It's been a real gas and everything, but this is it for Black History Month. Hows about another great oldie from a group i know nothing about. Tomorrow we'll get back to our regularly scheduled programming...
The Jimmy Castor bunch. I only have three of his records, but i'm still a big fan of his work. The classic Troglodyte, Dracula- which i posted around Halloween time (hear it HERE), and today's fine funky selection, King Kong.
The guy sure had a thing for songs about fictional monsters didn't he..?
This month alone we've done The Swim, The Mashed Potato, The Twist, the Boo-ga-loo, The Karate, and The Kung-Fu. Not to mention those old posts buried in the archives where we did The Manhattan Stomp,The Sock,The Hucklebuck,The Slop, and The Shimmy. (Follow those links. Go ahead, there's plenty more where this came from.)
Dear reader/listener, i ask you, would a Black History Month celebration on a blog like this be complete without a dance number from Rufus Thomas? I think not. One of my all time personal favorite songs about chicken.
There's a little bonus at the beginning of this one, added for your listening pleasure.
You are very welcome.
Many, many years ago a friend asked me if i'd ever heard Jimmy Reed. I knew i had read the name, but i had yet to take a chance on getting one of his records. In those primitive pre-internet days, if you wanted to steal music you had to actually walk into a store and steal the record, it was a little tougher to do. So no, at the time i had never heard Jimmy Reed's music. He said something like- Well, all of his songs sound the same, but once you hear that song, you're gonna love it... He was right. I've been a fan ever since.
I just found this record recently so these two songs are new to me, but they sound just like Big boss Man or any of his other classics. Consistency. It's like putting on a Ramones album. You know what you're getting yourself into whether it's their debut or 'Adios'. In both cases the formula was simple, but it worked. And worked well. Why mess with perfection, or as the bumper sticker says: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." This is what it's all about. This is blues music. Pure and simple.
Folks who have been reading/listening here the past couple weeks may or may not have realized that i have been posting nothing but music by black artists for the entire month of February in honor of black history month. Well i have. Started with Bo Diddley on the first, and with the exception on Valentines day, it's been all about the brothers (and sisters) since. I even had to google a few to confirm. Including todays featured artist. I mean, i always thought i knew that he was, but now i'm not so sure... Is Gary 'US' Bonds really black? I mean, in old pictures i found on the webs he looks more Latino. The kind of black the way Prince is black. I think the modern term for this is 'Brown.'
Whatever. For my purposes here during black history month we'll say that Gary 'US' Bonds is in fact, a black man. It doesn't really matter what he is anyway, because this is one of the greatest rock and roll songs of this era, be he black, white, or a mongrel... The man could belt em out.
With that said, i'd like to share what i think is one of his finest offerings. The only thing that bums me out about this one is that he "Can root for the Yankees from the bleachers..." Being the Red Sox fan that i am, that line gets me a little, I mean, he was born in Florida- where the hell does he get off being a yankee fan?
I guess can forgive him for it because it's such a righteous old tune. The song is from 1961, but i'd bet a half a paycheck that if it were from '57 or before, ole Gary would have been rooting for the Dodgers. Just sayin is all.
Since the OTHER SIDE of this record was such a hit with my readers, (it got like 10 comments) i had to include this side too. This tune is kind of a loose take, or inspired by, the old High Heel Sneakers riff with the Cos doing what he does... I was going to say what he does best- But not doing what he does best, because what he does best is comedy. He's not really known as much of a singer- but of course you, mr and/or mrs internet savvy music lover, know all of this. You don't need me to tell you about it. He does do a pretty good job singing this one though... Lend him your ear for a moment wont you.
Also: As pointed out by a keen listener on the post of the OTHER SIDE, the band backing up Bill on these songs is The Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band. I posted a Watts 103rd etc record last year, and in the comments of that post is a reader talking about how they were the backup group on this record. Who knew? I guess a lot of internet savvy music lovers did, that's who... It's all news to me.
Confused? Follow thisLINK to that old post, and it all might make a little more sense...
This group still blows my mind every time i put them on. This is a recent purchase, and while i do enjoy the flip side more, this one's no slouch either. (Hear the other side HERE.) It's obvious from the sound that this would have been the 'hit' side of the record.
