March 01, 2015

The Farichild Enigma Revisted

I first discussed “Fairchild” as part of my big feature on the song’s vocalist, Willie West, back in 2008. Written and produced by Allen Toussaint, the song is the top side of a single that initially came out in 1970 on Josie Records, the New York City-based label that was also releasing the Meters' output at the time. It was Willie's only one for Josie. When I wrote that post, the only vinyl copy of "Fairchild" I had was Rhino’s ostensible reproduction of the original, part of a box set of reissued 45s they put out as an adjunct to their 2006 What It Is! multi-CD compilation of funky soul and rare grooves from the late 1960s into the 1970s; and the circumstances of that re-release wound up creating questions that proved to be hard to answer.

Not long after getting the Rhino sets, I heard the song as it first appeared, via audio from a vintage Josie promo 45, and discovered that it differed significantly from the vinyl and digital reissues. Promotional copies of the single, while not exactly common, do turn up from time to time; and, as I said in my earlier post, Larry Grogan put up the audio from one on his fine Funky 16 Corners blog. It was a white label promo with “fancy” font, vertical Josie lettering in black on the left side. DJ copies were less frequently issued in the stock color scheme, as well.

I was immediately knocked back by the arrangement of the song, which, unlike the reissues, includes an impressive horn section and much hotter mix , with everything mastered up near the tape saturation point, yielding an edgy, aggressive sound. In fact, the track seemed too imposing to me at first, in contrast to the simpler, subtle feel of the essentially unfinished take heard on the box sets.

Of course, as I listened, the questions began. Why would there be two divergent versions of the song nearly 40 years apart? And I wondered if the even rarer stock copy, which I had yet to see or hear, would sound like the promo, the reissues, or somewhere in between?

The difficulty in locating a stock copy made the answer to the second question very slow to come. As time passed, I kept looking for one on sale or auction, or for someone to at least make the audio available.  At one point I was assisted by an astute reader and contributor, anna b, who thought she had one tracked down. She found a post by a blogger in the UK who discussed the record and displayed a photo of a stock copy label; but, when she contacted him, he said he had sold it and did not recall if there were horns on the track or not!

Shifting forward a few more years, in 2013 I was contacted by Mr. Fine Wine, a mega-collector as well as esteemed producer and host of Downtown Soulville on WFMU in New York City. He let me know that he had heard both promo and stock pressings of “Fairchild” and could confirm their equivalence. So, with that verification, I updated the original post to reflect at least that fact and let the matter slide while pursuing my many other obsessive musical distractions.

Last year, I spotted the near mint stock copy of the Josie 45 you see below. It was up for auction on the ’bay. Unsure of its authenticity and without much hope of getting it anyway, I let fly with a bid that ended up winning the thing, much to my shock. I figured that, if I was a boot, I would just return it, but was pretty sure there were no known counterfeits floating around. After examining the record, I am satisfied that it is an original pressing (see details below).

With that happy accident, I thought I’d continue my return to posting by revisiting the single and discussing what remains unknown about it. I‘ve got audio up from both the Josie stock and Rhino-issued A-sides to let you hear the difference [the B-sides are identical]. So, listen and let the conjecturing begin anew.



“Fairchild” (Allen Toussaint)
Willie West, Josie 1019, 1970

“I Sleep With the Blues” (Allen Toussaint)

First off, my assessment of this record’s bona fides. The vinyl of the pictured stock copy [#1019] appears to be vintage, comparable in manufacture to other stock Josie singles in my archives [notably by the Meters] around this issue number. In the deadwax/runout area of each side, the matrix numbers are incised (by hand, it appears): Joz-672-1- and Joz-673-1-. Then, on the A-side, the letters AIA [very faint] and the much more legible DPS are incised, and on the B-side appear as (DPS) first, then AIA [also very faint]. Following those codes, SELECT SOUND [which should be the pressing facility] is stamped in. Also, there is an R incised about halfway around the record. The dead wax info is consistent with other Josie singles I checked, with minor variations. For example, on the preceding single in the catalog, #1018 (“Chicken Strut”/”Hey! Last Minute” by the Meters), following the incised matrix numbers (Joz 670-1 & 671-1), a faint A3A is incised above the SELECT SOUND stamp, but no DPS appears, and an R is again found about halfway around. Meanwhile, both #1013 and #1021 have only DPS between the matrix number and stamp, plus what are probably initials, LW, after the stamp. On some later Jolsie singles [when they were in their final days], Select Sound is incised rather than stamped, or not shown at all.

Likewise, the design, color and fonts on the #1019 label are very consistent with my stock copy of #1018, down to the placement of the information. It also lines up well with other stock #'s of that design. So, it looks like we have a genuine article, and in truly superb condition.

I’ve got the Rhino reissue single A-side label up again for comparison below. You’ll note that they did not match the label design, using the more common stock logo with a black oval containing lowercase yellow “josie” lettering, all over a multicolored background section. I’m not sure if Rhino did not have an original version to go by, or, simply ignored it. Maybe they did not want to pay for another design, since there are three more standard Josie label reproductions in the set.



