Ohio Funk Invades France

Beau Dollar & The Dapps – according to Dave Thompson’s history simply entitled, Funk – were the resident band at Cincinnati’s Living Room night club “when they were discovered by James Brown” in 1965.  Cincinnati music writer and producer, Randy McNutt, on the other hand, asserts in his King Records of Cincinnati (as well as his Home of the Hits music blog) that the group was initially spotted at the Inner Circle.  [The following year, Lonnie Mack would produce their stellar arrangement of “Soul Serenade” – as recently featured here.]

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  drums & vocals
Tim Drummond & Charles Summers:  bass
Eddie Setser & Troy Seals:  guitar
Tim Hedding:  keyboards
Les Asch & David Parkinson:  saxophone
Ron Geisman & Ken Tibbetts:  trumpet

In any event, due to a contractual dispute with Syd Nathan, Brown was unable to issue their two-part Dapps single “It’s a Gas” on King.  However, Brown did put the band in touch with Arthur ‘Pee Wee’ Ellis, his musical director.  Ellis and The Dapps would then issue two singles – “Bringing Up the Guitar” & “There Was a Time” – in quick succession.

Thompson neglects to mention, however, “The Rabbit Got the Gun” – the B-side that manages to keep pace with its equally heavyweight A-side, “There Was a Time”:

Billboard, in its June 29, 1968 edition, would put “The Rabbit Got the Gun” in its official “spotlight” and identify the song as one “predicted to reach the R&B Singles chart.”

Mustachioed rabbit with blunderbuss on picture sleeve for 1972 French 45

Dapps-FrenchFascinating to find that the French were in on the funk at the time it was all going down – as evidenced by these three French releases between the years 1968-1972 that all contain recordings by The Dapps – along with many other heavy funk and soul tracks that were laid down at Cincinnati’s King studios.

Dapps-French-aTrack listing for 1969 French compilation of King tracks, Nonstop Soul.

Dapps-French-bHip picture sleeve for 1968 French Hank Ballard 45 – with backing by The Dapps.

Dapps-French-cTrack listing for 1970 German (neighboring country) “James Brown & Friends” LP.

Mack: Synonymous with Diesel

Can you believe it’s been 4 months and 20 days since I last featured a truck driving song?  And how perfect is it that Lonnie Mack once wrote and sang a truck driving song for 1971 Elektra album, The Hills of Indiana?

“Asphalt Outlaw Hero”     Lonnie Mack     1971

Don Nix – who also wrote “Oh What a Mighty Time” for The New Riders of the Purple Sage, with Sly Stone & Jerry Garcia (previously celebrated here) – co-wrote “Asphalt Outlaw Hero” with Lonnie Mack.

Acoustic & Electric Guitar – Lonnie Mack
Rhythm Guitar – Wayne Perkins*
Steel Guitar – Lloyd Green
Bass – Norbert Putnam, Tim Drummond, Troy Seals & David Hood*
Drums – Kenneth Buttrey & Roger Hawkins*
Fiddle – Buddy Spicher
Baritone Saxophone – Don Nix*
Keyboards – David Briggs & Barry Beckett*
Lead Vocals – Lonnie Mack & Don Nix
Choir – Mt. Zion Singers
Producer – Lonnie Mack & Russ Miller
Arranger – Norbert Putnam
Engineer – Brian Ross-Myring, Gene Eichelberger & Marlin Greene*

* designates personnel on “Asphalt Outlaw Hero”

“Asphalt Outlaw Hero” & “All Good Things Will Come to Pass” recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio — all others at Quadrafonic Sound Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.  Elektra would issue a promo 7-inch of “Lay It Down” in 1971 but no actual singles.

Billboard’s review of The Hills of Indiana in its September 25, 1971 edition:

“Memphis, now Nashville.  Lonnie Mack bids for a chart comeback with still another fine LP country-soul and pop-gospel.  Mack is dedicated, often moving and brilliant , yet “undiscovered” by a pop public that would tune in fast if they could hear Mack soul away on ‘Rings,’ Dylan’s ‘The Man in Me’ and ‘All Good Things Will Come to Pass.’  Buttrey, Briggs and Putnam back Mack for an honest shot at popular exposure.”

Mojo would include The Hills of Indiana in its list of 60 Greatest Elektra Albums in the magazine’s November, 2010 issue — along with Don Nix’s Living by the Days, also from 1971.

