Friday, November 30, 2012

Junior Parker - The Duke Recordings Volumes 1, 2 and bonus

Okay...let's try this again and hopefully the links last more than 10 minutes. eh?

When last we were listening to some Junior Parker, I mentioned the deplorable job that MCA had done on their remasters of Junior's Duke material, not to mention that they quit the set without finishing it. Well by using some data base tools I came to realize I had alternate sources for a good many tunes; around 60%. I sat down one night and opened the 5 sources in as many windows and started a-b-ing to find the best version. It turned out that nearly every one of what I considered the worst examples, I was able to replace with a superior mastering. A couple I tweaked myself, but only a couple. To my surprise, there were a good number of songs on disc 2 where the version from the set was actually the best of the lot but a large portion of disc 1 was replaced. Once I was done constructing my new improved sets I had 10 whole tracks left over from various sources and they are good stuff that should have appeared on the abandoned Volume 3. Those of you who downloaded the earlier "Driving Wheel" single disc will want to delete that one and grab this far more complete set from Junior's great Duke era.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Regal Records in New Orleans

Paul Gayten... the original Dude of New Orleans R&B (notice that is capital D dude). Before Dave and Fats and even Roy and Fess, there was Gayten. Sharp as a tack in a big Cadillac with a large and super tight, super disciplined band, ala Louie Jordan.

"Gayten was born in Kentwood, Louisiana, the nephew of blues pianist Little Brother Montgomery. In his teens he played piano in local bands while also setting up his own group, Paul Gayten's Sizzling Six, which featured future bebop saxophonist Teddy Edwards.

During the war, he led a band at the Army base in Biloxi, Mississippi. He then moved to New Orleans and, with a new trio, established a residency at the Club Robin Hood. In 1947 the trio recorded two of the first New Orleans hits of the R&B era, "True (You Don't Love Me)", and "Since I Fell for You", the latter featuring singer Annie Laurie. Both made the R&B top ten. Gayten also backed singer Chubby Newsom on her hit "Hip Shakin’ Mama".

In 1949 he expanded his combo into a nine-piece orchestra and moved to Regal Records. There, Gayten wrote the #1 R&B hit "For You My Love" for Larry Darnell, and recorded "I’ll Never Be Free" with Annie Laurie. His orchestra toured widely, for a period adding saxophonist Hank Mobley and singer Little Jimmy Scott, and appearing on double bills with both Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. In 1952 he moved to Okeh Records.

In 1953 he decided to quit as a touring bandleader and joined Chess Records as a talent scout, producer, promotion man, songwriter and part-time musician and recording artist. He discovered Clarence "Frogman" Henry and produced his first hit, "Ain't Got No Home", in 1956, later going on to co-write and produce his biggest hit, "But I Do", in 1961. At Chess, Gayten produced Bobby Charles' "Later Alligator" and played piano on Chuck Berry’s "Carol". In 1956 he also had one of the biggest hits of his own career with "The Music Goes Round And Round", followed up by "Nervous Boogie".

In 1960 he moved to Los Angeles with his wife Odile to run the Chess operations there. In 1968 he set up his own label, Pzazz, which recorded Louis Jordan, among others. He continued to live in Los Angeles with Odile after retiring in the 1970s, and died there in 1991.

The King R&B Box Set, Disc 4

 The final disc, a few oddball tracks and some Sid Nathan speeches.

Sweet Soul Music 1961

Well I told you you we were not done with these but there would be a name change from Blowing The Fuse to Sweet Soul Music. I am content to let AMG tell you about it:

"The year 1961 ushered in more than just a new decade -- it heralded a new era in black popular music as the gritty, street-smart sound of postwar R&B gave way to the smooth, sophisticated approach spearheaded by Motown Records. The first entry in Bear Family's ten-volume Sweet Soul Music lays the foundation for the transformation to follow, cherry picking formative classics from then-fledgling Motown (the Miracles' "Shop Around") and Stax (Carla Thomas' "Shop Around"), the Memphis label that would prove its greatest creative rival -- spanning across the U.S., from New Orleans (Ernie K-Doe's "Mother-in-Law") to Chicago (the Impressions' "Gypsy Woman") to New York City (the Shirelles' "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"), the collection also encompasses all of the major U.S. R&B labels, negotiating the licensing snafus that undermine these types of anthologies to offer a true panoramic overview of soul's epic scope and scale. And it's packaged with Bear Family's usual attention to detail -- the mastering is pristine (better than has ever been heard on even the major artists) and the accompanying booklets are authoritative (averaging 60 pages in length, stuffed with color photos, track-by-track commentary, and related recording data). The result is an anthology series that's as educational as it is entertaining."

The King R&B Box Set, Disc 3

Don't much feel like writing today guys and I don't want to look for anything to copy, sorry.

The King R&B Box Set, Disc 2

At first it specialized in country music, at the time still known as "hillbilly music." King advertised, "If it's a King, It's a Hillbilly -- If it's a Hillbilly, it's a King." One of the label's most important hits was "I'm Using My Bible for a Road Map" by Reno and Smiley. Very important recordings in this field were done by The Delmore Brothers and Wayne Raney featuring their close harmony vocals, harmonica, electric guitar and string band playing. The Delmores also did their country boogie material on this label which was a precursor to rockabilly. King ventured into the rockabilly genre and several King artists such as Bill Beach are in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Beach's song, "Peg Pants" also experienced success during the European resurgence of rockabilly in the late 1980s. Likewise, singer-pianist Moon Mullican recorded a country boogie style that was a precursor to piano-based rock 'n' roll. Major country hits on the label included "I'll Sail My Ship Alone", "Blues Stay Away from Me", "Chew Tobacco Rag", "Eight More Miles to Louisville", "Sweeter Than the Flowers" and "Cherokee Boogie".
The company also had a "race records" (African American) label, Queen Records (which was melded into the King label within a year or two) and most notably (starting in 1950) Federal Records which launched the singing career of James Brown. In the 1950s, this side of the business outpaced the hillbilly recordings. King Records was highly successful after the hiring of Ralph Bass and recorded R&B artists like Joe Tex. Valerie Carr, Roy Brown, Jack Dupree, Otis Williams & the Charms, Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, Ivory Joe Hunter and Johnny "Guitar" Watson. They also had a long legal battle with James Brown, after he repeatedly violated his King contract. King also bought out several other record labels, including De Luxe Records (in 1952), and Bethlehem Records.