“Fairchild”
Rhino reissue

Neither the record information provided with the 45 box or Oliver Wang’s notes to the CD set acknowledge Rhino's use of an alternate take on “Fairchild”. Wang, creator of one of the original and best mp3 blogs, Soul Sides, and a music scholar, certainly would have noted the fact, had he known it; but he did later post on Soul Sides about the issue, after he picked up a promo copy of his own, remarking on the discrepancy and linking to my original post about it.

What perplexes me still is why Rhino did not have access to the master tape of the original release. Obviously, someone found a version of the song saved prior to the horns being added and used that for remastering. Either the original was overlooked for some reason, such as being mislabeled, or it was accidentally destroyed at some point. There were only 14 subsequent singles issued on Josie before the label was shut down in 1971 due to the sale of its parent company, Jubilee Records. Things may not have been too stable at the time in their control of the masters. Roulette Records eventually acquired the catalog; and, in the 1980s, Rhino purchased the US rights. Time Warner assimilated Rhino about a decade later. So, in the progression of the Josie masters up the corporate food chain, I’m sure there were ample opportunities to lose track of a few with no one much around to notice.

I certainly don’t think Rhino should be unduly faulted for this, one way or the other. It’s laudable that they put their What It Is! box sets together with such high quality. The record business being what it is, they probably didn’t make much on the hard copies - maybe downloads have done better. Anyway, it’s enough that they got a lot of good music back in circulation. Leave the geeks to help gather up the so-called trivia that slipped through the cracks. I just wish more fans could hear the impact of the original "Fairchild" with Toussaint’s mighty horn arrangement, which has become for me, after all these years, the definitive go-to version.

February 14, 2015

CARNIVAL SEASONING 2015



Mardi Gas comin’ once again, just a few more days to cram in as much celebratin’ as you can stand. . .for as long as you can stand.

Right now, I’ve got a replay of a tune I first posted back in 2008. Read about it there. I’ll just say that it’s an important 45 for the mash-up of Mardi Gras Indian singing and brass band (the Dirty Dozen in this case) playing, something that hadn’t been done on record, as far as I know, before that early 1980s release date - although Eddie Bo produced a 45 of the Bobby Williams Group doing “Boogaloo Mardi Gras” in 1968 that had horns, primarily a trumpet, playing over the groove with some Indian-style chanting - gotta give Eddie and Bobby their due, which I did with a feature back in 2009. Also of note, the high end on this record is really too hot. So, for the re-rip, I did some EQ modification and backed that treble hash down a few notches, which helped to bring out the horns some more.

Included below are photos in no particular order from this year’s Krewe du Vieux and Krewe Delusion parades [with more on imgur], plus a couple of shots from my Super Sunday 2013 adventure to help provide that Indian vibe. . . .

Almost forgot: The last of this year's Mardi Gras music shows I did on KRVS over the past three weeks will air again this Tuesday (da big day) at noon US Central time, as we all revel in our various excesses at the close of Carnival season. Listen at krvs.org either at that time or stream the podcasts anytime.



“Shotgun Joe” Part 1
Ernest Skipper with Flag & The Boys, Rosemont 8201, ca 1983


H A P P Y

          M  A  R  D  I

                         G R A S

                                 2 0 1 5
                                           
                                        Y' A L L



Photos by Dan Phillips












December 28, 2014

. . . .Looking back and foward. . . .




Hey, y'all. I appreciate the inquiries as to my whereabouts. As you can see, since last August I've just been posting annotated playlists of my show on KRVS here, and am way behind on those. I'm enjoying doing weekly radio again, and getting the chance to dig into my archives for tracks to play. [I've found some stuff I forgot I had!] But, it does present, um, time management challenges.

Anyway, behind the scenes, I continue seeking out vinyl I don't have and recently tracked down a record I'd been after for a long time. I'm going to do a post on that one in the near future - an update to an earlier piece. Then, I'm fixin' to write-up a big post on a fairly obscure New Orleans artist and songwriter. That will take some time, but hope you'll check back over the next few months. 

Meanwhile, I'll also be doing some more annotated playlists as time permits. Hope you can catch some of the broadcasts, either live or by streaming the podcasts. I'll have plenty more rare grooves in the mix for 2015, and Carnival season is right around da corner!!!

Peace.

November 22, 2014

FUNKIFY YOUR LIFE #12 - 10/23/2014

The weekly show: Thursdays at 1:00 PM and Fridays at 9:00 PM on KRVS 88.7 FM Lafayette/Lake Charles, and online at krvs.org. You can hear a podcast of this show and previous episodes on the station’s website under “Programs” anytime (scroll down to "Funkify Your Life" and click title to see the latest playlist and, below that, a list of all earlier shows by date. Click on the title of the show you want to hear and you'll open the podcast player).

This was the second of my shows for the station’s successful Fall Fundraiser. I featured vintage funk and rare groove cuts from or connected to the Lafayette/Lake Charles areas, and points in between. Nearly all were sourced from vinyl.

“Funkify Your Life” [Intro] - The Meters

“Keep On Lovin’ Me” (L. A. Zeno-S. Billington-D. Reed) - Dalton Reed - from his Bullseye Blues CD, Louisiana Soul Man, 1992.
Lafayette's own late, great soul singer, Dalton Reed, never got to record much, but should have had more national attention for his two Bullseye Blues releases. Unfortunately, he died soon after the second one came out. These sessions were done in New Orleans with Lafayette bassist Lee Allen Zeno and Rounder’s Scott Billington co-producing.

