Chuck & Mariann
Charles Cooper (Chuck) and his then wife Mary Gresham (Mariann) recorded sessions at Muscle Shoals for Finley Duncan which saw the light of day on Excello subsidiary Abet. Both 45s featured a duet side and a solo by Mary. The rocking “Going Through The Changes” was the pick of the uptempo numbers for sure, but the restrained well formed ballad Let’s Walk Down The Streets Together has a certain appeal. Mary Gresham’s compelling vocals can be best appreciated on the deep The Woman In Me where she communicates her needs and wants in a totally convincing fashion. A very fine performance but to a perfectionist like me the inclusion of a horn section to the final mix would have been a bonus. A nod of appreciation must go to Barry Becket for his superb keyboard fills.
Both Chuck and Mariann have other quality southern soul credentials. Charles Cooper partnered Elmo Morris in the Double Soul, who recorded very strong sides for Minaret, and Mary is Jimmy Gresham’s sister. She sang background for Sandra Wright (wrongly credited as “Mary Graham”), has written songs for Dorothy Moore and perhaps most excitingly of all recorded further sessions at Muscle Shoals for Terry Woodford which are only now becoming widely available. Mary was also unable to take up contract offers from both Rick Hall and Jimmy Johnson in the 70s for professional and personal reasons. If only….
1. “The Woman In Me” can be found on the Ace UK CD “Heart Of Southern Soul Vol 1” (CDCHD 568) and “Let’s Walk Down The Streets Together” can be found on the Ace UK CD “Heart Of Southern Soul Vol 2” (CDCHD 601)
2. Mary Gresham’s wonderful previously unissued Muscle Shoals cuts can be found on the Soulscape UK CD "Voice From The Shadow" (SSCD 7008).
Thanks to Garry Cape for info and the amazing photo.