Boneyard Media


Song ID: Jimmy Hughes – “Steal Away” (1964)

hughes-stealawayFrom Leighton, Alabama, Jimmy Hughes was Percy Sledge’s cousin, and his soaring, imploring “Steal Away” (which includes the disquieting line “your folks are sleeping, let’s not waste any time”)¬†found its way into Billboard’s Top 20 in 1964. This was one of producer Rick Hall’s early successes for the FAME Studio in Muscle Shoals – the first hit, in fact, to be recorded in that building. The song would naturally influence plenty of soul yet to come and help shape the Muscle Shoals sound, but it also bore the unmistakable musical imprints of the Southern gospel standard “Steal Away to Jesus,” written in the mid-1800s by a former slave named Wallace Willis. The clip below shows future Los Angeles gospel legends the Mighty Clouds of Joy (featuring Joe Ligon) doing their upbeat version of the hymn. It comes from TV Gospel Time¬†in Baltimore, a show that debuted in 1962, in an episode hosted by Sister Jessie Mae Renfro.

Jimmy Hughes – “Steal Away” (1964)

The Mighty Clouds of Joy – “Steal Away to Jesus” (c. 1962)

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