Tag Archives: Tyrone Davis

Reclaimed Soul: Blues + Soul in Chicago, The 4 Brothers Story

Chicago is known worldwide for its electrified Delta Blues. Chicago’s also known for its sweet Soul Music. And during the 1960s, those musical traditions combined at Four Brothers, a tiny record label based at a famous West Side Chicago record shop called Barney’s One-Stop. This podcast features  some of the hip, soul-flavored blues from the Four Brothers label. Plus, we hear soulful blues from all corners of the city.

A bit about 4 Brothers:

The label existed from 1965 through 1967. Its sister label was Bright Star.
Willie Barney, Jack Daniels (A&R / Production), Granville White were the principal “brothers”. The fourth “brother” might have been Harold Burrage (or maybe someone with business interests that preferred not to be named dot-dot-dot.)

In the late 1960s, Jack Daniels, along with Johnny Moore (another 4 Brothers/Bright Star associated artist and writer) cut a number of hard hitting soul records. In fact, Jack Daniels co-wrote Tyrone Davis’ blockbuster soul record “Turn Back the Hands of Time”. Tyrone Davis had recorded for 4 Brothers under the name Tyrone the Wonder Boy.

For fresh episodes of Reclaimed Soul, listen in Thursdays at 8pm CST on vocalo.org, or tune in to 89.5fm (NW Indy) and 90.7fm (CHI)

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Tom Tom 84 goes Hollywood.

Tom Tom Washington (pictured at left) is basically my hero. He’s also a very humble and cool individual to be around.

As a Chicagoan and a music lover, his distinctive Horn and String Arrangements are like home to me.

Tom Tom came up in Chicago’s Ida B. Wells Projects and studied music under the tutelage of James Mack (an awe-inspiring arranger in his own right). He wound up arranging dozens of records for Chicago Music Heavyweights such as Earth, Wind, & Fire, The Emotions, Tyrone Davis, Deniece Williams (who is from Gary, IN), The Staple Singers, Ramsey Lewis, Leroy Hutson, The Chi-Lites, Otis Leavill, Betty Everett, Jerry Butler, Loleatta Holloway, and many, many, more.

In my cratedigging, I actually look for his name on a record as a mark of excellence.  I call it looking for a “Tom Tom”. I have at least a couple of hundred cuts he’s had a hand in (under the names Tom Tom, Tom Tom 74, Tom Tom 75, Tom Tom 84, Tom Tom Washington, and a few other aliases).

Tom Tom Washington also branched out and worked with artists from all over the world, including Phil Collins and The Whispers. The Whispers are a Los Angeles-based group, and in 1978, he did arrangements for an album called “Headlights”. I know this because I recently found a 45rpm single taken from the album. I’m not usually a fan of the Whispers, but it’s a beast, featuring the top cut, called “Olivia (Lost and Turned Out)” (which is about exactly what you think it’s about), and the B-Side called “Try and Make it Better”,  which is bangin’. The tunes’ arrangements capture the distinctive sound that Tom Tom made classic on hits by Earth, Wind, & Fire and The Emotions. It’s amazing. But why wouldn’t it be? It’s a “Tom Tom”.


Get down! three chances to be a part of the movement…

Join DJ Ayana and selected friends and celebrate the music that moves us!

Brown Sugar Soul:  This Thursday 6:00pm-8:00pm

Where: Brown Sugar Bakery

  • Address: 328 E 75th St Chicago, IL   Map
  • Cost: Free-Fifty
  • Music spun on wax.  Real 45s cut to make you move. Soul & Funk classics and rarities… plus caramel cake!  You bring the drinks, DJ Ayana will bring the grooves.

    Friday Night Heights: This Friday 10pm-2pm

    Where: Morseland

  • Address: 1218 W Morse Ave Chicago, IL   Map
  • Cost: free-fifty
  • Let’s get UP Friday Night with DJ Ayana and special guest Simeon from local hip-hop group The Primeridian.  Funky Disco, Jazz, Gritty Bluesy Movers… Good Music. 

    The Get Down. Thursday Aug. 12th 10:00pm -1:00pm

    Where: Morseland

  • Address: 1218 W Morse Ave Chicago, IL   Map
  • Cost: free-fifty
  • DJs Gaucho brings you soul on wax (45s to be exact). Soulful rarities, Bluesy Groovers… and funky movers. Play a game of pool, have a drink, or just plain get down (Ayana’s on hiatus this month).

    (above, “There it Is” by Tyrone Davis.  Brunswick Records, 1973)