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Garage soul narrative about the much feared and misunderstood heavyweight champion of the world, Charles "Sonny" Liston.


You took it from Floyd
and wouldn't give it back
that was your way

the kid took it from you
and he was supposed to be green
Left your crown on the stool

Like a night train when it comes on through
when you let go of the old One Two
How could you make a friend
when every body was afraid of you?

Ah Man, Sonny
a number one stare down
just a big black bear
could they even know the part that cared?

oh but Sonny
had they pegged you wrong
I mean you was thugged out
did ya' even know the day you was born?

Like a night train when it comes on through
child 24 he used to beat you
is that why you ran away
cuz he wasn't afraid of you?
(you was only 14... I'd be afraid too)

- You had the belt of the world on your shoulder
but the boys in blue still messed with you
You had the belt of the world on your waist now
but that couldn't wash the scars from your back
You was the king of the ring in the square now
but when you won the crown
there was no one from town to cheer for you.

did you put the needle in?
You was supposed to be afraid
of that God Damn Sin

oh Man, Sonny
Did Blinky Sell you out
give you a hot shot
I bet you didn't even shout

Like a night train
when it comes on through
like your life flashed before she found you
I hope you new you had a friend
cuz we sure care about you

a man


released May 31, 2013
Released May 31 2013
"A Man Called Sonny" is an acoustic bass and drum driven funk and soul narrative about feared and misunderstood former heavyweight champion Charles "Sonny" Liston, the original "Baddest Man on the Planet" whose tragic life ended shrouded in mystery.
Jeff Martini wrote the song in 2007 and was inspired by "Every Time I Talk to Liston", a book by friend and amateur boxing teammate Brian DeVido, along with articles by Nigel Collins. The basic tracks (Mike New on drums, Jeff Martini on acoustic bass) were performed live in Mike's Cold Spring studio to an analog tape machine in early 2009. The overdubs were completed throughout 2009. Vocals and percussion (hand slaps on acoustic bass) were also recorded in Mike's studio, along with overdubs in 2011 (Wurlitzer electric piano, and guitars played by Mike at his studio and Jeff at his in Washington DC). Both Mike and Jeff learned a lot about 8- track tape machine maintenance along the way.
Jeff picked up the recording in early 2013 after performing the song with the One Two Soul Revue for a few years in Washington DC, adding Avy Mallik's guitar parts to the mix along with Scott Firestone's trumpet and Jeff's saxophone to round out the track.
The tracks were mixed and mastered by Mike New in Cold Spring, New York.

Vox, Bass, Percussion, Electric Piano, Guitar & Tenor Saxophone: Jeff Martini
Drums, Guitar: Mike New
Guitar: Avy Mallik
Trumpet: Scott Firestone

Vocals, Bass, Percussion, Guitar and Drums Produced and Engineered by Mike New in Cold Spring NY.
Additional Guitars, Electric Piano and Horns recorded by Jeff Martini in Capitol Hill NE, Washington DC.

Mix and Mastered by Mike New in Cold Spring New York
Cover Photography & Design by Jeff Martini


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Jeff Martini & the One Two Soul Revue Washington D.C., D.C.

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