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Roscoe Shelton

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Title: Roscoe Shelton  
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Subject: Roscoe, List of blues musicians, Blue Juice, John R., The Fairfield Four, Excello Records, Black Top Records catalog, Clifford Curry
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Roscoe Shelton

Roscoe Shelton
Born (1931-08-22)August 22, 1931
Lynchburg, Tennessee, United States
Died July 27, 2002(2002-07-27) (aged 70)
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Genres Electric blues, Louisiana blues, R&B[1]
Occupations Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1949–2002
Labels Various

Roscoe Shelton (August 22, 1931 – July 27, 2002)[2] was an American electric blues and R&B singer.[1] He is best remembered for his 1965 hit single, "Strain on My Heart," and his working relationships with both The Fairfield Four and Bobby Hebb. Other notable recordings include "Think It Over" and "Baby Look What You're Doin' To Me".[2] Fred James, who produced much of Shelton's later work, noted that Shelton moved effortlessly into soul, unlike many of his 1950s blues and R&B recording contemporaries.[1]


Shelton was born in Lynchburg, Tennessee and was raised in Nashville, Tennessee.[3][4] In 1949 he joined the Fairfield Four, singing lead vocals on their gospel music output, before spending four years conscripted in the United States Air Force.[3] Upon discharge he joined The Skylarks in 1956 and recorded for Excello's subsidiary label, Nashboro Records. After the group disbanded Shelton sang alongside and toured with both Bobby Hebb and DeFord Bailey, Jr.[1]

In 1961 Shelton's debut album Roscoe Shelton Sings was released by Excello, before various singles followed, including "Strain on My Heart" (1965).[1] The track was a Top 40 success in the Billboard R&B chart. By this time Shelton's work appeared on Sound Stage 7, and another Top 40 hit was "Easy Going Fellow."[5] In 1966 his next album Soul in His Music, Music in His Soul was released, but the long gap between albums stalled his career. However, Shelton performed on the same bill as Otis Redding at the Apollo Theater.[1]

The deaths of both Redding and Sam Cooke, who had been friends of Shelton, took their toll.[6] Shelton left the music industry in 1969, working for Nashville's Meharry Medical College.[3] Finally in 1994 Shelton, Earl Gaines, and Clifford Curry found work billed as the 'Excello Legends'.[1] In 1995, Shelton's song "You Were the Dream" appeared on the soundtrack of the film, Blue Juice.

His recording resumed under the production of Fred James, spawning amongst others, Let It Shine in 1998,[3] plus Shelton's and Gaines' joint effort, Let's Work Together.[1] In July 2002, at the age of 70, Shelton died of cancer in Nashville.[2][6]

Two years after his death, Shelton's "Say You Really Care" was included on the Grammy Award winning compilation album, Night Train to Nashville.[1]



  • Roscoe Shelton Sings (Excello, 1961)
  • Soul in His Music, Music in His Soul (Sound Stage 7, 1966)
  • Strain on Your Heart (Charly, 1987)
  • Roscoe Shelton Sings (P-Vine, 1995)
  • She's the One (Appaloosa, 1996)
  • Tennessee R&B Live (Appaloosa, 1997)
  • Let It Shine (Black Top, 1998)
  • Let's Work Together (Cannonball, 2000)[7]


  • "I've Been Faithful" / "We've Been Wrong" (1960) (Excello 2146)
  • "Strain on My Heart" (1965) - US R&B Singles #25
  • "Easy Going Fellow" (1966) - US R&B Singles #32[5]

See also


External links


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