Earliest Melodica Recording ’64

A Postcard From Canton [Massachusetts] celebrates the accomplishments of one of the town’s most “esteemed citizens” — and industrious tinkerers:

[James Amireaux] Bazin came to examine a simple free-reed instrument when he was 23 years old.  A group of men brought him a broken pitch pipe and asked him to repair it.  Bazin made the repair but also created a new invention, which became a sliding brass pitch pipe that could be adjusted along a series of pitches from c” to d’”.  From this small invention he began making several variations on the theme and eventually moved to reed trumpets, which he invented in 1824.  For many years his trumpet accompanied the choir at the Unitarian Church in Canton Corner and reputedly it could be heard “a mile away.”  In 1831 Bazin invented a harmonica.  In fact, Bazin had only read about the harmonica invented in Germany, so it is likely that indeed this was the first reed harmonica in America.

Melodica Shack‘s “History of the Melodica” page notes that the lap organ developed by James H. Bazin, as well as the melodeon designed by Abraham Prescott of Prescott Organ Company, were “stepping stones” to the modern-day melodica, an instrument said to have been invented by Hohner, according to the company’s own website, in the “1950s.”  Why such vagueness about the date, I wonder.

MelodicaWorld‘s Alan Brinton informs us that the Hohner Soprano, a button-style melodica, “appears to have been first announced in early December, 1958,” while earlier that same year, André Borel, introduced the Clavietta, a keyboard-style melodica.  Is it possible that Borel is the unacknowledged pioneer of the keys-based melodica?  MelodicaWorld‘s Daren Banarsë took the time to search the British LIbrary for UK publications that contain “Clavietta adverts” and found this one published in the 11 February 1960 edition of Stage and Television:

Zero to 180’s dubious quest to identify the earliest recording of a melodica has thus far led to two popular recordings [“Tint of Blue” by The Bee Gees and “Ice Cream and Suckers” by South Africa’s Soweto Stokvel Septette], as well as a serious composition by Steve Reich [“Melodica“] — all from the year 1966.

Fortunately, “Quirky 45s That Bubbled Under” from this past March broke the logjam with the discovery of Stu Phillips and the Hollyridge Strings (celebrated in 2013) as unwitting innovators who, in 1964, might possibly have been the first to commit melodica to tape in an attempt to emulate John Lennon’s harmonica lines on The Fabs’ very first single for EMI’s subsidiary label, Parlophone:

“Love Me Do”     The Hollyridge Strings     1964

A promotional/demonstration copy of the original “Love Me Do” Beatles release on Parlophone (with Paul’s last name misspelled as “McArtney) was sold in 2017 via Discogs for $14,757 — making it “the most expensive 7-inch single ever sold,” as reported on the Gibson Guitars website.

Note the scandalous “McCartney-Lennon” songwriting credits:

But wait!   This television clip of Ray Conniff from three years earlier playing an Italian-manufactured Clavietta now means 1961 is the year to beat (although it should be noted that the studio version of “Midnight Lace” uses a harmonica for the melody line):

“Midnight Lace”     Ray Conniff Orchestra     1961

According to the person who posted this video clip
The Ray Conniff Orchestra and Chorus TV show “Concert In Stereo” in 1961.

Honorable Mention

1965’s “Bossa Melodica” by Dutch bandleader Gaby Dirne & His Orchestra

The Clavietta, it has been said, is a “keyboard version of the accordina.”

Pat Missin states that US patent no. 2461806 (above rendering) “was granted in 1949 to André Borel of Paris, France” for his “chromatic harmonicon” that was manufactured under the name, accordina.  Borel would later be granted a patent for a “mouth[-]blown free reed instrument with a piano-style keyboard and both blow and draw reeds,” notes Missin.

The legacy of James Amireaux Bazin, meanwhile, includes “lap organs, table organs, a seraphine, and several larger instruments,” according to A Postcard From Canton. “What is amazing is that his earliest instruments were patented, sold reasonably well (although at a loss), and today are in private collections as well as the Museum of Fine Art, the National Museum of American History, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Darcy Kuronen, a noted expert on early musical instruments, writes of Bazin:  ‘Each of his surviving examples of his instruments shows a restless desire to improve their operation and versatility, with no one model bearing much resemblance to another.’”

For those who wish to delve further into the history —

James A. Bazin and the Development of Free-Reed Instruments in America,” by Darcy Kuronen, published in Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, Vol 31, 2005, pp 133-182.

The Upsetters at King Records

I am only just now discovering that Little Richard‘s musical influence had a direct impact on King Records, first when his live backing band, The Upsetters, became Little Willie John’s support group after Richard renounced rock ‘n’ roll in 1957, and then again soon after when the Upsetters backed James Brown for a time.

On December 2, 1958, Little Willie John did a session for King in New Orleans — at Cosimo Recording Studios, no doubt — in which The Upsetters served as his backing band.  Four songs were recorded that day:

> AUDIO LINK for “Do You Love Me

> AUDIO LINK for “The New Thing

> AUDIO LINK for “It Only Hurts a Little While

> AUDIO LINK for “Write Me a Letter

Musician credits according to Ruppli’s session notes —

Little Willie John:  Vocals
Emile Russell:  Drums
Olsie Robinson:  Bass
Milton Hopkins:  Guitar
Wilbert Lee Smith:  Piano & Guitar
Jimmy Booker:  Piano
Grady Gaines:  Tenor Sax
Clifford Burks:  Tenor Sax
Melvin Lastic:  Trumpet

2016 Spanish EP —
INCLUDES “DO YOU LOVE ME” & “LEAVE MY KITTEN ALONE”

Fun to point out that exactly one year later, on December 2, 1959, Emile Russell served as the drummer on a Hank Ballard and the Midnighters recording session at King Studios that netted four songs, including “The Coffee Grind” and “I Love You, I Love You So-o-o.”  Would you be surprised to know that Emile Russell was also the drummer at Little Willie John‘s June 3, 1959 session in New York City that produced “Leave Me Kitten Alone,” along with “Let Them Talk,” “Right There” & “Let Nobody Love You“?

Grady Gaines, by the way, is also connected to King through his brother, Roy Gaines, who released two 45s for King subsidiary label, DeLuxe in 1957 – “Annabelle” b/w “Night Beat” plus “Isabella” b/w “Gainesville” – the latter tune being one of his signature guitar statements.

Important to note that Little Richard battled mightily with Specialty Records owner Art Rupe to be allowed to record with The Upsetters, who Richard favored over the studio session players.  As Robert Palmer wrote for the New York Times in 1990:

“The early Upsetters sessions present a band that lacked studio polish, but made up for it with a remarkable ensemble cohesion and rhythmic creativity.  The Upsetters’ drummer, Charles Connor, has been credited by no less an authority than James Brown with sparking the rhythmic transition from fifties rock & roll to sixties funk.”

New Orleans’ Ponderosa Stomp — who pronounced The Upsetters to be “quite possibly the greatest touring rock and roll band on the planet during the mid-1950s” — wrote a lengthy tribute in 2017 to drummer Chuck Connor, who elaborated on the origins of the band:

“A guy by the name of Wilbert Smith—his professional name was Lee Diamond—we looked alike and everything.  I was a little taller than him.  We were struggling musicians around Nashville,” says Charles.  ‘I was starving, man.  I was kicked out of the hotel room, and I was behind in my rent.  Little Richard heard us and brought us back to Macon, Georgia because he wanted New Orleans musicians.  Richard had to get my drums out of the pawn shop.  He paid for all of that, and he brought us to Macon, Georgia, and that’s when we formed Little Richard and the Upsetters.”

Just a couple weeks after Little Willie John’s session with The Upsetters, James Brown and the Famous Flames recorded a session in Los Angeles on December 16, 1958 with “Lee Diamond” on tenor sax and Chuck Connor on drums that yielded four songs:

> AUDIO LINK for “Got to Cry

> AUDIO LINK for “It Was You

> AUDIO LINK for “I Want You So Bad

> AUDIO LINK for “It Hurts to Tell You

Musician credits according to Ruppli’s session notes —

James Brown:  Vocals
John Terry, Bill Hollings & [unidentified]:  Backing Vocals
Chuck Connor or Nat Kendrick:  Drums
Bernard Odum:  Bass
Bobby Roach:  Guitar
AlvinFatsGonder:  Piano & Organ
Lee Diamond:  Tenor Sax
J.C. Davis:  Tenor Sax

All four songs included on 1959 King LP,  Try Me

Most of these same musicians reconvened on January 20, 1959 at a recording facility in New York City to record two more songs with James and the Famous Flames:

> AUDIO LINK for “Don’t Let It Happen to Me

> AUDIO LINK for “Bewildered

Musician credits according to Ruppli’s session notes —

James Brown:  Vocals
John Terry, Bill Hollings & [unidentified]:  Backing Vocals
Chuck Connor:  Drums
Bernard Odum:  Bass
Bobby Roach:  Guitar
AlvinFatsGonder:  Piano & Organ
Lee Diamond:  Tenor Sax
J.C. Davis:  Tenor Sax
[Unidentified]:  Trumpet

Saxophonist J.C. Davis (“with prob. same band”) recorded two numbers as bandleader at that same NYC recording session:

> AUDIO LINK for “Doodle Bug

> AUDIO LINK for “Bucket Head

1959 single attributed to James Davis

Lee Diamond, as it turns out, had already crossed paths with King Records before — as Wilbert Smith, part of the horn section for James Brown and the Famous Flames’ 1956 breakout hit, “Please Please Please“!  Smith has two co-songwriting credits on “Hold My Baby’s Hand” and “Chonnie-On-Chon” — notice the vocal resemblance to Little Richard on the latter track — both from 1956.

Chuck Connor explains the impact of his New Orleans musical upbringing on the development of James Brown’s music:

“We would work the clubs around Macon, Georgia, like the VFW clubs, the Elks clubs, and places like that.  And I’m playing behind James Brown.  The drummer always sits in the back.  We didn’t have no riser in these little small clubs in those days.  We only had drum risers in the big theaters.  So I’d be playing behind James and I’d do a little second-line thing, a syncopation on my bass drum.  But I was doing that to attract the girls’ attention.

“James Brown would say, ‘Hey, that’s funky! That’s funky!’

‘I’d say, ‘I’m doing the second-line!’

‘I like that! I like that!’

“And he discovered that I put the funk to the rhythm.  Because a lot of drummers weren’t using the bass drum that much.  But a lot of New Orleans drummers used their bass drum a lot.  I got that from the second line.  So that’s why he said, ‘Charles was the first to put the funk into the rhythm.’

Susan Whitall writes in her biography of Little Willie John — Fever:  A Fast Life, Mysterious Death, and the Birth of Soul:

“When Willie and the Upsetters became a team and hit the road, Richard insists there were no hard feelings.  He was proud that the Upsetters, at one time or another, backed up the heaviest hitters in rhythm and blues.  ‘Sam Cooke also had them for awhile and Sam Cooke’s brother L.C. as well,’ Richard recalled.  ‘Little Willie John and James Brown traveled with my band as me, once I was famous.’  The Godfather of Soul screaming ‘Wop bop a doo wop’ – it’s not such a stretch.  ‘We had some dates booked and my manager wanted to fulfill the dates, so they had James go out and be me,’ Richard explained.”

Chuck Connor confirms that James Brown really did do shows billed as Little Richard:

“Lee Diamond started playing with James Brown, but when Richard came out (to L.A.) to do the screen test for the movie [The Girl Can’t Help It], he left 15 dates behind.  So Clint Brantley, the booking agent, he didn’t want to lose the deposits on those dates.  So guess who played those dates for him?  James Brown!  And it was Little Richard’s picture on the placards.  But James Brown played Little Richard’s dates.  People would complain and say, ‘He don’t look like him!’  James is short.  ‘He don’t look like Little Richard to me, but he sounds good!’  But he fulfilled all those dates, and then when Richard came back from the West Coast, James wanted me to go on the road with him too.  I said, ‘Well, James, I’m going to tell you—I don’t mind, but I can’t disappoint Richard because Richard was the one that helped me when I didn’t have nothing, paying my hotel rent, and he bought me shoes, and he fed me and everything.’  So that would have been a guilt trip, so that’s why I didn’t go with James Brown.  He wanted to take me on the road too.  But I remained with Richard.”

James Brown himself recounted the experience of being billed as Little Richard in his autobiography, James Brown:  The Godfather of Soul:

“Not too long after I got to Macon, some people started hitting on Richard about recording for them instead of Peacock.  Eventually Bumps Blackwell got him for Art Rupe’s Specialty label out of Los Angeles.  After ‘Tutti Frutti’ broke, Richard left Macon for California, left everybody without saying a word—[Little Richard manager, Cliff] Brantley, the Dominions, the Upsetters, and a lot of bookings.  Mr. Brantley asked me to fulfill Richard’s dates.  He put me together with the Upsetters and the Dominions and sent me out as Little Richard.  Meantime, Byrd and the fellas were doing the Famous Flames bookings.  I was getting paid as Richard while Bobby was getting paid as me.  I guess I did about fifteen of Richard’s dates.  I’d come out and do ‘Tutti Frutti’ and all those things, and then I’d do some Midnighters’ stuff, some Roy Brown, and even ‘Please Please Please.’  I guess the audience thought I was really Richard.  then, near the end of the show, I’d say, ‘I’m not Little Richard.  My name is James.’  After a few shows like that, Fats [Gonder, organist/emcee], who also went on the tour, started announcing me as Little James.  I didn’t that stay too long, either.”

Historian (and James Brown manager), Alan Leeds, offers another perspective in There Was a Time:  James Brown, The Chitlin Circuit, and Me:

“In 1955, when Little Richard went to Hollywood to sign with Specialty Records, he left behind a band and some unfulfilled bookings.  A young James Brown, who shared managers with the Georgia peach, reluctantly agreed to pose as Richard for a couple weeks.  According to Johnny Terry, one of Brown’s original Famous Flames, it came to an end one night in Nashville when somebody—a fan, or maybe the local promoter—recognized that James was not Little Richard.  After a hasty retreat in which gunshots were reportedly fired, Brown decided it might be better for his well-being to concentrate on his own career.”

Life Imitates Art: 
The 1000-Mile Trek As “The Upsetters

Later in his autobiography when The Famous Flames got word that King Records was ready to record its new act, James Brown recalled a comic aspect to the grueling drive from Tampa to Cincinnati:

“We were working down in Tampa when Clint [Brantley] called to tell us that King wanted us in Cincinnati to record right away.  We hadn’t heard from anyone there since Ralph Bass signed us the morning after he’d seen us at Sawyer’s Lake.  Since then we’d been working clubs around Tampa and Jacksonville, and we were beginning to wonder if he’d really liked us

We drove the four hundred miles from Tampa to Macon, stopped and picked up some money there, and continued for another six hundred miles to Cincinnati in a station wagon that had The Upsetters painted on the side.  Clint had let Little Richard use the car before, and now we were jammed into it with all our clothes and instruments.  We rode all night, stopping only for gas.  It was the first time out of the South for any of us, and when we got to the outskirts of Cincinnati somebody came out from King and let us to the hotel, a place caled the Manse.  It was a fleabag, but it was better than anything we’d stayed in before.”

 

First Four-Bar Rock ‘n’ Roll Drum Intro?
Rock’s Roots Bear Fruit 

Until Little Richard’s passing, I was similarly clueless about the well-known “secret” that Chuck Connor‘s drum intro on “Keep a Knockin'” (recorded at a small radio station in Washington, DC close to the Howard Theater) served as the source of inspiration for John Bonham‘s famous intro on Led Zeppelin‘s “Rock and Roll” — listen for yourself:

Keep a Knockin’” by Little Richard

Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin

Chuck Connor claims in that same Ponderosa Stomp piece that “Keep a Knockin'” was the first four-bar drum intro on a rock and roll record:

“Richard was saying, ‘I want the guitar to play the four-bar intro.’  So the guitar player, he tried it.  Then Richard tried it.  He said, ‘I don’t like that.’  Then he let the saxophone play the four-bar intro.  I said, ‘Wait a minute, Richard.  Let me do something.  Let me do a four-bar intro because this has never been played on a rock and roll record!’  It had never been played on a rock and roll record.  So I came up with a ‘tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat…’  Richard gave me a thousand dollars for that idea, and that was a lot of money in those days.”