“I Wanna Dance” (G. Graeff-D. Graeff) - Po’Boy - from their 1973 Jin single #274, ca 1973.
This band from the Lafayette area morphed from Rufus Jagneaux to Po’Boy Rufus and the Sostan Band, and later just Rufus (the LA version rather than the L.A. one), swapping out some members along the way; but the core of the group were the Graeff brothers, bassist and leader Benny and drummer Gary - both sang.They had a couple of singles on Jin, plus an LP, Po’Boy Rufus and the Sostan Band, produced by Benny at the label’s studio in Ville Platte in 1974. Other members on this track included Dana Breaux, guitar and vocal; Leroy Evans, harmonica, percussion, and vocals, and Baco Latour, vocals. Versions of the group still play gigs around here from time to time.

“Slap It to Me” (B. Babineaux) - Billy John & the Continentals - a Tramp 45 reissue of this side, taken from their original Jin single #214, 1966.
Also from the Lafayette area, the band was fronted by drummer/vocalist Billy Babineaux and also featured his brother, Bobby, on guitar. They had two singles on Jin and two on the N-Joy label. One of their songs was covered by Robert Plant and his Band of Joy in 2010.

“I Can’t Lose” (L. Williams) - Phillip Walker - from his original Playboy single #50032, 1973.
As I said on the show, Phillip Walker is originally from Welsh, LA, just East of Lake Charles, but moved out to the West Coast in the late 1950s to pursue his career in music, after working in Clifton Chenier’s band for a few years. This song also appeared on his Playboy LP, Bottom of the Top.

“That’s Right” (W. P. Guidry-C. S. Williams) - Danny James - from his original Goldband single #1176, 1967.
Originally from Sulphur, LA, near Lake Charles, guitarist Danny James (Sonnier) played in area bands and did session work for Goldband, recording a couple of his own singles for the label, as well. For more background, see the post I did on those.

“Hell Or High Water” (H. Broussard-E. Shuler) - Katie Webster - from the BGP CD compilation, Southern Funkin’, 2005, originally.on Goldband #1290, 1979.
I have several of Katie’s Goldband singles, including the one with this funky side, but was unable to locate it in the current disorder of my South Louisiana holdings - another long-term reclamation project on my list. Read Bill Dahl’s overview of Katie’s career for more details on this talented session pianist/vocalist and feature artist.

“Sick and Tired” (Kenner-Bartholomew) - Elton Anderson - from his original Lanor single #509, 1962.
Elton Anderson was from Lake Charles, while the Lanor label was based in Church Point. See my post on another of his Lanor singles for more information on him and the label, with a discography. Note: this session was recorded at Cosimo’s in New Orleans, likely with Katie Webster on piano.

“My Babe” (W; Dixon) - Wayne Deville - from his original Drew-Blan single #1012, 1964.
The late Wayne Deville (Devillier), a great keyboardist and vocalist, was from Morgan City, where Drew-Blan Records was located. In the 1960s, he played a lot in New Orleans on the live scene before heading for the Left Coast later in the decade and getting tangled up in the music bidniz out there. Back in 2005, I posted on an album he did with Sweet Salvation, a group of mostly expatriate Louisiana musicians, in the early 1970s. A bit later, he also played in Three Dog Night’s band out there, and an offshoot group, S. S. Fools. In his later days, he did some recording with Luther Kent & Trickbag in New Orleans.

“Rooty Tooty” (L. Prevost) - Lionel Torrence - from his original Zynn single #1023, 1962.
Lionel Torrance was actually Lionel Prevost, an exceptional R&B sax player, born in Franklin, LA and raised in Port Arthur, TX. Read the great feature on him at Sax on the Web. I wrote about this tune here, also.

“Superior Funk” (Simon-Guillory-Fontenot-Guillory-Green) - Superior Elevation - from the Funky Delicacies 2006 reissue of their 1982 Black Satin LP, Get It Don’t Stop.
The Lake Charles area’s answer to Earth, Wind & Fire, Chocolate Milk, and the Bar-Kays, Superior Elevation didn’t seem to last long - as record-makers, anyway. A few weeks back, I played a cut from the Black Satin 45 that preceded this LP. Looks like the same sides on that single had first been released nationally in 1981 by Phil-L.A. of Soul (#386), at the very end of that label’s run. There were also several other singles on Black Satin and Lake City that were spun-off from the album.

“Soul Brothers Testify, Part 1” (C. Randle-S.Simien) - Chester Randle’s Soul Senders - from the BGP CD compilation, Southern Funkin’, 2005
This raw soul-funk rarity originally was released on Eddie Shuler’s Goldband subsidiary, Anla (#102), 1968. According to Dean Rudland’s helpful notes with the CD, guitarist Chester Randle also played in the band of another Anla artist, Bill Parker. The players on this session were Randle, plus Parker on drums, and Scotty Milford (a/k/a Milford Scott) on piano. This two-parter was the label’s initial release.. A wilder second take of the song was also released on Anla (#115) showing the group as Original Soul Senders.

“Mama Told Me Not To Come” (Randy Newman) - Bobby King and the Relation - from their original Lunar single #201, early 1970s.
Real-deal soul singer Bobby King is from Lake Charles, though he moved out to the the Left Coast in the late 60s or early 70s, where he cut this one-off single. He then teamed up with another great soul man, Terry Evans.. In the mid-70s, they began a long association with Ry Cooder on record and stage, and later worked with John Fogerty, Boz Scaggs and Bob Dylan, making their own albums, as well. King has also toured with Bruce Springsteen.

