Alabama 3

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Alabama 3
Alabama 3, or A3, playing live at the London Astoria on 7 October 2007
Alabama 3, or A3, playing live at the London Astoria on 7 October 2007
Background information
Also known as
  • The First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine (UK)
  • A3 (US)
OriginBrixton, London, England
Years active1995–present
  • Rob Spragg
  • Steve Finnerty
  • Aurora Dawn
  • Orlando Harrison
  • Mark Sams
  • Nick Reynolds
  • Be Atwell
  • Jonny Delafonz
Past members

Alabama 3 are a British musical group founded in Brixton, London, in 1995. They are best known for their track "Woke Up This Morning", which was used for the opening credits of the TV series The Sopranos.[2][3] In the United States, the band is known as A3, to avoid legal conflict with the country music band Alabama.[4]


The band formed when Jake Black (born in Glasgow, Scotland; 27 April 1960 – 21 May 2019)[5] met Rob Spragg (from Wales) at a rave in Peckham. They decided that a fusion of country music with acid house was a musical possibility.[6] Other members of the band were added later: Nick Reynolds is the son of one of the Great Train Robbers;[7] Rob Spragg was at university with Piers Marsh, the harmonica-player and synthesiser programmer for the band; while Orlando Harrison, the group's keyboardist, used to live with Jake Black.[6]

Forming initially under the name the First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine (UK), and after having been dismissed by the mainstream media as a novelty act, the group switched names to Alabama 3. As with their performances under the previous name, their sound fuses electronic pop with elements of country and blues styles. They signed with One Little Indian Records in 1997 for the release of their debut album, Exile on Coldharbour Lane.[8] Every member of the group has an alias, the band's founding members adopting the personas Larry Love (Rob Spragg) and The Very Reverend Dr. D. Wayne Love (Jake Black). Their second album, La Peste, featured bassist John "Segs" Jennings of the Ruts under the stage name Frank Zappatista.

In August 2007, the group toured under the name of Alabama 3: Acoustic and Unplugged, with Harpo Strangelove and Devlin Love, to promote new album M.O.R.. Bassist John "Segs" Jennings left the band, saying he was "busy elsewhere and [he doesn't] have the time".[9] M.O.R. included a cover of Jerry Reed's 1970s hit "Amos Moses", and features The Proclaimers on the track "Sweet Joy". Having recorded and toured with the band in the early days, Aurora Dawn rejoined the band in 2009. Between late 2010 and early 2011, programmer, harmonicist and founding member Piers Marsh left the band.

Jake Black, a founding band member and songwriter, died of Addison's disease on 21 May 2019, several days after falling ill during a show at Highest Point Festival in Lancashire. He was 59.[5][10]

Mountain of Love[edit]

Mountain of Love

Mountain of Love is a dubtronica group formed by two of the original three members of Alabama 3, Piers Marsh and Sir Eddie Real, in 2011 in Brixton, London.[11] The band's eponymous first album was released in 2013 on Cooked Griffin Records.


Alabama 3's sound is a blend of country, blues, and acid house.[1] The band's songs have sampled Jim Jones in "Mao Tse Tung Said" and Birmingham Six survivor Patrick Hill in "The Thrills Have Gone". Trouser Press reviewer Jason Reeher wrote that A3's "debut is brilliant and shambolic...owing huge debts to both Hank Williams and Happy Mondays".



