Quirky 45s That “Bubbled Under” 1959-1976 (pt. 2)

Link to PART ONE = Quirky 45s That “Bubbled Under” 1959-1976

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It’s a Gas” by The Hombres

peaked at #113 on January 13, 1968 [Verve Forecast]

  • Text of news item “Singleton Issues Hombres Videotapes” published in Billboard‘s December 30, 1967 edition:  “Shelby Singleton Productions last week made available for bandstand TV shows two color videotapes of The Hombres performing ‘It’s a Gas’ and ‘Am I High’ — the two tunes on their latest Verve Forecast single.  Both records were produced by Huey Meaux for Shelby Singleton Productions.”

 

Captain of Your Ship” by Reparata and the Delrons

peaked at #127 on February 3, 1968 [Mala]

  • “Captain of Your Ship” was a much bigger success in Europe (#13 in the UK Singles Chart), where the group toured and performed on German TV’s “Beat Club.”
  • International distribution of this single included Rhodesia and India.

45 – Sweden

 

I Cannot Stop You” by The Cherry Slush

peaked at #119 on February 24, 1968 [U.S.A.]

  • Written, produced, and arranged by Dick Wagner, who later gained fame for his collaborations with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed & Kiss.
  • Billboard‘s January 6, 1968 edition included this 45 in a “Special Merit Highlight” (“new singles deserving special attention of programmers and dealers”) with this concise assessment — “The label that started the Buckinghams on the road to fame has another group with a hot rock item that could easily establish them in the same way.”
  • Program director/disk jockey Bobby Holland of Hazlehurst GA’s WVOH singled out “I Cannot Stop You” as the “Biggest Leftfield Happening” — as reported to Billboard in its March 30, 1968 edition.
  • #43 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” Chart in their Feb. 17, 1968 issue.
  • Gary Johnson’s biographical profile of this Michigan Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame band notes that “Saginaw’s Cherry Slush was one of mid-Michigan’s most popular bands during the 60’s” who were “also one of the few garage bands from that era to place a single on the charts of the three major trade papers in the 60’s, Billboard, Record World, and Cash Box.”

 

Bear Mash” by Ramsey Lewis

peaked at #123 on February 24, 1968

  • Ramsey Lewis Trio:  Ramsey Lewis (piano), Cleveland Eaton (bass) and future Earth, Wind & Fire bandleader, Maurice White (drums).
  • Billboard‘s February 3, 1968 edition included this 45 in a “Special Merit Highlight”  with these words of praise — “Discotheque and jukebox must in this infectious number played for all it’s worth by the piano wizard.”

Future Shocktypeface on 1967 LP

 

Do Drop Inn” by The Fifth Estate

peaked at #122 on March 16, 1968 [Jubilee]

45 – Germany

 

African Boo-Ga-Loo” by Jackie Lee

peaked at #121 on March 23, 1968 [Keymen]

  • When’s the last time you heard harmonica on a driving soul tune?
  • #49 in Cash Box‘s R&B Top 50 Chart in the March 16, 1968 edition.
  • “African Boo-Ga-Loo” would be issued in the UK four years later in 1972 — though it turns out that Britain had been enjoying the ‘import’ version “for years.”

Review = 19 Jan 1973 edition of Blues and Soul (UK)

 

If You Didn’t Hear Me the First Time (I’ll Say It Again)” by The Sandpebbles

peaked at #122 on April 6, 1968 [Calla]

  • The descending chords of the main riff – combined with the chiming church bell – sounds suspiciously close to what Elton John used six years later for his arrangement ofLucy in the Sky” that hit the radio airwaves in 1974.
  • Reached #42 on Billboard‘s R&B Chart on April 20, 1968.

 

Look at What I Almost Missed” by The Parliaments

peaked at #104 on April 13, 1968 [Revilot]

  • “Look At What I Almost Missed” — co-written by George Clinton & Tamala Lewis — reached no. 5 on CKLW, Windsor, according to 45Cat .
  • Cash Box‘s review in the March 6, 1968 edition — “Terrific pace of the newest outing from the Parliaments should set the team back on the winning road to pop action while maintaining solid blues area action.  Lively mid-speed outing that is tailored for dancing from the ‘Testify‘ group.  Should be well received.”

 

What a Day” by The Contrasts Featuring Bob Morrison

peaked at #120 on April 13, 1968 [Monument]

  • According to Plankton, “What a Day” reached no. 20 on CHUM, Toronto.
  • Johnnie Charles, program director/disk jockey at Bluefield WV’s WKOY, declared “What a Day” to be “Best Pick,” of the week (April 13, 1968), while Dean Tyler at Philadelphia’s WIBG chose the same song as the week’s “Best Leftfield Pick” (April 5, 1968).

 

Billy Sunshine” by Evie Sands

peaked at #133 on April 27, 1968 [Cameo]

  • Billboard‘s review reveals that even the best-laid plans don’t always guarantee commercial success — “The writing team of Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni has a hot sales item in this pulsating rocker with strong vocal workout that should bring Miss Sands back to the Hot 100 rapidly.”
  • Program director/disk jockey Rick Scarry of Ventura, CA’s KUDU pegged “Billy Sunshine” as the week’s “Biggest Leftfield Happening,” as reported in Billboard‘s April 13, 1968 edition.

 

Alone Again Or” by Love

peaked at #123 on May 4, 1968 [Elektra]

  • In a news item entitled, “Elektra to Pitch Product to UK’s College Cities,” Billboard‘s February 3, 1968 edition reports that “The new LP [Forever Changes] is getting the biggest ever Elektra UK promotion.  Publicity includes advertisements on buses in key cities, including London, Manchester, and Birmingham.  A single featuring two tracks from the LP “Alone Again Or” and “Bummer in the Summer” has just been issued.  If the record enters the charts, the group has agreed to visit England for personal appearances, says [Elektra’s Clive] Selwood.”
  • Selected by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of March 9, 1968 — “This pulsating folk-rocker should fast break the strong LP sellers onto the Hot 100 chart once again.  Good material, strong performance with driving dance beat in support featuring a mariachi flavored arrangement.”
  • Best Leftfield Pick” for the week of March 30, 1968 according to an unnamed program director/disk jockey at Flint, MI’s WTAC, as reported in Billboard.
  • This 45 helped usher in improved sound, as reported in Cash Box — “Almost all of Elektra Records’ singles will be released in compatible stereo, beginning with the new Love single, ‘Alone Again Or, it was announced last week by Jac Holzman, president of Elektra.  Singles will be released in the compatible stereo format.  Holzman said that this move was in keeping with the change-over in the U.S. to an all-stereo record industry.  He maintains that the continued release of mono singles was inconsistent with the superior sound of today’s stereo LP’s and might be one reason for the rapid drop in singles sales in the past year.”

 

Backwards and Forwards” by December’s Children

peaked at #123 on May 18, 1968 [World Pacific]

  • Time for everyone to sing along, even if you think you don’t want to —

  • Note:  In teeny-tiny print at the end of the lyric sheet above, it reads “I wrote this song.  I can’t figure it out, maybe you can … Ray Whitley” (i.e., the other person, besides Jimi Hendrix, who wrote a song in 1968 entitled “1983!)

45 — Germany

 

Days of Pearly Spencer” by David McWilliams

peaked at #134 on June 1, 1968

 

When Do We Go” by Billy Vera & Judy Clay

peaked at #107 on June 8, 1968 [Atlantic]

  • “When Do We Go” was selected by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of May 25, 1968 — “The strong duo hit it big with ‘Storybook Children‘ and [“Country Girl-City Man‘]  and this blues ballad, well performed, will put them even higher on the charts with stronger sales.  Soulful and meaningful material.”
  • Billy Vera’s recording career includes a #1 pop hit — “At This Moment” (by Billy Vera and the Beaters) that initially charted at #79 when released in 1981 before going all the way to the top when reissued in 1987 — as well as two other songs that “bubbled under” the Hot 100:  “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (which peaked at #121 on September 28, 1968 and “The Bible Salesman” (which peaked at #112 on May 17, 1969).  Judy Clay would also enjoy a Hot 100 hit in 1968 with William Bell on “Private Number” [which hit #75 Pop, #17 R&B, and #8 on the UK Singles Chart], as well as two other recordings that “bubbled under”:  “My Baby Specializes” (with William Bell – #104 on Dec. 28, 1968) and “Greatest Love” (#122 on April 18, 1970).

45 — Italy

 

Soul Clappin’” by The Buena Vistas

peaked at #126 on September 7, 1968

  • 45Cat contributor Mr. Lobbers notes — “Although the labels state that the two sides are from the LP Here Comes Da Judge, the album does not appear to have been released.”
  • Picked by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of August 10, 1968 — “Their version of ‘Here Comes Da Judge’ took them into the Hot 100 and now this funky beat blues rocker has all the sales potential to take them high on both pop and r&b charts.  Powerful dance item.”
  • Somehow the single made its way over to France.

45 — France

 

Mission Impossible Theme/Norwegian Wood” by Alan Copeland

peaked at #120 on September 21, 1968 [ABC]

 

I Couldn’t Spell !!*@!” by Sam the Sham

peaked at #120 on October 5, 1968 [MGM]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Dallas-Fort Worth, as reported in Billboard.
  • #15 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” Chart in their Nov. 2, 1968 edition.

 

Paul’s Midnight Ride” [B-side] by The Delights Orchestra

peaked at #128 on October 26, 1968 [Atco]

  • Title and groove appear to be a reference to 1968’s “Horse” by Cliff Nobles & Co.
  • 45Cat’s davie gordon has the story behind the 45 — “An independent production from Philadelphia bought up by Atlantic.  The instrumental B-side started picking up airplay in St. Louis in September making the local top 20 on station KATZ.  This was enough for Billboard to register it on their bubbling under chart in late October peaking after two weeks at no. 128.  The Sweet Delights never recorded again but the Delights Orchestra did have a follow-up single.
  • 45Cat’s Felonious also chimes in — “I’m sure some of The Delights Orchestra became members of MFSB.  According to Funky 16 Corners and Classic Urban Harmony, The Sweet Delights were Geri Edgehill, Betty Allen, Valerie Brown, Grace Montgomery Allison, and Albert Byrd.

 

Fifty Two Per Cent” by Max Frost and the Troopers

peaked at #123 on December 14, 1968 [Tower]

  • Max Frost & the Troopers, as it turns out, is a fictional band created for the (Mike Curb-produced) exploitation flick Wild in the Streets.
  • 52% of the population in 1968 was under 25, you know.

45 — France

 

Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass” by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos

peaked at #106 on February 8, 1969 [Capitol]

  • “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass” was also a #1 hit on the Billboard Country Chart.
  • Song covered by Sue Thompson that same year.

45 — Norway

 

Lovey Dovey” by Johnny Nash

peaked at #130 on February 15, 1969 [JAD]

  • From the same artist whose previous year’s “Hold Me Tight” got major radio play [#1 Canada and #5 in US & UK Singles Chart], another rare moment of Jamaican rocksteady on US radio — backing band almost certainly Lyn Taitt & the Jets.

45 — Belgium

 

Is There Anything Better Than Making Love” by The Fantastic Johnny C

peaked at #130 on March 22, 1969 [Phil-L.A. of Soul]

  • Record World designated this a “Sleeper Hit of the Week” in their Feb. 22, 1969 edition with this ringing endorsement:  “The Fantastic Johnny C wonders ‘Is There Anything Better Than Making Love?’ and the answer is listening to this cut.”

 

Me and Mr. Hohner” by Bobby Darin

peaked at #123 on May 10, 1969 [Direction]

  • Spoiler alert:  Reference to “Hohner” in the song title is exactly what you think it is.
  • Billboard‘s review — “Following up ‘Long Line Rider,’ Darin comes up with another stronger message lyric set to an infectious beat.  Top arrangement and vocal workout offers much for play and sales.”

 

If I Had a Reason” by Bubble Puppy

peaked at #128 on May 31, 1969 [International Artists]

  • Selected by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of May 24, 1969
  • — “A different sound from the ‘Hot Smoke and Sassafrass‘ group, this pulsating rocker should bring them back to the charts with impact, and prove an important follow-up to their initial hit.”

 

Stomp” by NRBQ

peaked at #122 on June 28, 1969 [Columbia]

 

South Carolina” by The Flirtations

peaked at #111 on July 26, 1969 [Deram]

45 — Japan

 

Harlan County” by Jim Ford

peaked at #106 on September 13, 1969 [Sundown]

  • Vancouver Signature Sounds‘ Ray McGinnis wrote a short essay about Jim Ford in which “Harlan County” served as the focus — “While the song got enough traction in Vancouver to climb to #10 on the charts, it missed the Billboard Hot 100.  DJ’s in Vancouver may have decided to play list the song, as it was rising to #15 on KHJ in Los Angeles, the week before it became Hitbound on CKLG.  However, LA was one of just a couple of radio markets that gave the song a try.  “Harlan County” also happened to climb into the Top 20 across the Georgia Strait in Victoria.”
  • McGinnis also notes — “His friends included Sly Stone of Sly and the Family Stone who referred to Jim Ford on a 1971 Dick Cavett Show as his “honky-tonk man.”

 

Mommy and Daddy” [B-side] by The Monkees

peaked at #109 on September 20, 1969 [Colgems]

  • Cleaned-up” version of Micky Dolenz’s “social protest” song — original version with the heavyweight lyrics for comparison.
  • According to 45Cat contributors, “Mommy and Daddy” was a Top Ten hit in Albany, NY and also Kansas City.
  • Adds 45Cat’s porcupine — “[lyrical reference] ‘the “Kings of EMI’ was a two-fer for Mickey who also used [this phrase] in ‘Randy Scouse Git,’ a document of the Monkees’ visit to England.  The ‘four Kings of EMI (are) sitting stately on the floor’ referred to The Beatles, whom they met at a party.”

 

Never in Public” by Candi Staton

peaked at #124 on September 20, 1969 [Fame]

  • Billboard reported in its September 13, 1969 edition that WDIA’s Bill Thomas (Memphis) singled out “Never in Public” as that week’s “Biggest Happening” in Rhythm & Blues.
  • Record World designated this a “Sleeper Hit of the Week” in their Aug. 30, 1969 edition — “Candi Staton souls out ‘Never in Public’ and it’s another winner from funky Muscle Shoals.”

 

Comment” [B-side] by Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

peaked at #109 on October 11, 1969 [Warner Bros.]

  • B-side when released in the US, but an A-side when issued in France.

 

Baby You Come Rolling ‘Cross My Mind” by John Beland

peaked at #110 on November 8, 1969 [Ranwood]

 

Ballad of Paul” by The Mystery Tour

peaked at #104 on November 29, 1969

 

Cow Pie” by The Masked Marauders

peaked at #123 on November 29, 1969

  • The Masked Marauders were not an actual band but an elaborate hoax orchestrated by Rolling Stone to fool folks into thinking a “super session” with leading rock artists (Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon) had taken place in great secrecy but then “leaked” to the public.
  • “Cow Pie” — fabricated to sound like a “Bob Dylan” song — was the A-side of a single that also saw release in Germany and France.

 

Hello Sunshine” by Rev. Maceo Woods & Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir

peaked at #121 on December 20, 1969 [Volt]

  • Oh Happy Day” by The Edwin Hawkins Singers was a #4 Pop hit that same year.
  • 45Cat’s davie gordon notes — “The song [co-written by King Curtis & Ron Miller] had been recorded the previous year by Aretha Franklin on her Aretha Now album and a few months later by Wilson Pickett for his I’m In Love album.

 

Freight Train” by Duane Eddy

peaked at #110 on January 3, 1970 [Congress]

 

Demonstration” by Otis Redding

peaked at #105 on April 4, 1970 [Atco]

  • “Demonstration” is the lead-off track on Tell the Truth, Redding’s fourth posthumous studio album.

 

Boogie Woogie Country Girl” by Southwind

peaked at #105 on May 2, 1970 [Blue Thumb]

45 — France

 

Feeling Bad” by Mel and Tim

peaked at #106 on May 9, 1970 [Bamboo]

  • “Feeling Bad” — produced by Gene Chandler.

 

What Do You Say to a Naked Lady” by Errol Sober

peaked at #106 on May 30, 1970 [Abnak]

  • Surprisingly ‘wholesome’ for a song whose title includes the phrase “naked lady.”
  • The Holy Modal Rounders, incredibly, came within inches of Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart (#103) on February 2, 1974 with their unapologetic paean “Boobs a Lot.”
  • Music in Advertising Alert:  Cash Box item in the February 28, 1970 edition,  “Karman Growing in TV Commercial Field” — “As the television medium grows, so does the value of commercials, and so do the successes of various composer-lyricists working in the field.  One of the most popular has been Steve Karmen who, over the past three years, wrote music and lyrics for the commercials:  “You Can Take Salem Out Of The Country . . . ,” “Breakaway With Pontiac,” “Call The Man From Nationwide” (insurance).  In addition, he is currently writing all the music and lyrics for Halo Shampoo, Budweiser Beer, Beneficial Finance and Chrysler.  And, working with film music, he wrote the score for the United Artists [Allen Funt] film, What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? which opened last week in New York.”

 

Maybe Baby-Daddy’s Maybe” by Swamp Dogg

peaked at #113 on May 30, 1970 [Canyon]

  • You might be surprised to learn that the lyrics include the phrase “PTA meeting.”
  • Billboard‘s review of Swamp Dogg’s Total Destruction to Your Mind “Swamp Dogg is a hip soul man who not only can bring ‘Total Destruction to Your Mind’ with some potent funk, but some creative social commentary as well in the ballads of a new breed blues artist.  His no-jive soul makes a star out of producer-arranger-songwriter Jerry Williams Jr., who through Swamp Dogg, comunicates a new cool in soul music.  ‘Synthetic World,’ ‘Mama’s Baby-Daddy’s Maybe’ set the pace.”

 

Birds of All Nations” by George McCannon III

peaked at #111 on June 3, 1970 [Amos]

  • Produced by Jimmy Bowen and includes the Jimmy Bowen Orchestra & Chorus.

 

Handsome Johnny” by Richie Havens

peaked at #115 on June 20, 1970 [MGM]

  • Co-written by Richie Havens with actor Lou Gossett, Jr.
  • Havens performs “Handsome Johnny” in the Woodstock film.

 

Wash Mama Wash” by Dr. John The Night Tripper

peaked at #108 on June 20, 1970 [Atco]

  • 45-only track when initially released — included on 1972 “non-US” compilation LP The Age of Atlantic and later Dr. John anthologies.
  • “Wash Mama Wash” awarded a “Special Merit Spotlight” by Billboard with these words of praise — “Strong vocal workout on funky beat blues material that could easily come from left field and prove an out and out smash – pop and soul.”

 

Passport to the Future” by Jean Jacques Perrey

peaked at #106 on June 27, 1970 [Vanguard]

  • “Passport to the Future” reached the #29 position on Billboard‘s “Easy Listening” Top 40 Chart, as reported in the June 29, 1970 edition.
  • Record World‘s June 13, 1970 edition reports — “Top tip of the week ‘Passport To The Future,’ Jean Jacque Perrey, Vanguard.  It is over 10,000 in Chicago.”

 

Eleanor Rigby” by El Chicano

peaked at #115 on June 15, 1970 [Kapp]

  • Earned a “Special Merit Spotlight” from Billboard, who informed the world — “Following up his ‘Viva Tirado’ hit, El Chicano comes up with a Latin rhythm treatment of the Beatles winner that should keep him active on the charts.”

45 — Italy

 

Simple Song of Freedom” by Spirit of Us

peaked at #106 on August 15, 1970 [Viva]

  • Song written by “Bob” Darin.
  • Record World‘s “Singles Review” in their July 11, 1970 edition:  “The Bob Darin-Tim Hardin song lives again with a Salvation Army/folk/Dixieland sound.”

 

Had Any Lately” by Sylvia Robinson

peaked at #102 on August 22, 1970 [Stang]

  • Deceptively powerful peace lyric embedded in a seductive pop soul groove — says Billboard in its August 1, 1970 edition:  “A lyric message about today’s world situation is set to an infectious rhythm setting and blockbuster vocal workout by Sylvia … formerly of Micky and Sylvia.  Watch this one, it could prove a left-field smash.”
  • Record World‘s “Singles Review” — “Very effective anti-war song is directed right to the seat of power.  Sylvia wrote and produced.”

 

Two Little Rooms” by Trella Hart

peaked at #120 on September 5, 1970 [Capitol]

  • 45Cat’s borninthe50s provides the history — “This was the only single released by Trella Hart, who was known as ” The Queen Of The Jingles.”  She forged a very successful career in the music business by working prolifically as a “jingle” singer, recording advertising and promotion “jingles” for, in particular, P.A.M.S. (Production Advertising Merchandising Service), one of the most famous “jingle” production companies in American broadcasting, based in Dallas, Texas.  When “Two Little Rooms” was released in 1970, it was played on many radio stations, and in the event it reached the Top 30 in several regions including Dallas and Chicago.”

 

We All Sung Together” by Grin

peaked at #108 on October 10, 1970 [Thunder]

  • Grin’s debut LP – produced by David Briggs – was dedicated to Roy Buchanan.
  • If I’m not mistaken, the October 24, 1970 issue of Cash Box begins with this ad for Grin:  “You’ve been listening to Nils Lofgren longer than you know.  Up until now, you’ve been listening to his music.  Not his name.  Possibly you know that Nils Lofgren is the founder of the new group, Grin.  And that their new single, “We All Sung Together,” is getting airplay around the country.  But this isn’t the first song he’s composed and arranged.  In fact, among musicians he’s become a recognized talent.  Even Neil Young used him.  On his new Gold Rush album, Nils played and sang.  Of course, you might have missed that fact.  But now, with his new group and new single, his name will be hard to forget.  Grin.  All Sung Together.”
  • According to Billboard‘s August 15, 1970 edition, Columbia recently wrapped up two new labels deals, one of them being Thunder, formed by David Briggs and Art Linson.  “Thunder’s initial product will be an album and single from the much sought-after band, Grin, discovered in Maryland by Neil Young and Steve Stills.  Grin features composer Nils Lofgren and is the first group to be signed by the label.  Their first single, ‘We All Sung Together,’ was presented at the recent Columbia Convention and will be released shortly.  Grin’s debut album, with a guest appearance from Neil Young and Crazy Horse, will be released in early fall.”

Bob Gordon, Nils Lofgren, Bob Berberich

 

Poquito Soul” by One G Plus Three

peaked at #122 on October 24, 1970 [Gordo]

  • Funky 16 Corners suggests that “If you give ‘Poquito Soul’ a couple of listens, another languid groover might start to come to mind, that being El Chicano’s version of Gerald Wilson’s ‘Viva Tirado’, which was a substantial hit in the Spring of 1970, all over the country, but especially in SoCal.”  One G Plus Three — Randy Thomas (the ‘Gringo’) on organ, Rudy Salas on guitar, Max Garduno on percussion and Manny Mosqueda on drums — “recorded only this one 45, released first on Eddie Davis’s Gordo label, then picked up for national distribution by Paramount.”
  • Check out Paramount’s full-page ad for this 45 in the October 31, 1970 edition of Billboard.
  • “Poquito Soul” reached the #39 position on Billboard‘s “Easy Listening” Top 40 Chart, as reported in the November 7, 1970 edition.

 

Back to the River” by The Damnation of Adam Blessing

peaked at #102 on November 21, 1970 [United Artists]

  • Cleveland’s Damnation of Adam Blessing played at the Cincinnati Pop Festival in 1970.
  • Would you be surprised to learn that “Back to the River” was a “Regional Breakout Single” in Cleveland?
  • Record World‘s review notes that the group — Bill Schwark, Bob Kalamasz, Jim Quinn & Ray Benich — are, “as folks already know, into very hard rock.”  Further, the new album “should turn into a potent item to stir up underground trade.”

