Dewey Spooner Oldham

Born: June 14, 1943 Sheffield, AL

1991 Inductee Alabama Music Hall of Fame

A native of Center Star, Spooner Oldham gained his first recording experience as a member of the rhythm section at Fame Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals. It was there that he met songwriting partner Dan Penn.

As a studio musician, Oldham spent significant periods of his career working in Muscle Shoals, Memphis, Nashville and California. Oldham's sparse keyboard performances can be heart on recordings by Percy Sledge, James and Bobby Purify, Clarence Carter, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Maria Muldaur, Joe Cocker, Linda Ronstadt, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Neil Young, Dan Penn, and many others. He has also toured extensively with artists such as Dylan and Young.

As a songwriter, he and Penn wrote "I'm Your Puppet" for James and Bobby Purify, "She Ain't Gonna Do Right" for Clarence Carter, "Sweet Inspiration" for the Sweet Inspirations, and "Out Of Left Field" for Percy Sledge.

Chart Songs as a Songwriter

Song Title Recording Artist Chart* Year
Cry Like A Baby Box Tops 2 1968
Lonely Women Make Good Lovers Bob Luman 4 1972
Lonely Women Make Good Lovers Steve Wariner 4 1984
I'm Your Puppet James & Bobby Purify 5 1966
Sweet Inspiration Sweet Inspirations 5 1968
Another Night Of Love Freddy Weller 5 1971
It Tears Me Up Percy Sledge 7 1966
Take Me Just As I Am Solomon Burke 11 1967
She Loves Me Right Out Of My Mind Freddy Weller 11 1973
Let's Do It Over Joe Simon 13 1965
Sweet Inspiration Barbara Streisand 15 1972
I'll Be Your Everything Percy Sledge 15 1974
Up Tight Good Man Laura Lee 16 1968
Roadmaster Freddy Weller 17 1972
Love Got In The Way Freddy Weller 23 1978
Out Of Left Field Percy Sledge 25 1967
Wish You Didn't Have To Go James & Bobby Purify 27 1967
Let It Happen James Carr 30 1967
In The Same Old Way Bobby Bare 34 1966

*Chart position is based on Billboard Magazine Pop, Country, R&B, & A/C Charts. Other music industry charts may have shown higher chart positions.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Spooner Oldham


Spooner Oldham (keyboards, vocals; born June 14, 1943)

Dewey Lyndon “Spooner” Oldham is a linchpin of the Southern soul and R&B sound. The Alabama-born musician was part of the prolific crew that made records at Rick Hall’s FAME (“Florence Alabama Music Enterprises”) Studio and Muscle Shoal Sound Studios, in the northwest corner of the state. Oldham played keyboards on such seminal soul songs as Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally,” Arthur Alexander’s “You Better Move On,” and “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” Aretha Franklin’s historic first recording for Atlantic Records. He was a co-founder of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, whose other members were guitarist Jimmy Johnson, bassist David Hood and drummer Roger Hawkins. When Oldham moved to Memphis, he brought in his own replacement, keyboardist Barry Beckett.

In 1967 Oldham resumed his songwriting partnership with singer/guitarist Dan Penn at Chips Moman’s American Studios in Memphis. Oldham has written a brace of soul classics with Penn, including James and Bobby Purify’s “I’m Your Puppet,” James Carr’s “The Dark End of the Street,” the Box Tops’ “Cry Like a Baby,” and Janis Joplin’s “A Woman Left Lonely.” The duo estimate that they’ve written between 400 and 500 songs together.

A subsequent move to Los Angeles found Oldham recording with a variety of artists across the stylistic spectrum, including Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Gene Clark, Ry Cooder, the Flying Burrito Brothers and many others. He played on Bob Dylan’s Saved album and added his churchy, soulful keyboards to Dylan’s Saved and Shot of Love tours. He’s also and recorded with Neil Young in a relationship that dates back more than a quarter century.

In 1994 Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn came together as a duo for some live shows, following the release of Penn’s solo album, "Do Right Man." It was their first time onstage together in 25 years. They have occasionally toured as a duo since then, performing highlights from their vast catalog of Southern soul classics. A 1998 tour of Britain resulted in the live album Moments from This Theatre. In 2006 Oldham backed up Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on a tour where they performed Young’s politically themed Freedom of Speech album in its entirety. He has also recorded or toured with such alternative acts as the Drive-By Truckers, Frank Black, Bushwalla and Cat Power.

Source: Spooner Oldham Biography | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum


More info: Spooner Oldham - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Encyclopedia of Alabama: Spooner Oldham

Cry Like a Baby, The Box TopsBob Luman: His Very Best - EP, Bob LumanI'm Your Puppet12 Best of Percy Sledge, Percy SledgeBarbra Streisand's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, Barbra StreisandA Man Needs a Woman, James Carr

Listen: Cry Like a Baby by The Box Tops - Download Cry Like a Baby on iTunes

Listen: Cry Like A Baby: Box Tops: Music

Listen: Bob Luman: His Very Best - EP by Bob Luman - Download Bob Luman: His Very Best - EP on iTunes

Listen: Lonely Women Make Good Lovers: Bob Luman: MP3 Downloads

Listen: James & Bobby Purify - Download James & Bobby Purify Music on iTunes

Listen: James & Bobby Purify: Songs, Albums, Pictures, Bios

Listen: Percy Sledge - Download Percy Sledge Music on iTunes

Listen: It Tears Me Up: Percy Sledge: MP3 Downloads

Listen: Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 by Barbra Streisand - Download Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 on iTunes

Listen: Sweet Inspiration/Where You Lead: Barbra Streisand: MP3 Downloads

Listen: A Man Needs a Woman by James Carr - Download A Man Needs a Woman on iTunes

Listen: Let It Happen: James Carr: MP3 Downloads