by Ben McLane, Esq.
The Gentrys were formed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1963. Initially, they recorded for the tiny Youngstown label, but they were soon signed to MGM where their song "Keep On Dancing" went top five in the country. Their catchy version of Arthur Alexander's "Everyday I have To Cry" received chart action on MGM as well. During that period, the vocalist was Larry Raspberry, who in the 1970s released some solo records. After the MGM hits dried up, they recorded some sides for the Bell label, with Dale Hawkins producing. "You Tell Me You Care" (1968) is a highlight from this period.
In 1969, the group re-formed, with Jimmy Hart as the only remaining member from the original line-up. This version of the group signed to the legendary Sun label and released several timely singles, some of which were successful covers of then hits by other artists (i.e., "Cinnamon Girl," "Wild World"). This era for the band was fertile, producing bouncy pop horn-laden songs like "He'll Never Love You" and "Why Should I Cry." After Sun, the band hooked up with producer Know Phillips and briefly ended up on Capitol in 1972, where the great America influenced single "Changin'" b/w "Let Me Put This Ring On Your Finger" was released.
In 1974, the still Knox Phillips produced act put out a sorely overlooked single on Stax "Little Gold Band" b/w "High Flyer." After the Gentrys, Jimmy Hart became a colorful and well-known manager for professional wrestlers.Copyright 1998, Ben McLane
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