That’s right, the same event where Iggy threw the peanut butter

 

Down to the Wire” by Yellow Hand

peaked at #120 on December 5, 1970 [Capitol]

  • Uptempo “pop” arrangement of “lost” Neil Young-penned Buffalo Springfield track (included on the box set) that was also released on Neil Young’s 3-LP Decade.
  • Billboard, who predicted this 45 to reach the Top 60, wrote in its review — “The driving rock ballad penned by Neil Young is a strong singles debut for the group, culled from their current LP.  Should prove a big Hot 100 item.”
  • Cash Box offered up this review — “Fine pick of material from the Neil Young songbook makes the most of Yellow Hand’s premiere single.  Could blossom.”
  • 45Cat’s Gary E informs — “This band includes Jerry Tawney on lead voc, formerly with The Portraits (Sidewalk), early solo 45 on Liberty & later solo on Bell.”

 

Never Marry a Railroad Man” by The Shocking Blue

peaked at #102 on December 26, 1970 [Colossus]

  • 45Cat’s Problem Child theorizes — “I think after the mighty ‘Venus’, this may have been a very good album track, but the early longer than usual instrumental break and the lack of more engaging lyrics may have worked against it being a commercial success, just sayin’?  Shame.”
  • And yet, a Top Ten hit for this Netherlands group in Holland, West Germany & Norway plus Switzerland and France (Spain, too).

45 — Yugoslavia

 

Love Vibrations” by David T. Walker

peaked at #117 on January 9, 1971 [Zea]

  • Billboard‘s Ed Ochs designated “Love Vibrations” as a “Soul Sauce” ‘pick and play‘ for the week of December 12, 1970.
  • Peaked at #35 on Billboard‘s “Soul Singles” Chart on December 19, 1970.

 

Too Many Lovers” by Shack

peaked at #118 on February 13, 1971 [Volt]

  • Oddball intro that sounds like something out of LeeScratchPerry‘s audio lab.
  • Peaked at #23 on Billboard‘s “Soul Singles” chart on February 20, 1971.

 

Nothing Rhymed” by Gilbert O’Sullivan

peaked at #114 on March 6, 1971 [MAM]

  • A Top 10 hit in the UK., as reported in Billboard‘s January 16, 1971 edition.
  • #150 position in Record World‘s “Singles Chart – 101 to 150” for the week of March 6, 1971.

45 — Yugoslavia

 

California Blues” by Redwing

peaked at #108 on April 17, 1971 [Fantasy]

  • Billboard had high hopes for this release, as indicated by its selection as a “Top 20 Pop Spotlight” in the April 3, 1971 edition — “The legendary Jimmie Rodgers classic is updated and serves as dynamite material for this powerful new group, their debut for the label.  Will hit hard and fast.”
  • University of Houson’s KUHF gave this 45 strong radio play, as reported in Billboard‘s May 29, 1971 edition.

 

Singing in Viet Nam Talking Blues” by Johnny Cash

peaked at #124 on June 19, 1971 [Columbia]

  • Selected by Billboard for its “Top 60 Pop Spotlight” the week of June 5, 1971 — “Cash entertained in Vietnam and wrote about it.  This moving story and performance will prove a strong entry … pop and country” [such “cross-over” disks would provoke a “title strip display debate” for jukebox programmers, as discussed in the September 4, 1971 edition of Billboard].
  • In a July 17, 1971 Billboard news item entitled “Release Jam Hurts Artists ” — “Perhaps a more dramatic example is Johnny Cash’s ‘Singing in Vietnam Talking Blues.’  [Acme One Stop’s Larry] Rugemer said:  “I believe Cash is an example of an artist in danger of being burned out by too many releases.  The jukebox programmers are just passing this one up.”
  • Reached #18 on the “Hot Country Singles” Chart in Billboard‘s July 31, 1971 edition.

 Promo 45 — Germany

Tip of the hat to DC’s Karl Eiholzer for translation services:

“A new Johnny Cash song is always an event because his songs always make a strong statement [or possibly: always have a special message].  Johnny Cash’s newest song – by the way written and produced by himself – deals with one of our time’s focal points:  Vietnam.  Rhythmically and musically an impressive [or perhaps smashing, if you’re reading this in the UK] production.”

 

Ten and Two (Take This Woman Off the Corner)” by Gene and Jerry

peaked at #126 on July 3, 1971 [Mercury]

  •  Billboard‘s Ed Ochs as a “Soul Sauce” ‘pick and play‘ for the week of March 6, 1970.
  • Designated by Billboard as one of the Special Merit singles “deserving special attention of programmers and dealers” in the May 8, 1971 edition “Gene Chandler and Jerry Butler team up once again with a powerful rock item that should carry them straight to both the Hot 100 and Soul charts.  First rate performances.”
  • #44 position on Billboard‘s “Soul Singles” chart for the week of June 26, 1971, and #42 spot on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B chart for the week ending July 3, 1971.

 

Funky L.A.” by Paul Humphrey and His Cool-Aid Chemists

peaked at #109 on August 14, 1971 [Lizard]

  • A “Top 60 Pop Spotlight” designee for the week of June 26, 1971 — “Humphrey’s ‘Cool Aid‘ took him high on the Hot 100 and into the teens on the soul chart.  This driving discotheque winner offers that same sales potency.”
  • #45 spot on Billboard‘s Soul chart on August 28, 1971.
  • #97 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending July 31, 1971.

 

1-2-3-4” by Lucky Peterson Blues Band

peaked at #102 on August 21, 1971 [Today]

  • According to 45Cat’s jukebox george — “HitBound on the chart of WOL Washington DC — July 21 1971.”
  • Peaked at #40 on Billboard‘s Soul chart and #41 on Cash Box‘s R&B chart.

 

Gotta Get Over the Hump” by Simtec & Wylie

peaked at #101 on September 11, 1971 [Mister Chand]

  • Walter “Simtec” Simmons + Wylie Dixon from Chicago.
  • Says one 45Cat contributor, “According to the data we have, this was the most popular release from Gene Chandler’s Mister Chand label.  It did not do particularly well.  The A-side went to #4 in Jackson, MS.; #5 in Dayton, OH.; and #10 in Chicago (WGRT) and XEPRS [AM] in Rosario, Baja California, Mexico.  It hung out a lot on [NYC’s] WWRL’s charts, but ultimately only rose to #14.”
  • “Gotta Get Over That Hump” also peaked at #29 on Billboard‘s Soul chart for the week ending August 28, 1971.
  • #36 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 60 for the week ending August 14, 1971.

 

Hey Ruby (Shut Your Mouth)” by Ruby and the Party Gang

peaked at #105 on December 25, 1971 [Law-Ton]

  • Record World‘s November 13, 1971 edition informs us that “Clarence Lawton, President of Law-Ton Records, dropped by Record World last week to discuss his label’s two latest hits, ‘Let One Hurt Do‘ by L.J. Reynolds & Chocolate Syrup and ‘Hey Ruby (Shut Your Mouth)’ by Ruby & the Party Gang.  Lawton, who started his Avco-distributed company in August, is also working closely with the label’s Stylistics, whose current hit is ‘You Are Everything.'”

 

That’s Alright (I Don’t Mind It)” by Alzo

peaked at #116 on February 12, 1972 [Ampex]

  • Supporting musicians include Bob Dorough (keyboards) & Eric Weissberg (banjo).
  • Part of Billboard‘s “Top 60 Pop Spotlight” for the week ending December 11, 1971 — “A cut from his debut LP, this folk rock newcomer has it to hit with impact first time out via top 40.”
  • Album review in the December 25, 1971 issue of Cash Box:  “Title [Looking for You] tells of a search which should come to a happy end once the sounds therein get out into the open to freshen the air for all of us.  Bob Dorough who is a cult in the jazz world of piano-vocalists has produced the artist in a bright and varied manner, so that each cut can take the now ragged picture of a contemporary singer/songwriter and restore it to its original brilliance.  Single of ‘That’s Alright (I Don’t Mind It)’ is the best introduction we can suggest.  Afterwards, the audience should be on a first-name only basis with him for some time to come.”
  • Album initially released on Ampex, then reissued the following year on Bell.

 

Love the Life You Live (Pt. 1)” by Kool and the Gang

peaked at #107 on February 26, 1972 [De-Lite]

  • #40 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for the week ending February 26, 1972.

1971 REVIEW FROM UK’S BLUES AND SOUL
(COURTESY OF 45CAT)

 

Free Your Mind” by The Politicians

peaked at #110 on April 29, 1972 [Hot Wax]

  • “Free Your Mind” written by Hot Wax label owners Holland-Dozier-Holland.
  • Funk My Soul provides the history lesson in his album review for The Polticians Featuring McKinley Jackson:   “Jackson was a long standing member of Motown’s sessions band, playing trombone on dozens (if not hundreds) of Holland-Dozier-Holland recording sessions for the label.   That would certainly explain how Jackson and company ended up releasing one of the first album’s on the trio’s post-Motown Hot Wax imprint.  Musically the album featured a collection of ten largely-original instrumentals ranging from hardcore funk (‘Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic‘ and ‘Funky Toes‘) to a radio friendly ballad (‘A Song for You’).  Technically these guys were pretty amazing, easily measuring up top Motown’s Funk brothers, Hi Records’ Hodges Brothers, or The Memphis Horns … The best track (and the sole hit for the group), ‘Free Your Mind’ stands out for its indescribably catchy guitar leit motif, a wah-wah’d lick that may well be the funkiest ever waxed.  Labelmates 8th Day used the backing track for their B-side ‘Freedom Is Instrumental.’”

 

It’s Too Late” by Bill Deal and the Rhondels

peaked at #108 on August 19, 1972 [Buddah]

  • Portsmouth, Virginia’s Bill Deal and the Rhondels helped fuse blue-eyed soul and “beach music” on such classic tracks as (the somewhat ska-like) “May I.”
  • “It’s Too Late” hit the #100 position on Cash Box‘s Top 100 singles for the week ending August 19, 1972.

“It’s Too Late” = final track on this 1973 EP from Thailand

 

I Ain’t Never Seen a White Man” by Wolfman Jack

peaked at #106 on September 23, 1972 [Wooden Nickel]

  • 45Cat’s greekgrove tells us — “Dick Monda who wrote ‘I Ain’t Never Seen A White Man’, wanted to release this as a ‘Daddy Dewdrop’ single, but head honcho of MGM/Sunflower (Mike Curb) was against it, so the song was passed to Wolfman Jack.  Meanwhile Dick Monda did finally release his original version of the song in 1973 as ‘Monda’ for Buddah Records where the song was re-titled ‘Everyman‘.”
  • 45Cat’s davie gordon adds — “Written and produced by the guys behind Daddy Dewdrop’s ‘Chick A Boom‘.”
  • #102 position in Record World‘s “Singles Chart – 101 to 150” for the week of October 14, 1972.

Another sing-along = c’mon, it’s good for you

 

Supersonic Rocket Ship” by The Kinks

peaked at #111 on October 14, 1972 [RCA Victor]

  • 45-only track (featuring steelpan drums) when originally released.
  • Kinks first “bubbled under” in 1965 with “See My Friends” (which reached #111).

 

Bang!” by Washrag

peaked at #112 on October 21, 1972 [TMI]

  • Musical trio featuring [Booker T & the MGs guitarist] Steve Cropper who released one album in 1973.

 

Africa” by Thundermug

peaked at #110 on December 16, 1972 [Big Tree]

  • Recorded at Toronto Sound Studios.
  • Billboard‘s July 29, 1972 edition includes a news item “From the Music Capitals of the World – Toronto:   “Thundermug now breaking nationally with both ‘Thundermug’ and ‘Africa’ from the Thundermug Strikes album.  Group is on London-distributed Axe label.”
  • Billboard‘s December 9, 1972 edition, in its “From the Music Capitals of the World – Toronto” column, reports that “CKLW Windsor/Detroit has charted two new Canadian singles, ‘Daytime, Night-time’ by Keith Hampshire and Thundermug’s ‘Africa,’ both of which are now available in the US on A&M and Bell, respectively.  Both singles have done exceedingly well on Canadian charts and look set for wide action in the US market.”
  • “Africa” was a “Regional Breakout Single” in Detroit.

 

Trying to Live My Life Without You” by Otis Clay

peaked at #102 on January 6, 1973 [Hi]

 

Gimme That Beat (Pt. 1)” by Jr. Walker & the All Stars

peaked at #101 on February 24, 1973 [Soul]

  • Billboard‘s January 27, 1973 edition includes this recommendation — “A funky, strictly-for-dancing shouter with infectious drive.  Powerful new entry from long-time soul titan.”

45 — France

 

Loose Booty” by Funkadelic

peaked at #118 on March 17, 1973 [Westbound]

  • “Loose Booty” (from the double album America Eats Its Young (which reached #22 on R&B and #122 on the Pop charts) also reached #49 on Billboard‘s Soul singles chart.
  • Sly and the Family Stone’s 1974 album Small Talk, coincidentally or not, includes a song called “Loose Booty.”

 

We’ll Make Love” by Al Anderson

peaked at #101 on March 24, 1973 [Vanguard]

  • “Well Make Love,” which came extremely close to making the Hot 100 chart, is from Al Anderson’s debut album — released prior to Anderson joining NRBQ.
  • #116 on Cash Box‘s “Singles — Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending February 24, 1973.
  • #112 position in Record World‘s “Singles Chart – 101 to 150” for the week of March 10, 1973.

 

Part of the Union” by The Strawbs

peaked at #111 on April 21, 1973 [A&M]

  • “Part of the Union” — previously celebrated by Zero to 180.
  • #106 on Record World‘s “Singles Chart – 101 to 150” for the week of April 6, 1973.
  • “Part of the Union” also peaked at #5 on Australia’s pop chart, says Cash Box.

 

Satellite of Love” by Lou Reed

peaked at #119 on June 9, 1973

  • Composed by Lou Reed, produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, and arranged by the three of the them.
  • Record World selected “Satellite of Love” as one of its “Hits of the Week” in the May 26, 1973 edition.
  • Billboard did not designate “Satellite of Love” as one of its “Top Single Picks” for the week of May 26, 1973 — but they did tag the song as “also recommended.”
  • #118 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending June 23, 1973.
  • “Satellite of Love” was the B-side when released “overseas” in the UK, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal & New Zealand (but not Australia, apparently).

45 — Netherlands

 

Bra” by Cymande

peaked at #102 on June 30, 1973 [Janus]

  • Cymande paid tribute by Zero to 180 in 2013.
  • As with “Satellite of Love,” this song was not picked by Billboard as a Top Single, but rather as one of the “also recommended” for the week ending April 7, 1973.
  • “Bra” went from #113 (week ending May 26, 1973) to #93 on Cash Box‘s Too 100 Singles chart for the week ending June 9, 1973.
  • Record World‘s review of Cymande’s second album Second Time Around in the June 9, 1973 edition begins with this observation — “Rarely can a group appear on jazz, r&b, and pop charts at the same time, but these dynamic musicians made all three with their very first album.”
  • Somewhat related news item (“Schwaid Signs Independents”) in the July 7, 1973 edition of Cash Box:   “Bob Schwaid today announced that he has just signed one of the hottest new groups, the Independents, to his Thruppence Ltd. management firm.  Schwaid, who has managed such top artists as Van Morrison and Miriam Makeba, is presently personal manager for superstar vocalist Al Green, Cymande, a West Indian rock band, and comic Lonnie Shorr.  The Independents are Chuck Johnson, Maurice Jackson, Eric Thomas and Helen Curry.”

 

Old Betsy Goes Boing, Boing, Boing” by The Hummers

peaked at #104 on August 25, 1973 [Capitol]

  • One of Record World‘s “Single Picks” for the week of June 23, 1970 — “The ditty that’s used for the rotary engine Mazda commercials gets new lyrics for top 40 radio and should see lotsa spins everywhere.  Cutesy production will rev up plenty of action.”
  • Love Marie Ratliff’s enthusiasm in her “County Hot Line” column in Record World‘s July 14, 1973 edition — “‘Open Up Your Heart‘ is an open-and-shut case for Roger Miller!  The verdict is — it’s a hit.  So says KBUY, WCMS, WIRE, WXCL (they picked it); as well as WMC, KCKN, and WEET!  Ditto for The Hummers’ first happening, ‘Old Betsy Goes Boing, Boing, Boing.’  Popular opinion sentencing it to a long chart run!”

 

Halderman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean by The Creep

peaked at #116 on September 1, 1973 [Mr. G]

  • Released in the US and Canada — same recording on both sides of the 45.
  • Tagged by Record World not as “Single Picks” but rather “Spins and Sales” in the August 11, 1973 edition.

 

“Back in the Hills” by The Blue Ridge Rangers

peaked at #107 on October 13, 1973 [Fantasy]

  • The Blue Ridge Rangers turns out to be Creedence Clearwater’s John Fogerty playing all instruments on a handful of 45s and one full-length album released 1972-1973 — “Back in the Hills” is a non-LP B-side.

45 — Japan

 

Take Life a Little Easier” by Rodney Alan Rippy

peaked at #112 on October 20, 1973 [Bell]

  • Included in Billboard‘s “First Time Around Picks” (new artists deserving airplay and sales consideration) in their October 6, 1973 edition:  “Everyone by now has heard this charming child singing the Jack-in-the-Box commerical.  Here’s the commercial music version of the melody by this five-year old on the way to commercial exploitation.”
  • Burbank’s Kendum Recorders cut the masters for this Rodney Allen Rippy recording, on which Thomas “Snuff” Garrett was ostensibly involved — check out this cheeky ad from the December 15, 1973 edition of Billboard.
  • “Take Life a Little Easier” went from #103 (week ending October 6, 1973) to #76 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart (week ending October 27, 1973).

 

Your Funny Moods” by Skip McHoney and the Casuals

peaked at #113 on March 13, 1974 [DC International]

 

The Credit Card Song” by Dick Feller

peaked at #105 on October 23, 1974 [United Artists]

  • Top Ten hit on Billboard‘s County chart, peaking at #10 on November 23, 1974.

 

Pick Up the Pieces One by One” by A.A.B.B.

peaked at #108 on April 12, 1975 [I Dentify]

  • A.A.B.B. is actually, Fred Wesley and the JB’s (with James Brown on Clavinet) in playful response to Average White Band [AWB]’s big hit.
  • Dave Thompson explains in his Funk essential listening companion:  “Atlantic opted not to pull a second single from [1974’s Average White Band album], insisting instead that the band cut something else in the spirit of the hit.  They emerged with another James Brown-type jam, “Cut the Cake,” which effortlessly returned AWB to the Top Ten in April 1975.  Utterly unflattered by such tributes, Brown himself responded by remixing and overdubbing a 1971 JB’s rhythm track, “Hot Pants Road,” and releasing it (on the specially formed Identify label as “Pick Up the Pieces One by One,” under the name AABB (the Above Average Black Band).”

 

Right From The Shark’s Jaws (The Jaws Interview)” by Byron McNaughton & His All News Orchestra

peaked at #106 on September 13, 1975 [Jamie]

 

Southern Lady” by Timi Yuro

peaked at #108 on October 18, 1975 [Playboy]

  • In a brief news item with accompanying photo — “Playboy Adds Timi Yuro” — the September 6, 1975 edition of Record World reported that “Timi Yuro has been signed to an exclusive recording contract with Playboy Records, announced Tom Takayoshi, executive VP for the label.  Playboy plans to release the first single resulting from the agreement on or around September 12.”
  • “Southern Lady” was a “Pick of the Week,” as reported in the October 11, 1975 edition of Cash Box:  “This country ballad shows strong evidence of crossing over to MOR [i.e., “Middle-of-the-Road”] stations.  Fine arrangement, influenced with strings, horns, and great backup vocal tracks.  Timi really performs on this down-home tune produced by Andi Di Martino.  Go with it, MOR’s!”
  • Discogs tells us that Playboy Records was “originally distributed independently, [though] near the end of its existence it used CBS Records Distribution.”

 

Born to Get Down (Born to Mess Around)” by Muscle Shoals Horns

peaked at #105 on March 20, 1976 [Bang]

  • “Born to Get Down” spent a total of 16 weeks on Billboard‘s R&B chart, peaking at the #8 position.
  • #19 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 R&B singles for the week ending June 12, 1976.
  • #98 on Record World‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week May 29, 1976.

 

Theme From One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” by The Jack Nitzsche Orchestra

peaked at #109 on May 15, 1976 [Fantasy]

  • Album review from Cash Box‘s January 3, 1976 edition:  “With a movie such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest it takes a highly creative soundtrack to fully capture the compendium of emotions involved.  This Jack Nitzsche does as his music seems to fit into every furrow and wrinkle of the movie’s theme.  Top listens include ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,’ ‘Aloha Los Pescadores,’ ‘Bus Ride To Paradise’ and ‘Play The Game.’  One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is movie music that can stand on its own.”
  • In 1976, the soundtrack album was nominated for “Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a TV Special” (though Car Wash would win).

 

 

Town Cryer” by Scott Key

peaked at #110 on July 4, 1976 [Pyramid]

  • Bicentennial-themed break-in record.
  • Boston’s WBZ (unsurprisingly, perhaps) gave this 45 some radio play, as reported in Billboard.
  • #103 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (May 29, 1976).
  • #115 on Record World‘s “Singles Chart – 101 to 150” (June 26, 1976).

 

Psychoticbumpschool” by Bootsy’s Rubber Band

peaked at #104 on December 25, 1976 [Warner Bros.]

  • “Psychoticbumpschool” (from Bootsy’s debut album for Warner Brothers) was written by Bootsy Collins, Phelps Collins, Bernie Worrell, and George Clinton.
  • Recommended by Billboard in its December 4, 1976 edition.
  • “Psychoticbumpschool” was one of Record World‘s “Single Picks” in their December 4, 1976 edition:  “The Parliamentfunkadelicrubberband strikes again with their left field approach to funk.  ‘Casper‘ and company offer a complete education in three minutes.”
  • When this 45 was released in the UK, according to 45Cat’s My Friend Jack — “Five weeks on the Breakers list from 30 Jul 1977, peaking in 1st place.”  By way of clarification, UK publication Record Mirror began publishing their own “Bubbling Under” list in 1966 to augment their Top 50 chart that soon became known as “The Breakers” (i.e., 10 to 15 records for the singles chart which had not made the top 50 that week, but were poised to reach the big chart the next week ranked in sales order i.e. as if they occupied positions 51 to 64).

 

“Bubbling Under” Trivia

According to Joel Whitburn —

American soul singer Ray Charles holds the record for having the most “bubblers” ever under a consistent artist credit, charting 14 of them from 1963 to 1993.  [source]

One quirky bit of chart synchronicity:  same song, consecutive listings

02/19/1966 | 134 | Ray Charles Singers –•– One Of Those Songs (Command 4079)
02/19/1966 | 135 | Jimmy Durante –•– One Of Those Songs (Warner 5686)

 

Primary source for Billboard “Bubbling Under” chart info:   Top40Weekly.com

US Hot 100 Bubbling Under

Friendly Reminder:  Zero to 180 best viewed on a big screen – not smart phone

Quirky 45s That “Bubbled Under” 1959-1976 (pt. 1)

It’s almost impossible to fathom now, but at one time in the United States, tiny “indie” labels could actually get their records played on the radio.  This period was a narrow window of time, as predictably (and inevitably), the major labels would consolidate their hold on the marketplace by effectively shutting out indies from commercial radio playlists by the early-to-mid 1970s (and sometimes, as shown below, by purchasing the masters of songs that were proving “hot”).

Billboard‘s “Bubbling Under” chart, which began in 1959 during rock ‘n’ roll’s initial wave, I have discovered to be a fairly fertile vein of offbeat and undersung recordings that once tickled the ears of a relative few for but a brief period of time.  A huge tip of the hat to Top40Weekly.com, who labored mightily to make this information readily available.

