L H & The Memphis Sounds
Songwriters Allen Jones, Johnny Keyes and Homer Banks collaborated on several projects on the Memphis music scene in the 60s. Finding it hard at the time to break into the Stax family, most of their efforts came to fruition on outside labels. The involvement of Packy Axton in the LH & the Memphis Sounds recordings inevitably brought Stax co-owner - and Packy’s mum - Estelle Axton into the equation and she gave clandestine advice to the group on publishing and recording the top side of the first 45 “Double Up”, also recorded by the incomparable C L Blast. But the ballad flip House Full Of Rooms is the track that has endured to become a cult deep classic. Lead singer LH White’s strong vocal is aided by a throwback, almost doo-wop male backing group including Keyes, tenor Wallace Liggins, and maybe Jones and Banks. The players, according to Stax historian Robert Bowman, apart from Packy on sax, also featured future Memphis luminaries Ronnie Williams on piano, Teenie Hodges on guitar, his brother Charles on bass and Mickey Gregory on trumpet.
The band’s second outing for Hollywood I Am A Fool In Love has an even more pronounced doo-wop influence to it – and seems to be even rarer on 45 as well. And although Keyes was a dyed-in-the-wool group singer he did cut one excellent modern blues “A Scared Man Can’t Gamble (Jealous Man Can’t Work)” for Estelle Axton’s Fretone label in 1974.
1. You can find "House Full Of Rooms" and "I'm A Fool In Love" on the Kent UK CD "King Serious Soul Vol 2".
2. You can find a more detailed look at the early part of Johnny Keyes’ career at Marv Goldberg’s excellent blog “R & B Notebook” here.