King 45s That “Bubbled Under”

My ambitiousness got the best of me with the posting of the two-part history piece, “Quirky 45s That Bubbled Under (1959-1976).”  If you go to Zero to 180’s home page now (as of April 2020), you might be frustrated that it takes so goshdarn long to finish loading all the content (i.e., 200+ audio clips spread out amongst the two parts).   This latest piece — a tribute to all the 45s released by King and its subsidiary labels that “bubbled under” the Billboard Hot 100 chart — features “only” 50 (ish) audio clips.  However, coming on the heels of the previous two-parter, all that additional “weight” only compounds the problem, unfortunately.

Thanks once again to Top40Weekly.com, who generously provides chart information about these uncharted songs that peaked just beyond the reach of Billboard‘s Hot 100.  As with the previous post, this piece is chronologically arranged and begins in 1959, the year Billboard began keeping records of these near-hits.  Given the amount of historical detail below, I have highlighted some of the big takeaway points and discoveries that came out of this research:

Summary Highlights

  • Lowman Pauling, whose work with The ‘5’ Royales as both a songwriter and guitarist was under-recognized for its influence on the emerging soul music (not to mention Jamaican ska), would later be championed by King (James Brown, Vicki Anderson, Hal Hardy) and non-King artists (Shirelles, Mamas & the Papas, Detroit Wheels).
  • Whodunit around the authorship of “Cute Little Ways” — was the song written by Hank Ballard or Henry Glover?
  • Speaking of whodunit, why exactly did “Please Please Please” by James Brown and the Famous Flames come close to entering Billboard’s Hot 100 four years after its original release?  Two theories offered.
  • Syd Nathan was not afraid to dust off an older King recording, “modernize” the sound and/or spiff up the artist name, if that’s what it took to sell records, as in the case of “Every Beat of My Heart” by Henry Booth (or is it?) and the Midnighters (the song by Johnny Otis that would launch the career of Gladys Knight and the Pips).
  • Hard to believe that “Please Come Home For Christmas” never officially entered the Hot 100 given how often Billboard deemed it a “Christmas Best Bet” throughout the 1960s, as well as the song’s enduring popularity, as evidenced by all the many cover versions.  Fun to find out that Charles Brown’s original recording is held in especially high regard “along the route from Houston to New Orleans.”
  • How ‘Mad Men’-esque to learn that King’s promotional efforts for “Seagrams” (a “Tequila”-inspired instrumental ) by the Vice-roys included “half pint of Seagram’s VO whiskey and a package of Viceroy cigarettes” to select personnel at radio stations around the country.
  • Lonesome 7-7203” by Hawkshaw Hawkins was written for Jean Shepard by Justin Tubb, who points out that the song was originally conceived from a female perspective.
  • More evidence of the Cincinnati OHKingston, JA connection via Hank Marr’s organ instrumentals.
  • A shift in cultural consciousness can be seen manifesting itself with Billboard renaming its “R&B” chart as “Soul” Singles beginning in the August 23, 1969 edition (as pointed out in the Marva Whitney section below).
  • Even if King’s entire roster consisted solely of James Brown, hard to overstate the global impact of this one artist alone — be sure to look for the “Hey America” World Tour of 45 picture sleeves plus a news item about King’s “largest promotional/merchandizing budget”  used for the “ James Brown Month Of Soul” campaign in March 1969.
  • In a bonus section of Fraternity 45s that “bubbled under” the Hot 100, we learn from Harry Carlson himself — one of the most beloved figures in the music industry — what a struggle it was to go ten years between hits (i.e., from 1957’s “So Rare” by Jimmy Dorsey to 1967’s “Then You Can Tell Him Goodbye” by The Casinos).
  • King Trivia!

Q:  Name of subsidiary label that was financed by Mickey Stevenson and distributed by Starday-King, announced via a full-page ad in Record World‘s  December 11, 1971 issue?
A:  Mpingo — three Mpingo 45 releases in all before Starday-King ceased operations.

NoteClick on song title links below to hear streaming audio of songs.

AUDIO LINK for “I Know It’s Hard But It’s Fair” by The ‘5’ Royales

peaked at #103 on June 8, 1959 [King]

  • The Lowman Pauling-penned “I Know It’s Hard But Fair” also serves as the kickoff track of 1959 King LP, The Five Royales — an album that some are willing to pay several hundred dollars to acquire.
  • Sundazed saw fit to reissue the original mono LP on vinyl in 2015 and had this to say:

Suddenly in the news thanks to their recent induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, the ‘5’ Royales also recorded for King.  Sundazed’s 180-gram reissue of their self-named 1959 King LP (which butchered the spelling of their ‘5’ moniker on its cover) is a romping overview of some of the R&B vocal quintet’s then-recent singles.  The gospel-drenched lead vocals of Johnny Tanner (or sometimes, his brother Eugene) presaged the rise of soul music, but it’s the blistering guitar of chief songwriter Lowman Pauling, a primary influence on Steve Cropper, that grabs most of the glory now.” 

King LP 678 = It’s gonna cost you

 

AUDIO LINK for “Let Nobody Love You” [B-side] by Little Willie John

peaked at #108 on July 13, 1959 [King]

  • This B-side of “Leave My Kitten Alone” [covered by The Beatles but unissued until 1995’s Anthology I] was co-written by Rudy Toombs and Henry Glover.
  • Both sides were reviewed in Billboard’s June 22, 1959 edition:  “The artist has two potent entries that could get him back on the charts.  He gives ‘Kitten’ a feelingful belt over strong New Orleans type ork backing.  ‘Let Nobody’ is a ballad with beat, and he’s given a fem chorus assist.  Either can score.”
  • “Let Nobody Love You” also reached the #29 position on Cash Box‘s Rhythm & Blues Top 50 chart for the week ending September 26, 1959.
  • Johnny’s Record House in New Orleans reported in the October 31, 1959 issue of Cash Box that “Let Nobody Love You” was a top ten seller.
  • One British music enthusiast shelled out £68 in 2004 for the UK single release.

UK 45 — 1959

 

AUDIO LINK for “Cute Little Ways” by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters

peaked at #106 on September 7, 1959 [King]

  • Billboard‘s review in the August 24, 1959 edition:  “Hank Ballard sells an uptempo blues with a lot of spirit, over a strong backing.  Could get coins.”
  • “Cute Little Ways” also reached the #24 position on the “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart, Cash Box‘s equivalent of Billboard‘s “Bubbling Under” releases.
  • Detroit’s Horn Records reported in the October 3, 1959 issue of Cash Box that “Cute Little Ways” was a hot 45, as did Wilkes-Barre’s Joe Tomato of WBAX.
  • Important to note that when issued in Denmark, the 45 label indicates the song to have been written by Henry Glover (who wrote the flip side, “House With No Windows“) — not Hank Ballard, as it says on all other King releases.  The truth?

See?  it says “Henry Glover” on the Danish 45 release

 

AUDIO LINK for “I’m With You” by The ‘5’ Royales

peaked at #107 on June 27, 1960 [King]

  • Billboard‘s March 14, 1960 edition includes this review:  “A slow and strongly gospel flavored chant by the group.  Lead offers a good shouting sound.  Spinnable.”
  • Cash Box listed “I’m With You” as #6 on its “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending June 25, 1960 while still holding strong at the #10 position on the same chart for the week ending August 6, 1960.
  • 45Cat stalwart mickey rat offers up this praise:  “Great gospel tinged proto-soul from hugely influential group.  This one has a riffing ‘ska’ beat, another example of the kind of R&B that influenced Jamaican artists.  Flip [“Don’t Give More Than You Can Take“] is a fast rocker featuring Lowman Pauling’s distinctive guitar.”
  • Noted roots rock author, Peter Guralnick points out on his blog:  “The ‘5’ Royales were always at the heart of the discography of my book, Sweet Soul Music.  As one of their album titles proclaimed, their music represented “the roots of soul.”  Further down the page, Guralnick adds, “By 1960, even with such transformative songs as ‘I’m With You’ and ‘Wonder When You’re Coming Home,’ the ‘5’ Royales were slipping off the charts, and it was the Shirelles and James Brown who were recasting Lowman’s music.”
  • Robert Christgau – “Dean of American Rock Critics” – takes Collectables to task for not including “I’m With You” on their Very Best of the ‘5’ Royales anthology, even though, oddly, the song is listed on this 2004 CD release!

1968 Sam & Dave French B-side

 

AUDIO LINK for “If You’re Lonely” by Annie Laurie

peaked at #104 on July 25, 1960 [DeLuxe]

  • Written by jazz trumpeter/bandleader, Harry James, along with Zanesville-born trumpeter and King music director, Andy Gibson, “If You’re Lonely” also peaked at #17 on Billboard‘s R&B chart on July 18, 1960.
  • “If You’re Lonely” was pegged as an R&B “Best Buy” in the July 18, 1960 edition of Billboard.
  • Thanks to 45Cat’s jukebox george, who informs us that the July 30, 1960 edition of Cash Box lists “If You’re Lonely” #23 (out of 25) on their “Looking Ahead” singles chart for the “possibility to break into the Top 100.”
  • Jon Hartley Fox writes in King of the Queen City:  The Story of King Records — “‘If You’re Lonely’ made the [R&B] Top Twenty in 1960, but that was the only other hit from her second stint on DeLuxe.  Laurie reportedly retired from secular music not long after that and devoted her magnificent voice solely to church work.”

 

AUDIO LINK for “Shim Sham Shuffle” by Ricky Lyons

peaked at #104 on October 17, 1960 [Federal]

  • Co-written by Ricky Lyons and Rudy Toombs, 45Cat’s jukebox george points to evidence (i.e., lower matrix number) that “Shim Sham Shuffle” might be one of those B-side breakout hits that “attracted attention” to a much greater degree than the intended A-side.
  • However, Billboard‘s selection of “Shim Sham Shuffle” as one of the “Spotlight Winners of the Week” in their October 3, 1960 edition leads me to question accusations of the song’s B-side status — this review puts the matter to bed:  “The younger chanter comes thru with an exciting vocal here of a rocking item based on ‘The Eagle Rock.’  Flip is ‘Have No Fear.’
  • Cash Box picked “Shim Sham Shuffle” as one of its “Best Bets” for the week ending October 15, 1960:  “The ‘latest’ dance is conveyed with solid rock-blues vigor by the singer and combo.  Deck’s got sound and humor.”
  • Spectropop playfully observes that Ricky Lyons’ vocal “adds a Bob Wills-style whoop to the R&B lexicon.”
  • “Shim Sham Shuffle” was also released as a King single by Johnny Brandon in 1956 — although, a quick listen to the earlier release reveals the existence of two completely different tunes that merely share a song title.
  • 45 reissued on King in 1965 — Discogs contributor, bob.dalrymple.7 notes the two releases by the same parent company and makes the distinction between “one with bells [i.e., vibraphone] at the end and one without,” adding that the “King release doesn’t have the bell ending [likely played by Gene Redd].”

 

AUDIO LINK for “Please Please Please” by James Brown

peaked at #105 on October 21, 1960 [Federal]

  • Having a devil of a time trying to determine why this #6 R&B hit from 1956 almost hit the Billboard Hot 100 four years later, as I can only find two single releases by King – 1956 and 1964 – with neither of them 1960 (or its environs) — theories, anyone?
  • Possible theory #1:  Might The5Royales’s version released in 1960 (on the Home of the Blues label) explain the resurgence of the original version by Brown and the Famous Flames?
  • Possible theory #2:  Is King’s 1959 “Please Please Please” EP release the more likely explanation for the song’s appearance on the Billboard “Bubbling Under” chart?

1959 “Extended Play” King 45

  • Billboard reviewed “Please Please Please” in their October 31, 1960 edition:  “Brown intones a pounding chant with the Flames lending a good gospel flavor to the backing.  A lot of spirit here.”
  • Billboard‘s January 3,1957 edition pegged “Please” as one of 1956’s Top Rhythm & Blues Records with regard to “best seller in stores” (#17), “most played in jukeboxes (#48), and “most played by disc jockeys (#20).
  • What delicious irony that Syd Nathan (who initially and loudly dismissed “Please” as a “piece of [dung]”) made the decision to add live crowd sounds to the original studio recording for release in 1964 (during a contract dispute with Brown), no doubt to capitalize on the runaway success of 1963’s Live at the Apollo (another Brown recording of some renown that Nathan famously fought at first).
  • 45Cat’s teabiscuit, however, boldly asserts — counter to received wisdom — that  “by 1960, not 1964, the overdubbed ‘live’ version of the A side was issued.”

B-side of 1960 Japanese single release

 

AUDIO LINK for “Hold It‘ by James Brown Band

peaked at #112 on February 13, 1961 [King]

  • Alan Leeds’ “James Brown Drummers Discography” (included in Jim Payne’s The Great Drummers of R&B, Funk & Soul) notes that Brown himself served as the drummer on this track.
  • Billboard‘s review in their December 31, 1960 edition:  “A wild instrumental version of the Bill Doggett oldie, complete with screams, that could get some action if exposed.  The screamer also comes through with a slight vocal now and then.”
  • Billboard‘s February 13, 1961 edition notes another James Brown single — “Bewildered” (a ‘Regional Breakout’ hit in Philadelphia) — in an ever higher position (#103) than “Hold It” on the same “Bubbling Under the Hot 100” chart.
  • “Hold It” is the lead-off track for the 1961 King instrumental LP, Night Train.

 

AUDIO LINK for “Sweethearts on Parade” by Etta Jones

peaked at #115 on April 3, 1961 {King]

  • Written by Carmen Lombardo and Charles Newman, “Sweethearts on Parade” appeared on the “Bubbling Under” chart, along with another Etta Jones 45 (although recorded for Prestige), “Canadian Sunset,” for two consecutive weeks — March 27 and April 3, 1961.
  • Not to be confused with Matt Ward’s “Sweethearts on Parade.”

 

AUDIO LINK for “Every Beat of My Heart” by Henry Booth & The Midnighters

peaked at #113 on May 15, 1961 [DeLuxe]

“Note that the lead singer with the beautiful smooth sound isn’t Henry Booth, but Charles Sutton.  Because of the success of Gladys Knight and the Pips’ remake of ‘Every Beat Of My Heart’ in 1961, King’s DeLuxe subsidiary reissued it, with the label crediting ‘Henry Booth and the Midnighters.’  Possibly they just got it mixed up or possibly Henry was still with the Midnighters at that point.  Whatever the reason, R&B fans have believed over the years that Henry was doing lead; he isn’t.”

  • The two versions of “Every Beat” by The Midnighters and The Pips made Cash Box‘s Top 100 chart for the week ending May 27, 1961 and, if I’m not mistaken, tied for the same position (#70)!  The same phenomenon would take place the following week (#48).
  • Billboard‘s review of this 45 side in the May 8,.1961 edition was (unwittingly) their second one:  “Henry Booth and the Midnighters turn in a very pretty and restrained reading of an attractive tune penned by Johnny Otis.  It has a chance.”
  • Billboard‘s original review of The Midnighters’ debut 45 in the April 12, 1952 edition (page 36) has this to say about the flip side, “Every Beat of My Heart”:  “This is a little disappointing after the fine performance [“All Night Long“] on the other side.  Judged from these two efforts, the Royals are more effective with a tempo that has a strong beat.”
  • Jon Hartley Fox in King of the Queen City notes that “Every Beat” is “the hit that launched Gladys Knight and the Pips.”
  • Also worth reading the comments about the original 1952 release from various 45Cat contributors, such as mickey rat, who opines, “Right from the start the Royals/Midnighters used an electric bass in the rhythm section and I have to say that’s what I liked about a lot of later ‘50s King R&B product.”

