Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pilgrim Jubilee Singers - Walk On and The Old Ship of Zion

Our Sunday fare is a repost because my lazy ass has yet to finish tagging and sorting our final Swanne post - this is some wonderful stuff here and the great news is that Dr Hep Cat will have a supplimental once he has finished sorting and tagging!

THIS is a gospel post you should try...this is all killer stuff here!

 The Pilgrim Jubilee Singers of Chicago: Cleve Graham, Clay Graham, N. Major Roberson, Percy Clark (vocals), Richard Crume (guitar). WALK ON was released on the Peacock label in 1962, THE OLD SHIP OF ZION was released on Peacock in 1964. Includes original release liner notes by Dzondria Lalsac and additional notes by Jerry Zoltan and Ray Funk. Mobile Fidelity's Walk On/The Old Ship of Zion combines two Peacock albums -- 1962's Walk On and 1964's The Old Ship of Zion -- on one compact disc. Both albums capture the Pilgrim Jubilee Singers at their peak, demonstrating that they were one of the greatest hard gospel quartets of their time. ~ Leo Stanley Personnel: Percy Clark, N. Major Roberson (vocals); Richard Crume (guitar). Unknown Contributor Roles: Clay Graham; Cleve Graham.

This time around I am adding a third album of live material!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Holy Spirit - Spiritual Soul and Gospel Funk From Shreveport's Jewel Records

"One of the funkiest gospel collections you'll ever hope to own – and an amazing document of the criss-crossing styles going down at the legendary Jewel Records! Jewel didn't just record gospel, but handled a fair bit of soul, funk, blues, and jazz – all of which seems to bubble forth in these amazing recordings – tracks that easily represent some of the hippest, coolest gospel sides of the late 60s and early 70s – the kind of work we've dug for years in its ability to easily cross over to the secular scene, thanks to wicked grooves underneath the vocals! And the vocals are pretty darn great too – work by singers who could have been huge in the mainstream world, had they broken from the spiritual realm – really belting out with the best of the southern soul scene of the time. The package features a whopping 41 tracks in all – with tracks that "Don't Forget The Bridge" by Mighty Songs Of Glory, "There's A Creator" by Roscoe Robinson, "Trouble's Brewin" by The Meditation Singers, "Brotherly Love" by BP's Revolution, "I'm Trying To Be Your Friend" by Soul Stirrers, "Far Away From God" by Armstrong Brothers, "Golden Gate" by Traveling Echoes, "He's A Friend" by Dorothy Norwood, "Watch That Rogue" by Silver Gate Quartet, "You've Got To Serve Somebody" by Bill Moss, and "The Upper Way" by The Violinaires."  © 1996-2015, Dusty Groove, Inc.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Plug It In, Turn It Up! - Electric Blues, part 3

AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett

"This is the third three-disc volume in Bear Family Records' ambitious four-volume history of the electric blues, all compiled and annotated by blues historian and musicologist Bill Dahl. The Gibson guitar company introduced the first electric guitar in the 1930s, and the advent of amplification meant the blues could preach louder and longer, which allowed a country acoustic music to transform itself into its own kind of powerfully rhythmic pop music. Taken as a whole, this ambitious Bear Family series traces and surveys that transformation, beginning with jazz-inspired jump blues tracks and following through to the juncture of blues and rock, blues and funk, and beyond, on into the 21st century. This particular volume covers 1960 to 1969, a time when blues and rock & roll really started to join hands, and it features classic tracks like Buddy Guy's "First Time I Met the Blues," Jimmy Reed's "Big Boss Man," Albert King's "Crosscut Saw," and B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby," but it also collects lesser-known gems like Frank Frost's "Jelly Roll King" and Junior Parker's "Driving Wheel," then slides into blues and rock hybrids like the Animals' "House of the Rising Sun," Canned Heat's Henry Thomas-inspired "On the Road Again," and Janis Joplin's "Ball and Chain," before closing things out with Stevie Wonder's blues-based "I Ain't Superstitious" done by the Jeff Beck Group. Bear Family Records is known for its quality releases, and this volume is no exception. When the full 12 discs are taken together, with nearly 300 tracks, it makes for a fascinating survey of the blues in all of its electric configurations."

Monday, November 16, 2015

Allen Toussaint - Sehorn's Soul Farm

This 2 disc collection represents the height of Toussaint's production career where he was instrumental in creating the soul/funk for which New Orleans is justly famous. My first version of this set was of utterly wretched sound quality, but this one is audibly improved, tho still not adequately remastered given the importance and quality of the music contained here.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Nashboro Gospel - I Heard The Angels Singing

Okay - I know that church is late today, but I'm distracted - this one is for our favorite little old lady!

