Friday, September 9, 2011

Each and every day, since you've been away...

Not that anyone needs my help in getting over to Funky 16 Corners, but Larry Grogan's posted a very nice piece on Wardell Quezergue....has a nice selection of tunes available as well [that Marie Boubarere 45 is very rare]. As is often the case with Larry's posts, I def learned a few things I didn't know before.

Mr. Q worked on Earl King's "Trick Bag"? That's news to me and makes me wonder if the same is true of King's other releases on Imperial. Hard to say for sure as he isn't credited on any of the 45s, including "Trick Bag".

Larry also reminded me that Warren Lee's "Underdog Backstreet" is a Mr. Q production....just so happens that's the very first tune I ever posted on the blog. You can find it here.

I should mention that I sometimes use the terms "producer" and "production" in a modern sense, implying creative control, even though the effort received no such credit. Ya know, it's not like a production credit is always what it appears to be. As far as I'm concerned, the real question is: who was/is responsible for the sound of a particular recording?

When a man such as Mr. Quezergue is credited as arranger you can be assured his creative input was greater than some "producers". Every clip I've seen of him in the studio shows him leading the band, working to make it all sound right, helping musicians with their respective parts. If that's not a huge part of record production, then I don't know what is.

Cos Matassa has said several times that he doesn't know what a "record producer" is. And that's not just an old man being obtuse. He's speaking from his own extensive experience and at the same time sticking a well-honed pin in those who he sees as having garnered undue credit.

Ya see, there was a time when A&R men, arrangers, bandleaders, musicians, and engineers handled the entire recording process. Given that post-production work often amounted to very little and mastering was a physical process left to technicians and their lathes, the concept of a creative "record producer" has little validity when it comes to many 50s/60s RnB, RnR, and Country recordings.

Slightly off topic, but I just happened to notice that Josh Alan Friedman has recently added a great piece on Leiber and Stoller to his blog, "Black Cracker Online". In it he taps Leiber and Stoller as the first "record producers". An argument which has some validity, but only if you consider that garnering a "first" in anything is often dependent on one's skin color...a situation I'd think Mr. Friedman, if anyone, might be more sensitive to.

Johnny Otis, Dave Bartholomew, Paul Gayten, Sonny Thompson, et al, weren't "record producers"??? Oh, I forgot, they were only A&R men, composers, arrangers, bandleaders. Ya see, they didn't own record labels [at least not for some time to come].

Here's a fairly recent clip of Mr. Q in the studio. He's basically blind at this point. I'd post it but embedding is disabled.

While I'm at it, here's an incredibly stupid video of a great song by New Orleans' own Lydia Marcelle. Yep, Mr. Quezergue was responsible for this one too. The song title is actually "Everyone Dance" [the morons couldn't even get that right]. Why I don't own a copy of this 45 is a complete mystery to me.

Anyway, here's today's not-often-heard selection. Check the side bar for Warren Lee [yep, it's the same guy], there are several more of his recordings available. I even re-upped the link to "Climb The Ladder" just 'cause I love ya'll.

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