An Introduction to Larry Birdsong
For the fourth volume of its Southern Sounds Series, a collection focused on forgotten legends of soul, funk, and R&B, En Avant la Zizique! presents An Introduction to Larry Birdsong. Larry Birdsong (born Lawrence E. Birdsong) possessed one of the most beautiful voices to come out of Nashville, Tennessee's R&B golden age, and was widely predicted to become a national sensation. History unfortunately proved otherwise; despite his ease and versatility with the styles of blues, jazz, gospel, rock 'n' roll, R&B, and soul, Birdsong never made it as expected, though he dedicated himself to his craft and delivered some quality recordings. Birdsong, one of 11 children, was born in June 1934 in the town of Pulaski, deep in old, rural Tennessee. Music was everywhere at his family's household, and before his 21st year, Birdsong was one of the top acts at the Sugar Hill Club in Nashville. Ted Jarett, one of the biggest figures in Nashville's recording industry, noticed Birdsong and signed him to Excello as an underage musician in the early '50s, and before long Birdsong had also signed with Vee-Jay Records, Home of the Blues in Memphis (where he was produced by Willie Mitchell), and Ace Records in New Orleans. Though commercial success continued to elude him, Birdsong honed his rock 'n' roll and R&B craft through the 1960s, before turning to soul and funk in the late '60s and early '70s. His '70s backing band included such well-known names as Johnny Jones and Buford Majors, as compiled in this volume. Birdsong kept singing until his death in 1990, leaving behind a largely underappreciated legacy now preserved by En Avant la Zizique!