One of the most successful features of the label was its encouragement of the mixing of the country and R&B sides of the label. Many of the label's country singers such as Moon Mullican, Delmore Brothers, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Zeb Turner covered many of the label's R&B songs such as "Grandpa Stole my Baby", "Rocket to the Moon", "Bloodshot Eyes", and "I Got Loaded". Also, some of the R&B artists also provided pure country songs such as Bubber Johnson's "Keep a Light in the Window for Me", which was recorded by Johnson and made famous by Moon Mullican. Likewise, R&B artists covered bluesy country artists' songs such as Wynonie Harris's covers of "Triflin' Woman Blues" and "Bloodshot Eyes".
During the 1950s, King also distributed their own line of portable phonographs.
King Records was unique among the independent labels because the entire production process was done in house. That included recording, mastering, printing, pressing and shipping. This gave Nathan complete control so a record could be recorded one day and shipped to radio stations the next day in quantities as few as 50. That's why non-selling King records became so rare.
When Nathan died in 1968, King Records was acquired by Hal Neely's Starday Records and relaunched as 'Starday and King Records'. The legendary songwriting duo Leiber & Stoller bought the label in 1970, but sold it soon afterwards to Lin Broadcasting which in turn sold it to Tennessee Recording & Publishing, owned by Freddy Bienstock, Hal Neely, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller; who sold it in 1974 to Gusto Records. In 1971, James Brown's recording contract and back catalogue were sold to Polydor Records. Since 2001, Collectables Records has been remastering and reissuing the King Records catalogue. Several compilation CD's are available featuring King Recording Artist, specifically "King Rockabilly", released in 2004. King Records is now only used as a record label under the parent company, Gusto Records.
The former King Records headquarters at 1540 Brewster Avenue in Cincinnati is still standing and has an historical marker placed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The King R&B Box Set, Disc 1

Well kids. the potential collapse of the blogworld has me thinking "as much. as fast as possible", in anticipation of the end - no more bitching about speed because I really don't think anyone is going to last too much longer. Fast as I can upload them I'll post them to the best choice left, what ever that may be. Write-up's will truncate too for the time being - no time for the history lessons, as much as that breaks my heart. Chances are the road forward lies in expensive, truely private Cloud banks, and blogs. We may well be able to continue but likely only in private and paid environment for everyone. I am well aware that that will be impossible for many and I confess that the "sponsored" / "commercial" blogs are looking more attractive suddenly.

Someday I will be able to present these right, but that day is not today. You guys should know enough by now to have some idea what you are looking at. Thru the course of the night I will try to update all the posts with still active Mediafire links that have been unavailable because I moved them, on ALL the blogs. This will give new life to some things and I guess I'll just move it all forward so that it is clear. As much as I enjoy form and style, screw that!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bobby Bland - Dreamer

A Guitar Gus contribution:

"See KC’s posts ‘Bobby Bland – The Duke Recordings’ for a biographical background – And if you haven’t already got these essential recordings get moving !

Way back in 1974, I was working in Central London, and during one lunch-break I wandered into a small independent record shop to see what I could find. The music , playing over the system,  immediately grabbed me by the balls ! It was the first time I had ever heard Bobby Bland’s exquisite voice ! –  I was awestruck and bought this wonderful (vinyl) record on the spot.

 I had been listening to the blues for a good few years but this mostly meant the classic Chess masters , Robert Johnson and various other Country Blues artists  , B B, Albert and Freddie and anything else that came my way –  It was early days then and the variety we take for granted today was very limited . Anyway this was very different from the blues I was used to – It was very slick, with a sophisticated production by Steve Barri and arranged/conducted with strings and  session players, by Michael Omartian   Could this be authentic ?

The album  turned out to be  a groundbreaker and brought the blues back into the mainstream for a while,  where it deserved to be –  Since then many blues artists have gone this way, using  more studio production effects to this early roots musical form , with varying success or artistic legitimacy –  
‘Dreamer’ still remains one of my all-time favourite albums (in any genre) and  if you give it the time I’m sure you will agree – Everything here is subservient to the brilliant vocal of a blues legend – All the tunes are great without a hint of a filler    Contained here  is the original version of  ‘Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City’ covered by Whitesnake, Paul Carrack and many others  and the minor hit, ‘I Wouldn't Treat a Dog (The Way You Treated Me)’
Some of the players are – Keyboards: Michael Omartian,  Guitars: Ben Benay, Larry Carlton, Dean Parks, Bass: Wilton Felder, Drums: Ed Greene,  plus horns, strings and background vocals,
 Bobby’s voice is mellow, expressive, guttural, at times wonderfully forceful and an absolute Blues deluxe ! 

