 2019 where we will be playing it in the show. Steady Girl is a brilliant track.
Sammy Brue, Taylor Meier & Matt Vinson
Here’s the live performance of Laundry Room as performed by this impromptu trio. Venue was Oslo, Hackney, London. Date was 6th February 2019. We just wanted to reach out personally to Sammy – thanks Sammy, for all your interactions with us. Looking forward to meeting up with you again soon.