Friday, September 30, 2005

B.W. Souls - Marvin's Groove

A great, yet common 45
The world of record collecting is a strange one (in many, many strange ways). On the surface, walk into any record convention, at any time and before you will parade the human animal in all its strangest forms (and I speak as one of those strange forms). I’m not a licensed psychologist or anything, but I speak from personal experience when I say that no matter how benign “collecting” of any sort seems on the surface, the underlying motivation carries with it an air of obsession. With records (or music in general) I like to think that despite the amount of time and money invested, it is in the end one of the healthier obsessions because it contributes to keeping old music alive (that might die without the intervention of collector types). It also pays to remember that time and money wise, there are people investing ungodly amounts of both in things way stranger than collecting records (like the guy that dresses up as a leprechaun and pays to fly cross country to cheer on Notre Dame at an away game). It also pays to note that as “collecting” scenes go, the record game has no more lunatics, shut-in’s, mamas-basement-dwellers, pack rats, recluses, hermits, or ascetics of any stripe than any other (how’s that for damnation by faint praise??). That’s all preface to the admission that my personal obsession with music is as much with facts as it is with sounds (and this is not at all unusual with my ilk). When I’m sweating the last few items in a specific label’s discography, it probably because I see them as missing historical links (providing context/contrast with the other records by an artists or on a label), more than as missing sounds (i.e. I probably already have the CD reissue and want the 45s... try explaining that to anyone on the “outside”). When I pick up a 45, aside from the obvious stuff (like label design and song titles) I’m looking for songwriting credits, producers, arrangers, label addresses, publishers etc. Once digested, I start to look for connections between this particular record and the other couple of thousand already chilling back at the crib. You’d be surprised by how much fun this can be. Nothing’s cooler than making a link between two obscure 45s, that produces a third “connecting” fact that carries the search for knowledge a small step further (though I’m sure that for most people, there are a lot of things cooler....). Once a sufficient amount of connective tissue has been generated, contacts are made, and histories begin to take shape. This, in a somewhat convoluted way, brings us around to today’s selection, ‘Marvin’s Groove’ by B.W. Souls. The reason I laid all of that info out, is that this is one of those records, that despite it’s unusual combination of solid funk and plentiful quantities (more than enough to satisfy funk collectors the world over), there is literally nothing known about the artist(s). The little I have tracked down says more about the label than B.W. Souls. Round records (how’s that for a label name that makes searching for info difficult?) was (I believe) a West Coast label that was in operation in the mid-to-late 60’s. I have seen other 45s on the label, including sides by Faye Ross, Jimmy “Preacher” Ellis and Roscoe Weathers. That’s it. The buck stops there. It’s hard to focus on a “vibe” for the label, because the Ross 45 is a Northern style dancer, Ellis worked both soul and blues styles, and BW Souls is out and out funk. That’s not to say that there weren’t a ton of labels that released a wide variety of styles, just that it doesn’t make getting a handle on the label in question any easier. The only other “clue” is that ‘Marvin’s Groove’ was written by Marvin Brown, and I don’t think it’d be much of a leap to assume that Mr. Brown is the Marvin who’s groove it is on the record.... Now, in the matter of the record itself, a listen to the posted file should make it clear that it is a slamming, funky instrumental for the ages. It starts out with one of the popping-est, hopping-est, snapping-est drum/conga breaks, followed soon by some of that rich, gooey bass action (I thinks it’s the bass that’ll get your ass up outta the seat), wailing organ and sax-o-ma-phone. By the time the twangy guitar drops in, you’re thinking to yourself,
“My, this is some satisfying funk!” And you’d be right. You might also be thinking,
“Say, a funk 45 this hot must be too rich for my blood!” And (unless you’re speaking from your cave in the woods) you’d be wrong. Unusually enough, ‘Marvin’s Groove’ is that rare intersection between high-quality funk, and bargain basement prices (I’ve actually seen it go down in price in the last few years). If you look in the right places, you might be able to obtain your very own copy of this record for between $10 and $25. I think this is one of the reasons it doesn’t get the respect it deserves. One of the reasons I mentioned all that stuff about how weird record collectors are is because if you offer them a slamming record such as this, and then tell them it only costs $10, there are more than a few of them that will turn up their noses and walk away from something so “common”. That’s on account of how much the scarcity of records is such a motivating force in the wild and wacky world of record hounds. The sad thing is, that for some people, rare records are great because they're rare, and common records aren’t worth talking about because they’re so common. This is the point where an otherwise healthy pass time crosses over into neurosis. I like finding a rare record as much as the next guy, but I take great pride in the fact that some of my favorite records are cheapos. I also take great pride in knowing that some storied rarities suck (time to thank my wife once again for my portable turntable, without which I may have dropped some hard earned cash on such records), or have gathered an inordinate amount of cache precisely because of their rarity. So....let this be a lesson to you...or something along those lines. Dig ‘Marvin’s Groove’ and have a good weekend. PS I’ve heard that this had been sampled by someone (and why not?) but haven’t been able to nail that info down....

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Ernie K-Doe - A Certain Girl