Zero to 180, as a public service, has scrutinized these less-remembered tracks to identify some of the more curious 45s worthy of rediscovery.   This extended playlist includes a few major labels, as well as a handful of “name” artists, but otherwise is a “pop underground” of 45 tracks for whom classic oldies radio, alas, has no use.  These specially-selected tracks from 1959-1976 serve as a tribute to the scrappy independent labels who had hoped to hit it big during a time in the early rock ‘n’ roll era when the radio airwaves were more of a meritocracy.  This piece is also a(n) historical reminder of how regional radio once was before programming decisions essentially became the province of some guy in the “central office.”

“Bubbling Under” — sounds like a fun concept for a radio program(me), right?

Patience:  Allow several minutes of loading time for these 100+ audio clips.

Little Bitty Johnny” by Travis & Bob 

peaked at #114 on July 13, 1959 [Sandy]

  • Follow-up to the duo’s ace debut 45 “Tell Her No” on Mobile-based label, Sandy.

 

Roulette” by Russ Conway

peaked at #106 on August 3, 1959 [Cub]

  • The person who uploaded this audio clip on YouTube has this to say — “Composed by Russ, the single has more POKE than the album version.  For my money, it’s Russ’ BEST up-tempo piece.  But how DID he get a piano to SOUND like this?  Many others tried, but none succeeded.”

 

Baghdad Rock” by The Sheiks

peaked at #111 on December 14, 1959 [MGM/Trine]

 

Clap Your Hands (Pt. 1)” by The Wheels with The Teddy Vann Chorus & Orchestra

peaked at #102 on January 4, 1960 [Folly]

  • “Clap Your Hands” also peaked at #79 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles the week ending February 20, 1960.
  • This 45 appears to be the entire catalog of Folly Records — ironic?

 

The Scandanavian Shuffle” by The Swe-Danes

peaked at #101 on February 22, 1960 [Warner Bros.]

  • According to Discogs — “The Swe-Danes were a vocalese trio that were active from 1958 until 1961, consisting of Swedish singer Alice Babs and two Danes, violinist Svend Asmussen and guitarist Ulrik Neumann.”

Denmark 45                                               Germany 45

 

The Wind” by The Diablos Featuring Norman Strong

peaked at #114 on June 27, 1960 [Fortune]

  • This 1954 recording (almost) back on the charts, no doubt, as a result of a cover version by The Jesters released that same year.
  • According to Discogs, most recordings for the Detroit-based Fortune label were recorded at the in-house Fortune Recording Studio.

 

If The World Don’t End Tomorrow (I’m Comin’ After You)” by Doug Warren and the Rays

peaked at #107 on July 11, 1960 [Image]

 

Itchin’” [B-side] by Jimmy Jones

peaked at #106 on October 3, 1960 [Cub]

 

The Jazz in You” by Gloria Lynne

peaked at #109 on January 30, 1961 [Everest]

  • “The Jazz in You” was a “Top Market Breakout” hit in the Los Angeles market, according to Billboard‘s February 6, 1961 edition.

 

Banned in Boston” by Merv Griffin

peaked at #101 on February 27, 1961 [Carlton]

 

Bounty Hunter” by The Nomads

peaked at #116 on March 23, 1961 [Rust]

 

Sucu Sucu” by Ping Ping with Al Verlane’s Orchestra

peaked at #103 on May 1, 1961 [Kapp]

 

Hey You, What Are You, Some Kind of Nut?” by Andy Cory

peaked at #121 on May 1, 1961 [Silver Bid]

  • Andy Cory’s recorded output — two singles — would include a 45 for King Records the following year, about which Discogs provides this bit of background info:  “Oddball hootenanny-style telling of historical vignettes, not in a comic vein.  Andy Cory is best known for his earlier novelty, ‘Hey, What Are You, Some Kind Of Nut?’  Totally left-field release for King.”

 

Abdul’s Party” by Larry Verne

peaked at #113 on May 8, 1961 [Era]

  • A “Spotlight Winner of the Week” in the March 27, 1961 edition of Billboard who described the track as “an amusing novelty number with musical background by the lad who had a hit with ‘Mister Custer‘ a while back.”

 

Bacardi” by Ralph Marterie

peaked at #115 on May 22, 1961 [United Artists]

  • The fluke hit of “Tequila” inspired a host of alcohol-themed instrumentals in its wake, including the more generic “Cerveza” (‘Boots Brown’ a.k.a., Shorty Rogers) as well as the brand-specific “Bacardi” and “Seagrams” (from the previous year).
  • As previously noted, 1960’s “Seagrams” by The Viceroys was issued on Bethlehem, a subsidiary label of King.  Unfortunately, the Seagrams Corporation didn’t take kindly to the appropriation of its name and threatened to sue for trademark infringement, with some stations refusing to play a song named for a commercial product without being paid for advertising time.  A sheepish notice in Billboard on March 23, 1960, said, “We Goofed!” and explained that “Seagrams” was now changed to “Seagreen.”
  • Oddly, not only did Ralph Marterie experience no blowback for trademark infringement, Billboard‘s May 8, 1961 edition awarded “Bacardi” three stars (i.e., moderate sales potential) and had only good things to say [“Latin-style instrumental, blues-derived.  Very danceable and good listening, too.  Worth strong exposure.”] in its review.

 

The Presidential Peace Conference (Pts. 1&2)” by The Sickniks

peaked at #105 on June 26, 1961 [Amy]

 

Song of the Nairobi Trio” by The Fortune Tellers

peaked at #114 on September 25, 1961 [Music Makers]

 

Berlin Top Ten” by Dickie Goodman

peaked at #116 on October 23, 1961 [Rori]

 

The Roach” by Gene and Wendell with The Sweethearts

peaked at #117 on October 30, 1961 [Ray Star]

  • “The Roach” also hit the #14 spot on Billboard‘s R&B Chart on January 6, 1962.

Dance steps below — be sure to “kill that roach”

 

She Put the Hurt on Me” by Prince La La

peaked at #119 on October 20, 1961 [AFO]

  • Prince La La backed by the A.F.O. Studio Combo, as noted on the label.
  • Song also reached the #28 spot on Billboard‘s R&B Chart on Oct. 16, 1961.
  • In the mid 1960s, Foster MacKenzie III (a.k.a. Root Boy Slim) formed a band while attending Yale University that went by the name Prince La La, Percy Uptight and the Midnight Creepers.

 

Colinda” by Rod Bernard

peaked at #102 on March 24, 1962 [Hallway]

  • Rod Bernard of Opelousas, Louisiana — subject of an early Zero to 180 piece about the “Cajun Interstate” (i.e., the Atchafalaya Expressway) on Interstate 10.

 

Na Ne No” by Troy Shondell

peaked at #107 on June 2, 1962 [LIberty]

  • Produced, arranged, and conducted by Phil Spector — one 45Cat contributor asks, “Do we know officially who the background girl singers are?  Darlene Love has to be in there somewhere.”
  • Billboard‘s June 9, 1962 edition reports “Na Ne No” as a regional breakout hit in Chicago and Detroit.
  • Billboard‘s review from the April 21, 1962 edition — “Catchy nonsense-type novelty-rocker is sung with good humor and infectious tempo by Shondell and fem chorus.  Teen appeal side.”

 

How’s My Ex Treating You” by Jerry Lee Lewis

peaked at #114 on September 22, 1962 [Sun]

  • Recording is notable for the baritone “fuzz” guitar intro.
  • Billboard‘s review from the July 21, 1962 edition — “This moving treatment by Jerry Lee Lewis of a country weeper, which features his exciting piano work, could turn into his best record in over a year.  It spots a mighty good vocal performance by the singer on a strong lyric and the wild pianoing is there too.”

 

Big Noise From Winnetka (Pt. 1)” by Cozy Cole

peaked at #121 on January 26, 1963 [Coral]

  • Billboard‘s review from the November 10, 1962 edition — “The first side here is a great reading of the oldie in up-to-date terms.  The side is reminiscent of a big one for Cole some time back, ‘Topsy [Pt. 2].’  There’s much drum beating and torrid whistling.”

1963 EP — France

 

Half Time” by The Routers

peaked at #115 on February 16, 1963

  • Arranged by Rene Hall — issued as B-side of “Sting Ray.”
  • One 45Cat contributor remembers, “I thought that “Half Time” was the A side of this record.  That is the side that I remember was plugged on Radio Luxembourg in 1963.”

1963 EP – France

 

Tore Up (Over You)” by Harmonica Fats

peaked at #103 on March 23, 1963 [Skylar]

 

From Me to You” by The Beatles

peaked at #116 on August 3, 1963 [Vee Jay]

  • Vee Jay, prior to Motown, was the most successful black-owned record company – and the first American company to sign The Beatles.
  • According to this NRP profile of Vee Jay Records, in one month alone in early 1964, the label sold 2.6 million Beatles singles.
  • Link to Seymour Stein King Records history piece that contains (1) bonus Beatles trivia about earliest US 45s being issued on indie labels when Capitol (EMI’s American subsidiary label) passed on The Beatles’ first four singles, and (2) the strange-but-true story behind Stein’s seed money for launching Sire Records (pssst, it has something to do with The Beatles).

 

The Sound of Surf” by Percy Faith Orchestra

peaked at #111 on September 21, 1963  [Columbia]

  • “The Sound of Surf” is a 45-only non-LP track that eventually appeared on CD.
  • Song picked by Billboard as a “Pop Spotlight” winner in the August 17, 1963 edition accompanied by these words of praise:  “Here’s a mighty catchy Percy Faith instrumental, with surf and wind-swept chorus, big fiddle effects and insistent surf beat.  Melodic side could catch much across-the-board play and sale.”

 

Hootenanny Granny” by Jim Lowe

peaked at #103 on September 21, 1963 [20th Century Fox]

  • Link to full-page promotional ad in the September 7, 1963 edition of Billboard in which Jim Lowe gives a shout out to “Music Operators:  My mother thanks you … My father thanks you … And Granny thanks you.”

 

Eefananny” by The Ardells

peaked at #109 on September 28, 1963 [Epic]

  • A “Pick of the Week” by Cash Box in its September 7, 1963 edition — “The eefin sound – a wacky vocal rhythm accompaniment style, some 100 years old – has entered the teen-market.  It’s a natural for novelty dates, as “Eefananny,” a joyful folkish cut, so engagingly demonstrates.  If the merry sound catches on,  and from where we sit it should, figure The Ardells to make the chart rounds with their version.”
  • Likewise a Billboard “Pop Spotlight” winner in the September 7, 1963 edition — “Here’s a novelty item that might go with the kiddies.  It’s a nutty side that might go with air play.  There’s another version of the side, but this one, at a bit slower tempo, can get play.”

eefin’ = a tutorial

 

Guitars, Guitars, Guitars” by Al Casey with the K-C-Ettes

peaked at #116 on October 12, 1963 [Stacy]

  • A “Pop Spotlight” pick in Billboard‘s September 21, 1963 edition — “Strong blues with the surf sound from the Chicago guitarist.  It has a solid chance with gal chorus and strong gut work.”

 

Gorilla” by The Ideals

peaked at #127 on October 12, 1963 [Cortland]

  • Billboard‘s September 28, 1963 edition shows a guy in a gorilla suit cradling Chicago disk jockey Dick Kemp — 45 alleged to have “hot sales reaction” in the Midwestern markets of Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago.
  • As noted on 45Cat, this B-side ended up being the (near) hit.

 

The Monkey Walk” by The Flares

peaked at #133 on November 9, 1963 [Press]

 

Sneaky Sue” by Patty Lace and the Pettycoats

peaked at #104 on December 28, 1963 [Kapp]

  • Listed at the #11 spot on Cash Box Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending January 18, 1964.
  • Awarded four stars in the November 23, 1963 edition of Billboard, designating “new single with sufficient commercial potential in [its] respective category to merit being stocked by dealers, one-stops and rack jobbers handling that category.”

 

The Cow” by Bill Robinson and the Quails

peaked at #103 on January 18, 1964 [American]

  • Reached the #38 position on Cash Box Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending February 8, 1964.
  • Not everyone is a fan of this 45 — as one 45Cat contributor punned, “Can’t take this seriously.  The udder side is not a lot better.”

 

The La-Dee-Da Song” by The Village Stompers

peaked at #104 on February 1, 1964 [Epic]

  • A “Pop Spotlight” winner in Billboard‘s January 25, 1964 edition — “The Stompers have everything going but the kitchen sink on this hit follow-up.  There are bossa touches, banjos, plinkin’, Dixie brass and the listener can practically hear the ole Riverboat’s paddle and hoot.”
  • B-side of “Blue Grass” — except when released in Japan.

 

Competition Coupe” by The Astronauts

peaked at #124 on February 15, 1964 [RCA]

  • A “Pop Spotlight” pick in Billboard‘s February 8, 1964 edition — “The group here has been very successful with an album, and this single is already getting some strong play.  Watch it.”

  45 — Japan                                                    45 — Germany

 

I Am the Greatest” by Cassius Clay

peaked at #113 on March 21, 1964 [Columbia]

 

Beatle Mania Blues” by The Roaches

peaked at #117 on April 11, 1964 [Crossway]

  • Cash Box, which assigns letter grades in their 45s reviews (though no lower than a C), awarded “Beatle Mania Blues” a B (“good”) in their April 24, 1964 edition.  Notes the trade journal at the top of its reviews section — “Only those records best suited for commercial use are reviewed by Cash Box.”
  • Link to other Zero to 180 stories related to Beatles Novelty Songs.

 

Yo Me Pregunto (I Ask Myself)” by The Valrays

peaked at #121 on May 9, 1964 [Parkway]

  • “Latin doo wop” is how some might describe this tuneful “throw back” 45 — the second and final recording for The Valrays.
  • Despite the Spanish language lyrics, The Valrays were actually a “white” group from New York City, as noted in the White Doo-Wop Collector music blog —  WMCA’s Top Twenty-Five for the week of April 15, 1964 (NYC metro area) shows “Yo Me Pregunto” holding down the #25 spot.

 

New York Town” by The Dixiebelles

peaked at #119 on May 16, 1964 [Sound Stage 7]

  • A “female soul group” from Memphis, Tennessee, according to Discogs, “who changed their name [from The Tonettes] when Nashville’s Sound Stage 7 wanted a black female group to record and go out for live performances to promote a studio masterminded hit ‘(Down At) Papa Joe’s‘ that had been originally released by the white vocal group Anita Kerr Singers.”
  • A “Smith-Justis Production” — i.e., produced by “Cornbread” (Bill Justis) and “Jerry” (Jerry Smith).

 

Bad News” by The Trashmen

peaked at #124 on May 16, 1964 [Garrett]

45 label — note the small print

  • 45Cat contributorNaturalE” suspects something is not quite on the up and up:  “Anyone know why this song was co-identified as ‘Church Key‘ (by The Revels) when it actually sounds closer to a version of Eddie Bertrand’s “Volcanic Action” (by The Belairs), a tune which was also covered as “Tidal Wave” (by The Challengers)?”
  • Although “Bad News” was not included on The Trashmen’s 1964 debut album, 45Cat contributorporcupine” points out that the group “did a song on their Surfin’ Bird LP called ‘Bird Bath‘ that is essentially ‘Church Key/Bad News.'”

“Arty” 45 picture sleeve — Sweden

 

Beachcomber” by The Johnny Gibson Trio

peaked at #116 on June 13, 1964 [Laurie/Twirl]

  • 45 originally issued on Detroit label, Twirl, then released on Laurie for broader reach and distribution.
  • “Beachcomber” made CKLW‘s Top 30 for two consecutive weeks in May 1964.
  • For the week ending June 13, 1964, Cash Box listed “Beachcomber” as #36 on its “Cash Box Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (seven slots behind “Jamaica Ska” by The Ska Kings).
  • Funky 16 Corners music blog – who once had an amusing “run in” with this 45 – informs us that this 45 was a Top 20 hit in Ohio and Detroit.

 

Love Me Do” by The Hollyridge Strings

peaked at #134 on July 18, 1964 [Capitol]

 

Shrimp Boats (Jamaican Ska)” by Jerry Jackson

peaked at #134 on July 25, 1964 [Columbia]

  • Newest addition to 2014 Zero to 180’s piece — “Ska in the 1960s US Market
  • 45Cat contributor “teabiscuit” observes, “this one used to be wanted on the Popcorn scene, as it shows Ska influenced tracks of old Pop standards!”

Columbia — leading up the ska charge

 

New Girl” by Accents

peaked at #128 on August 15, 1964 [m-pac!]

  • Identified by Billboard as a “Breakout Single” in AtlantaChicago,and Detroit.
  • “New Girl” was pegged by Cash Box as a “best bet” (i.e., “A”) in their record reviews from the June 20, 1964 edition — “The Accents could well jump into the national spotlight with this top-notch rhythmic multi-dance teen-angled bluesy affair about a new gal in town.  Eye it closely.”

 

Ringo for President” by The Young World Singers

peaked at #132 on August 22, 1964  [Decca]

  • Co-written by noted synthesist, Mort Garson, who was celebrated by Zero to 180 in 2018 for his mesmerizing opening/closing themes for TV’s “Untamed World.”
  • Cash Box‘ informs us in their August 8, 1964 review of this “Newcomer Pick” — “‘Ringo for President,’ which started as a promo gimmick in Cleveland by a gang of Beatles fans, could stir up a national interest with exuberant and live-wire reading by The Young World Singers.  A choice programming item for the coming campaign period.”
  • Billboard pegged this 45 as a “Hot Pop Spotlight” in its August 8, 1964 edition with a dash of humor — “Said non-citizen Starr in reply to [the military] draft, ‘I don’t believe I will have the time.’ (And it doesn’t pay enough).  Teenage version of ‘Wintergreen For President.'”

 

I Could Conquer the World” by The Shevelles

peaked at #104 on September 5, 1964 [World Artists]

  • As Billboard enthused in its review of July 25, 1964 — “Conquering sound from this British group.  Great beat coupled with groovy lyrics.”
  • “If I Were to Conquer the World” was a “Breakout Hit” in Seattle, as reported by Billboard in its October 3, 1964 edition.
  • Reached the #6 spot on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending October 10, 1964.

 

I’m Too Poor to Die” by Louisiana Red

peaked at #117 on September 12, 1964 [Glover]

  • 45 produced by Henry Glover on a label named for same — song co-written by Charles Singleton, Sid Wyche, and Henry Glover.
  • Kal Rudman, in his ‘Rhythm & Blues’ column for Billboard, identified “Too Poor to Die” approvingly as a “live down-home blues record” in the August 1, 1964 edition.
  • “Too Poor to Die” reached the #15 position on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending August 22, 1964.

 

(Say I Love You) Doo Bee Dum by The Four-Evers

peaked at #119 on September 12, 1964 [Smash]

  • The Four-Evers’ best-known hit, according to Discogs, 1964’s “Be My Girl,” fooled some into believing the group was actually The Four Seasons recording under an alias.

 

The Dog” by Junior and the Classics

peaked at #134 on September 26, 1964 [Groove]

  • This faithful cover of the Rufus Thomas hit found its way – thanks to RCA’s distribution heft – into Germany and Greece.
  • “The Dog” was tagged by Billboard on October 10, 1964 as a “Breakout Single” in Milwaukee.

WASN’T THIS STOCK PHOTO ALREADY USED FOR THE ASTRONAUTS?
Germany

 

The Invasion” by Buchanan and Greenfield

peaked at #120 on October 3, 1964 [Novel]

  • This break-in record by Buchanan (and new partner) Greenfield proved to be a “Breakout Hit” in Chicago, according to Billboard in its October 3, 1964 edition.
  • “The Invasion” allegedly was reissued in 1972.

 

Maybe the Last Time” [B-side] by James Brown and His Orchestra

peaked at #107 on October 10, 1964 [Smash]

  • A “Spotlight Single of the Week” (in the ‘Rhythm & Blues’ category) as designated by Billboard in its July 25, 1964 edition.
  • A “Breakout Single” in New York, according to Billboard‘s October 10, 1964 issue, plus “R&B National Breakout Single” as announced in Billboard‘s previous issue.
  • Also identified as a “Breakout Single” by DJs in NorfolkNashville, and Baltimore.

Picture sleeves  =  US Vs. Germany

 

Gale Winds” by Egyptian Combo

peaked at #103 on October 17, 1964 [Norman]

  • Billboard‘s October 10, 1964 issue reports in the ‘News of the World – Cincinnati’ column that “Ray Hill, veteran record promoter now working out of Cincy, has just concluded a 1,200-mile jaunt that took him to Louisville, Nashville, St. Louis and environs.  He reports success with ‘Gale Winds’ by Egyptian Combo [et al].”
  • Billboard‘s October 31, 1964 edition announces “Gale Winds” as a “Breakout Single” in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

“GALE WINDS” MADE TOP 20 ON CHICAGO’S WLS FOR WEEK OF OCT. 23, 1964
= Chart courtesy of Forgotten Hits 60s =

 

The Sloop Dance” [B-side] by The Vibrations

peaked at #109 on October 31, 1964 [Okeh]

Check out the purple promo

 

Find Another Love” by The Tams

peaked at #129 on November 7, 1964 [Arlen]

  • As reported in Billboard, “Find Another Love” was a “Record to Watch,” according to WJLB’s Ernie Durham (Detroit); WMOZ’s Ruben Hughes (Mobile); WSID’s Paul ‘Fat Daddy’ Johnson (Baltimore) & WUST’s Al Bell (Washington, DC).
  • “Find Another Love” was first issued on Philadelphia-based Arlen (1963) and then reissued by General American (1964) and King (1965).
  • In 1980, Gusto – who owns the King catalog – reissued “Find Another Love” (albeit as a B-side) with the specious claim that the recording was “originally produced by King Records” while misspelling “Cincinnatti” to boot!

Can you spot the two errors on this 45 label?

 

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Nina Simone

peaked at #131 on December 5, 1964 [Philips]

“DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD” —
INCLUDED ON THIS 1967 EP FROM IRAN

 

Popping Popcorn” by Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez

peaked at #132 on January 2, 1965 [Okeh]

  • Says Billboard in their December 5, 1964 review — “Exciting driving beat combining rock and gospel.  Should be able to pop real big commercially.”
  • Cash Box‘s review in their December 5, 1964 review — “‘The Happy Organ’ man Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez joins the Okeh roster with this new outing and chances are he’ll make an impressive initial showing.  Side to watch is the exciting hand-clapping thumper, ‘Popping Popcorn,’ that sports some vocal comments along the way.  Great teen hop item.”

 

What a Shame” by The Rolling Stones

peaked at #124 on January 30, 1965 [London]

  • 45Cat contributor On the Flip Side asks, “So what’s the story with the very rare [picture sleeve]?  Obviously few of them printed.  Only a segment of promos, or how the hell did they determine the number of sleeves run?”
  • Sure enough, if you search Popsike, you will find that people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for an original picture sleeve, with one person forking over $810 in 2018 after a 52-bid volley.
  • Also, what’s up with the Jagger-Richard songwriting credits on the 45 label?

 

Terry” by Twinkle

peaked at #110 on January 23, 1965 [Tollie]

  • Tollie (the VeeJay subsidiary label that issued The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” 45 in the US and credited the A & B sides as being written by “McCartney-Lennon“) apologizes for this release on the cover of the picture sleeve.

 

Do-Do Do Bah-Ah” by Bert Keyes Orchestra & Chorus

peaked at #132 on January 30, 1965 [Clock]

 

Don’t Answer the Door (Pts. 1&2)” by Jimmy Johnson Band with Hank Alexander

peaked at #128 on February 13,1965 [Magnum]

  • “Don’t Answer the Door” – covered by B.B. King (1966) & Lonnie Brooks (1979) – was a #16 R&B hit for Jimmy Johnson, as well as a #2 R&B hit for B.B. King the following year.

