Monday, October 23, 2017

School of Life Monday:
Why Good Societies Are Pessimistic

We may associate pessimism with bad things, but at a political level, the world’s best societies are all experts at pessimism.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Barry White and the Atlantics
"Tracy (All I Have Is Yours)" (Faro, 1963)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

Today's YouTube party platter is by Barry White! Yes that Barry White! And The Atlantics! No, not that Atlantics of "Beaver Shot" fame, etc! But rather another East L.A. group recording under the same name for Eddie Davis' amazing imprints around the same time. And while you can pick out the distinctive baritone of the young fresh prince of pillow talk on doo wop records dating back to the mid-1950s with Jesse Belvin, The Upfronts, The Majestics, and then The Atlantics, this is the first release under his name... And its a killer diller top-shelf classic of the first order! It bashes right into a descending "Hit The Road Jack" rhythm and pushes hard and heavy while White sings all above below and all around the beat - letting the whole world know that he was a first class soul man from the moment he popped out of the gate. Also cool backing vocals, drum breaks, and the punchier side of the raw production magic you'd expect from a Faro/Rampart platter! I have love unlimited this platter and darling I can't get enough... "Tracy (All I Have Is You)".... Feel it!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Little Mack (Simmons) "I Need Love" (Checker, 1961)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

Summer of 1960 saw JFK's nomination at the Democratic Convention, “Psycho” at drive-ins everywhere, the Greensboro, NC, Woolworth's sit-in, Cuba’s nationalization of foreign-owned property, the Cold War heating up after the U2 incident, and “Money (That’s What I Want)” on the radio. During those uncertain times, 1960’s big #1 summer R&B hits were mostly about good lovin’ gone bad, Jackie’ Wilson’s “Doggin’ Around,” Bobby Marchan’s “There Is Something On Your Mind,” and The Everly Brothers’ “Cathy’s Clown,” but Berry Gordy's “Money” pushed romance out of the picture in favor of finance.

“Money (That’s What I Want),” from its subject matter alone, might as well be our national anthem. And like so many of smash hits of the time, a barrage of covers, answer songs, and parodies followed hot on its heels. But “Money” was special in that it continued to be played, and played with, year after year - becoming one of the most-covered and referenced songs of its era. The blurry pen of Chess house bassist/producer/songwriter Willie Dixon didn’t waste time responding that summer, pushing romance back into the equation with “I Need Love.” Dixon’s protagonist acknowledges that “money will make you jump and shout” but… attests that a little bit of good lovin’ will knock him out…

Raised in the King Biscuit harmonica heaven of Arkansas blowing alongside another harp genius James Cotton, Little Mack Simmons was a bright star in the Chicago blues diaspora’s mighty constellation by the time he started churning out exciting sides for Bee and Baby, CJ, and Chess by the end of the 1950s. In August 1960 Little Mack stormed Chess studios with a killer cast of usual suspects - the explosive dual guitars of longtime Little Mack collaborator the legendary Eddie King and the diverse jazz/soul wunderkind Freddie Robinson (later Abu Talib), who was just getting his start with Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf etc, superstar pianist Detroit Junior, Big Three organist Lafayette Leake, backing vocalist Georgia Hinton (who takes the lead on the B-Side) and Chess rhythm section regulars Bob Anderson and Billy Davenport. They plow through “I Need Love,” slamming on a bold kinetic wiggle from the get-go and relentlessly and dynamically pushing though a couple of minutes of the most exciting music ever waxed... This may just be the finest of Little Mack Simmons' dance sides...