Burn, K-Doe, Burn!!
As much as I love the music of New Orleans, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never gotten much of a handle on the mighty Ernie K-Doe. K-Doe was indisputably one of the cornerstones of New Orleans R&B (not mention having had what was probably the biggest hit to ever come out of NOLA, ‘Mother In Law’). He was also one of the great characters in a city filled with them, blazing a trail of great music and even greater self-promotion until his unfortunate passing in 2001. I certainly knew (and loved) ‘Mother In Law’, a truly fantastic record, guaranteed to get everyone in the room (Grandma included) aping Benny Spellman’s basso profundo chant of “Mu-hother In-a Law” in the chorus. Later on, I was hepped to K-Doe’s funky side via a reissue appearance of ‘Here Come The Girls’ from his funky (and rare) 1970 Janus LP (both of those tunes Allen Toussaint tunes/productions). I can’t say much about his efforts in-between those bookends as I’ve never grabbed any of his post-Minit/pre-Janus recordings on either the Instant or Duke/Peacock labels (I’ll get around to it eventually, I swear...). One other tune I was aware of (but didn't originally know as a K-Doe original) was ‘A Certain Girl’. I first heard the song when I was in high school, via a Warren Zevon cover on his ‘Bad Luck Streak At Dancing School’ LP. Zevon – who was coming off of the success of ‘Werewolves of London’ was still getting a fair amount of play on FM rock stations at the time. I heard ‘A Certain Girl’ and liked it, but had no idea it wasn’t a Zevon original. Cut to five years later, when I was deep inside the 60’s punk revival, and I hear the tune yet again, this time on a Yardbirds LP. I check the writers credit – which said ‘Naomi Neville’ – which meant nothing to me at the time, and figured the Yardbirds cut the original. Not long after that, I heard ‘I Feel Good’ by the Artwoods, see the same ‘Naomi Neville’ credit (not knowing who did the original)* , figure something’s up and start digging for info. It wasn’t long before I found out that ‘Naomi Neville’ was in fact a pseudonym for Allen Toussaint, and that ‘A Certain Girl’ was in fact originally done by Ernie K-Doe in 1962 (ain’t it funny how circular these things are???). It was a few more years before I heard K-Doe’s version, and a few more after that before I scored a copy of the 45. Naturally, things being what they are, and following my great love for all sounds Toussaint-ian, I’ve come to prefer K-Doe’s version. First and foremost I dig that authentic New Orleans sound, including that fat, steady beat, the rolling piano and the slightly off-kilter backing vocal (is that Benny again with the deep, deep ‘NO’s?). Second, how can you not dig K-Doe’s voice? He’s got that high tenor, full of Crescent City flavor and he delivers the lyric (is that a hint of New Orleans hoodoo I sense in the ‘I can’t tell you her name until I get her’ stuff?) like he’s narrating his own experience. K-Doe would record an LP for Minit - which did not include ‘A Certain Girl’ – but the tune did appear on a 1963 Minit compilation called ‘We Sing The Blues’. As I said before, after Minit went bust, K-Doe took his bidness to Instant, then to Duke/Peacock, then on to Janus. He went through some rough times in the 70’s and 80’s, and then started a resurgence in New Orleans in the 80’s (with a radio show) and then in the 90’s with the opening of Ernie K-Doe’s Mother In Law Lounge (which seems to have sustained some water damage from Katrina, see below). K-Doe rules that particular roost until his death in 2001. His widow, Antoinette has run the club ever since (and has vowed to bring it back). * It was more than ten years later that I found out by chance that the original version of ‘I Feel Good’ was recorded by Benny Spellman, released on ALON and Atlantic
PS I've moved the link to Red Cross Hurricane Relief to a permanent position in the sidebar
Ernie K-Doe's Mother In Law Lounge Example

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Perry & The Harmonics - Do the Monkey With James

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang!!
Despite all of the scrounging around I do through literally tons of dusty old records, it’s rare that I find a complete surprise. Of all the discs I grab with an interesting label, group name or song title, I’m lucky if one out of every 50 is good, one out of a few hundred a work of genius. This is one of those rare ones! ‘Do the Monkey With James’ by Perry and the Harmonics is a record I discovered in my pre-portable days, when I had to depend on/fight for access to a record store listening station to check out my diggings. Fortunately the place where I got this was located out in what we like to call East Jabib, and I could safely drop in on a weekday and dig through boxes of 45s to my hearts content for hours on end, interrupted only by strange old dudes with combovers looking for Barry Manilow 45s (oh yeah...they’re out there). Sadly, the last time I stopped in, word had apparently gotten out to the “digger community” and the place looked like it had been hung upside down and shaken until every decent record was gone. The day I dug this out of what can safely be called a pile of crap and dropped the needle on the disc I knew from the first few seconds that I had a winner on my hands. Opening with a brisk but low-key vamp, a voice soon enters the scene. ‘Have you ever heard of James? That cat with ten gold fingers? Who had Russia sending him love? Girls falling at his feet. James can do anything. The Jerk, The MONKEY, the Twist. In fact James’ Monkey sorta goes like this…” all followed by a brief sax solo, and the organ EXPLODES! The tune turns from a slightly sinister novelty into a stone groover. Perry & The Harmonics were a Chicago group (led by saxophonist Clarence Perry). Their 45, ‘Do The Monkey With James’ b/w ‘James Out Of Sight’ was lifted from the Mercury LP ‘Intrigue With Soul’. A quick look at the song titles on the LP (or a listen to the lyrics of the single) makes it immediately that the ‘James’ in the tune in Bond, not Brown (see Rex Garvin & The Mighty Cravers ‘Sock It To ‘Em JB for a similar take). The ‘vocal’ (more like narration) and piano were provided by Ed Townsend, who had had significant success as a ballad singer (‘For Your Love’ in 1958). He also wrote ‘For The Love Of My Man’ for Theola Kilgore and later co-wrote ‘Let’s Get It On’ for Marvin Gaye. While ‘Do The Monkey With James’ is an absolutely brilliant soul/jazz killer, it’s obscurity is probably due to the fact that it was likely swallowed in a tidal wave of “spy”-related cash-ins around the Bond films, including the Man from U.N.C.L.E. on TV, and Derek Flint, Modesty Blaise, and Matt Helm in the movies. Not to mention a bunch of soul tributes including the Miracles ‘Come Spy With Me’, the Olympics ‘Secret Agents’ and the aforementioned Rex Garvin disc. It doesn’t help that the rest of the LP, despite being quality soul jazz, is a little on the dull side, sounding NOTHING like the 45. There is a certain cool, spy-jazz sound (5 of the 9 tracks are covers of Bond themes by John Barry and Bricusse/Newley), and the tunes ‘Golden Horn’, ‘Goldfinger’s Got the Blues’ and ‘James Goes To Soulville’ are definitely worth a second listen. The organ (played by Richard McRea) is wailing and the backbeat (Paul Pratt on guitar and Maurice Wells on drums) makes it a great dancer. In a just world ‘Do The Monkey With James’ would be revered as a Mod classic, burning up turntables and dance floors the world over. It may yet happen…. The45 of this tune is extremely hard to come by, though I have seen it pop up on E-Bay once in a blue moon. The lp, which is also hard to find does seem to pop up more frequently. As far as I know ‘Do The Monkey With James’ has never been reissued. PS This is a slightly revised version of a ‘Hammond Groove of the Month’ from the Funky16Corners web zine. For my recycling I humbly beg your forgiveness. I’d been wanting to blog this disc for a while and I figured I had covered all the pertinent points already.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Preston Love - Cool Ade

