Saturday, July 31, 2010

You got a crazy funny way of teasin' me.....

Gawd, I love this record. A song that's perfect for a Saturday afternoon when absolutely nothing in the world is more important than playing/flirting/dancing around with My Boy Lollipop.

How is it that Sterling Magee recorded as little as he did in his pre-Mister Satan days? I mean, this is brilliant stuff we're talkin' about. I only know of five sides, total. Two singles on Ray Charles' Tangerine label, and this one on Sylvia which shares a b-side with one of the others.

Bass, drums, acoustic guitar, harmonica, that's it. The few touches of what sounds vaguely like fuzz guitar are just the reeds of the harmonica gently blown for effect.

If only there had been an album.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The first step is always the hardest, isn't it? [re-post re-up]

[I'm ten days late with this, but guess what? The 20th was the first anniversary of this blog. Totally amazing, after posting close to 200 songs I'm still having fun. Hope ya'll are too. Here's my first ever post.]

My name is Ana B. and I have a problem. I collect records and I'm an addict. For some time I've kept to the mild stuff (albums), but more recently I've become a stone-cold hard-core 45 junkie. I'm here because I find myself studying the needles required for playing 78's, and thinking...enough is enough.

Much of what I'll post here will have some connection with New Orleans (it's my hometown). But not all of it, as there's too much good music in the world to limit myself by sticking too close to home.

All records posted are from my collection. Some are in rough shape, some are virtually un-played. Some are rare, some are common as dirt. Some I've paid good money for, some I've dug out of trash bins. A few have spent time underwater.

I make no apologies for sound quality. I do not intend to digitally clean up any of these recordings. Vinyl, in all it's glorious imperfection, rules on this blog. Can i get an Amen?

Maybe, just one 'Amen'?....ya know...maybe just one to start with?...............................................................................

Anyway, it's time to put my money where my mouth's a record you don't hear all that often, Warren Lee's, 'Underdog Backstreet', issued on the Tou-Sea label in 1967.
C'mon children..ya'll can dance, can't ya?...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sometimes I get so disgusted....

I was over by Terpsichore St. the other day to have a look at a house. It was probably built in the 1890's. Nothing spectacular to behold but it would make a nice home for someone if they wanted to fix it up. Of course, that would take a lot of work, the place is in pretty bad shape. It's been chopped into two or three different apartments and doesn't appear to have been lived in for some time. Basically just another derelict building in a city with lots of derelict buildings.

Strictly speaking, the house is protected because it lies within a National Historic District, one of twenty such districts in Orleans Parish, but ya know how it goes. Chances are the house will continue to deteriorate until the roof falls in. The technical term for it is: demolition by neglect.

As I say, there's nothing very special about the house. Except for one thing. It was the long-time home of Henry Roeland Bryd, aka Professor Longhair. That's why the house was recently added to the Louisiana Landmarks Society's short-list of most endangered historic sites.

This list, which is issued yearly, is really more of a way of bringing attention to the huge amount of preservation work needing to be done than an actual plan for saving the individual buildings. Ya see, this stuff quickly gets very complicated. The Society doesn't own the properties. At best you might be able to set up a fund for a specific building, but someone still has to administer the cash and ultimately it's up to the owners to decide if any work gets done. That is, if they even want any work done at all.

Alternatively, a special Trust could be established to buy/restore/maintain the property, but that's pretty much a "pie in the sky" solution when what's really needed is basic structural stabilization. The sooner the better.

The best solution by far would be for an individual to buy/restore the property. I have no idea if the Byrd family would sell the house, but it's a thought.
I bought all three of Professor Longhair's 45's on the Ebb label back when spending more than $5 on a record meant I probably wouldn't eat that night [actually not that long ago]. They were all together and priced at $15 each. I stared a long time at those records. Long enough for the shop owner to drift by and tell me he'd cut a deal if I bought all three. I didn't even know what they were, thought maybe they were some kind of bootleg. Ultimately, I gave the guy $30 for the lot, and yeah, it meant I ate ramen exclusively for several days straight.

