Spooner Oldham

Spooner Oldham & Opinions on Janet Jackson

As a keyboardist in the legendary recording studios of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Spooner Oldham wrote and played on dozens of classic hits from Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, and more. He joins Jim and Greg for a conversation. Then they review the new album from Janet Jackson.

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Music News

Fetty Wap tops the Billboard 200 chart with the release of his self-titled debut. The album release follows the drops of his three top-ten singles, "Trap Queen," "679," and "My Way." The rapper makes a splash as the first hip-hop artist in two years to land a premiere album in the #1 spot since A$AP Rocky's Long.Live.A$AP.


The third time's the charm for The Beatles' 1 album, which you might remember from its original release in 2000 or its second remastered release in 2011. The new three-disc edition, out November 6, features promotional films and restored videos of the group. Greg wonders how many times the same album can be resold to the same audience. Despite the lack of any real change in content, Jim predicts,“It'll debut at #1.”

Thanks to a new interactive tool distributed by The Wall Street Journal, it is now possible to discover what's playing on jukeboxes across America, just by entering a zip code online. Data gathered from the jukebox vendor TouchTunes provide a look at more than 60,000 jukeboxes across the country and what music was played from September 2014 to August 2015. The map is broken up by zip code, displaying popular artists and genres in each area. Check out what tunes are gathering the most quarters here.


Spooner Oldham

Despite its location in a relatively obscure part of the South, Muscle Shoals, Alabama was home to some of the greatest studio musicians of the 1960's and 1970's. One of those pros was our guest Spooner Oldham, keyboardist and songwriter at FAME Studios. Spooner played piano and organ on hits like "Steal Away" by Jimmy Hughes and Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman." Pretty soon, record executives from the North were sending artists down to record with the excellent house band at FAME. Spooner provided the drive behind Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally," and even rescued a stagnating Aretha Franklin session by coming up with the iconic keyboard line for "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)."

Along with his collaborator Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham wrote huge hits like "Cry Like a Baby" by The Box Tops and "I'm Your Puppet" by James & Bobby Purify. After leaving Muscle Shoals, he played with Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Bobby Womack, and more, and continues to perform with acts like Cat Power and Drive-By Truckers. In 1972, Spooner recorded his own album Pot Luck. It was largely forgotten except by cult record collectors, but now is being honored with an overdue reissue from Light in the Attic.

reviewUnbreakableUnbreakable available on iTunes

Janet Jackson Unbreakable

For the first time in seven years, Janet Jackson has released a new album called Unbreakable. At the beginning of her career, she faced the challenge of stepping out of the shadow of her older brothers, which she did with the help of Minnesota songwriters and producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. They worked together creating her signature rhythmic pop sound on many of Janet's most famous albums, including Control and Rhythm Nation 1814, and teamed up again for Unbreakable. Greg thinks Jackson's last record, 2008's Discipline, was probably her worst ever but she rebounded with a solid mid-career album. He appreciated that Janet stopped wasting her time with weak and overtly sexual material, and instead made music that is more true to her authentic self. Greg especially enjoyed the track "BURNITUP!," featuring one of his all-time favorite artists, Missy Elliott. He gives the record a Buy It. Jim agrees and highlights the strengths of Jam and Lewis' electronic, modernized sound. He thinks Janet is as confident and talented as ever. It's a double Buy It for Unbreakable.


Featured Songs

  1. Fetty Wap, Trap Queen, Fetty Wap, Atlantic, 2015
  2. Queen, Fat Bottomed Girls, Jazz, EMI, 1978
  3. R. Kelly, Ignition (Remix), Chocolate Factory, Jive, 2003
  4. Etta James, Tell Mama, Tell Mama, Cadet, 1968
  5. Jimmy Hughes, Steal Away, Steal Away, Vee-Jay, 1964
  6. Jerry Lee Lewis, Whole Lotta Shakin‘ Goin’ On, Live at the Star Club, Hamburg, Philips, 1964
  7. Aretha Franklin, I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You), I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You, Atlantic, 1967
  8. Tommy Roe, Everybody, Sweet Pea, ABC, 1966
  9. Joe Simon, Let's Do It Over, Mr Shout, ACE, 1965
  10. The Sweet Inspirations, Sweet Inspiration, The Sweet Inspirations, Atlantic, 1967
  11. Percy Sledge, It Tears Me Up, Warm & Tender Soul, Atlantic, 1966
  12. Wilson Pickett, Mustang Sally, The Wicked Pickett, Atlantic, 1967
  13. Percy Sledge, When A Man Loves A Woman, Moonlighting, MCA Soundtracks, 1987
  14. James & Bobby Purify, I'm Your Puppet, James & Bobby Purify, Bell, 1967
  15. The Box Tops, Cry Like a Baby, Cry Like a Baby, Bell, 1968
  16. Aretha Franklin, Without The One You Love, The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin, Columbia, 1962
  17. Aretha Franklin, People Get Ready, Lady Soul, Atlantic, 1968
  18. Spooner Oldham, Julie Brown's Forest, Pot Luck, Light In The Attic, 2015
  19. Spooner Oldham, The Lord Loves a Rolling Stone, Pot Luck, Light In The Attic, 2015
  20. Linda Ronstadt, Desperado, Don't Cry Now, AsyluM, 1973
  21. Cat Power, Woman Left Lonely, Jukebox, Matador, 2008
  22. Janet Jackson, feat. J. Cole, No Sleeep, Unbreakable, Rhythm Nation, 2015
  23. Janet Jackson, Gon' B Alright, Unbreakable, Rhythm Nation, 2015
  24. Janet Jackson, feat. Missy Elliott, BURNITUP!, Unbreakable, Rhythm Nation, 2015
  25. Chvrches, Never Ending Circles, Every Open Eye, Universal, 2015
  26. Squeeze, 853-5937, Babylon and On, A&M, 1987
  27. Ryan Adams, Wildest Dreams, 1989, PAX AM, 2015
  28. The Clash, Lost in the Supermarket, London Calling, Epic, 1979


billboard.com Fetty Wap at No. 1 thebeatles.com Beatles re-release forbes.com Beatles re-release wsj.com America's jukeboxes spooneroldhammusic.com Spooner Oldham lightintheattic.net Spooner Oldham's“Pot Luck” soundopinions.org SO on Unsung Heroes of Rock soundopinions.org Hal Blaine on SO soundopinions.org Aretha Franklin album dissection janetjackson.com Janet Jackson chicagotribune.com Greg's review of Unbreakable