Huey Lewis explores "Soulsville" on new album

Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:04pm EDT
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By Evie Nagy

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Huey Lewis & the News recorded some of the most iconic pop-rock of the '80s, and notched two No. 1 albums, including 1983's seven-times platinum-certified "Sports."

Although the band has toured constantly, it hasn't released an album of original material since 2001's "Plan B."

Now the group is back with "Soulsville," an album of soul covers from the Stax Records catalog, due November 2 on WOW Records. The set includes the Staple Singers' "Respect Yourself," Johnnie Taylor's "Just the One (I've Been Looking For)" and the title track by Isaac Hayes.

Billboard talked to Lewis about his classic soul influences, his business and his sideline as a film and Broadway actor.

Billboard: Why did you record an album of Stax soul?

Huey Lewis: It was actually my manager Bob Brown's idea. I was a little wary because I'm a big fan of this stuff. But I figured there's no harm in trying and working the songs up. I was wary because some of these performances are so great they shouldn't be repeated. But I think we've done it justice and we'll turn a lot of people on to this stuff.

Billboard: Among the songs you chose, were there any that were particularly challenging or that you felt were important to get just right?

Lewis: We knew you can't do a Stax record without an Otis Redding song, but some of them are untouchable. "Try a Little Tenderness" is out. "Just One More Day" was proposed, and I was wary in the beginning, because it's tough. I didn't know if I could cut it. But it was one of the last things we cut, and we cut it in one complete take.   Continued...