The many moods of Lonnie Mack’s ‘The Hills of Indiana’

Lonnie Mack - Hills-1xElektra Records album sleevesLonnie Mack - Hills-2

Seven months ago, someone paid $20 for a sealed copy of The Hills of Indiana on Ebay.

Meet Lonnie Mack

Hard to believe that Lonnie Mack‘s obvious winner of an instrumental – “Soul Express” – is not yet available for preview on YouTube and, thus, in danger of being lost in our cultural memory. The title of this piece is gallows humor expressing sadness over the fact this song is not more widely known:

[Pssst:  Click the triangle above to play “Soul Express” by Lonnie Mack (1968)]

You can find this recording (and “Snow on the Mountain“) on Ace’s Lonnie Mack collection, Lonnie on the Move, a compact disc retrospective that I am happy to report has since been expanded to a 26-track stocking stuffer entitled, Lonnie Mack:  Still on the Move – The Fraternity Years 1963-1968.  Er, wait a second – it turns out that Ace gave “Soul Express” the ol’ heave ho!  Check it out:

“This collection does not repeat the mistakes of its predecessor by including both ‘Soul Express’ and ‘Jam And Butter’ – per the original Trip album – as it becomes fairly obvious in an A/B test that these are, in fact, one and the same master (albeit the ‘Jam & Butter’ tape runs marginally faster than the tape for ‘Soul Express’). In fact, we haven’t included it at all, as we have a splendid stereo mix of that mono ‘Soul Express’/’Jam & Butter’ master on Memphis Wham, where it appears under its “proper” title, ‘The Freeze’!”

Photo courtesy of Ace Records

Lonnie Mack-hippy mod

As Trey Faull notes in the original liner notes, Lonnie Mack (it is fun to point out) contributed guitar work on recording sessions for Freddie King, James Brown, Mike Nesmith, and even The Doors.  Greil Marcus, in The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years, writes about the conspicuous impact of the very presence of “recently signed” artist, Lonnie Mack – who played bass on “Roadhouse Blues” for fellow Elektra artists, The Doors – thereby validating Wikipedia’s assertion that “the sessions only took off on the second day [of recording], when resident Elektra guitarist Lonnie Mack joined in on bass.”

Faull would also describe “Soul Express” & “Jam and Butter” as “one funky onion with stabbing horns and plenty of flair.”

Lonnie Mack - Soul Express 45

Lonnie Mack - Fraternity 45“Snow on the Mountain” Update:  Tambourine Part Now Fully Restored!

In the historical notes that accompany Lonnie Mack:  Still on the Move, Ace Records makes the following announcement on its website:

“Our previously reissued version of ‘(There’s) Snow On The Mountain’ lacked the tambourine overdub heard on the single (as, to be fair, did the version on the Trip album that was taken from the same tapes!), so we’ve put that right here.”
.

Mountain Snow = Icy Heart

Cincinnati’s other prominent label – besides King – was Fraternity Records, who (in a tidy quirk of math) enjoyed three successive #2 hits between the years 1956 and 1958.

However, by 1963 things were looking grim — until Lonnie Mack entered the picture.  Tip of the hat to David Edwards & Mike Calahan of Both Sides Now Publications for the back story:

“By 1963, it had been a long time since [#2 hit] ‘All American Boy,’ [by Bill Parsons, a.k.a., Bobby Bare] and most people had forgotten about the label altogether.  But in the summer of 1963, a young guitar player from Indiana by the name of Lonnie McIntosh had his band in King Records’ Cincinnati studio backing another artist.  When some studio time was left, the band recorded an instrumental version of what at the time was a fairly obscure song, Chuck Berry’s ‘Memphis.’   The recording was inspired; unlike the slow tempo of Berry’s version, McIntosh rolled out a snappy, danceable, and in retrospect, memorable, version of the song that Fraternity issued under the name Lonnie Mack.  It made #5 on the national charts. ‘Memphis’ was obscure no more, as other artists such as Johnny Rivers did the song in Mack’s faster tempo and it became a Chuck Berry classic.”