Robert "Fud" Shaw - Texas Barrelhouse Piano

 I bought this guy up in the comments to Grey Ghost and thought it only fair to show you whom I was speaking of.

wiki: Shaw was born in Stafford, Texas, the son of farm owners Jesse and Hettie Shaw. The Shaws had a Steinway grand piano and his sisters had lessons in playing, but Shaw's father was against his son learning the instrument.[2]

Shaw worked with his father on the family's ranch, and played the piano whenever his family was out; the first song he learned being "Aggravatin' Papa Don't You Try to Two-Time Me." In his adolescence, Shaw travelled to Houston to listen to jazz musicians, and at nearby roadhouses. He then found a piano teacher and with his earnings paid for lessons.[2]

He learned his barrelhouse style of playing from musicians in the Fourth Ward, Houston. In the 1920s Shaw was part of the "Santa Fe Circuit", named after touring musicians utilising the Santa Fe freight trains. Although he played in Chicago, Shaw mainly restricted himself to Texas, and performed as a soloist in the clubs and roadhouses of Sugarland, Richmond, Kingsville, Houston and Dallas. In 1930, at the height of the Kilgore oil boom, Shaw played there, and two years on traveled to Kansas City, Kansas, to perform.[2] In 1933 he hosted a radio show in Oklahoma City. He relocated to Texas,[3] first to Fort Worth and then to Austin. Here he settled down and took up residence, owning a grocery store known as the 'Stop and Swat'.[2]

Shaw married Martha Landrum in December 1939, but they had no children. However, Shaw had previously been married, and had a daughter, Verna Mae, and a son, William. For many years Shaw ran his grocery business in Austin in partnership with Martha, and in 1962 was named the black businessman of the year in Austin.[2]

In 1963, Shaw recorded an album, originally called Texas Barrelhouse Piano, produced by Robert "Mack" McCormick. It was originally released by McCormick's Almanac Book and Recording Company, and Chris Strachwitz's Arhoolie Records later reissued the LP, re-titled as The Ma Grinder.[3] (I believe that this in error and that the album Ma Grinder was a later session - see album cover)  The album contained old favourites such as "The Ma Grinder", "The Cows" and "Whores Is Funky", some of them too risque to have been issued previously.[4]

In 1967, seven years before his retirement from the grocery trade, Shaw recommenced concert playing. With the revival of his career, he played at the Kerrville Folk Festival, overseas in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and at the Berlin Jazz Festival; as well as the Smithsonian Institution's American Folk Life Festival, the World's Fair Expo in Canada, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.[2] He played with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the 1973 Austin Aqua Festival,[2] and continued to perform Stateside and in Europe intermittently during the 1970s, turning up unexpectedly in California in 1981 to help Strachwitz celebrate Arhoolie's 20th anniversary.

Shaw died of a heart attack in Austin, on May 16, 1985, and was interred at the Capital Memorial Gardens. Two weeks after his death, the Texas State Senate passed a resolution in honor of Shaw's contribution to the state's musical heritage.

   1)  Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
  2)  "Biography by Teresa Palomo Acosta"
       . Retrieved December 20, 2009.
3) Dahl, Bill. "Robert Shaw", Allmusic. Retrieved December 20, 2009.
4)  Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 166. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
5) "Allmusic ((( Robert Shaw > Discography > Main Albums )))"

His story of hopping freights to gigs is the same as the Grey Ghosts' - of the two I think Shaw is the more interesting player but he also seems to have had a freer hand in the material selected here, I would guess the Ghost had some similarly 'blue' material in his repertoire that was not recorded.

Note: this is the same material as the yellow Almanac version, only the order was changed - the recording was made in 1963. The album mentioned above Ma Grinder was from a 1968 session and had a different cover, also from Arhoolie.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Okeh Rhythm and Blues Story

Okeh (pronounced 'okay') was founded by Otto K. E. Heinemann (1877–1965), a German-American manager for the U.S. branch of German-owned Odeon Records. As World War I raged in Europe, Heinemann thought it best to have an American based company. He incorporated the Otto Heinemann Phonograph Corporation in 1916, set up his own recording studio and gramophone record pressing plant in New York City, and introduced the company's line of records for public sale in September 1918. Heinemann formed the name of the record label "Okeh", from his initials; early disc labels rendered the name as OkeH. The first discs were vertical cut. In 1919 Okeh switched to the lateral cut method of sound recording, more usual for disc records. That same year the name of the label's owning company was changed to the General Phonograph Corporation. The name on the labels was changed to OKeh. The common 10-inch discs retailed for 75 cents each; the 12-inch discs for $1.25. The company's musical director was Fred Hager, who also appeared under the pseudonym of "Milo Rega" (Hager's middle name and his surname reversed).

Okeh began by issuing popular songs, dance numbers, and vaudeville skits similar to the fare of other labels, but Heineman also wished to experiment with music for audiences neglected by the larger record companies. Okeh produced lines of recordings in German, Czech, Polish, Swedish, and Yiddish for the USA's immigrant communities. Some were pressed from masters leased from European labels, others were recorded by Okeh in New York.

In 1920, Ralph Peer's recordings by African-American blues singer Mamie Smith were a surprise smash hit for Okeh. The company perceived the significant, little-tapped market for blues and jazz by African American artists. In 1922, Okeh hired Clarence Williams to act as director of "Race" (African American) recordings for Okeh's New York studios, in addition to making recordings under his own name. Okeh then opened a recording studio in Chicago, Illinois, the center of jazz in the 1920s, where Richard M. Jones served as "Race" recordings director. Many classic jazz performances by the likes of King Oliver, Lucille Bogan, Sidney Bechet, Hattie McDaniel, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington were recorded by Okeh. As part of the Carl Lindstrom Company, Okeh recordings were distributed by other Lindstrom labels including Parlophone in the United Kingdom.

