Music in his soul

Drummer Maxwell reunites
with 1960s rock group Soul Inc.

Upcoming concerts in Louisville;
record in the works

Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing writer

In 1965 a young Marvin Maxwell was busy working on the assembly line at Conn Organ factory in Madison, Ind., when his supervisor brought him up to the office and said he had a phone call.

Soul Inc.

Photo provided

The Soul Inc. band includes (from left back row) Kenny Bechtloff (Sax), Ernie Sanders (Baritone Sax), Don E. Williamson (Keyboards), Wayne Young (Guitar, Vocals), Ray Barrickman (Bass Guitar, Vocals); middle row: Gary Hicks (Trumpet), Marvin Maxwell (Drums); front row: Tommy “Cosmo” Cosdon (Vocals) and Sherry Edwards (Vocals).

When the voice on the other end of the line asked, “Would you like to go on the road with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars?” Maxwell didn't have to think twice. “I turned to my foreman and quit my job.”
After a quick trip home to grab some clothes and kiss his wife, the drummer soon found himself on stage backing the stars and enjoying the cheers of the crowd. The first night of the tour the members of Soul Inc. found themselves playing songs they had previously only enjoyed on the radio.
During the 1960s and '70s, Maxwell found a great deal of musical success playing not only with Soul Inc. but later with Elysian Field. “We started spending more time in the recording studio” turning out “eight or nine records,” recalls Maxwell. The group members were also in demand with other bands.
“We played on a lot of other people's records in this area. We had horns and that was a bit rare. We were quick,” he says, explaining the group's appeal to audiences and fellow musicians.
Now fans old and new will have the chance to enjoy Soul Inc., reuniting to share their unique sound. About eight months ago Maxwell, 64, of Naab, Ind., started to revisit his talent for drumming and began to get in touch with his former band members. The group started playing together again, and with the addition of a few new musicians, including noted Louisville singer Sherry Edwards. It was time to hit the road again.
Soul Inc. will play Nov. 13 in Louisville at Headliners and then Nov. 15 at Stevie Ray's blues bar. In addition to live gigs, the group is in the process of finalizing an album. “We've been working on it and recording,” says Maxwell, and fans should see the final product in 2010.
While Maxwell may not have focused on rock tours in recent years, he has stayed heavily involved in the music industry. He founded the popular Mom's Music store in Louisville and was active in beginning the Rock School movement. In the Rock School program, children and teenagers spend eight weeks learning musical and performance techniques cumulating in a concert for family in friends.
“It was the most rewarding thing,” Maxwell says recalling the impact the experience had on students and families. “It changed their lives. Louisville Ky., in another five years is going to be turning out bands like people won't believe.” In addition to helping build the future of music, he has also been working to preserve elements of Kentuckiana's rock past. Together with Eddie Amick, Maxwell made a deal to purchase the master tapes from the former Sambo Recording Studios – the studio where Soul Inc. and its members spend many hours recording. By using a special process through which the tapes are baked, many of these rare tracks from bands from the '60s through the '80s are being preserved and then transferred to digital format.
“It's all based around music, it's all I know. If I do anything else I might be dangerous,” he laughs.
With the revival of Soul Inc. Maxwell is also hoping to bring back a way of stirring up interest in bands that used to be very popular. “There is a plan. In the '60s, one way of promoting ourselves is we would go to a town the size of Madison and look for that (radio) antenna.”
Musical groups would stop by small and medium size towns, chat with the deejays for a couple of hours and then perform a live show. These performances helped build a following, allowed groups to connect with the public, and captured the attention of larger markets.
“We're going to do something that hasn't been done in a long time, open up some doors,” he says. "So keep listening. Next year is going to be a groovy time,” Maxwell said.

• For more information, visit: www.SoulInc.net.

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