Lonnie Mack - 1960s

I could not agree more with Richie Unterberger (in the All Music Guide to Blues) and his assessment of Lonnie Mack’s under-appreciated B-side “Snow on the Mountain,” a recording that he deems “a first-class overlooked blue-eyed soul cooker from 1967”:

“Snow on the Mountain” = 41 ‘views’ on YouTube as of 9/23/15

Soulful Kinda Music & other credible sources document the fact that this song was used as a flip side in the latter part of 1966 – and then again the next year!  Moreover, 45Cat shows the song – initially titled “There’s Snow on the Mountain” – as an A-side the first time around:  could this be true?

1966 release                                                        1967 release

Lonnie Mack 45-1bLonnie Mack 45-1a

All Roads Lead to Shad O’Shea

Rubber City Review has a nice tribute to Lonnie Mack that also ropes Shad O’Shea into the story – by virtue of the fact that $25,000 in 1975 made him Fraternity Records’ new owner.

Photo courtesy of Rubber City Review

Shad O'Shea behind the board

“Soul Serenade”: Beau Dollar + Coins

Seems like everyone’s covered “Soul Serenade” – so why does no one play it on the radio?  Don’t you think it’s about time for this tune to be rediscovered?

“Soul Serenade”     Beau Dollar & the Coins     1966

This irresistible instrumental was produced by Lonnie Mack, one-time musical compatriot of Roger TroyBeau Dollar – last celebrated in this offbeat & oddball historical highlight reel – once served as a session drummer for Syd Nathan’s King Records in Cincinnati.  Three of the Coins – Ed Setser, Tim Hedding & Les Asch – in fact, would join Roger Troy’s Jellyroll.

                      DJ copy                                        45 on Cincinnati’s Fraternity label

Beau Dollar - Prime 45Beau Dollar - Fraternity 45

Originally recorded by legendary session musician and bandleader, King Curtis, in 1964, this song would be covered by the likes of Quincy Jones, Gloria Lynne, Aretha Franklin,  Lou RawlsWillie Mitchell, The Allman Brothers, Jimmy Castor Bunch, Bill Black’s Combo & The Derek Trucks Band.

The song would also spawn a slew of ska, rocksteady & reggae covers by such notable names as Prince Buster, The Soul Brothers, The Paragons, The Gaylads, Tommy McCook, Boris Gardiner, St. George & the Dragon Killers, Byron Lee & the Dragonaires, and don’t forget The Federalmen.

Beau Dollar’s Last King 45 as Artist – written by henry glover

Beau Dollar - King 45

Troy & Bloomfield’s Gospel Blues

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), RichardKing 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)

Electric Flag - back cover photoThe Band Kept Playing – which enjoyed release in US, UK, Canada, Germany & Japan – would be reissued on compact disc in 2002 by Wounded Bird.

Japanese Pressing – 1974

Electric Flag - Japanese Pressing

Roger Troy & Mike Bloomfield

How delightfully odd to discover that someone went to the trouble of putting together a web page tribute to Mike Bloomfield‘s 1973 CBS LP Try It Before You Buy It that (get this) only lists the songs on which Roger Troy takes the lead vocal!  What’s funny is that this web page functions more like a tribute to Roger “Jellyroll” Troy rather than Bloomfield – but doesn’t come right out and say so.

According to blues rockin’ guitarist, Dave Widow, who worked closely with Roger Troy during the latter part of his career, “One of his and my own faves was ‘Your Friends,’ which was someone else’s tune that he sang and played bass on.”   Unfortunately, no one has uploaded that song onto YouTube yet, nor am I able to post a 6-minute recording on this blog due to file size limitations.

However, someone has uploaded a Roger Troy original, “Shine On Love,”  from that same album that has a nice groove, sweet lyric, and a tasty guitar solo that kicks off with a surprise special effect.

“Shine On Love”     Mike Bloomfield & Roger Troy     1973

Main recording personnel:
Michael Bloomfield: guitar, vocals & organ
Roger Troy:  bass & vocals
Make Naftalin:  piano, organ, vibes, marimba, acc. & tambourine
Barry Goldberg:  organ
George Rains:  drums
Nick Gravenites:  vocals

Additional personnel include:
Jimmy Vincent:  rhythm guitar
Howard Wales:  keyboards
John Wilmeth:  trumpet & arranger
Mel Graves, Ron Stallings (?):  tenor sax
Harry Mann:   alto sax
Hart McNee:  baritone sax
Chuck Bennett:  trombone
Joe Bullock, Ollie Griffin, Tommy Tony:  backing vocals

