Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Some people were born to be players...

Here's another 45 that Mr. Finewine seems to like. I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think it's ever been comped. Deep soulies seem to like the flip side, a marvelous song which sounds to my ears as though it was cut during a different session. I'm sure I'll post it soon enough.

Seems fairly clear that Mr. Shermack's real name was Claude Shermack Williams, or at least that's how I occasionally see him listed. The co-writing credits lead me to believe the same. The person sharing that credit is William Parker Guidry, aka Bill Parker, leader of the Showboat Band.

If you've been reading the blog for awhile you may know I'm a fan of Parker and his guitarist, Chester Randle. I believe the links are still good for the two Parker 45s I've posted previously. Click on the "Bill Parker and His Showboat Band" label below if you'd like to hear them.

Anyway, that's about it for Claude Shermack. I don't know that anyone has much in the way of info about him other than he only made one other 45. It too is good, was issued on Goldband, and also recorded with Bill Parker's band.

Hope ya'll enjoy....

Monday, March 28, 2011

Let it hang out baby.....

Just in case anyone hasn't heard yet, Red Kelly is reporting that Sir Lattimore Brown died last Friday night after being hit by a car. I'm at a loss for words. R.I.P.
And just in case anyone is interested in my search for info on the Starr's 45.....

I bought the recently issued comp "That Kat Sure Could Play" [highly recommended] which was brought to my attention by a reader in the comments. It purportedly includes every recording on which Ike Turner played between the years 1952 and 1957, and as far as I can tell is the first time the Starr's 45 has been comped. I was hoping the liner notes might shed some light.

They do not. Here's what Fred Rathwell, who put the collection together, has to say about the record, "The Starr's are a complete discographical blank although the lead sounds suspiciously like Jackie Brenston. Both sides have a distinct New Orleans feel, "Crying Over You" [written by Ike Turner] sounds like a Huey "Piano" Smith record and "Aint Got No Home" is the Clarence "Frogman" Henry hit which at least dates this recording to after September 1956 when the Frogman's record was made." That's all he has to say.

It's the only 45 on the comp about which nothing is known. It's inclusion within the collection's time frame is little more than wishful thinking. In fact it's still unclear whether there's any proof at all of an Ike Turner connection. As far as the singer sounding like Jackie Brenston, that's just Mr. Rathwell's opinion, and honestly speaking, it's not one I agree with.

Perhaps more importantly, the record itself sounds nothing like any of the other included cuts and given that it does sound quite a bit like Billy Gayle's "I'm Hurtin" from 1962, I'm gonna stick to my guns and say I still think the Starr's recordings are from the early '60's. In this case, my opinion is just as valid as Mr. Rathwell' least until someone dates the run-out code on the 45.

So, the question remains: is the Starr's 45 Ike Turner related? While I happen to think it is, I'd still like to see a tiny bit of proof. Anything at all.

Told ya it was a mystery record.
I stupidly missed the local "Record Raid" up by Tulane while I was out of town, but still came home with a few nice things from Texas. My first visit to a record store since last October [can you believe it!] netted a small stack of ultra-clean new old stock copies. This is one.

Doesn't appear to be much known about Tina Britt even though she had five singles, two of which were hits, and an album issued on her. That album, "Blue All The Way" has been re-issued with some extra added cuts. I happen to like it a lot. You should check it out.

[Wow. A link to a recent interview with Tina Britt was posted in the comments. Here it is. She's making a new album after a 40 year break.]

Hope ya'll enjoy.....

Sunday, March 27, 2011

You're number one....

We've been away for the past few days visiting relatives in Texas. Baby Girl hasn't been cooed over near enough lately so we decided to hit the road in search of newer, fresher audiences.

This is one of those 45s by Robert Parker which is easy enough to find on comps but difficult to come by on vinyl. In fact, I'm sure it's rarer than his "Caught You In A Lie/Holdin On" which for unknown reasons continues to sell for a premium. By comparison, I'd say this 45 shows up maybe one tenth as often. I doubt very much it was distributed outside New Orleans.