"I'll 'funny chef hat' you... motha$#@&!"
Prior to 2001, when ‘Preston Love’s Omaha Bar-B-Q’ was reissued, I had never heard much about Preston Love. I knew that funk heads got excited about the rare and seriously funky ‘Cissy Popcorn’ 45 (no included on the LP or reissue), and that the ‘Omaha Bar-B-Q’ lp was drawing similar interest. When I first saw the album cover over at Dusty Groove, I knew I had to grab myself a copy. There, on the cover, in a corny chefs hat and apron – alto sax hung around his neck – with a look on his face that could be either amusement or “Just wait’ll I get my hands on the mofo that made me dress up like a fool...” – was Preston Love. The OG cover features Love standing next to a huge cartoon fire. The reissue restores the full picture of Love right next to a flaming charcoal grill in what looks like a suburban rose garden. I’m guessing he was not amused. Anyway, the LP was not the cavalcade of burning funk I was looking for, but there were a couple of excellent tracks so it wasn’t a complete bust. One of those tracks was today’s selection, ‘Cool Ade’. But first, a little background.... Preston Love was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1921. After a fortuitous gig with the travelling band of Count Basie, he would spend the next several years touring the Midwest with a variety of territory bands. He would also head through Los Angeles, where he would play and record (on the Dig label) with R&B giant Johnny Otis (if’n you aren’t familiar with that name, Google it and spend a few days reading up). When Love finally relocated to LA in 1962, he and Otis formed a steady working relationship. Love would eventually become leader of the West Coast Motown band where he would back a wide variety of that label’s stars. He even managed to get a namecheck on the cover of the Mothers of Invention’s debut LP ‘Freak Out’ where he’s part of the list: "These People Have Contributed Materially In Many Ways To Make Our Music What It Is. Please Do Not Hold It Against Them". In 1968 he would go into the studio with Johnny Otis, his 14 year old son (and future legend) Shuggie and other members of the Otis band to record the ‘Omaha Bar-B-Q’ LP. The track ‘Cool Ade’ is a funky blues (their Central Avenue R&B roots are most definitely on display), which features some humorous dialogue between Preston and Johnny (credited as “B.S.” vocals).
JO - “Hey Preston c’mon pass me some cool ade, man! PL - “Now I told you to quit buggin me.” JO - Them chitlins are burning me up, gimme some cool ade. PL - Listen man, you keep askin’ me for cool ade you’re gonna need some first aid!”
You can just see Love shaking his fist at Otis, Fred Sanford style. Love wails on the alto for much of the song, with some able (and unusually mature) guitar slinging from little Shuggie (who was a few short years away from his own landmark albums). Love continued on as a member of the Johnny Otis Show for a few years, appearing on the famous Montery Jazz Festival LP. He would return to live in Omaha, and wrote an autobiography in 1997 (see link below). Sadly he passed away in 2004.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

John Williams & The Tick Tocks - Do Me Like You Do Me b/w Blues Tears and Sorrow

The Great Tousan Strikes Again!
Way back in the day – two thousand and ought one – when the good people at Sundazed compiled and released the fantastic “Get Low Down – The Soul of New Orleans 65-67”, my life (and those of many others I’m sure) was changed permanently. Previous to grabbing that collection, my exposure to Allen Toussaint’s pre-Meters ouvre had been limited to the more obvious stuff (like Lee Dorsey’s hits) and the occasional rarity (like Benny Spellman’s ‘Sinner Girl’ and Curly Moore’s ‘Don’t Pity Me’) encountered on import compilations. Names like Betty Harris and Willie Harper were new to me. I’m here to tell you that from the time those two cd’s dropped through my mail slot and into the CD player, they never stopped rotating for close to a month. I was already attuned to the “sound” of New Orleans, but having the breadth of Toussaint’s mid-60’s soul legacy spread out before me was a revelation. Within a few short years singers like Diamond Joe had become obsessions of mine, and I spent a lot of time (and money) digging up original copies of the Sansu discography, as well as any other independent New Orleans label 45’s (especially Toussaint-related) I could get my hands on. So much so that there are only a few select Sansu sides that I haven’t been able to find (oh...I’ll find them..heh heh heh...). One of the more enigmatic artists on that collection was the group John Williams and the Tick Tocks. Little is known about Williams, other than that he went by the nickname ‘Scarface John’, he did time in Huey Smith's Clowns and was murdered sometime in the early 70’s (inspiring Cyril Neville’s song ‘Brother John’). They recorded two outstanding 45s for Sansu, and as far as I can tell never recorded anything else (at least under that name). The first of these two 45s (and by far the easier of the two to come by) ‘A Little Tighter’ b/w ‘Operation Heartache’ is one of the better two-siders in the Sansu catalogue. ‘A Little Tighter’ features Williams high tenor and some very cool, twangy guitar. ‘Operation Heartache’ is a slow stomper (if that makes any sense) that I prefer to the better known Lee Dorsey version. The second 45, ‘Do Me Like You Do Me’ b/w ‘Blues Tears and Sorrow’ was on my want list for a long time. The uptempo a-side has some popularity with the Northern Soulies, so competition for copies of the disc is that much more intense. I managed to score my minty copy at a decidedly reasonable price (more than $29, but less than $31...and it’s been known to go for double the price, and then some). The problem is, some Sansu 45s are incredibly easy to find, some others (Lee Calvin, Jimmy London) never (or rarely) appear for sale. Others, like Curly Moore’s ‘Don’t Pity Me’ show up on occasion but there are so many deep pocketed collectors waiting to score a copy, relative pikers like myself are left with our cheese out in the wind (unless we have $500 - $600 burning a hole in our pocket). Today’s selections fall in the frequently fluctuating middle ground, managing to be uncommon, yet not awfully expensive (another one for the “I can afford it, I just can’t find a copy” file). As I said before, ‘Do Me Like You Do Me’ is popular with the Northern crowd, which comes as no surprise when you check out it’s bright, propulsive beat. It has one of the more interesting arrangements in the Sansu catalogue, featuring a heavily reverbed organ, and something that sounds like a banjo (which I think may actually be a strange combination of stops on the organ) pumping along in the background. The drums – which open the tune – pound out a steady 4/4 beat. Williams contributes a memorable lead vocal with female singers backing him up in the verse and chorus. I’ve seen references on line to a singer named Pearl Edwards having been a member of both Huey Smith’s band and the Tick Tocks, which leads me to believe that the Tick Tocks may have been Williams’ backing singers, as opposed to the band. The flip side (which I’m going to go against tradition and post, on account of it’s so good), ‘Blues Tears and Sorrow’ is one of my favorite Toussaint ballads, placed (like another fave, ‘Tomorrow’ by the Rubaiyats) on the b-side where it was destined to languish in obscurity (a fate made painfully obvious by the obscurity of the a-sides...). Williams is in fine voice, and the (as always) finely crafted melody and arrangement prove once again what a brilliant artist Allen Toussaint is. Even his throwaway b-sides are amazing. All four John Williams and the Tick Tocks sides are available on the aforementioned 'Get Low Down' comp. On that note, I should mention that I caught the pay-per-view of the ‘Big Apple to the Big Easy’ benefit concert from Madison Square Garden last night, and it was the best $20 I’ve spent in a long time. The first segment of the show featured Allen Toussaint and his band backing a variety of artists, including Clarence Frogman Henry doing ‘I Ain’t Got No Home’, Elvis Costello doing Lee Dorsey’s ‘Yes We Can’, Lenny Kravitz covering Aaron Neville’s ‘Hercules’, Jimmy Buffet doing a nice version of Benny Spellman’s ‘Fortune Teller’ and Irma Thomas – who’s voice hasn’t lost an iota of power in 40 some years – performing ‘It’s Raining’ and ‘Time Is On My Side’. My personal favorite moment was an animated Cyril Neville performing a killer version of Professor Longhair’s ‘Big Chief’. There were also segments featuring Buckwheat Zydeco and Ry Cooder and The Rebirth and Dirty Dozen Brass Bands (featuring a spry looking Dave Bartholomew performing ‘The Monkey Speaks His Mind’). My mind started to wander as the “big” (read – non-NOLA) performers took the stage. Elton John sounded good, as did Jimmy Buffet (who I’m not a big fan of, but his heart’s in the right place), Bette Midler (props to Bette for the most direct and cutting political reference, which I’m sure they’re wetting their pants over at Fox News right now), John Fogerty and Simon and Garfunkel. The part I stayed up past my bedtime for kind of pissed me off. MC Ed Bradley was going on about how for the first time ever the Meters and the Neville Brothers would be performing together. Now I like the Neville’s as much as the next guy, but the Meters are – as they say – the shit, and I was psyched. So, at about 10 minutes to 12 the Neville Brothers come on and play something cool (I wasn’t familiar with the tune). Then the lights go out and the Meters come on. So I’m sitting on the couch, tapping my feet in anticipation, waiting for the opening lick from ‘Cissy Strut’ or ‘Cardova’ to come shooting out of the TV, and the Meters open up with ‘People Say’ (from the ‘Rejuvenation’ LP). “OK” says I, “They’re probably just warming up.” The guys were in rare form, and it was amazing to see them all on stage together after so long (or for the first time, as was the case with me). So they finish the song, and the Neville Brothers come back out. Fortunately they were there to augment the Meters on a smoking version of ‘Hey Pocky A-Way’ (another ‘Rejuvenation’ track), and they kicked ass. But then...that was it. Aaron Neville laid down an a capella ‘Amazing Grace’ and the next thing you know everyone was back on stage for a rousing ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’ and it was all over. I understand that probably 80% of the audience in the Garden had no idea who the Meters were (their bad...), but couldn’t they have done one (or two, or three, or eight) of their funky classics. Is that too much to ask??