“Brother Brown” (Camille Bob) - Camille Bob - from his original Soul Unlimited single #102, 1972.
I played the other side, “2 Weeks, 2 Days, Too Long”, in the first few weeks of the show. As noted on that playlist, I featured this and other Camille Bob tracks back in 2010, when crude oil was flowing into the Gulf unabated. . . .

“Cat Scream” (P. Senegal) - Lil Buck and the Top Cats - from the Kent CD compilation, Lafayette Soul Show, 1993.
The quite rare original single came out on La Louisianne (#8133) in 1969, with another get-down instrumental, “Monkey In A Sack”, on top. Both sides are k-i-l-l-e-r hunks of hard-driving R&B funk.

“MIss Hard To Get” (D. Landry) - Dennis Landry - from his original Soul Unlimited single #101, 1972.
Dennis Landry sang with keyboardist Stanley ‘Buckwheat’ Dural’s band, the Hitchhikers, who backed him on this single and another he cut for the label. They also backed Camille Bob on his ultra-funky Soul Unlimited release. Dural later joined Clifton Chenier’s great zydeco band and then struck out on his own in that genre with great success as Buckwheat Zydeco.

“You Gotta Be Motivated” (M. Scott-J. Wilson) - Moody - from his original Soul Unlimited single #106, 1975.
Lawrence ‘Moody’ Scott is from Hammond, LA. Prior to making this 45, he recorded a single for Leiber & Stoller's Daisy label in 1964, as Moody and the Deltas. Between 1969 and 1970 he had five more releases over several labels, Kapp, Seventy 7 and Sound Stage 7, with the cuts on the latter two labels being predominantly funk. I’ll be playing some of those along the way. His only other single appeared on Straight Ahead in the early 1980s.

* * * * *

Hey, I’ve got another rather big feature artist post in the cooker [with yet others on various back burners] and hope to get it served up within the next couple of months, just in case you thought I’d given that up. . . .

November 01, 2014

FUNKIFY YOUR LIFE #11 - 10/16/2014

Air dates: Thursday, October 16, 2014, 1:00 PM, and Friday, October 17, 2014, 9:00 PM, on KRVS 88.7 FM Lafayette/Lake Charles, and online at the website. You can hear a podcast of this show and previous editions on the website under “Programs” anytime.

Since the KRVS Fall Fundraiser - nine days of intensive on-air fundraising to sustain our station operations - started on the 17th, this was essentially my kick-off for the drive. So I chose some songs about money, giving, taking, help, and winning.

It’s never too late to support KRVS. There’s a red “Support This Station” button on the station’s home page. Hit it, why don’t cha, before or after you stream a podcast.

“Funkify Your Life” [Intro] - The Meters

“Give It Up” (Allen Toussaint) - Lee Dorsey - from his original Amy single #11057, 1969
A great track, with backing by the Meters, As I noted in my HOTG feature on this one back in 2005, the 45 was not only Lee’s last for the Amy label, where he had the majority of his hits working with Toussaint, it was the last record Amy released before going under. The lack of radio play and chart action for Lee’s later records for the label was due the inability of Amy and its owner, Bell Records, to promote what he put out. Sansu Enterprises soon got Lee a deal with Polydor that resulted in the classic Yes We Can album, but no real resurgence of his career, sad to say.

“Give It What You Can” (S. Cropper-J. Tarbutton-C. Marsh) - The Meters - from their Warner Bros. LP, New Directions, 1977.
The original version of this song appeared on Sam & Dave’s 1974/75 LP, Back At ‘Cha, produced by Steve Cropper, mainly at his Trans Maximus Studios on Poplar Avenue, in the Mid-Town section of Memphis, my old stomping grounds. Steve co-wrote the song with two other Memphis musicians, Jimmy Tarbutton and Carl Marsh. Apropos of not much, I used to hang out out at Pop Tunes record shop in Memphis every day after school and most weekends in the mid-1960s, and Jimmy Tarbutton stopped by from time to time to shoot the...breeze. Great guitar player.

That Sam & Dave album, by the way, had covers of two Toussaint tunes on it, too, that are great. I featured them here and here, and I’ll get them onto the show in due course. For me, the Meters; cover of “Give It” outshines S&D’s.

“Lay It On Me, Part 2” (W. Quezergue-C. Simmons-E. Small) - Chuck Simmons - from his F.C.W. single #1001, 1976.
This was recorded at Sea-Saint with some of the great session regulars on-board. The drumming is just sick. For more details on this 45 and Simmon’s other record-making exploits, mainly with Big Q, check out my feature on him.

“Hold On Help Is On The Way” (Davis-Tyler-Parker) - G. Davis & R. Tyler - from their original Parlo single #102, 1966.
Guitarist George Davis and saxophonist Alvin ‘Red’ Tyler, were regular session players in New Orleans and also outstanding jazz musicians. I featured this cut here back in 2008 as a tribute to George’s passing. As I said there, I consider this to be one of the all-time great R&B instrumentals. It was not heard at the time, having been completely eclipsed by Parlo #101, Aaron Neville’s hit, “Tell It Like It Is”, which George arranged, played on, and co-wrote with Lee Diamond. Parlo folded soon thereafter, as it was too small to keep up with the demand for what became Aaron’s signature song.