The original Mamie Smith recording was in 1920, of “Crazy Blues.” General Phonograph Corp, OKeH’s manufacturer used Smith’s success as the press to cultivate the new market. Portraits of Smith and lists of her records were used as the advertisements in newspapers including the Chicago Defender, the Atlanta Independent, New York Colored News, and others popular with the African-American community (even though Smith's records were part of OKeh's regular 4000 series). Okeh had further prominence in the demographic, as African-American artists such as Sara Martin, Eva Taylor, Shelton Brooks, Esther Bigeou, and Handy’s Orchestra recorded exclusively for the label. OKeh started a special 8000 series devoted exclusively to "Race" artists. The success of this series led OKeh to start recording where the music was actually being performed, known as “remote” or “location” recording.

Okeh Records pioneered the practice of "location recording" in 1922. Starting in 1924, Okeh also sent mobile recording trucks to tour other parts of the country to record performers not heard in New York or Chicago. Regular return trips were made once or twice a year to New Orleans, Louisiana, Atlanta, Georgia, San Antonio, Texas, St. Louis, Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri, and Detroit, Michigan, recording a wealth of jazz and early country music artists.

In 1926, Okeh switched to the electric microphone system of audio recording. On November 11 of that year, controlling interest in Okeh was purchased by Columbia Records. Beside the legendary OKeh Race 8000 Series (which featured some of the great blues and black jazz of the era), OKeh recorded a series of legendary "chamber" hot jazz sessions with Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang, Frank Trumbauer's studio groups, Miff Mole's studio groups, among others. These are considered among the best of the 1920s hot small-group white jazz sessions.

Okeh releases grew infrequent after 1932, although the label continued into 1935. Columbia again revived it in 1940 after they lost the rights to the Vocalion name (by dropping the Brunswick label) and pressed it until 1946. It was revived once again in 1951 and used sporadically through to the 1990s. In 1953, Okeh's pop music acts were transferred to the newly formed Epic Records making Okeh an exclusive rhythm and blues label. In 1963, Carl Davis became Okeh's A&R manager and boosted Okeh's fortunes for a couple of years. Epic Records took over management of Okeh in 1965. Among the artists during Okeh's "pop" phase of the 50s and 60s were Johnnie Ray, Little Joe & The Thrillers.

With soul music coming to the forefront in the 60s, Okeh signed Major Lance, who gave the label two big successes with "The Monkey Time" and "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um". Fifties rocker Larry Williams found a musical home for a period of time in the 60s, recording and producing funky soul with band that included Johnny "Guitar" Watson. He was paired with Little Richard who had been lured back into secular music. He produced two Little Richard albums for Okeh Records in 1966 and 1967, which returned Little Richard to the Billboard album chart for the first time in ten years and spawned the hit single Poor Dog. He also acted as the music director for the Little Richard's live performances at the Okeh Club in Los Angeles. Bookings for Little Richard during this period skyrocketed. Williams also recorded and released material of his own and with Watson, with some moderate chart success. This period may have garnered few hits but produced some of Williams' best and most original work.

Much of the success of Okeh in the 1960s was dependent on producer Carl Davis and songwriter Curtis Mayfield. After they left the label (due to disputes with Epic/Okeh head Len Levy), Okeh gradually slipped in sales, and was finally deactivated discreetly by CBS Records in 1970. Davis moved on to Brunswick Records and made it a leading soul music label.

Uptown Rulers - The Meters Live on the Queen Mary

I don't have any idea why his album has gone out of print while the rest of The Meters catalog is finally all back in-print and finally making money for the guys instead of just for Toussaint and Seahorn. I don't want to post any of those albums but this one seems to be fair game for the time being and it gives me a post of my boys.

Here's the wiki stuff, liberally commented on by moi:
"The Meters are an American funk band based in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Meters performed and recorded their own music from the late 1960s until 1977. The band played an influential role as backing musicians for other artists, including Lee Dorsey, Robert Palmer, and Dr John.

While The Meters rarely enjoyed significant mainstream success, they are considered, along with artists like James Brown, one of the progenitors of funk music and their work is highly influential on many other bands, both their contemporaries and modern musicians working in the funk idiom.

The Meters' sound is defined by an earthy combination of tight melodic grooves and highly syncopated New Orleans "second-line" rhythms under highly charged guitar and keyboard riffing. Their songs "Cissy Strut" and "Look-Ka Py Py" are considered funk classics.

Art Neville, the group's frontman, launched a solo career around the New Orleans area in the mid-1950s while still in high school.(the Hawketts - Mardi Gras Mambo, Art also recorded for Specialty and Imperial) The Meters formed in 1965 with a line-up of keyboardist and vocalist Art Neville, guitarist Leo Nocentelli, bassist George Porter Jr. and drummer Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste. They were later joined by percussionist/vocalist Cyril Neville. The Meters became the house band for Allen Toussaint and his record label, Sansu Enterprises. (The early band rarely featured vocals, they were primarily instrumental, a New Orleans Booker T and the MG's, they also occasionally included sax player Gary Brown)In 1969 the Meters released "Sophisticated Cissy" and "Cissy Strut", both major R&B chart hits. "Look-Ka Py Py" and "Chicken Strut" were their hits the following year. After a label shift in 1972, the Meters had difficulty returning to the charts, but they worked with Dr. John, Paul McCartney, King Biscuit Boy, Labelle, Robert Palmer and others.

In 1975 Paul McCartney invited the Meters to play at the release party for his Venus and Mars album aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California; Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones was in attendance at the event and was greatly taken with the Meters and their sound. (In fact, his statement was that The Meters were the best f___ing band in the world.) The Rolling Stones invited the band to open for them on their Tour of the Americas '75 and Tour of Europe '76. (that didn't work out so well, The Meters kept stealing the show!) That same year, the Meters recorded one of their most successful albums, Fire On The Bayou. From 1976 to '77 they played in The Wild Tchoupitoulas with George & Amos Landry and the Neville Brothers. (and released their last two albums, Trick Bag and New Directions)

They appeared on Saturday Night Live on March 19, 1977, during the show's second season. The band broke up later that year. (Okay, this part they got wrong, the band really fell apart on the plane going to the Saturday Night Live gig, Art got off the plane and went home and they played without him on the show. They played a few more times together in 77, 78 and 79 but for the most part they played using other keyboard players.)

