December 4, 2003 by

Lee Roberts


Categories: Musicians

lroberts2.jpgLee Roberts, the singer/songwriter known for the 1967 hit, ”Sweet Soul Music,” died on Nov. 17 from intestinal cancer. He was 57.
Born Arthur Lee Conley, Roberts began his musical career in 1959 as the lead singer of Arthur and the Corvets. Otis Redding discovered the 18-year-old after hearing his song, “I’m a Lonely Stranger,” and arranged for him to re-record it at Stax Studios in Memphis.
Together they turned Sam Cooke’s “‘Yeah Man” into ”Sweet Soul Music,” a single that hit No. 2 on the pop and R&B charts. In 1967, Roberts toured Europe with the Stax/Volt Revue, a show that featured Redding, Booker T. and the MG’s, Eddie Floyd and Sam and Dave.
When Redding died in a plane crash in 1967, Roberts’ career faltered. Unable to handle the stress of the music industry, he moved to the Netherlands, changed his name and started his own record label.
To honor his mentor, Roberts wrote the tribute, “Otis Sleep On,” which was included on the “Soul Directions” album. He also recorded the song, “Funky Street,” and served as the adviser to “The Original Sixties R&B and Soul Show.”

7 Responses to Lee Roberts

  1. Xavier Bryant

    Arthur will be greatly missed by me, I was in shock to hear of Arthur passing. During the season Arthur was in my life he was a great person & friend. Me and my group at that time (the Automations) met Arthur Conley & the Corvets on Auburn Ave @ the Casino Lounge in ATL.
    We thought we knew how to sing and we didn’t, Arthur and his group directed each voice where to sing, the harmony was incredible, he gave us this song to get our harmony in order, called flossy mae. After that Arthur and myself became real good friends, we use to hang out together, Arthur @ one time was a drum major @ Howard high school, but his heart was on the stage singing.
    May God in Jesus name forever bless his soul.
    Xavier Bryant

  2. charles

    sorry he is no longer with us.
    he payed for the recording of ” burgt” a marvelous cd from Holland, featuring Johan van der Burgt on sax and keys!
    get it while you can

  3. Keith Hunt

    Arthur Conley had a similar singing voice to Sam Cooke,and i think that was the reason he caught Otis Redding`s interest.He did a brilliant Tribute song to Otis called “Otis Sleep On”, after Otis`s tragic death.But without Otis`s tutorlage his career seemed to fade away.

  4. Kevin Baker

    I only met Lee a few times, but he made an enormous impression on me as a fine and wise person. I feel lucky to have spent some time in his company.
    Bless him.

  5. Andreas Timmes

    I met him 10 years ago in his house in the netherlands by introduceing my first own CD to him. What a pity, that was the first and the last time that I met him. But I remember him as a very friendly and open minded man. This is the first time that I hear about his death and I`m very sorry about that. God bless him
    Andy Timmes

  6. Gareth Davies

    I never got to meet Arthur personally and that still rates as one of my biggest regrets. As a teenager I remember seeing him on the Stax/Atlantic tour of the UK supporting Otis Redding Wilson Pickett Booker T & MG’s etc.
    What a show that was and Arthur was ace. Why he seemed to lose his way musically after Otis went is a mystery. as was the need to change his identity. Its a pity he ended up as a female impersonator in Holland and met an equally sad end.
    I hope he enjoyed his short time with us.
    Soul Music is not as sweet anymore. RIP

  7. Frank

    I was lucky enough to meet Arthur (Lee at the time) in 2001.. I’ve sent him my band’s cd (crossover metal) and ever since he used to call me every week with some inspirational speeches about the spirit of the world. My band and I stayed at his house in the Netherlands in 2001 for a few days. His body was already fading but his soul was stronger than ever. I envy people with his spirit.

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