“A Dollar Ninety Eight” (Diamond-Davis) - Johnny Moore - from his original Wand single #1165, 1967.
Another Lee Diamond-George Davis composition. The Johnny Moore named on this rather obscure 45, was and is better known in New Orleans as ‘Deacon John’ Moore, guitarist, vocalist and leader of numerous bands over the years, including the Ivories who have played tons of high school proms, fraternity parties, and weddings. Deacon John’s vocal talent alone should have landed him a lot more recording opportunities back in the day than the few he got. For more on his career, see my 2008 feature.

“Every Dog Got His Day” (Johnson-Douglas) - Eddie Bo - from his original Ric single #969, 1960.
A classic Bo side - years ahead of its time. For more details on it and Bo’s work for the Ric label in New Orleans, see Part 2 of my series on his career.

“Take What I Can Get” (C. Yellen-M. Rebennack) - Dr John - from his Blue Note CD, Creole Moon, 2001.
Recorded at Dockside Studios in Maurice, LA, this track features Sonny Landreth’s always impressive slide guitar.

“Save A Little Bit For Me” (M. Galore-D. Ervin-M. Higgins) - Irma Thomas - from her original Canyon single #21, 1969.
Irma was living in Los Angeles when she was approached by Wally Roker to record for his new Canyon label. This track is from her first single for Canyon, produced by Monk Higgins. When it failed to get any radio action, Roker paired Irma with a new producer who had recently come on-board, Jerry Williams, a/k/a Swamp Dogg. For more on the story of their collaboration, read my post from last year.

“A Little Bit Of Something” (R. Parker) - Robert Parker - from his original Island single #074, 1976.
I covered this single in Part 5.1 of my Big Q series just about a year ago.

“I Want Some Money, Baby” (Bocage-Terry) - Tommy Ridgley - from his original Johen single #9200, 1964.
Another classic New Orleans R&B collectable, written by Eddie Bo and arranged by Big Q. I discussed it in Part 4 of my Eddie Bo series.

“Money Money” (B. MacDonald) - Joy Ride - from their original Chippewa single, 1980.
This track, written by guitarist Bruce MacDonald, appeared on the only record released by Joy Ride. He and George Porter, Jr. formed the band in 1979; and, while they were popular on the local Uptown club scene in New Orleans, things fell apart after just a couple of years. I featured the flip side and some of the backstory in 2011.

“Little Old Money Maker” (Neville-Nocentelli, Porter-Modeliste) - The Meters - from the Sundazed reissue of their original 1969-1970 Josie album, Look-Ka Py Py, 1999.

“Somebody’s Always Winning” (L. Hopkins-L. Meyers) - Linda Hopkins - from her RCA album, Linda Hopkins, 1972.
One of the great female vocalists from New Orleans, Linda has had a long career, starting in the gospel realm. She left the city around 1950 to pursue music,and, as far as I know, never made any records there. I just recently picked up this LP, recorded in New York City, which contains a number of funky tracks, including this one.

“You Will Not Lose” (Allen Toussaint) - Allen Toussaint - from his original Reprise album, Southern Nights, 1975.
While certainly not a funk tune, even though all the Meters participated on the track, the syncopated intricacies of this unique hybrid-pop gem are fascinating and enjoyable music-making at its finest, written, arranged, produced and performed by Toussaint on arguably the best album of his career. For more on his albums in the 1970s, see my 2011 post.

“Take Some Mambo Time” (E. Baytos) - Eddie Baytos & the Nervis Bros - from their CD of the same name, 1990s.
I only had time for a few minutes of this one, so will get back to it in whole later. I wrote about this seldom seen CD back pre-Katrina.

October 29, 2014

FUNKIFY YOUR LIFE #10 - 10/9/2014

Original air date: Thursday, October 9, 2014, 1:00 PM on KRVS 88.7 FM Lafayette/Lake Charles, and online at krvs.org, with a rebroadcast Friday nights at 9:00. You can hear a podcast of this show and all the others I’ve produced so far on the website under “Programs”, anytime. They are archived by date there, down below the most recent playlist.

Speaking of which, you’ll also find basic playlists for all FYL shows there on the KRVS site. Meanwhile, these annotated playlists are now running about three weeks behind. Once again, tempus fergeddaboudit!

“Funkify Your Life” [Intro] - The Meters

“Making It Better” (W. Querzergue-M. Adams-A. Savoy) - The Barons, Ltd - from their original Chimneyville single #436, 1971.
For details about the two singles the Barons did for Chimneyville as part of their lengthy association with Wardell ‘Big Q’ Quezergue, see my 2011 post.

“Making Love To Funky Music” (R. Bell-J. Strickland) - Reuben Bell - from his original Alarm single #2118, 1977.
I’ve been cooking up a post for over a year on Big Q’s association with Alarm Records, based in Shreveport, LA, but am trying to snag a few more singles - the harder ones to get, of course. This cut by Reuben Bell, one of the principal artists on the label, is not one of those, but still not all that common.