Anyway, a friend scored two copies within weeks of each other and kindly let me have the more beat-up of the two for a mere pittance. I am most grateful. Check another rare-ish 45 off the list.

I'd like to dedicate this to my older sis who for the 6th year in a row has received national recognition for her culinary skills. While I was busy dancing around the parlor to old records pretending to be a club hopping 9 year old fashion model/DJ, she was in the kitchen soaking up arcane cooking knowledge from the family stregas. Girl deserves every bit of recognition she receives for all the hard work, the lack of pretension, the classic touch, and ultimately, the magic.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Put your hands in the sky....

I posted this song once before, a long time ago. It was only up for about ten minutes. I was so embarrassed by what I wrote that I deleted the whole post.

Ya see, this 45 often gets dismissed as a minor effort whereas I happen to think it's brilliant. And given that it didn't sell very well back in the day, I guess I have to accept that I probably hold the minority view of this one. So be it.

Anyway, in my opinion this is not so much a dance tune as it is a mini symphonic ode dedicated to all dance tunes. Don Covay may be carrying-on about the Shingaling but what he's really reaching for here is the joyfully transcendent power of ass-shaking with a capital A.

Bob Gallo gets total credit for the over-the-top production.

Hope ya'll enjoy....

Monday, March 21, 2011

...and lead me on

Speaking of the Duke label...and my confusion over vocalists who worked with Huey Smith....and different versions of songs I've already posted.....

Not that we were actually speaking of all that, but ya gotta figure these posts do kinda run together in my mind and I guess you could say I'm a little bit mentally under-employed at the moment, so, whatever.

I think this is the same Little Buck that sings on the Huey's recording of "Coo Coo Over You". If so, then he's the also the vocalist who recorded two other 45s with Huey Smith for the Seven B label and also worked at one time with Dave Bartholomew.

In other words, not Lil' Buck Senegal the fabulous guitar player. Got it?

Anyway, this may be the original version of a song I posted a long while back by R.L. Griffith on the Gay-Shel label [the link is still active, check the sidebar]. Or could be the other way around. All I know is that this 45 was issued in 1960, the date on the other record is anyone's guess.

Hope ya'll enjoy. I've also included a link to a song from one of Little Buck's Seven B singles with Huey Smith. It's doubtful that I'll ever even see a copy of that 45, so what the hell.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Went down to St. James Infirmary...

This is the first label pressing of a record that was re-issued on Duke in 1964.

Frankie Lee [not to be confused with Frankie Lee Sims] is one of the greatest blues singers to have ever come out of Texas. He only recorded 5 singles up until he put out an album in 1984, even though his cousin was Johnny Guitar Watson, even though one of his best friends was Albert Collins, even though he sang for a time with Ike Turner's crew.

Seriously under-recorded back in the day. Other than that, all I've got to say is: Holy Mary Mother of God, what a voice!!! Besides giving the record a listen, check out the video clip below for an extra dose of the chills. About 1:30 in, the-man-cuts-loose.

I think all five of Frankie Lee's more recent albums are still available. And ya know what? They're great. You should def check 'em out.

Hope ya'll enjoy....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I'm just a lonely frog....

I should have wished everyone Happy St. Patricks Day in my last post, but like most celebrations around here, we stretch it out as long as we can. Parades honoring St. Patrick started four days after Fat Tuesday and have been going on all week......and then, after a single day of respite, we celebrate St. Joseph's Day [today] with yet another big parade through the Quarter. Essentially, the wearin' of the green blends into the wearin' of the red.

I don't know that St. Joseph's Day is celebrated many other places, but it's a big deal here. Lots of Sicilians about. Literally millions passed through the Port of New Orleans between 1880 and 1920. Many more than went through Ellis Island. My great-great grandfather on my fathers side was one.

U.S. Customs documents of the day show that Italian immigrants were amongst the poorest of the poor. One of the listings I find hard to forget was for an unescorted 14 year old boy with less than 30 cents in his pockets. His possessions were listed as a small piece of cheese wrapped in a rag and an old suitcase containing one shoe.

