I don't see a lot of older Jamaican 45's, but when I do, I mostly grab 'em. Unfortunately, they're often pretty beat up...seems to come with the territory.
This cut is the flip-side of The Maytals' 1967 Festival song, and it's an odd one because Toots Hibbert doesn't sing on it. Toots was in jail for pot possession at the time.
What I find interesting about this is that the other members of the Maytals supposedly waited for Toots to get out of jail and did not try to replace him. Which really only made good sense, because Toots' lead vocal was by that time totally defining the group's sound.
But ya know, this 45 gives some lie to that story....the festival song itself, I'm A Big Man, is obviously a duet....and the cut I'm offering up here either has three singers on it, or the lead vocal was overdubbed over the background singing. As I said above, there's no Toots on the record.
So much for waiting for your friend to get out of jail.
Ultimately, Toots and the Maytals won the Festival song competition three out of the first seven years of it's existence. But only with Toots singing the lead.
Still, this is a great cut....or I wouldn't be posting it, would I?
Sorry for the lack of recent posts, events surrounding Carnival are keeping me insanely busy...
This record's a little mysterious. I think it's a recording made in the 70's, but I'm not completely sure. The label design looks older than the examples I've seen from the early 80's, but the 45 is in perfect shape.....and could be, for all I know, a more recent recording. In fact, it sounds a lot like a modern recording.
The group itself is presently quite active. They've issued at least two albums, one of them just last year. The problem is that I can't find anything in the way of a group history. Were they really around in the 70's?
I have one small clue. There's a video clip of the group singing I've Been Changed, live, in 2008. That version is slower, and to my ears the voices sound more mature than what's on the record. The members of the group look to be in their fifties and sixties. So, I suppose it's at least possible the 45 was issued during the period I suspect.
It would be nice if I knew the years during which Rosemont was active. But I don't. All I know is that the label was run by a man named Al Taylor who also owned Rosemont recording studios in New Orleans, which is presumably where all of the records on the label were cut.
So, am I right in thinking this recording was made by the group in the 70's?....or could it be that the label design simply reflects some kind of retro move and the record was made more recently???
Inquiring minds want to know, but ultimately it doesn't really matter....cause even if the record was pressed last year, it's still awesome.
Just in case you don't know, the easiest way to contribute money to the Red Cross is with your cell-phone.
Punch in the number 90999, type in 'Haiti' as a text message...press send....and you'll get a message back asking you to confirm a $10 donation. Type in 'yes', press send, and it's done deal. You can do this as many times as you want. Each time, $10 will be charged to your phone bill.
I'm just sayin'.....ain't like $10 is a big deal, at least, not when people are dying, right?
I'm not exactly sure how many singles Oliver Morgan cut. I can count six, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's another couple of rare ones floating around. Anyway, the number is pretty small, which is surprising given that he had one of New Orleans' hottest bands during much of the sixties.
After scoring a fair sized national hit with, Who Shot The La La, the rest of his recordings seem to have been a purely local phenomenon, as most of his output falls into the category of 'Mardi Gras song', usually by design.
A born showman, Morgan's live show was all about having a good time, invariably ending with him leading the audience in a second line parade while twirling the traditional tasseled umbrella of Baron Samedi [yep, the jazz funeral is essentially voudoun in nature].
Funny, but this is starting to sound like a memorial...and I guess that's apropos, as Morgan is missed. He died in Atlanta, where he landed after Katrina, in 2007. Most include his death in the huge statistical spike in 'natural' deaths which occurred after the storm. A spike so large that the leading health authority in New Orleans testified before Congress that as far he was concerned the number of people who died as a result of Katrina should be raised by a factor of four.
Morgan's heart truly was in the 9th Ward....bless him for that.
Normally I'd post both sides of a record like this, but not only is Part 2 very similar to Part 1, it's also true that the very cute horn part in the song will literally drive you up the wall after more than three minutes.
This one goes out to Holly, who more or less requested it. It's the flip-side of one of the first records I posted on the blog.
Hep' Me was one of many small labels, including Black Patch, Jenmark, JB's, Shagg, Superdome [and probably a few others I can't recall atm] owned by Senator Jones. After the fall of Cosimo Matassa's various enterprises, Jones was one of the very few small independent operators able to make a go of the record business in the city.
By 1970, times were getting pretty tough for a lot of artists in New Orleans. The Senator deserves a lot of credit for putting out records on folks who might not otherwise have been able to record at that time......Johnny Adams, Bobby Powell, Chris Kenner, Charles Brimmer, Tony Owens, Tommy Ridgely, Chuck Carbo, Barbara George....the list is long.