You can learn as much as I know about Alarm by getting hold of the 2007 soulscape CD,Sound City Soul Brothers, which collects some of the best sides by Bell, Ted Taylor, and Eddie Giles, and includes great notes by Paul Mooney. From them I learned that Alarm regularly imported the Malaco Studio house musicians and backing singers for their sessions. So they are likely backing Bell on this Big Q produced/arranged track.

“Woman Don’t Go Astray” (King Floyd) - King Floyd - from his original Chimneyville single #443, 1972.
I put this single in context in Part 3 of my Big Q series.

“Before I Met You” (Marc Adams) - Marva Wright - from her Sky Ranch CD, Born With The Blues, 1993.
I wrote about Marva and this album, which I still consider her best, shortly after her death back in 2010. As I mentioned on the show, Sonny Landreth played slide guitar on this cut, and songwriter Marc Adams was on piano, along with an impressive cast of other supporting players, such as Wilbert ‘Junkyard Dog’ Arnold on drums.

“Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” (Marc Adams) - The Adams-Griffin Project .- from their Sound of New Orleans CD, Choices, 1994.
Speaking of Marc Adams, here he is singing and playing piano on another original tune. This one-off album featured the band he put together with trumpeter, Tracy Griffin.

“The Mouse” (Smilin’ Myron) - Smilin’ Myron - from their CD, What About The People, 1997.
An insidiously funky little number from one of the many short-lived New Orleans funk bands of the 1990s.

“99 44/100 Pure Love” (A. Reed) - Al Reed - from his original Axe single #103, 1967.
Both sides of this record, arranged by Big Q, are keepers. Reed was more of a songwriter than a performer, though he did make a few 45 between the mid-1950s and mid 1960s. Probably his best known song is “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”, originally cut by Danny White for Frisco Records.

“Satisfied With Your Love” (Joan Parker) - Barbara George - for her original Seven B single #7019, 1968.
I did a brief tribute to Ms George shortly after her passing in 2006, and included this track, written by Eddie Bo, under one of his many aliases, who also produced and arranged it.

:Getting The Corners” (Leroy Lewis) - The T.S.U. Tornadoes - from their original Atlantic single #2579, 1968.
As I said on the air, this Houston funk ‘n’ soul band came up with an original instrumental tune that became “Tighten Up”, when Archie Bell and the Drells recorded their vocals over it. This track sounds a lot like that hit, but never took off. For more on the band, see this article from the Houston Press.

“Cocodrie” (Z. Richard) - Zachary Richard - from his Rounder CD, Mardi Gras Mambo, 1989.
Some local color from back when Lafayette’s own rootsman, ZR, was gettin’ down funky onstage and in the studio.

‘Easy Days” (C.J. Chenier) - C. J. Chenier - from his Slash CD, I Ain’t No Playboy, 1992.
A rarely heard instrumental cut featuring C. J. (son of Clifton) on flute, backed by his fine band.
I picked this song and the previous one since Festival Acadiens et Creoles was going on the weekend the show aired and both these guys were there..

“Soulful Woman” (J. Hill-M. Rebennack-A. Robinson) - Al Robinson - from his original Pulsar single #2417, 1969.
For background on Alvin ‘Shine’ Robinson’s collaborations with Mac Rebennack, Jessie Hill and Harold Battiste out on the Left Coast in the late 1960s, see my post from 2010.

“Light My Fire” (The Doors) - Tami Lynn - a track recorded in 1969/1970 for Pulsar but not issued until the Ace CD, More Gumbo Stew, 1993.
This compilation from the UK was the second of an authorized three CD series of recordings overseen by Harold Battiste, during the 1960s. He recorded Tami Lynn, who he had worked with when the AFO label was active in New Orleans, backed by the same crew of players who worked on other Pulsar projects, many of them NO expatriates. For some backstory on Tami, see my 2008 post on one of her later records.

“Bayou Cadillac” (B. Holley-E. McDaniel…...) - Beausoleil - from their Rounder CD, Bayou Cadillac, 1989.
A true hybrid of rock-blues-R&B-second-line funk-cajun-zydeco that only Michael Doucet and the ultra-fine Beausoleil could pull off so well. They, too, played Festival Acadiens this year.

October 10, 2014

FUNKIFY YOUR LIFE - SHOW #9 - PLAYLIST

Air dates: Thursday, October 2, 2014, 1:00 PM, and Friday, October 3, 2014, 9:00 PM, on KRVS 88.7 FM Lafayette/Lake Charles, and online at krvs.org. You can hear a podcast of this show and previous shows on the website under “Programs” anytime.

This was a mostly vinyl episode, with a couple of choice CD cuts. I’m officially a week behind on these annotated playlists. So, from here on out, they will be briefer with links to more info.

“Funkify Your Life” [Intro] - The Meters

“Move Your Body” (D. Tabb-D. Shezbie-C. Honore) - Rebirth Brass Band - from their Basin Street LP, Move Your Body, 2014.

“Bring It” (Shane Theriot) - Shane Theriot - from his Shose CD, Dirty Power, 2009.

“Boogie The Blues” (Ray Johnson) - Ray Johnson - from his original Mercury single #7023, 1954.
My 1/4/2014 post included this side.

“Still My Little Angel Child” (A. Mondy) - Alma Mondy - from Mercury Blues & Rhythm Story CD set, 1996.
Originally recorded for Mercury in New Orleans in 1949, backed by George Miller & his Mid-Driffs. Alma was called ‘The Lollipop Mama’ or ‘Miss Lollipop’.

