King’s “Red River Rock” Cash-In

Catchy King instrumental — and what is that instrument, exactly?  Sounds like a blend of organ and harmonica, most likely:

“New Annie Laurie”     Gene Redd     1960

New Annie Laurie” seems an obvious attempt by King to “cash in” on the fresh organ retooling of “Red River Rock” made famous the previous year by Johnny and the Hurricanes, although without directly resorting to plagiarism, cleverly enough, by using an olde Scotch ballad.

Billboard‘s review of the single in its October 10, 1960 edition would have this to say about the A-side “New Sidewalks of New York” — “Gene Redd sells this happy rocker with warmth on this driving instrumental side, it’s the old tune dressed up with a rocking beat” — and then, hilariously, utter two words “same comment” about the B-side “New Annie Laurie”!  Worth noting that Redd covered “Red River Rock” for King the previous year.

Gene Redd 45Brian Powers’ King Records Scrapbook informs me that Redd, originally a session player and King artist who became a talent scout for the label, would go on to do arrangements for Kool & the Gang, for which his son, Gene Redd, Jr., served as manager.

King’s “Tequila” Knock-Off

King Records would try to cash-in on the success of “Tequila” by The Champs, as Johnnie Pate‘s 1958 Federal 45 “Muskeeta” would demonstrate:

Johnnie Pate’s     “Muskeeta”     1958

Johnnie Pate (b, ldr); Ronald Wilson (fl); Williams Wallace (p); Wilbur Wynne (g); Donald Clark (d).

Chicago, March 20, 1958

According to Armin Büttner‘s Johnnie Pate history website, the version of “Muskeeta” on the French EP (below) is exactly the same as the version on King LP 584, but for a tenor sax probably overdubbed by Ronald Wilson himself.  It is not yet known, which version of “Muskeeta” is on Federal 45-12325.

Johnnie Pate - Muskeeta - French EPThis would not be the first time King Records would attempt to mine this particular vein, as Zero to 180’s lengthy examination of “Rare & Unissued King Tracks” revealed another 45 released that same year, “Snake Charmer” by The Puddle Jumpers that attempted to ride the coattails of “Tequila” and its unexpected meteoric ride.

Billboard‘s April 21, 1958 edition would report that “Muskeeta” made the #5 spot of “R&B Best Sellers” that week in the Cincinnati area.  Song would be included on 1958 full-length release Swingin’ Flute Dance Beat for the Ivy League.

Johnnie Pate King LP

Lue Renney’s Novelty 45 on King

Lue Renney‘s quirky and endearing “Your Wiggle And Your Giggle” would be recorded at King’s Cincinnati studios on January 27, 1964:

“Your Wiggle And Your Giggle”     Lue Renney     1964

45Cat informs us this song would be issued May, 1964 on King’s Bethlehem subsidiary label.  A half century later, this “teen-rock” 45 sells for a respectable amount at auction.  “Your Wiggle and Your Giggle” merited inclusion on French bootleg LP Inferno Party, as well as Dutch bootleg compilation More Real Gone Girls.

As with Lord BooBoo, Little Mummy, and Carolyn Blakey, this one release would comprise the full extent of Lue Renney’s entire recorded output (although copyright records show that that artist would register her song “Time to Love” later that same year under the name Lue Rennebaum).

Lue Renney Bethlehem 45-a

It’s been over a year since Zero to 180 has posted a piece tagged as humor & satire

$500+ Rhythm & Blues LP

The Five Keys, during their short stint with King Records, would carry out three recording sessions between 1959-1960 that would yield two albums for the label.  One album, Rhythm & Blues Hits:  Past and Present, would be released in 1960, while the other self-titled album would be released, oddly enough, 17 years later on the Gusto subsidiary.  Note that the Five Keys original King album can fetch over $500!

Five Keys LP

One song title in particular seems to call attention to itself – “Your Teeth and Tongue (Will Get You Hung)” — fittingly, the album’s final track.  Could this be an attempt at social protest, not unlike Lowman Pauling & the Five Royales’ “The Slummer the Slum”.  Still decoding the lyric, but if true, might explain why this song was never put out for single release (*correction:  Gusto would issue this song as a B-side in 1982).

The Capitol LP displayed in the YouTube audio clip below injects a bit of confusion into the mix:  Is this version (as it appears to sound) the 1959 King recording, or could it be an earlier version from 1954 that would not see release until 35 years later?

“Your Teeth and Your Tongue (Will Get You Hung)”     The Five Keys     1959

Production and groove sounds more like 1959 to me than 1954, wouldn’t you agree?  “Your Teeth & Your Tongue” was recorded August 18, 1959 at King’s Cincinnati studio.

