The Door To Yesterday. Vol 4, No. 2. Alan Warner. 2019.

 

 

 

Sumpin Funky Going On The Songs Of Donnie Fritts. Alan Warner. The Door T Yesterday. 2019

 Southern soul music suffered a terrible blow in 2019 when the

 songwriter/singer/musician and actor Donnie Fritts died in a 

hospital in Birmingham in his home state of Alabama. He was 76.


Known by his fellow musicians as Funky Donnie Fritts, he was a 

much-loved and long-serving member of the Muscle Shoals music community.

  

Inducted into the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame in 2008, he had played keyboards in 

Kris Kristofferson’s band for some forty years and I remember Kris introducing him 

as the writer of ‘some of the best soul songs you’ll ever hear’.


His friendship with Kristofferson led Donnie into appearing in some of Kris’s movies 

including “Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid” and also the 1976 version of “A Star Is Born”.


SUMPIN’ FUNKY GOING ON dates from Donnie’s days in Nashville when he and

 Kris, Tony Joe White and Billy Swan were signed to Combine Music, the publishing arm 

of Fred Foster’s Monument Records.


Following is a selection of key songs from Donnie’s catalog 

of country-soul compositions of which the standouts include 

BREAKFAST IN BED,  RAINBOW ROAD and WE HAD IT ALL…


ADIOS AMIGO 

(Donnie Fritts/Arthur Alexander)

 by Dan Penn & Donnie Fritts 

(Razor & Tie: 1994) 

(From the album “Adios Amigo: A Tribute To Arthur Alexander). 


BETTER OFF WITH THE BLUES

 (Donnie Fritts/Gary Nicholson/Delbert McClinton) 

by Delbert McClinton

Pro: Gary Nicholson, Emory Gordy Jr. & Delbert McClinton 

(Rising Tide: 1997) 


 

 

Kris Kristofferson and Donnie Fritts. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner.2019

 BORDER LORD 

(Donnie Fritts/Kris Kristofferson/Stephen Bruton/Terry Paul) 

by Kris Kristofferson

Pro: Fred Foster 

(Monument: 1972) 

https://youtu.be/exDp_PxLcCI

(Song revived by Sheryl Crow featuring Kris Kristofferson

 on Sheryl’s new album “Threads” on Big Machine.)


BREAKFAST IN BED 

(Donnie Fritts/Eddie Hinton) 

by Dusty Springfield 

(Atlantic: 1969) 

US #91 Pop 

https://youtu.be/ixcpwHJKCh0

by Sheila Hylton

Pro & Arr: Harry Johnson

 (UK United Artists Ballistic: 1979) 

UK #57 

https://youtu.be/F21ncgNq9qA

by UB40 With Chrissie Hynde

Pro: UB40 

(A&M: 1988) UK #6

 https://youtu.be/jKtjr1JLeq0

(Dusty’s version was a key track 

on her landmark “Dusty In Memphis” set and Donnie 

was always very proud of having a song that album. 

Overseas, it became a reggae success particularly with the

 UB40/Chrissie Hynde version that went Top Ten in the UK. 

On his 1997 album “Everybody’s Got A Song”, Donnie recorded

 it as a duet with Lucinda Williams). 

   

CHOO CHOO TRAIN

 (Donnie Fritts/Eddie Hinton)

by The Box Tops

Pro: Dan Penn 

(Mala: 1968) 

US #26 Pop 

https://youtu.be/SVRhl-_CFdo

(The Box Tops’ version is 

featured on the soundtrack 

of Quentin Tarantino’s movie 

“Once Upon A Time In…Hollywood”) 


A DAMN GOOD COUNTRY SONG

 (Donnie Fritts) 

by Jerry Lee Lewis

Pro: Jerry Kennedy 

(Mercury: 1975) 

US #68 Country

 https://youtu.be/mf6Xas5vqQ8


EASY TO LOVE

 (Donnie Fritts/Tony Joe White)    

by Joe Simon/

Pro: Joe Simon & John Richbourg

 (Spring: 1976) 

US #12 R&B in '77

  https://youtu.be/0fpNn1rw7qk


IF IT’S REALLY GOT TO BE THIS WAY

 (Donnie Fritts/Gary Nicholson/Arthur Alexander) 

by Arthur Alexander

Pro: Ben Vaughn 

(Elektra Nonesuch: 1973)

 https://youtu.be/yR0-PW0YLkA

(Donnie’s final album “June” 

was a tribute to Arthur Alexander)


GIVE IT TIME TO BE TENDER 

(Donnie Fritts/Kris Kristofferson) 

by Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge

Pro: Fred Foster 

(Monument: 1972) 

https://youtu.be/LW3GiQDhIXs


MY FRIEND 

(Donnie Fritts/Spooner Oldham) 

by Donnie Fritts

Pro: Kris Kristofferson & Jerry Wexler

 (Atlantic: 1974)

https://youtu.be/aaYsSBYJ4Qo


THE OLDEST BABY IN THE WORLD

 (Donnie Fritts/John Prine) 

by John Prine

Pro: John Prine & Jim Rooney 

(Oh Boy: 1984) https://youtu.be/fo_UEjNeCGo


RAINBOW ROAD 

(Donnie Fritts/Dan Penn)  

by Bill Brandon

Pro: Quin Ivy 

(Tower: 1968) 

https://youtu.be/CTEeT7QnffI

by Joe Simon

Pro: John Richbourg 

(Sound Stage 7: 1969)

 https://youtu.be/s3qQd6npt-I

by Arthur Alexander

Pro: Tommy Cogbill 

(Warner Bros: 1972)

     https://youtu.be/hSDlKXPRhyM

(Dan Penn’s own early version can be found on 

the Ace collection “Dan Penn: The Fame Recordings”)

.

SUMPIN’ FUNKY GOING ON 

(Donnie Fritts/Tony Joe White)

by Donnie Fritts

Pro: Kris Kristofferson & Jerry Wexler 

(Atlantic: 1974)

 https://youtu.be/yaJq6Kx1JCo 


 

 

Donnie Fritts Debt album. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019.

 THREE HUNDRED POUNDS OF HONGRY 

(Donnie Fritts/Eddie Hinton) 

by Donnie Fritts

Pro: Kris Kristofferson & Jerry Wexler (Atlantic: 1974)

 https://youtu.be/B3a5yeqBq5Y


WE HAD IT ALL 

(Donnie Fritts/Troy Seals) 

by Waylon Jennings

Pro: Ken Mansfield

 (RCA: 1973) US #28 Country. https://youtu.be/slIFhmgd0g0

by Conway Twitty

Pro: Conway Twitty & Ron Chancey

 (MCA: 1983) 

US #44 Country 

by Dolly Parton

Pro: Val Garay 

(RCA: 1986) 

UK #31 Country 


YOU’RE GONNA LOVE YOURSELF (In The Morning) 

(Donnie Fritts)

by Bonnie Kolo

/Pro: David Paul Briggs 

(Ovation: 1974) 

US #12 AC 

by Roy Clark

Pro: Jim Fogelsong 

(ABC/Dot: 1975) 

US #35 Country 

by Charlie Rich

Pro: Larry Butler 

(United Artists: 1979)

 US #22 Country in ’80

 https://youtu.be/rHPMYWPYTTc



Rock on.


Alan Warner


© Alan Warner, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alan Warner with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.