Soulful Sounds from Soulville Productions: Bobby
Fulton and Harrisburg Soul
In our modern world of mega-media companies, where corporate giants
such as AOL Time Warner, Viacom and Walt Disney dominate both the music
labels and the media outlets, the idea of a local musician starting his
own recording label seems very unlikely if not downright impossible.
Harrisburg in the 1960's was a hotbed of soul
music talent, and local musician Bobby Fulton saw both an opportunity and a need to record
artists who were performing in the area. No other recording options
were then available in the mid-state for soul or gospel artists, so in
September 1967, Fulton, who was performing with the bands "The Emperors" and "The Soul Exotics," got together with friends
Toby Young, Jimmy Walker and Hulie Diggs to create Soulville Productions.
on North Sixth Street in Harrisburg, the fledgling company's first release
was the 45 Nobody To Blame/Nothing Matters from the
nine-member "Soulville All-Stars." Fulton himself was a
member of the R&B "All-Stars," which featured vocal
harmonies and horn arrangements in the style popularized by the
"Temptations." Other artists and groups were soon released
on the Soulville label and the company soon built up a catalog of R&B,
funk and gospel titles which included artists from across the country.
Bruce Pringle of
Beach, Delaware writes "It's great to see work by the Emperors,
the Intentions, the Del-Chords and many Soulville artists being
released on CD."
"It would be terrific to see the same
happen for two other Central Pennsylvania acts, the Soul Exotics ("Darlin'"/"Baby
It's True") and the Soulsations ("Here Comes the Pain"). Do you
think that's likely to happen?"
Dennis Brennan of
Harrisburg announces "In response to Bruce Pringle's comments, yes, there is a brand new CD on the scene.
It does include Bobby's "Soul Exotics,"
www.dtb45s.com (inactive link)
Thanks, Bobby, for your permission for
the Soulville tracks included.
In response to many requests for more
information on the Magnificent Men, Chuck
Gillen has provided us with dates, times and links on current
activities. See his letter from
Dr. Bobby Fulton:
Mike Shanley, "SoulvilleRevival," in In Pittsburgh
Weekly (12/20/2000), reprinted at Get
Hip. Retrieved June 15, 2002 from the World Wide Web: http://www.gethip.com/soulville.html
(inactive Web link)
Despite distributing numerous copies of their
new titles to area radio stations, the Soulville promotions team had
difficulty getting satisfactory airplay, and found that many stations
would not promote an entire line from a particular label. Enter
Jay-Walking Records--an offshoot of Soulville, created as a means to get
more airplay for Soulville talent.
In 1972, Fulton took an opportunity
to work in Pittsburgh as Director of Operations for Black Circle
Records. He subsequently became an ordained Baptist minister and founded
Gospel Music Ministries International, a Christian Interdenominational
Church Fellowship. The Soulville label continued to release titles for a
few years, and according to Rev. Fulton, is still a viable
A compilation of the
best of Soulville/Jay-Walking Records was released on Get Hip's
Archive series. Titled Soulful
Sounds from Soulville (Get Hip Catalog number: GHAS 5018), the
25-track compilation disc is no longer available from their website, but
be found in CD form from some retailers."