Oral History -
Doug Williams heard his father singing as far back as he can remember. As a member of the Big Five gospel group, his father encouraged his children to sing in church. Doug sang with his two older brothers as part of the Williams Brothers, a group that performed and recorded for several decades.
Jason Stanfield has always enjoyed finding new and funny sounds, which means he really enjoyed the synthesizer developments of the 1990s! He worked for Mississippi Music in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in the early 1990s where he fell in love with music retail.
Richie Jones Jr. began playing drums professionally when he was 12 years old for teen clubs and skating rinks. While gigging, he developed skills in production and worked for Morris Brothers Music in Jackson, Mississippi, which led to his interest in music retail.
David Schommer was playing in the Mississippi Community Symphonic Band when he approached the conductor, David Miller, and inquired about forming a swing band. David had the vision of a swing community band that would play the roots music of the area, jazz, and the blues, in the hope of keeping the music alive. Mr.
David Miller is the band director who had the vision of a musical outlet for adult musicians in mostly non-music careers when he helped establish the Mississippi Community Symphonic Band. He was active in school band programs as a kid and played French horn in college, after which he became a band director in Florida all while serving twenty years in the US Air Force.
James Evans met one of his musical heroes, Louie Lee, in 1977. Mr. Lee took the time to show James techniques in playing his saxophone that greatly inspired him. Over the years he developed into a highly regarded studio musician, often recording at Malaco Records in Jackson, Mississippi.
Jerry Mannery enjoyed writing poems and was encouraged by a college professor to set his words to music. When one of his songs was performed by the legacy choir director, Frank Williams, Jerry felt a calling to write gospel music. In 1985, Jerry oversaw the Gospel Division at Malaco Records and began leading the Mississippi Mass Choir, who often recorded songs he had written.
Bobby Rush won his first GRAMMY at the age of 83 in 2017, some sixty years after his first professional gig as a bluesman. Beginning in the 1950s, Bobby performed live and recorded in Chicago with such artists as Bo Diddley, Elmore James, Jimmy Reed, Little Walter and Muddy Waters.
Wolf Stephenson met Tommy Couch (the founder of Malaco Records) while the two studied pharmacy in college. They began booking musical acts for their college parties and soon expanded to events and night clubs in and around Oxford, Mississippi. In 1963, Wolf met Rick Hall (the founder of Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama) and many of his studio musicians.
Tommy Couch was born in Tuscumbia, not too far from Muscle Shoals, Alabama and grew up with many of the studio musicians and engineers at the Fame Recording Studio. He later moved to Jackson, Mississippi to form his own studio, Malaco Records, with the help and advice of his old friends.