You can find this in print on vinyl on Volume 10 of the "Jerk Boom Bam!" compilation series!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Nathaniel Mayer and His Fabulous Twilights
"I Had A Dream" (Fortune, 1963)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

THE GREAT NATHANIEL MAYER WOULD HAVE TURNED 73 TODAY! The raw rockin' soul sound, in-the-red recording style, and wild intensity on these masterpieces express the NY Night Train aesthetic as much as anything ever cut into wax and if you've been coming to the parties over the years, you'll be familiar with all of these as they never stop turning. While these all are all ripped directly from the original 45s, anyone can tell you that no digitized version such as this, or vinyl reproduction, bootleg, etc, comes close to the unusual feel of an authentic Fortune record. But this is the next best thing! Here's an ordered list of DJ Jonathan Toubin's 13 favorite NAY DAWG Fortune sides (1961 - 1966). Go here for the entire playlist

#1: "I HAD A DREAM" (1963): A fixture in my friend and mentor Billy Miller of Norton Records' DJ sets, Nathaniel Mayer's fifth single blew me away from the minute I heard him play it and is one of the most unique and exciting tracks in recording history.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Sonny Holliday "School Days" (Constellation,1963) aka Hal Davis covers Chuck Berry!

While much has been made on Chuck Berry’s influence on rock bands, particularly British rock bands, and his audience was primarily white, he was a fixture on the r&b charts since the beginning. Not only were there countless covers, answer songs, and references to his material all over the black market since Berry emerged on the scene with “Maybellene”, but also his deep cultural impression could still be felt at the dawn of the soul era.

Sonny Holliday is a pseudonym for legendary producer, Brenda Holloway discoverer, and architect of the Motown West sound, Hal Davis. Davis’ fascinating early 1960s pre-Motown output is chock full o’masterpieces like Patrice Holloway’s “Do The Del Viking,” The Watesians “I Told You Baby,” and Hal and Brenda’s “It’s You.” While you’re listening to an L.A. record, this particular novelty appeared on Chicago’s Constellation imprint.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mabel Franklin "Let's Do The Wiggle" / "Dream I Had Last Night" (Ritzy, 1965)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

You may recall the pair of Sister Mable Franklin’s pulverizing Kangaroo gospel sides I put up here last year? ( This hot wax from seven years in the future finds the formerly pious gospel-shouting Sister Mable Franklin throwing her vocal flames into the most secular of blues! This one was laid down at drummer Ivory Lee Semien's studio on the Fifth Ward;s tough corner of Lyons and Jensen * - an intersection that grew so violent that it was referred to as “Pearl Harbor” by the end of the 1970s.

Apparently the second and last release on Houston’s obscure Ritzy imprint, Mabel’s take on the current dance craze trend doesn’t sound like a 1965 record and is so timeless that could’ve been from anywhere deep in the post-1948 Lightnin’ Hopkins “Katie Mae” Houston blues scene. But just because what your hearing is from a strong tradition doesn’t mean what you’re hearing isn’t an exquisite example of fresh and unique post-war Bayou City blues. Franklin’s windy wailing, growling, and shouting finds its ideal accompaniment in the raw elegance of drummer C.W. Thornton (Big Mama’s brother!) and the expressive, imaginative, and downright wild guitar heroics of Texas blues legend D.C. Bender. These sparse but loud and very present recordings make for two Texas’ most exciting blues sides.

Bender and Franklin teamed up again with Ivory Lee in 1967 with “Lucille Leave My Man Alone” / “Unhappy Woman” (Ivory, 1967)

Mabel Franklin and D.C. Bender were regular attractions in the colorful and prolific 1960s/1970s Fifth Ward club scene. Here’s Mike Leadbetter's action-packed 1967 account of a typical Bender/Ivory Lee band’s set at George’s on Cavalcade for “Blues Unlimited” (Aug 1967):

“George’s is a large, wild, tough beer joint and we sat as close to the band as we could. Ivory had told me that D.C. could sing, drink beer and play guitar all at once and this I had to see. To the hypnotic beat of “Boogie Chillen”, D.C. tipped back his head and, somehow, by clenching an open bottle between his teeth (broken), and by shouting out of the corner of his mouth did the impossible. Due to too much booze, D.C.;s voice is now little more than a hoarse cry, but his weird guitar playing, relying heavily on tremolo effects, is quite something as are his gymnastics. Laying down a pounding, rock rhythm behind D.C. were Big H. WIlliamson bass, Earl Gilliam on organ and Ivory beating beautifully on drums. All the musicians took turns to sing and by 9.30 most of the customers were hip shaking round the tables. There was no room to dance, but everyone stood up, shook all over and yelled. One couple, far gone, had a noisy if futile attempt to make love, half on a table and half on a chair, behind Tom’s head.”

