Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Don't talk about it. Be about it.

I'm not sure who this song was directed at when it came out. For my part, I didn't have to "be about it" because in my own small way I was "it".

Five years ago, my family, my friends, 90% of what I cared most about in the world, all were either threatened, damaged, or destroyed. And I hate to put it this way, but if you've never experienced a similar situation then you have absolutely no idea what it means. For quite some time after the flood, traveling anywhere outside of the Gulf region meant being confronted with the odd, even slightly delirious, feeling that you were entering Disneyland.

For me, anger was, and still is, the only possible reaction. Basically overnight, I had to grow the fuck up and learn how to fight. Not a bad thing in it's way, except that to this day my responses are, shall we say, a bit overblown. Ya see, you didn't have to be at the Superdome to get twisted behind Katrina.

A good bit has been written about the mental health effects of the flood and it's aftermath on the general population, so I won't bore you with details. But it's worth reminding people that just as the mental health system in the city collapsed, it became clear that a large proportion of the city's citizen needed serious help. The suicide rate skyrocketed. The jail, with it's 10 or 11 beds normally set aside for "troubled" inmates, became the city's largest de facto mental ward.

And the elderly died like flies, many of what could be considered natural causes, but I know for a fact that there was more to it than that, I've seen the effects of despair. I went to 9 funerals in 2006, some of them relatives, some old family friends....people I called auntie and uncle. And here's the kicker, only about a third of those folks were actually in New Orleans at the time. Most of them died of grief at being in exile.

And there's more to tell, a whole lot more....but ya know, the story is still unfinished and for that matter, still being written on a daily basis by those who are 'all about it'.

Anyway, with the passing of time this song has come to have more meaning to me than it did in 2005, possibly because I'm no longer "it". In fact, I'd like to think I'm part of the solution.

It's expected that the recent census will show that New Orleans has the highest rate of homelessness in the country. Estimates put the number at four times that of other U.S. cities.

50,000 houses in New Orleans are abandoned.

Monday, August 30, 2010

C'mon baby, let's slop.....

I bought this record based on a very short listen, a matter of seconds. I only recognized one of the artists names [on the surface, it looks to be a split single], neither of the song titles rang a bell. The 45 was very very dirty which meant I could hardly hear what it sounded like. But what I did hear, was quite enough.

Back home, I cued up what I thought was the correct side. But I was wrong, so, I flipped it over. Boy was I surprised. Since when is Mattie a boy's name?

Ya see, the song I liked was by a male singer, so I assumed I wanted the side credited to Ervin Rucker......but there I was, listening to the side credited to Mattie Jackson....and that song sure sounded an awful lot like "Done Done the Slop" by [you guessed it] Ervin Rucker.

When I poked around the interwebs for more info, I couldn't find a single instance where "I Want To Do It" is tied to Rucker. On the rare occasion the song pops up at all, it's said to be by Mattie Jackson.

And there's more. In discussing this 45 with someone online, it came to my attention that Leadbitter & Slavin, in their book "Blues Records", say this song is the one and only recording by a mysterious male artist. A man named Mattie Jackson. According to them, he's being backed by an "unknown" female singer.

What a load of BS. Doesn't anyone use their pointy little ears anymore? The label on the record was obviously misprinted. It's not a split single. Ervin Rucker is singing lead on both sides, Mattie Jackson is the "unknown" female singer. This is the first of Rucker's "Slop" recordings, with "Done Done the Slop" meant to be the follow-up. To top it off, Mattie Jackson is credited along with Rucker on "Done Done the Slop"........just as she was meant to be on this side.

Anyone with half a brain could figure it out, but I'll admit that the connection between "I Want To Do It" and "Done Done the Slop" is slightly obscured by the folks who've comped the later. They've speeded up the record to make it sound more "exciting", and thus changed the pitch. The degree to which this was done varies from comp to comp.

The Duplex label was out of Fayetteville Tenn., but that doesn't mean anything. "Done Done the Slop" was issued by a label out of Pittsburg and there's a very obscure single by Rucker on the Musette label out of San Diego. "Done Done the Slop" was included on a comp of Pittsburg recordings, but since that same comp also credits Mattie Jackson with "I Want To Do It", I think I'll take that possible connection with a grain of salt.