 

Banana Juice” by The Mar-Keys

peaked at #121 on April 3, 1965 [Stax]

  • In Billboard‘s April 3, 1965 edition, the word out of Memphis was that “The Mark-Kays [sic], whose new single ‘Banana Juice’ is climbing, has a European tour a-working, says Ray Brown of National Artists Attractions.”  Cash Box reported the same news in their “Record Ramblings” section of the April 24, 1964 edition.

 

Tiger-A-Go-Go” by Buzz and Bucky

peaked at #107 on May 1, 1965 [Amy]

  • Jan & Dean-style surf track with the unexpected lyric, “We met a California hippy who said come along with me now.”
  • 45Cat contributors note other pre-1967 uses of the word “hippy” in popular song meaning simply a “hip” person (e.g., 1963’s “South Street” by The Orlons or even Benny Golson in his spoken-word intro to 1959’s “Killer Joe” by The Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet).

 

The Girl From Greenwich Village” by The Trade Winds

peaked at #129 on May 1, 1965 [Red Bird]

  • Billboard had high hopes for this 45 in their Singles Reviews Spotlights, “Hot follow up to their ‘New York’s a Lonely Town’ success is a fast-paced rocker with hit written all over it.”

45 picture sleeve – Netherlands

 

Last Exit to Brooklyn by The Scott Bedford Four

peaked at #129 on May 8, 1965 [Joy]

  • Cash Box likewise had high hopes for this 45 in their “Newcomer Picks” review — “The Scott Bedford Four can rapidly make national names for themselves with this ultra-commercial Joy item called ‘Last Exit To Brooklyn.’  The tune is a rollicking hand-clapper all about a subway-riding Lothario with an infectious repeating rhythmic riff.”
  • Heavy question posed by the B-side: “Now I’m At The Top (How Do I Stay Here)”

 

It Hurts Me Too” by Elmore James

peaked at #106 on May 22, 1965 [Enjoy]

  • Wiki:  “When released in 1965, two years after James’ death, “It Hurts Me Too” spent eight weeks in the R&B chart, where it reached No. 25.  The song also appeared in the Billboard Pop chart at No. 106, which was James’ only single to do so.”

 

Nau Ninny Nau” by Cannibal and the Headhunters

peaked at #133 on June 26, 1965 [Rampart]

  • Billboard‘s June 12, 1965 review notes — “‘The Land of 1000 Dances‘ group is back with a stronger piece of catchy dance material.  Well produced and performed novelty.”
  • #49 on June 19, 1965’s “Cash Box Singles – Looking Ahead” chart, which I now understand to mean “a compilation, in order of strength, of up and coming records showing signs of breaking into The Cash Box Top 100.”

 

Happy Feet Time” by The Monclairs

peaked at #108 on July 10, 1965 [Sunburst]

1966 single – France

 

Unwind the Twine” by Alvin Cash & the Crawlers

peaked at #134 on July 24, 1965 [Mar-V-Lus]

  • Alvin Cash (of “Twine Time” fame) and the Crawlers breathe new life into the Twine thing.
  • KGFJ’s Al Scott in Los Angeles (one of the “Top R&B Jockeys”) pegged this song as a Pick-of-the-Week in Billboard‘s July 24, 1965 edition.

 

Whittier Boulevard” by Thee Midnighters

peaked at #127 on September 4, 1965 [Chattahoochee]

 

Sea Cruise” by The Hondells

peaked at #131 on October 16, 1965 [Mercury]

 

The Last Thing On My Mind” by The Vejtables

peaked at #117 on November 27, 1965 [Autumn]

  • Produced by Marty Cooper (of “Hamburger Patti” fame).
  • Says Cash Box in their review published in the November 13, 1965 edition — “The folk-rock field has been greatly enhanced by this fine group, which had a recent noise-maker, ‘I Still Love You.’  Top end here, ‘The Last Thing On My Mind,’ should put the team into deeper chart territory.  It’s infectious with a catch-on-quickly manner.”
  • “Last Thing on My Mind” was a “Breakout Single” in San Francisco, according to Billboard in their November 27, 1965 edition.

1965 French EP sold for £184 ($207) in 2016

 

Party People” by Ray Stevens

peaked at #130 on December 18, 1965 [Monument]

  • “Party People” is a 45-only track (that would later be issued on compact disc) on Stevens’ first single for Monument after leaving Mercury.
  • Says Billboard , who predicted the A-side to reach the Top 60, “Well-written lyric material from the pen of Joe South serves as a pop, driving production number that should spiral Stevens rapidly up the chart.”

 

“(You GotThe Gamma Goochee” [B-side] by The Kingsmen

peaked at #122 on December 25, 1965 [Wand]

  • Billboard‘s review confirms that “Gamma Goochie” was the flip side — and yet obviously considered the A-side when released in Europe.

German 45                                         French EP

 

A Beginning From an End” [B-side] by Jan and Dean

peaked at #109 on January 1, 1966 [Liberty]

 

Where Did She Go” by Steff

peaked at #124 on January 22, 1966 [Epic]

  • According to Discogs, Steff is a “German singer, born on December 27, 1943 in China.  Later he worked and lived in France, Germany and since the 60’s in Switzerland.  He also runs his own studio and worked as an engineer and producer in between his singing career” — link to his website.

 

You Bring Me Down” by The Royalettes

peaked at #116 on February 5, 1966 [MGM]

picture sleeve for the US market

 

Ever See A Diver Kiss His Wife While The Bubbles Bounce About Above the Water” by Shirley Ellis

peaked at #135 on February 5, 1966 [Congress]

 

That’s Part of the Game” by The Daytrippers

peaked at #129 on February 26, 1966 [Karate]

  • Cash Box‘s review in their February 12, 1966 edition is optimistic — “The A-side is a hard-driving rhythmic teen-angled ode which advises a Live-and-Let-Live attitude in romantic situations.”

 

Don’t Push Me” by Hedgehoppers Anonymous

peaked at #110 on March 19, 1966 [Parrot]

  • UK beat group who, according to Discogs, “formed in November 1963 as The Trendsetters, and became The Hedgehoppers the following year.  Jonathan King took over their record production in 1965, and added “Anonymous” to their name when they said they were popular in Peterborough, and did not want to change their name completely.”

 

Daddy’s Baby” by Ted Taylor

peaked at #129 on March 26, 1966 [Okeh]

  • “Daddy’s Baby” was a “Regional Breakout Single” in Baltimore, as reported in Billboard‘s October 22, 1966 edition.

Cash Box review thanks to 45Cat’s david gordon

 

I’m a Good Guy” by The C.O.D.’s

peaked at #128 on April 2, 1966 [Kellmac]

  • Designated as an “Up and Coming Single” in Record World‘s April 30, 1966 edition — distributed by One-Derful Records.

 

I Lie Awake” by The New Colony Six

peaked at #111 on April 16, 1966 [Centaur]

 

It Ain’t Necessary” by Mamie Galore

peaked at #132 on April 23, 1966 [St. Lawrence]

 

I’ve Got a Secret” by The Sharpees

peaked at #133 on May 7, 1966 [One-derful!]

  • Record World‘s review in their April 30 edition — “Ballad is in R&B groove, but a strong, strong bet for plenty of pop play.  Very sharp.”
  • Cash Box‘s review — “The Sharpees let loose with a generous portion of R&B wailing on this lid.  Spicing the side with a contagious jerk-tempo rhythm, the group could do well among teen buyers.”

 

Wigglin’ and Gigglin’” by Roy Head

peaked at #110 on May 21, 1966 [Back Beat]

  • “Wigglin’ and Gigglin'” made the Top 40 on Houston’s KYOK AM during the week of May 12, 1966.
  • This Billboard ad for Don Robey’s Duke and Backbeat Records playfully emphasizes the “freshness” of this latest Roy Head recording — “First fresh cut record since ‘Treat Her Right.’  All later releases on Roy Head were old “off the shelf.”  This if fresh from the studio.  Acclaimed by many to become a “Top 10″ picked before it was released …”
  • Listed at the #15 spot on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending July 2, 1966.

 

A Street That Rhymes at Six A.M.” by Norma Tanega

peaked at #129 on May 21, 1966 [New Voice]

  • Norma Tanega perhaps better known for “Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog” also from 1966.
  • “Street That Rhymes at Six A.M.” — arranged, produced & conducted by Herb Bernstein for Bob Crewe Productions — was released in the US, Canada, and South Africa.
  • Predicted to reach the Top 60, Billboard writes in its review — “Off-beat lyric ballad penned by Miss Tanega that swings in the same vein as ‘Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog.'”
  • Virgo issued “Walkin’ My Cat” b/w “Street That Rhymes” in 1972 (and rightly so).

 

What’s A Nice Kid Like You Doing In A Place Like This?” by Scatman Crothers

peaked at #129 on May 21, 1966 [HBR]

  • Released on Hanna Barbera’s own record label, primary reason being that the recording comes from the Hanna-Barbera TV special “(The New) Alice in Wonderland, or, What’s a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?”

 

I Feel Good” by The Sheep

peaked at #130 on May 28, 1966 [Boom]

  • The Sheep are a songwriting and production team — Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer (i.e, soon to be Seymour Stein’s Sire partner) — who had previously musically incarnated as The Strangeloves (pretending to be Australian brothers), best known for “I Want Candy.”
  • Billboard, who predicted this song to reach the Top 60, offered this critique — “Pulsating dance beat rocker aimed at the teen market should equal their initial disk click [i.e., debut 45 ‘Hide and Seek‘].”

 

It’s You Alone” by The Wailers

peaked at #118 on June 11, 1966 [United Artists/Etiquette]

  • YouTube clip above includes historic images of the legendary “Galloping Gertie,” the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge that met a watery doom in the fall of 1940.
  • The “It’s You Alone” 45 appears to have initially released on Etiquette and then picked up by United Artists for national distribution.
  • A-side hits Top 5 in Seattle, as reported by Billboard in its May 7, 1966 edition — also a “Regional Breakout” hit in the San Francisco area.

 

Sock It To ’em J.B. (Pt. 1)” by Rex Marvin and the Mighty Cravers

peaked at #110 on June 25, 1966 [Like]

  • Song title and concept works on two levels, in that “J.B.” = James Brown and James Bond.
  • Billboard was initially optimistic about this 45’s prospects in its review — “Unique, blues-tinged rocker with excellent sax backing could prove a big one.  Disk [label] is distributed by Atlantic.”
  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Pittsburgh and Atlanta, according to Billboard.

 

Look at Me Girl” by The Playboys of Edinburg

peaked at #108 on July 16, 1966 [Columbia]

  • Single appears to have been released on McAllen, Texas-based label, Pharaoh, then picked up by Columbia for wider distribution.
  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Houston, so says Billboard, whose review in the July 2, 1966 edition enthuses — “Exciting debut for the American group with the British sound.  High-pitched, well-blended vocal and teen dance combined for a chart-busting number.”

 

El Pito” by Joe Cuba Sextet

peaked at #115 on August 6, 1966 [Tico]

  • ‘El Pito’ Makes the Chart — Thanks to R&B Stations,” reports Billboard in its August 13, 1966 edition:  “The Latin American-flavored r&b record by Joe Cuba has received heavy airplay in New York on r&b and jazz radio stations.  ‘We’ve sold 70,000 in New York alone, said Red Schwartz, national promotion chief of Roulette Records and its Tico subsidiary.  George Wilson, program director of WHAT, in Philadelphia, heard it being played on a visit here.  He telephoned me from Philadephia saying he’d make it a pick of the week if I’d send him some copies to play.  I sent him a couple of copies and band, the record spread like wildfire.”

Cash Box ad from July 1966 – courtesy 45Cat

 

She Ain’t Lovin’ You” by The Distant Cousins

peaked at #102 on August 27, 1966 [Date]

  • Arranged & conducted by Herb Bernstein for Bob Crewe, the song’s co-composer, with The Distant Cousins — Larry Brown (from Milledgeville, Georgia) and Raymond Bloodworth (from Newark, NJ) — who met while serving with the US Army Signal Corps at training school where, Billboard informs us, they were assigned alphabetically.
  • Billboard reported on August 27, 1966 that The Distant Cousins are “on promotional tour in Pittsburgh and Cleveland where the disc is way out front!”

 

Love’s Gone Bad” by Chris Clark

peaked at #105 on October 1, 1966 [V.I.P.]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in St. Louis, according to Billboard, from Chris Clark, one of Motown’s lesser-known “blue-eyed” recording artists.
  • “Love’s Gone Bad,” notes Cash Box, is “making inroads in several important Canadian centres and is shaping up through exposure on CKLG, Vancouver.”
  • According to Discogs, “Clark became famous in England as the ‘white Negress’ (a nickname meant as a compliment), since she toured with fellow Motown artists.”

Someone paid €571 in 2014 for this 1967 French EP

 

The Willy” by The Willies

peaked at #113 on October 8, 1966 [Co & Ce]

  • This 45 appears to have been released by Hollywood indie Blue River (where it was the B-side) before getting a 2nd release in September on Pittsburgh-based Co & Ce (where it was the A-side) for East Coast distribution.
  • Just squeaked onto Cash Box‘s Top 100 Chart at #95 on November 19, 1966.
  • Classic 45s declares, “Terrific bubblegum silliness on the A side.”

 

Love Is a Bird” by The Knickerbockers

peaked at #133 on October 22, 1966 [Challenge]

  • Beautiful effect on the guitar during the bridge the gives a sitar-like sound.
  • “You’re gonna get hurt if you try to cage it, you’ll just enrage it” (love is a bird, you know).
  • Billboard notes in its October 8, 1966 review — “Back in the groove of ‘Lies,’ the group should have no trouble shooting up the chart with this swinger.”

 

She Digs My Love” by The Sir Douglas Quintet

peaked at #132 on October 29, 1966 [Tribe]

 

Hymn #5” by The Mighty Hannibal

peaked at #115 on November 19, 1966 [Josie]

  • Originally released on Atlanta’s Shurfine (soul label founded by Wendell Parker) — single then got picked up by Josie (subsidiary of Jubilee) for national distribution.
  • Light in the Attic points out that “this commentary on the effects of the Vietnam War on servicemen” was The Mighty Hannibal’s biggest hit, despite the fact that it was “banned on radio.”

 

Bears” by The Fastest Group Alive

peaked at #133 on November 26, 1966

  • According to Psychedelicized.com, “There isn’t very much known about the Fastest Group Alive.  The band had a regional hit in the Northwest USA with ‘The Bears’ in 1966.  The Fastest Group Alive consisted of Jeff Thomas, Daniel Moore, Matthew Moore, and James Flemming Rasmussen.  The band recorded two singles for the Valiant label.”
  • Original 45 released on Seattle-based Teem label, before the masters were purchased by Valiant, as reported in Billboard.

 

I’m Your Bread Maker, Baby” by Slim Harpo

peaked at #116 on December 1, 1966 [Excello]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Milwaukee, as reported by Billboard., who predicted the song to go Top 10 R&B in their review — “This wild, wailing number is a topper for ‘Baby, Scratch My Back‘ and should meet with a fast sales impact.  Much pop potential as well.”

 

Smashed! Blocked!” by John’s Children

peaked at #102 on December 1, 1966 [While Whale]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Los Angeles, as reported by Billboard.

Chart courtesy of So Many Records, So Little Time

 

Plain Jane” by B.J. Thomas

peaked at #129 on December 17, 1966 [Scepter]

 

Grits ‘n’ Corn Bread” by The Soul Runners

peaked at #103 on January 14, 1967 [MoSoul]

  • “Grits ‘n’ Corn Bread” — featured in Zero to 180’s musical salute to grits.
  • The Soul Runners 45s changed their name to The Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band in 1967.

The band’s only non-US release = Netherlands

 

 

Life Is Groovy” by United States Double Quartet = The Tokens & Kirby Stone Four

peaked at #110 on January 28, 1967 [B.T. Puppy]

  • Two quartets — The Tokens and The Kirby Stone Four — for the price of one.
  • This song ranked 23rd in Billboard‘s Top 40 of the “best selling middle-of-the-road singles” for the week of February 11, 1967.

 

Ballad of Walter Wart” by The Thorndike Pickledish Choir

peaked at #131 on February 4, 1967 [MTA]

  • “Thorndike Pickledish” is the alter ego of Seattle disk jockey, Robert O. Smith, who says “the record was responsible for me coming to the attention of the KJR (Seattle) management and was, in part, responsible for my moving from KMBY in Monterey.”
  • “Ballad of Walter Wart” was a “Breakout Regional Single” in Seattle, as well as the Twin Cities area.

Can you spot the typo?

 

Rain Rain Go Away” by Lee Dorsey

peaked at #105 on February 4, 1967 [Amy]

  • 45-only track by Allan Toussaint that would be included later on Sundazed’s CD reissue of 1966’s Working in the Coalmine — Holy Cow album.
  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Baltimore, as reported by Billboard, who predicted this song to reach the Top 60 in its review — “Right in the groove of his “Holy Cow” and “Coal Mine” hits is this pulsating rhythm rocker, which should bring Dorsey back onto the Hot 100 in a hurry.”

1967 EP – France

 

What’s That Got to Do With Me” by Jim and Jean

peaked at #123 on March 18, 1967 [Verve]

According to Vancouver Signature Sounds” —

  • Jim & Jean were a folk duo composed of Jim Glover, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, born in 1942, and New Yorker, Jean Ray, who was born in  1941.
  • Glover, while attending Ohio State University, met Phil Ochs, who would write the liner notes for the duo’s debut album.
  • After their second album, Jim & Jean released what, at the time, was a non-album single titled “Whats’ That Got To Do With Me.”
  • “What’s That Got To Do With Me” peaked in the Top 30 in San Jose, San Francisco, San Bernardino and Seattle, while making the Top 20 in Santa Rosa (#16), San Diego (#15) and Vancouver (#11).  Its best chart run was in Madison, Wisconsin, where the song reached #7.

Update:  Sly & the Family Stone recorded a version in July 1967 during sessions for their debut album that finally saw release in 2013.

 

Go Go Radio Moscow” by Nikita the K And the Friends of Ed Labunski

peaked at #105 on March 25, 1967 [Warner Bros.]

 

California On My Mind” by The Coastliners

peaked at #115 on April 8, 1967 [D.E.A.R.]

  • Note the far-out phasing used for effect in the chorus.
  • Says Cash Box in its review — “Spirited, rhythmic melody-rocker could do good things for the Coastliners.  Chart material.”

 

Double Yellow Line” by The Music Machine

peaked at #111 on May 13, 1967 [Original Sound]

  • Says Billboard in its review — “Smooth rocker with groovy organ work and wailing vocal workout will have no trouble spiraling the ‘Talk Talk‘ group back up the charts.”

 

Four Walls (Three Windows and Two Doors)” by J.J. Jackson

peaked at #123 on July 15, 1967 [Calla]

  • “Four Walls” peaked at #17 on Billboard‘s R&B Chart.
  • #82 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending July 29, 1967.

 

Sally Sayin’ Somethin’” by Billy Harner

peaked at #118 on August 19, 1967 [Kama Sutra]

  • Delaware Liberal awarded this track “Song of the Day” last September and provided some historical background:  “If you didn’t live in the Philadelphia area, you might not know this Northern Soul classic, but it was all over WIBG in the summer of ’67.  It also charted in New York and LA, but failed to break out nationally.  It probably didn’t help that Harner was such a big draw at the Jersey Shore that he didn’t have to tour outside the region (he was the last headliner at Atlantic City’s Steel Pier).”

 

Heavy Music (Pt. 1)” by Bob Seger & the Last Heard 

peaked at #103 on September 9, 1967 [Cameo]Bu

  • #84 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending September 16, 1967.

 

As Long As You’re Here” by Zalman Yanovsky

peaked at #101 on October 7, 1967 [Buddah]

  • Concluding images of this bizarro video for “As Long As You’re Here” (by the lead guitarist for The Lovin’ Spoonful) include historic footage of the legendary “Galloping Gertie,” the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge that met a watery doom in the fall of 1940.
  • Bet you won’t flinch when I inform you that the B-side is merely the A-side played backwards (a topic that has been addressed in several prior posts).

 

Hunk of Funk” by Gene Dozier and the Brotherhood

peaked at #121 on October 7, 1967 [Minit]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in the Washington, DC area, as reported by Billboard.
  • #46 position in Billboard‘s Top Selling R&B Singles Chart for the week ending October 28, 1967.

 

Sand” [B-side] by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood

peaked at #107 on October 28, 1967 [Reprise]

  • Written & produced by Lee Hazlewood and arranged by Billy Strange, “Sand” — the B-side for “Lady Bird” — includes a backwards guitar break.
  • Top 10 hit in Thailand, as reported by Billboard in their December 2, 1967 edition.

Art nouveau picture sleeve – Netherlands

 

I Want Some More” by Jon and Robin and the In Crowd

peaked at #108 on November 4, 1967 [Abnak]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Nashville and Houston, as reported in Billboard.
  • Both Sides Now Publications has the back story — “Dallas, Texas-based Abnak Records was part of Abnak Music Enterprises, Inc., founded by successful Fort Worth insurance man John H. Abdnor, Sr.  His son, John Howard Abdnor, Jr., otherwise known as Jon Abnor, was a part of the duo Jon & Robin.  The elder Abdnor apparently started the label as a vehicle for his son’s musical interests, but quickly also became involved on the business end when he signed the Five Americans and he became their personal manager.

 

This Thing Called Love” by The Webs

peaked at #102 on December 2, 1967 [Pop-Side]

  • #96 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending December 23, 1967.

 

Kites Are Fun” by The Free Design

peaked at #114 on December 23, 1967 [Project 3]

  • “Kites Are Fun” — a “Regional Breakout Single” in Buffalo — reached the #34 position on Billboard‘s “Easy Listening” Top 40 Chart, as reported in the December 30, 1967 edition.
  • Uncredited as producer on “Kites Are Fun” is Enoch Light, founder and president of Project 3 Records.
  • This past February, 45Cat contributor Ort. Carlton posted this related anecdote — “One night as I was waist deep in my radio show, a stock copy of this going around on the turntable, the phone rang.  A woman was crying. “You MUST tell me who this is!  This record has enchanted me since I first heard it when I was 9 years old on WPTR in Albany, New York!”  So I told her, and informed her of the group’s website.  She messaged them, and heard back; they were deeply touched.  And so was she.  And so am I.  This record will always be very special to me because I got two widget cans of Guinness as a finder’s fee from the fine lady in question.”
  • Zero to 180 piece from 2016 — “The Free Design Have Found Love

Link to PART TWO = Quirky 45s That “Bubbled Under” 1959-1976

Birth of The JB’s @ King Records

The two-volume King Labels recording sessions discography (i.e., “the red books“) compiled by Michael Ruppli with assistance from Bill Daniels, can be frustratingly incomplete, especially with regard to musician credits.  Although this reference source is a great starting point, scholars of James Brown funk are forced to do quite a bit of digging on their own in order to piece together a more complete history.

Your ears might tell you, for instance, that William “Bootsy” Collins played bass on “Licking Stick,” a song first released as a two-part King 45 in May, 1968.

James Brown & the Famous Flames     “Licking Stick (Pt. 1)”     1968

This classic funk bass riff, you might be startled to learn, was played by future Nashville session musician, Tim Drummond — one of six musicians who accompanied Mr. Brown on a Vietnam tour that same year.  “Licking Stick” would also be issued as a single track on 1969’s Say It Loud I’m Black And I’m Proud album.

Spain & Germany — 1968                               France — 1968       

Musician credits, however, are absent on the original gatefold LP release — a common occurrence with King.  This kind of information would not become more widely known until decades later, when these recordings were reissued on compact disc, with some of the better anthologies including detailed liner notes.