Other than the Kangaroo sides, Sister Mabel Franklin had another early gospel record “How Many Years”/“All Over the World" on Franklin Records. In addition to the two 1960s Bender collaboration 45s, her mid-tempo soul burner “Come on and Go” turned up on Collectibles’ 1991 “Soul of Texas Blues Women: Good 'Ol Texas 60s Soul and Blues” collection. And a live recording of her belting “Wiggle Wiggle” on the Fifth Ward’s historic thoroughfare Lyons Avenue appears on Sunnyland Records’ 1970s compilation “Gulf Coast Blues” alongside D.C. Bender, Rockin’ Sidney, Silas Hogan, and other greats (somebody was kind enough to upload the entire lp here There's also a 45 bootleg of this floating around recently...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Buddy Ace "What Can I Do" (Duke, 1961)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

Born in Jasper, TX in 1936, Jimmie Lee Land was raised in a musical family in Baytown, a booming refinery town outside of Houston. He was in a gospel quartet in high school with the one and only Joe Tex. Tex won a number of Houston talent shows, including one that included the trip to New York where The Rapper won Amateur Night at The Apollo four times and was signed to King Records by legendary producer Henry Glover. Similarly Jimmie Lee Land was discovered at a Houston talent show by Duke/Peacock big bossman Don Robey. After the tragic oft-disputed suicide of Duke's biggest hitmaker Johnny Ace backstage at Houston’s City Auditorium Christmas Day 1954, Robey christened his top star’s brother, St. Clair Alexander, “Buddy Ace” to cash in on his famous sibling’s popularity. When the move didn’t pan out, Jimmie Lee Land became Duke Records’ new “Buddy Ace”. While never striking gold, he recorded a few minor hits and a number of standout sides during his Duke Records tenure that spanned a number of distinct musical eras, 1956 to 1969, from early rock’n’roll to funkier times. Buddy Ace, who went grey in the 1970s and became known as “The Silver Fox of the Blues,” continued to record and slay audiences on the road all the way up to his fatal heart attack onstage in Waco, TX December 26, 1994 - 40th years and a day after Johnny Ace’s death.

The "Screaming Please" writing credit Brown/Malone means that Texas Johnny Brown, the legendary Texas guitarist and author of Bobby Blue Bland's iconic "Two Steps From The Blues," was probably the writer. Deadric Malone is the pseudonym Don Robey to get writing credits on a number of Duke sides he wasn’t involved in composing. As this reveals so many of the dynamic brassy hallmarks of the stellar Bobby "Blue" Bland material of the era, until someone shows me different, I will conclude for now that 1) Duke's house arranger/trumpeter Joe Scott is threading the elaborate tapestry and 2) the band is the same killer all-star ensemble from "Two Steps From The Blues" driven by the dynamic beat of earth-shattering future James Brown drummer John "Jabo" Starks.

Monday, October 16, 2017

School of Life Monday:
LITERATURE - George Orwell

George Orwell is the most famous English language writer of the 20th century, the author of Animal Farm and 1984. What was he trying to tell us and what is his genius?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

King Carl "I'm Just A Lonely Man" (La Louissianne, 1964)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

Any of my night owls who stick around for the last hour of dancing probably recognize this minor key masterpiece! Born in Grand Coteau in 1931, in the fertile south Louisianna culture between Lafayette and Opelousas, King Carl AKA King Karl briefly was a singer in Lloyd Price's review in the early 1950s and soon became a pioneering force in the fusion of rhythm and blues, Cajun, and Creole music that we today call "Swamp Pop." He spent years rolling around with Guitar Gable and wrote so many killer classics like "Irene," "Life Problem," "This Should Go On Forever," and many many more. By 1964 he had split from Gable's band and waxed this powerful platter for Lafayette's amazing La Louissianne impr

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Los Dug Dug's "Brinca Brinca" (RCA Mexico, 1966)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

Feliz cinco de mayo! Tonight we celebrate the Black Lips' record release at Home Sweet Home with a night of dancing to amazing Spanish language rock'n'roll! Today's party platter "Brinca Brinca" is by one of the most legendary and influential Mexican bands Los Dug Dug's.