Hope ya'll enjoy....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fussin' and fightin' cause I won't do right....

My friend C. has been torturing me with all sorts of amazing stuff on Ebay. "Don't you want that one!", "Yes hon, of course I want it, but who's going to pay for it?"

Truth is I'm too cheap to play with the big boys, they swamp me with cash every time. Best I can hope for is that, for what ever reason, nobody's paying attention.

Two very serious 'must haves' slipped through my fingers this week alone. Both times I was the second highest bidder....the two highest bids I've ever made in my life. I'm not sure whether I should be pissed-off or relieved. [Actually, I'm pissed]

Anyway, I did win this one last week. Wasn't exactly cheap, but it's def hard to find. Funny thing is that a local dealer had it. Fool should call me before he lists stuff on Ebay. Chances are I'd pay his rent. Cash in hand is always worth double imaginary Ebay bucks.
Here's another killer tune from Bill Parker and The Showboat Band.

In case you've forgotten, these guys were really hot in southern Louisiana in the early sixties. Parker was a drummer who ran a revue-type thing. Vocalist on this one is Jesse Palmer, about whom I have zero information.

Btw, I have no idea what's up with the label on this record. The dealer said it was water damage, but that's not right. Looks to me like Sumi ink applied with a brush. Given that I've never once made a mark on a record label, I honestly can't imagine what goes through some peoples minds. Drugs?

Hope ya'll enjoy...it's from 1960.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Somehow it happened to be me...

Betty Swann's story is pretty amazing. She grew up living outside a tiny town in northern Louisiana, moved with her family to Los Angeles when she was nineteen and before a year was out, signed a recording contract. Her first single [this one] charted. She wrote the tune.

And what a tune it is. Totally infectious.

I should mention that there are several excellent collections of Swann's work available. As far as I know, she's still alive. It would be nice to think she gets a little money from them, even if it's not true.

Hope ya'll enjoy......issued in 1964, although it may not have charted until '65.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The way you been treating me...

"I don’t think it would be accurate to describe Louisiana artist Merle Spears as a great unknown – he’s too obscure for that." That's how Sir Shambling starts off his piece on Spears. You can read the rest of it here. While you're at it, you can listen to the flip side of this record along another deep soul cut by the same artist.

This is a truly great record, both sides are superb. If you're anything like me, the combination of the vaguely honky tonk sounding piano with Spears' gorgeous voice will be hard to forget. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I wish the scan could pick up the info in the run-out grooves. This is one of those records that had "Cos" hand-scratched in the lacquer master, something which always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Generally, I take that to mean there's some chance the recording was made in Cosimo Matassa's studio in New Orleans, but certainly it means the man himself cut the master [special nod to Dan Phillips for pointing that out].

Hope ya'll enjoy....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Make you move....

Another one that's shakin' up the household at the moment.

I still know virtually nothing about this guy. Only that most of his records are on California labels and that the liner notes on his only album say that he was from Louisiana. Any info would be most appreciated.

I think they were hoping to get serious air-play off this one, it has that 'mixed for AM radio' sound.

Hope ya'll enjoy it as much as we do.....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I'm so happy just to see your face....

Ya know, I own at least 20 Ted Taylor 45's, but that's just a fraction of what's out there. If you include records on which he sang backup as part of the Jacks/Cadets and those on which he used the name 'Lucky Ivory', the man's voice shows up on something close to 200 sides issued on over 20 different labels. I doubt I've even heard half of them.

Which means that periodically I have the pleasure of 'discovering' yet another Ted Taylor recording that just knocks me out. Funny thing is, this time it's the b-side of Taylor's biggest hit.....not something that's especially hard to find. In fact, I looked around awhile before I picked up a copy, thinking I'd stumble on a nice original pressing. Which I did.

Anyway, this song is totally rockin' my house. While I'm a little surprised it hasn't shown up on my turntable sooner, I also know that everyone comes to certain songs in their own time.

My discography says it's from 1958, but I'm thinking that's wrong. I put it at 1959.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hazel is her name...[re-up with flip side added]

[By request, for Mick. I decided to go ahead and add the second side of this 45 to the post. So even you folks who nabbed "The Life Of My Baby" the first time around have something new to hear.]