Say It Loud‘s barren back cover, information-wise

Bootsy first appears in Ruppli’s King Records discography — along with his brother Phelps “Catfish” Collins — as part of the studio backing band on an undated 1969 session (possibly July) for Hank Ballard‘s “Butter Your Popcorn:

“Butter Your Popcorn”     Hank Ballard     1969

According to Ruppli’s session notes —

Hank Ballard:  Vocals
Don Martin:  Drums
William Collins:  Bass
Phelps Collins:  Guitar
Clayton Garnell:  Piano
Robert McCallum:  Tenor Sax

“Butter Your Popcorn” was originally released as a 45 track only and not included on Ballard’s You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down LP released the previous year.  Subsequent reissue in the UK in 2008 would see the song included as a bonus track.  “Butter Your Popcorn” can also be found on Ace UK’s seminal anthology, King Funk.

“Butter Your Popcorn” test pressing

Sold at auction for $72 in 2012

 

What Ruppli doesn’t tell you, however, is that Bootsy, Catfish and the other members of The Pacesetters* had been enlisted earlier to back Bill Doggett on what would be the A-side of a King 45 – “Honky Tonk Popcorn” – recorded on June 4, 1969 at (what is assumed to be) Cincinnati’s King Studios and released that same month:

“Honky Tonk Popcorn”     Bill Doggett     1969

As R.J. Smith writes in On the One, his biography of James Brown:

Henry Glover started hiring the band [i.e., The Pacesetters* — Frank “Kash” Waddy (drums), Phillippé Wynne (vocals), Robert “Chopper” McCullough (saxophone), and Clayton “Chicken” Gunnels & Darryl “Hasaan” Jamison (trumpet)] on sessions, including an Arthur Prysock record and Bill Doggett’s contribution to popcornography, “Honky Tonk Popcorn.”

                US — Jun 1969                          King LP – art by Dan Quest

Check out this full-page ad in the September 6, 1969 edition of Billboard placed by Starday-King on behalf of James Brown’s then-current single “World (Pts. 1 & 2)” that also name-checks five other “red hot sizzling” King 45s, including both Hank Ballard’s “Butter Your Popcorn” and Bill Doggett’s “Honky Tonk Popcorn.”

R.J. Smith’s tip (thank you!) leads me to a May 13, 1969 session at Cincinnati’s King Studios for Arthur Prysock that lists no musician credits for the four songs recorded that day, all but one included on 1969’s Where the Soul Trees Grow album produced by Henry Glover, who also wrote the title track that kicks off the LP:

“Where the Soul Trees Grow”     Arthur Prysock     1969

Is that Bootsy and other members of The Pacesetters* backing Arthur Prysock on  “Where the Soul Trees Grow“; “Soul Soliloquy” & “If I Were Young Again” [plus one unissued track “Let’s Talk Things Over“]?  “Soul Soliloquy” b/w “Soul Trees” (both, in fact, penned by Henry Glover) were released as a King single, with a promo 45 issued June 1969, according to 45Cat.  This album review from the November 22, 1969 edition of Billboard notes “Prysock’s move to the King label” and opines that this LP’s mix of “contemporary and standard songs demonstrates why he is one of the best singers around.”

Promo 45 — June 1969                                   King LP

The rest of the album, as it turns out, was recorded at another session that took place on June 16, 1969 at Cincinnati’s King Studios.  Ruppli’s session notes list 9 songs recorded that day (though no musician credits), with a re-worked uptempo “Fever” being one of the standout tracks.  Did members of The Pacesetters* play on both session dates for the Arthur Prysock album?

“Fever”     Arthur Prysock     1969

*Name Check:  Pacesetters or Pacemakers?

You will see this group of Cincinnati musicians referred to as either The Pacesetters or The Pacemakers — so which is it?  I have to go with Don Martin,  Bootsy Collins, and FrankKashWaddy who all say The Pacemakers.

Hold on a second, some funk scholars would assert — these Cincinnati musicians actually entered the picture back in 1967, thanks to songwriter (and future King A&R executive), Charles Spurling, whose “The Boy Needs a Girl” for Junior McCants was his initial connection to King Records.  Charles Waring provides the back story about Spurling, who grew up in Lincoln Heights and was part of a gang whose rivals were The Isley Brothers:

More importantly, perhaps, Spurling was allowed to cut his own records for the company, and issued five singles, of which the driving, Motown-esque “She Cried Just A Minute”—released in 1967—has achieved cult status on the UK’s Northern Soul scene.  (Original copies of the 45 can exchange hands for three hundred dollars.)  Says Spurling about the song’s inspiration: “I had this woman, and every time I wanted to make love, she said, ‘Just a minute.’  She was always putting me on hold.  So I decided to write a song about it.  That’s a true story.  She was the same girl that inspired ‘Ball Of Fire,’” as recorded by Connie Austin and Marva Whitney.

Backing up Spurling on the session was a teenage group he had discovered in Cincinnati that included bassist Bootsy Collins and his brother Catfish on guitar.  They would later become [The Pacemakers] and, in 1970, the nucleus of James Brown’s backing band, the JB’s.  “I was riding through town and I heard these guys practicing,” recollects Spurling.  “I just stopped, parked, and listened to them.  And I said to myself, ‘All these guys need is a little bit of coaching.’  So then I went in, introduced myself, and sat down and listened to them.  They was at their mother’s home.  We ended up on the road for three years.”  When Syd Nathan asked Spurling to assemble a studio house band for King, the singer-songwriter knew who to call up:  “I said, ‘Mr. Nathan, I know some guys who had been with me for three years.  We’re tight and they’ll play anything.’  He said, ‘I’ll leave it up to you because if they play like you, these guys are good.’  So then I went and found Bootsy and them.”

Spurling used another Ohio band, Dayton’s The Untouchables, on some King sessions—they later morphed into The Ohio Players—and also nurtured a white band called The Dapps, which James Brown took under his wing.

Is it true (as Chuck Da Fonk and Charlie Fishman declare) that The Pacemakers’ first session at the King Studios was when they provided musical support for Charles Spurling on “That Woman,” recorded in early November 1967 along with its flip side “Which One”?

“That Woman”     Charles Spurling     1967

Would love to know who backed Charles Spurling on this classic slice of soul, but unfortunately, the King recording session info (page 392 of Ruppli) is bereft of even a recording date, as you can see:

(Click on image to view in High Resolution)

Fortunately, drummer Don Martin was at this session, and he was able to confirm with Zero to 180 these musician credits:

Charles Spurling:  Vocals
Unknown:  Backing Vocals
Don Martin:  Drums
William Collins:  Bass
Phelps Collins:  Guitar
Artie Sherman:  Piano

Artie Sherman would later become part of Midnight Blue, a Chicago outfit that has served as backing band for Buddy Guy, Jimmy Vaughn, and Aaron Neville, according to Discogs.

Bootsy’s next entry in the Ruppli sessionography is one that somehow escaped the book’s index — an uncredited appearance that is a bit of an oddball situation.  That is, on page 427 you will find a listing for “More Mess on My Thing (Pt. 1 & 2)” by a group identified as The New Dapps but who we now know (thanks to these musician credits) to be The J.B.’s.  Ruppli indicates that a single — King 6271 — was issued, and yet, no evidence exists of any releases whatsoever by a group called The New Dapps.  Even stranger, check out this 45 Discography for King Records – 6000 Series and notice that the entry for King 6271 is a duplicate listing of its neighbor, 6272!

50 years later (this past November 29th, to be exact), “More Mess on My Thing” would finally be liberated, thanks to Now-Again Records, whose liner notes (by noted James Brown historian, Alan Leeds) indicate the recording to have been made at Cincinnati’s King Studios on July 2, 1969.  How exhilarating to hear Bootsy, through sheer determination and the ferocity of his playing, will the musicians – who initially drop out at the 4:40 mark – back into the performance (after James Brown counts the band in) for one final musical burst:

“More Mess on My Thing”     The JB’s     1969

Musician credits according to Discogs

Don JuanTigerMartin:  Drums
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Robert “ChopperMcCollough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
Ron Lenhoff:  Engineer
James Brown:  Composer (& Coach)

The remaining months of 1969 and into the first few months of the new decade would see various players occupy the bassist chair, including the aforementioned “Sweet” Charles Sherrill, as well as West Coast session musicians, Ray Brown and Bob West, plus various collaborations with Cincinnati-area musicians, including Lee Tucker of The Dee Felice Trio.

Bootsy next appears in Ruppli’s sessionography on the legendary “Sex Machine” session that took place April 25, 1970 at Starday-King’s Nashville studios.  This session yielded the “Sex Machine” recording released as a two-part King 45 in June 1970.  :

“Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine (part 1)”     James Brown     1970

“Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine (part 2)”     James Brown     1970

Musician credits According to Ruppli —

James Brown:  Vocals
JohnJaboStarks:  Drums
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
RobertChopperMcCullough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet

“Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine (Part 1)” — a #2 R&B hit that also peaked at #15 on the Pop chart on August 8, 1970 — enjoyed a chart run that lasted 9 weeks.

France — 1970                                           Spain — 1974

Germany — Aug 1970                                          Japan — Nov 1973

US – June 1970

May 20, 1970 found The J.B.’s making their first solo recording – “The Grunt” – at Cincinnati’s King Studios, a two-part 45 released on the heels of “Sex Machine” (and whose opening sounds would be famously sampled on “Rebel Without a Pause” by Public Enemy):

“The Grunt (Pts. 1 & 2)”     The J.B.’s     1970

Musician credits according to Discogs

FrankKashWaddy:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Piano
Robert McCullough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnels:  Trumpet
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet
James Brown:  Producer
Ron Lenhoff:  Engineer

Billboard, in its August 8, 1970 edition, would select “The Grunt” as part of that week’s Top 20 Soul Spotlights “predicted to reach the Top 20 of the Top Selling R&B Singles Chart.”

US 45 — July 1970                                      French B-side — 1972

That same May 20, 1970 Cincinnati session also produced a gospel recording by vocalist Kay Robinson, who enjoyed musical support from members of The J.B.’s on “The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow“:

“The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow (Pts. 1 & 2)”     Kay Robinson     1970

Musician credits according to Ruppli —

Kay Robinson:  Vocals & Piano
FrankKashWaddy:  Drums
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
James Brown:  Backing Vocals
Charles Bobbitt:  Backing Vocals
Faye Pridgon:  Backing Vocals

According to the bio on Discogs:

Dr. Kay Robinson currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, and started singing at the age of 18.  She recorded for King Records and James Brown Productions.  James Brown flew her down to Cincinnati from Dayton (she was living in Springfield) for recording sessions.  Her career with James Brown Productions ended when she wouldn’t record R&B songs.

     US promo — 1970                                    New pressing — 2006

The May 20, 1970 session at the King Studios also yielded a two-part James Brown track written by David Matthews — “The Drunk” — (on which Bootsy plays bass) that was issued on King subsidiary, Bethlehem.  According to Ruppli’s notes, Part Two ended up being issued as the B-side of “A Man Has to Go Back to the Crossroads,” with Part One locked away to this day in Polydor’s vaults.

“The Drunk”     James Brown      1970

Musician credits according to Discogs

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
Kenny Poole:  Guitar
Frank Brown:  Trumpet
Jerry Conrad:  Trumpet
Marie Speziale:  Trumpet
Millard Dusenbury:  Trombone
Larry Dickson:  Baritone Sax
David Matthews:  Composer & Arranger

US — Jul 1970                                          Canada — 1970

The double-album set Sex Machine, meanwhile, combined studio tracks disguised to sound as stage recordings, along with actual live performances recorded in concert at Atlanta’s Bell Auditorium on October 1, 1969, with a large ensemble that featured three personnel on drums — Clyde Stubblefield, John “Jabo” Starks & Melvin Parker — plus a six-member horn section, and Charles Sherrill on bass, among others.

Ruppli’s sparse notes (no musician credits) indicate the three-song medley on side B to have been recorded in Cincinnati on July 23, 1970 (along with unissued versions of “The Boss” and “There Was a Time“) — musician credits for Sex Machine‘s medley (below) provided courtesy of this German pressing:

Bewildered” [part one]

I Got the Feelin’” [part two]

Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose” [part three]

Musician credits taken from Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield [prob.]:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
RobertChopperMcCullough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet

There Was a Time” (a.k.a., “I Got to Move“), from the July 23, 1970 Cincinnati session referenced above, found freedom 25 years later as track number five on a collection of 1970 James Brown recordings that feature members of The J.B.’s, Funk Power – 1970: A Brand New Thing:

“There Was a Time (I Got to Move)”     James Brown     1970

Musician credits according to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
JohnJaboStarks:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
RobertChopperMcCollough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnels:  Trumpet
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet
Ron Lenhoff:  Engineer
James Brown:  Producer & Songwriter

That same Cincinnati session also produced a version of “Sex Machine” that, according to Ruppli, is the nearly 11-minute version you hear kicking off side A of the Sex Machine LP released in September of that year.  Amusing to note that Augusta, GA and Cincinnati are the first two cities name-checked by Brown in his wide-ranging roll call of US cities prior to the song’s final bridge:

“Sex Machine” (extended LP version)     James Brown     1970

MUSICIAN CREDITS TAKEN FROM DISCOGS
[SAME Cincinnati SESSION AS “LIVE” MEDLEY]

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield [prob.]:  Drums
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
RobertChopperMcCullough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet

Sex Machine would peak at #29 on Billboard‘s Top 200 album chart [#4 R&B].

Brown’s next album Super Bad would give the King engineering team another opportunity to fashion a “live” album — via the superimposition of concert crowd sounds — from recordings produced at Starday-King’s studio facilities in both Cincinnati and Nashville.  “Super Bad,” the 9-minute opening title track recorded on June 30, 1970 in Nashville, is the album’s sole selection to feature The J.B.’s:

“Super Bad (Pts. 1-3)”     James Brown     1970

Musician credits According to Ruppli —

James Brown:  Vocals
JohnJaboStarks:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Conga
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
RobertChopperMcCullough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet

“Super Bad” — a #1 R&B hit for James Brown (#13 Pop, peak date Nov. 21, 1970) — would spend a total of 10 weeks on the chart.  The Super Bad album, meanwhile, would reach as high as #4 on Billboard’s R&B chart, #61 on the Pop chart.

Germany — 1970                                           France — 1970

Iran (unofficial) — Jan 1971

At that June 30, 1970 session, The J.B.’s also laid down two of their own recordings:  **When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can” (includes musical quotations from songs by Kool & the Gang, The Meters & Jimi Hendrix) and “I’ll Ze“:

“When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can” [12-minute edit]     The J.B.’s     1970

“I’ll Ze”     The J.B.’s     1970

Musician credits According to Ruppli —

James Brown:  Vocals
JohnJaboStarks:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Conga
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
RobertChopperMcCullough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet

NoteThese liner notes say that (1) Frank “Kash” Waddy played drums on “I’ll Ze” and (2) Clyde Stubblefield [possibly Frank “Kash” Waddy] played drums on “When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can.”

Also captured on tape at that June 30, 1970 Nashville session was a vocal tune by James Brown, with help from Bobby Byrd and backing by The J.B.’s, that was initially kept in the can — “Since You’ve Been Gone” — but has since been issued on such collections as 1988’s Motherlode and 1996’s Funk Power – 1970: A Brand New Thang:

“Since You’ve Been Gone”     James Brown     1970

Musician credits According to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Percussion
Bootsy Collins:  Bass
Catfish Collins:  Guitar

Ruppli’s session notes for “Since You’ve Been Gone” state “same band” as the personnel used for “Super Bad” — on which “Jabo” Starks served as the drummer, not Clyde Stubblefield — so I feel compelled to point out the discrepancy with the credits above.  Starks played drums on “When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can” & “I’ll Ze” – tracks all recorded the same day – so it stands to reason, perhaps, that he performed likewise on “Since You Been Gone.”

On September 10, 1970, The J.B.’s laid down the title track “These Are The J.B.’s.for what was intended to be their debut long-player:

“These Are The J.B.’s”     The J.B.’s     1970

Musician credits according to Discogs

Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Percussion
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
St. Clair Pinckney:  Flute & Baritone Saxophone
Robert McCullough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnels:  Trumpet
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet
James Brown:  Producer
Ron Lenhoff:  Engineer

                US — Nov 1970                         Belgium (Rugby typeface) — 1971

Ruppli’s session notes indicate this recording to be part of King LP 1126, a four-song test pressing engineered by Ron Lenhoff (as previously noted) that would be shelved, once James Brown inked a new contract with Polydor, in favor of a more expansive ten-track debut album on James Brown’s People label in 1972  [By the way, that original four-song mix of These Are The J.B.’s finally saw daylight in 2014, thanks to Now-Again Records, with liner notes again by Alan Leeds — the previous year, someone had paid $1600 for a copy of the test pressing that allegedly came from the estate of Hal Neely (who directed operations for the merged Starday-King labels after Syd Nathan’s passing on behalf of new owner, Lin Broadcasting)].

$1600 test pressing (1971) for These Are the J.B.’s

Given that Myra Barnes (a.k.a., Vicki Anderson) made her recording of “Message From the Soul Sisters (Pt. 1 & 2)” at Cincinnati’s King Studios on September 10, 1970 — the same session where “These Are The J.B.’s” was recorded — it should come as no surprise to learn that The J.B.’s provided musical support:

“The Message From the Soul Sisters (Pts. 1 & 2)”     Myra Barnes     1970

Musician credits According to Discogs

Myra (“Vicki Anderson”) Barnes: Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield: Drums
WilliamBootsyCollins: Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins: Guitar
Bobby Byrd: Piano
St. Clair Pinckney: Baritone Sax
Robert McCollough: Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells: Trumpet
DarrylHasaanJamison: Trumpet

October 1, 1970 would find The J.B.’s backing James Brown on a pair of recordings made at Bobby Smith Studios in Macon, Georgia, with one of the tracks (“We Need Liberation“) locked away in the vaults never having been issued, while the other — “Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing” — was held back for release until January, 1972:

“Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing”     James Brown     1970

Musician credits According to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
HearlonCheeseMartin:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax
RobertChopperMcCollough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet

“Talkin’ Loud (and Sayin’ Nothing)” was a #1 R&B hit (#27 Pop) that would spend 7 weeks on the chart, having peaked on March 18, 1972.

Belgium — 1972                                     Germany — 1972

But wait!   One additional recording (not mentioned in the Ruppli discography) was made at that October 1, 1970 session — a J.B.’s instrumental named “The Wedge” that only saw freedom when issued as the second track on the More Mess On My Thing album released this past November:

“The Wedge”     The J.B.’s     1970

2019’s More Mess On My Thing album — mixed by Mario Caldato directly from the original multi-track masters — also features a 22-minute version of **When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can” (see credits below) recorded in Nashville on June 30, 1970:

“When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can” [complete take]     The J.B.’s     1970

Musician credits according to Discogs

Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
FrankKashWaddy:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
RobertChopperMcCollough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet
James Brown:  Vocals [i.e., “Right On!”s]
Ron Lenhoff:  Engineer
Written by = James Brown, with help** from a few friends:
[“Chicken Strut”] = Art Neville, George Porter, Jr., Joseph Modeliste & Leo Nocentelli
[“I Was Made to Love Her”] = Hank Cosby, Lula Hardaway, Stevie Wonder & Sylvia Moy
[“Let the Music Take Your Mind”] = Gene Redd + Kool & The Gang
[“Power of Soul”] = Jimi Hendrix
[“Something”] = George Harrison

The first week of November, 1970 would see two big King 45s committed to tape at Cincinnati’s King Studios.  Ruppli tells us that Vicki Anderson‘s response record to “Super Bad” (penned by James Brown ) — “Super Good (Pts. 1 & 2)” — was recorded on November 3rd, while Dave Thompson, in his Funk listening guide, confirms that “Bootsy Colllins-era JBs” are the backing band on this single, as Ruppli’s notes do not contain musician credits:

“Super Good (Pts. 1 & 2)”     Vicki Anderson     1970

Musician credits according to Discogs

Vicki Anderson:  Lead Vocals
James Brown:  Backing Vocals [Comments]
JohnJaboStarks:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
HearlonCheeseMartin:  Guitar
Robert McCollough:  Tenor Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet
JeroneJasaan SanfordMelson:  Trumpet

US — 1970                                              France — 1970

Nigeria — 197?

Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved (Pts. 1 & 2)” —  a #4 R&B (#34 Pop) hit that spent a total of 8 weeks on the charts, having peaked on February 6, 1971 — was also recorded in early November at King Studios:

“Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved”     James Brown     1970

Musician credits according to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
HearlonCheeseMartin:  Guitar
RobertChopperMcCollough:  Tenor Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet
Ron Lenhoff:  Engineer
James Brown:  Producer

Germany — Feb 1971                           Norway — Feb 1971

Ruppli’s session notes also identifies five tracks recorded at the King Studios on November 5, 1970 by James Brown (backed by a group of unnamed musicians) that remain unissued:  “All the King’s Men” (a name later used for Maceo Parker’s own band) and “I’ll Be There” (presumably, a version of that year’s big Jackson 5 hit), plus three recordings of no fixed title.  Could this Untitled Instrumental (taken from 1988’s Motherlode funk compilation) be one of those unnamed recordings from the session at the King Studios on November 5, 1970?

January 26, 1971 would find James Brown at Washington, DC’s Rodel Studios, with “Soul Power” being one of the key recordings captured that day.  Ruppli neglects to mention, however, that The J.B.’s provided musical support on these tracks:

“Soul Power”     James Brown     1971

Musician credits according to Discogs

James Brown:  Lead Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Backing Vocals
JohnJaboStarks:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Roach:  Guitar
St. Clair Pinckney:  Tenor Sax
Fred Wesley:  Trombone
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet

“Soul Power” reached as high as #4 on the R&B chart (#29 Pop) and spent 9 weeks on the charts, having peaked on April 3, 1971.

Germany — Apr 1971                                     France — 1971

Iran (Unofficial) — 197?

Zero to 180 asked DC’s Dave Nuttycombe if he knew where Rodel Studios was once located, to which he typed forth this reply:

[Rodel] was in Georgetown, off Wisconsin down by Key Bridge.  The “Ro” was Fritz Roland, perhaps the top cinematographer in town.  The studio did a lot of film post-production, back when DC was churning out industrial and government films.

Dave’s friend, Paul Dunlap, meanwhile provides this complementary bit of information:

The “Del” in Rodel was Del Ankers, Fritz’s partner.  Fritz shot all the Wilkins Coffee commercials there with Jim Henson too.

During the same January 26, 1971 session at DC’s Rodel Studios, Lyn Collins also recorded the A-side of her next single — “Wheels of Life” — which was then completed, according to this website, the following month on February 15, 1971 at Bobby Smith Studios in Macon, Georgia:

“Wheels of Life”     Lyn Collins     1971

Musician credits according to this website

Lyn Collins:  Vocals & Handclaps
James Brown:  Piano
Don JuanTigerMartin:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Tambourine
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Roach:  Guitar
St. Clair Pinckney:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet
Fred Wesley:  Trombone

US — 1971                                                 France — 1971

“Wheels of Life” was issued as the fourth single release on People – a subsidiary label for James Brown Productions that was active from 1971 through 1974 – as well as King.

Ruppli also informs us that Roberta Dubois – one of The Sisters of Righteous – recorded “Who Am I” on January 26, 1971 at DC’s Rodel Studios (with these same musicians, one presumes).  “Who Am I” would be selected as the A-side of King 6375.  Good luck, however, finding a copy.

