Soul Clan

About Soul Clan

A short-lived but legendary supergroup comprised of some of the biggest names in '60s soul, the Soul Clan's proper recording career amounted to a mere two songs, but the act's lineup was enough to make any R&B aficionado take notice: Solomon Burke, Arthur Conley, Don Covay, Ben E. King, and Joe Tex. At the height of their fame, Burke, Covay, Tex, Otis Redding, and Wilson Pickett (all of whom recorded either for Atlantic Records or its affiliated labels) were good friends, often toured together, and would sometimes pop up at each other's shows. Both Burke and Covay began bandying around the idea of working together as a show of musical solidarity; Burke saw the collaboration as a stepping stone toward building an autonomous African-American business empire, while Covay, more successful as a songwriter than a performer, hoped to promote his own career alongside those of his friends. While the idea simmered for some time, it wasn't until 1968 that the project finally took flight; by this time, Redding had died in a tragic airplane crash and Pickett developed cold feet, supposedly uncomfortable with Burke's grandiose financial plans, so Conley and King stepped in to replace them. The group recorded a single, "Soul Meeting" b/w "That's How I Feel," which was intended as a trailer for a later album and tour, but the single failed to make a serious impression on the charts, and Atlantic pulled their financing toward further recording (Burke has subsequently said he believes Atlantic purposefully let the record fail to prevent the artists from gaining too much power). A Soul Clan album did emerge, but it simply combined the two sides of the single with solo tracks by the various stars, and ended the group's recording career the same year it began. In 1981, the group reunited for a live concert in New York City (with Pickett stepping in for Arthur Conley, who was in Europe at the time), but it was the last time they would work together; Joe Tex died in 1982. ~ Mark Deming