2013 it was a Friday I believe. I’m pretty sure I had some sort of engagement that evening but I wanted, no needed to see this Muscle Shoals documentary(the video clip above is not from the documentary) I had to learn more about this Rick Hall that’s all over the trailers. Yes I had heard the name Rick Hall and Fame and even Muscle Shoals prior but I don’t think that I had put it all together consciously.

You see I was late to the party on 60’s Soul. It’s not that it wasn’t readily available to me but at a certain point in my life I was simply a 70’s – 90’s Soul Music Snob. I didn’t get it and in fact I didn’t get the wide ranging work and influence of Rick Hall that stretched way beyond those nascent days of the 60’s and the hits with Atlantic. Rick Hall never stopped making music, it was his life how could he? According to this fantastically informative and inspirational article about Rick Hall from Matt Wake at al.com upon reuniting with Candi Staton (the pair had lots of success in the 70’s before parting ways) for 2014 recording Life Happens Hall quipped “I think we have one more in us.”

Isn’t that the telltale sign of a great music person? That sense that there’s always something there that the rest of us may not be able to see. The greats know how to get it out of you, they just know. Oh they will push, but they know it’s done when it’s right. From what I’ve come to learn and admire about Rick Hall that’s the kind of music man he was. Inspired by the Sam Phillips, a contemporary of the Berry Gordy’s, Willie Mitchell’s and on down the line. A vision, a sound. Someone who knew the power of a great song and how to make a hit record.

But don’t just take my word for it… the greatest testament is the work the Rick Hall was involved with. You could start and stop with The Queen of Soul but the river just continues to flow to Wilson Pickett, Clarence Carter, Etta James, Arthur Conley, Percy Sledge, Candi Staton, Mac Davis, Bobbie Gentry, The Osmonds, Lou Rawls, Wayne Newton and on and on and on…

Rest well Rick Hall.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.