Friday, September 19, 2014

All over the map


Danny White never had a national hit, but he should have had at least one. In 1963 “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” was a big local hit in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast. His local label, Frisco, decided to lease national distribution to Philly label Arlen, itself not exactly a major. In hindsight that was probably a mistake.

In some respects though you could say Danny White’s Frisco recordings were all over the map. Danny was born Joseph Daniel White in 1931 in New Orleans and was based there for the first 41 years of his life which included the entire span of his recording career. By the early Sixties, Danny White & The Cavaliers were one of the hottest acts in the Crescent City playing, among other venues, the Sho Bar at weekends with a 2am to 6am slot. Local chicken restaurateur Connie LaRocca formed a label with local disc jockey Hal Atkins in the early Sixties and named it Frisco, no doubt after her home town - San Francisco. The labels three main artists were Danny White, Willie West, and the Rouzan Sisters. Danny’s early Frisco sides were recorded at Cosimo Matassa’s local studio in New Orleans, but in 1964 Danny was sent to Royal in Memphis to record and be produced by the then fledgling team of Porter-Hayes. Both sides of the 45 featured here would have come from a Royal session and represent the penultimate release on the Frisco label. After Frisco closed down in 1965 Danny would only have a handful of further releases on other labels, some of which were recorded at Stax.      
           
By 1969 Danny’s recording career was over. He went on to spend two years as road manager for The Meters – keeping up his acquaintance with former label mate Willie West; and then, in 1972, moved to the Washington DC area where he took up a job as a sales manager for a furniture company. He would occasionally return to his home town and perform in oldies shows. Danny passed away in January 1996 after suffering a stroke.    




You won't be surprised to learn that a loving and comprehensive resume of Danny White's recording career can be found at Sir Shambling's wonderful site.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

That September feeling


It is well documented around this particular nook of the interweb that September is my favourite month. Once again this year the UK weather has come up trumps, lots of sunshine and still, quiet days - perfect.

As the sun goes down on another benign September day I thought something in a Lovers Rock vein would be in keeping. 

As usual, reggae has been difficult to find in my car boot sale trawls this year. Strangely, on just about every occasion I have found a record in said genre (and most I have found have been far from mainstream) it has been a lone jewel in a stack of 70s and 80s pop/rock ballast. This is another one from the stacks I featured recently and, now, I'm getting a bit confused, but I think this 12" was again a lonely reggae orphan. I like to think I rescued it and now it can feel at home nestling within my small but treasured collection of 12" reggae singles.

I love the somewhat restrained deejay vocalising featured in the second half of this track, performed by George Nooks aka Prince Mohammed who was also the featured deejay on Dennis Brown's late 70s classics Money In My Pocket and How Can I Leave among other songs. June Lodge's Wiki page contains an interesting back story to this record and this is where I also learnt that this song was originally a country & western hit for Charley Pride.     

JuneLodge feat. Prince Mohammed - Someone Loves You Honey  1980*

* Originally released in 1980 in JA, this reached #5 in the Dutch charts in 1982. My copy is dated 1984, doesn't credit the good Prince and I assume is a UK press.          

Friday, September 05, 2014

Bon Rock (actually, dicso boogie proto rap electro funk)


We bought a new car recently (strictly speaking not new as it was pre-registered, but it only had 2 miles on the clock! = wallet saving). We are now driving around in comparative luxury, which includes a radio that works, and offers DAB.

At last I can listen to my at home go to radio station BBC 6 music.  “At home” means I usually listen to it in the evening. I have to say that, on recent car journeys,  I have been a little underwhelmed by 6 Music’s daytime output. Never mind.

Have just been listening – at home, pottering – to Son of John, Tom Ravenscroft. Some mighty fine tunes he has been playing too as he soaks up the atmosphere of Bestival. I often listen to Tom’s show and he definitely is following in his father’s footsteps. But I do detect a love of dance music. New dance music, of course, but tonight, at least, with a nod to the old school…. which is where I come in!

If Tom had been knocking about as a thrusting new(ish) DJ in the early Eighties maybe he would have played this. This being something I picked up at an impromptu visit to a local charity shop the other day. How do you classify this record? According to Discogs its genre is hip hop, funk/soul and its style is electro, funk, disco. Covering all bases there, then!

Whatever it is I have a soft spot for this genre, style, whatever. (A sentence that starts and ends with the same word, it won’t win any literary prizes I’m sure!). Maybe it has something to do with the fact I hung up my DJ headphones around ’81 ’82 and I am still hankering after what I just missed out on playing out. I could happily mine this early Eighties disco boogie electro funk motherlode for some time to come.

