Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

B-Side: Called Up to the Majors

I forget where I picked up my copy of 100 All Time Country Hall of Fame Hits – Vol. 2, double-LP set from 1977 that was originally “nationally advertised on TV!”  The friendly price tag comes at a cost, though — 12 (even 13) songs per side, thus, a noticeable loss in fidelity.

100 All Time Country Hall of Fame Hits - Vol II

One of the songs that really caught my ear, “Mr. Mailman” by Ronnie Milsap, is a tune that (lo and behold) took its first breaths at Chips Moman‘s American Sound Studio in Memphis in Summer, 1968:

“Mr. Mailman”

Ronnie Milsap (1968)

I love the opening guitar lines that convey the agony of losing one’s “little red book” — utter powerlessness in a pre-digital era — with a few well-placed harmonica notes just before the song’s outro that add a nice touch of country-pop melancholy.


Before the big call-up

Ronnie Milsap 45

“Mr. Mailman” is from the pen of Mark James, who would write (and record) that same year one of Elvis’s last big hits, “Suspicious Minds.”


July 27, 1968

“Mr. Mailman” – noble and faithful B-side companion to “Do What You Gotta Do” – appears never to have charted, and thus, likely to have received minimal radio play.

So imagine Zero to 180’s surprise when “Mr. Mailman” was discovered to be the title track of a 1977 Ronnie Milsap “oldies” collection for the UK market!

Ronnie Milsap LP


Chips Moman & American Sound –

Stax’s Memphis Hitmaking Rival

Jeremy Roberts‘s 2012 Examiner piece – “Back When Memphis Was Electric:  B.J. Thomas on Chips Moman and the Memphis Boys” – asserts that Lincoln WayneChipsMoman, whose team recorded over 120 Billboard hits between the years 1967-1971 at American Sound Studio, has yet to receive proper recognition for all his musical achievements.  B.J. Thomas makes the claim in his interview that “for a couple of years running, they played on nearly 20 percent of Billboard’s pop chart, which was a fantastic accomplishment in those days.”American Sound Studio

Songs produced and/or written and/or arranged by Chips Moman:
A Chips Moman ‘Top 40‘ Playlist*

(streaming audio links “freshened” Jan. 2023*)



Chips Moman

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