US — 1971                                               Test Pressing

Tip of the hat to 45Cat contributor jukebox george, who points us to a 1995 Billboard review of the Bobby Byrd anthology Bobby Got Soul, in which it is revealed that James Brown, along with Roberta Dubois and Geneva “Gigi” Kinard of The Sisters of Righteous, provided vocal support on Byrd’s “I Need Help (I Can’t Do It Alone),” a Top 20 hit on the Soul Singles chart (that also hit #69 on the Pop chart in 1970).

Dubois was not the first King artist to record “Who Am I,” as this song makes several appearances in the Ruppli sessionography around this time, interestingly enough,  Ruppli’s notes for King master K13740 indicate that “Who Am I” attributed to King recording artist Leon Austin (who had taught James Brown “the right way to play piano,” according to biographer Don Rhodes) was “transferred to K13792” on September 10, 1970.  When you then skip to K13792 (an undated entry), you find the song “Who Am I” instead attributed to The Famous Flames — a King 45 released December, 1970.   James Brown would record his own unissued version the following month, shortly before Vicki Anderson then recorded her version of “Who Am I’ at the Cincinnati studios on January 21, 1971 that also never saw the light of day.

Which brings us to the final entry of The J.B.’s in volume one of the Ruppli “red books”:  King LP1137.  Go to Discogs and type the terms “King 1137” and you will encounter a lot of “noise” — but if you go back and add the word “Olympia,” notice that you pull up exactly one item for a triple-album test pressing of an unenhanced live performance of James Brown & The J.B.’s recorded March 8, 1971 at the Olympia Theatre in Paris that got shelved for 20 years, until the release of Polydor’s Love Power Peace CD in 1992, an edited mix of the concert.  In 2014, Sundazed performed a tremendous public service with their issue of a 3-LPtrifoldalbum that included the following statement:

This collection represents original stereo mixes, as overseen and approved by James Brown in 1971, of materials intended for a 3-LP set with uniquely titled discs:  “Love,” “Power,” and “Peace.”  Documentation shows that the sides would have been presented in then-common automatic record changer, with side one and side six appearing together, sides two and five, and three and four following suit [i.e., “auto-coupled“] to facilitate continuous play; we have honored that intention in this edition.  In the aftermath of both a change in labels and key members of the band departing just after these [eight-track] masters were completed, the project was not issued.  Although a CD edition of the album was issued by Polydor in 1992, it was not the complete show and was newly mixed.  This is the first time this storied slice of searing soul has been available exactly as James Brown envisioned.

Musician credits according to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Vocals
John (Jabo) Starks:  Drums [Primary]
Don Juan (Tiger) Martin:  Drums [Secondary]
William (Bootsy) Collins:  Bass
Phelps (Catfish) Collins:  Guitar
Hearlon (Cheese) Martin:  Rhythm Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
St. Clair Pinckney:  Tenor Sax
Clayton (Chicken) Gunnells:  Trumpet
Darryl (Hassan) Jamison:  Trumpet
Fred Wesley:  Trombone
David Matthews:  Conductor [Horns And Strings]
Ron Lenhoff:  Engineer

      1971 King 3-LP test pressing                             Sundazed’s 3-LP set — 2014

To replicate concert, play 3-LP set “auto-coupled” on a Crosley Stack-o-Matic

Compared to the 1992 CD with 17 tracks, check out the three-LP Sundazed mix that has a total of 31 selections across six sides.  These three discs contain the entire Paris show with one notable exception — “Who Am I” recorded January 12 and April 12, 1971 at King Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio (with Kenny Poole on guitar).

Worth mentioning that on page 452, close to the end of Ruppli’s King sessionography, you will find an undated session on which The J.B.’s recorded a pair of unissued songs, “My Brother” and “Texas Green.”

1972’s Get on the Good Foot album includes one recording with the Collins brothers — “The Whole World Needs Liberation” — that must be among their last recordings with James Brown:

“The World Need Liberation”     James Brown     1972

Musician credits according to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Backing Vocals
Hal Neely:  Backing Vocals
Lois Wong:  Backing Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Bootsy Collins:  Bass
Catfish Collins:  Guitar
H.B. Barnum:  Conductor

After their departure from the James Brown organization, Bootsy Phelps and Complete Strangers put out a single, “Fun In Your Thang (Pts. 1 & 2)”:

“Fun In Your Thang (Pt. 1)”    Bootsy Phelps and Complete Strangers    1972

Released in 1972 on General American, an independent label out of Columbia, Missouri (that was also based in Cincinnati), this 45 would be re-issued the following year on Cincinnati-based Philmore Sound:   Would love to know where this recording was made – possibly at King Studios?

1972 single                                                      1973 release

But check this out:  Mere months ago (August 23, 2019), Shake It Records — in collaboration with Bootsy Collins — remastered a number of classic 45 sides directly from the master tapes and produced The House Guests Meet The Complete Strangers and Bootsy, Phelps & Gary, a new 12-inch vinyl LP!  Shake It reports that the orange vinyl edition has already sold out, but black vinyl is still available.

This vinyl-only collection (with liner notes by RJ Smith + these musician credits) is a limited edition release from Shake It Records, who have this to say —

A slab of Cincinnati hard funk slammers – most reissued (legally) for the first time! Post JB’s / Pre-P-funk outfits headed up by brothers Catfish & Bootsy Collins along with a Cincinnati who’s-who of top club players who could turn it out night after night after night in places like The Psychedelic Grave or The Round Up Club – that featured a caged bear in the club!

This selection, hand picked by Bootsy, highlights that youthful output under various names as The House GuestsThe Complete Strangers and Bootsy, Phelps & Gary. The monikers may have changed, but what they brought to the stage every night – leaving the club and audience devastated – never did.

A D D I T I O N A L     R E L A T E D     R E C O R D I N G S

Maceo and the Macks would incorporate new horn work (as well as audio excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s stirring “Mountaintop” speech) on a reinvigorated mix entitled “Soul Power ’74” that saw release in October 1973:

“Soul Power ’74”     Maceo and the Macks     rec. 1973

Musician credits according to Discogs

JohnJaboStarks:   Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Roach:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
Maceo Parker:  Alto Sax [Overdubbed]
St. Clair Pinckney:  Tenor Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Tenor Sax [Overdubbed]
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet
Ike Oakley:  Trumpet [Overdubbed]
JeroneJasaan SanfordMelson:  Trumpet [Overdubbed]
Fred Wesley:  Trombone

“Soul Power ’74 (Part 1)” would “bubble under” Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart, peaking at  #109 on January 19, 1974.

  US — Oct 1973                                        Netherlands — 1973

From poking around in Discogs, I have discovered that 1995’s Bobby Byrd anthology Bobby Got Soul includes two obscure 45 tracks, plus a pair of previously unreleased recordings that feature Bootsy, Catfish and The J.B.’s —

Also this recording that can be found on James Brown’s Funky People Volume 3 — “Doin’ the Doo” by Bobby Byrd Featuring The J.B.’s:

“Doing the Doo”     Bobby Byrd Featuring The J.B.’s     197?

Musician credits according to Discogs

Bobby Byrd:  Vocals & Songwriter
James Brown:  Backing Vocals
John “Jabo” Starks:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Percussion
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
HearlonCheeseMartin:  Guitar
St. Clair Pinckney:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet
Fred Wesley:  Trombone

Bootsy in far-left corner of inset photo on Byrd’s European LP cover

Bootsy Talks King History @ National Public Radio

November 1, 2017’s edition of NPR radio show “What’s Good With Stretch & Bobbito” features Bootsy Collins, who reflects on his experiences at Cincinnati’s King Records (starting at age 17), as well as the birth of the J.B.’s, among other things.

AUDIO LINK — click here 

[32-minute program = includes transcript]

Ω          Ω          Ω

A Mad Magazine Salute to James Brown

September 1971 issue

Mad Fold-In by Al Jaffee

James Brown’s “Hot Pants” — released June 1971 — was a #1 hit R&B [#15 Pop] that spent 11 weeks on the chart and whose popularity reached its apex on Aug. 7, 1971, around the time this issue of Mad Magazine was hitting the presses.

“Hots Pants” Picture Sleeve – Europe

For Optimal Experience:  Zero to 180 best viewed on a big screen – not smart phone

Trans-National Musical Exchange

Musical fight!   Compare the opening sequence of these two songs, and note how the second one (from 1972) closely mirrors the first one released the year before:

Music for Gong Gong” [1971]

 – vs. –

Horns of Paradise” [1972]

Music for Gong Gong” was selected as the A-side of the second UK single from Osibisa, a pioneering British Afro-pop group composed of Ghanaian, Nigerian, and  Caribbean musicians.  “Gong Gong” would also be included on Osibisa’s debut album, notable for its cover design by Roger Dean (of Yes fame).  This self-titled album, you might be surprised to learn, was produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie, Badfinger, T. Rex) and engineered by Martin Rushent (Buzzcocks, Human League & Stranglers).

US debut 45 B-side (left) and German picture sleeve (right)

London’s Dub Vendor makes this musical provenance clear in its sales blurb for an original copy of the 7″ vinyl pressed in Jamaica on the Wind label — a steal at £13 (others have paid ten times as much and more):

Vin Gordon [trombone] as Trammy re-arranges Osibisa’s ‘Music For Gong Gong’ as “Horns Of Paradise” + cool rocksteady instrumental [i.e., “Something Tender” (a.k.a., “Grass Root(s)”) by the Techniques All Stars] on the flip.”

Was producer Winston Riley right to take sole songwriting credit?

Jamaica’s master trombonist (who also goes by “Trommie” and “Trummie”) has recorded numerous 45 sides (and a few LPs) under his own name, while a fair number of tracks during the early years were also released under the alias, Don Drummond, Jr.   An alumnus of the famed Alpha Boys School, Gordon – who played horns on 1978 Bob Marley & the Wailers album, Kaya – began his lengthy and illustrious recording career as a session musician in 1965 at Studio One.  It’s been said that 1967’s “Real Rock” by Studio One backing band, The Sound Dimension (featuring Vin Gordon) is the most popular reggae riddim of all time.  Also worth mentioning that during UK’s second wave ska revival, Gordon joined forces with MichaelBamiRose in an ensemble called The Ska-Ville, who recorded a track entitled “The Clash & The Specials Go(ne) To Jail” for 1980 LP Ska Fantastic From Rock Steady to Ska.

Due to MCA’s mighty worldwide reach, Osibisa’s first long-player enjoyed distribution in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Greece, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, and Kenya, as well as the US and Canada.  When released as a single in Ghana in 1972, “Gong Gong” was designated (as in the US) the flip side — one of a handful or so of Osibisa singles issued on Ghana’s Capeside label in the 1970s.  Osibisa’s music would officially find release in Jamaica via 1976’s Ojah Awake album on the CavLip label, along with two single releases (1) “Dance the Body Music” b/w “Right Now” and (2) “Welcome Home” b/w “Do It Like It Is.”

The Guardian‘s Robin Denselow notes that in the 1970s, Osibisa “performed alongside the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, and were the first African-Caribbean band to pioneer a bestselling fusion style that mixed west African highlife influences with jazz, rock, calypso and unashamed pop.”  Tragically, though, “no other band achieved such extraordinary success, in terms of hit singles and albums in the UK and US, and yet no other band fell so dramatically from fashion.”

1982’s 12-inch single — Don Drummond Jr & the Ska Stars

Rim shot of respect to the percussionist in Dubble Trubble for hipping me to this matter.

“Mrs. Fletcher”: New TV Theme?

Zero to 180 turns seven today, which means another opportunity to muddy the waters with the musical equivalent of home movies — it’s okay if you want to sit this one out.

Last December 12th’s dubious dub-inspired “Mrs. Fletcher” (you might recall) was a late-year release that got buried in the winter holiday onslaught.  And yet, what a curious coincidence to discover that HBO premiered a television series this past October that takes its name from Dubble Trubble‘s very own instrumental offering!

While it’s true that Tom Perrotta published his novel in 2017, this recording (given a fresh reworking mere months after its initial 2018 release) predates the HBO series and therefore deserves consideration for the show’s closing theme, which our legal team believes to be a good compromise.

Mrs. Fletcher” — HBO Funk Remix [by] Dubble Trubble

45 picture sleeve – Thailand

Mr. Perrotta is represented by Maria Massie of MMQLIT literary agency, who can be reached by email here, in case you think the show would be better served with this new closing theme.  Please emphasize that we heartily endorse Mrs. Fletcher‘s sponsors.

Zero to 180 Milestones:  Years 0-6
  • Inaugural Zero to 180 post that established a bona fide cross-cultural link between Cincinnati (via James Brown’s music recorded and distributed by King Records) and Kingston, Jamaica (i.e., Prince Buster’s rocksteady salute to Soul Brother Number One).
  • 1st anniversary piece that featured an exclusive “Howard Dean” remix of a delightful Sesame Street song about anger management (with a special rant about how WordPress’s peculiarities made me homicidal the moment I launched this blog).
  • 2nd anniversary piece that refused to acknowledge the milestone but instead celebrated the under-sung legacy of songwriter/session musician, Joe South – with a link to South’s first 45, a novelty tune that playfully laments Texas’s change in status as the nation’s largest state upon Alaska’s entry into the Union.
  • 3rd anniversary piece that revealed the depths to which Zero to 180 will sink in order to foist his own amateur recordings onto an unsuspecting and trusting populace.
  • 4th anniversary piece that formalized – as a public service – musical chord changes for an old (and tuneless) “hot potato” playground game called ‘The Wonderball.’
  • 5th anniversary piece that paid tribute to the Buchanan & Goodman “break-in” records that helped fuel (along with Mad Magazine) this young music fanatic’s appetite for satire.
  • 6th anniversary piece that introduced contemporary music product (dub-inspired pop fusion) — in direct violation of Zero to 180’s must-be-20-years-or-older policy.

Goldie & the Gingerbreads B-Side

One trivia bit from The Rolling Stone Rock Almanac that didn’t make it into Zero to 180’s big Summer Beach Read:

April 30, 1965:  The Kinks begin their first headlining UK tour, with The Yardbirds and Goldie and the Gingerbreads providing support.

I have always been curious about the ‘all-girl’ beat group with such a playful name, so a quick browse of their discography in 45Cat immediately drew me to this 1965 French EP with the arty and urbane cover photo:

There was something appealing about the song title “The Skip,” so I queued it up on YouTube and, what do you know — it’s a jaunty organ dance instrumental produced by Shel Talmy, of early Who and Kinks fame:

“The Skip”     Goldie and the Gingerbreads     1965

As the crawl text in the YouTube streaming audio clip above notes, “The Skip” began life as the B-side of a Decca single that was released April, 1965 in the UK, as well as the closing track on a French EP (noted above) issued by Decca France three months later.  Sadly, “The Skip” never graced any of their US singles, nor did it appear on an LP, as Goldie and the Gingerbreads’ recorded legacy consists solely of 45s — Billboard’s Chris Hutchins explains why in this report from London, one of the “Music Capitals of the World,” in the October 2, 1965 edition:

The successful all-girl American group Goldie and the Gingerbreads, based in Britain, is breaking up because the girls claim working together is not profitable.  They had a hit here [Top 30] earlier this year with “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” on Decca.  Now Goldie is going solo, two of the others are hoping to form a new group and the fourth is returning to the U.S.

Chris Hutchins would subsequently report in Billboard‘s February 5, 1966 issue that “Immediate [Records] has signed Goldie, who previously led the U.S. all-girl group Goldie and the Gingerbreads who were signed to [UK-based] Decca.”

Fascinating to discover in the course of poking around that Goldie recorded the original version of Goffin & King’s “Goin’ Back” in 1966 prior to The Byrds’ better-known version released the following year as a Columbia 45 (and included on The Notorious Byrd Brothers).  Goldie’s version, heartbreakingly, was withdrawn from the marketplace at the insistence of the songwriters due to unauthorized lyric changes, thus paving the way for Dusty Springfield’s subsequent hit version, as detailed by Paul Howes in The Complete Dusty Springfield.

Use of “King’s English” [Going vs. Goin’] in UK song title

Au contraire, counters Goldie herself (in a comment you will find attached to the end of this piece):

“The Song ‘Going Back’ was not withdrawn, Goldie made a decision to withdraw it -Goldie did not like being questioned about lyric change, and asked Andrew L Oldham to withdraw it.
Reason being;
Dusty made a big to-do as to why the song was given to Goldie after she ( Dusty ) held on to the demo by Carole King for possible future recording of the song.  To make things worse, Dusty claimed I even changed a lyric …to which the response from Carol King was….I like what Goldie did.”

Genyusha Goldie Zelkowitz, who later become known as Genya Ravan, would sing in Ten Wheel Drive and make four solo albums between the years 1972-1979.  NPR Weekend Edition‘s feature piece from 2016 informs us that this pioneering musician (leader of the “first all-female rock band to be signed to a major label”) returned to the music world in recent years as a host of two radio shows — “Chicks and Broads,” featuring women artists and “Goldie’s Garage” showcasing new talent — on the Sirius/XM channel “Little Steven’s Garage Underground Garage.”

2016 would also see the reissue of “Going Back” as the B-side of a UK 7-inch, with the previously-unreleased “Could It Be” as the featured track [recorded in January, 1966 — link to 45 Cat record of EMIdisc acetate].

Worth noting that Goldie and the Gingerbread’s 1964 US debut 45 — “Skinny Vinnie” b/w “Chew Chew Fee Fi Fum” — also enjoyed release in Australia, though nowhere else, oddly.

Goldie:  Bandleader at 18

Prior to the formation of Goldie and the Gingerbreads, Goldie would join – and then subsequently assume leadership of – Coral recording artist, The Escorts, as evidenced by the evolution of the group’s name over the course of just three singlesThe Escorts vs. The Escorts FeaturingGoldievs. Goldie And The Escorts.

September, 1962                      March, 1963                        August, 1963

2005 Haaretz feature piece on Genya Ravan, a Polish-born Holocaust survivor who emigrated to the US in 1947, offers an astonishingly unfiltered biographical overview in which we learn —

  • Her first boyfriend was a Puerto Rican named Colorado who would be memorialized years later in a song she recorded with Lou Reed.
  • An impromptu “audition” for The Escorts earned Ravan an invitation to become lead singer by the group’s leader, none other than Richard Perry, future A-list record producer (Ringo Starr, Carly Simon, Harry Nilsson, Barbra Streisand).
  • Before signing to British label, Decca, Goldie and the Gingerbreads first inked a contract offered by Atlantic Records’ Ahmet Ertegun, who was suitably impressed with the group’s performance at NYC’s Peppermint Lounge.
  • Goldie and the Gingerbreads were barred from releasing “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” in the US by the single’s producer, Alan Price, who is said to have taken the recording without permission.
  • At a live performance in 1972 while on tour with Sly & the Family Stone, one audience member in attendance with family, Muhammad Ali, impelled the show’s producer — in response to Ravan’s liberal use of the F-bomb — to dispatch the police, who ended up arresting her.

*Reminder:  This site viewed optimally on a full-screen computer, not a smart phone

Grandpa Jones & His Swingin’ Grandchildren’s Sole 45

Grandpa Jones‘ toe-tappin’ countrypolitan “Hip Cat’s Weddin’” is one of Zero to 180’s recent discoveries:

“Hip Cat’s Weddin'”    Grandpa Jones & His Swingin’ Grandchildren     Rec. Nov, 1960

Too little has been written about Boudleaux Bryant‘s clever composition and its fetching arrangement — virtually nothing, in fact.  “I Don’t Love Nobody” b/w “Hip Cat’s Weddin’” sadly would be Jones’s sole release with His Swingin’ Grandchildren.  Given the relatively small percentage of the world’s population that owns the original 45 or 1997’s 5-CD Everybody’s Grandpa anthology compiled by Germany’s Bear Family, how tragic that this sly send-up of hep cat culture has been essentially unheard for decades.

Cash Box gave this single a positive review in their November 26, 1960 edition:

Grandpa Jones (Monument 430)

(B-f) “I DON’T LOVE NOBODY”
(1:45) [G-J BMI — Arr. Jones]
The oldie is given a contagious
revamping by the lovable Grandpa and
with his “Swinging Grandchildren” he
gives it a rousing jubilation sendoff.
Has excellent spin value.

(B-f) “HIP CAT’S WEDDIN’”
(2:18) [Acuff-Rose BMI — Bryant]
This Boudeleaux Bryant ditty is
ideally suited for Jones’ comical
style.  It’s a bouncy blueser; rates
consideration.

B-side

Thanks once again to PragueFrank for providiing the musician credits on a session that also produced “These Hills”; “Billy Yank and Johnny Reb” and the unreleased “Goodbye Reb” — although I am puzzled by the recording date of 21 February 1961 which is months after the Cash Box review above.

  • Grandpa Jones:  Vocal/Guitar/Banjo
  • Harold Bradley:  Guitar
  • Ray Edenton:  Guitar
  • Hank Garland:  Guitar
  • Jerry Byrd:  Steel Guitar
  • Boots Randolph:  Sax
  • Floyd Cramer:  Piano
  • Buddy Harman:  Drums

YouTube’s sole audio clip of “Hip Cat’s Weddin'” (posted in 2017) has only been “viewed” a total of 209 times, as of November 7, 2019.  You and I can do something about that.  Gratitude to WFMU’s Michael Shelley for giving this song several spins on the air.

Note:  At this moment, a vendor on Ebay is selling this 45 for $14.99 (plus $4.53 S/H).

They Don’t Make Song Titles Like They Used To:
Grandpa Jones on King
(with streaming audio)

There’s a Grave in the Wave of the Ocean” — 1945

The Baldheaded End of the Broom” — 1948

You’ll Make Our Shack a Mansion” — 1949

Uncle Eph’s Got the Coon” — 1950

Jennie, Get Your Hoe Cakes Done” — 1951

The Value of Vinyl

In 2017, someone paid $300 outright for 1958’s Sings His Greatest Hits LP by Jones, who appeared on the very first King Records release (using an alias), along with Merle Travis.

Brown’s Ferry Four:  The Original Country Supergroup

As journalist/writer Bruce Eder points out in Discogs‘ miniature biographical portrait:

“Based on their lineup alone, Brown’s Ferry Four was a country supergroup from the get-go, with an original membership consisting of Grandpa Jones, the Delmore Brothers, and Merle Travis.  Though the group only existed for ten years, and almost never made any personal appearances or gave any concerts, they managed to become one of the most beloved country gospel groups through their radio broadcasts and the nearly four dozen sides they recorded for King Records between 1946 and 1952.”

King LP – 1963

George Barnes’ Halloween Guitar

George Barnes recorded a boss guitar instrumental – “Spooky” – that should be part of everyone’s Halloween soundtrack:

“Spooky”     George Barnes     1962

Billboard conferred three stars (“moderate sales potential) upon this B-side, as well as its A-side “Trainsville,” in their June 23, 1962 edition.  Exactly fifty years later, in 2012, someone would pay $126 for a copy of this record.

 Mercury promo/DJ 45

Link to Volume 1

I agree with 45Cat and (unwitting) Zero to 180 contributor, mickey rat, who declares George Barnes to be “an important but neglected figure in the development of American popular music” (not to mention, “one of the very first people to play electric guitar”).  Another 45Cat contributor, porcupine, notes the similarity between these two tracks and 1959’s Guitar: Twangy With a Beat album, recorded by Barnes using the nom de guerre, Dean Hightower (an alter ego solely on the ABC-Paramount label).

