Arthur Conley sang and (with mentor Otis Redding) co-wrote the 1967 classic "Sweet Soul Music," arguably the finest record ever made about the genre it celebrates. Born January 4, 1946, in McIntosh, GA, and raised in Atlanta, Conley was just 12 years old when he joined the Evening Smiles, a gospel group that appeared regularly on local radio station WAOK. By 1963 he was leading his own R&B outfit, Arthur & the Corvets, which over the next two years issued three singles -- "Poor Girl," "I Believe," and "Flossie Mae" -- for the Atlanta label National Recording Company. Despite Conley's graceful yet powerful vocals (which owed an immense debt to his idol, Sam Cooke), the NRC singles earned little attention, and he dissolved the group to mount a solo career, releasing "I'm a Lonely Stranger" on the Ru-Jac label in late 1964. Label owner Rufus Mitchell then passed a copy of the single to soul shouter Redding, who was so impressed he invited Conley to re-record the song at Memphis' Stax Studios. With Jim Stewart assuming production duties, the recut "I'm a Stranger" hit retail in the fall of 1965, and was just the second single to appear on Redding's fledgling Jotis imprint. Conley's "Who's Foolin' Who" followed in early 1966, and proved the fourth and final Jotis effort.