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Some "Decisions" are the Best.

A new release coming in November 2022 from Soul Direction.

Where do I begin. This trip was a mixture of record hunting and getting the chance to meet up with some of the people I have been working with as part of Soul Direction.

Having had a fantastic yet emotional visit to Nashville to meet up with Thomas Cain and listening to his stories of exploits in the music business and having a whistle stop visit to Memphis to guest on the radio with Zac Ives from Goner records it was hard to think any of that could be topped.

Amazingly after a solid weekend of record buying and being happy with my haul, the best was yet to come.

Anyone who has bought or followed Soul Direction records will remember the Decisions tracks that we put out and how incredibly well this sold is a testament to the quality of music these guys recorded but never got the chance to release. After the success of this single I was fortunate enough to be allowed to look at the other material on the master tape with a view to another release for the group. As most will know the pressing plant issues have played a part in making everything take so much longer and the numbers kept getting pushed back, but to the credit of these guys they took it all in their stride and were happy to let me do what I could with no pressure.

After what seemed like a lifetime, I finally took delivery of the single from the pressing plant and given there was one release to come before this one, the scheduling seemed to fall into place.

After a few messages and emails with my “go to man” Joey Thomason, we arranged for me to meet Fred and the rest of the group at Fred’s house on the last day before I departed for home. I had a long drive from Birmingham AL. to his home outside Atlanta and got to his house later that day. I had been looking forward to finally meeting everyone but also with a touch of nerves as I wanted everything to go well.

I was met at the door by Fred White and was welcomed into his home with open arms and a big welcoming smile. He introduced me to his wife and then led us both down the stairs to where he would introduce me to the rest of the guys from the group, Harvey Poole and Howard Simpson along with Joey Thomason (the late Hildred’s Brother), Unfortunately Henry Little and Hildred Thomason are no longer with us.

We said our hello’s and then chatted about where I had been on my journey and various other topics of small talk to break the ice. We then went into what can only be described as a “Mini Cinema” room with a huge screen and state of the art sound to accompany it. We watched some YouTube songs from the group releases and some of their early recording before they became The Decisions followed by some later tracks written and sung by Fred as a solo project. I sat with Fred and chatted about their journey and ups and downs of the music business, but all the time he made me feel like he was talking to an old friend which is a feeling very hard to put into words. His wife had laid out some food for everyone and we sat and chatted some more about the origins of the master tape and how I came to eventually own it.

Then the nerves kicked in when I opened a box of the new release for the guys to see for the first time in the flesh and wait for the reaction. They loved it!! Their eyes seemed to light up and commented on the artwork (Thanks to Jordan Wilson for his superb graphic design skills) and how the feel of a 45 made the memories come flooding back. We talked about the two group members who were no longer with them having passed away, but all said they would be looking down and smiling which is pretty much the greatest compliment I think I could ever wish for. I asked if they would sign a copy for me to keep as a keepsake and they duly accepted. The added surprise was they wanted me to sign copies for them!!

We chatted some more about more tracks they wanted me to Release as The Decisions and some others which I promise will blow you away. We chatted about family and friends loved and lost and eventually the rest of the guys said their goodbye’s and I sat with Fred for a couple of hours just chatting and laughing about life in general and just enjoying each other’s company. I felt so at home with him and the everyone I had met that day, but eventually we had to say goodbye, but it was really “au revoir” as we agreed to meet up again when I was next In Atlanta.

I came away and as I drove up the street waving goodbye I had to pull over and just take a deep breath and hold back a tear. I had experienced one of the greatest moments in my years listening and collecting soul music and I just had to take it all in. Now I am sure this kind of thing happens to guys like Ady at Kent Records and others, but for me this is a real “lifetime Moment” which will live with me forever. Remember, this music is theirs and that is something that I believe whole heartedly.

So, a massive thanks to Yann Vatiste for putting me onto Joey, Dave Thorley for smoothing the way with Fred White and a special mention to Joey Thomason who has been my go between to the guys in the group as they all have busy personal lives on a day-to-day basis and sorting everything out in between and without his help we would not be where we are today. To Fred White and the rest of the guys in the group for allowing me to be a part of their music, and to all of you who purchased their first release and making their dreams come true.

Alan Kitchener - (Soul Direction)

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