On the whole, these immigrants were vilified in their new homeland. Even the Catholic Church, then controlled by a hierarchy of Irish descent, issued highly inflammatory anti-Italian pamphlets. Our poverty was held up as proof of our low morals and inferior intellectual capacity, our religious practices were cast as being satanic, our humanity doubted.

In short, Sicilians weren't considered to be "white". A designation then, as now, having much more to do with vague notions of correct cultural behavior as defined by largely protestant western european centrists than simple appearance or for that matter science. The funny thing is, I suspect many Sicilians stayed in the New Orleans area precisely because much of the population wasn't "white".

And that's more or less a joke on my part because in old New Orleans-speak if you want to talk in terms of a black/white racial duality, you say "Americans" and "American Blacks". Ya see the racial theory that gave birth to the "one drop of blood" rule during post-Civil War Reconstruction was [and still is] foreign to many in New Orleans, there being a long local history of racial intermixing, a pre-existing population of "latin" Catholics who were never exactly "white" to begin with, and a vibrant francophone culture which drew heavily from the huge influx of Haitians in 1809.

I suppose what I'm talking about is Creole Culture, which is pretty much the antithesis of what many associate with the American South. Regardless of whether some individuals choose not to identify with this culture, it still definitely includes the Sicilians of New Orleans. At this point it's basically impossible to talk about Creole cuisine without at least mentioning the Sicilian influence. That is, unless you want to show your ignorance.

So today the Italians/Sicilians of New Orleans celebrate St, Joseph's Day by marching through the old ghetto, and then throwing a big formal dinner where we present our "Maids" to society. I myself was presented nine years ago. We also build public altars to St Joseph and feed anyone who asks for food throughout the day. My aunt says she's fed something like 150 people today, many of them strangers off the street.

Baby Girl and I have on a couple of cute red outfits and in a few minutes we're gonna take a stroll down to the parade. Just for a little while. This is a parade I don't miss.

Kiss me, I'm half Sicilian. The tradition is to give flowers in exchange. I expect Baby Girl will end up with the largest bouquet of all.
Here's the a-side of the Starr's 45. Interesting in it's own right, because I can't imagine this song has been covered very many times.

Hope ya'll enjoy....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Looks like this world is coming to an end....

[Update: The link to "I'm Hurtin" should be fixed. Sorry about that.]

This record takes some explaining, so if you'll bear with me I'll do my best to keep it short.

First off let me say that this record was posted more than two years ago by another blogger. By which I mean this exact same copy. It came to me through an incredible act of generosity on that person's part. I contacted him about buying it, instead he gave it to me. At the time, I was poorer than the proverbial church mouse and remember thinking how relieved I'd be if he didn't accept my offer as it represented a couple of days worth of food. In the end, he wouldn't even let me pay the postage. I'll never forget it.

In keeping with that spirit this 45 has since been passed around amongst several friends, always for free, always with the stipulation that they could keep it as long as they felt entitled to it. Ya see, that single act of generosity had a big affect on me. It made me realize that the essence of collecting can be a profoundly greedy pre-occupation, and that unless I manage to balance my acquisitiveness with charity I will forever feel uneasy with my little treasures. In that way, this 45 has become a personal talisman representing the charity I hope to show others.

I'm sure that sounds sappy, but it's the truth. These days, my charitable donations are directly tied to the amount of money I save by not buying records during a specific period of time. I figure the amount based on a yearly average of spending per month.

I have at times considered sending the record back to it's original owner with my total gratitude, but I'm not sure he would understand and I tend to think there's some aspect of kharma involved. If undoing the original act of charity means that my "debt" is cancelled, then I think it's probably best if I continue to feel indebted.

So, why all the fuss in the first place? It's a great record. Maybe not the single greatest record ever made, but it's good. And so far, no one I know has been able to come up with any info on the artist, the label, or even the b-side song credited to Ike Turner. That's after two years of trying.

Last summer another copy appeared on Ebay and I sent a note to the seller to see if he knew anything. Turned out he was a very knowledgeable dealer out of California. His response was that he knew nothing at all, had never seen another copy, and thought he'd just put it out there as an unknown and see what happened. And "what happened" made my eye's bug out. The 45 went from about $15 to over $200 in the last ten seconds of the auction [it was in much better condition than this copy].