Recording info:
Columbia Studios – San Francisco, CA – 1973

Mike Bloomfield & Roger Troy (photo courtesy of UltimateRockPix)

Bloomfield & Troy

Roger ‘Jellyroll’ Troy: Soul Rocker

Roger Troy‘s band, Jellyroll – as we learned from the previous piece – had inked a contract with Kapp Records around the same time Rick Powell and Wayne Perry enlisted Troy’s help on their “Pain” b/w “Gonna Have a Good Time” single.  Troy would co-write the flip side of the band’s debut single, “Help Me Over”  (what timing – this YouTube audio track was only posted three months ago):

“Help Me Over”     Jellyroll     Recorded in 1970

Roger Troy:   Lead vocals & bass
Tim Hedding:  Keyboards & backing vocals
Ed Setser:  Guitar
Stu Perry:  Drums & percussion
Les Asch:  Alto, tenor & baritone saxophones
Dave Parkinson:  Tenor sax
Bob Thorne:  Trumpet
Cosme Joseph Deaguero:  Conga

Curiously, Kapp would issue a total of two singles for Jellyroll — and “Help Me Over” would be the B-side for each one!

Photo courtesy of the Roger “Jellyroll” Troy Facebook page

Roger TroyAccording to the person who posted this audio track on YouTube, Troy’s musical career would include a professional association with these artists:  The Fendermen, The Hollywood Argyles, Michael Bloomfield & Friends, Maria Muldaur, Mick Taylor, Lonnie Mack, Nick Gravenites, Jerry Garcia & Howard Wales, Mike Finnigan, Timmy Goshorn & Larry Goshorn of Pure Prairie League, and Dave Widow.   This same person would also note that at least three of the band members (Tim Heding, Ed Setser & Les Asch) had prior experience with James Brown, Bobby Byrd, Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis, and/or The Dapps.

1970 Kapp LP

Jellyroll LP coverRoger Troy would have a hand in writing all but two of the songs on their debut Kapp LP. Discogs.com has this historical note about the album:

“This LP probably was released in 1970.  At the very least, a promotional copy was available to radio as early as July 1970.  It was listed on playlist reports by WLOF (July 17), KTLK (August 13), and KLIV (September 3).”

German 45 issued in fancy picture sleeve

Jellyroll German 45         US 45                                                  New Zealand 45

Jellyroll 45Jellyroll NZ 45

Ohio Valley + Muscle Shoals = Rick Powell

I am eternally grateful that a hometown musical troupe – The Raisins – just happened to be one of the greatest rock bands of the 1980s.  Amusing to recall in retrospect my adolescent disbelief when a friend once informed me that Rick Powell‘s musical life was not wholly enveloped by The Raisins — that, in fact, he had played on 1978’s The Leblanc-Carr Band’s Live from the Atlantic Studios album.

Rick “Bam” Powell — the “writing-singing drummer” who joined forces early in his career with the aforementioned Wayne Perry, as well as Roger “Jellyroll” Troy (later with Mike Bloomfield & The Electric Flag) — would cut his first piece of wax providing the soul-rockin’ vocals for “Gonna Have a Good Time” on Randy McNutt’s Beast imprint:

[Pssst:   Click on the triangle above to play “Gonna Have a Good Time” by Rick Powell & Little Flint]

Did I mention that Powell was a high-schooler at the time?  Powell would record the song with his own group – The Chamberly Kids – along with Wayne Perry’s outfit, Little Flint.

Recorded in 1970/71 –  Released in 1973 – Distributed by Counterpart Records

Little Flint 45

Randy McNutt, who produced some of Powell’s earliest recordings, would include both versions on his CD compilation, Souled Out:  Queen City Soul-Rockers of the 1970s.  For the (unreleased) Chamberly Kids session, Powell was excited to work with Roger Troy, whose band, Jellyroll, had just been signed by Kapp Records.  According to McNutt, “Wayne [Perry] joined him on harmonies and Roger ‘Jellyroll’ Troy, leader of the band Jellyroll, played bass.  During the memorable session at Jewel, Jellyroll’s car was repossessed and he wore red, white, and blue shoes.”