The Ebb label was started by Lee Rupe with money she got from divorcing her husband, Art Rupe, owner of Specialty records. During the three years the label was in operation, 60+ singles were issued, quite a lot of them of very high quality. There's a nice comp around called "The Ebb Records Story" if you're interested.

I'm offering up both sides of the record today because they're both so good I couldn't possibly choose one over the other. Need I say more?

The record's from 1957.....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yeah, yeah, give me you...

Because I mentioned the song "Ya Ya" in the last post, here's the b-side of that record. It's also been awhile since I played my "let's post a semi-obscure Lee Dorsey/Allen Toussaint tune" game. This one qualifies on that account as well.

Just because some of Dorsey's recordings were issued on New York labels doesn't mean they weren't recorded in New Orleans. As I said in the last post, the musicians on this side were the crew behind A.F.O. records.

And....there's a certain Mr. Toussaint lurking in the background. I kind of doubt that's him on the piano, as he was under contract elsewhere, but I'd be very surprised if he didn't do the arrangement, and as you can see from the label, he wrote the song [N. Neville was his pseudonym].

I've been wanting you for days and days...

I'm gonna have to start grabbing records off the top of the stack no matter what turns up. The backlog is huge at this point and once I get to looking through the pile I get lost in playing tunes. Or alternatively, I choose a record, start digging around for info, and end up getting lost in the research. Either way, it means I don't post the record.

*note to self: take-your-damn-Adderall.

The record I'm offering up today used to hold the title for the dirtiest 45 I've ever had the misfortune to own. A friend of mine dug it out of the trash post-Katrina [this is the pretty side] and then decided he probably should have left it there. In short, he gave it to me instead of throwing it away.

Unless you have a collection yourself, you probably don't know how deep down dirty a 40 year old 45 can get. In the case of this record, so dirty that the needle wouldn't track the grooves. The tonearm basically slid right across the record when you tried to play it.

Since that time, I've run into my fair share of similarly afflicted 45's, and know how to deal with them, but at the time I wasn't sure my friend didn't have the correct impulse.

Anyway, after a whole bunch of scrubbing, I finally got the record to play reasonably well. It's still not a what I'd call a nice copy but given that the 45 is somewhat rare, I'm glad to have it.

Barbara George had a big hit with her very first single, "I Know", for A.F.O. records. It not only topped the R&B charts but also hit the pop charts in a major major way. Apparently that success had something to do with what happened next. Juggy Murray at Sue records, who was distributing the record nationally, decided to steal George. So, he declared that the guys at A.F.O. had broken their contract with him by playing on Lee Dorsey's record "Ya Ya", which was issued on Bobby Robinson's Fury label.

Now, I don't know if George had an actual contract with A.F.O., but if she did, she then broke it and signed up with Murray and the Sue label. Which probably seemed like a good idea at the time because Sue was a much bigger outfit. However, this was very bad news for the guys at A.F.O. Soon afterwards, they closed up shop and many of them left New Orleans for the greener pastures of Los Angeles.

Anyway, George never had another hit after "I Know" and was eventually dropped by Sue. I don't know exactly how many singles she had issued on her, but there aren't a lot. Maybe eight at most?

In my opinion, this is her best record. She recorded it with Eddie Bo. It's the only 45 by her issued on Seven B. I'm not sure when it was recorded, but I'll guess and say 1966[?].

Monday, July 26, 2010

You're a hard nut to

[I'm surprised at the high download numbers for my re-post of Tony Owens "I Got Soul". I guess this re-posting thing isn't as stupid as I imagined. Here's another one that got lost in the Divshare debacle.]

This record grows on me with time. The trumpet part is totally sweet.

It's the last single issued on the Parlo label before the fall of the House of Cosimo. A shocking event at the time. Cosimo Matassa went bankrupt trying to keep up with the overwhelming demand for Neville's earlier record on Parlo, Tell It Like It Is.