While there are folks in this world who will pay that kind of money for a good unknown record, it does also seem possible that someone out there knows something. If I'd had my thinking cap on I'd have re-connected with the seller after the auction and asked, just as a courtesy, if he'd be willing to see if the high bidder had any info. Unfortunately, I did not do so.

As I said above, there is no available info on the label. There is however another record on a label named Phantom, but the two records appear to be totally unrelated. Not only are the logo's different, but the other record is a fairly well-known garage rock 45 undoubtedly recorded several years after this record and clearly pressed as a private one-off issue.

My friend C. is one of those who've "owned" this record for a time. He's also the one who pointed out the similarities with the last record made by Billy Gayles for the Shock label in 1962. At first I was skeptical of the connection but with time and repeated listening I've come to think he might be right even though the vocal pitch is slightly higher.

Is it a lost Billy Gayles recording? Use your own ears and see what you think. I'm including an mp3 of "I'm Hurtin" from the Shock 45 for comparison. While "I'm Hurtin" is clearly a killer of a tune and The Starr's record is in roughish shape, I'm hoping you won't let either of those facts distract you from giving both a good listen. I'd love to hear what you think.

I initially became interested in this record because it sounds very "New Orleans". While a good bit of searching has been done to see if there's a local connection, nothing has popped up suggesting it's true. Actually, I'd be a little surprised if there is much of a local connection outside of influence. I've long thought the 45 to be a fascinating example of trying to sound "New Orleans".

I'll post the a-side's a cover of Clarence Henry's "Ain't Got No Home".

The Starr's, Crying Over You

Billy Gayles, I'm Hurtin'

[btw, I've never been able to trace the run-out code which I believe shows that the 45 was pressed by that huge plant out in California, the name of which I simply can not remember. Anyway, if someone has the resources to look up Δ37317-X, I'd totally appreciate it.]

[update: I bought the recently issued comp "That Kat Sure Could Play" [highly recommended] which was brought to my attention by a reader in the comments. It purportedly includes every recording on which Ike Turner played between the years 1952 and 1957, and as far as I can tell is the first time the Starr's 45 has been comped. I was hoping the liner notes might shed some light.

They do not. Here's what Fred Rathwell, who put the collection together, has to say about the record, "The Starr's are a complete discographical blank although the lead sounds suspiciously like Jackie Brenston. Both sides have a distinct New Orleans feel, "Crying Over You" [written by Ike Turner] sounds like a Huey "Piano" Smith record and "Aint Got No Home" is the Clarence "Frogman" Henry hit which at least dates this recording to after September 1956 when the Frogman's record was made." That's all he has to say.

It's the only 45 on the comp about which nothing is known. It's inclusion within the collection's time frame is little more than wishful thinking. In fact it's still unclear whether there's any proof at all of an Ike Turner connection. As far as the singer sounding like Jackie Brenston, that's just Mr. Rathwell's opinion, and honestly speaking, it's not one I agree with.

Perhaps more importantly, the record itself sounds nothing like any of the other included cuts and given that it does sound quite a bit like Billy Gayle's "I'm Hurtin" from 1962, I'm gonna stick to my guns and say I still think the Starr's recordings are from the early '60's. In this case, my opinion is just as valid as Mr. Rathwell' least until someone dates the run-out code on the 45.

So, the question remains: is the Starr's 45 Ike Turner related? While I happen to think it is, I'd still like to see a tiny bit of proof. Anything at all.]

[update: I just got an email from a friend saying that he traced the run-out code on the Starr's 45 some time ago but forgot to tell me. It dates the record as having been pressed at the Monarch plant in December 1960, which means it's inclusion on the Ike Turner related comp "That Kat Sure Could Play" is incorrect. If it's even possible to speak of such as thing an "release date" for the 45, I think you'd probably have to say it was sometime in 1961. My ears are by no means perfect, but on occasion they do serve me fairly well.]

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I guess I'll suffer....

