Five years before "She's Acting Single (I'm Drinking Doubles)", Gary Stewart was paid $30 to sing on a demo of Motown hits in a country style. The tape got into the hands of legendary producer Roy Dea, who was so mesmerized by Gary's voice and performance that he went on a multi year crusade to find a record deal for Gary, and to produce his records. The story of the Motown demos figures prominently in most Gary bios / articles, but no one other than the late Roy Dea had actually ever heard it. The tape was so lost that no one in Gary's inner circle had a copy before we dug it up.
“I’m a hillbilly,” Dea told reporter Jimmy McDonough in the Village Voice in 1988: “but my background is rock’n’roll, rhythm and blues. Country’s kind of a bore. I never knew anyone who blew me away like Gary, an’ I seen Elvis, Hank Williams – all of ‘em. You get hooked on Stewart. He’s like a damn drug.”
The longer story is more one of fate. Gary Stewart had been knocking around Nashville since the mid 1960s, having some success as a writer, with cuts by Stonewall Jackson, Nat Stuckey, Cal Smith, et.al. But the singles he recorded for Kapp and Decca hadn’t done much. His gig at Bradleys Barn recording studio cleaning up and setting up mics afforded him some off hours studio time, which he used to record the "Grandma's Roadhouse" record in 1969 - that Delmore Recording Society reissued in 2010 - and other demos. But by 1970 Gary Stewart was ready to pack it in and drive home to Fort Pierce, FL for good. He had recently discovered and fallen hard for the Allman Brothers (who would become close friends of his in the mid 70s) and his plan was to start a Southern Rock band in Florida influenced by their sound. Who would have thought that a $30 gig as a publishing demo singer on three Motown tunes would change his life?
Anyone that knows us knows that we are huge Gary Stewart fans at Delmore HQ. We've been working on a full length compilation of unreleased Gary for longer than some of you have been alive, and eight(!) years ago we rescued the headneck classic Grandma's Roadhouse from private press obscurity. And now, we are ecstatic to announce the release of the rarest of all of Gary's previously unreleased recordings as a 7" single for Record Store Day, 2018. Five years before "She's Acting Single (I'm Drinking Doubles)", Gary Stewart was paid $30 to sing on a demo of Motown hits "country style". The session was arranged by publishing lifer Henry Hurt on behalf of Jobete Music, who was hoping to interest country stars in recording songs from their catalogue. Absolutely no one seemed to have a copy of the tape that blew the mind of record producer Roy Dea, sending him on a multi year crusade to get Gary a record deal and to produce his records. The legend of this recording has appeared in nearly every story written about Stewart, but the tapes were presumed lost. Recently discovered after a ten-year search, and released for the first time ever, Mowtown is an essential addition to your Gary Stewart jukebox.
Includes unlimited streaming of Mowtown
via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
Delmore Recording Society exists to expose singular artists that don’t quite fit in to the world. The pursuit and discovery
of lost tapes is another side of that mission.
We strive to bring something of value into the world…music that might enhance our appreciation of an artist that was under recorded, or whose recordings were never released due to some vagary of the business....more