In this episode of Single Servings, we look at “Dead,” a single originally arranged/co-written by Moses Dillard and recorded by Carolyn Sullivan in two versions, one for the local Dallas-Fort Worth label, Soft, then picked up for national distribution by Philips. It’s one of the most morose soul songs out there, with its local version including graphic details of suicide. Even the more sanitized version is still plenty dark but what makes it memorable is also the fact that Major Bill Smith, who ran Soft alongside several other labels, ended up pressing up well over a dozen different versions, vocal and instrumental alike, on a variety of imprints. See Mark Allbones’s continual cataloging of the “Dead” permutations over at Soul Source.
For this episode, I was joined by David Haffner of Friends of Sound, the San Antonio record store that was started by Haffner in Austin.
This episode featured snippets of the following songs:
- Carolyn Sullivan: Dead (Philips)
- Carolyn Sullivan: Dead (Soft)
- Edith Jones: I Don’t Care No More (Le Cam)
- Phyllis Brown: Dead (Soft)
- Cutty Sark: Dusty (Zuma)
- Moses Dillard and the Tex-Town Display: Got To Find a Way Pt. 2
Listen here or subscribe the Soul Sides’ Sidebar podcast series (which includes Single Servings episodes).
Very interesting, didn’t even know there were different versions of this song. Only knew the clean Carolyn Franklin-version before. Just listening to the Dana Gillespie-Version on youtube.
thanks man, always grateful for people who keep digging up sounds and let us know
sorry, meant the Carolyn Sullivan-version