Zero to 180 isn’t above recycling old tricks, like posting a “vintage” high-resolution image as a shameless distraction ploy to stall for time, while it finishes pulling together over fifty years of history celebrating Gene Rosenthal and his Silver Spring-based independent music operation, Adelphi Records.
“When I left King Records about 1956 I guess, Seymour Stein ended up interning there with Syd Nathan. He was a young kid. He must be about 10 years younger than me, must be about 75, or 80 by now.
He fell asleep at my birthday party at the table. He does a great imitation of Syd Nathan, loves to do an imitation of Syd. I became pretty friendly with him through the years. When he left King he was editor of Billboard for a while.
[L to R] George & Susan Goldner, Syd Nathan & Seymour Stein
He penned the charts for Billboard in New York. I used to go up there and see him all the time. And then I used to see him a lot when we went to Cannes, France for the music festival. Every year they have that, they still do. It’s called MIDEM. It’s a big deal. I was going there since the very beginning in the 70s. I used to go there with my TK Productions. I was a big man when I used to go there.
I had the biggest independent music company in the world, and they loved discos and dancing in Europe. I used to hang out with Seymour there and he was just one of those real terrific real record guys. He found Madonna ya know, and The Ramones, The Talking Heads, and he founded the Sire label, that was his, Sire Records. I didn’t know him back in the King days. Syd Nathan and I had already split up. Syd used to talk about that son of a bitch Henry Stone. I guess he respected me as a good record guy y’ know. Seymour Stein’s a real good record guy too.”
Seymour Stein would be the one on the right
Stein’s signings — as noted in the text that accompanies his Ahmet Ertegun Award from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame or his (abandoned) acceptance speech for CBGB’s Icon Award) — reveal a keen ear for talent in contemporary rock and pop: The Flamin’ Groovies, The Saints, The Rezillos, Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Radio Birdman, The Dead Boys, The Undertones, The Pretenders, The Replacements, The Smiths, Kid Creole & the Coconuts, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Cure, The Cult, Modern English, The English Beat, Madness, KD Lang, Depeche Mode, Aztec Camera, Everything But the Girl, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr., Barenaked Ladies, and Aphex Twin, along with the aforementioned Ramones, Talking Heads, and Madonna. Just as Cincinnati’s King Records helped give birth to 50s rock ‘n’ roll, this same scrappy indie label would then go on to play a significant supporting role in shaping modern ‘indie’ rock.
Seymour Stein’s liner notes for the original 1967 Columbia LP, sadly, exceed my grasp. Nevertheless, I can only presume that Stein points out (as with King Size Country Hits) how this other batch of King hits represents millions of sales: 1956’s “Honky Tonk” by Bill Doggett (although, “Part 2” – the better side, some assert); 1956’s “Please Please Please” by James Brown, 1961’s “Hide Away” by Freddie King, 1947’s “Good Rockin’ Tonight” by Wynonie Harris, and Lonnie Johnson’s “Tomorrow Night,” a huge ‘crossover’ hit in 1948 — massive sellers all.
Also worth pointing out the inclusion of an early Otis Redding single – “Shout Bamalama” from 1961 – that shows the influence of fellow Macon artist, Little Richard.
Also finding its way into 18 King Size Rhythm & Blues Hits is “Another Woman‘s Man” – a song from Joe Tex‘s first ever recording session, which took place in New York City for King Records in September, 1955:
“Another Woman’s Man” Joe Tex 1955
Musical personnel (according to Michael Ruppli’s The King Labels: A Discography):
Vocals: Joe Tex
Electric Guitar: Mickey Baker
Piano: Andy Gibson
Tenor Sax: Dave Van Dyke
Drums: Specs Powell
Bob Mehr’s well-researched Trouble Boys: The True Story of The Replacements provides some illuminating details about Seymour Stein’s fascinating roller coaster ride in the record business, as detailed here in this passage about the source of Sire’s seed money:
“In high school, Stein spent summers in Cincinnati apprenticing under King Records owner Syd Nathan [1957-58], whose biggest star was James Brown. Stein eventually would work for King full-time [1961-63], learning every aspect of the business at the company’s one-stop operation. Back in New York, he became an assistant to record man George Goldner in 1963, then in 1966 broke off with producer-writer Richard Gottehrer. Their label’s moniker scrambled the first two letters of their first names – SE and RI – to get Sire.
Each put up $10,000 in seed money. Stein’s funds had come from Beatlemania’s 1964 height, when Capitol Records in Canada sold a selection of Beatles singles not available in the United States. Stein had spirited a mass of the records out of the country, then offloaded them to US wholesalers, making a small fortune in a week. ‘The statute of limitations has passed,’ said Stein. ‘But that’s where my share of the money came from.'”