"Ernest L. Young learned the music business from the ground up, starting in the jukebox operating field, and soon became one of the largest suppliers in the Nashville area. He opened Ernie's Record Mart on Third Avenue North in Nashville as a means to move more records, and realizing the advantages in making his own product, he built a small studio in the back of the store, later expanding into a larger space on the third floor of his shipping department building, finally opening the pioneering gospel label Nashboro Records in 1951. Young launched a secular subsidiary label, the more famous Excello Records, four years later in 1955. Always hands-on, Young oversaw every phase of making records at his labels, and gospel artists responded by giving Young's Nashboro imprint one of the finest rosters of gospel in the genre's history, while his roster for the Excello blues and R&B subsidiary was pretty singular too -- but that's another story. This four-disc set, which comes complete in a gatefold LP-sized package, surveys Nashboro's gospel output chronologically from 1951 to 1983, and it's an eye-opening, explosive anthology of gritty, exuberant black gospel from a label that had as much to do with shaping the sound of pop music in the latter part of the 20th century as more famous labels like Sun and Chess Records did. The roots of soul and so much more are heard here, and with the way the set is assembled, one can hear the decades build forward through the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s into the full-band, funky and R&B-influenced tracks from the 1970s and 1980s. The whole anthology is a delight, and there are some familiar names here, like the Fairfield Four, for one, but there are just as many or more obscure artists here making powerful musical statements. A particular high point is the husband-and-wife duo the Consolers' 1957 version of "This May Be the Last Time," a song the Rolling Stones had a secular hit with in the mid-'60s (under the title "The Last Time"). In the Consolers' hands, the song seems so much brighter, jangly and more alive, and it speaks to deeper and wider concerns than the Stones' version does. It's just one example of the many powerful tracks collected in this set. Bravo to Tompkins Square for spotlighting the best little gospel label that ever was." AllMusic Guide

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Minit and Instant Story

Allen's first work as a fledgling producer is featured here, particularly on disc 1.- 

 Minit Records was a record label originally based in New Orleans and founded by Joe Banashak. After making a distribution deal with Imperial Records, the label released its biggest hit, the #1 Mother-in Law by Ernie K-Doe. A number of Allen Toussaint productions were issued on Minit, including hits by Irma Thomas. After the hits dried up, the label was sold to Imperial Records. Banashak also owned Instant Records which he kept. Minit was acquired by Liberty Records in 1963 as part of its acquisition of Imperial Records. Later its records were re-issued between 1966 and 1970 by Sunset Records and the label was active during the same time period as a soul music label. The Minit catalog is currently owned by EMI.

"This 52-song collection doesn't entirely overlap EMI's Minit Records Story box set, which has a few rarities and obscure tracks, but it's a good overview of some of the best and most interesting of the label's output, and also the sheer diversity of the company's output, from the hard blues of Jessie Hill to the smooth, near-pop stylings of Allen & Allen. Joe Banashak, who founded Minit and Instant, was truly in love with the sounds he heard from the clubs in New Orleans, and he seldom seems to have heard any artists expressing confidence and inspiration who he didn't want to release. Thus, hard-rocking numbers like Lee Dorsey's "Lottie Mo" share space on this set with harmony numbers like "The Owl Sees You" by the Showmen (aka the Humdingers) and the sultry, seductive soul of Irma Thomas ("It's Too Soon to Know," "Ruler of My Heart," "It's Raining"). British Invasion fans will find a lot to keep them busy as well, given the originals by several Brit-rock favorites, including "Fortune Teller," "Something You Got," and "I Like It Like That" represented here. Throughout both of these discs, Allen Toussaint is represented as producer, arranger, and frequently songwriter as well; if anyone needed convincing that Banashak had a resident genius under contract, the first few tracks do the job. The second disc moves up through later, post-Toussaint Instant and Seven B label tracks that feature Eddie Lang, Skip Easterling, and Eddie Bo, as well as Bo's production work from the mid- and late '60s. The sound is excellent as well, and one only wishes that a bit more material from Minit's early history was present, and that a few more details were available on some of the lesser-known artists.  AMG

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Allen Toussaint - Motion & Life, Love and Faith

 A dreary gray day here in the city that care forgot. The sky has joined the music lovers of New Orleans in shedding tears for the loss of a great man. Even those who have felt wronged by him at some time would never wish him the fate of passing away alone in a hotel, so far from his beloved New Orleans. The apparent glamour of the life of a musician has a dark side that is too easily forgotten. I'm a little surprised by the depth of sadness and loss I am feeling today as I sit to write this while listening to Motion. Through my friend Zigaboo I had been introduced to the imperfect side of Allen, but over time I've let it go. It is a sign of your own mortality when your heroes are dying at such an alarming rate.