Monday, September 19, 2005

Bobby Parker - Watch Your Step

Bobby Parker
I hope you’ve had your coffee.... Because this record is a floor filling, foot stomping, ass kicking, brain melting slice of blues power from which the faint of heart will not soon recover.... No, really... it’s that good. This is one of those records that I’d read about for years (having been a major Beatles fan as a kid), but never got to hear until a few years ago (I only scored the 45 in the last month). Did you download the track yet? Go ahead...I’ll wait... There. Now listen to that opening riff – ring any bells??? Hmmmm.... How about ‘I Feel Fine’ and ‘Day Tripper’ by the Beatles (or dare I say ‘Moby Dick’ by Led Zeppelin)??? This is the “UR” riff, from whence those songs sprung (after being reprocessed by John Lennon and Jimmy Page respectively). I have to tell you. When I was 12 years old I used to play ‘I Feel Fine’ two or three times a day (It’s still one of my fave Beatle tunes), mainly because of the guitar riff, and to be honest, Bobby Parker’s original carries the Beatles version out into the alley and kicks the crap out of it. Back in 1961, when Parker first unleashed this beast on the world, it didn’t make much of a dent in the charts. That didn’t stop it from becoming a favorite of those in the know, spawning covers* by The John Barry Seven, Spencer Davis Group, Billy Harner, Adam Faith, Tony Jackson, Manfred Mann, The Undertakers and The Walker Brothers (on their Japanese live LP), and making a lasting impression on the Beatles, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and Carlos Santana who reportedly decided to play the guitar after seeing Parker play. That said, it would be unfair to end the story there, because no matter how many people stole the riff, no matter how many people cite Parker as a seminal influence (and he’s still playing today), to focus solely on the peripheral aspects of ‘Watch Your Step’ is to dance around the fact that it is an absolutely shit-hot record that in a just world would have been a huge hit. Bobby Parker was born in Louisiana and raised in California (where he worked with Don & Dewey and Johnny Otis among others). He spent the 50’s touring with the likes of Bo Diddley, Jackie Wilson, and Paul ‘Hucklebuck’ Williams , and recorded his first record ‘Blues Get Off My Shoulder’ for VeeJay in 1958 (this is the record that Robert Plant has cited as the reason he started singing). He relocated to Washington, DC in 1961, where he would build a rep playing local clubs. He waxed ‘Watch Your Step’ for Philadelphia’s V-Tone label (associated with the Len label) in 1961 (it was actually released twice in the UK, on London in 1961 and Sue in 1964). The record opens with a fanfare (as any disc this mighty should), which is followed (after a short dramatic pause) by Parker’s smoking guitar, and the rolling, Latin-flavored drums (another part of ‘Watch Your Step’ that would end up in ‘I Feel Fine’). Parker’s vocal – sounding like Ray Charles and Bobby Bland had a rocking baby – wails powerfully through the verses, being chased by the horn section. The tempo builds through the song as Parker is joined by backing vocals and a hot little sax solo. Parker has been described as a cross between Buddy Guy and James Brown, and it’s not hard to imagine him working up a sweat on stage with this one. Parker would record sporadically through the 60’s, waxing a 45 (‘I Won’t Believe It Till I See It’ as Little Bobby Parker) for the ultra-rare DC soul label Shrine, where the Cautions would record a version of ‘Watch Your Step’. He also toured in the UK where he would record for the Blue Horizon label in 1968 (the same label that released the earliest Fleetwood Mac albums). Though he toured relentlessly (and was a major hit in DC area blues clubs), he wouldn’t record again until the early 90’s for the Blacktop label. Keep an eye peeled for a PBS special called ‘John Lennon’s Jukebox’ which features a recent interview with Parker as part of a fascinating look into what Lennon was listening to during the Beatles peak years. *’Watch Your Step’ was also covered in the 70’s by Dr. Feelgood, in the 80’s by Santana, and in the 90’s by the Kaisers