 

The Matador” by George Scott and the Bud Mote Orchestra

peaked at #104 on June 12, 1961 [Fairlane]

[streaming audio not yet available]

  • 45Cat contributor jukebox george informs us — “Cash Box May 6 1961 (pg. 38): New York – D.L. ‘Boots’ Woodall, formerly veep of the National Recording Corp. (NRC), has announced the first release on his new Fairlane label, a master purchase from the Margo label tagged “Matador.”  King Records is handling Fairlane’s distribution.”
  • Billboard‘s review in their May 8, 1961 edition:  “Here’s a different kind of instrumental, featuring a mariachi-styled brigade of trumpets against strong guitar work.  Has a solid rhythm in the Mexican groove and it can move.”
  • Billboard Music Week would also review this 45 in their April 10, 1961 issue:  “Here’s a bit of slower-paced fare again much in the polka tradition.  There’s also a touch of flamenco about the horns here.”
  • Cash Box‘s review from their April 8, 1961 edition:  “Interesting color to this fast-beat stand, featuring guitarist Scott & trumpets, on a catchy Spanish-flavored tune. Original sound that could mean something for the Atlanta label.”

 

AUDIO LINK for “Hully Gully Callin’ Time” by Jive Five with Eugene Pitt

peaked at #105 on March 1, 1962 [Beltone]

  • Released on King-distributed Beltone, “Hully Gully Callin’ Time” was a “Regional Breakout” in the NYC area, as reported in Billboard‘s April 21, 1962 edition.
  • Two weeks later, Billboard filed this report from Chicago:   “[New independent distributor] Kent is also working on what it hopes will be its first big hit, ‘Hully Gully Callin’ Time’ by the Jive Five on Beltone.  The tune has hit position 28 on the influential WLS Silver Dollar Survey and is getting good supporting air play around the city.”
  •  Billboard‘s review in the March 3, 1962 edition:  “Attractive hunk of teen wax with the lead selling the hully gully effort solidly over listenable support by the group.”
  • Cash Box listed “Hully Gully” at the #37 position on its “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending March 24, 1962.

 

AUDIO LINK for “I Wish I Could Cry” [B-side] by Little Willie John

peaked at #116 on June 30, 1962

  • Billboard had high hopes for this 45’s A-side — “Every Beat of My Heart” (!) — while saying nothing about the flip side in its review published in the May 28, 1962 edition.
  • Cash Box was a little more optimistic about the prospects for this B-side (near) breakout hit in its review for their May 26, 1961 issue:   “Here the songster and the ork-chorus up the tempo slightly to a shuffle-beat-ballad pace.  Take your pick.  Both ends have the goods.”
  • The following year, Cash Box reported in their July 28, 1962 edition this brief news item:  “Sue Sandler, co-cleffer of Little Willie John’s ‘Until Again My Love‘ and ‘I Wish I Could Cry,’ excited with all the action on the artist’s 2 King releases.”

 

AUDIO LINK for “Wonderful One” by The Shondells

peaked at #116 on October 13, 1962 [King]

  • According to our old friend, mickey rat — “Almost certainly produced in Los Angeles by Johnny Otis … Songwriters on a couple of their other songs registered with [Library of Congress] were Shirlee Brooks, Jacqueline Scruggs, Rosemary Reeves, Beverly Simmons & Novella Simmons, so I’m guessing they were all members of the group.”
  • Coincidentally or not, “Wonderful One” was cited by Billboard as a “Regional Breakout” single in Los Angeles.
  • Billboard would review this single’s A-side in the July 21, 1962 edition — and it wasn’t “Wonderful One” (B-side breakout hit?) about which the reviewer had nothing to say.
  • Cash Box listed “Wonderful One” at the #42 spot on its “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending September 15, 1962.
  • Forgotten Hits music blog says The Shondells (not to be confused with Tommy James’ backing group of the same name) are from Cincinnati — is this true?

 

AUDIO LINK for “Please Come Home for Christmas” by Charles Brown

peaked at #108? on December 22, 1962 [King]

  • Did Top40Weekly.com misfire with the inclusion of this stellar yuletide track — written by Charles Brown and Gene Redd — that has been covered by Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville, Johnny Adams, (“Little“) Johnny Taylor, Johnny & Edgar Winter,  Freddy Fender, William Bell, The Eagles, Martina McBride, and Bon Jovi, among others?  Billboard tells us this 45 peaked at #76 on January 6, 1962.  However, is it somehow possible this track came close to entering the Hot 100 later that same year close to Christmas?  As it turns out, yes!  Billboard‘s December 22, 1962 issue confirms that, indeed, “Come Home For Christmas” bubbled under at the #108 position.
  • That same Billboard edition also reported “Christmas” to be a “Regional Breakout” single in New Orleans, while one year prior. Billboard noted the song’s strong performance in the Philadelphia market.  The 1963 Christmas season would also find this track no less diminished in popularity, says Billboard, who would also peg this single in 1967 as one of its “Best Bets for Christmas” and then again in 1969.
  • The original 1960 release — which peaked at #21 on Billboard‘s R&B chart on December 31st that year — features another Christmas classic, Amos Milburn’s “Christmas (Comes But Once a Year),” on the flip side.  This 45 squeaked into Cash Box’s Top 100 chart (#96) for the week ending December 31, 1960. “Christmas” also made Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart (#30) for the week ending December 24, 1960, and then again, even higher (#21), for the week ending January 6, 1962.
  • Chris Varias contributed a special piece to The Cincinnati Enquirer in 2017 about the enduring appeal of a classic Christmas song that was “born in Cincinnati” at King Studios — article features reminiscences from Don Henley and Cincinnati native, Nick Lachey, as well as music history from Cincinnati Public Library’s own, Brian Powers.
  • The Houston Chronicle‘s Rick Campbell wrote a humorous item in 2015 entitled, “‘Please Come Home For Christmas’:  A Holiday Song I Don’t Hate.”
  • Lake Charles, LA’s 92.9 (“The Lake”) offers up “The Story Behind ‘Please Come Home For Christmas” in which we learn the regional popularity of the song in a particular part of the Deep South:  “In 1960, King Records released ‘Please Come Home for Christmas’ and the song, for some reason, went nowhere nationally, but along our part of I-10, it became an instant classic.  Since 1960, radio stations all along the route from Houston to New Orleans have played the record every single Christmas.”

Lead-off track on this Indespensible Christmas LP

 

AUDIO LINK for “The Bossa Nova Watusi Twist” by Freddy King

peaked at #103 on Feb. 2, 1963 [Federal]

  • “Bossa Nova Watusi Twist” — a “Regional Breakout Single” in two large metro markets, Memphis-Nashville and Dallas-Fort Worth — was given a “Four-Star” rating in Billboard‘s January 12, 1963 edition.
  • Although there no musician credits in Ruppli’s King Labels sessionography, this song — recorded at Cincinnati’s King Studios on November 27, 1962 — no doubt includes the drumming work of legendary session musician, Philip Paul, who also played on the previous featured track by Charles Brown.
  • Small news item in the January 26, 1963 issue of Cash Box:  “With promo man Ralph Cox, the biggies to watch are “Seagrams” by The Vice-Roys (Bethlehem), “The Bossa Nova Watusi Twist” by Freddy King, Hank Ballard’s “The Rising Tide” and “Every Beat Of My Heart” by James Brown.”

 

AUDIO LINK for “Seagrams” by The Viceroys

peaked at #127 on March 30, 1963 [Bethlehem]

  • The fluke hit of 1958’s “Tequila” inspired a host of alcohol-themed instrumentals in its wake, including that same year’s more generic “Cerveza” (‘Boots Brown’ a.k.a., Shorty Rogers), as well as the brand-specific 1961’s “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.  Seagrams Corporation, however, did not 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’s  March 23, 1960 edition said, “We Goofed!” — more specifically:

“When this instrumental came to us, it was titled ‘Seagram’s.’  We missed the possible legal conflict with the Seagram’s trademark and also the policy at many radio stations of not playing a record with a commercial product name in its title.”] and indicated that “Seagrams” was now changed to “Seagreen.”

  • Worth noting that on page 22 of that same March 23, 1960 edition of Billboard  was this wink-wink news item:

    Just Call This a Real Loaded Idea

    SAN FRANCISCO— A novel record promotion originated by Bob Earl, San Francisco branch manager for King Records, has been picked up by the national record distributor and will be repeated in Cincinnati, Chicago and New York.

    Bethlehem’s new recording of “Seagram,” sung by the Vice-roys, prompted Earl to include a half pint of Seagram’s VO whiskey and a package of Viceroy cigarettes when delivery the disk, all wrapped up in gay “Mardi Gras” gift paper.  Uniformed messenger delivery personnel called upon local deejays in the four top r & b and rock and roll stations in San Francisco and Oakland — KSAN, KEWB, KDIA and KYA.

innocent mistake

 

AUDIO LINK for “Lonesome 7-7203” by Hawkshaw Hawkins

peaked at #108 on April 6, 1963 [King]

  • Just three days after this song’s release, notes West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Hawkins perished in a plane crash that also took the lives of fellow King recording artist, Cowboy Copas, as well as country superstar, Patsy Cline.
  • Justin Tubb, who wrote the song, recounts in this 1997 episode ofCountry Family Reunion” how he gave the song originally to Jean Shepard – Hawkshaw’s widow – who recorded it for Capitol (in whose vaults the song remains unissued).  Tubb points out that “Lonesome” strikes him as a “girl’s song” because “when a husband and wife break up, it’s usually the guy who has to leave, and the wife stays home and keeps the house and furniture.”
  • Billboard‘s review in their February 2, 1963 edition:  “A fine new weeper ballad.  Hawkshaw’s girl has walked out and he pleads with her to call him on his new phone.”
  • The biggest hit of Hawkins’ career, “Lonesome 7-7203” stayed on top of the Country chart for four weeks after his death.
  • The single’s flip side — titled (ironically, in hindsight) “Everything Has Changed” — was written by King A&R executive and producer, Ray “Starr” Pennington, who produced Hawkins’ final album, “one of the first country albums to feature both black and white session musicians,” as noted by Rocky 52.
  • Still trying to make sense of this 45Cat catalog record which indicates “Lonesome” to have been released (a) not only as a “split” single in January 1963 with “Seagram’s” by the Vice-Roys on the flip side [!] but also (b) issued with a different label on each side (i.e., King on the A-side, Bethlehem on the B-side).  For real?

 

AUDIO LINK for “The Greasy Spoon” by Hank Marr

peaked at #101 on January 18, 1964 [Federal]

  • Written by Hank Marr and Gene Redd, “Greasy Spoon” — which came within a hair of hitting Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart — was a “Regional Breakout” single in the Memphis-Nashville area, as reported in Billboard.
  • “Greasy Spoon” also hit the #68 spot on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week ending January 11, 1964.
  • Billboard‘s August 26, 1972 edition noted that the “Greasy Spoon” single was one among many reissued by Starday-King in a news item entitled, “32 King Oldies Released; Many Are Classics.”
  • Randy McNutt in King Records of Cincinnati writes that “King groomed Marr as Bill Doggett’s successor,” also noting that later in life, “Marr became a music professor in Columbus.”

45 picture sleeve from 1964 — Netherlands

 

AUDIO LINK for “Again” by James Brown and the Famous Flames

peaked at #107 on April 25, 1964 [King]

  • Billboard‘s review in the April 11, 1964 edition makes direct reference to the fact that James Brown had (temporarily) left King for Mercury/Smash:  “Brown has a string of ’em on his former label and he’s got another romantic side here.  Tender reading of the standard that’s not in conflict with his other release.”
  • “Again” just squeaked onto Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (#50) for the week ending April 25, 1964 — this same chart also includes one of Brown’s singles (his cover of Louis Jordan’s “Caldonia“) recorded for Smash.

“Again” included on rare South Korean edition of Prisoner of Love LP

 

AUDIO LINK for “Wee Wee Hours (of the Nite)” [B-side]
by James Brown & the Famous Flames

peaked at #125 on April 25, 1964 [King]

  • Billboard awarded this single four stars (i.e., “new singles with sufficient commercial potential in their respective categories to merit being stocked by dealers, one-stops and rack jobbers”) in its February 8, 1964 edition.
  • This full-page King ad of James Brown releases published in the previous week’s edition of Billboard (a) touts the new “live” version of “Please Please Please” [discussed above] and also (b) reveals that “Wee Wee Hours” ended up being yet another B-side breakout hit. (a James Brown original, by the way, not to be confused with Frank Sinatra’s 1955 classic, “In the Wee Small Hours“).

 

AUDIO LINK for “How Long Darling” [B-side]
by James Brown & the Famous Flames

peaked at #134 on June 6, 1964 [King]

  • Speaking of B-side breakout hits, “How Long Darling” is the B-side of “Again” — the single that was discussed mere moments ago.
  • Cash Box‘s April 18, 1964 edition provides this review — and once again speaks of Brown’s contractual relationship with King in the past tense:  “James Brown has been running extremely hot recently and this top-notch item, ‘Again,’ cut during his days with King should quickly develop into a best-seller.   The tune is a slow-moving, shuffle-beat pop-blues lament with a nostalgic while-back sound sold with authority by the songster.  On the flip, ‘How Long Darling,’ Brown dishes-up a funky, traditional, low-down r&b weeper with a contagious repeating riff.”

“How Long Darling” — included on this 1966 EP from the UK

 

AUDIO LINK for “So Long” by James Brown and the Famous Flames

peaked at #132 on June 27, 1964 [King]

  • “So Long” was pegged by Billboard as “Hot Pop” in the “Programming Specials” section of its June 6, 1964 edition.
  • Cash Box‘s review in their June 6, 1964 issue:  “The chanter might well do Top 100 business with this hard-driving full ork-backed pop-r&b teen-angled danceable weeper cut during his days with King.  Loads of potential here.”
  • “So Long” also spent two consecutive weeks on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (#48 and #50) before dropping off altogether at the end of June.

“So Long” — included on this 1965 EP from the UK

 

Silver Spoon” [B-side?] by Hank Marr

peaked at #134 on March 27, 1965 [Federal]

[streaming audio not yet available]

“Silver Spoon” included on this 1965 King LP

 

Tears of Joy” by Vicki Anderson

peaked at #131 on September 23, 1967 [King]

[streaming audio not yet available]

  • Cash Box‘s review of Anderson’s version of “Tears of Joy” — written by Lowman Pauling for The ‘5’ Royales — was included in their July 15, 1967 issue:  “Anderson vocalizes nicely on this shuffling, soul-filled romance ode.  Bears watching.”
  • “Tears of Joy” hit the #46 spot on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart, as reported in the September 30, 1967 issue.  That same issue also listed “Tears of Joy” at the #40 position on their “Singles Coming Up” chart, Record World‘s equivalent of Billboard‘s “Bubbling Under” chart.  Record World also reported the previous month that the single was “selling well in Atlanta.”
  • Here is a link to King’s half-page ad for “Tears of Joy” that was published in Billboard‘s September 2, 1967 edition.