With Matassa's studio closed, his pressing plant shuttered, and his distribution company, Dover, gone, it suddenly became very much harder to run a small label in the city and the music business in New Orleans was never the same

Matassa's assets were seized by the IRS, Parlo closed it doors, Neville never saw a dime from his hit record....

A very sad story, one in which it's hard to find a villain. After all, what was Matassa supposed to do? He had no major label backing and yet he's got orders for millions of records coming in. So, he keeps the presses running full blast, hoping that enough money comes back, soon enough, to cover costs.

In retrospect, perhaps it was a bad bet.....but ya know, those involved were in the business of making/selling records and they had a major hit on their hands...I tend to think there was no real choice.

Funny though, that a major label didn't try to step in after the record hit's the one piece of this puzzle which doesn't make any sense at all.

Funny too that the record I'm offering today ever got pressed. It makes me think that up till the very end, it looked like everything might just work out....that is, until it didn't.

Anyway, it's cool far as I can tell it sank like a stone when it was released.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Could anyone else be loving you better than I?

Another killer tune from Willie West.

I'm still waiting for a genuine stock copy of this 45 to appear [the one above is a promo copy]. Ya see, I not only have never seen a stocker, I've never even met anyone who claims to have seen one. As far as I can tell, no original issue stock copy has ever been posted on the blogs or for that matter auctioned on Ebay. DJ playlists posted on the net, some going back as far 10 years, are very clear that the 45 in use at the time was either a promo copy or the version of the single issued by Rhino.....I can't find a single mention of a bone stock copy being played, ever. Truth is, I don't think they exist.

Most likely, the record was withdrawn [for whatever reason] after the promo copies were pressed.

There's a good reason for going into this. Ya see, Rhino pressed a much different version of "Fairchild" on their supposed look-a-like stock re-issue. So, either Rhino goofed big time, in fact never had a stock copy in hand from which to "copy", in fact never bothered to check what might have been actually issued as Josie 1019, or there's a monstrously rare record out there, somewhere, waiting to be found. A record made even more rare because it would be the only example I can think of where issued stock copies differ so substantially from a promo copies. For someone like me, it would be very nice to know the truth.

It's worth mentioning that if Rhino did goof, then their pressing of "Fairchild" becomes even more interesting, as that would make those records the only authorized copies of the alternative version. Essentially, more of a true limited edition than they ever imagined. I want one myself.

Hope ya's one of the more ominous sounding cuts I can think of.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'm gonna walk the walk...Re-post

[This is my solution to both fixing all the unavailable files on the blog and keeping the comments ya'll were nice enough to post the first time around. It's not just that the links are broken, Divshare actually lost the files. So, I'm gonna re-post the missing songs by each artist as they come up. At least with mediafire it's an easy thing to re-do links as they expire.]

Possibly the most auspicious debut recording ever. Too bad no one listened.

I forget how many 45's Tony Owens recorded altogether, but the number is on the small side. Only one was picked up by a major label after it started to make waves in New Orleans. That single, Confessin' A Feeling/ Gotta Get My Baby Back Home, was a major national hit in 1970...spending a month on the charts and as I recall, going to no. 2 at one point.

It was Tony Owens' only hit, which is a very serious shame.

[The info in this post is misleading. Tony Owens "big" hit wasn't nearly as big as I thought. However, I have it on very good authority that "Confessing A Feeling/Gotta Get My Baby Back Home" was a huge seller throughout the South and a genuine monster in New Orleans.]

Thursday, July 15, 2010

.....for a girl like you

Oh goodie! I don't have to pretend that I know anything about Tony Fox because Sir Shambling's already done his usual fantastic job of laying out the whole story, here. There's a few other songs by Fox available for download on the page, including the flip of the side I offering up.

Everything I've heard by Fox is great. This 45 hasn't left the heavy rotation stack since I picked it up several months ago.

Hope ya'll enjoy...

[Btw, I've been meaning to put in a plug for Joe over at Black Gold. He's doing nice things with his blog; has some great tunes available. If you haven't checked it out yet, then you should definitely trip on over.]