"It could be the closest I've ever come to greatness.

I was at an outdoor daytime concert at the Old U.S. Mint in New Orleans. Just before the music began, a slim, elegant figure emerged. He leaned against a wall near where I was standing and proceeded to listen to the music by a band that enjoyed playing the songs of the great Louisiana swamp rocker Bobby Charles.

It was Allen Toussaint.
Toussaint, who died Monday at 77, was a seminal force in New Orleans rhythm and blues. Yet there he was, by himself, no entourage or posse or special treatment, dapper as always in a suit despite the New Orleans heat, mingling with the masses and enjoying the tunes.

Toussaint, a disciple of New Orleans piano legend Professor Longhair, was a protean musician, a singer, a splendid piano player in a city that has produced so many of them, and, most important, a prolific songwriter and producer.  He wrote so many of the songs that define the extremely fertile era of 50s and 60s New Orleans R&B – think Mother-in-Law and Lipstick Traces and Working in the Coal Mine and I Like It Like That and Ruler of My Heart. He collaborated with Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney and Patti LaBelle. He  arranged horns for The Band. His songs were covered by the Rolling Stones (Fortune Teller) and Glen Campbell (Southern Nights). He was named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and he received a National Humanities Medal from President Obama.
He is a national treasure.

Yet for all his achievements, for all that prodigious talent, Allen Toussaint never became a household name  – except in the right households. And, of course, in New Orleans, where he was royalty." Rem Reider, USA Today

Allen Toussaint - The Complete Tousan Sessions

Allen's first solo recordings.

A lovely contribution from our pal Morris:

"From the German-based Bear Family Records reissue label comes over two-dozen selections by a young Allen Toussaint (piano) during his earliest outings as a solo artist -- albeit under the slightly truncated nom de plume of "A. Tousan" or simply "Tousan." Although he'd been gigging and sitting in on a variety of Crescent City R&B sessions, it was RCA Records' Danny Kessler who took the initiative to book studio time for Toussaint. That very first endeavor -- held on January 29, 1958 -- featured Toussaint supported by other Nola locals Alvin "Red" Tyler (baritone sax), Nat Perrilliat (tenor sax), or Lee Allen (tenor sax), either Justin Adams (guitar) or Roy Montrell (guitar), Frank Fields (bass), and Charles "Hungry" Williams (drums). While the exact lineup may not be certain, what is undeniable is the masterful energy of these seminal sides. Toussaint revealed to a reviewer that he "had no involvement in the titles of the songs. When I played them, I referred to them as 'Song Number One,' 'Song Number Two' and so on. It wasn't until the record came out that I was informed Kessler had chosen to name each piece after a different racehorse." Once "Whirlaway" b/w the raucous sacred-inspired "Happy Times" scored favorable results, Kessler hit Toussaint up for enough material to compile what would become the full-length Wild Sound of New Orleans (1958) LP. Arguably the best-known of the instrumental lot is the perky "Java" -- which Al Hirt (trumpet) was able to take to the top of the pop singles survey, not to mention carve out a nice career for himself in the process. Other entries worthy of multiple spins include the mile-a-minute "Tim Tam," "Bono," and the musical Mardi Gras that is "Nashua" -- which owes much to Professor Longhair and points the way for Toussaint's future musical aspirations. Similarly, "Wham Tousan" and "Pelican Parade" are evidence of Toussaint's already fully formed keyboard style. The second half of the Complete "Tousan" Sessions (1992) is dedicated to tracks destined for the Seville imprint and credited to "Al Tousan and His Piano." Of the 15 tunes documented during the December 7 and 8, 1959 session only a handful were ever released. Namely, the 45s "Chico" b/w "Sweetie Pie," "Naomi" b/w "Back Home Again in Indiana" -- a rare cover tune for Toussaint, "A Blue Mood" b/w "Moo Moo" (aka "Cow Cow Boogie"), and "Real Churchy" b/w "Twenty Years Later." Interestingly, the latter is nothing more than a recycled and abbreviated edit of the aforementioned "Sweetie Pie." The remainder make their debut and in true Bear Family style are thoroughly annotated in the 20-page liner notes booklet."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Allen Toussaint - Southern Nights

Hard to wrap your mind around - I just saw him play a couple weeks ago and ran into him a couple days later on Royal St. as I was coming out of the grocery. He looked the picture of health. This is my personal favorite album. I was surprised to discover I hadn't posted it before.