Rick Powell recording at home in 1974 (photo courtesy of Randy McNutt)

Rick Powell - 1974As Powell recounted later to McNutt:

“One day I got a call from a guy who claimed he managed LeBlanc and Carr in Muscle Shoals, Alabama,” Powell says.  “I asked him, ‘All right, who’s pulling my leg?’  But he was their manager, and he was offering me a job as one of their two drummers.  I auditioned and got the job.  Later, they cut back to just one drummer—me.  I toured and recorded with them for the better part of four years.  We were on the road constantly.  It was insane, really.  We opened for a bunch of hit acts—Robert Palmer, England Dan & John Ford Coley, Taj Mahal, and others.  I was based out of Muscle Shoals, where I visited the famous studio where the Swampers [studio musicians] cut the hits.  I feel like a small part of history.”

Sticker Shock:  Wayne Perry & Little Flint’s “Pain” b/w “Gonna Have a Good Time” 45 – categorized overseas as “northern soul mod” (!) – can fetch upwards of $100.

This drummer sings, you know

Rick 'Bam' PowellGood News for Music Fans:  Rick Powell, who once declared he has “no intention of quitting — they’ll have to drag me off the stage when they’re through with me,” has an excellent album of “funky pop rock” = 2009’s Eat the Fat, Drink the Sweet = that is yours for the taking at CD Baby.  Watch out for “Step by Step” – that one is particularly infectious.

Larry Nager’s 1999 biographical profile for The Cincinnati Enquirer is also very informative.

Powell’s soul-rockin’ Adrian Belew-produced B-side for 1983 Raisins 45

Raisins 45-21981 Debut Raisins 45                                   Final Raisins 45 from 1984

Raisins 45-1Raisins 45-3

insert for 1981 debut 45 “Quarters” b/w “Tour Guide”

Raisins

“Space Funk”: Groovy Synths

Is Cincinnati aware the degree to which Manzel‘s two 45s “Space Funk” (from 1977) & “Midnight Theme” (1979) have become revered dance tracks around the globe?  Note the trippy backwards drumming intro that immediately draws in the listener on “Space Funk”:

“Space Funk”     Manzel     1977

The number of times Dopebrother Records have reissued (and remixed) these tracks – originally produced by Manzel Bush & Shad O’Shea – is a testament to their durability, as well as desirability by DJs and vinyl enthusiasts worldwide.  One recording of “Space Funk” posted on YouTube has enjoyed 180,000+ “views” to date.

Worth noting that Harry Carlson would sell 20-year-old Fraternity to Shad O’Shea in 1975, thus allowing Fraternity to stake a claim as America’s oldest continuously operating independent record label.”  Shad would consolidate operations at Counterpart Creative Studios in Cheviot, where Manzel’s two singles would be created.

What’s the deal with this 1988 release?  Need info, please
Manzel 45

Discogs.com waxes biographical about Lexington, Kentucky’s Manzel:

“The Manzel story began quite unsuspectingly. In 1976 O’Shea built Cincinnati, OH’s first state-of-the-art recording studio, Counterpart Creative Studios, and recorded some sessions by Manzel.  The instrumental funk group from Lexington, KY, consisted of Manzel Bush (keyboards), John L. Van Dyke (guitar), and Steve Garner (drums).  Just before the sessions were totally finished, Lieutenant Bush got called off to military duty in Germany, and O’Shea hired some players from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra to finish off the sessions.  The first of the recordings to see the light of day were ‘Space Funk’ b/w ‘Jump Street,’ which O’Shea released on Fraternity in 1977.”

Manzel-aManzel-bManzel-c

Discogs has the rest of the story:

“Two years later, after some further tweaking by Bush, came the ‘Midnight Theme’ b/w ‘Sugar Dreams’ 45, and that was that.  Manzel were no more.  Bush stayed in the military, raised a family, and left music behind.  Twenty-five years later, in 2004, the recordings of Manzel resurfaced with the aid of Kenny Dope and the Undercover Brother.  The two wanted to reissue the original, very rare, and quite bootlegged Manzel recordings.  However, the Dopebrother guys didn’t just reissue the original 45s.  They dug up the tapes from the original Manzel sessions at Counterpart Creative, remixed and remastered them, and then released everything on a lavishly detailed CD, Midnight Theme.  They also released a ‘Midnight Theme’ b/w ‘Space Funk’ single on 7″ vinyl with a picture sleeve reproducing the artwork from a flyer for a Manzel show in the ’70s.”