“Cat Walk” (L. Allen-A. Toussaint) - Lee Allen - from his original Ember single #1057.
Toussaint likely arranged this session, too. From the sound of it, James Booker played organ, with Charles ‘Hungry’ Williams on drums. A recording with sonic problems that were on the master tape.

“Then I’ll Believe” (D. Johnson) - Martha Carter - from her original Ron single #346, 1962.
This single came up in Part 3 of my In Pursuit Of Bo Consciousness series.

“Keep The Fire Burning” (Edwin Bocage) - Skip Easterling - from his original Alon single #9033, 1966.
For some background on Skip and this single, see Part 7 of that Bo series.

“I’ve Got Reasons” (E. Bocage-J. Scramuzza) - Mary Jane Hooper - from her original Power single #105-4051, 1968.
I featured Ms Hooper (a/k/a Sena Fetcher) and her Eddie Bo produced tracks from this 45 and another back in 2008.

“Do What You Wanna Do” (Isaac Bolden) - Tony Owens - from his original Island single #069, 1976.
A few days after Katrina hit, and the seriousness of the subsequent Federal Flood hadn’t quite sunk in, I did a post on the singer and this tune. I was admittedly late to the Tony Owens bandwagon, but have since gotten more of this recordings and seen him perform live quite a few times, becoming a fan. Still, since much of his output has been on the deeper soul end of the spectrum, I haven’t written much more about his work, but hope to slip in some other tunes on the show.

“Humpin’ To Please” (James Canes) - Jean Knight - from her original Ola single #1-102, 1977.
This track was discussed on the blog back in 2007.

“Don’t Turn Your Back On Me” (Terry Manuel) - Louisiana Purchase - from their original LP, Louisiana Purchase, ca 1982.
Despite the synthesizers and that slick “aural exciter” sound of the 80s, I dig this track and others on this LP. I wrote about it and this tune in 2007.

“Why You Wanna Do It” (W. Harper-T. Royal) - Willie Harper - from the Charly compilation LP, Sehorn’s Soul Farm, 1982.
This album has two Willie Harper tunes, both co-written with guitarist Teddy Royal, that were probably recorded in the early mid-1970s, since Royal did not relocate to New Orleans until 1971, when he was hired on to King Floyd’s road band, the Rhythm Masters. From the sound of the backing musicians and arrangement, I would suspect this was recorded after Sea-Saint Studios opened in 1973, when Wardell Quezergue had returned from Malaco to work there. Early on, Smokey Johnson was drumming on sessions at Sea-Saint: and, in my 2005 post on this tune, I hazarded a guess he played on this tune.

“The Devil Gives Me Everything” (M. West-L. Laudenbach-The High Society Brothers) - Willie West - from his forthcoming Timmion LP/CD, Lost Soul.
This track was first released five years back by Timmion, based on Norway, on a 45 issued in Europe, with good results. The new album will come out across the pond first, with later release in the US.

“Country Road” (James Taylor) - Merry Clayton - from her Ode 70 LP, Gimme Shelter, 1970.
A great, funked-up version of the JT classic from this outstanding vocalist most famous for her background work, but who has always deserved to be up front. Check out this detailed summary of her recording career.

“Running Man” (B. Ellman- T. DeCouet-Galactic) - Galactic - from their Capricorn CD, Late For The Future, 2000.
Vocal by Theryl DeClouet, who sang with the band for several years.

October 04, 2014

FUNKIFY YOUR LIFE - SHOW #8 - PLAYLIST

Air dates: Thursday, September 25, 2014, 1:00 PM, and Friday, September 26, 2014, 9:00 PM, on KRVS 88.7 FM Lafayette/Lake Charles, and online at krvs.org. You can hear a podcast of this show and previous shows on the website under “Programs” anytime.

“Funkify Your Life” [Intro] - The Meters

“Ride Your Pony” (Naomi Neville) - Betty Harris - from the Charly LP compilation of Betty’s Sansu material, In the Saddle, 1980.
My original 45 (Sansu #480), is a bit worse for wear on this side, so I went with this re-issue track. I played the flip side of the single, “Trouble With My Lover”, on show #1. For more thoughts on this tune, which is a Toussaint-written/produced cover that beats Lee Dorsey’s 1965 original, see my post from 2010. And for some background on how Ms Betty came to record in New Orleans, check this one.

“Love, I Can’t Seem To Find It” (Larry Williams) - Larry Williams - from his original Venture single #622, 1968.
For some background on Williams’ music career, his gangster lifestyle, and this single in particular, check out my post from 2006, where I featured the other side, “Shake Your Body Girl”.

“Don’t Stop Now” (Tony Bryce) - Lloyd Price - from his original JAD single #212, 1968.
I featured this single back in 2006; and the post is chock full of interesting factoids, most of which I’d since forgotten. Glad I wrote it down, and caught back up.

“Chasing Rainbows” (Teddy Royal) - Johnny Adams - from his original Ariola single #7701, 1978.
This single was featured in the first of my two-part post on the career of Teddy Royal, who got the writing credit on this single, which had its initial release on Hep’ Me. Later, when I did a feature on soul singer Willie West, he told me that he had co-written (uncredited) the song with Royal, contributing the lyrics. Adams only did a handful of true funk songs; and his voice classed up all of ‘em.