Just so ya'll know, this blog gets a fair amount of traffic. I have no idea how the numbers compare with other blogs short of presuming that they're probably pathetic by some standards and possibly glorious by others. Either way, they're about 30 to 50 times higher than I think I deserve, which no doubt says more about my expectations than the actual numbers.

Anyway, this past week was one of the two best weeks traffic-wise that the blog has ever had, and for that I'd like to thank Doug Schulkind for featuring The Singing Bones in his weekly "Mining The Audio Motherlode" post on WFMU's "Beware The Blog". Such a kind man. Such a very kind gesture.

While I'm at it, I'd also like to re-thank both Gyro and Ryp over at Twilightzone! for offering up collections of my 45s this past fall.....and also Derek See at Derek's Daily 45 for allowing me to guest post on his blog more than a year ago. Both of those events served to bring a whole new layer of folks to this blog. I'm very grateful for that even if I'm not always the best at expressing it.

Now, I'm not a total fool. I know the increase in numbers don't really mean a thing beyond the fact that a few new readers might stick around. If you consider that 75% of my traffic is some combination of bots along with folks who clicked here by mistake [never ever mention breasts in a post on Mardi Gras], and then consider that 75% of those remaining people probably don't actually like what I've posted on any given day....only then do you get close to the number my download figures suggest is real.

And beyond that, I'm quite sure only a tiny fraction of even the folks who like the tunes bother to read the nonsense I write. Which is fine, I often find "me" tedious too.

Anyway, I'd like to thank all 50 of you who do read my posts. Without your occasional comments and feedback, I'd def pack it in. I don't especially enjoy feeling lonely in a crowd.
There are only eight known records by Billy Gayles [or Gales]. Of those, only six have his name on the label. All but one were recorded with Ike Turner. I say, "known" because there's a possibility I've found another. The investigators at Soul Detective may take up the case of that 45 in the future, but in the mean time the best guess is that it's Billy Gayles with some version of the Ike Turner crew.

This is not that mystery record. I plan on posting it next. This is the flip-side of Gayles' 1956 recording of "I'm Tore Up".....a less commonly heard side and one which, perversely enough, I've chosen precisely because it sounds nothing like what's coming up.

What an amazing voice....

Monday, March 14, 2011

You're my dream...

I've long been confused about the line-up on many records associated with Huey Smith, which I suppose is understandable given the host of artists who worked with him over the years and the general lack of available info. But ya know what? Even as I learn more, I'm still not sure who sang on what.

For awhile I thought Brenda Brandon was the female vocalist for the Pitter Pats/Hueys....and ya know, that's not such a horrible guess given that Brandon co-wrote a number of the tunes with Smith and reportedly sang on some of the Clowns recordings. Other sources say it was Gloria Franklin and Alex Scott Jr. doing the honors on those 45s, but honestly neither of those names rings even the slightest of bells.

And then there's Pearl Edwards.

Here's her original of "It Do Me Good", released 2 or 3 years before the version credited to the Pitter Pats. It's from the only 45 with Edwards' name on it, but believe me, her voice is all over Huey Smith productions from the '60s.

Hope ya'll enjoy....

Friday, March 11, 2011

I gave you a little kissin' one day and you got carried away...

The amazing Miss Lavelle White. I can't say I own every 45 she cut for the Duke label prior to 1964, but I should. I've seen her perform a few times and I gotta tell ya, she's a gas. All of 80 years old and still got a voice. A seriously sweet and funny lady, I love her to pieces.

She's put out several really nice albums over the past 15 years. I believe they're all still available. You should check 'em out. If a collection of her older recordings has been issued, I haven't run across it. Anyone know of a comp I've missed?

Hope ya'll enjoy....and check out the clip below. I think it's from her 80th birthday bash in Austin [???].

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Clap your hands....

A few nights ago a rare 45 was up for auction, one of those that's not listed in the R&B Indies, is basically unknown, in fact the only other copy I'm sure exists is in the collection of a local dealer. Anyway, I was hoping to surprise a friend with it. She cut the record when she as 16 and hasn't heard it in 50 years.

