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The Spirit of Memphis Quartet

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Founded in 1930, the Spirit of Memphis Quartet are more a continual concept than a set band, changing membership over the years as musicians drop in and out of the lineup. In fact, it's not exactly a quartet; in the mid-1980s there were eight members, five of whom sang. The core of the group was usually lead Jethro Bledsoe, tenor Robert Reed, and bass singer Earl Malone, all of whom joined in the 1930s; Bledsoe retired in 1977, but Reed and Malone were still active with the act into the 1980s. They recorded in the quartet style for King in the early 1950s, then switched to Peacock for much of the 1950s and 1960s. They rehearsed the song "If It Ain't One Thing, It's Another" with Elvis Presley in Graceland and were scheduled to record it with him in 1976, but the session was canceled due to an Elvis illness. The group recorded an album of soul-influenced gospel for David Evans' indie High Water label in the mid-1980s. ~ Richie Unterberger

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Years Active:

'30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s