I picked up a curious compilation album at the car boot sale last weekend. It's on the Deacon label. Deacon was a budget label active from roughly 1969-1972. It released compilations in a “Pick Of The Pops” style by soundalike artists as well as a whole ragbag of other releases in various genres – Sounds Like... Ray Conniff, The Exciting Sounds Of Blues And Brass, and Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs are just three titles to give you an idea. (And, of course, in true budget label tradition many of their albums featured a young lady on the front cover - they often present a welcome diversion in my digging trips!). There were a few compilations of original material too in the catalog. DEA 1022 Starring Lou Rawls, released in 1970, is one of them. This album was originally released 5 years earlier in the USA on the Premier label (another budget label I assume). The album may be called Starring Lou Rawls but Lou is only represented by two tracks, Joe Tex and Brook Benton each weigh in with four tracks a piece. I would guess that all the songs date to around 1960. Soul and R&B was certainly popular in the mid Sixties in the USA but none of the artists on this album could be said to have had massive hits or be household names around that time, so quite why such a compilation was originally released is anybody's guess. Double ditto for the Deacon release in the UK in 1970. I'm sure the truth is there was neither rhyme nor reason to many of the releases such budget labels made (beyond their soundalike hits of the day cash ins), they just managed to acquire rights to various “second division” back catalog material at a cheap price and put it out there in the hope of making a few shillings.
I was attracted to this Deacon album primarily by Joe Tex's name. I am a fan of his and didn't recognise his featured tracks so was curious to hear them. It is the two Lou Rawls tracks that are the standouts though, so perhaps they got the album title right after all.
In 1960 Lou Rawls was not long out of an eventful few years in his life – a spell in the army, a possible fling with Candi Staton, and a serious car crash that nearly resulted in death had all been part of his life in the late Fifties. He issued his first ever 45 on the Shar-Dee label in '59/60 and the two tracks on this album comprised both sides of his second 45 release on that label. This 45 appears to be quite collectable. By way of this Deacon album I have my own copy of this 45 now, and I'm happy.
Lou Rawls – Kiddio 1960
PS. giving the album another listen I've realised a track credited to Joe Tex doesn't disappoint either, I missed this one on first play. A quick bit of googling led me to a 45 on Jalynne with this on it, and another track on my Deacon album also credited to Joe Tex. The only thing is the 45 is by Sammy Taylor. So who is singing this I wonder? This sounds like it could be Joe.