I watched that auction for days but when it came down to the wire, would you believe it, my f--king connection cut-out [thanks a bunch Cox Com]. I'd planned to offer a max bid of $120, but instead the record went to someone else for only $6.50. You should have heard the scream once I got back online. I may never forgive myself. It was important. I should have handed the auction over to someone more adept.

Ya see, a successful Ebay outing for me usually goes something like this. I see something I want. I get in touch with my friendly Ebay Guru. He bids for me. I pay up when it's over. I get the record in the mail. Nice and simple. No chance for me to screw it up, and all I have to do is keep an eye open for him locally. Believe me, our little understanding dramatically cuts down on the screaming around here.

Usually there's no problem with this set up, but we did squabble over the auction of the 45 I'm offering up today. I don't blame him, he wanted the record too and since there's no way we're gonna bid against each other, some brokering was required. Chances are he got the better part of the deal, but given that I landed one of my "white whales", I really can't complain. So maybe we both scored? How's that sound?

Anyway, all is forgiven. For some reason it mattered a lot that Ebay Guru hand-delivered the record this past weekend. Which probably only means I'm a sucker for grouchy old guys bearing "gifts". [I'm totally kidding, his visit was the highlight of my week.]

So, here ya go, the flip-side to one of the 45s I posted last Christmas. One of those records that "drive me crazy". Kinda foolish to post two Seven B's in one week, but I can't resist. Not like these things grow on trees.

As far as the other 45 is concerned, who knows, maybe another copy will surface. Experience has taught me to never say never. In the past year I stumbled on two very serious finds in a dollar bin. Probably the rarest record I own was given to me. One way and another I've gathered a very nice stack of records I never thought I'd own. This is one of them.

Hope ya'll enjoy....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Make me wait....

One of a stash of 45s found several years back with all the labels soaked off. It's "Skate Boogaloo And Karate Too" by Lee Harris on the Forte label, which was owned by Ellis Taylor, Marva Whitney's husband.

There are various stories as to why the labels were stripped, but the most convincing I've heard is that Whitney's name wasn't printed on the original label and thus it was decided to apply another label.

This goes counter to the more common theory that Whitney's name was on the label and the 45s were stripped either because Taylor was mad at her or because having her name on the record violated her contract with King records [Whitney's 45s on Forte were usually credited in odd ways].

While it may not make sense that the labels were removed because Whitney wasn't credited, the evidence suggests it's a good possibility. The few existing non-stripped copies of "Skate Boogaloo And Karate Too" do not mention Whitney on the label, while copies of another Lee Harris 45 on Forte, which also appears to have been stripped, have had another label [badly] re-applied which reads, "A Marva Whitney Production", across the top.

And there's a bit more. Ya see, the re-applied labels on the other Lee Harris 45 show a later date than the pressing code suggests. In other words, those 45s were pressed during the time Whitney had an obligation to King, and the attempt to re-label them was made when that obligation was no longer in force, or at least less of a problem.

The same is probably true of this 45. It was originally issued in '67 or '68, didn't sell at all, and the labels on the left over stock were stripped sometime in the early '70s with the thought that a label credit to Whitney would be a selling point. Unfortunately, the re-labeling process was not successful [it looks awful] and the stripped copies were put back into storage only to be found 30 odd years later. End of story.

It's worth mentioning that this may be the world's easiest 45 to bootleg, especially since all issues on Forte were Columbia Custom pressings [meaning that the run-out codes are stamped-in rather than scratched by hand]. Thus, I wouldn't pay a lot for a copy [nor in fact did I].

There's also a little matter of the number of supposedly legit copies around. The aforementioned stash apparently contained several hundred copies. That's more than enough to drive down the price of any record. Don't believe anyone who tells you a stripped copy is ultra-rare, if anything it's the labeled copies that are scarce as hen's teeth.

Still, it's a great 45, both sides are excellent.....and if nothing else, the stripped copies make for interesting conversation pieces. That is, as long as you can remember what the record actually is. I'm sorely tempted to write the pertinent info on my copy.

Hope ya'll enjoy....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm so tired....

