Ernie WheelwrightErnie Wheelwright

This obscurity from Atlanta, GA deserves a much broader appreciation than the rarity of the 45 has so far allowed. ListenBegging You Back is deep soul in the classic 12/8 mode. Lovely arpeggio guitar and a full horn section provide a fine backdrop for Wheelwright and his female chorus to sing out their pain and regret. This is the sort of music that can last forever.

UPDATE ~ The indefatigible Greg Burgess writes with a short biography:-

Ernest Lamour 'Wheels' Wainwright was born in Columbus, Ohio on November 28th 1939. He had several careers but is chiefly remembered as an Amercan Football player who played as a running back for the New York Giants (1964 -65) ,Atlanta Falcons (66-67)  and the New Orleans Saints (67 -70). He was also a nightclub owner and latterly an actor who appeared in a number of films including The Longest Yard (1974), Trackdown (1976),  The Greatest (1977) & Wildcats (1986).

Begging you back - GAYE 5005Immediately before he began his career as a running back he had served in the 101st Airborne Division (aka the Screaming Eagles).As owner of one of Atlanta's premier nightclubs in the 60's, the Pick Pussycat Club 'Wheels' hosted many visiting black artists and had the opportunity to cut a record 'Beggin You Back' for the local Gaye label owned by Johnny Brooks. Brooks who was also an engineer and record producer had opened his own facility around 1965 and released at least eight 45s on Gaye (including discs by Little Phil & the Nightshadows, George Hughley and Johnny Jenkins) and many more as  owner of the gospel label Sounds of Atlanta (artists included: Little Jimmy Dempsey, Big Chief Weatherington, the Soul Searchers, The Blackwood  Singers) .Wheelwright's nightclub owner bought him into contact with the Mafia and ultimately this curtailed his Football career . In 1970 the NFL asked Wheelwright, then with the New Orleans Saints, to sell his interest in the Soul City nightclub (formerly known as the Central Park South , a club that barred black people until Wheelwright acquired it) he owned at Metairie near New Orleans. Wheelwright then worked as a moderately successful actor where his athletic 6' 3" frame was ideal for sports type characters.

He married twice and his son is another famous football player  Ernest Wheelwright III currently with the Baltimore Ravens. Wheels died of cancer in Las Vegas on  May 1st 2001 aged 61.



ListenBegging you back / In your arms ~ GAYE 5005 (1969)


Extra special thanks to Greg Burgess for his research, info and the US football card, and to Pete Nickols for his research and pictures.

ReviewFootball Card


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