At first glance this may look like an odd match, but actually these records are close enough to be cousins. In fact, cousins which are just enough alike that there's a constant battle between the two. Both are tough as nails. Neither will accept defeat.
Anna King has the advantage because she made the first move....and there's also the little matter of a certain Mr. James Brown who oversees the production. But she's definitely got serious competition in Ruby Johnson. That girl's got real power in those lungs...and since when is it a bad thing to have Isaac Hayes and David Porter in your corner?
Ruby obviously follows Anna's lead on this one, but watch out for that ending! Ruby never settles for anything less than a draw.
From a short biography of Irma Thomas which appears on site after site after site:
"....Thomas accused Ronn of withholding royalties and after one more effort for the label, "A Good Man," she briefly landed with the Bandy label, releasing 1961's "Look Up" before relocating to Minit."
Looks innocuous enough, but that one line is wrong on so many levels that it would be boorish of me to go into the details.
Suffice it to say, there was no landing "with the Bandy label" "before relocating to Minit". The Bandy 45 was issued sometime after Joe Banashak ['Bandy' to his friends] sold Minit to Lew Chudd of Imperial Records in 1963. Irma's contract was part of the deal. Afterwards, Banashak had several unreleased tracks....so he pressed them up.
This is Irma's third single, her first record for Minit as well as her first with Mr. Toussaint. It was recorded in 1960. All other Minit/Bandy [and Bumba ?] releases were recorded in 1961.
As much as I love the two earlier singles on Ron [not Ronn], it's the work with Mr. Toussaint that kills me. In fact, I'm not sure I would've ever developed a taste for the deeper stuff if Irma hadn't hooked me early-on.
I realize almost everyone who visits this blog has their own copy of this song, but I thought you might like to hear an original 45 in superb condition. Hope ya'll enjoy...
I've been trying to get my hands on a copy of this 45 for something like four years....andthen two copies turned up on Ebay, as well as another, locally, all in the same week. I bought the local copy [bird in hand], even though it had the same label on both sides. A friend won one of the Ebay copies.
In the end, we swapped copies because I really hate mislabeled records and he was pissed off that this copy had more water damage than expected [which made it a bitch to clean as tiny bits of the label along with printers ink had dried in the grooves].
Anyway, I don't know squat about Elmer Parker except that he has three 45s to his name, each several times harder to find than the last. This being the second hardest [I think]. It's certainly not the easiest or the cheapest to cop.
Beyond that, I only know of one other issue on the Rare Bird label [the release numbers hint at more]. The other is credited to Brenda Parker, who shows up on side two of this record, and may well be the same Brenda Parker who recorded a single for the Black Falcon label.
Brenda and Elmer were a couple? Your guess is as good as mine.
Music-wise this 45 falls into that very sweet spot where blues, jazz, and funk come together exactly as they should, ie, naturally. More naturally than on any other record I can think of. I wish there were a hundred 45s like this, but there aren't.
"Got To Get Back To Louisiana" [incorrectly listed as both parts 1&2] has been comped a couple of times on fairly obscure catch-all type collections. But still, it's not a record that pops up every day. Even I, who has been doggedly searching for this damn thing, didn't have an mp3 of part 1 until I ripped the 45.
Big Sam is the artist possibly better known as Big Sambo, real name James Young, who worked for a number of years in the Port Arthur/Beaumont area. He had a good sized hit with his recording of "The Rains Came" [which is one of the cuts you most often hear, the flip-side "At The Party" being the other].
Actually, I should point out that anyone who draws a hard line between Southwestern Louisiana and Southeast Texas has obviously never been to either. Geographically, culturally, they are the same. Ya know, like some imaginary political demarcation makes any difference at all? It takes about an hour to drive from Lake Charles, Louisiana to either Beaumont or Port Arthur, Texas. For some, that's just a daily commute.
Anyway, this is an odd pressing. The original is on Huey Meaux's Tribe label, but apparently Meaux had some kind of arrangement with Major Tom/Jim/Bill Smith [I forget which] in Fort Worth, Texas. Running Bear was owned by the Major, but the Indian head design is lifted straight off of Meaux's Tribe label. As to what was going on here, your guess is as good as mine.
Hope ya'll enjoy....if this isn't a sweet tune, then I don't know what is.
Another sought-after record on Michelle. Actually, I didn't know how sought-after until I started looking around for info. Except for the drill hole, this copy's as clean as they come. I guess it deserves a protective plastic sleeve, huh?
I also never noticed that the release number is only one digit off the Lee Tillman 45 I posted yesterday. So, maybe it's the same musicians playing on both records? Certainly sounds like a possibility to me.
Hard to imagine that such a great tune never saw a release on a major label. Joe Tex had to have been under contract with Dial at the time. But then he wasn't such hot property until 1967, so maybe no one cared too much if he moonlighted?
While I don't know that anyone has a firm release date for this record, there was a period in 1963 when it looks like he may have taken a short hiatus from Dial and releases were issued on Checker, Ace, Soul Sound, and possibly Michelle.
The odd thing is, this 45 sounds to me as if it was made in 1965 or '66. If the vaguely psychedelic flip-side, "Next Time She's Mine" was recorded in 1963 then it's clearly one of the strangest recordings of it's day by any R&B artist. More than anything, it reminds me of something Eric Burden & The Animals would do several years later.
Obviously, I can't find a trustworthy Joe Tex discography, or for that matter, one for Michelle/Montel releases. If anyone has solid info, I'd love to see it.
A friend up by Austin sent me his rip of Lee Tillman's version of "Fortune Teller". Seems he just bought it. Thanks for saving me the trouble hon. Your copy even sounds better than mine [but mines prettier, sot].
The Michelle/Montel label was owned by S.J. Montalbano and operated out of Baton Rouge. He had a little studio for cutting demos in his fathers food distribution warehouse, which if I'm not mistaken is still listed as the address for Montel Records.
Truthfully, I'm not sure I don't like this version better than Benny Spellman's original. Whoever arranged those horns deserves a kiss.
Baby Lloyd was a member of the Famous Flames, which of course means he worked with James Brown.
There are two 45's credited to Lloyd [last name Stallworth], one of which carries a James Brown production credit, and this one, which tends to get short-changed because it doesn't carry the same tell-tale tag.
But I gotta tell ya, if James Brown wasn't involved in the making of this record, then I seriously need to get my ears checked.
This has absolutely nothing to with the rest of this post, or even the usual subject of this blog. I just wanted to say that "Dessine Toi" is the most beautiful film I've seen in a long time. Young children from around the world are asked to draw a self-portrait on a sheet of glass while they're filmed [which of course refers to this famous footage shot of Picasso in 1949] . And that's basically it. Simple and very very sweet.
Earlier today, in New Orleans, the first children from the U.S. were included in the project.
I've quite a lot going on at the moment and almost no time in which to do it....so, I'll likely be keeping my blog posts short for the foreseeable future. By no means a bad thing.
Most, if not all, Lee Tillman 45s are pretty heavily sought after. A friend tells me a cleaner copy of this record recently went for almost $90 on Ebay.....which as far as I'm concerned is too much, but is also exactly why I own a beat-up cheapie.
I should mention that this record was also issued with red and black Ron labels, but those copies are essentially bootlegs pressed after Joe Ruffino was dead and Ric/Ron had shut down. There is no such thing as an original press red and black label Ron [unless you count Johnny Adams' "Lonely Drifter" which never actually had an original release].
Only saying because I notice someone else recently paid close to $60 for a red and black label pressing of "Will Travel". Which is just fine as long as you know what you're getting.