Friday, September 16, 2005

Georgie Fame - Beware of the Dog

Blimey! Another hit!
Georgie Fame is a classic case study of an artist that just blew me away when I first heard his music. Later on, when I got into Mose Allison (to name but one of the greats from which Mr. Fame plagiarized liberally) my ardor for his music grew cool, and the need to hear it decreased as well. Then, even later on - my adolescent, purist scorn washed away by time - I found myself listening to Georgie Fame once again. For those unfamiliar with the varied sounds and styles of Mssr. Fame (aka Clive Powell), he first came on the scene (at least for US listeners) as part of the British beat boom in the mid-60’s. Over in the UK, his blend of jazz, R&B, soul and Blue Beat had already made him a star. Blending his love for the vocals of artists like Mose Allison, Fats Domino and Jon Hendricks with his skills on the Hammond organ, Fame got his start with impresario Larry Parnes (the man who created Vince Eager, Johnny Gentle, Marty Wilde etc, thus the goofy alias). Parnes started him off as a backing pianist for his hit acts. After working for Billy Fury, Fame took the band, switched to the Hammond, and the rest as they say is history. Within a few years Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames were one of the most popular groups in the UK. Swept up in the British Invasion, Fame and band actually hit the US charts a couple of times. ‘Yeh Yeh’ was a Top 40 hit in early 1965, and ‘Getaway’ making the Top 10 in some markets in the summer of 1966. Both the ‘Yeh Yeh’ and ‘Getaway’ LPs were released in the US and are worth picking up (surprisingly easy to find at bargain prices) , both for Georgie’s swinging vocals, and for slamming Hammond instro’s like ‘El Bandido’ (a personal fave, also available on 45) and ‘The In Crowd’. Things cooled off a bit for Fame in the US (though he was still a big star on his home turf) until early 1968, when his 45 of ‘The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde’ hit the US Top 40 again. A response to the Bonnie & Clyde mania (which followed the popular movie of the same name) that was sweeping the world (but especially the UK where 1920’s style fashion became a serious fad, i.e. New Vaudeville Band etc.), ‘The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde’ is perhaps my least favorite tune from what could be considered Georgie Fame’s “classic” era. I’ve never been a fan of stylistic bandwagon jumping, least of all when it’s done by someone that ought to know better (and is capable of much more). Fame sleepwalks his way through the track, though taking a look at the charts - where the gimmicky ‘Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde’ was swimming in a sea of bubblegum and soundtrack tunes – it’s not hard to understand why it was a hit. Anyway...the only reason I mention the song at all, is because it carries with it an excellent b-side, i.e. ‘Beware of the Dog’. The first time I heard the song it was a pleasant surprise, even moreso because I had just subjected myself to ‘The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde’. I was going through a period where I was picking up any and all Georgie Fame 45s, and since it was cheap (was back then in the 80’s, and still is now) I grabbed it and threw it on the stack. So, having winced my way through the a-side, I flipped the 45 over and things took a decided turn for the better. There on the b-side was ‘Beware of the Dog’, a jazzy, funky Hammond instro. The tune features Fame, wailing on the Hammond, some heavier than usual drums and a cool horn chart. It’s not hard to imagine this tune getting a workout in some of the finer UK discotheques, as it has a late-period, dimmed-but-still-Swinging London vibe about it. One of the interesting things about the tune, is that at least in the US, it was a non-LP track, not appearing on the ‘Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde’ LP (a mushy, bland affair saved only by the presence of the smoking ‘Somebody Stole My Thunder’*). As I said before, copies of this 45 are very easy to come by at a reasonable price, and - as far as I can tell - it has never been reissued on CD.

CORRECTION: I just received this message from Georgie Fame authority Billl Luther:

"LARRY: Actually "Somebody Stole My Thunder" came out two years later than "The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde", so it's not on the LP. It was on his next U.S. LP (albeit in live form)"Shorty" and also his U.K. LP "Seventh Son". Cheers Bill"

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NOTE: I've added a "word verification" step to the comments area because I was getting spammed. Everyone can still comment, just not automated f#$%$^ spammers...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ike & Tina Turner - Bold Soul Sister