But that's not all. Jones kept on issuing records on the Hep' Me and Mardi Gras labels until he died in 2008...giving a whole new generation of artists a chance to record. People like Sweet Miss Coffy, Marva Wright, George Jackson...etc...
Unfortunately, I have hardly anything on Bobby LaCour, except that he recorded one other very nice single for Hep' Me [seemingly much harder to find than this one]. I feel sure I had more info at one time but now can't seem to find it. I'm almost certain that LaCour also recorded with a group. The name of which is a total blank to me.
1. For those who might be interested, I never heard back from Jackie Johnson, aka Lady Mem'fis. Too bad, I was excited at the prospect, however slight, of chatting with her. I only hope she's ok.
2. When I posted Joel Moore's, Rhumatiz, awhile back, I said I didn't know anything about the artist. And that was the truth. Well, over the holidays I listened to the record again and am now convinced that Joel Moore is actually...Bobby Marchan. Why I didn't catch on before is beyond me. It's obviously Marchan singing under another name.
3. Just a minor thing, but it's been bothering me that I failed to mention that Anna King's, Sitting In the Dark, is a cover of the original by Nappy Brown. I figure Brown deserves some credit as King's version isn't all that different from his.
Samson and Delilah really out-did themselves on this one. It flat-out slams. They come out swinging with what may be the only gospel influenced male/female duet ever written about 'simultaneous mutual satisfaction' and almost succeed in knocking Sam and Dave's, Hold On I'm Coming, out of the ring. [sorry about the awful metaphor, I recently saw my very first boxing match...I'm at an impressionable age, ok?]
In short, if this song wasn't meant as a slightly more explicit answer to Sam and Dave's song, then I'll eat my fuzzy knit cap...and I don't wanna do that cause it's cold here.
Here's a shout-out to Gabe over at Second Line Social for reminding me of this monster. Several months ago he posted a copy as part of a mix. I've been listening to it ever since, the mix that is. [Gabe is a great DJ, if you're ever in Austin TX be sure to catch him with the Soul Happening crew]
The original pressing of this record was on Red Cap, and it usually goes for a good-sized chunk of change, if you can find it. The ABC pressing costs quite a bit less. Like, one quarter as much. I'm just sayin' cause this is one of those times where the tune is so good that I could care less about what label it's on. That is, until a Red Cap pressing falls in my lap.
I presume everyone has heard that Willie Mitchell died recently. For my part, saying 'too bad' just isn't enough. The sound of Mitchell's work at Hi records is one of the most distinctive ever created by any producer, anywhere, anytime.
While some think of those records made in the 70's as 'lush', what I hear, beyond the use of string sections, is something quite different. I hear a collection of possibly the most economical, disciplined, austere productions ever waxed. And even when the string section is heavily used, there's still a severe economy at play. No fluff, everything in it's proper place.
More than anything, the utter consistency of the recordings Mitchell produced once he started working with vocalists, is mind boggling. Obviously, some of this had to with the crack team of musicians he used, it would be stupid to pretend otherwise. But still, if you put any Hi record made between 1968 and 1975 on the turntable, the sound is instantly recognizable, and clearly Mitchell's.
That sound sold an awful lot of records too, reportedly 20 million albums by Al Green alone. Al Green is probably the first soul artist I ever paid close attention to, and I'm sure that's true of many. And ya know, since when is it a bad thing to begin your education with the Rev. Al.
I considered posting one of Mitchell's many instrumentals, but it looks like Larry Grogan's got that covered over at Funky 16 Corners. In fact, because I'm a bit late at getting to this, quite a lot of my fave Mitchell productions have already been posted around the blogs. But ya know, ain't like there's a lack of great tunes to choose from. So no problem.
It's odd this record wasn't more of a hit. Come To Mama never even made it half-way up the R&B charts. Most certainly it was not Ann Peebles' biggest seller. All I can think is that the competition must have been particularly tough that year.
Btw, there's an absolutely killer Ann Peebles comp around called St. Louis Woman/Memphis Soul. It's the well worth the money. Hopefully she gets a little something from the sales. Cause, yeah, Ann is still with us.
I haven't done this before, but the footage is so good I'm simply have to post it along with the song. Here's Ann Peebles in the studio....and, Come To Mama.
I'm having equipment problems. The symptom is a persistent popping through the speakers when my sound system is connected to the computer. Not only is this driving me crazy, it's also making it impossible to get a good rip off vinyl. Hopefully I'll have the problem fixed soon. A friend with serious brains is looking into it tomorrow.