Ray Stinnett original guitarist/vocalist on #1 record Wooly Bully . In 2012 Light in the Attic released his album originally recorded for A&M in 1971. The album has received much critical acclaim.
Singer, songwriter, rock guitarist; Ray Stinnett grew up in the shadow of the Memphis rock n roll music scene of the 50’s. By the early 60’s Memphis was under the influence of different musical cultures coming together in an amalgam of sound and rhythm. Ray was also becoming part of that scene, playing in clubs and studios around town and seeking his place as a professional musician and performer. In 1963 Ray married Sandra and thus began a lifelong relationship. Later in that same year, Ray became a founding member and original guitarist of Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs of “Wooly Bully” fame (Billboard #1 record of the year 1965). By mid 1966 Ray was writing more songs and doing his own thing in the combo, “1st Century” (Capitol records release in 1967). After returning to Memphis from the SF Bay area at the end of the Summer of Love (1967), inspired by the 60’s personal liberation and awareness movement, Ray & Sandra began writing songs that express life’s broader and deeper experiences. They soon became acquainted with new friends and players and formed a working relationship with Booker T. Jones. Booker produced two albums on Ray. The first, (never before but soon to be released legendary album) titled “Sun Tree at Pepper West” (1969) and the second, as executive producer for A&M Records in 1971. The album was not released and all rights of ownership went to Ray. The record went unreleased until 2012 when “A Fire Somewhere” with original artwork, gate-fold LP’s and CD’s with new 40 pg. booklets were finally pressed and released worldwide by Light in the Attic records. The album has received considerable acclaim in prominent newspaper and Record Collector Magazine reviews and best of 2012 reissue list, plus a Shindig Magazine feature article/interview and popular Internet & FM radio interviews.
Available for the very first time, A Fire Somewhere is the previously unreleased 1971 solo album from this former member of Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs. The songs contained the fried country twang and boogie-woogie grooves of his hometown and of his youth, but were also threaded through with the new Psychedelia: shreds of distorted guitar, experimental jams and acoustic renditions. Art is a reflection of life,'' says Ray of the making of A Fire Somewhere, ''and my life was full of reflection at this time.'' And it’s perhaps exactly that fact which kept this incredible record unreleased for all these years. LITA
Ray’s AxeGrinder MusicZine www.axemanmusic.net is an interactive online magazine and journal of Ray’s music history and his current musical journey, including insightful articles, news and interesting stories plus links to videos, music, interviews and more.
Ray and Sandra have been keeping the musical dream alive for decades, writing, recording and playing the music that has always been a major important factor in their lives. Ray’s performance ensemble is presented as “Time Warp”; the music (more to be released soon) spans a lifetime but has waited for this moment to be heard by audiences now! Ray Stinnett’s “Time Warp” brings the past, present and future together for a performance that will …”take you there”!
Life and Times of the A&M Album Project 1971
By Ray Stinnett 2011
My whole musical journey has been in part, one of exploring every musical sound and style that ever came into my ears. I have done a good bit of inner exploration from the stellar library of sound that must have present in our seeded consciousness since the big bang or the first strumming of the celestial strings, the solar wind pipes and the cosmic drums. One thing’s for certain it’s all about the vibrations we receive and transmit.
Sometime after the “Sun Tree” album was recorded and subsequently rejected by Budda/Sussex Records, Booker and Priscilla had moved to Malibu and Booker was working in Hollywood as a producer. I was doing some occupational migration in Memphis and Sandra and I were expecting our second child. Soon our baby daughter Marea was born and Sandra and I felt blessed. I wrote a song for baby Marea as it had become second nature and part of my lifestyle to express myself lyrically and musically.
Not long after that, Booker and Priscilla came to Memphis to visit and give their blessings for our new baby.
Sometime later Booker calls me up from California and says he’s gotten a production deal with A&M Records for multiple artists and if I want to do another album he'll set me up with contracts and a budget. He said he wanted me to be the featured solo artists and produce the record in Memphis. I began to write, organize and get ready to do the album.
Art is a reflection of life and my life was full of reflection at this time.
• I had experienced the vagaries of the superstar role with “Wooly Bully”
• I had a good many doses of reality (the world)
• I had some good doses of enlightenment (the cosmos)
• I tried to integrate these experiences and knowledge
• I wanted to express this in a musical motif
• My songs are about my life
• My life is about my songs
Life and Times of the A&M Album Project 1971
At this time in our lives both Sandra and I were engaged in a journey of self discovery, understanding and truth seeking. Life was sweet and the magic of creativity was alive, and music was always played in our house.
“Th dreams of late I can't recall come rushing through the hourglass wall”….
We live on a time line: our current time…the time before our time and the time after. As I have expanded my consciousness and awareness I have been developing a sense of oneness with everything and that includes time. So what we as people do now was also done before and will be done after unless we make changes. If we consider the body of mankind as one body then the message is stop hurting our one self by learning to love humanity.
You Make Me Feel:
“It’s you honey that makes me give”….
Karma makes strange bedfellows but few if anyone goes through this life without creating some and later feeling and dealing with the results. Forgiveness is a powerful tool for healing but it takes two to make it happen. Understanding is what makes forgiveness work. Love is stronger than dirt!
“If you go down to see th lights of th city”….
This was one of the last songs written and recorded in the project. We were well into the finishing stages of the recording project when Silky Path was born.
Recently I had a dream experience that was very real and troubling to my mind because I could not readily see its meaning.
