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homer banks

Homer Banks

b. Homer Banks, 2nd August 1941, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A. d. Thursday 3rd April 2003, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.

Homer Banks hailed from Memphis, and was a highly accomplished songwriter, singer and record producer.

Homer is best remembered for his impressive songwriting whilst at Stax Records in the sixties and seventies.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1941, Homer had formed the Soul Consolidators gospel group whilst only 16 years old in 1957.

The group toured the South, singing songs from their own C.V.

Homer was drafted into the military between 1962 and 1964.

On returning to Memphis in 1964, he signed to the Genie imprint, and it was here that he met Isaac Hayes and David Porter.

Homer BanksHomer Banks

sweetie pie b/w lady of stone - 1965 / a lot of love b/w fighting to win - 1966

At Genie he released two singles, namely ‘Sweetie Pie’ b/w ‘Lady Of Stone’ (in 1965) and ‘Hooked By Love’ b/w ‘Lady Of Stone’ (in 1966).

His reputation as a songwriter came to the attention of Estelle Axton at Stax Records, who initially employed him in the Record Store, by the entrance of the Stax Studio’s.

Homer worked in the store for three years, recording for the Minit Records imprint.

His single ‘A Lot of Love’ b/w ‘Fighting To Win’, laid down the riff foundations for the hit Spencer Davis Group tune ‘Gimme Some Lovin’.

Homer released 5 singles for Minit, between 1966 and 1968.

Jim Stewart at Stax was reluctant to sign Homer as a vocalist, but did assign him a songwriting contract.

Homer Banks

Homer was teamed up with Allen Jones as a songwriting duo.

The duo penned songs for the likes of Johnnie Taylor and Sam and Dave, penning ‘I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down, (a U.K. hit for Elvis Costello further down the line).

Homer began writing for the Gospel group the Staple Singers, penning their single ‘Long Walk To DC’, and later, their huge hit ‘If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)’.

Homer Banks

homer with bettye crutcher and raymond jackson - 'we three'

In 1968 he was assigned to Bettye Crutcher and Raymond Jackson (who was in the original Soul Consolidators with Homer) as songwriters, giving themselves the title ‘We Three’.

We Three penned ‘Who's Making Love’, for Johnnie Taylor, which reached number 3 pop and number 1 R&B.

The song became Stax Records biggest hit.

Homer began to work with other songwriters, one of whom was Carl Hampton.

This team penned, ‘(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right’, originally recorded by The Emotions.

The song became a much bigger hit when recorded by Luther Ingram, which precipitated covers by the likes of Isaac Hayes and Millie Jackson, Barbara Mandrell, Rod Stewart and Cassandra Wilson.

Homer’s twin brother, James, was also employed by Stax.

James co-wrote the company's last big hit, Shirley Brown's ‘Woman to Woman.

After Stax closed, Homer Banks and Carl Hampton moved on to Warner Brothers Records.

The duo relocated home to to California, where they continued to write.

Homer BanksHomer Banks

caught in the act of getting it on b/w make due with whatcha got - 1976 / i'm gonna have to tell her b/w we're movin on - 1977

They released three singles for Warner Brothers in 1976 and 1977, which were ‘Caught In The Act (Of Gettin' It On)’ b/w ‘Make Due With What'cha Got’, ‘Wonderful’ b/w ‘It's Got To Be This Way’ and ‘I'm Gonna Have To Tell Her’ b/w ‘We're Movin' On’.

Banks and Hampton

homer banks and carl hampton

passport to ecstasy - 1977

In 1977, performing under the group name of Banks and Hampton, they recorded the album ‘Passport To Ecstasy’ for the Warner Bros. imprint.

During the late Seventies, Homer worked with the artist Randy Brown, penning 'We Ought To be Doin' It' amongst other songs.

The Eighties saw Homer creating the Two's Company recording company with Lester Snell.

Then label released albums by J. Blackfoot and Ann Hines.

In 1983, Homer, along with Reginald Jenkins and Chuck Brook formed Sound Town Records, Inc.

They released J. Blackfoot’s album ‘City Slicker’, which featured the hit’ Taxi’.

‘Taxi’ reached the top five in the charts and entered the Billboard Magazine Hot 100 Chart.

The song was written and produced with Chuck Brooks, and prompted a response song by the singer Ann LeSear, entitled ‘Take Him Back (Taxi)’ in 1984.

Homer and Chuck Brooks produced the Shirley Brown album ‘Intimate Storm’ on their Sound Town Records label.

‘Boyfriend’ and ‘This Used To Be Your House’ were hugely popular songs from the set, both making the Billboard Chart.

Homer Banks passed away in Memphis from cancer in 2003, at the age of 61.

Real Player

Albums:

As Banks & Hampton:

Passport To Ecstasy (Warner Brothers Records 1977)

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