After the break-up, Neville gained fame as part of The Neville Brothers, Modeliste toured with Keith Richards and Ron Wood, while Nocentelli and Porter "became in-demand session players and formed new bands."
(also Zig moved to Oakland, Leo to L.A.)
When Hip hop and rap emerged it created a need for sampling. Their music has been sampled by musicians around the world, including rap artists Heavy D, LL Cool J and Queen Latifah, Musiq, Big Daddy Kane, Run DMC, NWA, Ice Cube, Salt N’ Pepa, Cypress Hill, EPMD, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, Naughty by Nature, and Tweet. The Red Hot Chili Peppers pay homage to them in one of their hit songs, and bands such as the Grateful Dead, KVHW, Steve Kimock Band, Widespread Panic, Rebirth Brass Band, Galactic and String Cheese perform The Meters in their concert rotations. The Meters songs have also graced such movies as “Two Can Play That Game,” “Jackie Brown,” “Drum Line,” “8 Mile,” “Hancock,” and "Red".

In 2000, a "big offer" enticed all four original Meters to reunite for a one-night stand at the Warfield in San Francisco (an epic night); by this time Modeliste wanted to make the reunion a permanent one, but the other members and their management teams objected. It wasn't until Quint Davis, producer and director of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, got them to "put aside their differences and hammer out the details" and headline the Festival in 2005 (another great show). The original Meters continue to perform at various one-off concerts such as the 2011 Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco, California.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Irma Thomas - Straight From The Soul

Oh yes! Even more from the classic era of The Queen! Some genius choose to compile the stuff not included on all the other collections and to whoever that person might be, I genuflect in gratitude! A crappy cover no doubt but this stuff is not readily available in any other form that I have seen.

All Killer!

Sorrow Come Pass Me Around

Once again we come to Sunday morning and the Deacon Kingcake/Elder Clifford Gospel Hour.

 Sorrow Come Pass Me Around: A Survey Of Rural Black Religious Music, 1975 [Advent Productions]

01. Ephram Carter and his Fife & Drum Band - Sorrow, Come Pass Me Around
02. Willard Artis 'Blind Pete' Burrell - Do Remember Me
03. Babe Stovall - The Ship is at the Landing
04. Annie Lee and Oscar Crawford with Annie Mae Jones - You Don't Know What the Lord Has Done for Me
05. Reverend Rubin Lacy - Talk About a Child That Do Love Jesus
06. Robert 'Nighthawk' Johnson - Can't No Grave Hold My Body Down
07. Dorothy Lee, Norma Jean and Shirley Marie Johnson with Robert 'Nighthawk' Johnson - You Got to Give an Account
08. Katie Mae Young - By the Grace of Mt Lord, I've Come a Long Way
09. Eddie Lee 'Mustright' Jones - My Sun Don't Never Go Down
10. Robert 'Nighthawk' Johnson - Climbing High Mountains
11. a) Chester Davis and Congregation, b) Compton Jones and Group, c) Furry Lewis - Glory, Glory Hallelujah
12. Willard Artis 'Blind Pete' Burrell - A Little Talk with Jesus Makes it Right
13. Pattie Rosemon with Frank and Odie Rosemon - I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
14. Babe Stovall - When the Circle be Unbroken
15. Napoleon Strickland - Motherless Children
16. Willard Artis 'Blind Pete' Burrell - I Shall Not be Moved

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Irma Thomas - Sweet Soul Queen of New Orleans

It is a little difficult to explain to an outsider how we feel about Irma Thomas.  She is The Queen and is as universally beloved as say, Uncle Lionel was. Anyone over 40 has an Irma Thomas story or two, it is just part of New Orleans. I have resisted the temptation to pump this one up beyond the 23 tracks it comes with but I may well have to post a Lagniappe addendum.

    1. Cry On
    2. I Done Got Over It
    3. It's Raining
    4. Hittin' on Nothin'
    5. Ruler of My Heart
    6. Wish Someone Would Care...
    7. Breakaway
    8. I Need Your Love So Bad...
    9. While the City Sleeps
    10. Time Is on My Side
    11. Anyone Who Knows What L...
    12. Moments to Remember

    13. Straight from the Heart...
    14. Take a Look
    15. It's a Man's Woman's Wo...
    16. Long After the Night Is...
    17. Times Have Changed
    18. He's My Guy
    19. What Are You Trying to ...
    20. Nobody Wants to Hear No...
    21. The Hurt's All Gone
    22. I'm Gonna Cry 'Til My T...
    23. It's Starting to Get to...

Irma Thomas (born February 18, 1941, Ponchatoula, Louisiana) is a contemporary of Aretha Franklin and Etta James, but never experienced their level of commercial success; still, she has a large cult following among soul aficionados. In 2007, she won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album for After the Rain, her first Grammy in a career spanning over 50 years.

Born Irma Lee, as a teen she sang with a Baptist church choir, auditioning for Specialty Records as a 13-year old. By the age of 19 she had been married twice and had four children. Keeping her second ex-husband's surname, she worked as a waitress in New Orleans, occasionally singing with bandleader Tommy Ridgley, who helped her land a record deal with the local Ron label. Her first single, "(You Can Have My Husband but) Don't Mess with My Man," was released in spring 1960, and reached number 22 on the Billboard R&B chart.