Mr. & Mrs. Turner
Ike Turner was a wife beating tyrant in a Beatle wig. There you have it. Ike Turner’s career history (as it currently stands). There’s also a lot of music in there (somewhere), but none of it matters now. actually own some of his records. I’m not here to defend Ike Turner’s behavior (I’m not sure even he’d feel comfortable trying to do that). No matter how great your music is, nobody scores points in the great beyond when said music is created using a cuban heeled boot as a weapon. That said, it doesn’t help that most people only know Ike as the bass voice going “ROOOOLLLLIN’, during the slow parts of ‘Proud Mary’. The truth is a little more complicated than that. Starting in the early 50’s, Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm not only recorded what many believe is the first rock’n’roll record (“Rocket 88”), but also spent time in the studio backing folks like Elmore James and Howlin’ Wolf. Then Ike met Tina (or Annie Mae as she was known in 1956). After a hitch as a backup singer, Tina moved to the front of the band and recorded the R&B smash ‘A Fool In Love’ in 1959, and the musically fertile - but otherwise torturous – period began. Between 1960 and 1966 Ike, Tina, the Ikettes and the Kings of Rhythm laid down a serious pile of quality wax for a variety of labels, including Ike & Tina cuts like ‘I Idolize You’ Ike & the KOR stuff like the mighty ‘New Breed’ and Ikettes numbers like ‘Don’t Feel Sorry For Me’. This catalogue, taken as a whole (assuming, properly that while quite possibly a complete psycho, Ike was also an auteur of sorts and was largely responsible for the sounds on those records) is one of the great transitional artifacts linking R&B, rock’n’roll and soul. Ike Turner – unbridled id, violent, coke-addled nutjob – was also a hell of a songwriter, guitarist and bandleader. Then, in 1966, Ike and Phil Spector ended up in the same studio and a monumental explosion was heard that flattened trees and blew out windows in the surrounding area. That explosion was ‘River Deep Mountain High’, the record that despite it’s high quality would fail to make much of a mark on the US charts (though it was a hit in the UK), and would send Spector into a reclusive, gun-toting tailspin from which he never completely recovered. It also marked the beginning of the end for the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, in that Tina’s star began to eclipse the rest of the show. In the next few years they would record no less than three live albums, the last of which, ‘Ike & Tina Turner In Person’ included the Ikettes smoking version of James Brown’s ‘There Was a Time’. By 1969, the Ike & Tina machine was running full speed ahead. That year alone they would release 9 albums. One of those LPs was ‘The Hunter’. Composed largely of blues & R&B covers (Albert King, Jimmy Reed, Barbara George and others), ‘The Hunter’ was also home to the funkiest record Ike & Tina Turner ever made, that being ‘Bold Soul Sister’. It’s important to note that Ike & Tina didn’t record all that much out and out funk. They made some “funk-y” records, some rocking soul, and a shitload of chittlin’ circuit R&B and blues, but not much to whet the appetite of the funk 45 crowd. ‘Bold Soul Sister’ on the other hand, is a record so powerful, so savage that it takes the energy of any ten other funk records and distills them down into a single, brutal cut. Borrowing the riff from Sly & The Family Stone’s ‘Sing A Simple Song’, ‘Bold Soul Sister’ opens with Ike’s rusty sounding guitar, some very “live” sounding drums and a scream from Tina. Tina then goes into her rap: Thangs and stuff and stuff and thangs and...and stuff I’m a Bold Soul Sister! BSS! Then the Ikettes drop in with a:“Boooooollld Soul Sister!” Then Tina raps about a ‘sockitome biscuit’ (???) and a bunch of other crazy stuff, and the Ikettes are right there behind her ‘Doin’ whatcha wanna when ya wanna how ya wanna now, do your thing soul sister!’ And Ike and the band are funking it up the whole time in the background, sounding like Fat Alberts Junkyard Band coming down off a LSD, Jello Pudding and Cold Duck high. The overall feel , that of a revival meeting gone acid-fried can be attributed to some degree to the production of Bob Krasnow, who’s curriculum vitae was at the time was composed in it’s entirety of the first two Captain Beefheart LPs. It’s not too hard to draw a line from the sound of Beefheart’s ‘Zig Zag Wanderer’ to Ike & Tina’s ‘Bold Soul Sister’. Same jagged energy, same blues roots, same reach for psychedelic salvation folding back in on itself like some kind of demented Moebius strip (as any Moebius strip that started with Captain Beefheart and ended with Ike & Tina Turner would have to be). It helps to take a look at the cover of the LP. Ike is there, looking mean in his mod suit, Tina looking equally mean with her Wilma Flintstone goes to Nutbush City Limits getup (fur sandals???) – the two of them surrounded by creepy mannequins. Huh?? Thangs and stuff and stuff and thangs indeed.... The following year Ike & Tina would have their biggest hit (Top 40 in most markets, Top 10 in a few) with their explosive cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Proud Mary’. After that it was all down hill. The next 35 years can be condensed into a single sentence - Tina finally fought back, escaped from Ike, became a huge solo star, wrote a book, ended up on Oprah, Ike Turner’s a dick etc, etc, etc.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

The Supremes - Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart

The Supremes

I know I’ve covered this ground before in this space, but bear with me. I, for many years, as a soul music fan, was egregious in my casual dismissal of the product of the Motown Record Corporation. There, I said it again. I made my mea culpas previously, but let me lay it out again (briefly). I grew up on “oldies radio” (blah blah blah) Oldies radio plays the same dozen Motown hits over and over again ad infinitum (blah blah blah) In my initial foray into collecting soul music I was drawn to the grittier sounds of Southern soul (blah blah blah) I mistakenly equated the 275,000 plays of ‘Sugar Pie Honey Bunch (I Can’t Help Myself)’ that I was subjected to as a youth with all of Motown, and as a result assumed that the Sound of Young America required no further investigation (blah blah blah) I was – of course – wrong. Oh my, I was soooooooo wrong..... (Pause briefly for gnashing of teeth, tearing out of hair and pained wailing...) Ahhh, better. Live and learn, that’s how I look at it. Either way, though I still turn the dial whenever “Baby Love” comes on the radio, I am man enough to admit that the waters that are Motown run much, much deeper than the aforementioned tired old playlist. It also pays to note that now that I am aware of my mistakes, the airplay gate swings both ways, i.e. I am now extra happy when I hear a Motown song that I feel is underplayed (or just of a naturally higher quality). Am I making myself clear? such underplayed gem is ‘Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart’ (from the ‘Supremes A Go Go’ LP) by the Supremes. I haven’t ever been a huge fan of the Supremes. I always dug Martha & The Vandellas, the Marvelettes and (most of all) the Velvelettes more. I’m willing to admit that the old “familiarity breeds contempt” formula has something to do with this, but I think it’s also rooted in my preference for a singer like Martha Reeves over Diana Ross. It also has something to do with the fact that the people in charge of making the records at Motown (rarely the artists themselves) had a tendency not to mess with success, i.e. “if the Supremes had success with this record, let’s make a dozen more like it.” That “sameness” was also a mark of who at Motown was working regularly with a particular artist, i.e. Supremes with Holland/Dozier/Holland, Velvelettes with Norman Whitfield etc. That said, ‘Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart’ really caught my ear the first time I heard it (probably about 35 years ago). It has one of the most interesting arrangements in the Motown catalogue. For most of the verse the only instruments you really hear are piano, vibes, drums and the brief punctuation of the baritone sax. The rhythm, a steady 4/4 stomp is so constant and unerring that it almost feels as if it’s been looped (there’s virtually no change in the beat for the entire record). As the verses go on, the horn section and backing vocals gradually become more prominent, until all the elements are in the forefront. This is one of those records that really made a lot more sense to me after I became attuned to the whole ‘Northern Soul’ thing. In a lot of ways ‘Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart’ sounds like it was created as a template for that sound. The heavy backbeat for the dancers, poppy melody, bright highlights like the vibes, baritone sax highlights and solo, all elements that appear over and over again as signature motifs in ‘Northern Soul’ records. This certainly has a lot to do with the fact that much of what is now known (and collected) as ‘Northern Soul’ is independent label soul that was created using those Detroit (mostly Motown) motifs in a new context, with many of those elements appearing as a kind of “shorthand”, i.e. ‘If you liked it on a Motown hit, you’re gonna LOVE it on my record!”.‘Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart’ is far too successful a record (top 40 in most markets, top 10 in a few in the Spring of 1966) to be regarded very highly by the trainspotters in the Northern Soul community (with the dancers probably digging it but the DJs/collectors turning up their noses at something so “common”), but it is undeniably part of the pattern from which that subgenre was created.

