he Nashville based Hickory label certainly isn’t well known for its soul output – yes to straight country and later in its life pop but not R & B. However there are a couple of 45s that deserve a little more attention from soul fans such as an early Jimmy Church effort, the lively Barbara Mills “Queen Of Fools” and an absolute peach from C L Weldon “The Love Of A Girl”. But the best singer on Hickory was undoubtedly P W Cannon.

aul William (P W) Hendricks got his start in the music business as a member of the Neptunes a local (Nashville) doo wop group who recorded several 45s from the late 50s.All of these singles had a slow side and among the best ballads they recorded were “As Long As” (Glory 1957), “So Little Time” (Checker 1960) and “This My Love” (RCA 1961). But the pick of them for me is the aching tuneful slow “If You Care” (Payson 1958).


The only release that matters to the Northern soul crowd is their Instant release the lively “House Of Broken Hearts” (Instant 1963) later revived by another group member Hal Hardy as a solo 45. But really this isn’t a patch on their soulful rendition of “Make A Memory” on the top side.

Their penultimate 45 for Victoria in 1963 was produced by Gene Kennedy who worked with Cannon throughout his solo career. And the excellent B side “I’m Coming Home” was indeed led by the rather quavering tenor vocals of Cannon himself, as was the top side of their final release “Turn Around” (Gem 1963) produced in Macon, GA by the redoubtable Bobby Smith.

When the group broke up Hendricks stayed with producer Gene Kennedy who was now working for the Hickory label and arranged for him to become P W Cannon for a series of 4 releases, which included two really first class deep sides.

Cannon’s initial release included the Northern classic “Beating Of My Lonely Heart” which is OK but pales against the quality of the fine B side ListenIt’s A Woman’s World an answer to theJames Brown hit earlier in the year. But the song is a perfect vehicle for Cannon’s rather tremulous tenor vocals, complete with some delicious falsetto excursions and a cracking southern soul arrangement with a big horn section – the baritone sax being especially notable.

ListenHanging Out My Tears from his next 45 was even better. A deep soul piece in the grand manner featuring some desperate pleading from Cannon over a beautifully realised southern groove from a tasteful guitarist, a fine repeating organ phrase and more horn rich goodness. A side to play over and over again – simply perfect.

Cannon’s third release included the tuneful “How’s The World Treating You” which couldn’t quite match his previous release – I’m not too sure about the overbearing background vocalists for a start. And sadly P W’s final Hickory single wasn’t a great success with neither side having much to recommend it. But he did have one last 45 still to come.

His final 45 appeared on the tiny Papa Joe imprint and has been hidden from view thanks to its rarity for far too long. But I’m very pleased to give ListenTake The Bitter With The Sweets it’s due. Cannon never sounded better than he did here, getting very deep into the groove with some fine emoting and featuring some more of his falsetto phrases. The female backing vocalists are much better organised and mixed and the rhythm section and horns are just terrific. The flip “Working Man’s Blues” isn’t half bad either thanks to its plodding beat and funky little guitar.

But that was to be Cannon’s final recording and he passed away in 2016.




ListenIt’s a woman’s world / Beating of my lonely heart ~ HICKORY 1396 (1966)
Hey hey / ListenHanging out my tears to dry ~ HICKORY 1412 (1966)
How’s the world treating you / Bird in the hand ~ HICKORY 1447 (1967)
Baby we’re really in love / Don’t try to watch her mister ~ HICKORY 1477 (1967)
ListenTake your bitter with the sweets / Working man’s blues ~ PAPA JOE 703 (1968/9)

Note ~ solo sides only.



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