I have a particular affection for those late 50's-early 60's artists who somehow took gospel/blues/r&b and created proto-funk dance music....

Ya know....in essence, making a very popular move, but without having to smooth out the rough edges to achieve popularity.

James Brown is, of course, the ultimate example....but isn't it interesting how easily Hank Ballard and Bobby Byrd slipped into the same groove?....as if the progression from r&b to funk was as natural as drawing your own mother's milk?

Roots?...well, that's an overused and often meaningless term....but there are artist's who seemingly couldn't help but draw from the tit of blues/gospel any more than they could suddenly morph into robots.....and at the same time, they pumped out something fresh and new sounding.

At this point I could pull out almost any record by Chris Kenner as an example...early/late, doesn't matter as they're all of a type...heavy on the gospel influence, funky as all get out.

Definitely a natural.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cross-Post: Joe from Black Gold

[Joe and I are doing a cross-post this week, mainly to amuse ourselves, but also because I can't see it's a bad thing to throw a little something extra into the mix. Anyway, I've got a post up over at Black Gold if you wanna check it out. While you're there be sure and have some fun listening to/reading what Joe's posted previously.]

Here's what Joe has to say about his selection....[and this blog, awww shucks...]

Out of the hundreds and hundreds of 45s I own I chose "Just Be Yourself" by Bobby Marchan for a few reasons.

First reason: I knew that Mrs. Singing Bones had an interest in Bobby's sides on Cameo.

Second reason: Bobby Marchan got his start in New Orleans and she is from New Orleans (as most of you know if you follow her blog).

Third reason: the song expresses how I feel about Ana and her blog. The idea of just being yourself in a completely unapologetic manner is a simple one yet people seldom practice it, but not Ana. It's always a comforting thing to find someone whom you share a passion with especially when that passion is something extremely marginal (like digging through piles of dusty pieces of plastic to find that one song that makes your heart stop and your knees drop).

Anyway, enough with the gooey sentimental stuff. Bobby Marchan had releases on some of the most killer independent labels (Enjoy, Volt, Cameo, Gamble, Dial, and so on.) This one is from '63 and is on Cameo with production credits to Buddy Killen who often worked in Joe Tex and on a lot of other of Marchan's sides. The song is a slow churning ballad with some killer arrangement and a beautiful performance from Bobby.

Sit back and take this one in, I think you'll like it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

What's wrong with you?

Don't mind me. I'm just feeling cranky because My Boy's out of town and I've got an 'obligation' to fulfill tonight.

Ya see, it's "White Linen Night"....basically an excuse to dress in white, drink wine, wander around the warehouse district, and look at art. Not anything I get too excited about, but fun in that 'wandering around, looking at art, drinking wine, while dressed in white' sort of way. If...ya know what I mean.

Anyway, I've gotta put in an appearance, help out a little bit. No big deal, just it would be a lot more fun with Mr. Hawt around. Boy's very very good at keeping me entertained.

I knew there was a reason why I love him. Sure as hell isn't his skill at planning business trips.
Surprise! This record was actually a fair sized hit!!! Such an oddity in these parts. Sir Shambling's got all the info here. There's a few other songs you can listen to as well.

Gotta put on my face and run run run ya'll....

Have a nice evening....and enjoy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

C'mon little boy...

This is Ruby Andrews' first single on the Zodiac label. It's also the first record issued on that label and the first one on which she used the name Andrews. I didn't know all this when I bought it, I just dug the groove [what I could hear of it] and decided to cough up a handful of quarters for the 45. One of those times where my ears prove their worth. Initially, I thought the plain label design meant it was a 70's pressing. It's not, this record was released in 1966, Andrews was 19 yrs. old.

Doc Oliver gets both writing and producing credit on this one, and deserves a great deal more than that for the result. It's his jam, all the way. A jam so good it shows up on two other 45's, Doc Oliver's own "Soul Popcorn" on Janus and "Soul Groove" by Mato & the Mystics on Dubb Int'l.

While I suppose it's possible that all three 45's were recorded at the same time, I'd be willing to bet Andrews' "take" is the original. She nails this groove so hard, so effortlessly, that the other two end up sounding like novelties by comparison.

