Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Curly Moore - We Remember

Someday I’m going to develop a shorthand equivalent for the following paragraph:

“_____________(insert artists name here) made some of the coolest soul 45s to come out of New Orleans in the 1960’s, yet had little or no success outside of the Crescent City, and remains virtually unknown to most of the listening public.”

I’ve had to use this statement (or something close to it) countless times when writing about my fave New Orleans artists, so much so that it grates on me (and many others I’m sure), because of what it says about the disparity between the high quality of the music coming out of NOLA in the 60’s and the pitiful amount of public recognition given to the people making those records. One such artist is the great Curly Moore. One such record is Curly Moore’s ‘We Remember’. Much like his homeboy Warren Lee’s ‘Star Revue’, the funky ‘We Remember’ is a winning cross section on self-aggrandizing boasts and shout-outs to other soul greats. Curly namechecks James Brown (Outta sight, Try Me, I Feel Good) , Stevie Wonder (Uptight) , Lee Dorsey (Ride Your Pony), Otis Redding (Security) and his own ‘Get Low Down’, and ‘Soul Train’ (his original cut of the tune on Hot Line later covered by Bobby and the Heavyweights on Mo-Soul and Atlantic). The record features some wild drums, great rhythm work on piano and guitar and bright horns. The backing vocals are a little strange, but seem to work in context (much like the insane horn breaks in Eldridge Holmes’ ‘Pop Popcorn Children’, another Allen Toussaint arrangement). Moore, who recorded three 45s for Sansu, one for Hot Line, one for Instant and one for Roxbury (‘Little Sally Walker’), had a high, reedy voice with a New Orleans twang to it. He was one of the more memorable male vocalists to work with Toussaint in the 60’s. Of his Sansu sides, ‘We Remember’ is the funkiest, ‘Get Low Down’ the swampiest, and ‘Don’t Pity Me’ is the one with the most pop potential (and the rarest, bringing several hundred dollars in a recent E-Bay auction, it’s flip side ‘You Don’t Mean It’ being a fave of the Northern Soulies). His Instant 45, ‘Sophisticated Sissy Pts 1&2’ features some great drums and is a welcome addition to the long parade of NOLA Sissy/Cissy records. The record that bears the name of Curly Moore, and has generated a bit of controversy (I’ve discussed it here before) is ‘Shelley’s Rubber Band’ by Curly Moore and the Kool Ones on House of the Fox. The record has long been accepted as an Eddie Bo product/production, and Bo has stated that Moore had nothing to do with the record. Early on I was inclined to go along with this statement, yet over the years, listening to Curly Moore’s records, I find myself leaning to believing that it is in fact Moore singing/shouting the introduction to ‘Shelley’s Rubber Band’. Not having seen any reference to this by Moore himself, the record in question remains a disputed item. I haven’t heard Moore’s Roxbury 45 (from the early 70’s I’m guessing) and I’m not aware of any other records he may have done. I have also seen it mentioned that he passed away, which I cannot confirm. Most of Moore’s Sansu recordings (excluding ‘You Don’t Mean It’ which has been comped elsewhere) are available on the great Sundazed comp, ‘Get Low Down: The Soul Of New Orleans ’65-‘67’, which includes tons of great music. I couldn’t recommend it more highly.


Blogger Todd Lucas said...

I agree about that Sundazed comp, first rate all the way.

7/27/2005 04:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't have anything particular to say about this song (which I'm listening to and enjoying right now), but I wanted to say that this is one of my new favorite audioblogs. I'm cursing myself for not discovering you sooner. Some favorites so far- Betty Everett, the Orlons, and Mable John. So good. Thanks for doing what you do.


7/27/2005 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Grogan said...

Thanks Tay!

7/27/2005 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger guapo said...

Funny you mentioned a "Popcorn" record. I love records with popcorn in the title!

7/28/2005 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger guapo said...

but then so do you, obviously!

7/29/2005 02:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Curly Moore; better.....your observation about the NOLA music not making it out of town.....that needs some explaining...........
Franklin Dogood

7/29/2005 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Hey, Larry, just me stoppin' by to add some bloat to your comments page. Curly Moore was a vocalist with Huey Smith & The Clowns prior to his solo work. Thus, he had other releases, but not under his name. His period with Huey's band seems to have been mostly in the early 1960's, after Bobby Marchan left the group. He's all over that legendary Christmas record they did. On other of the group's records, he didn't sing all the leads, but certainly did some of them and contributed to others. Of course, Huey Smith produced "Sophisticated Sissy", too. Curly did good work with Toussaint. And, hey, maybe you're right about him on the intro to "Shelly's Rubber Band".
That would at least explain why Bo thought to use his name. Maybe Curly was just hangin' around the studio that day.

7/30/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Grogan said...

You're input is always welcome. I'll have to track down that Christmas LP you mentioned. I love Moore's voice, and didn't know he did time in the Clowns.
Thanks again.

7/31/2005 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

According to the Sundazed comp., Curly was murdered and his body was found on the levee of the West Bank in New Orleans. I can't find any more info about him or his death (or life, for that matter) on the Internet. It's funny--until I saw a picture of him in the liner notes of "Get Low Down," I thought he was a white guy because of his inclusion on the "Dr. John & his NO Congregation" record, since Mac was mainly working with blue-eyed-soul-type cats for Ace (Frankie Ford, Roland Stone et al). Also, that picture looks like it is a Jazz Fest photo from the mid-to-late 70's, and the stlye of his shirt definitely screams "1976!!" So while I don't know an exact date of death, it would appear that Curly was still making appearances through the 70's.

1/08/2006 05:31:00 PM  

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