Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Loose Ends No.3

I first posted this tune about 18 months ago while on my honeymoon. I was so excited to find the record that I couldn't resist ripping it straight to my laptop off the portable player at the shop. And the rip sounded pretty good, but it's bothered me ever since that I never bothered to make another stab at it.

I also posted a label scan which was lifted from Popsike because I didn't have access to to a scanner. That has bothered me too. In fact, it's a big no-no on this blog even though I explained the situation at the time.

Anyway, here's a re-do. New rip [with a bit more bass] and a brand new scan.

So, is this song in any way related to my last post?

Probably not. There are some very obvious differences, not the least of which are different lyrics and a mile-wide hook on Apple's version that's nowhere in sight on the Pulsar 45.

However, both 45s were recorded in L.A., probably within a few years of each other [Jessie Hill's version is from 1968, I would think Apple's take is more likely from the early '70s].

Just a coincidence, right? Two twisted funk jams using the same repeated phrase. Right?

On the other hand, I do wonder if I'm missing something. Is there a third "Free And Easy" that somehow ties the two songs together? Anyone have a clue?

Hope ya'll enjoy.....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pretty baby, you don't stand a chance....

The list of New Orleans ex-pats working in Los Angeles by the late sixties is long: Earl Palmer, Plas Johnson, Rene Hall, Harold Battiste, Lee Allen, Mac Rebennack, Mel Lastie, Jessie Hill, Tami Lynn, Alvin Robinson, Shirley Goodman, Ronnie Barron, John Boudreaux.....

I'm sure there are others, but in terms of this record I'm mostly interested in the crew surrounding Harold Battiste at Pulsar, which just so happens to include many of those listed above.

Pulsar was a short-lived subsidiary of Mercury apparently set up as a tax dodge. But Battiste and Co. didn't know that so they happily started pumping out records for the fact had high hopes of duplicating the artistic freedom they'd enjoyed in New Orleans before the A.F.O. label went under [part of the reason many of these folks had moved on in the first place].

Anyway, soon enough the plug was pulled and Pulsar was no more. Luckily, Harold Battiste is nobody's fool. According to Dan Phillips, Battiste bought all the master tapes and apparently still has them [as is often the case I'm just mentally condensing what I've read at Home Of The Groove].

Those tapes are in fact the source of some of what showed up on the excellent three volume "Gumbo Stew" series of comps.....which are ostensibly a collection of unreleased A.F.O. recordings. Proof of a sort that the spirit of the A.F.O. operation in New Orleans bled over into the situation at Pulsar in L.A.

While the flip-side of this record, "Mardi Gras", tends to get more play, I happen to think this side is at least as good. To my mind, it's Jessie Hill at his chaotic best.

Hope ya'll enjoy.......

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm on my way....

Just 'cause I can't seem to get past that last's another Staple Singers recordings from the '50's.

If I were running a non-vinyl, non-45 based blog, I'd follow up with Blind Willie Johnson's "Dark Was The Night" [partially for those familiar with Ry Cooder's "Paris Texas" soundtrack] it is, I'll probably have one of those "and now for something completely different" moments. It happens.

Hope ya'll enjoy........

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'll be home....

Two of the most intense albums I know of are the Staple Singers' "Uncloudy Day" issued in 1959 and "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" from 1960 [Wikipedia says it was released in 1969, but that's wrong].

Both are collections of earlier recordings, some dating from the Staples' first session for Vee Jay in November 1955.....when Mavis Staples would have been 16 years old.

A version of "So Soon" was definitely recorded at that 1955 session. Whether it was re-recorded for release on this 45 is unknown to me.

Of course it doesn't really matter if Mavis was 16, 17, or 18 at the time. The recording is extraordinary no matter what. In fact, it's close to unearthly. If there was ever a singer who's voice qualifies as a force of nature, it's Mavis Staples.

If any of ya'll don't own a copy of the Staple Singers Vee Jay recordings, then you should def seek out the 'twofer' of "Uncloudy Day" and "Will The Circle Be Unbroken". Yep, they come packaged together. To my mind, they're essential albums.

Hope ya'll enjoy......

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Loose Ends No.2

The perfect follow-up to the last post?

I don't think Tail-Gate 1003 has ever been comped. Sir Shambling's site looks to be the source of all previous internet postings of "Understanding", including those now on you tube [last year I posted a copy taken from there as well].

