James Fry - Tumblin' Down
James Fry (real name Johnny Frierson) and his sister Mary were members of the Drapels, who recorded a couple of 45s for Stax in its earlier years (their "Wondering When My Love Is Coming Home" is a killer sweet soul number) and provided background vocals on records by a few other artists (they sang backups on Rufus Thomas' "Jump Back," to name one recording). The group disbanded after their records met no commercial success. Stax stuck with Mary, rechristening her "Wendy Rene" and recording some great soul records that did not go anywhere (although her "Bar-B-Q" became a Northern Soul anthem). Johnny went over to Hi Records and, as "James Fry", cut a handful of similarly unsuccessful records, including today's selection.
"Tumblin' Down" is a nice piece of simple Southern soul, featuring a slightly strutting groove over which Frierson tells his story of come-uppance. His plaintive reading of the song really captures the feeling of the words, and the Hi musicians rise to the occasion. I like the "tumblin' down" hook at the end of the verses also.
Thanks to Barry "Soul Brother" Fowden for the MP3.