Personally, i'm not the biggest fan of ska and/or reggae sounds. I don't even really like the Clash's reggae style stuff so much. (Gasp! I know. blasphemy, right?) Much like classical or nu-metal, I appreciate the importance of the musics existence, i'm just never going to put it on in my home on my time. I don't hate it, it doesn't offend my delicate ears, it's just never really been my bag, dig?
40 cent thrift shop records, so once in a while something like this is gonna sneak it's way into the collection. This is kind of a fun one though, because according to Millie's wikipedia page, this song has a historical significance as she was: the first artist to have a hit (outside of Jamaica) that was recorded in the bluebeat style. (She was billed as 'The Blue Beat Girl' on the single's label in the U.S.) This was a music genre that had recently emerged from Jamaica, and which, as with ska, was a direct ancestor of reggae.
So it's got that going for it anyway...
Check it out.
Not to be confused with punk rock legend Johnny Thunders of and The Heartbreakers fame, nor the Kinks song he lifted his name from. What we have here today is the original Johnny Thunder, singing what's basically a children's nursery rhyme-turned pop song. You gotta wonder if punk rock Johnny had ever heard of this one... Would he have stolen the name of a guy who's claim to fame is such a cheesy tune..? Probably. It's still a pretty cool name.
From the hours of extensive and exhaustive research i've done, i learned that Gil Hamilton released several records under a few different names. He did short stints with The Drifters and The Ink Spots as well as session work with Dionne Warwick and Luther Vandross among others. His first record under this name, he also released several sides after it, but alas, Loop De Loop was to be ole Johnny's only hit song. The song occupied the number 4 spot on the pop charts during this very week in 1963. What are the odds...
Anyway- It's not a bad little record. A little goofy, but that Johnny sure can sing. Check it out.
Here's one that i know nothing about, and the all knowing innerwebs aren't helping much on this either... It is what it is- an obscure blues side by a singer i've never heard of. The flip side is a instrumental blues jam called 'Chitlins', which is actually why i bought the record. I just had to know.
Ole Gus cut a handful of singles in the 50s and 60s on various labels (this ones from '64) and he had a song on the Chess boxed set. Other than that i can't tell you a whole lot about the man.
Sometimes it's best to just enjoy what you got, and not ask too many questions. I got this little record, and i dig it, and that's what matters.
My musical Valentine to you- The folks who visit my humble little internet hobby page. Thanks.
Last time i was at Beverly Records in Chicago's much fabled South Side i grabbed this disc because it was so dang mysterious. As you can see, the blank white label on this side simply has the hand written words "I love you." On the flip side, in the same writing, it says "Who's on first." Who's on first is exactly what i thought it was going to be- the classic Abbot & Costello baseball routine. The I love you side was the real mystery, and the reason i grabbed it. When i got it home and gave it a whirl, i was delighted to hear the smoky baritone that i immediately recognized- That of the late-great Telly Savalas.
The real mystery is why this record exists in the first place. Why would someone have gone through the trouble (not to mention spend the money) to make an Abbot & Costello / Telly Savalas split 45? It's such an unlikely pairing. Was it made as a gift from a husband to a wife who really loved Kojak and baseball? Was it made for radio station use? Thats the only explanation i can think of. But if it was, what kind of wack-ass station would have needed a record like this? How many copies of this odd match up could really be out there? I'm assuming they only ran off a (very) few copies for whatever reason. Hell, for all i know this could be the only one in existence.
Finding random stuff like this is what makes it all worthwhile. I mean who doesn't like these odd 'songs' from the celebrities of yesteryear. Telly Savalas? Hell of an actor, but come on, the man couldn't sing. Who's the genius who decided this guy should cut a record? Not only that, but who was the mastermind behind the song selections? So many unanswered questions... Guess none of that matters now, we're just glad that they made it happen...
If you feel the need to hear another one, here's a LINK to a wicked old post i did. (Yes, i own more than one Telly Savalas record.) Check that out, it's a good 'un. Who loves ya baby?
My Valentines day wish to my legions of adoring fans-
Take it away Telly!
