Singer/songwriter/guitarist Ernie Hines has been a recording artist for well over fifty years, best known for his immortal, socially-conscious 1972 soul/funk song “Our Generation.”
Hines was born in Jackson, Mississippi and grew up singing in the boy’s glee club and choral music groups in school. He also sang in uncle’s family quartet. Hines was also a gifted athlete: he played semi-pro baseball in Duluth, MN and was a quarterback of his high school and college football teams.
Shortly after starting to play the guitar, Ernie and his family moved to Baton Rouge, LA where he began working with a local singing group, the Singing Silvery Clouds, before settling in with his own gospel group, the Scotlandaires, who quickly became a household name after recording a radio jingle for Sunbeam Bread (music arranged by Ernie) a well-known food brand in the city, made by Wolf’s Bakery, the company Ernie was employed by at the time.
Hines moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after leaving college to play for a gospel group and later forming his own singing group. Then as a guitar player, Hines played behind L. C. Cooke, Johnnie Taylor, Joe Valentine, Clyde McPhatter, Lowell Fulson and Margie Hendrix, and played bass in Slim Harpo’s band.
While living in Baton Rouge, Hines was invited by Roscoe Robinson to travel to Chicago, where Hines cut four tracks, intended for New York City based Scepter/Wand Records, the label with which Roscoe Robinson had recently had a national hit with “That’s Enough”. However, the deal with Scepter/Wand did not come through, and consequently Hines bought the masters back and leased them to the Chicago-based record label USA Records, which released two singles by Hines in 1967 and 1968.
In 1970, Hines was signed to Stax Records by Stax VP Al Bell. His first single on the Stax label was his own composition “Help Me Put out the Flame”, featuring Hines on guitar as well as lead vocals. Subsequent records were released on the Stax subsidiary We Produce: two singles, “Electrified Love” and “Our Generation”, in 1971, and in 1972, the album Electrified. In 1972, Hines also appeared at the iconic Wattstax Festival in Los Angeles where he performed for an audience of over 100,000 people.
The Electrified album has received cult following since the 1990s, and in 2010, it was made available again in CD format by the UK re-release company, Ace Records, on its BGP (Beat Goes Public) label.
The AllMusic review of Electrified states: “…by the mid-’90s collectors were abuzz looking for this lost LP. With back-catalog reissues still reaping beaucoup dollars for the music industry and with the help of further promotion from John Legend and the Roots covering “Our Generation” in 2010, the perfect storm was created to take another look.”
In the 2000s, Hines continued his recording career, releasing an album, an EP and two singles on his own Baby Blue Records label, as well as a re-release of the early USA sides. You can also find the Vintage Northern Soul music made available in 2009 – Ernie Hines-The Early Years (the Chess Recording sessions), – Kunta Kinte (The Man) “Remembering Roots” (the PS Recording sessions), and “The Lovin’ Crown” b/w “Put It to Music” Singles Only (Collector’s Item) on Baby Blue Records, CD’s, downloads, etc.