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Papa Don McMinn is one of Memphis’s most respected blues guitarists  and vocalists. For years he was part-owner of Rum Boogie Café, where he was leader of the house band and instrumental in the re-development of Memphis’s Beale Street. Over the years he has performed or recorded with B.B. King, John Mayall, and Etta James, to name a few. For years he has wanted to record a country album, Memphis style, one that would reflect a more soulful take on country music. Pick a Dream is the culmination of that dream, as nurtured by the creative genius of veteran Memphis producer Don Nix, and it shows McMinn at his very best.

In August 1989, producer Nix and executive producer James L. Dickerson, then owner of the nation’s third largest circulation music magazine, Nine-O-One, and the nation’s only blues and country music radio syndication, Pulsebeat Productions, went into 3 Alarm Recording Studio in Memphis to make McMinn’s dream come true—and, in the process, to provide country music with a new perspective by injecting Memphis soul into traditional country music.

Once the album was completed, Dickerson played it for Nashville music executives, who recoiled at the music’s soulfulness and its use of nontraditional country instruments. One record label president, upon listening to the song “Quittin’ Time,” asked Dickerson, “What’s that?” Dickerson responded with, “That’s a saxophone.” The label head growled, “Hmmp—you can’t use saxophones on country music records.”

Another label head listened to a song on the album titled “Black Like Me”— a song about a young boy’s struggle to understand racial discrimination—and responded, “You can’t talk about things like that in country music!”

For more than two decades the tapes were missing. In 2013 Dickerson located the missing tapes and embraced “Pick a Dream” for the first release on his new record label, SLG Music, a division of Sartoris Literary Group.

Twenty-five years later, Nashville music has caught up with the vision offered by Don McMinn’s “Pick a Dream.” The album that was a heretic in 1989 is now mainstream country music, complete with soulful sax solos.

 


 

 

IF ONLY YOUR EYES COULD LIE

LOVE ME SO GOOD, HURT ME SO BAD

HOMETOWN, HOMESICK BLUES

QUITTIN’ TIME

PICK A DREAM

BLACK LIKE ME

THE BEST I REMEMBER

SUSPICIOUS HEART

 

 

 

     

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