“Tears of Joy” included on this 1968 King Compilation LP

 

AUDIO LINK for “You’ve Got to Change Your Mind
by Bobby Byrd & James Brown

peaked at #102 on March 16, 1968 [King]

  • “You’ve Got Change Your Mind” – which came this close to making the Hot 100 – was predicted by Billboard to reach the Top 20 of the Top Selling R&B Singles chart, as noted in their February 10, 1968 issue:  “Byrd and Brown join forces in this groovy rock ballad that’s given a wailing, soulful vocal workout.  Loaded with top sales potential for both pop and r&b markets.  FLIP:  ‘I’ll Lose My Mind‘.”
  • Cash Box posted this review in the issue for the week ending February 10, 1968:  “Outstanding pairing of James Brown and Bobby Byrd makes for some grand spinning material for r&b deejays.  The team grooves slowly on a [indecipherable adjective] ballad that shows strength without speed through powerful vocals and throbbing orchestral backing.  Cute lyrical snatches should stir up plenty of excitement for the side.”
  • “Change Your Mind” — a “Regional Breakout” single in the Washington DC market — also peaked at the #47 position (for two consecutive weeks), as reported in Billboard.
  • “Change Your Mind” also hit the #93 spot on Record World‘s 100 Top Pops chart for the week ending February 24, 1968.
  • Written by Brown and Byrd along with Gene Redd and Ron Lenhoff (with an arrangement by Sammy Lowe), “Change Your Mind” features Bernard Purdie on drums, Al Lucas on bass, Carl Lynch & Wallace Richardson on guitars, and Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis & St. Clair Pinckney on tenor saxophones.

“Change Your Mind” b/w “Lose My Mind — 45 from Netherlands

 

AUDIO LINK for “Shhhhhhhh (For A Little While)”
by James Brown & the Famous Flames

peaked at #102 on June 15, 1968 [King]

  • “Shhhhhhhh (For A Little While)” was part of Billboard‘s “Special Merit Spotlight” (i.e., new singles deserving special attention of programmers and dealers) in its May 4, 1968 edition:  “Raunchy instrumental is given a powerhouse workout by the Brown band.”
  • Written by James Brown and Bud Hobgood, “Shhhhhhhh” was released around the time Brown and his band toured Vietnam and the Far East, as reported by Ed Ochs in his “Soul Sauce” column for Billboard shortly after their return:  “Brown opens the National Soul Festival at Yankee Stadium, Friday as his three singles, ‘Licking Stick,’ ‘America Is My Home‘ and ‘Shhhhhhhh (For A Little While)’ work their way up the charts.”
  • The previous month, Ed Ochs filed this report in the same Billboard column:  “James Brown, everybody’s ‘Soul Brother No. 1,’ will trail his ‘I Got the Feelin’‘ giant with ‘America Is My Home,’ a song that echoes one man’s patriotism, which James already proved with his words to thousands on TV in Washington and in Boston last month.  Another single, ‘Lickin’ Stick,’ will also be released and will join ‘Shhhhhhhh (For A Little While),’ an instrumental with James on the organ, and ‘You’ve Got the Power‘ with [Vicki] Anderson — all on King Records.”
  • “Shhhhhhhh” hit the lucky #13 spot on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending June 15, 1968.
  • King’s ad in the June 1, 1968 issue of Record World predicted this 45 (along with “Lickin’ Stick”) to be a US #1 record.

B-side in Argentina (left) and Brazil (right)

 

AUDIO LINK for “There Was a Time” by The Dapps Featuring Alfred Ellis

peaked at #103 on July 27, 1968 [King]

  • “There Was a Time” reached the #27 position on Billboard‘s Best Selling Rhythm and Blues Singles chart, the week prior to November 2, 1968.
  • This 45 also appears to have peaked at #45 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B singles for the week ending July 27, 1968.
  • Cash Box‘s review in their June 15, 1968 edition:  “James Brown produced this has-to-be-heard instrumental reworking of his while back hit.  Albert [sic] Ellis’ hard driving sax stirs this side to a frenzy sure to make it a disko favorite.  Should produce good sales.  Flip: ‘The Rabbit Got The Gun‘.”

 

AUDIO LINK for “Soul Pride (Pt1)” by James Brown

peaked at #117 on April 5, 1969 [King]

  • Co-written and arranged by Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis, “Soul Pride (Pts. 1 & 2)” features the musicianship of Clyde Stubblefield (drums), Alfonzo Kellum (bass), Jimmy Nolen (guitar), Alfred Ellis (alto sax), Maceo Parker (tenor sax), Fred Wesley (trombone), and Richard “Kush” Griffith & Waymon Reed (trumpets).
  • Cash Box‘s review in their March 8, 1969 issue:  “Booming instrumental side with the brash James Brown brass and a terrific bass showing make the songster’s new side a solid programming choice with blues and pop deejays.  Splendid dance side here that should see the same good response his instrumental of last year met.”
  • “Soul Pride” reached the #38 position on Billboard‘s Best Selling Rhythm and Blues Singles in their April 12, 1969 edition.
  • “Soul Pride” just made it into the bottom reaches of Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart in late March and early April 1969.
  • Cash Box‘s March 8, 1969 issue would also feature this exciting news flash:

King’s March James Brown Month Is Label’s Strongest Drive Ever

NEW YORK — King Records has allocated the largest promotional and merchandising budget in its history for a special “March Is James Brown Month Of Soul” campaign.

Col. Jim Wilson, Starday-King Vice President of Marketing, said that the national program will extend through the month of March and is designed to further “accentuate the all-market appeal and widespread saleability” of James Brown recorded product at the consumer level.

Special deejay kits which include an exclusive “not-for-sale-radio programming only” EP album along with James Brown spot intros and bio material have gone forward to radio stations.

A deluxe packaged Brown album, Say It Loud, I’m Black And I’m Proud, featuring the title song along with other James Brown chartsellers hits such as “Lickin’ Stick” and “Good-Bye My Love” has been prepared for immediate release to coincide with the “Month of Soul” campaign.

In addition to the current top-writing chart hit single, “Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose,” a new instrumental single “Soul Pride” featuring James Brown playing and conducting his band has just been shipped to radio stations and all King distributors.

Additionally, attractive James Brown calendar posters, cut-out floor displays, complete album and singles catalogs and other point-of-sale dealer aids are available at all King distributors.

Network TV appearances during March, including the Hollywood Palace Show and Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, plus an intensified ad campaign will add further impetus to recognition of the month-long drive.

1969 picture sleeve — France

 

AUDIO LINK for “Things Got to Get Better” by Marva Whitney

peaked at #110 on August 23, 1969 [King]

  • Written by Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis and James Brown, “Things Got to Get Better (Get Together)” also reached the #22 position on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart on September 6, 1969.
  • Transition Alert!  You can see for yourself the change in terminology from “R&B” to “Soul” by examining the same chart from just a few weeks before, where the Marva Whitney 45 can be found at the #49 spot on Billboard‘s “Rhythm and Blues Singles” chart, as of August 16, 1969.  By the following week (when the 45 has inched up to #48), that same chart has been renamed the “Soul Singles” chart for the week ending August 23, 1969.
  • “Things Got to Get Better” reached #11 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending July 26, 1969.  That same week, Record World listed this 45 at the #49 position on its “Singles Coming Up” chart.

“Things Got to Get Better” = Kickoff track on 1969 live album

 

AUDIO LINK for “From Atlanta to Goodbye” by The Manhattans

peaked at #113 on October 7, 1970 [DeLuxe]

  • Ed Ochs reported the following King/DeLuxe news in his “Soul Sauce” column published in the September 19, 1970 edition:

“New James Brown album titled Sex Machine and featuring hits like ‘Mother Popcorn,’ ‘I Got the Feeling‘ and ‘Lickin’ Stick.’  And due this week is James’ new single, ‘Super Bad.’  On DeLuxe, The Manhattans’ ‘From Atlanta to Goodbye’ and Bobby Wade’s ‘Blind Over You.'”

  • Related news item entitled “Gil Music Into Soul” from Billboard‘s October 17, 1970 edition:

“Gil Music, headed by veteran publisher George Pincus noted for easy listening hits such as ‘A Taste of Honey’ and ‘Calcutta,’ is invading the soul music field.  The firm is scoring with disks by Carolyn Franklin on RCA Records, ‘All I Want to Be Is Your Woman’; Little Richard on Reprise Records, ‘I Saw Her Standing There,’ and the Manhattans on DeLuxe Records, ‘From Atlanta to Goodbye.'”

  • “From Atlanta to Goodbye” entered Billboard‘s Top 50 Soul Singles chart at the #48 position on October 31, 1970.
  • “From Atlanta to Goodbye” also reached the #7 position on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart on October 10, 1970, while Record World listed the song at the #12 spot on its Singles Coming Up chart.

 

AUDIO LINK for “Hey America” by James Brown

peaked at #105 on December 12, 1970 [King]

  • Co-written by Nat Jones and Addie Williams (Jones), “Hey America” was predicted by Billboard to reach the Pop Top 60 in their December 12, 1970Spotlightsingle review:  “Brown swings back to his message lyrics and this one is set to a driving rock beat loaded with Hot 100 and Soul chart potency.  Much of the potential of his recent ‘Super Bad’.”
  • “Hey America” reached #27 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending December 26, 1970.
  • “Hey America” also reached the #43 position of Record World‘s R&B Singles chart for the week ending December 26, 1970.
  • Billboard reviewed the Hey America Christmas album (cover by Dan Quest) exactly one week later:  “Here is a delightful blend of Christmas and Soul, packaged the way only Soul Brother No. [1] could do it.  Into his inimitable soul format, Brown has woven messages of peace, love and happiness that are applicable, not only at Christmas, but throughout the year.  The material here is all original, written by Nat Jones.”
  • Billboard also reviewed in that same issue Bobby Byrd’s King album, I Need Help,  (two spaces to the left of Hey America):  “From the James Brown Show and the original Famous Flames comes singer-organist Bobby Byrd, who broke the soul market wide open with his ‘I Need Help‘ hit.  Byrd sounds like he’s in for a big run as a top soul attraction with a distinct, but popular brand of funk to make his ‘You Got to Change Your Mind,’ ‘You Got to Have a Job‘ and ‘Hangups We Don’t Need‘ successive hits.”

When’s the Last time you’ve seen a King 45 picture sleeve?

Everyone Sing along  — C’mon, it’s good for you

“Hey America” world tour

Belgium — 1971                                             France — 1971

Germany — 1971                                             Italy — 1972

Lebanon — 1972                                               Portugal — 1971

Jamaica — 1970                                              Turkey — 1972

 

AUDIO LINK for “I Know You Got Soul” by Bobby Byrd

peaked at #117 on June 26, 1971 [King]

  • Co-written with Charles Bobbitt and James Brown, “I Know You Got Soul” — predicted by Billboard on May 15. 1971 “to reach the Soul Singles chart” — in fact, made it all the way to #30 on Billboard‘s Soul chart on July 10, 1971.
  • “I Know You Got Soul” also reached the #24 position on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B chart on July 24, 1971 (not to mention the #23 spot on their “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart in that same issue).
  • Thanks to 45Cat’s RogerFoster for providing this review of “I Know You Got Soul” b/w “If You Don’t Work, You Don’t Eat” from the June 23, 1971 edition of UK’s Blues and Soul:  “More of that infectious James Brown beat, with the music being supplied by the man’s own band, the J.B.’s.  In fact, both sides have been hits for Bobby in the States and they are both ultra-funky dance items in the ‘I Need Help’ vein.  If anything, the top [i.e., A] side is stronger than ‘I Need Help’.  The rhythm, as always, is the dominant factor and this is something that James specializes in.  A big R&B record that won’t go ‘pop’.”

A-side of 4-song UK 12-inch release — 1988

 

AUDIO LINK for “A Million to One” by The Manhattans

peaked at #114 on May 27, 1972 [DeLuxe]

  • “A Million to One” is also the title track of their second album for Starday-King released on the newly-revived DeLuxe subsidiary label.
  • Ed Ochs would report on March 11, 1972 in his “Soul Sauce” column for Billboard that “Starday King has landed Ben E. King and the Vibrations.”  Also, this just in: “The Manhattans’ ‘A Million to One’ is still strong in the song”

Part of full-page King ad (pg. 43) — 12/11/71 issue of Record World

Click on image above to view in high resolution

 

AUDIO LINK for “One Life to Love” by The Manhattans

peaked at #102 on October 21, 1972 [DeLuxe]

  • “One Life to Love” reached the #68 position on Record World‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week ending November 18, 1972.
  • Cash Box‘s November 22, 1980 issue includes a lengthy biographical profile most likely underwritten by Columbia in celebration of their first gold single for “Big Red” after leaving Starday-King:

“Early in 1972, The Manhattans recorded ‘A Million To One,’ written by Teddy Randazzo, whose publishing was handled by Hermi Hanlin.  The group was looking for new management at the time, and after ‘Million To One’ charted, Hanlin took over.  The group soon found itself in King’s studio in Macon, Ga. [i.e., Bobby Smith Studios] cutting its second Deluxe LP, A Million To One, with Bob Riley producing.  It resulted in another big hit with the single ‘One Life To Live,’ written by Lovett.  Although its records were charting regularly in the R&B field, pop success remained too elusive.  ‘One Life To Live’ caught the attention of Columbia’s Mickey Eichner, and as King Records was in its death throes, he brought the group to Columbia late in 1972.”

  • Elsewhere in that same profile, longtime friend, Rob Riley, looks back on a long career:

“The Manhattans were very much into what I commonly refer to as “my kind of music,” the ballad — filled with that old street corner churchy harmony.  I had listened to them for years on Jo Evans’ Carnival Records.  But in 1972, there we were, face-to-face in the Starday-King‘s Records office in Nashville, Tenn.

My normal function with King had been strictly national R&B promotion.  That particular morning, Hal Neely, the president, had requested that I make certain I was in the city for I was to meet with The Manhattans and their manager, Hermi Hanlin.

I walked in expecting to meet another cocky group with a manager full of ‘why nots’ and ‘how comes.’  My notes were ready to cover the last single release, ‘A Million to One,’ the ‘why nots’ and ‘how comes.’  Instead, here sat five guys smiling and an oval-faced jovial female who immediately said, ‘Okay, Bob Riley, when do we start cutting our first record?’  It was a challenge – more in jest.  Although I had produced some Joe Henderson, Joe Tex, and a couple of Midnighter sides along the way, I thought what kind of joke is this?  Me, Bob Riley producing The Manhattans!

But this is what Hal and Hermi had agreed upon prior to my arrival.  Immediately, it was a warm and open thing which seemed to flow among the seven of us — the five Manhattans, Hermi and myself.  We actually forgot Hal was there for a few minutes as we talking about many things, mostly outside the realm of music.

It was agreed that I was to take the group down to Macon, Ga. to King’s other studio which was handled by Bobby Smith, the actual discoverer of Otis Redding.  The session became a team effort with the greater position of the input flowing around through Blue, Hermi and myself.  The session produced a good album, out of which came one hit song, ‘One Life to Live.’

 

AUDIO LINK for “Back Up” by The Manhattans

peaked at #107 on February 24, 1973 [DeLuxe]

  • Julian Coleman, in his “Soul Sauce” column for Billboard, picked “Back Up” as one of the “Picks and Plays” for the week of January 6, 1973.
  • “Back Up” entered Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart at #46 on January 13, 1973, climbed up to #41 the following week, made it to #24 by February 10, 1973, and then inched up to #20 the week after (there the chart trail goes cold).
  • “Back Up” peaked at #18 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 65 chart on March 3, 1973.
  • After The Manhattans signed with Columbia in 1973, Starday-King released two more singles on DeLuxe, with the final one — “Do You Ever” — reviewed in the August 11, 1973 edition of Record World, who deemed it a “Hit of the Week”:  “Group established themselves as crossover giants with their last outing [Columbia’s] ‘There’s No Me Without You.’  Their old label releases this ballad and the outcome could spell h-i-t.  We’ll take Manhattans!”

Other 1/2 of Dec 71 Record Mirror ad — new Starday-King subsidiary, Mpingo

Click on image above to view in ultra-high resolution

 

  • Review of Mpingo’s debut 45 — “Nobody” by Hodges, James, Smith & Crawford — in the January 1, 1972 issue of Record World:  “Mickey Stevenson’s new label has a super strong soul side as its first release.  Powerful vocal work by new girl group gives it real hit potential.  Watch out!”