Q: Why do these Canadian early Beatles singles look so peculiar to the american eye?
A: Capitol US – incredible as it might seem – passed on the Beatles’ first four singles!
Twenty-two years or so later, Worrell would arrange “Call My Job” for the mighty bluesman, Albert King. Curiously, Worrell’s contribution to King’s 1978 album King Albert might have faded into history’s background had not this particular detail been noted on the 45 release “Love Shock” b/w “Call My Job,” given that Worrell’s name is otherwise missing from the album credits: (or misspelled):
“Call My Job” Albert King 1978
Text beneath “Albert King” – when magnified – identifies Bernie Worrell as arranger
Albert King: Guitar & Vocals Aaron Willis & Ray Tini, Jr.: Guitar Anthony Willis: Bass Dwayne Lomax: Drums Barbara Huby & Larry Fratangelo: Percussion Fred Wesley & The Horny Horns: Horns Rudy Robinson: Keyboards
Albert King’s 1977 LP ‘King Albert’
Is it fair to assume that Bernie Worrell’s arrangement responsibilities extended to the horns? Album produced by Don Davis, whose name you will see once more in the very near future.
There are a considerable number of people on this planet who are not yet aware of the existence of a restaurant – The Stinking Rose – that celebrates the garlic bulb in all its glory, with garlic infused into the majority of the menu offerings. With only two locations (one in Beverly Hills, the other in San Francisco), I’m afraid this dream destination will simply have to remain one for the indefinite future for many of us.
In the meantime, I will to have content myself with garlic-themed music for my soul food. But do songs about garlic exist? Here’s what Zero to 180’s investigation turned up.
As it turns out, garlic songs – at least here in the States – are at least as old as the blues. Sylvester Weaver‘s “Garlic Blues” from 1927, it bears noting, will turn 100 in 11 years:
“Garlic Blues” Helen Humes with Sylvester Weaver & Walter Beasley 1927
Not much else would appear for a couple decades, it seems, until The Max Brüel Quartet from Denmark released their jazz instrumental composition in 1955, “Garlic Wafer.”
“Garlic Wafer” by The Max Brüel Quartet – side one, track 2
1966 would bring another garlic sighting, when Capitol subsidiary label, Tower, released its single “(Get Off That) Booze & Garlic Bread” by garage rocker, Denny Rockwell.
This 45 deserves, if not partial credit, at least an asterisk
Two years later, vibraphonist Mike Mainieri and his Quartet would channel the spirits, and beat John Lennon to the punch in the process, with the wryly-titled “Instant Garlic” from the group’s 1968 album, Insight.
Instant garlic’s gonna get you — gonna knock you right on the head
“Who Put the Garlic in the Glue” by NRBQ – back when the Q stood for Quintet
[42 years later, Lin Brehmer from Chicago’s CBS affiliate XRT would single out NRBQ’s “Who Put the Garlic in the Glue” for her October 22, 2014 ‘Hump Day Unusual Moment‘ segment.]
Sometime in 1977 — within the confines of Italy, appropriately enough — garlic would get the funky instrumental it so richly deserves in the form of “Garlic Salt” by The Joy Unlimited Group & the Continentals:
“Garlic Salt” The Joy Unlimited Group & the Continentals 1977
1978 would see the final album – Spaceguerilla – from German progressive jazz-rock group, Missus Beastly, with “King Garlic,” fittingly, as its closing track.
“King Garlic” by Missus Beastly — Side 2, track 4
Before decade’s end, Leo Kottke would do his part to advance the cause with the release of 1979’s Balance, an LP that would include “1/2 Acre of Garlic.”
“1/2 Acre of Garlic” by Leo Kottke — Yugoslavian Pressing
1979 would also see the release of a Folkways album – Folk Songs from Latin America by Suni Paz – that would include the heartfelt paean “Al Ajo (To Garlic)”:
But the big breakthrough for garlic in song would come by way of Chapel Hill foursome, Superchunk, who no doubt “sweated out” vast amounts of garlic recording their unabashed 1990 declaration of bulb love, “Garlic” — the B-side of a split single on noted indie label, Merge, along with Seaweed and Geek (“released to go with a US tour of the three bands”):
“Garlic” Superchunk 1990
By the turn of the new century, it was a whole new era for Garlic in Popular Music, and even Lee ‘Scratch‘ Perry and Guided By Voices would eventually get in on the game, as you will note on the list below — a public service from the tireless research staff at Zero to 180.