Carolyn Blakey’s 45: Very 1970

Man Came Down From the Mountain” — the B-side to Carolyn Blakey‘s one and only 45 for King Records — captures the mood and feeling of 1970 in ways that words cannot adequately express.

“Man Came Down From the Mountain”     Carolyn Blakey     1970

According to Discogs.com contributor 1stVerse:

Although this record bears the “James Brown Production” logo, the labels credit a Steve Baron as the actual producer of both tracks.  Baron is also the songwriter on both of these tunes, which to me are reminiscent of the kind of sophisticated funk that Galt MacDermot was turning out around this same period.  I’m sure JB approved.

Carolyn Blakey King 45-aaCarolyn Blakey King 45-bb

Blakey would be identified as “Cincinnati Talent in Action” by Billboard in its May 23, 1970 edition:

Dennis Wholey, a resident of New York since his syndicated talk show bearing his name was chucked by WKRC-TV five months ago, was a visitor here last week, accompanied by singer Carolyn Blakey, whom he has under contract.  Miss Blakey cut a session at King Records here, with Wholey monitoring.  Her initial release on the label some months ago was “Tomorrow’s Child.”  Now working out of the William Morris office, Dennis is still mulling the idea of presenting The Who here, with he as emcee.

Carolyn Blakey’s lone King 45 (as with Lord BooBoo) would appear to be the full extent of her entire professional recorded output.  This obscure single trades for a healthy two figures at auction.

Little Mummy’s Lone 45 – on King

This other one-off recording from 1957 – released on King subsidiary label, Federal – establishes a Cincinnati-New Orleans connection via musical artist, Little Mummy (i.e., Marvin Gauthreaux):

“Where You At Jack”     Little Mummy     1957

Where You At” and its flip side “Oh Baby Please” were both recorded in New Orleans.

Little Mummy 45-aaLittle Mummy 45-bb

45Cat informs me that Marvin Gauthreaux also recorded as Phil Marvin on at least two singles for different Louisiana labels.

Little Mummy picture sleeve“Where You At Jack” included on a thoughtfully compiled double LP of King material – Teach Me to Monkey – released on Spanish label, Vampi Soul in 2010 and issued, thankfully, on Gusto here in the US.

Lord BooBoo’s Lone 45 – on King

Lord BooBoo‘s lone single release on King Records would end up being the calypso singer’s entire recorded output!  Michel Ruppli’s 2-volume King discography reports that Lord BooBoo laid down these two tracks – “De Knife, De Fork, De Spoon” b/w “No Man and Woman Get Along” – in NYC on April Fool’s Day, 1957.

“De Knife, De Fork, De Spoon”     Lord BooBoo     1957

Note that this single was issued on 10-inch (78) as well as 7-inch (45) vinyl.

Lord BooBoo 78-aLord BooBoo 45-a

Zero to 180’s Midwest correspondent, Mike Rep Hummel, notes that Earl Robbins, the song’s creator and undoubtedly Lord BooBoo himself, recorded a couple of split singles that same year for Cincinnati label, Gateway, where (as you might recall) my brother’s father-in-law served as vocalist under the pseudonym, Jack Daniels.

Earl Robbins 78

Mickey Baker on a King Surf LP

Session guitarist Mickey (“Love Is Strange“) Baker — whose work would grace dozens of releases by King Records and its subsidiaries — would end up being allotted exactly one solo album by the label as an artist in his own right:  1963’s But Wild.

Mickey Baker King LP

Recorded in Paris in June of 1962, this album would feature Baker’s guitar (as Michel Ruppli’s King Label discography would seem to indicate) overdubbed onto instrumental tracks – licensed from the Versailles label – of French studio musicians.

King would release three 45s from But Wild:  “Baby Let’s Dance” b/w “Oh Yeah, Ah, Ah” in 1963, “Steam Roller” b/w “Side Show” in 1964, and “Do What You Do” b/w “Night Blue” in 1965.

Mickey Baker King 45-aaMickey Baker King 45-bbMickey Baker King 45-cc

Note the degree to which this rare King LP commands big bucks at auction, according to Popsike.  One seller on Collector’s Frenzy describes But Wild as “Shadows/Ventures guitar instrumental rock.”  In fact, “Zanzie” (along with “Gone”) would end up being rightfully pressed into service on King surf compilation album, Surfin’ on Wave Nine, a fairly obscure release that also changes hands at respectable prices:

“Zanzie”     Mickey Baker     1962

Baker’s 2012 obituary in the New York Times notes, sadly, that he moved to France in the early 1960s and “rarely returned to the United States.”

King would eventually get around to issuing “Love Is Strange” in 1964, eight years after the song originally hit the charts.

Mickey Baker King 45-d