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 label.....in 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.......