The week of April 20th marked two significant historical events.
- Posted on Jul 7th 2011 11:00AM by James Sullivan
"No, no," the Memphis musician tells Spinner. "Matter of fact, I flew back home after the crash."
Cauley is a true soul survivor, as are several of the members of the Bo-Keys, a "new" band that's already been around about a decade. Guitarist Charles "Skip" Pitts played the famous wah-wah intro on Isaac Hayes's 'Theme from "Shaft",' and drummer Howard Grimes, a longtime member of the Hi Records rhythm section, got started at Stax at age 12.
After the plane crash, Cauley played for a few years with the reformed Bar-Kays but quit in 1971 to concentrate on raising his family. For years, he worked as a session musician, recording with Hayes, Al Green and many more of the city's greats.
In the late 1980s, the trumpeter suffered a massive stroke. His speech has been affected since, but not his ability to play. He eased his way back into the music business with a residency at a Memphis nightclub called Da Blues -- which was located, of all places, out at the airport.
The Bo-Keys' second album, 'Got to Get Back!,' features several guest vocals, including a corker from Otis Clay on the two-part title track. More than that, however, it features the kind of propulsive soul instrumentals only Memphis could inspire. The band's namesake, Scott Bomar, is the owner of Electraphonic Recording, which also released the album. He and trumpeter Marc Franklin represent the next generation of Memphis music.
In between albums -- their debut came out in 2004 -- the nine-piece Bo-Keys worked on soundtracks for 'Hustle & Flow' and 'Black Snake Moan.' After Cyndi Lauper came in to Electraphonic to record her recent blues album, Bomar saw an opportunity to make the showcase record the band had been hoping to cut for years.
"We got such a great sound in the studio with her, we just left everything miked up," says Bomar. "I said, 'OK, we're going to cut a record now. We're not gonna let anything get in the way.'"
Cauley and Franklin, the two trumpeters, feed off each other in spite of -- or maybe because of -- the many years that separate them. Franklin was a prodigy who was playing in Bobby Bland's band by the time he was 21.
"He's one of the best musicians I know," says Bomar, "and I'm not just saying that because he's in our band."
And Cauley, with his piercing high notes, still brings the signature sound he created with the Bar-Kays' first hit, 1967's 'Soul Finger.'
The patience of the band's youngest and oldest members alike has paid off. "Things never happen as quickly as you want them to," says Bomar. "But they happen when they're supposed to."
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