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Studiophile: January 2011

| January 3, 2011

AVM Meets Joe South

When AVM co-founder and vocalist Robert Mackey decided he wanted to add a remade version of “Hush” to the band’s new CD, A Matter Of Time, he decided on whim to contact the original songwriter of the Deep Purple ’60s classic, Joe South, to ask permission. After a late-night recording session at Songwerks, Mackey’s Addison studio, he left a message on South’s voicemail not expecting a call back. It’s not everyday you leave an unsolicited message to a legendary Muscle Shoals-era session man who was also a songwriter for Elvis Presley, Wilson Pickett, and Bob Dylan. South also had his own crossover country hit, “Games People Play,” in 1969 to cement his legacy in Nashville and Los Angeles. To Mackey’s surprise, South returned his call with a preliminary O.K. for a cover of the 1968 top-10 hit. “I came into to work the next day, and my answering machine had a message from a boisterous guy with a warm, Southern accent, that said, ‘Robert, this Joe South. Give me a call,'” Mackey explains. From there, AVM made arrangements with South’s manager Mengo to meet the veteran at a recording studio in Atlanta. “As a music producer, I didn’t want to make a version of ‘Hush’ that sounded exactly like Deep Purple,” Mackey continues. Basically the song hasn’t been re-made in 42 years. Technology has changed, the way bands record has changed. So [AVM] jammed for hours and hours trying to come up with foundation with the bass and the drums. We laid the bass down, the guitar rhythms down, the drums, and we had a good groove. We decided in the end, we wanted to add the the legendary Hammond B3 organ in honor of Deep Purple, provided by our keyboardist, Scott.”

After making the final tweaks to the recording in Addison, Mackey flew down to Atlanta to Stonehenge Studio to play the final version for South. “Here we are at this incredible studio, where Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas make their records. They’ve got these giant subwoofers there, and the engineers really cranked it up.” South was impressed. “‘That made the hair on the back of my neck stand up! I love it!'” Mackey was stunned. “I got goosebumps. I can’t say enough about what a gentleman Joe South is, but just being in the presence of these guys who have been in the music business this long and how it affects your perspective on making music and remaking a song from 40 years ago – it’s just incredible.”

Mackey also reveals that South has added a “lost intro” to AVM’s “Hush” that will add an extra dimension to the song not heard on the Deep Purple version. “It’s just four little riffs, but it really adds so much to the final version.” The final cut, as well as a reworked version of A Matter Of Time, will be available on CD and iTunes in January. Mackey and South also filmed a mini documentary interview of sorts while AVM visited Georgia. Details can be found at the bands Web site at

Hey Studiophiler: To get your studio or band listed in “Studiophile,” just email info on who you’re recording or who’s recording you to, subject Studiophile, or fax (773) 751-5051. We reserve the right to edit or omit submissions for space. Deadline for the February 2011 issue is January 15th.

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Category: Columns, Monthly, Studiophile

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  1. Memphis Mike says:

    Cool story. I met Joe South at a music convention several years ago. He’s such a talented and personable guy.
    I’m hoping the people at the RNR Hall Of Fame take note of his contributions to music.

  2. JBR says:

    I prefer Waylon’s version of games people play. I didn’t know he wrote hush! I thought was those guys in deep purple. Joe knew how to write em. Mike is right, he should be in the hall of fame.