While people will continue celebrating through much of the night, according to the Catholic liturgical calendar Carnival ends at sundown. Strictly speaking, it's time to trade in the beads for ashes. Most years I'm in bed very early on Fat Tuesday. In fact, can hardly think of anything else after several days of of little or no sleep.

Here's an Eddie Bo tune that like many of his non-funk cuts doesn't get heard all that often. It's also a song which possibly mimes it's subject just a little too well, but from the first note you'd have to be deaf not to know there's some seriously killer guitar work ahead.

This is the first time the name "Eddie Bo" appears on a 45.

Hope ya'll enjoy....

Got the golden band....

While there are plenty of Mardi Gras Indian clips on you tube, this one shows better than most what's actually going on when the "tribes" meet.

Below are links to the two earliest known authentic Indian recordings. They were released on an album called "The Music Of New Orleans: The Music Of Mardi Gras" in the late '50s, although I think there's a good possibility that they were recorded a few years earlier. Sam Charters made the recording.

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's Lundi Gras, so how about some Funky Soul?

I had a little "wake up call" last Friday. The Doc's opinion is that I'm not taking care of myself like I should, and most def trying to do too much too soon. So, for the next few weeks I'm to do exactly as I'm told and concentrate on "healthy things" like actually recovering rather just pretending I'm ok. Which is too bad 'cause I about had everyone, including myself, fooled into thinking I was Wonder Woman.

Some of you may know the drill. Eat right, do your tummy exercises, nap when the baby sleeps. Do not use nap-time to attack the avalanche of work that's piled up in the last month, or to set traps for the raccoon that's eating all the cat food. Even little stuff like paying the bills, answering email....or posting on the blog, are officially frowned upon. The point is to get some rest.

But on the other hand, I have to do something more than just follow Baby Girl's feeding/pooping/sleeping schedule or I'll go bonkers. So, I cut a deal: no more work, no more yelling at the neighbor's tenants, and no more rearranging of the furniture as long as I'm allowed to post a couple of times a week. My Boy was like, "uh huh", and then, "ok", but he did make me swear to it all.
This evening, two very dissimilar but great parades roll. My dad will be on one of the floats, my mom usually just watches and takes pictures. Wish I could go watch too.

Tomorrow morning, my sis and her husband will join up with the Society of St. Anne for their stroll down to see Rex. My Boy, along with his parents, will be doing their thing down Canal St. around the same time.
This isn't the 45 I meant to post, but I didn't have the other one ripped, and well, maybe ya'll can appreciate that I really am trying to take it easy here.

And it doesn't really have anything to do with Mardi Gras although I'm sure it's shown up on at least one of the myriad of comps purporting to provide a soundtrack to Carnival, somewhere, sometime.

Anyway, it's great tune...possibly the best instrumental to ever come out of New Orleans. Oddly enough, this 45 was also released on the Instant label in what I suspect was an even smaller pressing than the one on Soulin'.

Ever wonder why you never hear Part 2 of this record? That's because it's not very good. I can't even tell you why it's sub-par, but it is. Could even be that Part 1 is so superior that it just sounds bad by comparison.

Hope ya'll enjoy....

[Btw, Dan Phillips has some really interesting Mardi Gras related tunes up. Ya'll should check 'em out here, if you haven't already.]

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hey hey, the gangs all here...

How do you know when Carnival is really about to take off? When the group of people renting your neighbor's house for the week come in from the bars at 6:30 am, start to work on another case of beer, turn up the volume to max on some kind of hideous nu-metal band, and don't pass out by 10:30. Instead they headed out again sometime around noon, undoubtedly in search of more beer and another eight-ball of coke. I suspect we'll hear more from them over the next 5 days.
For the first time in years I've very little to do with Carnival celebrations. We went to a couple of fancy dress parties in January, which I felt very lucky to attend, but that by itself isn't anywhere near my usual involvement. Most of all, I'm gonna hate not rolling with the Muses this evening. It would be really nice to go down and cheer the girls on.

My mom's offered to babysit, in fact would love to babysit, but ya know, I'm not ready to cross that river quite yet. I can't imagine being away from Baby Girl for 2 minutes, much less an hour or more. Actually, I'm not sure there's any real reason why we should be separated for some time to come. I'll wait for her. Still, it's too bad she isn't several months older, I'd def take her out in a pink wig and a pair of fairy wings. Next year for sure.

