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Oakhurst Inn

July 28, 2022

Spencer Wiggins (born January 8, 1942) is an American soul and gospel singer. He is an exponent of so-called "deep soul" and is considered one of the best kept secrets of soul music.

Wiggins was born in Memphis, Tennessee, where he grew up encouraged by his parents to engage with music, especially gospel; his mother sang in the choir of the Baptist Church where she attended services. He lived in the same area as singers James Carr and Bobby Bland. While at Booker T. Washington High School, he formed a gospel group with his brother Percy and sister Maxine and, on leaving school, formed an R&B group, the Four Stars, that included his brother Percy and David Porter, later to become a leading songwriter and record producer.

In the early 1960s, he began singing in clubs in Memphis, where he was discovered by Quinton Claunch, head of Goldwax Records. In 1964 Wiggins recorded his first single, "Lover's Crime", produced by Claunch, for the label, though his early recordings were licensed for release through the sub-label Bandstand USA. The recording was followed by eight further singles, but none became hits. His recordings for Goldwax included "Uptight Good Woman", written by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, and "I Never Loved A Woman (The Way I Love You)", recorded at the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals with guitar by Duane Allman.

In 1969, after Goldwax collapsed, Wiggins went on to Fame Records, where he recorded two more singles, including "Double Lovin'", which reached no.44 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1970. However, other singles for Fame, and for the Pama and Vivid Sound labels, were unsuccessful.

In 1973, Wiggins left Memphis, married, and moved to Miami, Florida, where he became active in the Baptist church and in gospel music. He became a deacon and choir director at the New Birth Baptist Church in Miami, and worked with a number of gospel choirs. He has since released gospel recordings, including Keys to the Kingdom released by Tavette Records in 2003.

The Japanese label Vivid Sound released a compilation of Wiggins' singles from Goldwax, and in 2006 the Kent label issued another compilation. Due to copyright issues, however, this compilation contains fewer songs than the Japanese release. The album was widely acclaimed and led to Wiggins being seen as one of the greatest unknown soul singers.

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