BREAD, the iconic soft rock supergroup that owned the music charts in the 70s and 80s with hits “Baby I’m A Want You”, “If”, “Guitar Man”, “Diary”, “Make It With You”, “It Don’t Matter To Me”, “Aubrey”, and “Sweet Surrender”, were played in all corners of the world. Now, the magic is coming back thanks to Wraysong Records.
Wraysong Records caused excitement around the world when they announced, along with The James Griffin Estate, they were releasing a limited edition, 4 CD box set, containing much of his archived music. The box set that record producer, and renowned songwriter Ray Chafin, has compiled, remixed and remastered features 48 songs. Some of those songs have never been heard before.
Jimmy Griffin The Archive Series box set contains 4 CD’s, with each one of them allowing fans to remember the magic of the 70s and 80s. We wanted to learn more about the new box set and why it has taken so long to put together. Here is what Wraysong Records had to say.
Bread is an iconic American soft rock band from Los Angeles, California, how did you become involved with the band? It was the mid-sixties, and I had a very successful record on Fraternity Records out of Cincinnati called “College Life”, as a duo “Avo & Ray”. Avo and I was a student at the University of Kentucky when I wrote that song. It landed me a recording contract with Tower Records (Capital), and I had moved to Hollywood to do an “American Bandstand” with Dick Clark and new manager Bob Marcucci. My roommate, former child star Eddie Hodges and I walked into Snuff Garrett’s publishing office and I was introduced to Jimmy Griffin. Jimmy and I were both living in Memphis before coming to Hollywood, and immediately became great friends. This was long before BREAD was formed. Jimmy was on Reprise Records and doing a film with Frank Sinatra. Jimmy, Eddie, David Gates and I were all young artists in Hollywood looking for that big break.
You are releasing a new box set, can you tell me more about that? Jimmy Griffin was part of the early Memphis Music scene, when Elvis Presley, Charlie Rich, Otis Redding, Issac Hayes, The Box Tops, Memphis Horns, and Stax Records were flourishing. He had written and recorded a treasure trove of songs that were never released during his days before and after BREAD. Many of those recordings were discovered after his death in 2005. Martha Griffin, Jimmy’s widow, met me at a Huey’s Restaurant years after that and asked if I could do something with a box of tapes, discs and records that had been stored away. She was afraid they would deteriorate and/or be lost forever. What I discovered was an amazing array of songs that have become “The Attic Archives”. Then, I found sessions he had done after BREAD with “The Remingtons”, “Black Tie”, and a great group “GYG” (Griffin/Yancey/Guilbeau) that he had just started when he fell ill. I assembled all of those recordings, remastered and cleaned them up to created “The Archive Series” in four (4) Volumes of 48 songs. The GYG sessions were great already and nothing needed to be done.
What hits can we expect on the new box set? Wow, that’s a hard question! There are so many great ones from his days with The Remington’s and Black Tie, not to mention GYG which probably has four hit songs on Volume Four “Who’s Gonna Know”, “Memories & Dreams”, “Gettin’ In The Wind”, and his very last composition, “Why Can’t You Love Me Like That”. One of the most popular songs so far is “Dance On The Moon” that I wrote with Jimmy for a movie theme that was never used, is on Volume One.
Why have you decided to release the box set now? I started making YouTube videos of his songs and found an audience I didn’t realize was there. So many requests for more of his music, and some prompting from my good friend, songwriter and musician Brian Allan Bode, that I decided to put them on a CD which became Volume One. It mushroomed from there. Why now? Because they are finally completed. It has taken me four years to get to this point of actually manufacturing finished product,
The group had 13 songs that charted on the Billboard Hot 100 between, what do you put their success down to? Extremely well-crafted songs which found that magic blend between the music and the words. Both David and Jimmy, as well as Robb Royer, were great songwriters. Their vocals were pristine, with flawlessly delivered heart felt emotion. I always said that Jimmy Griffin could sing the phone book and keep your attention.
A lot of the music on the box set has not been previously released, why is that? Many of the songs Jimmy wrote and recorded before BREAD, and even after, were lost because he was so prolific. Even after 4 Volumes and 48 songs, there is still enough good material for two more volumes. Jimmy Griffin was an amazingly talented man.
What surprises can fans expect from the new box set? A lot of the original BREAD sounding songs because of that beautiful high falsetto voice Jimmy had, that helped give BREAD their signature touch. David Gates once said, it was hard to tell which one was singing sometimes. That familiar bread sound echoes through most of Jimmy’s work
The box set which has been remixed and remastered by Record producer, and renowned songwriter Ray Chafin is only available through Wraysong Records, so how do fans of BREAD get their hands on it? They can go to wraysong.com and purchase direct.
Bread was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2006, sadly Jimmy Griffin passed away before that happened, what do you think he would have thought about their success being recognized in such a way? Jimmy Griffin was a very humble man who never forgot his southern roots and was never impressed with his own success. I could hear him now, if I were able to tell him face to face, he would simply reply,” that’s nice”!
The Box set is going to be a huge success, so will there be a follow up? As I said earlier in this interview, there are many songs that were not included in the first four volumes, so hopefully, if there is a demand, I’ll add two more volumes to the set.
For more information, please visit https://www.wraysong.com/
About Wraysong Records
Since 2008, Wraysong Records has been working to collect as many songs as possible from the late Jimmy Griffin. His incredible vocals and musicianship have been known for decades, but are now available in these restored and remastered original soundtracks from the attic archives of the James Griffin Estate.