She then began recording on the Minit label, working with songwriter and producer Allen Toussaint on songs including "It’s Raining" and "Ruler of my Heart", which was later reinterpreted by Otis Redding as "Pain In My Heart". Imperial Records acquired Minit in 1963, and a string of successful releases followed. These included "Wish Someone Would Care” (her biggest national hit), its B-side "Break-a-Way" (later covered by Tracey Ullman among others), "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is" (co-written by the young Randy Newman and future country star Jeannie Seely, among others), and "Time Is on My Side" (a song previously recorded by Kai Winding, and later by the Rolling Stones).

Although her first four Imperial singles all charted on Billboard's pop chart, later releases were less successful, and, unlike her contemporaries Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick, she never managed to cross over into mainstream commercial success. She recorded for Chess Records in 1967/68 with some success, the Otis Redding song "Good To Me" reaching the R&B chart. She then relocated to California, releasing records on various small labels, before returning to Louisiana, and in the early 1980s Thomas and her husband opened the Lion's Den Club over near the old Falstaff Brewery on Broad Street (the club that is), Ernie Ladd's Bar-B-Que Joint was neaby.

After several years’ break from recording, she was signed by Rounder Records, and in 1991 earned her first-ever Grammy Award nomination for Live! Simply the Best, recorded in San Francisco. She subsequently released a number of traditional gospel albums, together with more secular recordings. The album Sing It! was nominated for a Grammy in 1999.

Thomas is still active as a performer, appearing annually at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. She reigned as Queen of the Krewe du Vieux for the 1998 New Orleans Mardi Gras season. She often headlined at her own club, which is now out of business due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Thomas relocated to Gonzales, Louisiana, 60 miles (97 km) from New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina, but she is now back in her home in New Orleans.

I believe  that I promised a Lagniappe post to this = HERE IT IS. 7 more tracks but I am not finished!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bobby Powell - The Jewel and Whit Recordings 1966-1971

 Another Unky Cliff special, I confess that this guy wasn't even on my map until I head this disc.

"Blind pianist/singer Bobby Powell -- born in Baton Rouge in 1941 -- started out as a gospel singer in the 1950s. By the outset of the 1960s, however, he'd switched to singing R&B and was signed to Whit Records, where he succeeded right out of the box with "What Are You Trying to Do to Me" b/w "Red Sails in the Sunset" -- the latter didn't chart nationally but was good and popular enough locally to get picked up by Jewel Records for national distribution. He did even better with his second single, a version of "C.C. Rider" b/w "That Little Girl of Mine," which topped the national R&B charts in 1965. Powell's third record, "Do Something for Yourself" b/w "It's Getting Late in the Evening," made it to number 21 on the charts the following year, and in 1967 he once again charted a single with "I'm Gonna Leave You." That marked the end of Powell's string of successes, however, although he still released two singles a year, brushed the charts once more at the end of the decade, and had a number 14 hit in 1974 with "The Bells." During this same period, Powell also cut an LP for Excello and later issued a handful of more singles. Finally, in the 1980s, he gave up R&B and soul music and returned to where he started out, singing gospel music. In 2002, WestSide Records released a compilation of Powell's Whit and Jewel singles." AMG

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Five Keys - Capitol Hits

The Five Keys are generally regarded by aficionados of 1950s R&B vocal group harmony as one of the finest groups to ever record in this genre. They are best known for their Capitol recordings of "Wisdom of a Fool," "Close Your Eyes," "Ling Ting Tong," and "Out of Sight, Out of Mind." But in collectors' circles their earlier recordings for Aladdin such as "My Saddest Hour," "Glory of Love," and "Red Sails in the Sunset" are even more highly revered and sought after.

The group originally consisted of two sets of brothers; Rudy and Bernie West and Raphael and Ripley Ingram all hailing from Newport News, VA, part of the "Hampton Roads" area. This region had a rich history of high-caliber vocal music and had previously spawned great vocal ensembles like the Golden Gate Quartet and Norfolk Jazz Quartet. The West and Ingram brothers initially took on the name the Sentimental Four and soon decided to show off their talents by entering a local amateur program at the Jefferson Theater. After winning three consecutive weeks of amateur contests at the Jefferson, they were invited to perform at the prestigious Apollo Theater in New York City, where they also won.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Best of The Mighty Clouds of Joy - (Peacock years)

Good Morning my brothers and sisters on this fine Sunday morning! As you hear the organ swell behind me let me tell you that today's two part program will feature music from the Peacock label of Don Robey. Some felt Mr. Robey's introduction of R&B rhythm sections into Gospel was profane but it moved the music into modern times. First up is the the Holy Roar of Mr. Joe Ligon and his Mighty Clouds of Joy.

"Contemporary gospel's preeminent group, the Mighty Clouds of Joy carried the torch for the traditional quartet vocal style throughout an era dominated by solo acts and choirs; pioneering a distinctively funky sound which over time gained grudging acceptance even among purists, they pushed spiritual music in new and unexpected directions, even scoring a major disco hit. the Mighty Clouds of Joy were formed in Los Angeles during the mid-'50s by schoolmates Joe Ligon and Johnny Martin; while still in their teens, the original group -- which also included brothers Ermant and Elmo Franklin, Leon Polk and Richard Wallace -- made their recorded debut in 1960 with "Steal Away to Jesus," cut for the Peacock label. Their debut LP Family Circle arrived a year later. In the years that followed, the Mighty Clouds earned a reputation among gospel's greatest showmen; one of the first groups to incorporate choreographed moves into their act, their nimble footwork and bright, color-coordinated outfits earned them the sobriquet "The Temptations of Gospel." More importantly, they were the first group to add bass, drums and keyboards to the standard quartet accompaniment of solo guitar, resulting in a sound which horrified traditionalists but appealed to younger listeners -- so much so, in fact, that the Mighty Clouds became the first gospel act ever to appear on television's Soul Train, where they performed their disco smash "Mighty High." Their crossover success continued with opening slots for secular pop stars including Marvin Gaye, the Rolling Stones and Paul Simon, whom the group backed during a month-long stint at Madison Square Garden. While lineup changes plagued the Mighty Clouds throughout their career, they remained active through the 1990s; in addition to co-founders Ligon and Wallace, their latter-day incarnation also included Michael McCowin, Wilbert Williams, Johnny Valentine and Ron Staples."

