Hear Tragic Country Singer Gary Stewart’s Rare Motown Demo for Record Store Day
In 1975, hardcore honky-tonk singer shot to Number One on the country chart with “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles).” Penned by Wayne Carson (“The Letter,” “Always on My Mind”), and distinguished by Stewart’s jagged-edged vocal lying somewhere between Hank Williams and Jerry Lee Lewis, the tune was one of the first of country’s burgeoning Outlaw sub-genre to reach the chart summit.
Stewart, the son of a
When Motown Records and their publishing arm, Jobete Music, arrived in
After becoming one of a very small number of people to have heard the demo tracks, RCA producer Roy Dea helped Stewart get a deal with the label in
While Stewart’s legacy would remain solid, one of his most ardent fans went in search of additional material from the singer-songwriter. Mark Linn is the Nashville-based founder of the Delmore Recording Society label, which reissues mostly archival material, and according to the label’s website, material by artists who were “under recorded, or whose recordings were never released due to some vagary of the business.” In 2010, Delmore released Grandma’s Roadhouse, by the band led by singer Riley Watkins and featuring Stewart on guitars, piano, harmonica and vocals. With hopes of putting together an LP collecting Stewart’s demos and rare tracks, Linn visited the singer’s family. Although he knew of the existence of the Motown demos, it seemed no one, even in Stewart’s inner circle, had a copy or had even heard the material. After a 10-year search, the tapes were found.
On Saturday, April 21st, Delmore Recording Society will celebrate Record Store Day with the 45 r.p.m. single release of Mowtown, Stewart’s versions of the Motown classics, “Baby I Need Your Loving,” and “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday.” The title, Mowtown, is being used for release because that’s the company name Stewart used on his original Musicians Union contract, which is reproduced as the back cover for the 7-inch single.
“This could have been just a generic male vocal in a country style demo, but
The Stewart single is limited to 1,000 copies and will be available at record shops worldwide on Saturday.
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