Friday, July 15, 2005

Louis Chachere - The Hen Pt1

A little funk for your weekend.

In my book, there’s just nothing tastier than a funky organ groove on 45. There are a number of reasons that this is so…

1. Most of your best organ grooves appear only in 45 form 2. Organ grooves provide at least 200% of your daily minimum requirement of party starting, butt-shaking, good time 3. Because I said so (you can ignore this your peril!) Anyway, whether it’s R&B, soul, jazz or beat-heavy funk, there are dozens of amazing Hammond sounds out there to be had and heard. I always dug organ sounds, but for years my listening was largely limited to jazz organ (which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself) and the masters thereof, the Jimmy’s Smith & McGriff, Groove Holmes, etc. Then in 1999, my pal Bill Luther hit me up with a righteous birthday present. The CD in question was the ‘Vital Organs’ compilation, compiled and annotated by the mighty Matt ‘Mr. Finewine’ Weingarden of WFMU and record collecting fame (a righteous dude and a man who’s probably forgotten more great records than I’ve managed to collect). I was immediately intrigued. The track listing revealed not a single familiar name (a challenge!), and lots of appealing song titles – ‘The Hatch’, ‘Soul Power’, ‘Put Your Weight On It’, ‘Shimmy’ – the kind of titles that when attached to a dusty 45 pulled out of a moldy box set the spidey sense a-tingling (they’re also the kind of titles you sometimes find on surprisingly un-funky records, but that’s why I got a portable to dig with). So, I get into the car, slide the CD into the player and enjoy a whole other party all the way home. It was all over after that. It’s not often that I can trace my interest in a genre of music back to a specific starting point, but this was one of those times. In the ensuing six years I have spent an inordinate amount of time (and, yes….money) tracking down, and digging up all manner of Hammond action on 45, to the point where I can proudly say that my organ crates are quite healthy and filled with all manner of death dealing heavy hitters, each one guaranteed to leave the house suitably rocked and the dancers sweaty (but happy). Though I still haven’t tracked down all the cuts from ‘Vital Organs’ (and considering the rarity of some of them likely never will), I have managed to snag a copy of ‘The Hen Pts 1&2’ by Louis Chachere. Despite the fact that ‘The Hen’ was released on Louisiana’s Paula label, and the artist in question has a name that sounds like it shows up several dozen times in the New Orleans phone book, this gem is a bit of Kansas City soul. Chachere originally recorded ‘The Hen’ for the local MJC label, and it was then re-released by the Forte label, in Kansas City, MO. Forte was owned by Marva Whitney’s husband Ellis Taylor (her Excello 45 ‘Daddy Don’t Know About Sugar Bear’ was originally issued on Forte). ‘The Hen’ was licensed to, and released by Paula records.

The tune opens with a tighty, funky snare break (one of my fave snare sounds, along with the drums on James K Nine’s - actually Eddie Bo - ‘Live It Up’ on Federal),and the bass and organ jump right in. The melody line is stated first by the saxophones and then Louis drops in wailing on the break.. The jazzy guitar playing is excellent, and the record is very tightly arranged and well produced. ‘Part 2’ starts back in with a lengthy (and tasty) sax solo, followed by a nice section where the bass/drum tandem is brought up in the mix. Both sides of the record put together barely crack the four and a half minute mark, so the dj in you can’t be blamed for wanting to rock doubles and play it all the way through. The beat is irresistible, and Louis and company manage to keep the novelty “chicken” hysterics on a very low boil. I haven’t been able to nail down a release date, though the catalog number on the 45 suggests sometime between 1969 and 1970, so there is a possibility that this was an attempt to capitalize on the Meters ‘Chicken Strut’ (if anyone knows for sure, drop me a line). Mint copies of this classic are unlikely to be had for less than $50 (sometimes more) though I bagged mine at a bargain price because I took a chance (rewarded) that the record had been undergraded. ‘Vital Organs’ is sadly, out of print, though you might be able to track down a used copy. The only other info I could track down about Louis Chachere is that he produced the funky rarity ‘Remember Me’ By the Trinikas.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry: Great. I mean GREAT Organ cut. The guitar player has some jazz background, I believe, given his solo. First, his sound is like a Barney Kessel-like Gibson-light but with bite. Secondly starting on Bar five he syncopates 16ths with a very sure command of the time. I don't know many blues guys who go, there. I have listened to at least five times as I make these detailed, insightful, and totally unasked-for comments.

7/15/2005 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Grogan said...

Thanks for the input. I think there's a lot of rhythmically interesting things going on in this tune, which make it so funky. The guitar is responsible for a lot of that.

7/15/2005 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger guapo said...

The beat reminds me of that Charles Wright record "Express Yourself". All in all I have to say it`s a funk monster and I love it!

7/15/2005 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Larry, this is excellent. I'm a long time reader but a first commenter. Keep up the great work. I really appreciate your taking the time to provide so much background.

7/15/2005 10:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Larry,

killer track! Knew it before but I only know Part 1. What about Part 2? Virtually the same or worth another thread/post? ;-)

Nice informations. Didnt know all of that. Especially nice to know about the connection with the Trinikas'.

7/17/2005 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...said Dominik.

7/17/2005 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger mr. nice guy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/17/2005 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger mr. nice guy said...

excuse me while i pick my fractured jaw up off the floor. i mean, like, damn.

7/17/2005 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Nice piece o' work, Larry, even if it did come out of KC. I would have assumed Louis was a Louisiana cat, too, with a name like that; but I've never encountered him before. Maybe his peeps were from down here. Thanks for the enlightenment.

7/18/2005 01:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

larry, i dig your blog. great stuff! keep up the awesome groovalicious work!

if your readers want to strike mp3 gold, check out:

scroll down towards the bottom or type in your find box the word "vital"

you'll get a nice surprise...

-ex nj bro

7/18/2005 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Grogan said...

A nice surprise indeed!

7/19/2005 08:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Ms Chachere said...

Louis Chachere is originally from Louisiana but moved to Kansas City after college. Surprisingly, he's not into music anymore. He has 10 grandchildren and impresses upon them nothing but computers. What a switch, huh???

8/01/2005 01:21:00 AM  
Anonymous J E Browne said...

Louis Chachere is from Louisiana . He received a degree in music and taught high school music in Louisiana. The U.S.
Army drafted him and he ended up in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He eventually moved to KC where he formed the Louis Chachere Trio. He played in the city for a few years and traveled west on a music circuit. The guitar player is a native of KC named Dwight Foster.

12/18/2005 11:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Louis, not only a talented musician and computer wiz but also dabbles in paralegal work. He is known by many police officers and fire fighters in Las Vegas who respects him as a citizen and friend. He has taken a stand to protect the rights of others when they were not able to and to ensure rights are not violated. What a AWESOME MAN. I'm one of those police officers. Thanks for everything.

4/15/2006 01:06:00 AM  
Blogger Sitra2tho7 said...

Being a member of extended Chacher'e Trio Family, I'm sadden to rell be Greatly missed by Allport the lost of Louis Chacher'e August 20, 2007. We know he will be missed by All. When details are released they will be
available for those who wish to express there codolenes. We ask that you keep us in your prayers and respect our wishes. You may send cards to the family. We all truely Loved my Dad.

8/21/2007 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger bazooka joe said...

I remember when he left us. very sad indeed. i would have loved to have met him while I was living in las vegas (i left 5 years ago) but I wasn't yet aware of him.

i finally scored this 45 today at a record fair for $2. What a deal! it looks vg and plays vg++. couldn't be happier!

2/10/2008 07:42:00 PM  

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