A Grandson Remembers Chattanooga's Own: Sam Gooden Of The Impressions
Down the road from our new space here at WUTC in downtown Chattanooga is the Bessie Smith Cultural Center on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
Nearly three years ago, in 2019, a Tennessee Music Pathways sign was dedicated in front of the Bessie to honor The Impressions, the group whose music embodied doo-wop, gospel, R&B and soul - inspiring millions from the civil rights movement of the 1960’s to the present day.
Among those on hand for the sign dedication: Chattanooga natives Sam Gooden and Fred Cash, who had performed for decades as The Impressions until they retired in 2018 - and the wife and son of the late Curtis Mayfield, the group’s most prominent member in its early years.
This month, Sam Gooden died at the age of 87.
Last week, I met DJ Griffin - Sam’s grandson - for this conversation, recorded at The Bessie.