 

H  O  N  O  R  A  B  L  E      M  E  N  T  I  O  N

AUDIO LINK for “60 Minute Man” by The Untouchables

peaked at #104 on October 7, 1960 [Madison]

“Here’s a new version of ‘Sixty Minute Man’ that swings even more than the original Dominoes record did.  It could be a hit again.”

 

AUDIO LINK for “Twistin’ Fever” [B-side?] by The Marcels

peaked at #103 on March 1, 1962 [Colpix]

  • “Twistin’ Fever” was a “Regional Breakout” single in the Hartford area, as reported in Billboard‘s March 31, 1962 edition.
  • Cash Box‘s 45 review in their April 7, 1962 edition assumes “Twistin’ Fever” to be the B-side:
THE MARCELS (Colpix 629) 

(B+) “FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND”
(2:19) [Wemar BMI — 
Elias, Reid, Richards] Guys who put 
“Blue Moon” and some other standards
on the teen map with their 
whacky chant style offer an exciting 
teen sound here. Lead and fellow 
songsters do a very slick job on the 
first-rate item, and they’re supported 
by a strong Latinish instrumental 
sound. Can be another chart go for the 
team. 

(B-f) “TWISTIN’ FEVER” (2:05) 
[St. Louis BMI — Blackwell, 
Scott] Old ditty gets a sly, grow-on-you 
twist reading. Should also be eyed.

 

AUDIO LINK for “Fever” by Alvin Robinson

peaked at #108 on September 19, 1964 [Red Bird]

  • Alvin Robinson’s version of the King classic was a “Regional Breakout” single in Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte & Houston, as reported in Billboard‘s September 19, 1964 edition.

 

AUDIO LINK for “Sixty Minute Man” by Trammps

peaked at #108 on October 7, 1972 [Buddah]

  • Trammps’ proto-soul-flavored version of “Sixty Minute Man” was a Pop singles pick in Billboard‘s September 23, 1972 edition.
  • In February of 1975, the single would reach the Top 40 in the UK.

 

AUDIO LINK for “Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go” by The Chambers Brothers

peaked at #106 on March 16, 1974 [Avco]

 

B  O  N  U  S      B  U  B  B  L  I  N  G      U  N  D  E  R :

F R A T E R N I T Y   &   L O N N I E   M A C K

Here are the 45s that “bubbled under” Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart from Fraternity, Cincinnati’s other notable “indie” label from the original roots rock era.  Founded by Harry Carlson in 1954, Fraternity was a “one-man operation” that did business out of Carlson’s office/residence in Cincinnati’s old Sheraton Gibson Hotel.  Carlson sold Fraternity in 1975 to Counterpart RecordsShad O’Shea, who later sold Fraternity to Victor Piagneri in 2008 “with the promise that he would keep the labels active,” according to Big Boppa‘s Fraternity labels and company sleeves website.

AUDIO LINK for “Book Of Love” by Bobby Bare (Fraternity 878)

peaked at #106 on May 29, 1961

  • Billboard‘s review in their April 10, 1961 edition:  “A big, big ballad gets a mighty convincing vocal from Bare over a soaring string and choral group accompaniment   Flip is ‘Lorena‘.”
  • “Book of Love” – a 45 that enjoyed release in Australia, also somehow ended up (licensed?) that same year on a Swedish EP, whose wild cover image makes promises that the music in no way can come close to delivering.

1961 EP — Sweden

 

AUDIO LINK for “What Kind Of Girl (Do You Think I Am)” by The Charmaines

peaked at #117 on September 18, 1961 (Fraternity 880)

“The Charmaines were a soul girl trio.  Sisters Marian (who used the name Gigi on some of the records) and Jerri Jackson had sung together, but at the start of the girl group sound in 1959/60,  Marian started a trio with Irene Vinegar and Dee Watkins.  The group was signed to Fraternity records and started recording at King studios.  They released two 45s on Fraternity, with the second one, “What Kind Of Girl” being their highest charting record, although only making it to #117 in the Billboard [Bubbling Under] charts.  They had a one shot 45 on Dot before returning to Fraternity.

While recording their own 45s, the sessions included other local musicians like Kenny Smith and most notably, Lonnie Mack, who got his big break thanks to a Charnaines session that finished early, allowing him time to record ‘Memphis.’.[which peaked at #12 on Billboard‘s R&B Singles chart]”

THE CHARMAINES 
(Fraternity 880) 

(B+) “WHAT KIND OF GIRL 
(Do You Think I Am)” 
(2:22) [B. F. Wood ASCAP— Seneca, 
Steward] Gals display lots of  
rhythmic-rock polish, and are backed 
by an infectious combo arrangement. 
Upbeat sound that might make the 
chart grade. 

(B-h) “ALL YOU GOTTA DO” 
(2:14) [Dorsey ASCAP — 
Starr, Kahn] The larks move quickly 
again, and come-up with more catchy 
teen doings.

Fraternity Recordings — Ace UK anthology (2019)

 

AUDIO LINK for “Where There’s A Will” [B-side] by Lonnie Mack

peaked at #113 on October 30, 1963 (Fraternity 918)

  • The Charmaines provide backing vocals on “Where There’s a Will” as well as the flip side, “Baby What’s Wrong.”  According to PragueFrank, these two sides were recorded at the same 1963 King Studios session as “Wham!” and “Suzie-Q,” where Lonnie Mack was assisted by Wayne Bullock [bass], Ron Grayson [drums], Irv Rusetto [sax], and Marv Lieberman [sax], with Carl Edmondson serving as producer.
  • 45Cat’s Juke Jules points to the 1959 recording by The Five Blind Boys (Vee Jay) as the inspiration for Mack’s version.
  • “Where There’s a Will” also reached #27 on Cash Box‘s Singles – Looking Ahead chart for the week ending December 28, 1963.
  • Billboard’s November 9, 1963 “Pop Spotlight” review tags “Where There’s a Will,” however, as the B-side:  “The ‘Memphis’ man, Lonnie Mack, enters the singer’s ring on this side culled from this current LP,  [‘Baby What’s Wrong‘] is a Jimmy Reed blues that has strong sell and swing.  The flip is ‘Where There’s a Will’.”
  • Gibson Guitars relays this amusing related anecdote in a tribute piece entitled “Unsung Guitar Hero — Lonnie Mack:  “Mack’s staggering soulfulness is clearly on display on ballads like ‘I’ll Keep You Happy,’ ‘Why,’ and ‘Where There’s a Will There’s a Way’—Lonnie’s third Fraternity single and a tune that received airplay on black radio stations, including one in Birmingham, Alabama, until Lonnie arrived one day for an interview and revealed he was white.”
  • “Baby What’s Wrong” (the A-side) peaked at #93 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart.

1964 — Australia (“A Fraternity Recording from U.S.A.”)

 

AUDIO LINK for “Lonnie on the Move” by Lonnie Mack

peaked at March 7, 1964 (Fraternity 920)

  • Cash Box‘s singles review in their February 15, 1964 issue:  “The versatile vocalist-instrumentalist can get back in the chart swing-of-things with his newest for Fraternity.  It’s a frantic, hard-driving all-instrumental affair, tabbed ‘Lonnie On The Move,’ that can go the ‘Memphis’-‘Wham!’ smash route.  The easy-on-the-ears beat-ballad romantic shuffler,[Ray Pennington’s] ‘Say Something Nice To Me‘ displays Lonnie’s winning vocal way.”
  • Cash Box‘s March 7, 1964 edition reported that “Lonnie on the Move” was in a group of 45s that were “going strongly” with “juke box ops [operators]” even though “not on Cash Box‘s Top 100″ — also listed at #41 on Cash Box‘s Singles – Looking Ahead chart.that same week.
  • According to Led Zeppelin biographer, Mick Wall, prior to Zep’s first ever rehearsal, Jimmy Page played for John Bonham “a single called ‘Lonnie on the Move’.  It’s like ‘Turn On Your Lovelight‘ [by Bobby Bland] as an instrumental, and it’s got this drumming that’s really super hooligan [and] I said, ‘This is the kind of angle I’m coming in at’.”
  • “Lonnie on the Move” has been part of Jeff Beck’s live repertoire in recent years, as these YouTube performance clips indicate.
  • The YouTube contributor who uploaded the above audio clip indicates the vocal contributions of The Charmaines.

1970 B-side on the short-lived (and mysterious) Buccaneer label

 

AUDIO LINK for “I’ve Had It” by Lonnie Mack

peaked at #128 on May 2, 1964 (Fraternity 925)

  • Billboard cited “I’ve Had It” to be a Regional Breakout single in Cincinnati, as reported in their May 9, 1964 edition.
  • Originally recorded by The Bell Notes in 1959 [#6 Pop & #19 R&B], “I’ve Had It” has also been paid tribute by Fanny, and Alex Chilton.
  • According to PragueFrank, the early 1964 recording session that produced “Lonnie on the Move,” “I’ve Had It,” “From Me to You” and four other songs was the first time Mack had recorded anywhere other than King Studios — in this case, RCA Victor Studio in Nashville.
  • “I’ve Had It’ reached #34 on Cash Box‘s Singles – Looking Ahead chart for the week ending May 16, 1964.
  • Cash Box‘s June 6, 1964 edition reported that “I’ve Had It” was “going strongly” with “juke box ops [operators]” even though “not on Cash Box‘s Top 100″ chart.

 

1964 single – Canada

 

AUDIO LINK for “A Public Execution” by Mouse

peaked at #121 on February 26, 1966 (Fraternity 956)

  • Record World‘s review in their February 19, 1966 issue as a “four-star” singles pick:  “Well done protest type song.  Mouse will get the cheese with.  Lyrics capture imagination.”
  • “A Public Execution” entered Cash Box‘s Top 50 Singles – Looking Ahead” chart at the #50 position on March 12, 1966 and reached the #27 spot two weeks later.
  • “Execution” also reached #5 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for the week ending March 5, 1966.
  • Mouse is short for Mouse & the Traps, garage rockers from Tyler, Texas.
  • “Public Execution” enjoyed a second life thanks to Lenny Kaye’s decision to include the recording on the original 2-LP Nuggets garage rock retrospective released in 1972 (reissued in 1976 on Sire before getting the 4-CD box set treatment in 1998).

 

AUDIO LINK for “Heart” by 2 of Clubs

peaked at #125 on October 8, 1966 (Fraternity 972)

“Linda is from Cincinnati and I’m from Covington, Kentucky, just across the Ohio River,” says Patti.  “There was at the time a very popular nightspot called Guys & Dolls.  Linda and I each worked there, but not together at first. Singing at Guys & Dolls was my first paying job.  Before that I performed anywhere a band was willing to let me get up and sing.  Some were sort of bad news places, and at first I wasn’t even old enough to be in them.  Ben Kraft, who owned Guys & Dolls, heard about me from people who’d seen me perform. He came to listen to me, liked what he heard and hired me. At some point, it was discovered that Linda’s voice and mine blended together really well, and we decided to become a duo.  Linda was married to Carl Edmondson, who headed up the house band.”

  • One 45Cat contributor reports that this debut 45 was a “sizeable hit in the Albany, NY market (#2), held out of the top by The Royal Guardsmen” and then asks “where else did this do better locally than nationally?”  Answer:  Cincinnati, where “Heart” was a Regional Breakout single, as reported in the October 15, 1966 issue of Billboard.
  • Spectropop also reports that “Heart” was recorded at King Studios and “reached the Top 10 in places like Chicago.”
  • Billboard‘s November 19, 1966 edition found “Heart” included on its “Spotlight” list of 45s “predicted to reach the Hot 100.”
  • “Heart” also reached #21 on Cash Box‘s Singles – Looking Ahead chart, as well as #22 on Record World‘s Singles Look Up chart in October of 1966.

Debut 45 — Germany

 

AUDIO LINK for “How Long Has It Been” by The Casinos

peaked at #121 on June 17, 1967 (Fraternity 987)

  • The Casinos started out as The Legends, a teenage doo wop group whose members had attended Woodward High School, according to White Doo-Wop Collector music history blog.
  • Billboard‘s review in their June 17, 1967 edition:  “The well-blended vocal group should ride high on the charts with this top rhythm ballad.  Has the feel and sales appeal of their big one ‘Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye.’  Powerful entry.  Flip: ‘Forever And a Day’.”
  • Excerpt from Record World article entitled, “Fraternity’s Big Comeback Story,” published in their February 4, 1967 issue:

“The show business fraternity has always loved a comeback story, and none is being more warmly received today than that of Harry Carlson and his Cincinnati-based Fraternity Records.

Currently racking up hefty sales on two singles, ‘Walk Tall,’ by the 2 of Clubs, and ‘Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye,’ by The Casinos, Carlson told Record World last week that it has been about 10 years since his label had a real hit:  Jimmy Dorsey’s ‘So Rare.’  Now, however, things are really swinging for Fraternity and Carlson has just singed four new artists:  Danny Scholl, Cal Starr, Kitty West and Chris St. John.

‘All our artists are signed to long-term contracts,’ noted Carlson.
Furthermore, the company is about to bring out four new albums featuring the Casinos, who have signed with Premier Talent, the 2 of Clubs, Lonnie Mack and Cal Starr.  ‘This is the first time we’ve had in release more than one LP at a time,’ Carlson further revealed.

Carlson attributes much of the success they are having with ‘Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye’ to the Acuff-Rose publishers of the John D. Loudermilk tune.  ‘They’ve given me greater support than anyone else in this business ever got.  For example, on one Friday, there were three areas in which I needed help; on Monday, Acuff-Rose sent promo men into the area.’

The song had been discovered by producer Glen Hughes (following a few recordings of it that failed to click) who then started using it in clubs.”

  • Carlson, noted Shad O’Shea in Greg Evans’ history of “The Cincinnati Sound” for Cincinnati Magazine, “really was loved by the entire record industry worldwide.”  Glen Hughes of The Casinos (and later Glen Hughes Promotion out of Nashville) enthuses unabashedly that Carlson “was one of the sweetest, kindest men in the world, like a father to everyone who recorded for him.  You hear about musicians in those days didn’t receive all their royalties?  I honestly think Harry overpaid us — he was worried about us not getting our fair share.”
  • Glen Hughes reveals in that same 1986 Cincinnati Magazine piece how their Top Ten hit was a spontaneous decision in the studio (like “Tequilaby The Champs)  when confronted with time to fill at the group’s King recording session:

“I had originally heard ‘They You Can Tell Me Goodbye’ on a Nashville station.  It was sung by Johnny Nash, and we had no idea of recording it — we just thought it would be a good song to play in clubs.  We kept getting a tremendous response from it, and requests for it.

One day we were recording a jingle for WSAI at King, and we had some time left on the session, so we cut ‘Goodbye.’  We took it to Harry Carlson and he said ‘I believe that’s a hit.’  The song, released in December of 1966, was a hit, reaching number four on the Billboard charts and selling 1.3 million copies.  The group which contained as many as nine members, mostly old neighborhood friends from Over-the-Rhine, began touring the country, spurred on by the success of the single.”

“How Long Has It Been” — not included on The Casinos’ 1967 LP

 

AUDIO LINK for “Sometimes You Just Can’t Win” by Mouse and the Traps

peaked at #125 on June 8, 1968 (Fraternity 1005)

  • Tragedy befell the band around the time they were promoting this single, as Billboard reported in their April 27, 1968 edition in an ironic news item entitled, “Ya Jes’ Can’t Always Win:

“CINCINNATI—The Mouse and the Traps, who recently scored handily with their ‘L.O.V.E.‘ single on Harry Carlson’s Fraternity label, suffered the loss of some $9,000 in equipment recently when their car and trailer went off the road and overturned near Jackson, Tenn., while on the hop from Texarkana, Ark. to Louisville.  With borrowed instruments, the group appeared on the ‘Upbeat’ TV-er in Cleveland the next day.  The boys feel the loss incurred in the accident ties in neatly with their latest Fraternity release, ‘Sometimes You Just Can’t Win,’ which last week received its first big play in the Midwest area.”