Dean Hightower:  The Back Story  [courtesy of Discogs]

Hi…I’m George Barnes’ daughter, and can tell you the history of this album.  It was a one-off for ABC-Paramount, who wanted to compete with Duane Eddy and — knowing my father could play anything, which he did as a NYC studio musician — asked him if he’d record something in that genre.  He didn’t want to associate his name with it, so took the pseudonym Dean Hightower as a joke.  The name’s a fake, but the stereo mix is real.  Some people love this album — but this is certainly not representative of his entire body of work!  I recently launched The George Barnes Legacy Collection, in case anyone here is interested in learning more about this jazz great and electric guitar pioneer:   https://georgebarneslegacy.com 

Cheers, Alexandra Barnes Leh

People have forked over considerable cash for George Barnes’ 1959 Country Jazz album, — as much as $250 and more.  But wait!  For just 1/10 of that amount, you can purchase the entire Country Jazz album remastered on compact disc, plus “rare selected tracks from the airchecks of Barnes’ early national radio performances on NBC’s Plantation Party.”   For those who prefer vinyl, Modern Harmonic has re-released Country Jazz in gatefold format that includes extended liner notes and images from the CD.

Rodney Gene Jr. plays “Hot Guitar Rag” from 1959’s Country Jazz album

What a kick in the pants to discover that YouTube does not yet have streaming audio available for Barnes’ debut 45 on Decca — “Hot Guitar Polka” (although you can hear its flip side “Clarinet Polka“, which was used as the theme song for Max Ferguson’s “Rawhide” Canadian radio program).   Fortunately, you can hear a great version of “Flintstones Theme” from the album Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, recorded live at Concord, California’s Willow Theater in 1977.

This Just In:  Zero to 180 has been informed by Alexandra Barnes Leh, producer of The George Barnes Legacy Collection, that a video for “Hot Guitar Polka” will be part of the promotional push for next year’s re-release of 1958’s Guitars By George! album.

1951 single release = Norway

Besides Country Jazz, the “George Barnes Quartet” recorded 1977’s Blues Going Up for the Concord Jazz label, as well as a series of lauded albums with cornetist, Ruby Braff.  Barnes’ obituary in the New York Times notes that this quartet made a “notable debut” at the 1973 Newport Jazz Festival, “winning most of the critical acclaim for the evening.”

Barnes and his Quartet first appeared on record as the backing band for Patti Page on “There’s A Man In My Life b/w “The First Time I Kissed You” – a 78 release from 1947 on the Mercury label.  The following year, the George Barnes Quartet would back Snooky Lanson on “Long After Tonight” b/w “Hearts Win, You Lose.”

Son of a gun — the label says “George Barnes Trio“!

In addition to his Quartet, Barnes has also fronted a 2nd Quartet (!), as well as Quintet, Sextet, OctetChorus and OrchestraGuitar Choir, and Gran Orquesta de Percusion, not to mention an orchestra jointly owned with bassist, Jack Lesberg.  Barnes also enjoyed renown as a Guitar Duo, first with Carl Kress, then with Bucky Pizzarelli (and his 7-string guitar) after Kress’s passing in 1965.  Did I mention that Barnes once led a Trio, who were mis-identified as a Quartet, even though it plainly says “Trioon the label?

“Organizing an octet of musicians from the Chicago Symphony, George created non-traditional jazz with the unusual instrumentation of electric guitar with clarinet, bass saxophone, English horn, oboe, flute, piccolo, piano, vibes, bass and drums.  The George Barnes Octet became a highly-acclaimed weekly feature on the ABC Radio Network.”   [excerpt from Art of Sound Gallery]

Audio LINK = “Baseball Baseball” (1954) – Barnes & his Quintet

George Barnes Album Covers on Parade

Grand Award — 1957

Decca — 1958

Mercury — 1960

Mercury — 1961/2

Mercury — recorded 1945

Mercury — 1962

Carney Records — 1963

Billboard‘s July 10, 1965 edition would include this “Pop Spotlight” review:

Two guitar wizards supplying all the music of a full orchestra.  The program is played to perfection, and includes much of the material Barnes and Kress performed at the White House Christmas Party last year.  With ease they segue from the mellow “Willow Weep for Me” to the sparkling “Girl Friend,” with a standard version of “Sentimental Journey” completing the bill. 

Ten Duets for Two Guitars — Kress & Barnes’ “Guitar Karaoke” LP – 1962

Note:  “On the even numbered tracks, there’s only the accompaniment played by C. Kress for ‘the home guitarist to join in.'”

Instructional LP – 1961

Collector’s note:  Highest prices paid for George Barnes vinyl?   Private label release of a “rare, impromptu” session of duets with pianist Ralph Sutton that have sold for $429 in 2015 and $371 in 2013.

Young Professional + Ubiquitous Session Guitarist

Q:  Do you have any idea how many recording dates you have played on?

A:  “Between 1951 and now, I have recorded 23 albums under my own name.  From 1953 to 1961, I recorded 61 albums with the Three Suns alone. From 1961 to the present, I have recorded with practically every bigname singing star from Frank Sinatra to Bing Crosby, Patti Page, and loads more.  It would be very difficult to find a singing star I haven’t recorded with.  They tell me down at the union, that I have recorded more than any other person in their contract file.  I don’t know how many recording dates I’ve done, but one day I intend to add them up.  I know the number is well into the thousands.”

“Georgie” Barnes — 1940

George Barnes:  King Records Alumnus

Zero to 180’s recent celebration of King’s jazz legacy points out that George Barnes played guitar for (who else) Earl Bostic on a Jan. 11, 1956 session that took place in NYC, with four songs recorded including “Bugle Call Rag”; “I Love You Truly” and “Cause You’re My Lover.”

Alexandra Barnes Lah notes:

“The George Barnes Estate receives no royalties from all of those European re-releases [mentioned above] … it’s a terrible and heartbreaking ripoff experienced by many American artists and their families.  But my relationship with Modern Harmonic is quite the opposite, for which I’m grateful.”

Bootleg EP – or – Just a Mirage?

It must have been the year before last when I was enjoying a madcap musical romp through Thailand and its wildly imaginative bootleg EP scene — 7-inch picture sleeves using filched images, with four songs often (but not always) by four different artists, produced in renegade fashion without regard for legal or copyright considerations [see “Oddball Beatles EPs Worldwide“].  It was early 2018, most likely, when I made that fateful decision to print out a decent quality scan of a bootleg EP that had made the curious call to bring together the bubblegum sounds of The Archies and 1910 Fruitgum Co. (plus early Dave Clark Five) with “agit-pop” from The Rolling Stones, “Street Fighting Man” — a song that was banned from radio (and whose provocative sleeve was immediately withdrawn) in 1968, a year in which assassination and rioting dominated headlines.

378×400 pixel version of image below

Coliseum = cheeky send-up of almighty Columbia Records (i.e., “Big Red“)

Track Listing

A1  “Street Fighting Man”   The Rolling Stones

A2  “Because”   The Dave Clark Five

B1  “Bang Shang-a-Lang”   The Archies

B2  “Goody Gum Drops”   1910 Fruitgum Co.

 

Don’t recall why I printed out this image in the first place, but here’s the weird thing —  Located this printout in my “scratch paper” pile and began to use it for correspondence, when the librarian in me prompted me to search the 45Cat database to affirm its existence but could no longer find it there … or anywhere else on the Internet!  This scanned image, therefore, is the world’s only proof of a bootleg EP from Thailand that was almost certainly released in 1968, possibly 1969.

Did I somehow dream up this EP release – Coliseum CLS 1080 – or was it, in fact, actually birthed?  45Cat allows users to easily browse a list of cataloged Coliseum releases, which has entries for two somewhat nearby catalog numbers, CLS 1087 (from 1969, we think) and CLS 1099 (released 1968, confusingly).

CLS 1087 = previously featured here          CLS 1099 = “Sugar Sugar” & friends

Evidence of Coliseum CLS 1080 EP’s existence:  If you Google the terms Coliseum + Archies + “CLS 1080” (as of October 10, 2019), Bill Rousell‘s music sales website will turn up in the search results, with a sales listing for this EP that names the four tracks in identical order.

Zero to 180, you might recall, had previously saluted The Archies five years ago in a piece that acknowledged 1968 to be a remarkably fertile time for truck driving country music.  The Rolling Stones (not to mention Stones sound-alike bands) have also been the focus of Zero to 180’s roving eye more than once over the years.

Rare UK picture sleeve, quickly withdrawn = sold for $17,100 in 2015!

Illicit Vinyl — No Laughing Matter

If the example of Thailand suits your warped sensibilities, you will also likely enjoy browsing the unauthorized vinyl output from the countries of MalaysiaIran & USSR.

           Decca US 451966                                  Decca Lookalike 45 = Malaysia

Furthermore, if you poke around 45Cat’s database in the section tagged asPoland,” you will quickly discover a vast underworld of “postcard discs” — sometimes plain, but often as not, “old-timey” renderings and travel scenes, as well as modernist art images, with one and sometimes two songs on a single-sided “sound postcard”!

All You Need Is Love” – The Beatles – Poland, 1967 = who knew?

Can you guess which early 60s instrumental hit (later covered by Sugar Hill Gang)?

Isn’t it obvious?  “Apache” by The Shadows = Polish postcard disc

 

King Records Trivia: Maxi-Tweets

Fun Facts & Trivia — Best Tweets from King Records Month 2018

As with the previous piece (“King’s Jazz Legacy“), it seems silly to keep all this rich history from last year’s King 75th Anniversary tucked away in a file attachment.  One year later, it has become increasingly obvious that this “once-tweeted” information would serve humanity to a much greater degree if likewise liberated and laid out clearly, without concern for limits on text or number of illustrations.  These original tweets have been richly supplemented for this updated version.

Modernist pavilion at Cincinnati’s Bellevue Park overlooking downtown

[Note:  streaming audio links indicated in bold blue ink]

King History Tweet #1

Mose Rager – who, along with Ike Everly (father of Phil & Don), taught Merle Travis the “claw picking” technique – played on a King recording session for Fairley Holden.   According to Dave Sax’s liner notes for Ace UK’s King Hillbilly Bop ‘n’ Boogie

Fairley’s new version [of “Keep Them Cold Icy Fingers Off Of Me“] for King (his third) sold well enough to warrant three more sessions during the year, including 12 songs cut in December [1947] before the [1948 recording] ban.  He was backed by Moon Mullican (with whom he also toured in Detroit) at his first two sessions, while Mose Rager and another guitarist are heard at the December date.  This and a session with Curly Fox & Texas Ruby, also for King, give us the only example of Rager’s work on record [emphasis mine].

Check out the instrumental intro from “Sweet Mama, Put Him in Low,” a song from Holden’s last session for King — those guitar lines must belong to Rager, right?  That same recording session also includes “You’ve Been a Bad Bad Little Girl“; “Oh, That Naggin’ Wife of Mine“; “It’ll Make a Change in Business” (guitar solo at 1:11); “Put Some Meat on Them Bones“; “Don’t Monkey Around With My Widder When I’m Gone” & “Long Long Dresses,” with the guitar work on these tracks bearing that classic “Travis-style” picking technique which came directly from Rager and Ike Everly.  By the way, thanks to PragueFrank for pointing out that Holden’s first session for King took place in February, 1947 at E.T. Herzog Recording Studio in Cincinnati.

With regard to Curly Fox and Texas Ruby, since they did two recording sessions for King (as indicated by Ruppli), I am unclear as to which of the 17 tracks feature Rager’s playing, since he only played on “a” recording session, as Sax states above.  However, if I were to be so bold, I suspect that Rager’s guitar work can be heard on the second King recording session that yielded “You Don’t Love Me” and four other songs — check out the “Travis-style” guitar break at the 1:48 mark.  If I’m correct, that means Rager can also be heard (at least, theoretically) on “Those Dreams Are Gone” (solo guitar at the 0:50 mark); “On the Banks of the Lonely River“; “Falling Leaf” & “You’ll Remember and Be Blue” — the last track only issued on Nashville Bandstand Vol. 2 — the same album that includes (as previously noted) Merle Travis’s lone King recording as a solo artist “What Will I Do” (likewise unavailable on YouTube, unfortunately).  Album also includes Moon Mullican’s “Too Many Irons in the Fire” (not on YouTube either) — song co-written by Erwin King, Henry Glover, “Lois Mann” [Syd Nathan] & Mullican.

A copy of Volume 1 sold for $26 in 2012

King History Tweet #2

Southwest ShuffleRich Kienzle‘s history of honky tonk, western swing, and country jazz pioneers, has a chapter about guitar great Roy Lanham (“Neither Fish Nor Fowl”), whose title pinpoints the musician’s unfortunate predicament, in that he was considered “too country for jazz” and “too jazz for country”!  Lanham (celebrated here previously) can be heard on Hank Penny‘s very first session for King in 1944 (recorded in a room above the Wurlitzer Music Store in Cincinnati) — four songs, including “Last Night“; “Tear Stains on Your Letter” & “Hope You’re Satisfied” (with Louis Innis on second guitar).

Roy Lanham on King

Lanham’s most famous session work for King in the label’s early years can be heard on such Delmore Brothers 78 sides as “Goin’ Back to the Blue Ridge Mountains“; “Boogie Woogie Baby“; “Freight Train Boogie” & “Shame on Me” — recorded at Herzog’s Studio in October, 1946 with Homer & Jethro.  One year later, Lanham would join forces with Merle Travis at Cincinnati’s King Studios to record eight songs, including “The Frozen Girl“; “Long Journey Home” & “You Can’t Do Wrong and Get By.”  October of 1949 would find Lanham recording his swansong with the Delmore Brothers “Trouble Ain’t Nothing But the Blues,” with Syd Nathan in the producer’s chair.

This 1958 LP sold for $300 in 2012

King History Tweet #3

Noted western swing bandleader Spade Cooley cut sessions for King Records “under vocalist Red Egner‘s name” according to Kevin Coffey’s liner notes in CD compilation Shuffle Town – Western Swing on King. Total of 8 songs recorded in late 1946 at Radio Recorders in Los Angeles and released as four 78s, [plus 2 unreleased tracks “You Didn’t Want Me (When You Had Me)” & “South of Old San Antone”] — most notably “You Never Miss the Water Till the Well Runs Dry” and “Swing Billy A-La-Mode” (group billed as ‘The California Cutups’), with Noel Boggs, in all likelihood (inferring from PragueFrank‘s session info) on steel guitar.

With Noel Boggs on steel, correct?

King History Tweet #4:
King Steel Guitar Trivia

(Pre-pedal) steel guitar legend Noel Boggs played on King sessions for both Hank Penny [1945 session in Pasadena, California with Merle Travis that yielded 12 songs including “Steel Guitar Stomp“; “Merle’s Buck Dance” & “I’m Counting the Days“] and Jimmie Widener (whose all-star band would include Jimmy Wyble, who later starred with jazz greats Benny Goodman and Red Norvo) on such tracks as “You Better Wake Up Babe” — recorded at Hollywood’s Universal Recorders on September 21, 1946 [SOURCE: Shuffle Town – Western Swing on King 1946-1950].

Western swing on DeLuxe

King History Tweet #5:
More Steel Guitar Trivia

Jimmie Widener’s “What a Line!” – produced/co-written by Merle Travis and released by King Records in 1946 – features stellar steel guitar work by EarlJoaquinMurphey.  According to the liner notes from Ace UK’s King Hillbilly Bop ‘n’ Boogie:

Jimmie Widener was born in Oklahoma in 1924, and his career included stints with the Spade Cooley, Bob Wills and Tex Williams bands – and also the 24 sides he recorded for King.  “What a Line!” was from his first session held at Universal Recorders, Hollywood on 25 March 1946 during the sessions that Merle Travis produced.  The song enjoyed a new lease of life in near rockabilly format when recorded by Carl Story for Columbia in 1955.  The all-star personnel featured Jimmie Widener (guitar), ShelbyTexAtchison (fiddle), Harold Hensley (fiddle), Joaquin Murphey (steel guitar), Charlie Morgan (guitar), George Bamby (accordion), Vic Davis (piano), and Shug Fisher (bass). 

Incredibly, streaming audio not yet available on YouTube

Kevin Coffey notes that “Widener had recently been playing tenor banjo with [Bob Wills backing band] the Texas Playboys and had sung ‘How Can It Be Wrong’ with Wills at a recording session less than two weeks before these September 18-23 [1946] King [Hollywood] sessions began” in the liner notes to the Shuffle Town King western swing anthology.  With regard to those September, 1946 sessions at Universal Recorders —

“Syd and his King Records hit Hollywood with all the force of an earthquake,” journalist C. Phil Henderson enthused soon after in his Tophand magazine – and over the next month, at Hollywood’s Universal Recorders, Nathan waxed a hundred-plus sides on Widener, Penny, Red Egner, Tex Atchison and others.”

King History Tweet #6:
(Still) More Steel Guitar Trivia

Paul Howard and His Arkansas Cotton Pickers recorded their first session for King in Cincinnati on January, 26, 1949 with Bob Wills alumnus Billy Bowman on steel guitar (plus Red Perkins on vocals, Jabbo Arrington on guitar, two fiddlers in Red Harper and  “Julliard-trained” Roddy Bristol, and pianist Harold Horner).  This session also marked the recording debut (so says Kevin Coffey) of A-team Nashville session bassist, Bob Moore, father of R. Stevie Moore (“Godfather of Home Recording“) – four songs including “Texas Boogie” and “Torn Between True Love and Desire.”

Scratchy 78s – audio above not pristine

King History Tweet #7:
King Gospel

Queen, King’s short-lived subsidiary (1945-1947) devoted to black artists, featured mostly rhythm and blues recordings but also included a fair amount of gospel music, primarily Wings Over Jordan.  This 10-inch EP from 1946, with three songs per side, appears to be the only non-78 release on the Queen label — includes “Old Ship of Zion“; “When You Come Out of the Wilderness“; “Take Me to the Water“; & “Deep River.”

King History Tweet #8

Mabel Smith, a.k.a., Big Maybelle, with backing support from Hot Lips Page and His Orchestra, did three recording sessions for King in late 1947, with at least two of them taking place at Cincinnati’s King Studios.  Three King 78s would be the net result:  (a) “Sad and Disappointed Jill” b/w “Bad Dream Blues“; (b) “Indian Giver” b/w “Too Tight Mama“; (c) “Little Miss Muffet” b/w “Don’t Try to Fool Me.”   This French compilation from 2004 includes all of her King 78 sides, plus two unissued tracks:  “Foolin’ Blues” and “Dirty Deal Blues.”

Mabel “Big Maybelle” Smith recorded 8 sides for King

King History Tweet #9

King artists “ZebbTurner and “Cow BoyCopas enjoyed a split EP release in Denmark on the Vogue label in the early 1950s that includes Turner’s 1951 breakout hit “Chew Tobacco Rag” and Copas’s 1947 version of “Tennessee Waltz.”  Copas, in fact, had tried to buy “Tennessee Waltz” on a song-scouting expedition for Syd Nathan in a classic capitalist tale recounted by music historian Darren Blase (of Shake It Records) for his excellent piece “The Lonesome Ballad of Cowboy Copas” published in the August 1, 2013 edition of Cincinnati Magazine.

That’s Zeb with two B’s – Danish EP

King History Tweet #10

Federal – the King subsidiary label established for Ralph Bass to produce R & B artists – nevertheless had a Federal Hillbilly Series.  According to the liner notes in Ace UK’s King Hillbilly Bop ‘n’ Boogie, “only two hillbilly artists actually recorded new sessions specifically earmarked for Federal.”  One of those artists, Tommy Scott, recorded the hobo train classic “Rockin’ and Rollin’” at Cincinnati’s King Studios on January 4, 1951 with a backing band that included Hank Williams‘ one-time steel guitarist Jerry Byrd and (future Nashville session fiddler emeritus) Tommy Jackson — who both backed Williams on “Lovesick Blues” (recorded at Herzog’s in 1948), along with Louis Innis and Zeke Turner.

Hillbilly bop on Federal

King History Tweet #11
Train Songs on King

You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy a good train song, and one of the best collections I’ve heard is an anthology of mostly obscure 45s called Choo Choo Bop (issued by German label, Buffalo Bop). The tenth track – Larry Harvey’s “Rolling Home” – is one of my faves, and happens to be a King classic from 1957 that will have you singing the refrain in no time.  The person who posted this YouTube clip points out that “Rolling Home” is an update of “Fast Moving Night Train” (written by Rudy Toombs, sung by Grandpa Jones) that unfortunately is not available on YouTube.

“Rolling Home”     Larry Harvey     1957

According to Discogs:

Larry Harvey was a Canadian country singer originally from Newfoundland.  Moved to Toronto where he saw some success and then later to Nashville.  He was one of the inaugural members of the Country Music Association in 1956.  After a dispute with his record company King Records over Newfoundland distribution he left his contract.  He was unable to keep food on his family’s table, so he returned to Ontario and worked in a factory, then later started a small business.  Subject of the 2008 documentary “Paper Promises” by his son Shane Harvey.

In addition to the obvious (e.g., Tiny Bradshaw’s “Train Kept a Rollin’“), here are four other King train songs worth investigating:

String band and rhythm section set up a strong beat and keep it driving right thru as the Jones gal hands the tune a growling chant.

King “bio disc”

Clever story novelty about an engineer with a slow freight train receives a lively performance by Newman.  Tune is melodic with a boogie beat.  Could grab loot.  A good kiddie disc, too.

Penned by Boudleaux Bryant, who (co-)authored many Everly Bros. hits

[Bob Newman, it must be said, also recorded the truck-driving classic “Hauling Freight” (from the pen of Henry Glover), as celebrated in Zero to 180’s piece from 2016.]

King EP – 1961

King History Tweet #12:
King Gospel

Billboard‘s May 3, 1952 edition reported that a Shenandoah, Iowa disk jockey held a contest, asking listeners to guess the names of King recording artists, The Harlan County Four, who had just released their version of “The Atomic Telephone” — a gospel song co-written by Henry Glover, Syd Nathan & Eddie Smith.  Raise your hand if you know the secret identities behind the Harlan County Four — answer is in this Zero to 180 piece.

Co-written by Eddie Smith – artist/arranger, and later, chief engineer at King

King History Tweet #13

Famed folk duo Sonny Terry (harmonica) and Brownie McGhee (guitar) played on a single recording session for King — supporting singer and Piedmont country blues guitarist, Ralph Willis — that was recorded in NYC on January 14, 1953.  Four sides, including “Hop On Down the Line“; “Do Right” & “Door Bell Blues.”

King History Tweet #14

Petula Clark on King Records?  It’s true!  Clark’s 1954 UK hit “The Little Shoemaker” was issued that same year in the US and Canada on King.  10 years before Clark would win the 1964 Grammy for Best Rock & Roll Recording (over “A Hard Day’s Night”).  Billboard‘s review in the July 17, 1954 edition:

“King 1371 – If this side had come out some weeks ago it could easily have pulled a good part of the action on the tune.  Petula Clark warbles the opus with a smile in her voice and she’s backed wonderfully by the large ork.  Disk, an English import, could still garner loot if exploited.”

King History Tweet #15

Rudy (pre-Dolemite) Moore first recorded for King in December of 1955, a session that yielded four songs:  “The Buggy Ride“; “Ring a-Ling Dong“; “I’m Mad With You“; and “My Little Angel.”  Moore’s second and final King recording session – June 1, 1956 – netted four more tracks:  “Let Me Come Home“; “I’ll Be Home to See You Tomorrow“; and “Robbie Dobbie.”

Rudy (Ray) Moore = four Federal 45s

King History Tweet #16

Mr. Nashville Sound himself, Chet Atkins, played bass on Fuller Todd’s “Proud Lady” – according to Rob Finnis in his liner notes to Ace UK’s King Rockabilly – when session bassist, Bob Moore, had not yet arrived at RCA Nashville, where the song (co-written by Louis Innis) was recorded on March 25, 1957.

Chet Atkins on a King rockabilly that is not yet available on YouTube

King History Tweet #17

Keyboardist DaveBabyCortez — who would later have instrumental hits with “The Happy Organ” (1959) and “Rinky Dink” (1962) — played on two King recording sessions:

Wha’da ya know? co-written by Henry Glover

Flip side co-authored by Henry Glover & Rudy Toombs

King History Tweet #18

King Records would issue over a dozen Trini Lopez single releases beginning in 1958 and ending into 1966, though none would chart, sadly.  Check out this classic slice of rockabilly bop “Yes You Do” — Lopez’s debut single for King — that was recorded December, 1958 in Dallas.