Friday, November 9, 2012

Rockie Charles - Born for You

I have been trying to give everyone a little room to do some listening and catch up on the posts while I take stock of where we are and what's next. I had intimated that I was headed for an instrumental interlude but then I decide to do some more New Orleans stuff, and offer up some guys not widely known outside of the area as well as some more big-dog classics, including the big man from the ninth ward.

Chances are that unless you have been to New Orleans, you do not know who Rockie Charles was. Rockie was one of those local guys who was always around, always fit like an old comfortable set of levi's, but never seemed to get noticed much even when the Rounder folks came around and made New Orleans music fashionable again. Too bad too because I always loved Rockie's singing, he is sort of a cross between Earl King and Al Green.

Sadly, Rockie passed away a couple of years ago, leaving us very little recorded legacy. There has never been a compilation of his early 45's and the majority of his later output is self produced on low budget burned copies that I've yet to talk myself into buying. This one album on Carlo Dita's Orleans label is the closest thing to a full professional production.

Rockie was born Charles Merrick down in Boothville, LA, a tiny fishing town in Plaquemines Parish by the mouth of the Mississippi in 1942. His father was a fisherman who played some guitar in local juke joints. He was moved to New Orleans ninth ward at age 13, where he stayed with an aunt and attended both public and music schools for a short time. He dropped out of school in the 10th grade and moved back down to Venice, LA to work the boats as a deckhand until he got his tugboat pilot's license on his 18th birthday.

Charles worked as a tug captain on the river but kept his toe in the water musically with occasional gigs, until he finally moved back to New Orleans and formed a band called the Gadges to give music a shot as a career. The band was fairly popular about town through the 60's and late in the decade relocated to Nashville where they were put on tours opening for folks like Percy Sledge, O.V. Wright, Otis Redding and Joe Simon.

Rockie had been turned down after auditions with Toussaint and Bartholomew so it was left to Senator Jones to cut his first singles in the mid 60's. There apparently exists a string of quality singles on various small labels from the mid 60's thru early 70's but good luck ever finding even one. By the early 70's disco music pushed the current crop of R&B artists into the background just as the British Invasion had a decade earlier. Lack of work sent Charles back to the tugboats for a decade, then he built his own oyster trawler from scratch and fished for another decade.

In the mid 90's Rockie tired of life on the river and put an add in Offbeat to solicit gigs and a band. This led to his meeting Orleans records Carlo Dita and this 1996 album was the result. Look closely at the back cover and you will see the prow of another 40 foot oyster trawler that Rockie was building from scrap lumber in his own back yard (I wonder what ever happened to that boat?).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Louis Jordan - Jump 'N' Jive

This album is everything it promises to be - I mean, what are your expectations for a Louis Jordan album?  Fun, entertaining with a penchant for swingin, rockin and groovin.  JSP have given us a live date from 1974 and released it as part of their R&B/Blues series.

A stellar album all the way through.  The band is upbeat and inspired, clearly enjoying themselves.  There's as much jammin as there is structure and vocals.  Both Cox and Jordan have a real laid back swagger as they blow... real cool. 

The great thing about Louis Jordan has to be his vocal delivery.  There's just something that's truly honest and real when he sings.  So much that even the most simple blues can bring you to attention, waiting for the next line.  He was indeed a special performer, and an innovator in many ways as well.  The kind of music that's impossible to deny, it's vibe just washes over you and makes you feel good.  Isn't that what music should be?!?

This album is absolute mint and being JSP, of course the fidelity is there in spades.  Ripped at 24/44.1 wav and dithered to 16/44.1 FLAC...  enjoy!!

JSP Records – 1069
Released 1984
Recorded in California 1974

A1  Let The Good Times Roll  7:40  
A2  Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens  7:30  
A3  Hard Head Wife  4:20  
B1  Take The Ribbon From Her Hair  3:50  
B2  I Believe In Music  6:45  
B3  St. Louis Blues Boogie  7:12  

Louis Jordan - as/voc;  Irv Cox - ts;  Duke Burrell - p;  John Duke - b;  Archie Taylor - d

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Clifton Chenier - King Of The Bayous

Another cooker in Chitlins' look at some classic Chenier sides.  Enjoy!!

After gaining initial notoriety in the '50s and '60s on Specialty Records and a variety of small Texas and Louisiana labels, Zydeco King Clifton Chenier brought the blues-fueled Cajun music he practically invented to Chris Strachwitz's roots label Arhoolie, subsequently recording a series of fine albums including 1970's King of the Bayous. Featuring brother and longtime partner Cleveland Chenier on rubboard, Robert St. Judy on drums, Joe Morris on bass and Antoine Victor on guitar, King of the Bayous includes Chenier's standard blend of zydeco two-step, waltzes and blues, and provides an excellent taste of what the band no doubt played on countless one-niters along the Louisiana-Texas Gulf Coast. Zydeco-brand blues predominates with Chenier originals "Hard to Love Someone," "Who Can Your Good Man Be" and "I Am Coming Home," in addition to a cover of the honky-tonk weeper "Release Me." Offering a contrast to the blues and something for the dancers, the band lays down a lively two-step beat on "Tu Le Ton Son Ton," "Josephine Par Se Ma Femme" and "Zodico Two Step." Throughout the varied set, Chenier's irrepressible vocals and accordion playing stand out. A nice sample of bayou zydeco by one of its finest and most original practitioners. Stephen Cook/AMG

Clifton Chenier (vocals, accordion); Antoine Victor, Cleveland Keyes (guitar); Elmore Nixon (piano); Robert St. Julien, Robert Peter (drums); Cleveland Chenier (rub-board).
Arhoolie LP 1052
Recorded in Houston TX

Monday, November 5, 2012

Blowing The Fuse 1960

 Ahhh yes... we bid a fond adieu to this wonderful pile of platters but before Chubbs begins to sob on us let me assure you that the set does not really stop, it just changes name to 'Sweet Soul Music' and it continues thru 1970.... Of course those are forthcoming so just stack em' right on top of these.

