Carolina Soul jukebox tags, part 1

The month of March came and went, with Jon Kirby and myself both on the road seemingly as much as we were home, and then when we had some downtime, we both watched too much March Madness. (Even though our Tar Heels weren’t where we wanted them to be, I suppose that some measure of civic pride can be found in the championship going to a fellow Tobacco Road team.) So there you have a couple excuses for our lack of posts these last few weeks, and we’re now ready to ease back in with what will hopefully be the first of many images of vintage Carolina Soul jukebox tags. Those pictured above are the only ones I can recall having, and I’d like to propose that you, our audience, submit scans of any that may be in your possession.

If you’re wondering about provenance, I’m sure I found that first handwritten Anthony Burns tag at the house of kind and helpful IBM employee turned record dealer Mike McKinley (R.I.P.) in maybe 2005, and the typewritten version came in the last year from a jukebox vendor that had been based in Greenville. Even though the deep soul two-sider “Try Me” b/w “Do Right Man” (Atlanta AT-4466) is quite obscure these days, the existence of the tags adds some weight to Mr. Burns’s claim that upon its release, his debut record was a hot commodity in the towns along South Carolina’s I-85 corridor, say from Anderson (his hometown) to Greenville. As for the “Doing What You Need To Do” tag, I’m pretty sure that a buddy found it in Burlington, NC, where Mr. Burns stayed briefly in the mid 1970s, cutting that great bass and drums-heavy funk (as heard on “Carolina Funk”) in Charlotte before moving to Durham and then back home to Anderson. 

On that day at Mike McKinley’s, the James (Mr. Soulfingers) Arnold tag also came my way. Mr. Soulfingers Arnold, we’ve never managed to track you down, so if you’re out there in Internet land, please drop us a line. We do know that the label of the Je-eeca Records release “Someone New” (a deep ballad) b/w “Your Chain of Love” (a mid-tempo groover) credits Melvin Burton—one-time husband of none other than Southern Soul heroine Ann Sexton—as “Arranger of Horns”, which is a start, but we’re still curious.

Can’t recall where the Tams jukebox tag originated, and that’s all for now, but please do let us know if you can share anything for a future post.

Oh! One more note, speaking of Ann Sexton, I just remembered that over at Paradise of Bachelors, a site that I’m a part of, we have an almost complete sheet for her 1971 debut on Impel Records. Check it out here, and you’ll also be rewarded with a candid photo from the collection of her original producer David Lee, along with many images of him.

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