Garlic in Modern Pop: An Exhaustive & Exhausting Discography
Bobby Gregory‘s Country Comedy LP includes a comic routine “We Always Feed Our Baby Garlic” that is also illustrated at the very bottom of the album cover – dead center:
The “contents” of Side A from Monty Python‘s Previous Record from 1970 – written from the perspective of a ‘Harley St. dentist’ – is an amusing bit that includes a ‘Where’s Waldo’ game: can you find the phrase “stinking garlic”?
Check out the opening “fuzz bass” lines on this tasty album selection – “Ham ‘N Grits” – that never got singled out for release on a Les Paul 45:
“Ham ‘n Grits” Les Paul & Mary Ford 1963
Issued on 1963 Columbia album, Swingin’ South – and nowhere else. Recorded in early 1963 in Mahwah, NJ, with Les Paul at the helm. So little has been written about this instrumental, although happy to see that “Ham ‘N Grits” was deemed fit for inclusion in the highly-selective 6-CD box set, Only the Best of Les Paul and Mary Ford.
“Ham ‘N Grits” would enjoy reissue on this two-fer
In 2001, Collectables would pair Swingin’ South with 1961’s Warm and Wonderful album on one CD — available right now for only $7.49 (half of its suggested retail price)..
Ham & Grits with Red-Eye Gravy Grits with Tasso Ham
Cheesy Grits with Sauteed Ham & Kale Ham & Grits at Nashville’s Silver Sands
Zero to 180 recently stumbled upon the fact that Mosrite had a short-lived record label — Mosrite Records – for which Joe & Rose Lee Maphis would record a couple singles, including “Tunin‘ Up for the Blues” in 1967 (most likely):
“Tunin’ Up for the Blues” Joe & Rose Lee Maphis 1967
Joe & Rose Lee had preceded this 45 with debut Mosrite release “Write Him a Letter” b/w “Send Me Your Love A.P.O.” Mosrite would issue one more 45 – albeit a promo – featuring one track by Rose Lee, “Country Girl Courtship,” and one by Joe suitably titled, “Pickin’ & Guitin’.”
Joe’s Record Paradise – thankfully – is only moving up Georgia Avenue a few blocks.
Joe’s Record Paradise at dusk
On my last visit to Joe’s I picked up The Record Men: The Chess Brothers and the Birth of Rock & Roll – the lone music history title in W.W. Norton’s Enterprise series that celebrates the virtues and achievements of Capitalism and Free Enterprise. Rich Cohen, consequently, focuses on Leonard and Phil Chess and the immigrant experience in post-WWII America, as the two brothers carved out an entrepreneurial niche at a time when Chicago electrified the blues during the Second Great Migration.
The success of the Macomba Lounge and its reputation as an after-hours music hot spot (that drew the likes of Max Roach and Ella Fitzgerald) would give Leonard Chess the inspiration to try his hand at recording this new blues sound as a music label proprietor. In 1947, Chess would buy a minority ownership stake in Aristocrat Records, the label that would become Chess three years later when Leonard and Phil acquired sole ownership of this independent musical enterprise.
Given the renown of Chess, surprisingly little seems to be known about the controversy around Leonard Chess’s first recording foray in September, 1947 with Andrew Tibbs. Writes Cohen:
“The Tibbs record is a cautionary tale–it shows how everything can go wrong. A few thousand were pressed. Side A was ‘Union [Man] Blues,’ a song about the life of a union man, a flat song to everyone but the Teamsters, truckers, and box handlers, who found it offensive, and so–or so the story goes–refused to ship it, letting the records pile up in the warehouses. Side B was “Bilbo Is Dead,” an attack on segregationist Senator Theodore Bilbo, who had just died. In those parts of the South where the Teamsters let the record through, it was smashed by angry white mobs. So started Leonard Chess in the music business: he sent his record out into the whirlwind–and these things are really no more than totems of the people who make them–and it came back smashed up, and spat upon, and undelivered.”
Note: 1101A means that “Bilbo Is Dead” is the A-side, not “union Man Blues”
Francis Davis in The History of the Blues additionally notes that “Union Man Blues” was a song “that voiced disgust over the exclusion of blacks from labor unions. Angry truck drivers, upon hearing the content of the lyrics, destroyed mass quantities of this record.” John Collis in The Story of Chess Records would refer to ‘the Tibbs record’ as the controversial release “which almost killed off Chess before it had even started.”
