Hailing from Oxford, Mississippi, Wiley & the Checkmates have a lot to live up to. Whether it's Ole Miss football games, Faulkner, Fat Possum and Larry Brown, the town has a deep-rooted influence on American culture. Although never even a footnote in the golden age of soul music, Wiley & the Checkmates are bridging the gap between the cultural history of Oxford and the aesthetic of American music as told from Memphis, Muscle Shoals and Nashville. He formed the Checkmates in 1960 and was soon leading the band on shows in Memphis bars like Club Paradise and at North Mississippi juke joints. Soul legend Percy Sledge hired the Checkmates as the house band on a revue-style tour that traveled north from Memphis to Chicago, where they played behind Otis Clay and Syl Johnson. In the mid-'70s, the Checkmates went their own ways, taking jobs and starting families. Herbert married and raised four children while taking over the family business.
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