  • Cash Box‘s review in their April 27, 1968 issue:  “Coming off a noise-maker with ‘L.O.V.E.’ the group carries on in a heavy pop ballad with arrangements that highlight a fine lead vocal.  Flip:  ‘Cryin’ Inside‘.”
  • Billboard‘s June 1, 1968 edition reports “the platter showing exceptionally well in Louisville; Columbus, Ohio, and Dallas” — those same three areas cited in a  Record World May 18, 1968 news item.

US picture sleeve — 1967

Singing aloud is therapeutic, you know — rear sleeve

 

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

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?

Note:  This piece is a little “heavy” with content — please allow time to load.

 

AUDIO LINK for “Little Bitty Johnny” by Travis & Bob 

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

  • “Little Bitty Johnny” is the follow-up to the duo’s ace debut 45 “Tell Her No” on Mobile-based label, Sandy (and a single that made it as far as New Zealand).
  • #96 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week of July 4, 1959.

Written by Travis Pritchett

 

Roulette” by Russ Conway

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

  • The person who uploaded this jukebox 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.”
  • “Roulette” hit the top of the UK pop chart two weeks in a row, as reported in Billboard‘s June 29, 1959 edition.
  • Cash Box‘s “London Lowdown and England’s Top 30 Records” chart notes that “Roulette” was still holding strong at the #4 position in the July 25, 1959 issue.
  • Reporting from NYC, the October 3, 1959 issue of Cash Box informs us that “Mills Music has just acquired the publishing rights to Russ Conway’s third successive English hit, ‘China Tea.’  Mills also has the same rights to the previous Conway clicks, ‘Side Saddle‘ and ‘Roulette.’  Writer of all three is Trevor Stanford.”

EP Sweden — 1959

 

AUDIO LINK for “Baghdad Rock (Pt. 1)” by The Sheiks

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

  • The Sheiks from Norfolk, VA — song also covered by Ray Ellis & His Orchestra.
  • 45 originally issued on Trine — with “Baghdad Rock” as the label’s sole release.
  • Billboard‘s picked “Baghdad Rock” as one of their “Spotlight Winners” for the week of October 26, 1959:  “The group has two interesting sides that can easily catch on.  The attractive, Oriental theme is given a colorful instrumental treatment with oboe spotlighted over rhythm accompaniment.  Both sides move all the way.  There’s already action in some Eastern marts.”  [e.g., Philadelphia]
  • “Baghdad Rock” — on the heels of Jerry Reed’s “Rockin’ in Baghdad” from two years earlier.

Written by Zane-Ramal-Tharon

  

 

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

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

Written by Teddy Vann

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • Billboard‘s review in their January 25, 1960 edition:  “Infectious ditty is intoned with spirit here by the duo, and it has the rollicking 1920’s sound.  Good jock side.”
  • #2 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (i.e., “a compilation, in order of strength, of up and coming records showing signs of breaking into the Cash Box Top 100″) — for the week ending March 12, 1960.
  • Written by Svend Asmussen.

Denmark 45                                               Germany 45

 

AUDIO LINK for “The Wind” by The Diablos Featuring Nolan Strong

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

  • #21 on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week of July 9, 1960.
  • This 1954 recording (almost) back on the charts as a result of a cover version by The Jesters released that same year.
  • Bob Leszczak’s Who Did It First? recounts the song’s history:  “There were two very similar renditions of this song entitled ‘The Wind,’ and they were released six years apart.  First came the version on Detroit’s Fortune Records label from 1954 by The Diablos, featuring Nolan Strong on lead.  Strong was a cousin of future hit maker Barrett Strong of “Money” fame.  ‘The Wind’ sold well, especially in the big urban areas of the United States, but did not make the charts.  Strong’s voice was similar to that of Clyde McPhatter, and the group had a big impact on a young Bill ‘Smokey’ Robinson.”
  • According to Discogs, most recordings for the Detroit-based Fortune label were recorded at the in-house Fortune Recording Studio.

Written by Strong, Eubanks, Hunter, Gutierrez & Edwards

 

AUDIO LINK for “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]

  • SecondHandSongs notes that “If The World Don’t End Tomorrow” is based on “Comin’ After You” by The Fairlanes, released four months earlier in Feb. 1960.
  • Billboard‘s review in their July 4, 1960 edition:  “Feelingful reading by Warren and group on effective r&r ditty with country flavor.”
  • #1 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (week of August 6, 1960).

Written by Billy Sherrill

 

AUDIO LINK for “Itchin’” [B-side] by Jimmy Jones

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

  • Jimmy Jones’ million-selling debut 45 “Handy Man” was also a #1 hit for James Taylor in 1977 (as well as #22 hit for Del Shannon in 1964).
  • The whistling part by Jones was a last-minute substitution, as a result of the flautist failing to show for the recording session.
  • “Itchin'” ended up being a B-side breakout hit.
  • “Itchin'” was deemed a Music Vendor R&B “Sure Bet” for September 26, 1960.
  • Billboard‘s September 12, 1960 edition reports that “Jimmy Jones is a newcomer on the singing scene who had the good fortune of scoring with two hits in a row.  Twenty-three-year-old Jimmy made his disk debut with Handy Man, his own composition, a million-seller, and went on to hit with Good Timin’.  He has two sock sides on his latest Cub single, Ee-Ii-Oh! b/w Itchin’ For Love.  The tremendous success of his songs in England (something that does not happen quickly to American artists) has led to the scheduling of a British tour that begins Oct. 5.”

Written by Stipe-Wyant-Reddy

 

AUDIO LINK for “The Jazz in You” by Gloria Lynne

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

  • #24 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 24, 1960.
  • “The Jazz in You” was a “Top Market Breakout” hit in the Los Angeles market, according to Billboard‘s February 6, 1961 edition.

Written by Dixon-Towns

 

AUDIO LINK for “Banned in Boston” by Merv Griffin

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

  • Some suspect this song to be an attempt to cash in on the success of Brian Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini” from July 1960.
  • Billboard‘s review in their January 30, 1961 edition:  “Cute swinging novelty madly punches out the story of the chick who had so much on the ball she was banned in Boston—among other places.  Assisting instrumental and vocal groups all add to this strong side.”
  • #83 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week of March 18, 1961.

Written by Clint Ballard, Jr & Fred Tobias

 

AUDIO LINK for “Bounty Hunter” by The Nomads

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

  • Billboard‘s review in their February 20, 1961 edition:  “A marching rocker rhythm here.  Rolling drums set the beat with the melody voiced by whistling and a guitar.  Chorus and an organ move in later.  Interesting arrangement.”
  • Cash Box‘s February 25, 1961 review is even more enthusiastic:  “We’ll bet our bottom dollar that the Laurie affiliate, Rust Records, has a smash in the Nomads’ instrumental, “Bounty Hunter.”  It’s a galloping, western-flavored opus with an infectious whistling and sans-lyric chants backdrop.  Perfect stuff for a TV theme.”
  • #8 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead’ chart for April 1, 1961.
  • #3 on Music Vendor‘s “Beat of the Week – Heading for the Top 100” chart for the week of March 20, 1961.
  • This 45 – which saw release in Canada & Australia – also covered by Al Caiola.

Written by J. Krondes

 

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

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

Netherlands 45 — 1961

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”

Written by Roger Wilco

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #37 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week of May 20, 1961.

Written by J. Van Winkle, F. Darian & A. DeLory

 

AUDIO LINK for “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!” [to be more specific, “When this instrumental came to us, it was titled ‘Seagram’s.’ We missed the possible legal conflict with the Seagram’s trademark and also the policy at many radio stations of not playing a record with a commericial product name in its title.”] and indicated 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.
  • “Bacardi” was written by one-time King recording artist, Johnny Pate.

Also released in Hong Kong

 

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

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

streaming audio not yet available

  • Cash Box gave this a B+ in their June 24, 1961 review:  “Novelty already making some noise, has a voice imitating President Kennedy answering various queries (by famed personalities) at a press conference.  Catchy combo beat between the questions.  Could be programming difficulties due to the use of real names and matter of taste employed in some of the answers.”
  • #22 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 17, 1961.
  • Written by Baron, Stallman, Jacobson & Eugene.

Click on 45 sleeve below to view in high resolution

 

AUDIO LINK for “Song of the Nairobi Trio” by The Fortune Tellers

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

  • A “breakout hit” in the New York market, as reported in Billboard‘s July 31, 1961 edition.
  • Cash Box reporting in the July 22, 1961 issue — “Bob Schwaid of Music Makers, all aglow with the response to his Fortune Tellers’ waxing of “Song Of The Nairobi Trio” noting sales coming in from the eastern seaboard.”
  • 45Cat points out:  “A-side used on Ernie Kovacs‘ television show, during the ‘Nairobi Trio’ skits” — song written by Robert Maxwell.

B-side when released in Japan

 

AUDIO LINK for “Berlin Top Ten” by Dickie Goodman

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

  • Break-in record from Dickie Goodman, whose groundbreaking work with Bill Buchanan in this genre had begun in 1956 with “Flying Saucer (Pts. 1 & 2).”
  • Avid Listener‘s celebration of Dickie Goodman’s Cold War-era political satire includes this 45 summary recap:  “In 1961, Goodman made his next Cold War song, ‘Berlin Top Ten,’ again a commentary on government-policed radio.  The song begins with disc jockey Happy Hans Kaput playing a snippet of the supposed number one song in East Berlin, ‘Don’t Fence Me In.’  This is undoubtedly a commentary on the Berlin Wall, which had just begun to “fence in” East Berlin when the song was released.  (The Berlin Wall actually surrounded West Berlin.)  Happy Hans is then machine-gunned by the “secret police” and replaced by Boris the Spinner, “the people’s disc jockey.”  After a few more news announcements and song snippets, the sound of marching soldiers and machine guns are heard once again.  This time it is Boris’s turn to face the secret police and he signs off with a snippet of ‘I’ll Never Smile Again’ by the Platters.”
  • Written by Dickie Goodman and Robert Arkin.

released in the US — and also Denmark, curiously

 

AUDIO LINK for “The Roach” by Gene and Wendell with The Sweethearts

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

  • #33 on Music Vendor‘s Top 40 Rhythm & Blues chart for December 4, 1961.
  • #14 on Billboard‘s R&B chart for the week of January 6, 1962.
  • #11 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 9, 1961.
  • Written by Alonzo Willis and Steve Venet (brother of Nick Venet).

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

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • #28 on Billboard‘s R&B chart for the week of October 16, 1961.
  • #23 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for the week of October 14, 1961.
  • December 18, 1961 edition of Billboard reports that “a number of disks have never as yet made the ‘Hot 100’ but have come close to it and have been selling quietly for a long period — good example is Prince La La’s ‘She Put the Hurt On Me’ on AFO.”
  • Also released under the slight title variant “You Put the Hurt On Me.”
  • 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.

Written by Lawrence Nelson

 

AUDIO LINK for “Colinda” by Rod Bernard

peaked at #102 on March 24, 1962 [Hall-way]

  • Rod Bernard of Opelousas, Louisiana — as noted in an early Zero to 180 piece –would record his rumination about the “Cajun Interstate” (i.e., the Atchafalaya Expressway on Interstate 10) eight years later for Shelby Singleton’s SSS International label.
  • “Colinda” was identified by Billboard as a “Regional Breakout” single in Baltimore, as reported in the May 19, 1962 edition.
  • #8 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 24, 1962.
  • #45 on Music Reporter‘s “Headed for the Big 50” chart (May 19, 1962).

Written by Rod Bernard

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #4 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week of June 2, 1962.

Written by Paul Dino

 

AUDIO LINK for “How’s My Ex Treating You” [B-side?] by Jerry Lee Lewis

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

  • Recording is notable for the baritone “fuzz” guitar intro.
  • Released here and abroad as a B-side (according to 45Cat), and yet Billboard‘s review from the July 21, 1962 edition clearly considers it the A-side — “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.  Flip is ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’.”
  • #26 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for October 20, 1962.
  • Written by Vic McAlpin.

B-side in Sweden — and everywhere else

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #5 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 29, 1962.
  • The team of songwriters behind “Big Noise from Winnetka (Pts. 1 & 2)”:
    Gil Rodin, Bob Crosby, Bob Haggart & Ray Bauduc.

1963 EP — France

 

AUDIO LINK for “Half Time” [B-side] by The Routers

peaked at #115 on February 16, 1963

  • The Routers (of course) best known for “Let’s Go.”
  • Written by Lanny & Robert Duncan — arranged by Rene Hall.
  • Issued as B-side of “Make It Snappy.”
  • 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

 

AUDIO LINK for “Tore Up (Over You)” by Harmonica Fats

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

  • Fact check:  Harmonica Fats’ version of “Tore Up Over You” by The Midnighters (1956) attributes Hank Ballard as the composer when, in fact, Henry Glover wrote the song.
  • Regional breakout hit in Buffalo, as reported in Billboard‘s March 30, 1963 edition.
  • #13 on Cash Box‘s Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 2, 1963.
  • Tagged by Music Reporter as Hottest Under the Big 100” (March 2, 1963).
  • Curious to find that the same two songs “Tore Up” b/w “I Get So Tired” were released by two tiny labels in 1962 (Skylark and Star-a-Fire) and then again the following year (Darcey) — 45Cat notes that “Lester Sill’s Darcey label picked it up for national distribution in very early 1963.”
  • Cash Box‘s review of the 1963 Darcey release:  “The new Hollywood based label can get off the ground in solid sales style with this dual-mart, pop-r&b deck that bows the enticing, gravely-voice style of Harmonica Fats.  Pulsating, steady driving shuffle rhythm affair with a ‘one more time’ closer.  Can bust thru.”
  • In December 2018, an original copy of a UK demo 45 sold for £75.
  • Biographical profile of Harmonica Fats, courtesy of UK’s Blues and Rhythm.

“Lois Music Publ.”

 

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).

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #25 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for September 7, 1963.

Written by Charles Albertine & produced by Ed Kleban

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #31 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for September 28, 1963.

Written by Fred Hertz & Charles Grean

 

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.”
  • “Eefananny” written by none other than Jerry Reed.

eefin’ = a tutorial

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • Produced and written by Lee Hazlewood for Stacy Records.

US 7-inch release + German 45 picture sleeve

 

AUDIO LINK for “Gorilla” [B-side] 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.  But look at the number of times it’s been released on 7-inch vinyl, including twice in 1963 — clearly something more going on here.  According to 45Cat’s rhythmdog, here’s the story:  “Howard Pitman was a former member of The Five Crowns.  Concord was his label.  Both sides were sold to Cortland, along with the Ideals’ contract when ‘The Gorilla’ became a huge Chicago hit at least in part due to heavy promotion by DJ Herb Kent.  This Concord release is the first release for both sides, which were later put out on Cortland paired with a variety of other sides, some of them not by the Ideals.”
  • Cash Box‘s March 21, 1964 issue reports that “Cortland’s veepee Earl Glicken advised that The Ideals, who did so well with ‘The Gorilla,’ cut a follow-up item last week tagged ‘More Gorilla,’ which is being rushed out to dealers.”
  • Written by Eddie Williams, Howard Pitman & Jerry Murray — instrumental backing by The Outlaws.

Original 45 release + 2011 reissue on Norton Records

 

AUDIO LINK for “The Monkey Walk” by The Flares

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

  • Prepare to spend at least $20 when attempting to buy an original 45 — otherwise, you can pick up a copy of the Ace UK Flares anthology on compact disc.
  • Cash Box‘s review in the September 28, 1963 issue:  “The teen dance crowd will surely dig this hard-drivin’ hip-swinger geared strictly for dancing.  A vigorous vocal and constant handclapping sets a spirited mood.  The jocks should get on this one in short order.”