Friday, July 9, 2010

Yeah yeah, yeah yeah....Re-post

[Even I'm confused by what I did here. Anyway, it's fixed now. Just seemed easier to go ahead and post the second side as well. Those of you who downloaded from this post before have a mislabeled file. You may want to delete it and re-download it along with the extra song.]

Speaking of Marty Lewis, here's the easiest to find of the few singles he had issued on him. All of the others are mucho rare.

As you'll hear, Lewis had a bluesy style not usually associated with New Orleans. Mostly I think it's the use of the harmonica that throws people, but it's not like blues weren't recorded in the city, ya know? As Martin Lawrie over at Soul Generation says, [it's] "the kind of sound the Stones sold millions of records mimicking".

I'd be very surprised if Allen Toussaint isn't laying down some mighty fine piano on this one.

Btw, 'Alon' was not, as many seem to believe, meant as a play on Mr. Toussaint's first name. It's simply 'nola' spelled backwards.

From 1963...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

On the water's edge...

It's not often the temperature in New Orleans is considered mild, or even more rarely, falls on the lower end of the national average. I hope those of you not used to the heat in the Northeast are holding up ok. Sounds like you'll get a little break today.

On the other hand, things are not so great down here either. Crude oil has moved up the Rigolets into Lake Pontchartrain. Fishing has been halted in the eastern part of the lake.

If you've ever been to southern Louisiana, you've noticed the water. The people of this state have a very intimate, if occasionally uneasy, relationship with water. And it's not just the Gulf of Mexico or the Mississippi River I'm speaking of. Forty percent of the total wetlands in the lower 48 states are in Louisiana. Even along the 'dryer' western coast, swamps extend 30 miles inland. Total state-wide wetland area is put at something like 3.3 million acres, one half million of which lie in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. The lake itself covers over 600 square miles.

New Orleans was originally built and to a large degree has endured because of it's location on the water. On one side, the Mississippi, on the other, Lake Pontchartrain [really an estuary]. It's a natural portage spot. To this day, New Orleans is the second largest port in the world in terms of tonnage. Products arriving and leaving through the port affect 62 percent of the population of the U.S. As of several years ago, the number of people with jobs directly connected to the operation of the Port of New Orleans was put at 380,000.

Fishing for money and/or food has a long tradition in the area. My own family owns a 'fish camp' where we often retreat on long weekends and holidays. By and large, we're city folks, but we own fishing boats. Both my husband's and my families have been involved in the shrimping business in the past. One family is still involved.

Before the Deepwater Horizon debacle began, commercial fishing in Louisiana was a 2.6 billion dollar industry. Even in this day of cheap imports and stiff competition, Louisiana still supply's 25 per cent of the seafood produced in the continental U.S. That's an awful lot of fish....and an awful lot of money for a very poor state.

Of course, the state's oil industry is worth a whole lot more than that to the state's economy, but economics aren't really the point of this post, even as important as that is. The point is the water.

In 1929, Blind Uncle Gaspar recorded a very beautiful song, "Sur Le Borde de L'Eau [On The Water's Edge]. It was old even then. It's also very sad. A song about the loss of a lover, a lost ring.

It's not exactly what I had in mind to finish off the post, but ya see, I couldn't find a song about the loss of a sea, a river....a lake.

It will have to do. The lyrics may not be exactly right, but the feeling-tone is dead on.

[the picture is of some of the lake shore camps, built on stilts out into the water, which used to line the shore of Lake Pontchartrain, the last remaining few were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 ]

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Katty's Thing

I'm not big on jazzy instrumentals but some have a way of sticking in the brain like glue. This is one I can't seem to scrape off.

Not much to say about the record except that Big Deal was one of Marty Lewis' labels and that Anthony Butler and the Invaders is probably a made up name. Ya see, this is no unknown amateur band, there's some serious playing going on.

I won't embarrass myself by trying to guess who was involved, but you get the idea, right?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Would you believe, I call my baby Ivory?

