- Carson Whitsett
Carson Whitsett (
May 1 1945, Jackson, Mississippi– May 8 2007of a brain tumor) was a keyboardist, songwriter, and producer.
Carson Whitsett joined his older brother Tim Whitsett's band, Tim Whitsett & The Imperials (later known as
The Imperial Show Band) on the B-3 organ. Following the break up of the band, Whitsett spent time in Canadaplaying with Eric Mercurybefore an invitation to Stax Recordswhere Tim Whitsettwas now in charge of the label's East Memphis publishing arm. Carson's playing inspired bassist Donald "Duck" Dunnand drummer Al Jacksonto reemerge, along with Stax sessionguitarist Bobby Manuelin place of Steve Cropper, as The MG's, releasing an album in 1973.
Whitsett moved to
Malaco Records, where he played in the house band, appearing on Paul Simon's "There Goes Rhymin' Simon" album, Anita Ward's "Ring My Bell", Dorothy Moore's "Misty Blue", albums by fellow Mississippian Paul Davis, one of the highest selling Blues albums of all time in Z. Z. Hill's "Down Home Blues", and numerous albums by such legends as Bobby "Blue" Bland, Little Milton, and former Staxsensation Johnnie Taylor. Several Malaco acts, including Taylor and Moore, recorded songs written by Whitsett, and he produced Fern Kinney's #1 UK hit "Together We Are Beautiful" in 1980.
Whitsett's first major success as a songwriter also came in 1980 with
Fred Knobloch's "Why Not Me". Lorrie Morganrequested on her debut album to record Whitsett's "Dear Me", which became her first top ten hit. Another Country hit followed with John Anderson's "Mississippi Moon", co-written with Tony Joe White. With long time collaborator and friend Dan Pennand Hoy Lindsey, Whitsett penned the title track to Solomon Burke's Grammywinning "comeback" album Don't Give Up On Me, later covered by Joe Cockerand by actor Peter Gallagheron the hit TV show The O.C..
Other artists who recorded songs written or co-written by Carson Whitsett include Soul icons
Etta James, Eddie Floyd, Johnny Adams, James Carr, Ruth Brown, and Wilson Pickett, as well as Country superstars Conway Twittyand Barbara Mandrelland Gospel greats Albertina Walkerand The Staple Singers. He also played and wrote material for B.B. King, Jerry Butler, Suzy Bogguss, and Irma Thomas, among others. At least two Carson Whitsett collaborations are considered modern day Blues standards in Joe Louis Walker's "Blues of the Month Club" and the W.C. Handy Award winning "One Foot in the Blues" recorded by Johnny Adams.
In 2002, Whitsett served as arranger for the highest selling female Pop artist of the 1950s,
Patti Page, on her Sweet Sounds of Christmas CD. He then teamed again with producer Dan Pennand Hoy Lindsey, writing a dozen songs, arranging, and playing on the critically acclaimed "Better to Have It" CD by Bobby Purifyin 2005. He played on several Tony Joe Whitealbums including "The Heroines" in 2004 with singers Lucinda Williams, Shelby Lynne, Jessi Colter, and Emmylou Harrisand 2006's "Uncovered", which featured guest appearances by Eric Clapton, J. J. Cale, Michael McDonald, Mark Knopfler, and also Waylon Jenningsin one of his last performances.
For several years he served as keyboardist for country music star
Kathy Matteaand became very close with Mattea's husband, lyricist Jon Vezner. Vezner's skills inspired Whitsett to new heights as an arranger, composer, and musician. During this time, Whitsett also recorded three solo piano projects. In November 2005, he was interviewed along with fellow famed Southern Soulkeyboardist Spooner Oldhamin "Keyboard Player Magazine".
Carson Whitsett passed away May 8, 2007, after a sixteen month bout with brain cancer.
Southern Soullegend Dan Pennsaid of his collaborator of the past three decades that, "...he played with the most authentic R&B feel of anybody I ever worked with".
* [http://188.8.131.52/search?q=cache:Ft6aAJLXR30J:www.commercialappeal.com/mca/midsouth_news/article/0,1426,MCA_1497_5527106,00.html+carson+whitsett&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us Carson Whitsett left mark on music scene (Memphis Commercial Appeal)]
* [http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070510/ENTERTAINMENT01/705100378/1005 Keyboard Ace Carson Whitsett (The Tennessean)]
* [http://www.gospelengine.com/gzone/content/view/191/107/ Southern Music legend passes]
* [http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070516/FEAT05/705160337/1023 Remembering legendary musician (Jackson Clarion-Ledger)]
* [http://redkelly.blogspot.com/ (The B Side)]
* [http://music.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.asp?qsrch=A&WRD=carson+whitsett&z=y&r=1&cds2Pid=9481 (Barnes & Noble)]
* [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:hzfyxqygldde~T4 (Recording Credits)]
* [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:hzfyxqygldde~T3 (Songwriting Credits)]
*"Soulsville USA: The Story of Stax Records" By Rob Bowman
*"The Last Soul Company: Malaco, A Thirty Year Retrospective" By Rob Bowman
*"Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music" By Greg Haynes
*"All Shook Up" By Christine Wilson
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