Written by A. Collins — Produced by Buck Ram

 

AUDIO LINK for “Sneaky Sue” by Patty Lace and the Pettycoats

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

  • #1 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 1, 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.”
  • “A Feldman, Goldstein, Gottehrer Production” (i.e., The Strangeloves) — written by Robert Spencer.

US 7-inch release + 1964 French EP

 

AUDIO LINK for “The Cow” by Bill Robinson and the Quails

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

  • Cash Box‘s review in their December 7, 1963 issue:  “There’s a new teen dance called the Cow, and it’s related to teen audiences with lots of bright blues-rock appeal by the songster and his support, tabbed the Quails.  Atlantic Records is handling this hectic addition to the teen-step catalog.”
  • #38 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for 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.”

Written by Robinson, Wilson & Bowens

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #4 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 22, 1964.
  • Written by G. Weiss & J. Sherman.

Japan — 1964

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • The Astronauts’ Competition Coupe LP reached #105 on Music Vendor‘s album chart for the week of April 11, 1964.
  • Written by Gary Usher and Roger Christian — and subject of a Zero to 180 piece from 2015.

  45 — Japan                                                    45 — Germany

 

AUDIO LINK for “I Am the Greatest” by Cassius Clay

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

US promo with “Will the Real Sonny Liston Please Fall Down” as B-side

 

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 25, 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.”
  • Note:  April 11, 1964 Music Vendor announces a complete overhaul of the weekly publication, including a new name, Record World.
  • Link to other Zero to 180 stories related to Beatles Novelty Songs.

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • #2 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 9, 1964.

Written by Dennis Linde & Peter Antell

 

AUDIO LINK for “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).

 

AUDIO LINK for “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

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 distribution.
  • “Beachcomber” made CKLW‘s Top 30 for two consecutive weeks in May 1964.
  • #36 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 13, 1964 (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.

Composed by Bobby Darin

 

AUDIO LINK for “Love Me Do” [B-side?] by The Hollyridge Strings

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

  • Holy moly — is that a melodica on a vinyl disc from 1964?  If so, then we have a new winner for earliest melodica recording.  Hats off to Stu Phillips!
  • Amusing to note the scandalous “McCartney-Lennon” songwriting credits, especially given that the names are reversed for “All My Loving” (what is purported by 45Cat to be the A-side).
  • Record World‘s July 4, 1964 issue includes an item on page 35 entitled “Harmonica Happening” that begins thusly:  “It looks as if 1964 will be the year of the harmonica.  Pop, blues, country and folk musicians are all taking up the little instrument.  In England its popularity with the phenomenal rock groups has the suppliers working overtime.  The Beatles hit, ‘Love Me Do,’ opens with a powerful harmonica solo, and it has made spectacular headway on the charts.  Mannfred Mann’s ‘5-4-3-2-1‘ relies on rhythmic harmonica work.  Other English groups, such as the Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones, The Mersey Beats and The Batchelors use the harmonica as well.  Sonny Terry plays his blues harmonica on his new release, ‘First Meetin’,’ on World Pacific.”

Note the “McCartney-Lennon” songwriting credits on “Love Me Do”

 

AUDIO LINK for “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
  • “Ska beat with vocal” noted Cash Box in its May 30, 1964 issue.
  • #47 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for August 1, 1964.
  • Written by Paul Mason Howard & Paul Weston.

Columbia — leading up the ska charge

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”

Written by Bernice Williams & Robert Hill

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.'”

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • This group from Wales once backed Bo Diddley and Sonny Boy Williamson, reports Record World in their September 26, 1964 issue.
  • “If I Were to Conquer the World” was a “Breakout Hit” in Seattle, as reported by Billboard in its October 3, 1964 edition.
  • #6 on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week of October 10, 1964.

Written by Paul Evans

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • 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.
  • #15 on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending August 22, 1964.
  • 45Cat’s mickey rat offers this 7-inch review:  “Great blues with tremolo guitar, plenty of harmonica, and Red’s wry vocal.  Flip is a really good R&B instro with squeaky Jimmy Reed style harp and spoken interjections.  Underrated artist.”

Written by Charles Singleton, Sid Wyche, and Henry Glover

 

AUDIO LINK for (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.
  • #25 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for September 26, 1964.

Written by Joe Di Benedetto & Steve Tudanger

 

AUDIO LINK for “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

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.

 

AUDIO LINK for “Maybe the Last Time” [B-side] by James Brown & His Orchestra

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

American picture sleeve  Vs. Germany‘s ill-fitting beat group image

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 =

 

AUDIO LINK for “The Sloop Dance” [B-side] by The Vibrations

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

  • Says 45Cat contributor Ort. Carlton — “‘Sloop Dance’ may have been the intended B-side, but it whizzed to #4 on KQV, Pittsburgh.”
  • Written by David Penn, Del Sharh & L. Goodweather.

Check out the purple promo

 

AUDIO LINK for “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?

 

AUDIO LINK for “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

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • “Popcorn Popcorn” written by David Clowney and Teddy Vann.

 

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?

 

AUDIO LINK for “Terry” by Twinkle

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

  • #6 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 30, 1965.
  • 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.

Written by Twinkle

 

AUDIO LINK for “Do-Do Do Bah-Ah” by Bert Keyes Orchestra & Chorus

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

  • This song appears to be Bert Keyes’ fifth and final single release.
  • “Do-Do Do Bah-Ah” was a “Regional Breakout Single” in the Baltimore & Washington DC markets, as reported in Billboard‘s January 16, 1965 edition.
  • Cash Box‘s review in the January 16,1965 issue:  “Both the Clock label and Bert Keyes can be back in the Top 100 spotlight as a result of this sensational instrumental that’s already grabbing action on the territorial level — especially in the Balt.-D.C. area.  Tabbed ‘Do-Do Do Bah-Ah,’ it’s an organ-led, steady driving beat swinger that features a chorus brightly chanting the tag along the way.”
  •  #15 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for January 30, 1965.

Written by Maurice Shapiro

 

AUDIO LINK for “Don’t Answer the Door (Pts. 1 & 2)” by
The 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.
  • #42 on Record World‘s “Single Coming Up” chart for March 6, 1965.
  • #13 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 30, 1965.

Written by Jimmy Johnson

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • #6 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 27, 1965.
  • #32 on Record World‘s “Single Coming Up” chart for March 27, 1965.

Written by “Ed Lee” — a.k.a. Isaac Hayes

 

AUDIO LINK for “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).
  • “Bill Justis Productions” — 45 label.

Written by Cason & Wilkin

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #31 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 29, 1965.
  • Written by Pete Andreoli and Vini Poncia.

45 picture sleeve – Netherlands

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • Record World allotted “Last Exit” three stars thusly in its March 27, 1965 issue:  “Song takes title from best seller, but has nothing to do with same.  Rhythmic session whacked across by talented lad group.”
  • B-side raises the heavy question — “Now I’m At The Top (How Do I Stay Here)”

Written by M. Deborah & G. Goehring

 

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.”
  • Notes 45Cat’s mickey rat:  “This is Elmore’s second version of ‘It Hurts Me Too’ — recorded in Feb 1963 (three months before his death) for Bobby Robinson in New York.”

Written by Elmore James

 

AUDIO LINK for “Nau Ninny Nau” by Cannibal and the Headhunters

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

  • Billboard‘s June 12, 1965 review:  “‘The Land of 1000 Dances‘ group is back with a stronger piece of catchy dance material.  Well produced and performed novelty.”
  • Record World‘s June 12 1965 review:  “Nonsense title will mean no nonsense at the counters when teens hear this Cannibal and friends follow up.  Thick dancing fun.”
  • #38 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 26, 1965.

Written by Max Uballez, Garcia & Davis

 

AUDIO LINK for “Happy Feet Time” by The Monclairs

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

  • First released April 1965 on Cleveland label, Sunburst, (where it was a “Regional Breakout Hit“) then issued on Atlantic subsidiary, Atco, for national/international distribution.
  • Pegged by Billboard on July 10, 1965 as a “New Action R&B Single,” i.e., “registering solid sales in certain markets and appearing to be a week away from meriting a listing on the national Top 40 R&B Singles chart.”
  • #96 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for July 17, 1965.
  • #30 on Record World‘s Top 40 R&B chart for the week of July 24, 1965.
  • Written by Don Gregory Jones.

1966 single – France

 

AUDIO LINK for “Un-Wind 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.
  • Cash Box‘s review in the June 26, 1965 issue:  “Alvin Cash and the Crawlers are a cinch to continue their best-selling ways (they had “Barracuda” last time out) with this first-rate new entry labeled “Un-Wind The Twine.” The tune’s a medium-paced pop-r&b funky slow-rocker with a terpsichorean-oriented infectious beat.
  • 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.

Written by Harold Burrage, James L. Jones & Otha Hayes

 

AUDIO LINK for “Whittier Boulevard” by Thee Midnighters

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

Written by Thee Midnighters

 

Sea Cruise” by The Hondells

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

Written by HueyPianoSmith & John Vincent

 

AUDIO LINK for “The Last Thing On My Mind” by The Vejtables

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

  • Written by Tom Paxton and 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.
  • #28 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for December 18, 1965.

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

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • Kal Rudman, in his “Money Music” column for Record World, noted in the December 18, 1965 issue — “‘Party People,’ Ray Stevens, Monument, is a fine record that is getting lost.”
  • #30 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 1, 1966.

 

AUDIO for “(You GotThe Gamma Goochee” by The Kingsmen

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

  • Billboard‘s review believes “Gamma Goochie” to be the the flip side — and yet (near) universal consensus this song was intended as the A-side.
  • #96 on Record World‘s “100 Top Pops” chart for December 18, 1965.
  • #6 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 1, 1966.

German 45                                         French EP

 

AUDIO LINK for “A Beginning From An End” by Jan and Dean

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

  • Includes a spoken-word middle section “rap” that sounds straight out of the (loopy and unreleased) Filet of Soul sessions.
  • #94 on Record World‘s “100 Top Pops” chart for January 29, 1966.

Written by Jan Berry, Roger Christian, Cleve Hermann & George Tipton

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • 45Cat’s Ort. Carlton says this track was a “HUGE hit in Atlanta” where “WQXI played it for weeks.”
  • Written by Stephen “Steff” Sulke — produced by Buddy Killen.

 

AUDIO LINK for “You Bring Me Down” by The Royalettes

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

  • Written by Bobby Weinstein with Teddy Randazzo, who also arranged, conducted, and produced.
  • Billboard‘s review in their January 29, 1966 edition — “This big production rhythm ballad soulfully performed has more potential than their initial single, ‘It’s Gonna Take a Miracle.’  Well produced and performed.”
  • #11 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for February 12, 1966 (“‘You Bring Me Down,’ Royalettes, MGM, has been picked up by almost everyone and is the pick at KATZ, is Top Pick at CKLW, Detroit, plus other big stations.”)
  • #29 on Record World‘s Top 40 R&B chart for February 12, 1966.

picture sleeve for the US market

 

AUDIO LINK for “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]

Written by Lincoln Chase & Shirley Elliston

 

AUDIO LINK for “That’s Part of the Game” by The Daytrippers

peaked at #129 on February 26, 1966 [Karate/American Music Makers]

  • 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.”
  • Originally released on scrappy Pittsburgh indie label, American Music Makers, before being picked up by NYC-based Karate for broader distribution.
  • #47 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for March 5, 1966 — plus, this review from the same edition:  “Contemporary rock number with all the right touches to make a hit.  Good beat, good bet.”

Written by Eddie Rossi

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • According to 45Cat’s kimbozw, “chart peaks for this included #15 in South Africa, #17 in Sweden, and #110 in the USA.”
  • #9 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for April 2, 1966.
  • #24 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 26, 1966.
  • Written and produced by Jonathan King.

Rhodesia — 1966

 

AUDIO LINK for “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‘s review in their February 26, 1966 edition — “R&B histmaker Ted Taylor has a strong hard rocking shouter here.  Groovy working backing the wild chant makes this a strong entry.”
  • #46 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for March 5, 1966.

Written by Ted Taylor — Produced by Billy Sherrill

 

AUDIO LINK for “I’m a Good Guy” by The C.O.D.’s

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

  • The C.O.D.’s with Paul Bascomb and Orchestra.
  • #32 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for April 30, 1966.
  • Distributed by One-Derful Records.

Written by Larry Brownlee & The COD’s

 

AUDIO LINK for “I Lie Awake” by The New Colony Six

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

  • #9 position on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (May 14, 1966).
  • #9 position on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart (May 28, 1966).
  • “I Lie Awake” was a regional hit in Chicago in April/May 1966, as reported in Billboard.
  • Video clip of New Colony Six on Chicago “kiddie” TV show singing “I Lie Awake” in 1966.
  • According to 45Cat’s NC6freak:  “‘I Lie Awake’ was originally the intended ‘B’ side of ‘At The River’s Edge,’ but a Chicago-area radio station held a listener contest to determine which side of this New Colony Six 45 should be the ‘A’ side, and strangely enough, ‘I Lie Awake’ won out.  So radio jocks started playing this side as the hit side.  Also, the 45 of ‘I Lie Awake’/’At The River’s Edge’ was originally issued on the ‘Centaur’ spelling label, but the spelling of the label name was soon changed to ‘Sentaur,’ due to a dispute concerning ownership of the label name with another record label in New York that was also claiming to own the Centaur name.”

Written by Jerry Kollenburg & Ray Graffia

 

AUDIO LINK for “It Ain’t Necessary” by Mamie Galore

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

  • #30 position on “Singles Coming Up” in Record World‘s May 7, 1966 edition.
  • According to Robert Pruter in Chicago Soul:  “The singer was born Mamie Davis in Erwin, Mississippi, on September 24, 1940.  She began singing in church and school, graduating from O’Bannon High in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1958.  She joined a local band, Herman Scott and the Swinging Kings, and worked with them until 1961.  Then for a year Davis worked with Ike and Tina Turner Review.  From 1962 until 1965 she toured with the Little Milton Band and ended up in Chicago where Little Milton was making his home and recording.”

Written by Jerry Butler, Council Gay & Sylvester Potts

 

AUDIO LINK for “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, 1966 edition:  “Ballad is in R&B groove, but a strong, strong bet for plenty of pop play.  Very sharp.”
  • Cash Box‘s review in their April 30, 1966 edition:  “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.”

Written by Eddie Silvers

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 is fresh from the studio.  Acclaimed by many to become a ‘Top 10’ picked before it was released …”
  • Record World‘s review in the May 7, 1966 issue:  “Roy Head looks like he’s back in the big money with this bouncy rock number, ‘Wigglin’ and Gigglin’.  Has top beat and message to teen girls and boys.”
  • #26 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 28, 1966.
  • #15 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for July 2, 1966.
  • Cash Box‘s June 11, 1966 issue reports that “Roy Head whose latest for Backbeat is ‘Wigglin’ and Gigglin’’ is off on a personal appearance and TV promo tour of the Southwest and will then head East.”

WRITTEN BY BOBBY STEVENSON & JUNE CORDAE —
ARRANGED AND CONDUCTED BY GENE KURTZ

 

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.'”
  • #20 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 28, 1966.
  • #26 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for June 18, 1966.
  • Virgo issued “Walkin’ My Cat” b/w “Street That Rhymes” in 1972 (and rightly so).

Written by the two Normas:  Tanega & Kutzer

 

AUDIO LINK for “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?”
  • 45Cat notes that “the special originally aired Wednesday, March 30, 1966 at 7:00 pm Eastern time on ABC-TV and was sponsored by Rexall Pharmacies and the Coca-Cola Company.”
  • #31 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 14, 1966.

Written by Lee Adams & Charles Strouse

 

AUDIO LINK for “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‘].”
  • #36 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 28, 1966.