Australian 45 (“A King recording from U.S.A.”) – 1964

King History Tweet #19

Cliff Davis & The Turbo Jets recorded four songs in Chicago for King subsidiary label Federal in 1958 – including “So Sassy” and “Far East Cha Cha Cha” – and then four more on May 22, 1959: “Let It Roll (Pts. 1 & 2)” “Rock and Reel” and “Back Mountain Rock.”  Saxophonist, as well as songwriter and arranger, Davis would record one single for Okeh after leaving King.

German 45 – 1962

King History Tweet #20

Bruce Channel (whose harmonica player, Delbert McClinton, gave John Lennon a few tips on the instrument back in 1962 when The Beatles opened for Channel) recorded exactly four songs for King in a single 1959 Forth Worth, TX recording session that yielded two 45s. Of the four sides reviewed by Billboard, “Boy! This Stuff Kills Me” would get the most enthusiastic ink:

“Cat digs music, as he intros drums, twangy guitars and honking tenor.  He shouts the tale over a driving ork and combo assist.”

That combo assist, by the way, would be Marvin Montgomery and His Orchestra — this track also available on Ace UK compilation, King Rock ‘n’ Roll.

King History Tweet #21

One recording that remains unheard in the King vaults is Buck Floyd‘s “The U-2 Flight” – recorded in Cincinnati on October 17, 1960 in response to the major international incident that had taken place five months earlier on May 1st.  There are no images of Floyd’s lone King 45 [“I’m Gonna Show You All Someday” b/w “No Love for Me“] on the web.  The attached photo is of Ernest Burgess “Buck” Floyd of Carrollton, Kentucky (in Carroll County), born April 1, 1933.  Could this Korean War veteran be the same Buck Floyd, who once recorded at the King Studios?  Buck Floyd’s King 45 — recorded with Kenny Sowder & the Grand River Boys — was reviewed in Billboard‘s Jan 9, 1961 issue [B-side:  “Heartfelt vocalizing by Floyd on moving weeper”] and rated “three stars” (i.e., “good sales potential”).  Obituary for Ernest ‘Buck’ Floyd.

Ernest ‘Buck’ Floyd = King recording artist?

King History Tweet #22:
King Gospel

If you need sanctified sounds for your Sunday morning, consider giving this 1960 King album by the Bible Way Church of GodLet the Church Roll On — a spin.  Billboard‘s review from the Dec 26, 1960 edition:

“These spirituals have been recorded during church service by the Bible Way Church of God Choir in Cincinnati.  Performances are impassioned and capture the true gospel spirit.”

 King History Tweet #23

Besides Petula Clark, King would serve as US distributor for other leased EMI recordings, such as 1961’s “spy” guitar number with a “popcorn” beat “The Swinging Gypsies” by Tony Osbourne — selected by Billboard as a Special Merit Single for the week of Oct. 23, 1961.  Says the reviewer:

“A listenable instrumental featuring a hoked up piano sound against a big ork backing.  The side is set in a breezy rock tempo.  Could win spins.”

Would sound great on an instrumental mix with The Shadows, Duane Eddy, etc.

That same year, King would also lease “Black Stockings” b/w “Get Lost Jack Frost” by The John Barry Seven from EMI, both crisp guitar instrumentals — sadly, no visual evidence of this King 45 exists on the web (link to 45Cat catalog record).

King History Tweet #24

Reno & Smiley recorded a sarcastic slice of rockabilly (or is it mockabilly?) in King’s Cincinnati studios on April 24, 1961 — “Just Doing Rock and Roll” — under the fake name Chick and His Hot RodsBillboard‘s September 11, 1961 edition would rate this single release three stars (i.e., “moderate sales potential”).

Rock ‘n’ roll gets Punk’d

King History Tweet #25

Ray Bell was part of an elite group of artists that helped revive King’s Queen subsidiary label between the years 1961-1962.  45Cat contributor formula (-CH2-CHI)n would post this concise appraisal of Bell’s lone 45 release “Blues Tavern” b/w “Loveless Island.”

A Side: “Blues Tavern” – nice country honky tonk sound with fiddle from ’61.

King History Tweet #26

In 1961, Audio Lab gathered up Rocky Bill Ford‘s sudsy lament of a most tuneful sort — “Beer Drinking Blues” (originally released 1950 on Gilt-Edge, a label distributed by King) — along with eleven other songs for an LP that you would be hard pressed to find today.  Ford’s composition would get a nice makeover in 1969 by Eddie Noack, thanks to some driving piano and soulful dobro lines — link to Noack’s version of “Beer Drinking Blues.”

Rare album on Audio Lab, King’s “budget” subsidiary label

King History Tweet #27

Columbus, Ohio’s King Pharoah & the Egyptians recorded a single session for Federal Records in March, 1961 that yielded the 45 “Shimmy Sham” b/w “By the Candle Lite.” Billboard‘s Apr 17, 1961 edition would rate the 45 as having “moderate sales potential” and include this review:

A-side: “This is about the women in the tropic land who look so grand.  It’s a slow persistent rocker by the boys in solid bluesy r&b fashion. Good sound & catchy beat.”
B-side: “A slow, slow rockaballad done for fair results by the boys.”

King History Tweet #28:
Truck Driving Songs

Compare/contrast (1) Coleman Wilson’s original acoustic version of classic truck driving tale “Radar Blues” with (2) Swanee Caldwell’s full-band version recorded in Cincinnati on July 15, 1963.

Coleman Wilson’s A-side “Passing Zone Blues” peaked at #23 in Billboard‘s Country chart the week of Aug. 23, 1961.  Amusing to scan all the 45 releases of Dave Dudley, one of the “kings” of truck driving songs, and notice that King would reach into their back catalog and reissue in August of 1963 one of Dudley’s King rockabilly 45s in the wake of “Six Days on the Road” – the runaway hit released in April of that year.

Case study in truck-driving classics:  “Radar Blues”

King History Tweet #29:
Obscure Instrumental Awaiting Rediscovery

Double Whammy” by The Whammies – a driving sax and organ instrumental guaranteed to fill the dance floor – is actually the B-side of the group’s one and only 45.  The one YouTube audio clip for this song has only 545 “views” as of October 16, 2018 [one year later, that total has nudged up to 599 plays] — be the first on your block to hear this winner of a track!  The A-side “Walk Walk” was written by one of the West Coast’s in-demand session guitarists — René Hall (of “Twitchy” fame) — whose first King recording session (for Wynonie Harris) goes all the way back to Dec. 17, 1947 (“Your Money Don’t Mean a Thing” – with Dexter Gordon).  Hall’s guitar can be heard on a number of hits recorded in Los Angeles, including “La Bamba” (electric baritone guitar), and his arrangements include Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Going to Come.”

both sides “leased” – c. June, 1962

King History Tweet #30

Sonny Thompson, who co-wrote “Had You Told It Like It Was (It Wouldn’t Be Like It Is)” for Albert King, laid down some “popcorn jazz” on August 14, 1962 at King’s Cincinnati studio on a pair of tracks that were released as a Bethlehem 45:  “Loco Limbo” b/w “Just a Little Bit of Soul.”  Thompson is part of an ‘elite’ group that had a special publishing arrangement with Syd Nathan. 45Cat contributor “mickey rat” explains:

“For years I’ve wondered who was involved in Boblo Music.  I’ve always had it listed with that clutch of half a dozen imprints that Syd Nathan of King Records shared with his favourite producers (e.g. Men-Lo = Fred Mendelsohn & Syd Nathan and Son-Lo = Sonny Thompson & Syd Nathan, where the “Lo” bit was short for Nathan’s flagship publishing imprint Lois Music).”

Longer quote can be found in Zero to 180 piece – “Bethlehem Records: Post-Syd

Published by “Son-lo”

King History Tweet #31

Blues guitar legend Albert King did, in fact, set foot inside King’s Cincinnati studio on April 17, 1963 – two songs recorded:  “This Funny Feeling” (sadly, as it says on the 45 label:  a “vocal with band and vocal group” that features a sax [!] solo) and “Had You Told It Like It Was (It Wouldn’t Be Like It Is),” another vocal sans guitar.  Both songs are included on 1963 King LP, The Big Blues.

Fortunately, this King album does feature King’s distinctive guitar playing

King History Tweet #32:
King Kiddie Pop!

Whip out “The Bunny Hop” by The Delteens – recorded at King on March 12, 1963 – at your next preschool party or Kindergarten playdate.  “The Bunny Hop” (the B-side) merited three stars in Billboard‘s March 30, 1963 edition, while the Delteens take on that kiddie standard “The Hokey Pokey” earned the group an additional star!

King History Tweet #33

BillyCrashCraddock had recorded for almighty Columbia Records, prior to a short tenure with King Records that yielded three 45 releases – all in the year 1964 – from a single 12-song recording session at the Cincinnati studios on June 15, 1964, including “My Baby’s Got Flat Feet.”  Important to note that two of Craddock’s three A-sides were written by Henry Glover (just for fun:  scroll these 19 pages of search results on 45Cat to see how many 45 sides were written, produced and/or arranged by Glover).  The other six tracks would be rounded up for Craddock’s lone King LP – which includes “Talk to Me Talk to Me” (a Little Willie John 45 on King, originally) and the album’s title track “I’m Tore Up” (1956 Federal single written by Ike Turner and Ralph Bass).

Penned by Henry Glover (with assistance from “Lois Mann”)

King History Tweet #34:
The Cincinnati-Kingston Connection

One year following Prince Buster‘s rocksteady salute to “The Cincinnati Kid” (a.k.a., James Brown), King Records – ironically, perhaps – licensed a song from Prince Buster himself [“Ten Commandments (From Woman to Man)”] for release in the United States in 1967, with a Byron Lee track [“Papa Jack“] on the flip side.  45Cat notes, “Different vocal to the track released on RCA Victor 47-9114.”  Zero to 180’s related piece from 2014.

“Buster and East Productions”

King History Tweet #35

Keyboardist/arranger/studio musician, Richard Tee, arranged one recording session in New York City on April Fool’s Day, 1969, for soul vocal group, The Manhattans, who ended up releasing two albums on (revived) King subsidiary, DeLuxe, before joining forces with “Big Red” – Columbia Records.  Four songs recorded and released on two DeLuxe 45s — “The Picture Becomes Quite Clear” b/w “Oh Lord, I Wish I Could Sleep” -and- “Gonna Take a Lot to Bring Me Back” b/w “Give Him Up.”

King History Tweet #36:
Final Recording Session for Bethlehem?

Remember The Saloonatics from the Zero to 180 piece that questioned whether this was one of the last original sessions at Cincinnati’s King Studios for the Bethlehem subsidiary label?  Azie Mortimer‘s 1971 album, Feeling of Jazz, was actually one of the last 1969 recording sessions for Bethlehem listed in Ruppli’s King Records sessionography, with musician credits that include such notable jazz musicians as Jerome Richardson, Milt Hinton, Snooky Young, Jimmy ClevelandQuentin Jackson, Phil Woods, Les SpannWillie Rodriguez, and Mercer Ellington (arranger & conductor).  In 2014, the album was issued on CD (in Japan) for the first time.  Mortimer’s earlier singles are available on YouTube, but no streaming audio yet from this Bethlehem LP.

King History Tweet #37:
Last of the Licensing

Two long-playing recordings were licensed from EMI in 1972.  These two albums, King LPs 1140 and 1141, belong to the same artist:  Manuel (“pseudonym for Geoff Love‘s easy listening Latin themed recordings”) And His Music of the Mountains.  One of the albums, Manuel and the Music of the Movies, enjoyed a US release, while the other King LP, Cascade, appears to have been issued in the UK only — is that really true?

Hard to believe this is a King release — logo in upper left corner

King History Tweet #38

1973’s On Broadway album by The Coasters kicks off with the original “pre-Monkees” version of “D.W. Washburn” that was recorded “a few months before” the mop tops’ 1968 single though not released until after, so says Both Sides Now Publications [The Coasters’ version was recorded on Halloween 1967, according to this Wikipedia page].  Album also includes hotly reworked versions of “Love Potion Number 9” and “Cool Jerk” in a Latin boogaloo vein, plus newer compositions, such as “Soul Pad“; “Talkin’ About a Woman” & “Everybody’s Woman.”  Half the songs on the album are written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who were co-owners of Starday-King at that time (but not for much longer, sadly).

1973 LP cover – part of the “new social awareness”

King History Tweet #39:
Final King & Federal 45s

With respect to the question of what was the final King 45, I thought it might be great sad fun to simply list all the King single releases from 1973 in order by catalog numberNote that some catalog numbers are missing in the sequence below (e.g., 45-6411) — hoping that music scholars and vinyl collectors find any and all remaining King 45 releases from 1973 not represented in this list:

ARTIST NAME                A-SIDE  +  B-SIDE              CATALOG #

Allison          "Love Grow Cold" + "Born to Be a Lover"    45-6406

Patterson Twins  "Ever Got You Back" + "Got Some Problems"  45-6407

Earl Gaines      "Pillow Stays Wet" + "Don't Deceive Me"    45-6408

Willy Wiley      "Push and Shove" + "Just Be Glad"          45-6409

Rufus Watkins    "Wake Me Shake Me (No Sleep) Pts. 1 & 2"   45-6410

Sylvester Boyd   "Don't Want Nobody" + "Can't Go On Livin'" 45-6412

Eddie James      "Been Down So Long" + "Livin' w/o You"     45-6413

Fireside Singers "Live By His Word" + "Run On"              45-6417

Kastle           "Gettin' Down (w/ Hoss)" + "Why Don't You" 45-6418

Charles Brown    "For Good Times" + "Lonesome & Driftin'"   45-6420

Our Bro's Keeper "The Harlem Clown" + "Gonna Keep You Warm" 45-6421

Patterson Twins  "Back in Love Again" + "Come to Me"        45-6422

B-side of final King 45 (prior to the label’s sale in 1973)?

Similarly, I thought we could take masochistic pleasure in listing all the Federal 7-inch releases from 1971-1973 in order by catalog number to determine which was the final release, prior to the sale of Starday-King to Moe Lytle and Gusto Records in 1973 (Gusto, it has been said, “is believed to maintain one of the largest independently owned collection of record masters”).  As with the list above, I spy a couple missing catalog numbers (#12564 & #12565) — are there any 45 releases from these final years unaccounted for?

ARTIST NAME                A-SIDE + B-SIDE                CATALOG #

Mickey Murray    "People Are Together" + "Fat Girl"        45-12560

James Duncan     "Please Johnny" + "Stand Up & Get Funky"  45-12561

Clarence Murray  "Please Accept My Love" + "Book of Love"  45-12562

Bobby Leeds      "No Sign of Love" + "Yesterday's Rain"    45-12563

Gloria Walker    "Papa's Got the Wagon" + "Precious Love"  45-12566

Thomas Bailey    "Wish I Was Back" + "Percy's Place"       45-12567

Stratoliners     "What Do You Want w/ Love" + "Your Love"  45-12568

Gloria Walker    "Love Is In the Air" + "Them Changes"     45-12569

Gloria Walker    "When My Baby Cries" + "Gift of Love"     45-12570

Mickey Murray    "Can't Tell You" + "Nothing We Can Do"    45-12571

James K-Nine     "Counting Tear Drops" + "Live It Up"      45-12572

Toby King        "Mr. Tuff Stuff" + "For the Good Times"   45-12573

Final Federal 45 (we think) = Toby King Clavinet funk from 1973

NoteZero to 180 piece from last November attempts to identify the last DeLuxe 45.

King History Tweet #40:
King Funk & Soul

Fans of James Brown funk will want to track down a series of five LPs – Nothing But Funk, all (but one) JB productions – with each volume distinct and thoughtfully selected.  Click on the links below to review the extensive musician credits for each and every track.

Volume One = “12 JB Produced Funk Instrumentals 1967-1977

Volume Two = “11 Selections of Rare JB Funkiness From 1967-1977

Volume Three = “11 Selections of James Brown Rarities From 1963-1973

Volume Four = “11 James Brown Produced Rarities From 1963-1975

Volume Five = “10 JB Produced Funky Selections From 1965 to 1976

Bootsy & Catfish Collins + Robert ‘Chicken’ Gunnels & Robert ‘Chopper’ McCollough

TIP!  Vol. 2 features “Fun In Your Thang” by Bootsey Phelps & Complete Strangers

Nothing But Funk – Volume One

1968 King LP Nothing But Soul

French and German Counterparts on Polydor = 1968

Artist Profile in Miniature

Texas blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter Roy Gaines – a contemporary of Johnny Copeland with whom he was acquainted – had backed his hero T-Bone Walker by the time he was 14.  After moving to Los Angeles, Gaines served as a backing musician on recordings for Bobby Bland, Junior Parker and Big Mama Thornton in 1955.  In the 1960s, he played guitar on sessions for the Everly Brothers, the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Bobby Darin & Gladys Knight.  Gaines would finally release his first solo album in 1982, Gainelining.  Three years later, Gaines played one of the jook joint musicians in the film, The Color Purple (link to musician credits on the soundtrack album), 2009’s big band album Tuxedo Blues would include “Miss Celie’s Blues” which Gaines had performed in The Color Purple.

“Mr. Guitar” (as he was billed in 1956) would release two 45s for King subsidiary label, DeLuxe the following year – “Annabelle” b/w “Night Beat” + “Isabella” b/w “Gainesville” – the latter tune being one of his signature guitar statements.  Gaines signed with RCA in 1958, and later in the 1960s would release singles for MCA subsidiary UNI and (pre-Arista) Bell Records, on which he recorded underappreciated “northern soul crossover” original, “Make It Easy.”

Quite a few Roy Gaines forty-fives have sold for 3 figures at auction

Cincinnati Celebrities on King

  • Cincinnati television and radio personality, Bob Braun, was a King recording artist!  Bob’s first 45 for King was a duet with another Cincinnati TV star, Dottie Mack – “Loaded with Love” b/w “My Baby Dearest Darling” – that was recorded on Sept. 28, 1954 at King Studios.  Bob’s next (and final) King 45 – “All My Love” b/w “Broken Hearted” – was actually leased in 1959 from another label.  Braun would also record for Cincinnati’s Fraternity label. as well as Decca, United Artists, and KY indie, Boone.  More intriguing, though, is the “rock & roll” single that Braun issued early in his career, in contrast to his clean-cut image.  Music scholars are still debating whether “Rock and Roll Country Girl” was recorded in 1954, the same year Elvis cut his legendary sessions at Sun.  A cataloger’s note on Discogs says, “release date from internet sources and is unconfirmed.”  Picture sleeve for 1973 Christmas single (on QCA) shows that Braun also recorded at Rusty York‘s Jewel Recording Studios in Mt. Healthy.

Bob Braun’s 1st King single was a 78 written by Lucky Millinder & Henry Glover

1973 Christmas single on the QCA label

  • After playing baseball with Babe Ruth for the Yankees in the 1920s, Waite Hoyt transitioned successfully in the 1940s to a career in broadcasting, as the Cincinnati Reds’ play-by-play voice for 24 years and Burger Beer pitchman.
    Hoyt gained fame for entertaining radio audiences during rain delays, sharing anecdotes and telling vivid stories from his days on the field.  In 1963, King put together an album of these stories called The Best of Waite Hoyt in the Rain.

1963 LP on King-distributed Personality Records

  • Song-and-dance man and whimsical late-night television personality, Bob Shreve — with backing support from The Dee Felice Trio (celebrated in the previous piece) — would go into Cincinnati’s King Studios on four occasions between February and March of 1970 to record enough material for his lone King LP, Good Ole’ Bob Doing His Thing.  A fair number of recordings remain “in the can,” according to Ruppli, such as “When I Take My Sugar To Tea“; “Just One of Those Songs“; “Do You Ever Think of Me” and “Raindrops” plus eight more songs whose titles are “unknown.”

1970 King LP – “A James Brown Production”

Rare King — At Auction

Among the pricier items that came up in my search for rare King vinyl via Popsike:

The winner goes to a 45 that is considered to be “the Holy Grail of soul records and with good reason,” as this copy sold in 2016 is said to be “the second copy known to exist and by the far the finest example” of Junior McCants‘ second and final 7-inch (promo) release — “Try Me For Your New Love”  Total price paid:  $17,100!

“Try Me For Your New Love” by Junior McCants = 1967

Close behind in second place is … the same 45!  With a starting bid at $10, twenty-five bids later the final bid would reach $15,099 in 2008 for the Junior McCants 45 above.

Third-highest price paid for rare King vinyl is this “deep groove” copy of Roland Kirk’s debut album, Triple Threat (recently celebrated) in “near mint” condition — sold in 2015.  Total price:  $6886

In similar fashion, fourth-highest is a repeat winner — in this case, Roland Kirk’s debut album, sold in 2007 for $2878 [while others would sell for $2130 in 2005; for $1750 in 2009; and $1260 in 2015].

Other King-related vinyl that has sold in the four-figure range:

  • This “ultra rare” Lonnie Johnson LP – packed with 12 songs per side and released by King in 1966 — sold in 2015 for $1250.

King-related vinyl that has sold in the three-figure range:

  • Someone coughed up $811 in 2009 for a John Lee Hooker/Sticks McGhee split LP Highway of Blues on King’s “budget” subsidiary label, Audio Lab.

  • With a total of 8 bids submitted, this “very rare” 1954 Roy Brown EP eventually fetched $691 in 2011.

Starday-King:
Vintage Advertising

Starday-King ad from the April 25, 1970 edition of Billboard

In the groove = Extreme close-up of artist roster

King Records History MeetsGeorge Michael?!

In the course of putting together a Spotify birthday playlist for my wife, I took a detour to find another George Michael song to substitute for “Faith” and pulled up what I thought was the promo video for “Waiting For That Day,” but was actually a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of his 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice – Volume 1.  King Records history fans, can you figure out which James Brown drum sample was used as the rhythm track for that song? Go ahead and hazard a guess (hint: Clyde Stubblefield) — you’re probably right!  Answer can be found in this video clip:

George Michael in the studio with master tape of “Waiting For That Day” – 1990

Clyde Austin Stubblefield (April 18, 1943 – February 18, 2017)

Clyde Stubblefield Remembered

Last Word…

Final paragraph in Dave Marsh‘s state-of-the-music essay in Rolling Stone‘s 1979 year-end issue:

Summary List of Zero to 180 Pieces Created for King Records Month 2018

= Phillip Paul:  The Pulse of King

= “Chew Tobacco Rag” Done R&B

= King’s ‘Country Done R&B’ LP

= King’s Classic Yodeling 78:  Carolina Cotton

= On the Cusp of the New Rock Sound

= “Atomic Telephone”:  King 78

= King Cash-In Surf LP #1

= King Cash-In Surf LP #2

= Jazz Misrepresented As Surf?

= El Pauling and the Royalton

= Bethlehem Records:  Post-Syd

= 1969:  Bethlehem’s Last Session?

= King’s Budget Subsidiary Label

= The JB’s Debut:  Polydor Not King

= Ann Jones & Her “All-Girl” Band

= Albert Washington’s Psych Funk

= Ruth Wallis:  King/DeLuxe Artist

= King Truck Driver Bluegrass 45

= Milt B’s “Mod Popcorn R&B”

= Mickey Murray LP II:  Released?

= Lonnie Mack at King Records

= Merle Kilgore on Starday-King

= Bobby Smith’s King Productions

= Coldwater Army on S-K’s Agape

= Wild Goose:  King Hard Rock ’71?

= Boot:  King Hard Rock ’72

= Lord Thunder:  Final Deluxe 45

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