It's kind of a theme within a theme i got going on here. Martial Arts themed dance craze numbers in the middle of my Black History Month extravaganza. Hey, why not. Makes perfect sense to me, who am i to mess with a good thing. I played the Karate Boo-Ga-Loo yesterday so this semed like the logical follow-up. This one's my personal favorite of the Karate songs i've heard. (believe it or not, there are quite a few.) I can't get enough of the frantic low-budget soul freak out sound on this.
I know, i know, i already posted this one. But that was more than a year ago when the blog was fairly new, so no one saw/heard it the first time around. This is such a righteous jam i just had to spin it again...
Man, that giant sticker on this one kills me. There's no way it's coming off without ruining the label. I haven't tried, but i'm afraid to mess with it. Not only that, it hangs out into the last groove so if you aren't paying attention the needle catches it and sends the arm spinning wildly off into the center of the label...
Ahh well. What can you do. It's is the Karate Boo-ga-loo after all. I guess i'll just have to deal with it.
As far as largely forgotten dance crazes of the 1960's go, the Mashed Potato has got to be my favorite. I don't know why because the Boo-ga-loo, the Shing-a-ling or the Hully-Gully all sound like they'd be a lot more fun to do, but for some reason i dig the Mashed Potato the most. Is it because it's named after food? Kind of a boring food, so with a name like that why should this dance be any fun..? Who knows, but the kids- they seemed to really dig it, and there were some good songs about it, so there you go. Good enough for this guy.
Also, the label says 1960, but this record was actually released in 1962. The old Cameo record labels from this era are goofy like that.
It's the spring of 1959, and Bobby arrives at his date's house to take her to the dance. He knocks on the door and her dad answers. "Have a seat" the old man says. "Peggy Sue will be ready in a few minutes."
The dad grabs Bobby a bottle of soda, and the two sit down together. "You know," the dad says, "my daughter really loves to screw. She just loves to work up a sweat." "And she's great at it too." He smiles proudly and winks at young Bobby, who has nearly choked on a sip of his drink. "Yup, that's right," the dad continues, "She sure loves that screwing. Can't get enough of it." "She'll screw all night if you let her." Young Bobby can hardly believe his ears.
Just then Peggy Sue comes down the stairs. "You kids have fun" The dad says. Bobby nervously says good-bye and hurries her out the door and into his car. Not five minutes later, she comes running back into the house... "Damn it daddy!" She screams. "The Twist! It's called The Twist!"
When i saw that the flip side of this one was called Psychedelic Technicolor Dream, i was sold. How much? One dollar? There you go kind sir. Have a nice day...
Unfortunately, when you take chances like that, you get burned sometimes. I didn't know who The Sandpebbles were, so naturally i assumed it was going to be a groovy hippie psychedelic-type number, but when i got it home and put it on it was a bit of a disappointment to say the least. Luckily though 45s have two songs, and when i flipped it over i got this righteous soul stomper that i present today for your listening enjoyment, so my money definitely did not go to waste.
As usual, i don't know anything about the group, but i did find THIS ARTICLE. Check it out. I do know what i like though, and this would be that.
"I'm gonna keep on doin what i'm doin till i can't do what i'm doin no more."
I believe these words pretty much say it all. This statement makes perfect sense. You cant rightly keep doin something that you weren't already doin in the first place. And you sure as hell can't stop doin what you're doin before you're done doin it... I mean, come on!
The Brothers Isley were able to take this simple philosophy and make a four minute song out of it without really saying anything else on the subject.
Here's a cool blues two-parter i recently picked up. I'm really diggin the spooky lo-fi guitar sound on this one. And that Little Ann's vocals-- Whoa! In my humble opinion, this is one of those songs that could have been 10 minutes long, and still would have left me wanting more when it was over.
I don't know anything about Tarheel Slim, but here's a guy who does. The Hound, over at the HoundBlog wrote a great piece on Mr.Slim in April. If you dig this tune at all go check out that article and listen to some more. You'll be glad you did
When this record was released this was the song that was supposed to get the radio airplay. But as the classic story goes, some radio DJ somewhere deciided to play the instrumental flip side on the air, and it became the overnight smash runaway hit while this side faded into obscurity.
