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.