“Bilbo Is Dead” Andrew Tibbs 1947
Andrew Tibbs (vocals)
with Dave Young’s Orchestra:
– Dave Young (tenor sax)
– Andrew “Goon” Gardner (alto sax)
– Pee Wee Jackson (trumpet)
– Rudy Martin (piano)
– Bill Settles (bass)
– Curtis Walker (drums)
Robert L. Campbell (et al.)’s history of the Aristocrat label points out that “some of the composer credits on Aristocrat labels are demonstrably bogus. For instance, ‘Bilbo Is Dead’ was co-written by Andrew Tibbs and Tom Archia. But the label claimed credit for Chess-Aleta-Archia—whoever Aleta was. Meanwhile the copyright records at the Library of Congress give Evelyn Aron and Mildred Brount as the copyright owners!”
2120 South Michigan Avenue – Chicago, IL
An original copy of the “Bilbo Is Dead” 78 would fetch just under $100 in 2013.
One other Roger Troy highlight, confirms Dave Widow, is “Sweet Soul Music,” the lead-off track for The Electric Flag’s 1974 reunion album The Band Kept Playing. Fortunately, this song is available for preview on YouTube:
“Sweet Soul Music” The Electric Flag 1974
“Sweet Soul Music” is not a cover of the big Arthur Conley hit but rather an original song by Roger Troy & Mike Bloomfield, with Troy and Buddy Miles on co-lead vocals. Troy, in fact, would have a hand in writing the first three tracks on The Band Kept Playing.
Musical personnel on this album:
Roger Troy: Bass Buddy Miles: Drums Barry Goldberg: Keyboards Nick Gravenites: Rhythm guitar Michael Bloomfield: Lead guitar Roger Troy, Buddy Miles & Nick Gravenites: Lead vocals
The Bonnaroo Horns under the direction of Peter Graves.
Horns arranged by Peter Graves & The Electric Flag The Muscle Shoals Horns under the direction of Barry Beckett.
Horns arranged by Barry Beckett, Roger (Jellyroll) Troy & Jerry Wexler
Guests artists would also include Richard Tee (keyboards), Richard “King Biscuit Boy” Newell (harp), Nick Marerro (percussion) & Barry Beckett (mellotron & moog)
Recorded at Criteria Studios – Miami
Mastered By: George Piros
Producer: Jerry Wexler
Production assistance: Roger (Jellyroll) Troy
(L to R: Buddy Miles, Roger Troy, Nick Gravenites, Barry Goldberg & Mike Bloomfield)
Rolling Stone released two compendiums of Record Reviews in the early 70s, back when Lenny Kaye, John Mendelsohn, Lester Bangs, Greil Marcus, Bud Scoppa, Ed Ward, Richard Meltzer, Al Kooper, Ralph J. Gleason, Paul Gambaccini, Stephen Davis, Jon Landau, Jann Wenner, and (occasionally) Nick Tosches, and even Peter Townshend (Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy album) were writing reviews for the (formerly) underground ‘rock’ publication. Tip of the hat to Record Review’sVol. II for pointing out Hop Wilson’s distinctive steel guitar-driven rockin’ blues sound, as on masterpiece, “Chicken Stuff”:
“Chicken Stuff” Hop Wilson & His Chickens 1958
As Peter Guralnick would write in the Rolling Stone Record Review:
“Especially enterprising but a little further afield is Chicken Stuff: Houston Ghetto Blues, an English album available on Flyright. This is made up of six cuts by Hop Wilson from his legendary Ivory sessions and a side of live recordings. Wilson, one of the few bluemen to master steel guitar, employs a driving bottleneck-style technique which shows traces of Robert Nighthawk and Elmore James. With his deep brooding voice, stunning guitar work, and the overwhelming power of his blues, he is a singer who deserves much wider recognition.”
“As word spread that there was a recording studio in Lake Charles, a few blues artists, mainly from Texas, started arriving at Goldband. Hop Wilson was easily the best. His first recording, ‘Chicken Stuff’ in 1958, was a startling instrumental that had all the bounce of an old country dance number … At the time Hop was touring Texas and Louisiana with Ivory Semien’s band. He had a second Goldband release, the stark ‘Broke and Hungry,’ before recording three impressive singles for Ivory Records in the early 60s.”
Goldband’s Eddie Shuler would note how “[“Chicken Stuff”] is unique in the blues field” in that “he played a Hawaiian guitar — six strings of blues soul.”
Hop Wilson & Steel Guitar 1963
Hop WIlson’s soulful steel-based blues sound would set the stage for ground-breaking album, Sweet Funky Steel, released by Freddie Roulette (pictured below), coincidentally enough, around the time of this Rolling Stone Record Review‘s publication (as featured previously on Zero to 180).