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Spencer Wiggins

Spencer Wiggins was a gifted and emotionally powerful vocalist who cut a handful of superb Southern soul singles during the mid-'60s but never scored the hits he genuinely deserved, though years later he would be lionized as one of the lost masters of the form by British and Japanese enthusiasts of deep soul. Wiggins was born in Memphis, TN, in 1942; his parents had a strong interest in music, and while in high school Spencer formed a gospel vocal group, the New Rival Gospel Singers, which also featured his brother Percy Wiggins and sister Maxine Wiggins. At the same time, Spencer and Percy were members of the glee club at Memphis's Booker T. Washington High School when the student body included Booker T. Jones, Maurice White, and William Bell and the faculty included noted disc jockey and talent scout Nat D. Williams. In this fertile environment, Spencer and Percy first turned professional, formed an R&B vocal group called the Four Stars that featured David Porter, later to become a noted songwriter. In 1961, Spencer graduated from high school and began making a name for himself on the Memphis club scene; after several years of gigging he caught the attention of Quinton Claunch, a songwriter and producer who ran the soul-dominated Goldwax Records label. Claunch signed Spencer to a record deal in 1964, and while his first sides were licensed to the Bandstand USA label, he was soon releasing product through Goldwax proper. Despite cutting strong material with Claunch at the controls and some of the city's best session players backing him up, Spencer never scored the major breakthrough hit he needed, and after Goldwax went under in 1969, he recorded material for the Fame, Pama, and Vivid Sound labels before he left Memphis for good in 1975. In 1976, Spencer had a spiritual rebirth and turned his back on secular music in favor of gospel. After relocating to Florida, he became a deacon of the New Birth Baptist Church in Miami, and was named director of two of the church's choral groups. While a 1977 gospel album cut with the help of Al Green was never released, in 1999 Spencer released a cassette-only EP, Jump for Jesus, which received significant airplay in the Miami area. A full-length gospel album, Keys to the Kingdom, was released in 2002 and merged Spencer's full-bodied vocals and spiritual message with tracks produced and arranged in contemporary R&B and hip-hop styles. A thorough compilation of Spencer's work for Goldwax, The Goldwax Years, was released by the British Kent label in 2006. ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Complete Goldwax Singles, Vol. 3: 1967-1970

Disc 1

1. I Don't Know What You've Got (But It's Got Me)

7. It's My Life

9. I'm A Fool For You

10. Gonna Send You Back To Georgia

11. Ticket To Ride

12. There Goes My Used To Be

13. The Power Of A Woman

14. Lonely Man

15. He Called Me Baby

17. A Man Needs A Woman

18. Stronger Than Love

21. That's How Much I Love You

22. I'm A Poor Man's Son

27. Life Turned Her That Way

28. A Message To Young Lovers

Disc 2

1. Love Is A Beautiful Thing

3. Once In A While (Is Better Than Never At All)

4. He's Too Old

9. Freedom Train

10. That's The Way Love Turned Out For Me

15. I Never Loved A Woman (The Way I Love You)

16. Soul City USA

17. To Love Somebody

18. These Ain't Raindrops

19. Happiness

20. Rockin' Chair

25. Row, Row Your Boat

26. Everybody Needs Somebody

27. I Slipped A Little

28. I'm Crying Over You

x

Track List: Goldwax Northern Soul

2. They Say

3. A Losing Game

4. Call On Me

5. Whatcha Gonna Do

8. To Me It's Storming

9. Every Little Bit Helped Me

10. I Ain't Gonna Cheat On You No More

13. A Man Is A Mean Thing

14. The Well's Gone Dry

15. That's What I Want To Know

16. Qualifications

17. It's My Life

18. I Don't Want To Take A Chance

19. Now Girl

20. If You Love Her

21. I Slipped A Little

22. Lonely Man

23. You Ain't Woman Enough

24. Coming Back To Me Baby

Comments

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Spencer gives strength to the soul .
Report as inappropriate
Spencer wiggins is my kind of artist. I love his music very
Report as inappropriate
definitely James Carr style. I love it.

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