They Killed a King  Sam Moore

A Tribute song to Martin Luther King Jr.

Jan. 15, 1929 — Apr. 4, 1968

Re-Release April 4, 2020

Tribute Song

They Killed A King

History of a forgotten song – This new recording has been 46 years in the making. It is originally written and recorded by Bobbejaan Schoepen and his friend Mel Turner in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4th, 1968.

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 Dr. 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 Schoepen, and the record producer Firmin Michiels both knew it would make an excellent recording. But the untimely passing of the artist meant that this endeavour would have to wait.

Bring this song back to life. Five years later Tom and Firmin reunited to complete the project. During his career, Firmin had worked at the Royal Studios in Memphis Tennessee. Through his connections with Lester Snell both men began to gather a group of outstanding musicians to bring this song to life.

Sam Moore. 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.

Royal Studios Memphis. 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 Lawrence Mitchell stated: ‘This song is so, so strong, it could have been recorded in the 60s or 70s in Stax Memphis by the best soul artists’.

‘This song is so, so strong, it could have been recorded in the 60s or 70s in Stax Memphis by the best soul artists’ – Lawrence Mitchell

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.

Sam Moore, speaking about the song he recorded about Martin Luther King

Royal Studios

Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios is founded in 1956 in Memphis
and is the oldest continuously operated recording studio in the world.
Pioneer of the Memphis Sound with the legendary
Hi Records and the Hi Rhythm Section

Willie Mitchell (1928-2010) transformed the studios from a minor rockabilly
studio into one of the most successful producers of soul music in the world.

Artists who have recorded there include:
Al Green, Chuck Berry, Ann Peebles, Buddy Guy,
Ike and Tine Turner, Solomon Burke, Syl Johnson and Tom Jones.

Today 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 Sam Moore.

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.

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
Teenie Hodges - Guitar*
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


* Teenie Hodges (November 16, 1945 – June 22, 2014) performed on several Bobbejaan Schoepen songs at the Royal Studios in Memphis in January 2014, together with the band (with Leroy and Charles) — his last recordings.

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

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