Atlanta Rhythm Section was the Classic Four

When I was at Liberty Records we had a nice run with a group from Atlanta called "The Classics Four." They made great soft-rock records like "Spooky," as performed here. Eventually they became the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Our newest contributor, Doug Christian, has these interesting memories. -- TDR

Atlanta Rhythm Section, sometimes abbreviated ARS, is an American southern rock band, formed in 1971. The band's current lineup consists of founding members keyboardist Dean Daughtry (who is the band's only constant member) and vocalist Rodney Justo, along with newer members, guitarists David Anderson and Steve Stone, and drummer Jim Keeling.

I Met Dean Daughtry in the summer of 1969 when I was working at my first radio gig at WDIG-AM in Dothan, Alabama. (1000 whole watts daytime and 500 at night -- now gone elsewhere as happens with small radio stations.) Dean had started his career playing in various local bands before heading to the Atlanta area about the time Tommy Roe was a hot commodity. Dean would bring tapes of sessions and we'd spend weekends listening to them and discussing the various takes for hours with lots of speed and weed. Dean was bigtime and we were smalltime but good stuff came out of those sessions and we all moved on to become what we now are.

The band was formed in 1971, by musicians who were former members of the Candymen and the Classics IV that had become the session band for the newly opened Studio One in Doraville, Georgia, near Atlanta in 1970. After playing on other artists' recordings, they decided to become a true band in their own right.

The original lineup consisted of vocalist Rodney Justo, guitarist Barry Bailey, bassist Paul Goddard, keyboardist Dean Daughtry, and drummer Robert Nix. Guitarist James B. Cobb, Jr. joined the band in early 1972. Justo left the band after the first album and was replaced by Ronnie Hammond. Buddy Buie, the band's manager and producer, is listed first on almost all of their songwriting credits. Noted Christian Music artist and southern rocker Mylon LeFevre appeared on "Jesus Hearted People", from the band's album Third Annual Pipe Dream. Before they became founding members of Atlanta Rhythm Section, members of LeFevre's backup band included Barry Bailey, Paul Goddard, and Dean Daughtry.

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