Not to bore you with my continuing adventures in the world of extreme record cleaning, but this 45 is the new Queen of Filth. I have spent hours and hours on the silly thing. In the process it has gone from sounding like a sheet of sandpaper on the turntable, to to showing some clean sweet sparkle amidst the obvious groove wear. Four major hand cleanings, two spins on a VPI machine, and the needle is still pulling up junk from the grooves. It get's better every time I play it.

And believe me, I do play this record a lot. Almost every day for the past 4 months. I like it so much I def would've bought myself another copy rather go through all this tedious cleaning business. But ya see, it turns out the 45 isn't all that easy to find. In fact, I'm lucky to have a copy.

Both Andrews and Oliver are still with us, thus I suggest you check out the comp "Just Loving You", an excellent collection of Andrews recordings....and maybe take a look at Doc Oliver's myspace page here. He's got a few new songs you can listen to. I liked "Air Hammer" enough that I bought a copy. The man is really something, according to his page, he recently went back to college at age 73.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Public Notice

If you have a request for a re-up it's best if you email me. The search capabilities supplied by Blogger are worse than terrible. The only info they give me relating to comments are the post titles, which you may have noticed are usually based on song lyrics. While I can sing many of these songs in my sleep, there are a few my REM cycle hasn't absorbed yet.

In short, don't expect me to find the song you're referring to based on a simple "can I get this re-upped" posted in the comments. Please remember you're dealing with someone who keeps her house keys pinned to her clothing and still doesn't fully understand the concept of left/right as it pertains to direction.


I may be wrong but for him I'm right.....

In a previous post about Mable John, I said something about how her records are cheap. Well, that's not always true, and even her 45's on Stax [which are what I was referring to at the time] seem to be going for a little bit more than they used to.

This record can sell for a lot of cash, that's why I own a beat up copy. Cost me all of $4, it did. And ya know, it will probably do me just fine until I find another cheap copy in better shape. As much as I love Mable John, I'm simply not going to pay $50-$100 a pop for nice copies of her output on Tamla.

If you'd like a better copy than what I'm offering, I suggest you check out "My Name Is Mable: The Complete Collection". It only covers the Tamla recordings but includes a wealth of fantastic unreleased tracks. Highly recommended.

For the Stax recordings, the comp to buy is "Stay Out Of The Kitchen". It too has loads of unreleased tracks, but for some reason does not include any of the a-sides of her released singles. Bummer, but it's still, in my opinion, a must-have collection. The world is truly a better place because it exists.

[Update: now that I think about it, these comps are likely the only albums of her recordings ever released]

Anyway, hope ya'll like this one.....

I know it was a 44....[re-post/re-up]

[As requested, by Kerry]

It seems stupid to introduce Oliver Morgan with any other single than this one, even though most folks have probably already heard it.

'La La' was Prince La La [Lawerence Nelson], a friend of Morgan's who died too young....very likely of a drug overdose.

What's fascinating about the song is that Morgan took what was really just a very sad story and elevated it to a mythic level. La La suddenly becomes a legend along the same lines as Stagger Lee. In short, Morgan hits on something very old with this song.

Now, I know several folks are listed as co-writers of the song, including Eddie Bo, but Morgan always insisted that he wrote it....and I, for one, believe him. Perhaps Bo added a little something, but as far as I recall the other two 'co-writers' were DJ's. A common enough situation in the days of payola.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I wanna love you baby [but you're flawed]

This is the original version of a song I posted awhile back [Lee Bates', "I Do Things Come Naturally]. Unfortunately, my copy has a pressing flaw which causes an extremely irritating skip. It's just one groove, but it comes at an awkward place in the song.

Anyway, I thought I'd post the song regardless of the flaw. Ya see, I can't find where the song's been comped or posted on the blogs before. Fans of the Pitter Pats should listen-up, chances are you've never heard this before [except for the piano part, which is lifted straight from "It Do Me Good"].

Wish I could do something about the flaw, the record's in nice shape, but there's a pin hole about 1 mil wide that falls smack dab in the wall between two grooves. The needle finds it way through every-single-time. In case you're wondering, I had to use a magnifying glass to find it.

I don't have a clue what Huey Smith was up to at this time. Everything he did '66 thru '68 sounds incredibly old fashioned. Bet I could've told you this song is from 1960 and gotten away with it. It's not....it's from 1967.

Hope ya'll like it....skip and all.