50p well spent, anyway. The rap at the end sounds so cheesy, but at the same time fits perfectly with the rest of the track.




PS. Sorry about the out of focus piccy.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Stack O' Wax Jukebox... don't forget the B sides

If these singles had found their way onto a jukebox how many plays would the B sides have had I wonder? These two are perfectly suited for that late evening play though, just before the bar is shutting for the night, maybe entwined with your new girl, or there again maybe just staring into the bottom of your beer glass.   

For all that the A sides of these two singles are good, these B sides are the real deal.



This was the The Soul Children's first 45, and it has the Hayes/Porter quality mark in the credits. The Soul Children would go on to release any number of top notch singles and albums into the Seventies.

The Soul Children - Move Over  1968


I know almost nothing of The Natura'elles. All I have been able to find is here, where a few great pictures of the girl quartet can be found. Their members were Denita James, Faye McGee, Loretta Bowen, and Jill (or Judy?). Such a pity we don't even know the full name one of the members. Denita James was a cousin of Kim Weston and went on to be part of the group Hodges, James, & Smith. Sadly Denita passed away June last year (2013). I can trace no further details regarding the other members of the group apart from a mention of Faye McGee as a backing singer in the early Seventies on at least one Stax session.  

The Natura'elles - So Much In Need  1969      

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Stack o' Wax Jukebox

As promised, more from the little stack o' wax I picked up a couple of weeks ago.


In the Sixties, especially the late Sixties it was the done thing to put an uptempo, radio friendly cut on the A side of a Soul single and back it with a slower, deeper track.

These two records demonstrate that very well. Here are the A sides. Tomorrow I will put up the B sides, and I promise you, if you like your soul deep, those are worth waiting for.

The Soul Children - Give 'Em Love  1968

The Natura'elles - Show Me The Way  1969*

* The single this comes from was released in 1969 although the track dates to 1968 as it was originally the B side of an earlier Natura'elles 45.       

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Oh Yays

The last two weekends have been fruitful at the car boots.



More of the stack in the second picture soon. The stack of 45s in the first picture all came from one seller whose car boot was in fact the back of a hearse! As I walked up to his pitch he called out “soul, funk and r&b, all dead stock, £1 each”. Before me were about eight boxes and I could immediately see they appeared to be all US singles (i.e. the ones with the large centres). I thought I had died and gone to heaven and was contemplating the need for a run to the cashpoint. As it turned out there were multiple copies of most titles so there were probably no more than about 60 different titles in all (LOTS of James Brown – I Cried, Soul Power and Super Bad). They clearly were nearly all unplayed dead stock, and mostly soul and funk as stated. Apparently they had been pulled out of a US warehouse in 1972, and had languished ever since in some small corner of England. That back story gets me every time. 

In the end I settled on about 20 titles, the artists in question being: The O’Jays x2 – Ronettes – The Soul Children – C.L Blast - Johnny Jones – Madlyn Quebec – Sam & Dave - Eddie Floyd – Vicki Nelson – CODs – Earl Van Dyke - Natura’elles – Fantastic Four x2 – James Brown – Mandrill , and the only non soul/funkers - The Family – Strawberry Alarm Clock – Kay Tolliver.

A few of these are real stand outs but it is the O’Jays single that is really grabbing me at the moment. What a double sider from their pre PIR days. Looking on ebay it does seem to regularly sell when it turns up, but usually for less than a tenner. I should have picked up some more copies. I should have at least bought one more because I might wear out my sole copy pretty quick.

In the coming days I’ll put up a few more from the bunch I think. 



The same weekend, coincidentally I found a copy of The O’Jays In Philedelphia. Before they settled on PIR in the Seventies, The O’Jays appeared on a number of different labels in the Sixties. After Bell they were, for a short time, on Neptune. This was a nice find, and I can’t imagine it turns up very often , especially in this sparkling condition. There is something special about an album on a small label that you are only used to finding 45s on. I didn’t notice until I got home that it had a drill hole. I have never seen a drill hole on an album before. Luckily the aim was true and the hole did go through the label and not the playing surface! 


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Runaway obsession

And to think I have been wondering lately whether my obsession is getting a little out of hand. After reading the NY Times article on Zero Freitas I now feel I have fresh licence to collect!

I better get out there quick before all the records in the world have been shipped to Sao Paulo! So, after two weeks off from the car boot sales, I will be out and about this weekend, weather permitting. My last car boot excursion yielded, among other things, this Promo 12" from U-Roy. This was the star find - it's Reggae, and it's not thrashed. Yippee.

Hopefully the island sounds will tempt the sun out again this weekend.



U-Roy - Runaway Girl  1975