Fat Possum Licenses Hi Records Catalog

Fat Possum Licenses Hi Records Catalog
February 12, 2009
By Reverend Keith A. Gordon

Oxford, Mississippi blues music label Fat Possum Records has announced a deal to license the storied catalog of the legendary Memphis soul label Hi Records. While the early-1970s recordings of Al Green stand as the commercial and critical cornerstone of the Hi Records catalog, the label's roster also included significant blues, R&B, and soul releases from artists like Otis Clay, Ann Peebles, O.V. Wright, and Ace Cannon, among others.

The first three releases under the Fat Possum/Hi Records deal – remastered versions of Green's Greatest Hits, I'm Still In Love With You, and the acclaimed Let's Stay Together album – will be in the stores on March 31, 2009. In a press release, Fat Possum president Matthew Johnson says, "we are planning on reissuing the entire catalog. The greatest hits are already up on iTunes, and we'll be rolling out the rest of the releases soon. This is huge for us."

Hi Records was formed in 1957 by singer Ray Harris, record store owner Joe Cuoghi, Bill Cantrell, and Quinton Claunch as a soul and rockabilly label. Musician/producer Willie Mitchell signed to Hi as a recording artist, and became the label's musical director in 1960. By 1970, Mitchell was running the show, his unique musical vision resulting in a string of hit singles and albums.

Although the Memphis soul that was Hi's trademark would be overshadowed on the charts by disco in the late-1970s, it would subsequently have a major influence on the development of the soul-blues genre we enjoy today. Future Fat Possum/Hi Records releases will include other titles from the Al Green catalog as well as albums by Ann Peebles, Syl Johnson, and Willie Mitchell. Keep your eyes on the stacks for this hot wax!
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