There are a number of common misconceptions about Mardi Gras, specifically it's history, but I'll skip over that today and address something I'm not sure everyone fully appreciates. It's that the people of New Orleans are the ones who make Mardi Gras happen year after year. It's the central social event of a very socially oriented city. Literally thousands of individuals involved in only God knows how many groups/organizations/krewes/social aid societies contribute their time, effort, and money to make it happen.

That's the lovely thing about it. The effort is very grassroots. If you want to participate in the making there's a group/a club/a krewe for everyone. If you're not happy with any of the existing groups, you're perfectly welcome to form your own. Come together with an existing krewe's parade...or have one of your own if you want. People do it all the time.

And as I hinted above, the parades aren't the whole story. There are lots of related parties/masquerade balls/dinner dances/debutant presentations, and the like throughout the season and beyond. But even that's just the tip of the iceberg. The core experience lies in all the time spent hanging out with your pals throughout the year while working to make these elaborate events, parades, and costumes all come together. It's very much a social thing.

Certainly more "social" than flying into town once a year to get blind-drunk and show your tits on Bourbon St., which is exactly how many think of Mardi Gras. Behavior of that sort only qualifies you for that most distinctive of all local souvenirs, an empty wallet. Don't worry, we'll let you keep the beads and plastic go-cups from Pat O'Brien's as well.

And that's all fine [as long as you don't stop to piss on my front stoop, in which case you're likely to get hit with a broom]. Ya see, one thing we really excel at in New Orleans is walking the line between minimal order and utter chaos. Believe me, there's a highly skewed balance to be maintained. Since we never have near enough home-grown chaos available come Mardi Gras, we are forced to import it. Fortunately, most of this imported chaos carries cash and thus offers a virtually endless supply of the aforementioned "empty wallets".

In short, individual Mardi Gras experiences may vary, but just know that the people of New Orleans would be celebrating during the pre-lenten season even if nobody else came. Carnival is of such local importance that I tend to measure my years by it much more than say, New Years Eve.
This could well be the last Oliver Morgan 45 I'll post. I don't own the other two singles and they are very hard to find. In fact one of them is so rare that I only know one person who's ever even heard it. For my part, I've never heard either of the missing two.

This 45 is of course easier to find, but it too is getting scarce on the market as more copies have settled into collections. I was lucky in that a friend passed it on to me for a very nice price when he came up with a better copy for himself.

It's one of four records Morgan made with Eddie Bo. It was released in 1966.

Hope ya'll enjoy....

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hit me once again....

I found an excellent use for Blogger's scheduling function. Nothing fancy, just a little trick to get me to post on a regular basis. Funny what having an imaginary deadline will do.

This 45 is on the revived 70's era Ace label. It's also the ultimate in Bobby Marchan collecting. Or, at least it is to me.

Tough to get your hands on, tough to keep off the turntable, all around just tough. If there was ever a record that deserved to have a Part 2, this is it. Ten, twenty minutes of this jam would go down just fine. Instead all ya get is 3+ minutes of ass shaking funk and then a silence so resounding you just gotta play it over again. Problem is, it's never ever enough.

To my mind, the equivalent of musical crack. Maybe even doubly additive because Marchan's goofiness is always right on the edge of turning it all to crap....but then the guitar player starts leaning on the strings, or the horns kick in....and you're back with a snap.

And then it's over. Time to drop the needle again.

Hope ya'll enjoy....

[Some folks think James Booker is playing organ on this cut. Personally speaking, I don't hear anything that makes me think it is, or for that matter isn't, him.]

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'm looking good...

A nice one that went absolutely nowhere. I doubt it was ever distributed outside of New Orleans, in fact I wonder if it even got that much exposure in town.

I've yet to see any info on Lionel Robinson beyond the fact that he cut 5 records for labels owned by Traci Borges. Sad but true.

In my opinion, this is the best of the bunch.

Hope ya'll enjoy.....