No matter what issues anyone may have had with him it is very sad to know that he died alone in a hotel room so far away from home.

Allen Toussaint - From a Whisper to a Scream 1970

We have lost another giant.

 From a Whisper to a Scream
The album predates the Sea-Saint era, it was recorded in Los Angeles but with a cast of New Orleans players including Mac Rebennack, John Boudreaux, Clyde Kerr and Earl Turbinton. Released on the English Kent label the album wasn't given wide distribution in the states and quickly disappeared from print. The record featured Toussaint versions of Working in a Coal Mine and Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky both of which were previously released by Lee Dorsey. 

Allen Toussaint - From a Whisper to a Scream

Kent 1970

1) From a Whisper to a Scream
2) Chokin' Kind
3) Sweet Touch of Love
4) What is Success
6) Everything I Do Gonna be Funky
7) Either
8) Louie
9) Cast Your Fate to the Wind
10) Number Nine
11) Pickles

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Swanee Quintet - Parts 3 & 4, 1969 - 1990

A reminder that this is primarily th work of Dr Hep Cat, I helped, but the bulk of the material came from him - there will even be a suplimental as he has come up with even more but this was already uploaded and you can't delete Embedupload items.

...continued from Tony Cummings Cross Rhythms.

"Pioneers in gospel like Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the Ward Singers had taken gospel music beyond the confines of the church and in the '50s New York disc jocky and gospel singer Thurman Ruth began to present his Gospel Caravans at the Apollo. Thurman remembered the Swanees as "the greatest singing group that I had at the Apollo. They were terrific. I had them with another big-name group and the big name was closing. But the Swanee Quintet was so tough that I had to let them close the show."
By the '60s the sales of the Swanee Quintet's singles were dipping and though Nashboro released albums like 1960's 'What About Me', 1962's 'The Anniversary Album', 1963's 'Meetin' Tonight' and 1964's 'Soul Stirring Gospel' the golden age for the group seemed to be over. But then "Mister Dynamite", James Brown, took an interest in the Swanee's dwindling career.

Brown had once worked as a shoe shine boy outside the WGAC radio station in Augusta (where the Swanees had their afternoon radio programme). The shoe shine boy grew up listening to the Swanee Quintet and in his teenage years secularised the sound of Ruben Willingham and the Swanees to start James Brown & The Famous Flowers. The R&B star took the Swanee Quintet under his wing and gave them a spot in his touring review and even produced a single, "Try Me Father", with them. As it turned out, even with the James Brown Band behind them the single, on Crescent Records, a gospelisation of Brown's 1958 hit "Try Me", was not a success. Shortly after that session Ruben Willingham left the Quintet to enter the ministry and perform as a solo singer, although on his first recordings in 1969 he used the Swanees as a backing group. Johnny Jones was briefly tempted into an unsuccessful mainstream R&B career, but he too rejoined the Swanees from time to time.

The group brought in replacement lead singers Percy Griffin and Clarence Murray and, though not at the same pace as of old, continued to tour and, occasionally, record. The Swanee Quintet recorded albums like 'Eternal Life' (AIR, 1992), 'Just One Rose Will Do' (AIR, 1995), 'So Glad' (AIR, 1998) and 'The New Walk' (Gospel Jubilee, 2000). In 2002 James "Big Red" Anderson was inducted into the Gospel Hall Of Fame while the following year J R Riles, with the help of fellow Augustans recognised the historical significance of the veteran gospellers by honouring the group by naming a street Swanee Quintet Boulevard." 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Plug It In! Turn It Up! Electric Blues: Part 2, 1954-1967

AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

"The second volume of Bear Family's four-part electric blues series Plug It In! Turn It Up! features the years 1954-1967 but that's slightly misleading, as much of the latter years are bunched up on the third disc, which rounds up 29 significant instrumentals. The rest of the collection concentrates on continuing the story the first volume began, as West Coast, Delta, and Chicago blues all began to swing harder and play louder, working their way onto rock & roll jukeboxes as they did so. Some of these singles do play like rock & roll -- that's particularly true of Bo Diddley's heavy-footed rumble and Hank Ballard's easy shuffle on "Look at Little Sister" -- but this is primarily devoted to electrified blues that jolts and jumps like a bare wire. There are plenty of big names and classics here, songs that would later be standards in any number of house bands across the country: "Kansas City," "I'm Ready," "My Babe," "I'm a Man," "I Wish You Wouldn't," "I Can't Quit You Baby," "Got My Mojo Working," "I'm a King Bee," "Texas Flood," "Kansas City," "Baby What You Want Me to Do," "The Sky Is Crying," "Wham!," "Frosty." It's a crash course in history that plays like a party, even on that third disc of high-octane instrumentals."