Al Reed is one of those New Orleans artists I doubt was much known outside the 504 area code. He recorded a handful of sides with Dave Bartholomew for Imperial, then another handful for Instant. There may have been some other releases as well, truth is I can't find a discography and I only own one other of his 45's.

He also wrote some nice songs including "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" [which Danny White recorded], played and sang on some other folks records, and in the late 60's formed his own label, Axe.

I think the joke here is that Reed actually meant to call the label "Ask' and was misheard by the person designing the label. Don't worry if you don't get it, it's only mildly amusing.

Anyway, I only know of two Reed singles on Axe, this being the much easier of the two to find, but still not a record that usually sells for cheap. Certainly not $2, not even in this shape.

That said, the 45 doesn't sound half bad now that I've scrubbed it clean. Lots and lots of pork fat and sawdust in those grooves. Too bad some cat sharpened it's claws on it as well.

Yep, not bad at all. I'm actually impressed with the sound given how rough it looks.

Hope ya'll enjoy. Wardell Quezerque did the arrangement. The year is 1968.

I thought we had a love so doggone strong....

Nice to be back home....

Waiting for me was a package of goodies from my friend C. Just some things he thought I'd be interested in. And he was totally right. A fairly beat up, but incredibly cheap [$2!!!] copy of Al Reed's "99 44/100 Pure Love", a copy of Ray Barretto's "El Watusi" [a song I've been nuts about since I was a kid], and the 45 I'm posting today [apparently scored off ebay, I ran across the listing while looking for info].

In my previous post on Lee Bates, I forgot, and thus didn't mention, that several years ago Red Kelly and the folks at Soul Detective did a lot of research on Lee Bates. You can find it here. They also posted a number of cuts by Bates, including "Mean Mistreater" [the flip of "I Do Things Naturally"] and "Wishing, Waiting, and Hoping" [which saves me the trouble of posting them myself].

This 45 is one they didn't post, probably because it doesn't turn up that often. In fact, I doubt many folks have ever heard it. As far as I know, the cut has never been comped and I can find no evidence that it's ever been posted on the soul blogs. I only know the song because C. has owned a copy of the 45 for some time.

And now, so do I....woo hoo! Thanks C, you made my day! Keep an eye on your own mail.

Anyone know anything about Flemings Broglin Jr.? He's listed as song writer and producer.

Before I forget, the title of the song is "Girl, Listen To Me", it's from 1972.

Hope ya'll enjoy.

Friday, July 2, 2010

1, 2, 3, 4........

Ok, the "I'm on my honeymoon" excuse is starting to wear thin. Time to get back to work. Yes indeed, except for the fact that it's a holiday weekend and I'm 2000 miles away from home safely ensconced in a very nice hotel in a truly lovely city [more or less on someone else's dime], I'd be sure to follow right-up on that impulse. You bet I would.

I had a chance to poke around some of the local record shops earlier today and the situation was much as I was warned......basically the same 45's I see every week in the shops back home, with very few added treats, all going for 2 to 3 times the cash. At least I know where to go if I need to sell my collection.

Anyway, I did buy one 45....and it cost an arm and a leg....but I felt I probably wouldn't see another copy any time soon, or possibly ever again. Luckily, one of the turntables at the store had a USB connection so I ripped it straight into the laptop. Sounds pretty good too.

I've borrowed a label scan from popsike because it was just too complicated to use the shops scanner. Hope ya'll don't mind me fudging things just this once.

Anyway, this is pure gold. A crazed lo-fi head-nodder which wades right into that very special place where everything starts to fall apart, but never quite does. Part 2, in particular, just barely skirts sonic collapse. Ya know, usually I don't have a problem deciphering lyrics, but I haven't a clue what they're singing about on this one. Something about suicide?

Basically, I know nothing about the group or the record. Any info would be appreciated, especially if it sheds some light on the drugs these folks were taking.

Ya'll get loose...enjoy the weekend.