In 2019 the band included:

  • Rob Spragg a.k.a. Larry Love - vocals
  • Orlando Harrison a.k.a. The Spirit - keyboards, keyboard bass, backing vocals
  • Mark Sams a.k.a. Rock Freebase - guitar, bass guitar
  • Steve Finnerty a.k.a. LOVEPIPE - production, guitar and vocals
  • Jonny Delafons a.k.a. L. B. Dope - drums, percussion
  • Greg Fleming a.k.a. Wizard - sequencer and effects
  • Ese Okorodudu a.k.a. Sister Ese - guitar, vocals
  • Sheena Ross a.k.a. Sister Sheena - vocals
  • Be Atwell The Reverend Be Atwell - vocals
  • Nick Reynolds a.k.a. Harpo Strangelove - harmonica, percussion, vocals



  • Jake Black a.k.a. The Very Reverend D.Wayne Love - vocals (d. 2019)
  • Aurora Dawn - vocals
  • Brian O'Horain, "Paddy Love" - vocals
  • John Jennings a.k.a. Segs - backing vocals, bass guitar
  • Zoe Devlin a.k.a. Devlin Love - vocals
  • Simon (The Dude) Edwards a.k.a. Sir Eddie Real - percussion, vocals
  • Piers Marsh a.k.a. The Mountain of Love - synths, programming, harmonica
  • Marianna Little Eye Ty - dancer
  • Laura Lady Love dancer - dancer
  • Robert "Hacker" Jessett : a.k.a. El Comandante - harmonica, guitar, backing vocals
  • Rob Bailey - guitar

In popular culture[edit]

The band's music has been featured in numerous films, TV shows and video games, along with being sampled by other musicians, most famously through The Sopranos.



  • Lillyhammer- visit to NYC
  • Episode four of the BBC Three series Being Human features "Too Sick to Pray" at its opening and "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlife" at its end. The songs were omitted from the DVD release of the episode due to copyright issues.[citation needed]
  • "Mansion on the Hill" features in the sixth episode of the ABC television series Carpoolers.
  • A remixed version of "Woke Up This Morning" plays during the opening credits of the HBO television series The Sopranos.
  • A shortened, alternate version of "Woke Up This Morning" appears in The Simpsons episode "Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge", in a parody of the opening sequence of The Sopranos. It also appears in the later episode "The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer", which guest-starred Sopranos regulars Michael Imperioli and Joe Pantoliano.
  • On the Region 4 DVD release of season one of The Sopranos, the music video to "Woke Up This Morning" is included as a special feature; it is incorrectly credited as being performed by "Alabama 5".
  • A snippet of "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlife" can be heard at the beginning of The Sopranos: "Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood" (episode 3.1) as Tony Soprano walks down the driveway to get his morning newspaper.
  • "Woke Up This Morning" was also used in an episode of BBC series Top Gear, in which the team were driving through Alabama.
  • The closing scene to first season Criminal Minds episode titled "Won't Get Fooled Again" (10/05/05) plays "The Night We Nearly Got Busted".
  • "Mao Tse Tung Said" features in the first episode of the second season of Torchwood:.
  • Rob Spragg (as Rob Love) wrote and recorded the theme to Welsh TV series Y Pris.[13] He and John Hardy won the Best Original Music Soundtrack award at BAFTA Cymru 2008.[14]


Samples by other artists[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Nineties Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 12. ISBN 0-7535-0427-8.
  2. ^ "Alabama 3 - Artist profile". Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  3. ^ "The Sopranos Intro". Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Alabama 3 | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b Pendreigh, Brian (21 June 2019). "Obituary: Jake Black, lead singer of the Alabama 3, who provided the theme song to The Sopranos". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Alabama 3 - Interview: Contact music spoke to Jake Black". 22 October 2002. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  7. ^ Campbell, Duncan (29 September 2019). "Has the Great Train Robbery's leader finally been unmasked?". The Observer. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  8. ^ "ONE LITTLE INDIAN - HOME". Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Benefit Gig for Paul Fox of The Ruts. - Free A3 - The unofficial Alabama 3 forum". 29 September 2007. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  10. ^ Lavin, Will (21 May 2019). "Alabama 3 co-founder Jake Black has died". Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  11. ^ Marsh, Piers. "Mountain of Love". Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  12. ^ "The Band – Alabama 3".
  13. ^ "Y Pris News". S4C. 2007. Archived from the original on 3 October 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  14. ^ "Bafta Cymru 2008 Winners" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 March 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2008.

External links[edit]