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Swanee Quintet - parts 1 & 2

I had mentioned that Dr Hep Cat and I were working on this and we have managed to create a 4 part collection of over 100 songs! Today I will offer parts 1 & 2, covering a period from 1953 to 1967. The history below  comes from the excellent blog Cross Rythms by Tony Cummings. If you click on the name here or on the 'see more below it will take you there.

"The Swanee Quintet are gospel music survivors - an old style vocal group who over the decades have travelled the Gospel Highway playing everything from humble storefront churches to Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden. They are also a group who were called gospel's "countriest" act by gospel authority Anthony Heilbut (meaning the Swanee's sound was raw and rural rather than veering towards the white sounds of Nashville) yet a group sophisticated enough to record and tour with Soul Brother No 1, James Brown. While hosting a TV special opening the remodelled Apollo Theatre, actor/comedian Bill Cosby said that one of his favourite memories "was watching the Swanee Quintet excite the Apollo audience with their special brand of gospel music."
The origins of the group go back to 1939 when a trio - consisting of Charlie Barnwell, Rufus Washington and William "Pee Wee" Crawford - toured Georgia and South Carolina. Based in Augusta, Georgia, they added two other members, James "Big Red" Anderson and Ruben W Willingham, and by 1945 the group were operating as the Swanee Quintet with Willingham on lead vocals, Crawford dropping his vocal duties to concentrate on playing his un-mistakeable guitar and the other members harmonising.
The group's name was as downhome as their music, gospel authority Chris Smith observing, "The Swanee Quintet [was] closer than most people have got to the correct spelling since Stephen Foster altered the Suwannee River to fit his tune."
For several years the Swanees were featured on a daily radio programme in Augusta. Eventually in 1951 the group came to the attention of Nashville entrepreneur Ernie Young who had formed Nashboro Records, a label with a close link to Ernie's Record mart retail, mail order and distribution house. From the outset, Ernie Young had hit upon a reliable niche market for gospel music amongst Southern blacks and with regular exposure on the influential Nashville radio station WLAC he had a ready sales outlet in Ernie's Record Mart. The first 78s released on Nashboro by the Silvertone Jubilee Singers, Zachery's Heavenly Gospelaires and the Skylarks were moderate but as the '50s rolled on regular play on WLAC of Nashboro's growing roster of downhome gospel purveyors like the Consolers, Edna Gallmon Cooke, Professor Harold Boggs and The Swanee Quintet the hits began to come.
It was the Quintet's 1953 single "Sit Down Servant" they broke big on the gospel market. Wrote Chris Smith, "The song had all the ingredients that were to be typical of their style over the years: Crawford's bluesy guitar riffs, the mighty background chords of Anderson, Barnwell and Washington (these three formed the Swanee's backing vocal team for over 30 years) and above all the fierce preaching and singing of Ruben Willingham, moving with an easy grace from speech to song to something in between."
More successful Swanee Quintet singles like "Cry Sometime" (1954), "It's Hard To Get Along" and "I'm Alright Now" (1955) and "Race To Run" and "Jesus Won't Fail" (1956) followed. Chris Smith described Rev Ruben Willingham as the "testifier par excellence" and certainly his rasping exhortations to keep faith in Christ were as exciting as anything in gospel. If Willingham's singing needed anything to make it perfect, it was a foil, someone to supply contrast. "Big Red" would sing falsettos in the background, but in 1956 the group went to the next level when the Quintet became a sextet when Little Johnny Jones joined. The addition of Jones' sweet high tenor to the group's vocal armoury was a revelation. More singles like "Come See About Me" (1957) and "Sleep On Mother" and "Over In Zion" (1958) and "My Father's Land" (1959) were good but it was their "New Walk" single recorded in August 1959, with its stately but impassioned beginning suddenly transforming into an uptempo, church wrecking romp, that is considered a classic.
Chris Smith wrote about the Quintet, "As the years passed there was little change to the Swanee's sound; they and Nashboro kept up with musical fashion adding various combinations of bass, piano, organ and drums at times, but luckily these were usually well and unobtrusively played and they don't distract, either from the vocalists or from Crawford's guitar work."....see more