“Freddie’s Walking” (Chuck Mangione) - C. P. Love - from his original Stone single #201, 1973.
C. P. Love is one of the many fine soul singers who were signed to Elijah Walker’s artist management company in New Orleans, Skyline Productions, and the A&R company he ran with Wardell ‘Big Q’ Quezergue, Pelican Productions, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That got Love a chance to record at Malaco in Jackson, Ms, when Big Q and Walker worked with the studio; but the one single that resulted did not sell. Walker died around 1973, and Love moved on, recording this one-off single for Stone, a Baton Rouge label, that year. [See my post from the Big Q series, for more on Love’s story.]

While his take on the gospel flavored “Freddie’s Walking” (anybody know what this song, written by pop-jazz flugelhorn player Chuck Mangione, is about?) showed off his vocal chops, the record was another commercial non-starter. Love later recorded for Orleans records and recently has joined the band Fo’Reel, about which see below.

“What I Can Do” (M. Domizio-C. P. Love) - Fo’Real - from their independently released CD, Heavy Water, 2014.
An impressive aggregation of veteran players, Fo’Real greatly benefits from the participation of C. P. Love, one of New Orleans’ best unsung vocalists, whose career stretches back to the 1960s. The other members are guitarist and songwriter, Mark Domizio, bassist David Hyde [since replaced by another great, David Barard], and Johnny Neel on keyboards. On this track, Allyn Robinson played drums. Other tracks also feature a fine horn section. I’m sure I’ll get to other tracks as time goes by.

“New Orleans Twist” (P. King-D. Bartholomew-W. Quezergue) - Blazer Boy - from his original Imperial single #5801, 1961.
At the time of this recording, producer Dave Bartholomew was nearing the end of his long association with Imperial Records, which started in the late 1940s and brought about the huge success of Fats Domino. Wardell Quezergue was doing a lot of the arrangements for these later Imperial sides. The young Smokey Johnson was likely drumming on this standard issue dance song, featuring the not often recorded George Stevens, dubbed Blazer Boy, on vocal.

“Olde Wine” (James Black) - Red Tyler - from his original At Last single #1003, 1963.
The At Last label was a subsidiary of AFO (All For One) Records, started by producer/musician Harold Battiste and a group of like-minded black studio musicians who wanted to get more financial rewards from the records they played on, arranged, and helped make hits. Saxophonist Alvin ‘Red’ Tyler, who played on countless R&B records starting in the late 1940s, was a founding member of AFO and the featured artist on this track, written by drummer/composer, James Black. Like the majority of the AFO associates, Black was primarily a jazz musician who played R&B to make a living, making a lot of music history in the process.

“You Ain’t Hittin’ On Nothing” (Naomi Neville) - Irma Thomas - from her original Minit single #666, 1963.
Among Irma’s best and most remembered recordings were the tracks she cut for the Minit label in the early 1960s, with Allen Toussaint writing, arranging and producing. This funky, sassy little number ,written by Toussaint under his nom de plume, was the flip side of her classic, “Ruler Of My Heart”, with backing by a stripped down rhythm section headed by Roy Montrell on guitar. He was also one of AFO’s founders, many of whom Toussaint used at the time, such as bassist Chuck Badie and drummer John Boudreaux, who very likely are on this, too.

“Love Slip Up On Ya” (Neville-Nocentelli-Porter-Modeliste) - The Meters - from their original Reprise LP, Fire On the Bayou, 1975.
I wrote a short tribute to this funk-sway groove monster back in 2006.

“Hear The Words, Feel the Feeling” (L. Dozier-M. Jackson) - Margie Joseph - from her original Cotillion LP, Hear The Words, Feel the Feeling, 1976.
While I think she did her best records and funkiest tunes with producer/arranger Arif Mardin for Atlantic a bit earlier, this album on Atlantic’s subsidiary, Cotillion, has its moments even though disco tendencies were evident. After all, it was produced by the great Lamont Dozier on out the Left Coast. The distinctive, stylized funk of the title track is far from the New Orleans feel [She recorded next to nothing in her hometown.], but still mighty effective. Read David Nathan's thorough overview of Margie’s career at SoulMusic.com.

“Mojo Hannah” (A. Williams-C. Paul-B. Paul) - Aaron Neville - from his original Mercury single #73310, 1972.
I wrote-up Aaron’s hot take of this tune, backed by the Meters, back in 2010.

“Junk” (Fantoms) - The Fantoms - from their original Power Funksion single #10002, 1972.
Covered this single and some of the band’s backstory in a 2007 post.

“I Want Somebody (To Show Me The Way Back Home)” [W. Turbinton] - Willie Tee - from his original Atlantic single #2302, 1965.
Just pre-Katrina, during the first year of HOTG, I discussed this side, one of my absolute faves by Mr. Turbinton.

“We’ll Figure It Out” (S. Allen-J. Butler- and band) - Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs - from their POME/Threadhead Records CD, Box Who In?, 2009.
As the title of the CD implies, it’s hard to box in Shamarr and his band, as their musical adventures range from jazz to funk, hip-hop to hard rock, and tosses in some rap from Dee-1 for good measure. Check Shamarr’s website for more details.