J. W. Alexander (musician)

James Woody Alexander ( born January 21, 1916 in Hamilton, Mississippi, † July 8, 1996 in West Hollywood, California ) was an American singer, songwriter, music manager and music entrepreneurs. He was the patron and friend of Sam Cooke and his business partner in the record label SAR Records and the publisher KAGs Music.

Life and career

The young JW Alexander worked in the CCC ( Civilian Conservation Corps ) in environmental protection, he sang at the Silver Moon Quartet and was professional baseball in the black league show at the Indianapolis Clowns. He had therefore been a varied career behind him before he was appointed as Manager of the gospel group The Pilgrim Travelers from 1942, in which he also sang tenor himself. Approx. 1945 JW Alexander, Sam Cooke attention, who sang as the opening act Pilgrim Travelers and other major gospel groups in Chicago in the Highway QC's. Since that time, the support for Sam Cooke began.

On 1 June 1948 he signed a contract with Specialty Records for his Pilgrim Travelers. JW Alexander became at Specialty for talent scouts in the Gospel Divisions and was also A & R duties. In 1949 he brought the Soul Stirrers to specialty, as well as in subsequent years, the Happyland Singers, the Original Gospel Harmonettes and other major gospel groups. The end of 1950 left the head of the group Rebert H. Harris ( 1916-2000 ) for religious reasons, the Soul Stirrers. RB Robinson, the supervisor of the Highway QC's and the baritone Stirrers made ​​for Sam Cooke as the new lead singer and found it just as strong support by JW Alexander. The friendship and support of Alexander and Sam Cooke took its course at numerous performances and recordings.

In the course of disputes between specialty Boss type Rupe and Cooke / Blackwell, who left the label direction Keen Records, JW Alexander took his hat and subsequently took Popp slats with his newly formed Travelers at Keen 's subsidiary label Andex on - but with a modest success.

As the first success of Sam Cooke as a solo artist hired ( You Send Me, 1957), it was JW Alexander, who founded with Cooke as a partner on 1 July 1958 Musikverlag KAGs Music ( BMI ) to participate financially in the success to be able to. It came even to the extent that Alexander processed on behalf of investment companies against Keen for false Tantiemenabrechnugen. The consequences were that separated Sam Cooke manager Bumps Blackwell, Keen was thus out of business and Cooke moved to RCA. 1959, had as Art Rupe lost interest in the music business, Alexander and Cooke started on your own for the Soul Stirrers writing songs and making recordings, for example, Stand By Me Father, an adaptation of the Gospel Songs of Charles Albert Tindley, which was later known by Ben E. King's interpretation. The next step was the establishment of the SAR Records label along with Cooke. In addition, they set up a second publisher Malloy ( for ASCAP ), as well as the SAR subsidiary label Derby, came out on the 1963 only two LPs by Mel Carter, and Billy Preston.

On the other hand, SAR published numerous publications. In addition to the Soul Stirrers and Johnnie Morisette, Johnnie Taylor ( Cooke's successor at the Stirrers, who moved to Stax after the resolution of SAR), the Sims Twins and The Valentinos. SAR Records still existed until shortly after Sam's death and was disbanded in early 1965 by Barbara Cooke, the Sam's half sold. Also sold J. W. Alexander 's half of the investment companies catalog for $ 375,000. The current owner is Abkco.

JW Alexander devoted himself to the accompaniment of other careers: Ua of Lou Rawls ( also a member of the Pilgrim Travelers from 1959) and Willie Hutch. He also worked from 1968 for a short time along with Little Richard and Solomon Burke. In addition to singing, he also played drums and percussion. Inter alia He supported the Rolling Stones in 1965 I'm Free. Another mainstay was producing. In the 1960s and 1970s he produced, for example, the Bar -Kays, Mavis Staples or Isaac Hayes.

J. W. Alexander died in 1996 from cancer. He has a daughter Adrienne, and two sons Anthony and JW III.

Source and Literature

  • Peter Guralnick: Sweet Soul Music, Bosworth Music, ISBN 978-3-86543-321-3
  • Peter Guralnick: Dream Boogie: The Triumph Of Sam Cooke, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN 0-316-37794-5