 "What is it about hearing Jimmy Jones' original 1960 version of the song "Handy Man" that makes one feel like James Taylor should have been prosecuted for song desecration in the 1970s? Checking out the 1960 volume in the German Bear Family label's Blowing the Fuse series makes a dead-set, open-and-shut case. This baby has 31 cuts, all of them burners. The thing opens with Buster Brown's "Fannie Mae," and after Jones' cut, Barrett Strong tears the mother down with the original version of "Money"! The blues are here, too, with Jimmy Reed's smash "Baby, What You Want Me to Do." There is just so much here, from the biggest hits -- and there are plenty, like Maurice Williams' "Stay," Fats Domino's "Walking to New Orleans," and Howlin' Wolf's read of Willie Dixon's "Spoonful" -- to the near ones -- like Sugar Pie DeSanto's "I Want to Know," the Shirelles' "Tonight's the Night" (speaking of criminals, Neil Young should never have been allowed to write a song or title an album with this moniker; the man has no respect), and Hank Ballard's "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go," to name a few. The '60s dawned with plenty of great music: just check the original of "Ooh Poo Pah Doo, Pt. 1," by Jessie Hill. All of these tracks were consumed massively before the mass consumption of the transistor radio! Of course, there were real record stores then, and people gobbled up singles because there were so few albums to buy. Of course, it's going backwards now: today everyone picks rock the iPod way, and the culture for that stuff has just blown away like a tumbleweed. Nonetheless, anybody interested in the greatest singles that rock & roll, R&B, blues, and soul had to offer in the '50s and early '60s needs to scope out these platters from Bear Family."  so sayethThom Jurek

Billie and Dee Dee Pierce The Larry Borenstein Collection

Billie and De De Pierce were an enduring love story in jazz. Billie (Wilhelmina) Goodson came to New Orleans from the Pensacola area in the early 30's, following sister Sadie Goodson who was already established in the Crescent City. (All seven Goodson girls were trained in piano and voice and three, Sadie Billie and Ida, survived into modern times to be recorded.) Billie soon found work with George Lewis and Buddy Petit and others. While playing a gig at the Blue Jay Club in 1935 she met, fell in love with and married trumpeter De De Pierce and together they led a house band at Luthjen's for the next two decades until De De's health problems forced a temporary retirement.

Failure to get proper treatment led to De De loosing his sight but by 1959 into the 60's they made a comeback just in time to catch the Preservation Hall era. They made recordings for Folklyric, Jazzology, Riverside, and American Music as well as touring and recording with Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Health issues forced a second retirement by the 70's and De De died in 1973, followed 10 months later by Billie.

These recordings were made mostly at an Art Gallery turned nighttime recording studio here in the French Quarter by a pair of drinking companions and historic jazz enthusiasts, Larry Borenstein and Bill Russell. What makes these particular sessions special is that on tracks 6-12 they were asked to do their bawdiest material from the old Luthjen's days. An interesting time portal to the days that give rise to jazz and R&B.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Percy Sledge - The Percy Sledge Way

Hey everyone!  I just want to take a moment of your time, while I have your attention.  I have had a crazy couple of months, and various events have brought me to a new viewpoint where blogging is concerned.  Rather than bore you to death, I will neatly summize...  I will be re-upping ALL of my Chitlins posts and hosting them permanently.  I will be moving away from digital collections, and towards single vinyl albums. Secondly, I want to get back to the thing that brought me into blogging in the first place;  vinyl sourced FLAC rips.  Going forward all of my output will be in FLAC.  For those of you who prefer mp3, DL a small program call Trader's Little Helper.  It has a wonderful conversion tool which is easy and quick, yet fully comprehensive. 

So... back to the music!!!  And what wonderful music we have on this one.  Infact, this is by far my favorite Percy Sledge side.  It's an album of covers, but he subtlely makes them his own.  You may find you prefer his treatment over some of the originals.  He does however, set his sights really high.  Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Solomon Burke... you get the picture?  Sledge went for the biggest and brightest, somewhat risky but ultimately rewarding. 

Aside from each song, what makes this one special for me is the overall vibe - the tracking is perfect, assumably we have producers Quin Ivy and Marlin Greene to thank for this.  Some of these early soul albums can have that "thrown together" sound as singles were what really drove the recording industry at the time.  Rest assured The Percy Sledge Way is one homerun after another with no break in the mood.  Fellas, this one gets my seal of approval if its panties you are trying to remove, or maybe just a heart in need of melting.  PS is relentless in his romantic delivery, as is the band.

This was ripped from my excellent condition LP.  This original mono Atlantic has the faint hint of analog-ness, not enough to distract your listening, but enough to remind you of the vinyl goodness that it's paired with.  I won't remove noise at the cost of the music.  Frankly this rip is in keeping with most of the digitally sourced material we have been listening to here at Chitlins.  Ripped at 24/44.1 wav and dithered to 16/44.1 FLAC... enjoy!!