1968 was a few years before my time, so i automatically assumed that this side was the song, and the instrumental b-side (which is just this same track sans vocals) was just filler. I had no idea that The Horse became the latest dance sensation to sweep the nation because of this here little record... Here's a cool LINK on Cliff and the whole story.
Supposedly this song, the intended hit, was all but forgotten about at the time. I say 'supposedly' because that's what i just read, but i find it hard to believe because it seems very familiar to me. Was there a cover version i would know? Was it used in a Tarantino flick? I guess i just know the instrumental like everybody else...
Either way, i'll take this vocal version over the instrumental any day of the week- so there you have it.
I'm not going to try to tell you that i knew who Eddie Cooley was before i bought this record. I just grabbed it along with about ten others because they were old, and were a quarter each... I found this interesting and informative article, and learned quite a bit from it. Here's a handy-dandy LINK to said article which i found so interesting. Turns out Eddie Cooley was the main songwriter of one of the biggest hits of his era, a little ditty called 'Fever,' maybe you've heard of it..? He was also one of, if not thee first singer to be a male lead with female backup singers. Up to that point in time, it was either all male groups, all female groups, or male-female duets. See- You can learn stuff on the innernets...
It kills me when i hear a rhythm section like this. The bass and drums are so tight and locked into the groove that a crow bar couldn't pull them apart. At the same time they're so loose and free that it could have been only after a few rehearsals that they decided to roll some tape, and this was the first take that was 'good enough.'
The kicker is is that this is a fucking Bill Cosby record! The Cos is a talented entertainer to be sure, but not one known for his contributions to the world of music. When i saw his name on the label, i assumed it was going to be one of his stand up comedy bits. I had heard that he cut a music album in the 60's, and that it was 'worth checking out' but i had no idea... Funnyman Bill Cosby. Who knew? Fat Albert. Heathcliff Huxtable. Russell's brother, whom he slept with...
Put on headphones if you have them, and get a load of that drummer. If you don't have headphones handy- TURN IT UP. I don't know who the drummer is, but the man is like a god or something. And when that bass player gets to really cutting loose toward the end- Fergetaboutit...
The Cos and friends from 1967, with a (very) loose interpretation of... Well, you'll recognize it. (And sorry about that skip about 30 seconds in. It hurts, i know, but it's the only one.)
Man, i don't even know what to say about this record. A dynamite two-sider, and this one is just about as good as music of any variety is gonna get... The song was produced and co-written in 1964 by a young cat named Sylvester Stewart who would later become known to you and me as Sly Stone. Good way to start off a career in the business. Him and Bobby really turned it loose on this one. Check it out.
If you know what's good for you, you'll play these LOUD.
Everybody's talkin bout the Jones girl... I gotta admit, my curiosity is aroused. Who is this Jones girl? What's so special about her- Is she one of those girls? That's probably what made these fellows want to sing a song in her honor....
This rocker is the flip side of the slow dance standard 'In the still of the night.'
In honor of February being Black History Month, i've decided to do my part and only post music made by black artists for the next 28 days. I like themes, and it's as good an excuse as any to switch it up a little. Shouldn't be much of a hassle. I transfer my records in batches, and at the moment i have an estimated 200-250 selections waiting to be posted here. I think i'm up for the challenge. The only exception i'll make will be Valentines day, because i got a real winner lined up. Unfortunately though, it's by a white guy...
Let's kick off the months festivities with one from one of the most influential black artists of the-- Like ever. How many other guitar players and/or singers can say they have a beat named after them? This guy invented his own friggin beat man! An entirely new rhythm. OK, maybe he didn't invent it, but he sure as hell popularized it, and it's named after him anyway. "The Bo Diddley Beat." He was like the Muhammed Ali of rock and roll: The Greatest. But of course you don't need some music obsessed freakshow like me to tell you how special Bo Diddley was, we'll just let the master speak for himself.
"Aside from pornography, stalking ex girlfriends, tv commercials from my youth, and new and interesting ways for me to ignore my family- this blog has to be the best thing on the internets." -E.S.U. III
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