Beyond that, Mr. Finewine has def got himself a copy, has played both sides of the 45 on his radio show at one time or another, but I see absolutely nothing else online that leads me back to a comp or even another vinyl rip.

Ya'll can check out what Sir Shambling has to say, here, although I should point out that Jackie Avery actually has three 45s to his name. The third being, "I'm A Believer/Have A Little Faith", issued on Redwal 14/15....a label directly related to Avery's boss at Capricorn, Phil Walden.

Yeah, it's a bit strange to be sending ya'll off to another site where you can also hear "Understanding", but Sir Shambling writes much better than I, and well.....this is the second most expensive 45 I own....the only thing that could possibly stop me from posting it is if the world suddenly came to an end.

It's also not every day you get to hear two cuts from rare 45s, sung independently by a married couple, played back-to-back. In the end, I just couldn't resist the temptation [nor could I think of a better way to phrase it].

Hope ya'll enjoy......

[Not that it will matter to most, but I forgot to mention that this 45 has a tell-tale 'Cos' signature in the dead wax area. That means Cos Matassa hand-cut the master.]

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I love him...

Ella Brown's "Love Don't Love Nobody" continues to be one of the most heavily viewed postings on this site. I don't exactly know why that is, but I hope it means there are a lot of Ella Brown fans about.

Here's another gorgeous tune by that fine lady. Much much rarer than "Love Don't Love Nobody", in fact, this is the only copy of the 45 I've ever seen in the "flesh". It definitely would've made my 'white whale' list last year, but I felt I could only choose one of Brown's two releases on Adams.

Many thanks to the Ebay Guru for taking care of business. Down to the last minute I was still dreaming about getting the record for $20 because the silly thing has been sitting for days at $10. The Guru was like, "don't be an idiot".

And sure enough, exactly as he predicted, the price jumped considerably in the last five seconds of the auction. If I had followed his suggestion, we would have won with less than $2 to spare. As it was, I made him throw in an extra $10, just to make sure.

Hope ya'll enjoy......

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

We had a love like paradise...

This cut was released twice on the Neb's label, each with different flip-sides, and then again a couple of years later on Capcity. Oddly enough it's listed as the b-side on the first pressing. The a-side, "I Can't Do It", is nothing short of terrific, but ya still gotta wonder what Never Duncan [the label owner] was thinking.

Anyway, he must have reconsidered 'cause the tune shows up as the a-side on both later releases.

And apparently that's not all Duncan reconsidered.

To my ears there's a quick bit of fade added to the end of the second issue, and even more to the Capcity pressing. Not a big deal in the scheme of things, but ya see, the original version is fairly shocking in that it comes to a full-on dead stop. No fade at all.

Funny how small changes can make such a difference. Listening to the faded versions, I don't recall ever thinking the ending was particularly outrageous. But it is. Hit the button and hear for yourself.

Hope ya'll enjoy.....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Loose Ends No.1

Speaking of redundancy.....

There are a few records I'd like to re-post because, on the whole, I just wasn't happy with the way I presented them the first time 'round. All will [hopefully] include better rips, in some cases taken from 45s in better condition.

Others, such as this offering, were posted last December as part of my "white whales" list, which means I didn't actually own the records at the time.

Almost everything on the Tou-Sea label is scarce, but this 45 took me four years of concerted effort to find and cost a fair amount when I did. It's also a very beautiful song. Damn right I'm gonna post my own rip.

Whether you prefer it over what you may already have is your call. If you check 'Zilla Mayes' in the sidebar you'll find the superb flip-side.

Hope ya'll enjoy.....

She had to left town.....

Given that this 45 has been sitting in my 'to post' pile for months, I thought I should put it out there before a certain 'about to be posted' comp makes it redundant. The actual 45 is a tough-ish find.

I could be wrong but I think this is Sonny Boy Williamson's only release on Ace.

Hope ya'll enjoy.....

Saturday, November 5, 2011

So tell me mama....

I'm completely brain-dead today. I meant to post another tune entirely, but when it came time to write up some of my usual nonsense, I went blank.

Thus, ya'll get to hear this record because that lovely man, Sir Shambling, has already done most of the work, here.

Yep, 'Sailor Boy' is actually Alex Spearman.

Hope ya'll enjoy.....