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Brian Auger & The Trinity - Bumpin' On Sunset

Brian Auger
Regular visitors to the world of Funky16Corners know that I have a monkey on my back, which weighs several hundred pounds, and has a Leslie speaker for a tail, that monkey being the Hammond organ, or more specifically, the sounds squeezed out of said organ and into the grooves of countless smoking 45s (how’s that for a run on sentence to start the weekend???). I dig the species of record known as Hammond groove more than almost any other, and spend an inordinate amount of time tracking down, and listening to said records. That said, most organ groove fans (myself included) are mainly interested in greazee, uptempo killers where you can practically hear the sweat dripping on the keys and smell the cigarettes and stale beer wafting from the bar across the room. That’s the shit right there. However (dontcha like how there’s always a “however”?)... Every once in a while, one of the greats lays down a moody groover meant less for the bootyshake and more for the head. I’m not talking about ballads, but more like something located on the downtempo side of town, with a nod to Sinister street (something like Bobby Cook & The Explosions ‘On The Way’, which I will most certainly post in the near future). Not to mention, that although I like to end the week with a banger, these are dire times that require a more, how do you say, “thoughtful” offering. One such gem is Brian Auger & the Trinity’s cover of Wes Montgomery’s ‘Bumpin’ On Sunset’. Originally recorded in 1966 for Montgomery’s ‘Tequila’ LP, the tune was one of the guitar-master’s greatest compositions. Brian Auger, who began his career as a jazz pianist before switching to Hammond in the early 60’s recorded the version featured today on the 1968 ‘Definitely What?’ LP. Though the Trinity had recorded a prior LP with vocalist Julie Driscoll (who had been with Auger, Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart in the Shotgun Express), and would record with Driscoll again, this LP featured only Auger (organ, voc), Dave Ambrose (bass) and Clive Thacker (drums) as well and an orchestra arranged by Richard Hill. The LP, which featured an epic version of ‘A Day In The Life’ as well as covers of tunes by Mose Allison and Booker T & The MGs was a great example of the creeping effects of “progressive” rock, though unlike many of his peers, skipping over psychedelia entirely. This is especially relevant considering how deeply Auger would get into jazz fusion in the coming years with both the Trinity and Oblivion Express Where other prominent UK organists seemed to going off on tangents (Georgie Fame continuing in his bid for all-around pop stardom, Graham Bond chasing the ghost of Aleister Crowley down the rabbit hole) Auger was plotting a fairly steady (if not always artistically rewarding) course. He was a more than adequate jazz player, and his attempts at putting his chops to work in a “rock” setting were more often than not quite good. ‘Bumpin’ On Sunset’ works on that level, as well as being one of the great moody 45s of the era. Opening with a simple, repeated bass/drum riff, Auger joins in on the Hammond stating the main theme. Following the first chorus, the strings and horns come in gradually providing a lush but surprisingly non-intrusive background (Hill’s arrangements sounding like a slightly less sweet Claus Ogerman). Auger briefly switches to electric piano before returning to the organ for the remainder of the song. Call me blasphemous, but I think that Auger’s version surpasses the original (as does his 45-only cover of Montgomery’s ‘In and Out’, also on ATCO). ‘Definitely What’ has been reissued on CD with bonus tracks.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Meters - Cardova (Plus Bonus Track)

The mighty Meters
Ahhh...back from a long weekend of typical Labor Day festivities, as well as a day spent tending to a sick toddler. It was also a weekend spent watching the New Orleans disaster continue to unfold in all its unholy glory. In the last week, we’ve witnessed a horrifically bad response to the disaster by the President (the first speech he gave was a mumbling, stumbling disgrace), continuation of existing problems (flooding, contamination, evacuation), and a whole new set of problems (i.e. relocating evacuees). The bottom line being that this is going to be with us for a long time to come. What remains to be seen (once the basic needs of the displaced citizens on NOLA and the Gulf Coast are met) is what form a reborn New Orleans will take. No matter what happens, continued support from the government and the private/charity sector will be essential. On the upside of things, the disaster wrought by Hurricane Katrina has begun to awaken the sleeping giant that is the American press. In the last week I have seen serious questions finally being asked of this administration and its representatives and reluctance on the part of some to accept the programmed BS from Bush and his ilk. There were some notable moments from Aaron Brown and Anderson Cooper on CNN and one especially brilliant response from Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. That it’s entirely possible that this is the kind of thing the press should be doing ALL the time (and not something extraordinary) is beside the point. They’re doing it now. I was watching on Friday night when Kanye West made the statement that ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people’. My only complaint would be that the word “black” should be replaced with the word “other”. I had some other cuts lined up for blogging this week (I’ll get to them...), but I felt that another shot of spicy New Orleans gravy was necessary to keep the vibe alive. No other (modern) group defines the sound of New Orleans better than the Meters. From their early days as the Neville Sounds backing artists on the Sansu label, to their string of amazing LPs for Josie and Reprise they laid down some of the funkiest sounds to come out of the Crescent City. The Meters took the framework of a combo like Booker T & The MGs, broke it down and rebuilt it on a New Orleans frame. The axis of Neville, Porter, Nocentelli and (most important of all) Modeliste brought the second line funk to a national audience. This is true not only of their own string of top 40 hits, but also their contributions as backing band on numerous local Allen Toussaint productions, including records by Lee Dorsey, Betty Harris, Willie West and sessions backing national acts like Labelle, Robert Palmer and Paul McCartney. That said, if you don’t own a selection of Meters records (and the 45s are easy peasy to come by, the LPs decidedly less so, but all available as reissues), you simply must drop the mouse, grab your wallet and go post haste to wherever they still sell 45s (uhhhh...OK. pick up the mouse again and hit the internet..). Anyway...I’ve been holding today’s selection in abeyance because I thought it too dangerous to release upon the blog-o-sphere without a proper warning. To paraphrase the mighty Tenacious D, brace yourselves because the funk held herein is likely to blow your face out (or something to that effect). Long my favorite Meters track, ‘Cardova’ was never released as a 45, so the only place you can grab it (outside of reissues) is the OG first lp ‘The Meters’. On a warm, starry night, with a few Newcastle Browns under my belt I might even go as far as to posit that ‘Cardova’ is the funkiest record EVER! On a regular day, completely alcohol free, I’d still put it in the top 5. Opening with a fat (and ever so slightly fuzzy) bass line, soon joined by that snappy Modeliste snare, Nocentelli guitar and Neville organ, ‘Cardova’ is simultaneously relaxed and super, super heavy, with a funk engineered to make your buttocks and feet move independently of the rest of your body. If by the end of this song you aren’t doing the Hip Drop, going all “BOOM-bity BAP BAP UHN BOP A CHICKA” like a goofball, and ratcheting up the volume until the bass is rattling all the bric-a-brac off the top of your speakers, you need to restart the tune and repeat until all described symptoms are apparent. So solid is the beat, it’s almost as if George Porter and Zigaboo Modeliste were locked into some kind of rhythmic trance and Leon Nocentelli and Art Neville just happened to be strolling by and got sucked in (like a Black Hole, only funkier). There’s a point where the guitar breaks out of the riff and starts soloing and it’s almost jarring because the notes seem to be floating inside a vast space carved out by the rhythm. In a second cousin twice removed way it’s almost psychedelic, in that the tune sucks your head in (along with the rest of your body) and doesn’t want to let go. Anyway, the tune kicks ass in a most satisfying way. I just thought that with all the sadness out there (and it was heartbreaking to hear Harry Connick Jr and Wynton Marsalis duet on ‘Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans’, and I’m not being sarcastic either...) I ought to post up some real New Orleans power. Hurricanes can wash away buildings and trees, but they can’t wash away the Meters.


