By Bob “The Record Guy” Paxon
Carlena Weaver was one of the lead singers of The Avengers, the band led by Hank ‘Soul Man’ Mullen. She only cut one and a half records, both in Buffalo, but what great records they are!
Mullen got the first shot at making a record, for which the band traveled to Capricorn Records Studio in Macon at the behest of their Georgia-based manager James Reese. This resulted in Audel 362: Listen / He Upset Your Dreams – credited to “Hank ‘Soul Man’ Mullen”.
For this record things were different. They enlisted the help of local R&B go-to guy Benny Clark. Benny’s career was previously discussed in my article about the Debonairs 45 on Harmon. In short, he had a 50 year career touching on all areas of R&B, Jazz and Soul music and though his most fruitful was done with nationals like Brunswick Records, he kept his hand in locally.
In this case he wrote both tracks and likely produced the disc even though the label gives it to ‘Reese And Broward Productions’ (the same production team credited on Mullen’s disc). Again, the label also credit the Avengers as arrangers. This was almost certainly recorded in Buffalo and my guess would be at William Nunn’s Mo-Do studio.
Jealousy b/w Heart Break (Audel 363) is a typical two-sider and the uptempo “Jealousy” side is probably the intended A-side. It’s very good. But “Heart Break” – the B-side – is amazing, an intense Deep Soul tearjerker. It has a lot more personality than the A-side, so I’ve decided to feature it today.
Carlena turned up shortly after this Audel record with a release on the Mo-Do Records label proper, early in its run (Mo-Do 105). This only featured her on one side, the flip being an instrument credited to Majestic Sounds Ltd (probably members of the Nunn family circle). After this she apparently never recorded again, and her career seems to have ended – though it’s been claimed she later worked for Ike Turner as an Ikette.
Anyway, in two records we have the entire output of Carlena Weaver. And in two records the entire output of Audel Records, and of The Avengers. Interestingly there could have been another release which could have completed the series. It’s been suggested that the Moe Jones named as the band’s third lead vocalist may actually have been Maurice “Little Mo” Jones, who later sang and played trumpet with Dyke & the Blazers. This is likely, as Hank Mullen was a good friend of Carl LaRue, whose ‘Carl LaRue And His Crew’ band grew into Dyke & the Blazers eventually.
I’m always looking for more info, corrections, additions. Always looking for more local recordings to feature. If you made a record locally and would like to see it featured here contact me!