At the time I attempted to discover something to write about, my mind just felt heavy and dark. So I wrote; “nothing left to sing about, nothing to be heard, darkened light is shadowing all that’s above.” That’s when the dream vision opened up…”live your life with love” and the dream vision was revealed. “Gliding down the silky path”…
I had dreamed I was high upon a silky green grass meadow at the top of a huge mountain with grass lined slopes that stretched all the way to the bottom. I was at the top and it was beautiful and sunny with sheep grazing all around. The grass felt lush and silky smooth. So as I played in the meadow. It seemed like a super- slide so I went to the edge of the
Slope and began lugging through the deep green grass like a bob sled at the “Winter Green Olympics”(LOL). I soon realized I was on a metaphysical ride to enlightenment….I was passing through virtual worlds of changing reality like flipping the pages of the I-Ching (the book of changes). I began to wonder where this journey will end and soon I found out…..Looming up ahead, as I neared the base of the mountain was a strangely beautiful but terrifying site…The path ended into the open mouth of a giant beautiful, with sparkling emerald eyes, SERPENT!
So the song is inspired by my interpretation of what the dream meant to me.
Wheel of Time:
It’s that time theme again; it comes up a lot in my writings and songs.
Sometimes people believe and act like their destiny is set in stone and they wonder why their lives are drab, uninspired and unfulfilling. The answer is simple…look in the dark places for an answer and all you'll see is darkness. The true answer can be found not by seeking in the halls of knowing but rather by experiencing the vast oneness of the sea and opening oneself to the all encompassing light.
The 60’s and early 70’s were deeply impacted by the Vietnam war and the cultural values war at home; dividing families at the dinner table along with civil rights issues that continued to be manipulated by those in power to maintain a new status quo.
Like the Medusa, all issues that had a fix also had a subsequent undoing like some Machiavellian Plot Rules. Today the Empire has no clothes…the reality should be clear to anyone that can deal with the inconvenient truth
Long Rivers Flow:
Sandra and I have been together for better or worse since 1963. When two people are joined together to follow their life’s journey, they are like two head waters that finally meet and converge to form one river. That one river will flow its course through all kinds of terrain and obstacles but will continue on its journey propelled by forces seen and unseen as it flows its life course leading back to the oneness of the sea.
“Don’t tax my tea and don’t tell me what to believe. Don’t tread on me; you know I got to be free.”
That’s about the Boston Tea Party, and an over throw of tyranny and taxation without representation. The “Don’t Tread on Me” sentiment is expressed by the Gadsden Flag.
This is neither about the 21st century Tea Party nor the false flag of the corporate elite.
America is built on blood, sweat and tears…a lot of love and caring by millions of Americans. Some dire opportunistic, non- compassionate capitalist have paved the road to hell by buying and stealing the American Dream so it can be enjoyed only by the powerful elite. This leaves the masses with few choices but to vote for the choices they give us. Violent revolution is not the answer, so what can we do? Participatory democracy is what we need…COMMUNICATE… vote, pray and work to make our communities strong by love not prisons. Don’t let any ideology divide one person or class of people over another. Leave no one’s dream out and America will rise to a more heavenly status on earth.
You and I:
A song about integrating and experiencing all things natural and embracing them as love and vibration in motion, reflecting a deep state of being for those immersed in the experience.
“Now I’d just like to sing this song, about a little thing I love…you might think of someone you know, you’d like to sing it to.”
A Sweet Honeysuckle Bee Song for my Sweet Love Flower; Sandra!
The call for people to come to America over 100 years ago was “Give us your tired and huddled masses” However this promise of a better life didn’t apply to everyone. There many good people that want a good life but it seems like a lot of odds are stacked not in the favor of deserving Americans; but for the benefit of the rich, powerful and those who oppress because of hate, animosity and indifference to the lives of others.
Sandra and I had been engaging in meditation and spiritual learning and experiencing higher states of consciousness and being. At the time this song was written, spiritual emissaries for Hare Krishna were at all the airports and Hollywood Blvd. was filled with a mix including the newly emerging (so called) Jesus Freaks. Sandra and I both contributed to the lyrics and music. As I recall when we recorded it at Ardent, John Fry helped provide the engineering on the early studio sized Moog Synth used to enhance parts of the vocals.
Love Is The Answer:
Of all the solutions; religions, governments, ideologies ever devised to help fix the problems faced by the men and women of the earth; there is only one real answer.
A Fire Somewhere:
As the album recordings were progressing and the tracks were adding up already to more than a single album, the title was still unknown and I was a few tracks short of my goal…to do a double album. Then one morning I wrote this song; which I thought would make a good title for the album also.
In my meditations and desire for personal experience and fulfillment, I strongly relate to the fact that wooden sailing ships (rigged with hemp sails and rope) have played their part in the liberation of millennia of boat people from all over the world and virtually the exploration and charting of the globe all up until recent times. Wooden ships have a special place in the world even today. They have a special place in many peoples ancestry if they crossed the great water to reach these shores. There are only a few reasons why people might consider leaving their homeland to seek a better place and time. A Longing for happiness and freedom of self expression and self determination. Seeking a path forward to find deeper meaning and communion with life. To share these goals with others. To seek freedom from evil and tyrannical situations and let God sort em out!
I love Blues and Soul arrangements and was inspired to write this song. You might call it my version of Blue Eyed Soul with an arrangement that finally kicks into a Gerry Mulligan style jam then eventually the track ends like a musical comedy since it’s the last track on the album.