Formed as Xippos Rock in the Durango in the early-1960s, Los Dug Dugs moved to Tijuana and by 1966 had made their way to Mexico City where they made a huge splash right away and laid down this blazing' track! "Brinca Brinca" is the B-Side to their first single, children's TV show theme "Chicotito Si, Chicotito No."

Los Dug Dug's moved to New York City in 1968 and then back to Mexico where they released a number of classic albums in the 1970s - including the universally-acclaimed heavy psych rock masterpiece LP "Smog" (reissued on Light In The Attic). Leader Armando Nava and his Los Dug Dug's are still rocking deep into the 21st century!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Charles Brimmer "The Glide" (A.B.S., 1967)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

Today's song, Charles Brimmer's "The Glide," has been turned a lot at thee Clap the last year or two and I've been getting a lot of inquiries for you about it, and since there's no youtube or other internet file up so far, I'm happy for you to give all of you a chance to listen!

Though his first single was from when he was in high school in the lower 9th, recorded with his brother as Charles and Ivory, "The Glide" is the first recording of his prolific career. If you think this sounds like a Wardell Quezergue arrangement you hit the nail on the head. And this appears on a Quezerque and Camille Incardona shortlived imprint A.B.S. (Always Better Sound). The B-Side "I Need You I Do" is a super-fine ballad showing off Brimmer's deep pipes. "The Glide" never caught on but this overlooked dance jam kicked off the recording career of one of the great New Orleans voices and remains a unique go-to record for me.

Charles Brimmer also has a lot of other top jams worth checking out. There's also a lot of biographical information on line to start your search:

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Don Fredrick "A Little Bit Of Soap" (La Louisianne, 1967)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

A killer Louisiana version of the Jarmels classic that put Bert Berns on the map on Lafayette amazing La Louisianne imprint that I just pulled out of my stacks after a long break! I couldn't find any information about Don Fredrick or this track. Feel free to chime in if you know anything...

p.s. some of you hip-hop heads may recognize that De La Soul sampled this song ...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Creep "Betty Lou Got A New Tattoo" (Oakridge, 1964)
Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

I learned “Betty Lou Got A New Tattoo” from the A-Bones cover that for years remained a staple of their live set and also from Norton Records’ stellar “Fort Worth Teen Scene” compilation on which this appears. I will always associate this song with Billy Miller and remember the playful smirk on his face and his distinctive vocal delivery as the band reliably tore through this one with unbridled gusto. Since Billy passed away a few months ago I play this every Friday at Home Sweet Home in his memory and I feel his spirit in the room when it inevitably shakes the house down. So this of course goes out to him.

The Creep, AKA Nick Kithas of Creep and the Deacons, moved on from his rockin' roots to become a notable a jazz musician, club owner, and restauranteur in Ft. Worth. Another hero of mine Jim "The Hound" Marshall says, "It's basically a take off on Bobby Freeman's Betty Lou Got A New Pair Of Shoes, but better, and dumber."

I hope that you enjoy this classic as much as I do and get yourself a copy of "Fort Worth Teen Scene" to get wowed by all the killer rock'n'roll coming out of DFW in the 1960s.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Honey Drippers "Impeach the President" (Alaga, 1973)
via Jonathan Toubin's NY Night Train Party Platter

In the last year or so, when i have to leave town I post some cool songs each day, to make life easier on the road, by one of my favorite DJ's ever Jonathan Toubin. So while I am on a whirlwind Euro visit to solidify some exhibitions for 2018/19, I will start you off here with the platters and descriptions via Jonathan. Thanks for staying tuned.

Tonight, after a long day of consuming political theater, I turn this summer's theme song as I take over Questlove's Bowl Train at Brooklyn Bowl... I finally picked up Roy C and the Honey Drippers' much-sampled Nixon-era classic "Impeach the President" from thee immortal Todd-O-Phonic Todd at WFMU Record Fair and its going keep spinning round and round all summer long until I don't need to play it anymore!