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They Killed A King
release April 4th, 2014 – This new recording has been 46 years in the making. Written by Bobbejaan Schoepen and his great friend and musician Mel Turner (aka Jimmy James Ross) in the immediate aftermath of Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassination April 4th 1968, it is a song of both regret and hope. Profoundly affected by this seismic event, both men felt compelled to commit their feelings to paper, to convey the deep sadness that Martin Luther King’s death had prompted within them and across the world.
However this song almost never came to light. For four decades it lay almost forgotten but in June 2008, during the recording of the last album by Bobbejaan, the idea was born to resurrect the track. Bobbejaan’s son, biographer and manager, Tom, and the record producer Firmin Michaels both knew it would make an excellent recording but the untimely passing of Bobbejaan meant that this endeavour would have to wait.
Five years later Tom and Firmin reunited to complete the project. During his career, Firmin had worked at the Royal Studios in Memphis Tennessee, and through his connections began to gather a group of outstanding musicians to bring this song to life. Via Lester Snell, the renowned arranger and keyboard player, the soul legend Sam Moore was recruited to provide his own inimitable voice to the track. Not only is Sam one of the greatest soul voices of all time but he was also a close friend of Dr King and has contributed to a slight adaptation of the original words.
Recorded in Memphis over the weekend of Martin Luther King Day, under the auspices of engineer Lawrence ‘Boo’ Mitchell – son of Royal Studios founder Willie Mitchell – this soulful song captures the spirit of the times it was written in. As Mitchell stated; ‘This song is so, so strong, it could have been recorded in the 60s or 70 in Stax Memphis by the best souls artists’.
A TRIBUTE TO MARTIN LUTHER KING