Example Lee Dorsey

PS As a special bonus groove (since I was MIA on Monday) I’ll add a little Meters via Mister Everything I do Is Funky Lee Dorsey with ‘Yes We Can Pt2’ (from 1970). ‘Help each man be a better man with the kindness that you give.’ That’s the shit right there....

As before, scroll down for Red Cross link.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Dell Stewart - Let My Lover Go

I sat in front of the TV last night, watching the news, and crying. First and foremost, I couldn’t bear to see little children and old people, baking in the New Orleans heat without water, food or shelter. I imagine my child, or the rest of my family in a similar situation and it breaks my heart. The second thing that came to mind, was the great cultural and artistic loss the destruction of New Orleans is. To employ a mythical comparison, it’s as if the glittering culture of modern Atlantis was washed away in a deluge. The city of New Orleans is so much more than just a spot on a map. It has a character in a way that almost no other city in the US does, from the decorative ironwork and slate roofs in the French Quarter, to the old houses in the 9th ward, to the sounds of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Tuts Washington, Professor Longhair, Kid Ory, Buddy Bolden, Chris Kenner, Diamond Joe, Eddie Bo and countless others echoing in the ether. Looking at the aerial shots of the city, submerged in foul water, one can’t help but wonder if anything will remain. Only when the loss of human life is tallied and understood, will we be able to step back and begin to consider the material losses. How many historic neighborhoods will have to be bulldozed? What traces of the old music will be salvageable (i.e. master tapes, old stashes of local vinyl, historical documents)? Thanks to the blessed lunacy that allowed my parents to believe they could drag their 5 kids across country pulling a trailer, I was lucky enough to visit New Orleans back in 1977 (I was 15). Not yet old (or sophisticated) enough to grasp the real depth of the city’s musical history, I was however struck by the magic of the French Quarter. As soon we drove down Bourbon Street it was immediately obvious that we were seeing something unlike anything else in the America of 1977. It was like stepping out of a time machine. Aside from having to sidestep hordes of drunken Elks (there was a convention in town) it was a real pleasure to walk the streets and soak up the atmosphere. As long as my wife and I have known each other we’ve always talked about taking a trip to New Orleans, and now sadly, it is not to be. That said, all we can do (besides donating as much as we possibly can to the relief efforts, and hoping the Federal government gets off its ass sometime soon) is keep the people of New Orleans in our thoughts, and the music of New Orleans pumping back into the ether, from our stereos, radios, tape decks, ipods, whatever. Keeping that in mind, I offer you a small but tasty slice of NOLA music that I was lucky enough to track down about a month ago. I had posted a tune by Professor Longhair and the Clippers, and in the ensuing discussion with Dan Phillips from Home of The Groove, the comp ‘New Orleans Soul 60’s’ came up. I grabbed a copy, and of course started to try and track down some of the 45s (I already had 2 by Professor Longhair). The one 45 I was able to find was ‘Mr Credit Man’ b/w ‘Let My Lover Go’ by Dell Stewart. I’ll be honest and admit that what little I know of Stewart comes from the liner notes of the comp. Stewart was a friend of the songs composer Earl King, and he sounded so much like Earl that King’s wife thought it was him singing when she heard the record. ‘Mr Credit Man’ is a pretty nice slice of early NOLA soul, that owes a stylistic debt to the Marvelettes ‘Please Mr. Postman’. I found the b-side ‘Let My Lover Go’ to be the more interesting number. Where the a-side has it’s ear turned to Detroit, ‘Let My Lover Go’ has a real NOLA feel, with some cool piano and a great vocal by Stewart. Nothing earth-shattering, just a good solid piece of New Orleans R&B/soul to help us remember what made that city so great. Remember, the post below has a link to donate to the Red Cross. Also, stop over to the Soulstrut board, where a string of charity record auctions are going on.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Orleans Needs Help

I hardly know where to start with this. The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina left devastation across the Gulf Coast, but nowhere worse than the Crescent City, New Orleans, LA. For all intents and purposes the city has been destroyed and it's entire population displaced.
Those that have followed my web zine and this blog know I have a special love for the music of New Orleans, and aside from the obvious and horrifying human loss of this disaster I can only wonder at how much of that musical heritage (some of the most important in our nations history) is now lost forever.
It's going to take along time and a lot of money to get New Orleans back to its old self, but the most important thing is making sure that the people are taken care of. The need for shelter, food, medical supplies and treatment is first and foremost, and a donation to the American Red Cross will help in that effort.
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