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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

Sam Moore, The Legendary Soul Man

Sam Moore is a legend within the history of soul music. As one of half of Sam & Dave, the most successful and critically acclaimed pairing in soul music history, he has deservedly earned the title of “The Greatest Living Soul Singer”. Hailing from Miami, Florida, Sam met his partner, Dave Prater on the local gospel music scene in 1961, and within four years they secured their first smash recordings under the guidance of Jerry Wexler at Stax Records in Memphis Tennessee. Paired with the writing and production team of Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Sam and Dave scored hit after hit including “Hold on I’m Coming”, “I Thank You”, When Something is Wrong With My Baby”, “Soul Sister, Brown Sugar” and the Grammy Award winning, “Soul Man.

Now a successful solo artist, Sam has recorded and performed with a host of legendary artists throughout his career, including Conway Twitty, Bruce Springtseen, Don Henley, Elton John, Phil Collins and Lou Reed. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and voted by Rolling Stone Magazine and fellow musicians as one of the greatest 100 singers in rock music, Sam Moore is, without doubt, one of the greatest soul artists of our era.

Royal Studios

Willie Mitchell’s Royall Studio.
Royal Studios is a recording studio located in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Established in 1956, it is one of the oldest continuously operated music recording studios in the world.
Pioneer of the Memphis Sound, Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios is the oldest continuously operated recording studio in the world. With the legendary Hi Records and the Hi Rhythm Section, Mitchell transformed the studios from a minor rockabilly studio into one of the most successful producers of soul music in the world. A modest role call of the artists who have recorded there includes Al Green, Chuck Berry, Ann Peebles, Buddy Guy, Ike and Tine Turner, Solomon Burke, Syl Johnson and Tom Jones. Today, Willie Mitchell, with his son Lawrence ‘Boo’ Mitchell as studio manager and engineer, continues to record with some of the worlds greatest artists including John Mayer, Rod Stewart, Bernard Lavilliers and Axelle Red.

Speaking about the song he recorded about Martin Luther King, Sam Moore said the following:

“I am from the era, I’m a real living witness to the greatest positive social changes, perhaps in all of recorded history because of Dr King’s effort. I am troubled that all Martin stood for is suddenly reversing and I hope that this song might have some impact and remind us what Martin lost his life fighting so that all of us could achieve.”

Credits

Executive producer Tom Schoepen
Produced by Mark Plati and Firmin Michiels
Arranged by Lester Snell
Recorded January 17-18, 2014
At Royal Studios, Memphis, Tennessee
By Lawrence "Boo" Mitchel

Mixed by Mark Plati
At Alice's Restaurant, New York City
Mastered by Tom Durack
Artistic direction by Tom Schoepen and Firmin Michiels
Special thanks to Joyce Moore

The Band
Lester Snell - Wurlitzer
James Robertson - Drums
Rev Charles Hodges - B3
Leroy Hodges - Bass
Michael Toles - Guitar
Mark Plati - Guitar
Marc Franklin - Trumpet
Gary Topper - Tenor Sax
Victor Sawyer - Trombone
Art Edmaiston - Baritone Sax

Backing Vocals
Tomika "Big Baby" Goodman
Ann Hines
Patricia Snell

Music Video
Directed by Benny Vandendriessche
Camera by Jakob Rosseel
Edited by Tom Denoyette
Produced by Tom Schoepen

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