James Tigner Jr had a longish career in the music business but only made a small handful of 45s. He commenced recording in Nashville in 1963 with his backing vocalists the Rounders, on what may well have been his own label – Jora. Both sides of the disc are usually described as doo-wop but they could also be proto southern soul thanks to his gospel inflected vocals, coupled with his fine rhythmic sense.
Tigner’s own ballad “Small Town Girl” is the most popular side, but the easy going flip “Come Home”, penned by Spence James, is pretty good too. When the 45 appeared on the bigger Spar label this side was replaced by the upbeat “Foolish Lover”. The backing musicians on these cuts was probably provided by Johnny Jones’ King Casuals, who featured his own excellent bluesy guitar, Billy Cox on bass, Ted Jarrett on piano and Freeman Brown on drums, later to find a home as the rock solid foundation of the Fame Gang.
By 1968 he had split the Rounders, and although it isn’t absolutey clear, they are probably the group that Mighty Sam joined in Mobile, AL after he left the Dothan Sextet early in 1966. Tig, like Sam, was being recorded in Muscle Shoals shortly afterwards by Papa Don Schroeder. A Love That Never Grows Cold is undoubtedly the best Tig family disc, with the emotionally compelling lead vocal taken by his wife Louise. This delicious deep soul classic was first cut by Oscar Toney for Schroeder at Fame and it is hard to pick a winning version as both are simply outstanding. Maybe Toney’s rasping tenor just shades it for me, especially with that superb horn chart as well. But Tig’s version was good enough to attract the attention of Dave Godin, doyen of deep soul in the UK, who put it out on his own label Deep Soul, the last 45 before the label folded. It is now a UK collector’s item.
Sadly Tig’s rare Tuska release is my least favourite of the 45s on the legendary Atlanta, GA concern. Although it now demands a really high price on the funk scene neither “Brainstorm” nor “Everybody’s Laffing” do anything for me at all.
Small town girl / Come home ~ JORA 1001 (1963) (As THE ROUNDERS)
Small town girl / Foolish lover ~ SPAR 779 (1963) (As JIMMY TIG & THE ROUNDERS)
Who can I turn to / A love that never grows cold ~ BELL 708 (1968) / DEEP SOUL UK 9105 (1968) (As JIMMY & LOUISE TIG & COMPANY)
Everybody’s laffing / Brainstorm ~ TUSKA 115 (1969 / 70) (As JIMMY TIG & THE TIG FAMILY)
Note - You can find "Foolish Lover" on the Super Bird CD "Rare Blues And Soul From Nashville The 60s Vol 2", "Small Town Girl" on the Ace UK CD "Across The Tracks" and "A Love That Never Grows Cold" on the Kent UK CD "Dave Godin's Deep Soul Trteasures Vol 2".