Special Man Industries is proud to announce its second release, “Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over,” a single written by King James, and performed by Alynda Segarra (ATO recording artist and leader of the critically-acclaimed Hurray for the Riff Raff) & The Special Men (Special Man Industries’ house band). This release will be available exclusively via digital download and limited edition 45 rpm today, July 20.
Segarra is the first artist to record for Special Man Industries other than King James & The Special Men themselves, with King James, aka “Jimmy” at the helm on production. “I like to imagine myself having the voice of another, more gifted singer, and writing with that person in mind,” he says. “Alynda was my first, obvious choice for that. Even though it’s a soul song and not her usual fare, I knew she would bring it to life. And boy, did she ever! I first encountered Alynda’s music through her song ‘Crash On the Highway’ with its mention of my old Monday Night gig at BJ’s Lounge, and I immediately became a fan. As a songwriter, I was then very much in the habit of writing for my own voice, with my own particular strengths and limitations in mind, but I began to explore a more open approach, and quickly wrote a handful of songs that I couldn’t sing! I asked Alynda (who had since become a dear friend) to try one of them out for me and Special Man Industries was born in earnest!”
“‘Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over’ Is one of those perfect songs,” enthuses Segarra. “The frame work is solid and the melody is classic. I’ve never felt like much of a singer, I’ve always considered myself a songwriter and storyteller. But when Jimmy sent me this song I knew I had to sing it, and that I felt it and knew how to convey the emotion. Working on it felt like growth, expanding from my previous limitations I put on myself. Jimmy knows how to help an artist step into a new role, into his vision and he does that with support and a deep knowledge of music. I’m grateful he thought of me.
We recorded the song during the time period I was giving life in Nashville a try. I was going through a break up and one of the loneliest times of my life. Needless to say this song spoke to me. During one of my visits back home, I stopped by Goat’s (long-time sound engineer for Maceo Parker, The Meters, The Neville Brothers, Steel Pulse, Big Freedia and The Soul Rebels) place and we recorded the bulk of the take. Anytime I enter a recording situation I get nervous but Jimmy has a way about him that makes you wanna get past those nagging thoughts in your head and get straight to the music. I had just recorded ‘The Navigator’ and that was all about 20-plus takes on every thing, so being back in New Orleans with Jimmy I appreciated running it live a handful of times and keeping the feeling there. He definitely had a vision, has great direction and knows what he wants. It’s so helpful as a singer! What is most memorable is Jimmy loving the break in my voice, I couldn’t help but be embarrassed but I think that’s a testament to how in it and comfortable I felt. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be raw and real.”
Special Man Industries’ mission is to develop, produce, and distribute New Orleans’ finest sound recordings for the world’s most discerning listeners. We aim to represent the wild spectrum of genres that have germinated and flowered in the rich cultural soil of New Orleans and its surrounding areas, with an understanding that we are on the northern side of a cultural phenomenon centered in the Caribbean. The initial release was King James & the Special Men’s album debut last year, Act Like You Know. After Segarra’s single comes a 7” from Louis Michot of Grammy Award-Winning Cajun rockers Lost Bayou Ramblers followed up by a single from world renowned recording artist Leyla McCalla.
“Like Dave Bartholomew and Cosimo Matassa or the Meters and Allen Toussaint before me, like the Skatalites and Studio One, the Swampers in Muscle Shoals, Booker T. and the MGs at Stax, the Hi-Records Rhythm Section, the Funk Brothers at Motown, the Wrecking Crew, etc…we’ve got the label, the studio, and a wicked house band,” Jimmy says. “I handle the band, the arrangements, and the production while my partner extraordinaire, Goat handles all the engineering and other technical matters. He is the real deal! We live three blocks from one another and we create on a constant basis.”
Despite Jimmy’s foundation in vintage R&B, his goal for Special Man Industries Records is not nostalgic. “I’m making new music with my band and all these artists,” he says. “I wasn’t raised on going to concerts and having dreams of doing arena tours. I was raised on RECORDS and dreamed of being like Tom Dowd, George Martin and Eddie Kramer!” Jimmy and Goat are recording Brass Bands, Rock & Roll, Cajun and Zydeco, Mardi Gras Indians, R&B, Bounce, Punk Rock, and all kinds of other sounds bubbling from the fertile Louisiana ground. “The music we specialize in is the music of the New World, American Music.” King James explains, “A proper study of the New Orleans canon reveals that it is the foundation of all the styles regarded as essentially American Music, which is what we specialize in; that is what I am an expert on. That is what I play.”