Rodge Martin was a promising figure in Nashville's soul community of the 1960s, and seemed destined for a shot at stardom -- until fate dealt him a sudden, tragic hand. Born in Georgia sometime around 1940, he was a natural singer as a boy, and he became part of the Jimmy Church Revue in his early twenties. It was through the latter group that he was seen and heard by Nashville-based soul entrepreneur Hoss Allen, who became Martin's manager. A contract with Bragg Records followed soon after, and his debut single, "Lovin' Machine" b/w "When She Touches Me," was a regional hit in the South and became a major cult favorite in England, where it was embraced by Northern soul enthusiasts and also covered by no less a group than the Easybeats. He moved on to Dot Records for his next release, which failed to chart, while his third release, "Wasted Nights," released by the Newark Records label, only charted regionally. Hoss Allen was reportedly preparing a new release for Martin on one of his own record labels when Martin was stricken by a fatal heart attack in Nashville in 1967. Martin's association with Hoss Allen resulted in his appearances on the 1966-vintage television soul showcase The !!!! Beat, and -- with the show's release on DVD in 2005 by Bear Family Records -- these appearances have become the major part of his legacy. ~ Bruce Eder
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