Written by L. Lee

 

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.
  • Record World‘s review in the May 7, 1966 issue:  “United Artists picked ‘It’s You Alone’ up in Seattle where it was making a lot of noise.  Has a haunting folk quality geared to hypnotize teenagers.”

Written by Ron Davies

 

AUDIO for “Sock It To ’em J.B. (Pt. 1)” by Rex Garvin & 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.
  • #30 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for July 9, 1966.
  • #17 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for August 13, 1966.
  • Written by Rex Garvin, Clayton Dunn & Pete Holman

Distributed internationally by Atlantic — including  Nigeria

Note:  Rex Garvin is misspelled as “Rex Carvin

 

AUDIO LINK for “Look at Me Girl” by The Playboys of Edinburg

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

  • 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.”
  • #67 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for August 6, 1966.
  • #11 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for August 6, 1966.

Written by James Lewis Williams

 

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.”
  • Tomas Fundora in his “El Mundo Del Disco” column for the May 14, 1966 issue of Record World writes — “‘El Pito’ por Joe Cuba y su Septeto está ‘acabando’ en el mercado.”
  • #4 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for August 20, 1966.
  • #33 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for July 30, 1966.
  • “El Pito” — written by Jaime Sabater — is taken from the LP Estamos Haciendo Algo Bien! (We Must Be Doing Something Right)

Cash Box ad from July 1966 – courtesy 45Cat

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • Cash Box mini-bio courtesy of 45Cat:

“The Distant Cousins are Raymond LaFayette Bloodworth and Lawrence Russell Brown.  They met while both were stationed with the US Army in Paris, won a talent contest, and went on a tour of Army installations throughout Europe.  After the Army hitch, they came to New York to launch a career of singing and song writing.  The Distant Cousins’ current Date release of ‘She Ain’t Loving You’ is number 92 on this week’s Top 100.

Lawrence was born on June 29, 1945 in Newark, NJ and Ray was born May 18, 1944 in Milledgeville, GA.  Both boys list Hank Williams among their favorite composers and Chet Atkins among their favorite instrumentalists.  Lawrence and Ray are both staff writers for the Saturday Music company.  The Distant Cousins consider Bob Crewe to have been the greatest influence on their career.”

  • 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!”
  • #90 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for September 17, 1966.
  • #37 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for September 10, 1966.

Written by Bob Crewe, Lawrence R. Brown & Raymond L. Bloodworth

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 (November 12, 1966).
  • “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.”
  • Written by Holland-Dozier-Holland. (who would later receive the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame).
  • #33 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for October 8, 1966.
  • #49 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart for October 8, 1966.

Someone paid €571 in 2014 for this 1967 French EP

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • “Breakout Single” in Pittsburgh, as reported in Billboard‘s October 8, 1966 edition.
  • Reached the #95 position on Cash Box‘s Top 100 chart for November 19, 1966.
  • Record World‘s review in the September 24, 1966 issue:  “Teens will be getting the willies in the best way possible when they hear this gay rock cut.”
  • Classic 45s declares, “Terrific bubblegum silliness on the A side.”
  • Written by Sid Robin.

Definitely not one of the British Invasion groups

 

AUDIO LINK for “Love Is a Bird” by The Knickerbockers

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

  • Beautiful effect on the guitar during the bridge that 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.”
  • Cash Box‘s November 12, 1966 issue reported from Toronto that “Al Mair is in high glee over CKFH action on his Challenge single, “Love Is A Bird” by the Knickerbockers.”
  • Engineered by Bruce Botnick (famed for his work with The Doors) — flip side “Gossip, Rumors, Words Untrue” penned by the producer, Jerry Fuller.

Written by Jimmy Seals (of Seals & Croft fame)

 

She Digs My Love” by The Sir Douglas Quintet

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

Written by Doug Sahm

 

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.
  • Cash Box‘s October 15, 1966 review declared that “Mighty Hannibal should get a warm reception with this snail-paced, blues-oriented, shuffling, gospelesque, chant-like, wailer about a soldier in Vietnam.”
  • 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.”
  • #84 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for November 5, 1966.
  • #26 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for November 26, 1966.
  • #87 on Record World‘s 100 Top Pops chart for November 26, 1966.
  • #24 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart for November 26, 1966.
  • #21 on Billboard‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for December 3, 1966.
  • Written by James T. Shaw — produced by Wendell Parker.

Italy — 1966

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 ‘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.  Curious to note that the “Bears” 45 appears to be Teem’s entire recorded output.
  • Record World deemed this 45 four stars in its November 5, 1966 issue thusly:  “Side is kind of nutty, but that’s just what’s taking teen fancies these days.”
  • #23 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 10, 1966.

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #43 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart for December 10, 1966.
  • #34 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for December 24, 1966.
  • Part of a three-way tie for last place (#100) on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for December 17, 1966.

 

AUDIO LINK for “Smashed! Blocked!” by John’s Children

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

  • Written by John Hewlett and Simon Napier-Bell.
  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Los Angeles, as reported by Billboard.
  • Record World‘s review in the November 26, 1966 issue:  “About a fellow going crazy and instruments do the same.  Wild thing will wow.  Strange changes.”
  • News item in the November 12, 1966 issue of Cash Box:

“LOS ANGELES — The Yardbirds’ producer and personal manager, Simon Napier-Bell, has signed his major discovery recording group, John’s Children, with White Whale Records, Inc.  John’s Children’s first release in the U.S. will be ‘Smashed! Blocked! (The Love I Thought I’d Found).’  The startling single, just released in England and France, is meeting with tremendous acclaim, according to Ted Feigen and Lee Lassoff, heads of White Whale Records, Inc.

John’s Children have recently completed a SRO tour of England and France.  Because of the response to the new group, Premier Talent Associates in New York has booked a major tour for them in the States with the Yardbirds in Dec.

‘John’s Children express best the new generation in England. ‘Their startling sound and their social significance should have the same impact on the States as in England and the continent,’ comments Simon Napier-Bell.”

Chart courtesy of So Many Records, So Little Time

 

AUDIO LINK for “Plain Jane” by B.J. Thomas

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

  • Subject of Zero to 180’s piece from 2014 — “Plain Jane”:  Mean People Suck.
  • Worth noting that Pacemaker, B.J. Thomas’s label prior to Scepter, also released “Plain Jane” that same year — different recordings, I wonder?  Same producer listed on both 45 releases, so I doubt it.
  • #30 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 7, 1967.

Written by Marc Charron

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 changed their name to The Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band in 1967.
  • #23 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for February 18, 1967.
  • #22 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for January 28, 1967.
  • #100 on Record World‘s 100 Top Pops chart for February 4, 1967.
  • Written by Fred Smith and Nathaniel Nathan.

sole non-US release?   Netherlands

 

 

AUDIO LINK for “Life Is Groovy” by The 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.
  • #37 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 18, 1967.
  • Album review in the July 26, 1969 issue of Record World:  “This is a successful pairing of The Tokens and The Kirby Stone Four, who together make up the United States Double Quartet.  Beautiful vocal treatments are their forte, and they make the most of ‘Yellow Submarine,’ ‘Up Up and Away,’ ‘Mrs. Robinson,’ ‘Those Were the Days,’ and more tasties.”
  • Written by S. Finz and R. Affoumado — produced by The Tokens.

French EP — 1967

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • News item in the December 24, 1966 issue of Record World:  “MTA Records has released ‘The Ballad of Walter Wart’ by the Thorndike Pickledish Choir with an exclusive leasing arrangement with Golden State Recorders in San Francisco.  Plans are in the works for merchandising of Walter Wart sweat shirts and tee shirts and also for a feature cartoon serial of the ‘Adventures of Walter Wart.'”
  • Written and produced by Robert O. Smith.

Can you spot the typo?

 

AUDIO LINK for “Rain Rain Go Away” by Lee Dorsey

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

  • 45-only track penned 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.”
  • #28 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 11, 1967.

1967 EP – France

 

AUDIO LINK for “What’s That Got to Do With Me” by Jim and Jean

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

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 “What’s 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.

Written by Jim Glover

 

AUDIO for “Go Go Radio Moscow” by Nikita the K & the Friends of Ed Labunski

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

  • This break-in record purports to be a broadcast of Radio Moscow, featuring Soviet Premier (and zany disk jockey) Nikita the K.
  • 45 features parodies of “Tell It To The Rain” by The Four Seasons, “Georgy Girl” by The Seekers, and “We Ain’t Got Nothin’ Yet” by The Blues Magoos.
  • Cash Box‘s review in their March 11, 1967 issue — “Top 40 radio gets the ‘comrade-ly’ treatment in this winning spoof.  A highly commercial item, the lid should definitely be in for heavy airplay and top-notch sales.”

Written by Ed Labunski & Hal Deeben

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 February 18, 1967 review — “Spirited, rhythmic melody-rocker could do good things for the Coastliners.  Chart material.”
  • Notes Record World in its February 18, 1967 review — “California has been a meaningful chart name and this new cut could rock onto charts with the trend.”

Written, arranged & produced by Fred Carroll

 

AUDIO LINK for “Double Yellow Line” by The Music Machine

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

  • Writes Billboard in its April 22, 1967 review:  “Smooth rocker with groovy organ work and wailing vocal workout will have no trouble spiraling the ‘Talk Talk‘ group back up the charts.”
  • Record World‘s April 22, 1967 review:  “Nitty gritty side from the coast groove groovers.  Will stir action.”
  • #32 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 6, 1967.
  • Last place (#100) on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for May 20, 1967.

Written by Sean Bonniwell — produced by Brian Ross

 

AUDIO for “Four Walls (Three Windows & 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.
  • #14 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles for the week ending July 29, 1967.
  • Released two years later by Warner Brothers as the B-side to “That Ain’t Right.”
  • “Four Walls” produced by Lew Futterman & Windsor King — arranged and conducted by J.J. Jackson.

Written by King & Jackson

 

AUDIO LINK for “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).”
  • Needless to say, a “Regional Breakout Single” in Philadelphia, as reported in Billboard‘s July 22, 1967 edition.
  • #5 on Record World‘s “Singles Comes Up” chart for August 19, 1967.
  • Written by Poltergeist and Sunshine.

 

AUDIO LINK for “Heavy Music (Pt. 1)” by Bob Seger & the Last Heard 

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

  • #73 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending October 7, 1967.
  • Written by Bob Seger.

German 45 — 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 7-inch phenomenon that has been addressed in prior posts).
  • News item – “Buddah Signs Zal” – in Record World‘s September 23, 1967 issue:

NEW YORK — Charles Koppelman and Don Rubin, exclusive producers for Zal Yanovsky, former lead guitarist for the Lovin’ Spoonful, revealed that they have signed a long term, exclusive recording contract for Yanovsky with Kama Sutra Productions through Koppelman-Rubin Associates.  Joint announcement was made with Kama Sutra toppers Artie Ripp, Hy Mizrahi and Phil Steinberg, together with Charles Koppelman and Don Rubin.

Neil Bogart, Kama Sutra and Buddah General Manager, announced that the first single under the new agreement, ‘As Long As You’re Here,’ is due for immediate release.  Bogart said an initial pressing of 100,000 copies is ready for shipment.

Artie Ripp said that Yanovsky will receive an all-out publicity and promotion campaign to kick off the first release.  ‘Zally is a great talent,’ he said, ‘and we’re with him all the way.  He’s going to be established as a major record artist.”

Both sides of the single were written by the hot team of Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, who wrote three huge hits for The Turtles, and the current chart singles by Petula Clark (‘Cat in the Window‘) and Gary Lewis & the Playboys (‘Jill‘).

In charge of production of all Yanovsky releases will be Koppelman-Rubin executive producer Jack Nitzsche.  Nitzsche revealed that a Yanovsky album is now in the process of being recorded and will feature several songs written by the guitarist-singer.

  • “As Long As You’re Here,” produced and arranged by Jack Nitzsche, is a 45-only release not found on Yanovsky’s lone solo album, Alive and Well in Argentina — except on the Japanese and UK reissues.

45 — France

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 (October 14, 1967).
  • #46 on Billboard‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for October 28, 1967.
  • #44 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for September 16, 1967.
  • #32 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for September 30, 1967.
  • #41 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for November 11, 1967.
  • Written by Billy Jackson.

A-side when released in Germany — and yet no mention on the cover!

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • News item – “Criterion Rep in Hazlewood Catalog Push” – published in Billboard‘s October 21, 1967 edition:

PARIS — Back from a seven-week trip to Hollywood, Jack Robinson, Criterion’s representative in France, is making plans to achieve comprehensive exploitation of the Lee Hazlewood catalog in the French-speaking territories.

While in Hollywood, Robinson signed with Hazlewood’s new ASCAP publishing firm to represent the catalog in France.  Hazlewood’s company is working on adaptations of French songs, which Robinson took with him to Hollywood.

Robinson also signed a contract with Michael H. Goldsen to act as managing agent in Europe for Criterion.

Meanwhile, Polydor has released a Lee Hazlewood single “Sand” b/w “My Baby Cried All Night Long,” and Robinson reports that he has lined up eight or nine French recordings of Hazlewood songs.  Marcel Amont has recorded ‘The Girls in Paris‘ for Polydor and Joe Dassin has recorded ‘Comma La Lune‘ (Four Kinds of Lonely) for CBS.

Robinson also reported that Nancy Sinatra would be recording her Hazlewood hits in French.

Art nouveau picture sleeve – Netherlands

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • #61 on Record World‘s Top 100 Pops chart for December 2, 1967.
  • #15 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for November 25, 1967.
  • 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.”
  • Written by Wayne Thompson.

“I Want Some More” — final track of 2nd album

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • #94 on Record World‘s Top 100 Pops chart for December 2, 1967.
  • Zero to 180 looks at the chart scores above (i.e., 102 vs. 96 vs. 94) and wonders if we can meet in the middle at 99 to allow for honorary Hot 100 membership?
  • Written by Marshall Boxley and Willie Cooper.

French 45 — 1968

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • #22 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 2, 1967,
  • #19 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for December 16, 1967.
  • Written by Chris Dedrick — also, 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

EP Portugal — 1968

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • Cash Box‘s review in the December 30, 1967 issue:  “Keeping in the off-beat vein that gave them their top ten ‘Let It All Hang Out,’ the Hombres step up the action again with this touch of sarcastic sensibility punctuated by a cute break with “It’s A Gas.”  Chalk up another biting side from the team, one that should top their first effort on the pop scene.”

Written by BB Cunningham, Gary McEwen, Jerry Masters & John Hunter

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • Record World‘s review in the January 27, 1968 issue:  “‘Captain of Your Ship’ is a cute novelty that Raparata and the Delrons should parlay into a big hit.”
  • News item in the August 9, 1969 issue of Record World points out that Steve and Bill Jerome, newly-appointed A&R executives for Avco Embassy, “are credited with having launched Bell Records in England with Raparata and the Delrons’ record of ‘Captain of Your Ship’.”

45 – Sweden

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”

 

AUDIO LINK for “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

 

AUDIO LINK for “Do Drop Inn” by The Fifth Estate

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

  • Cash Box‘s review in the March 2, 1968 issue:  “[BMI-Gordon & Bonner] Intriguing hard-beat bounce behind a smoothly polished vocal showing from the Fifth Estate could project the team back up the best seller path.”
  • #22 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 30, 1968.

45 – Germany

 

AUDIO LINK for “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?
  • Record World‘s February 24, 1968 review:  “Here’s a variation on the popular dance.  The rug-cutters will cut it.”
  • #35 on Record World‘s R&B Top 50 chart for April 6, 1968.
  • #49 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 50 chart for March 16, 1968.
  • “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” (see UK single review below).
  • Review in the 19 Jan 1973 edition of UK’s Blues and Soul:  “Everybody calls this the natural follow-up to ‘Harlem Shuffle’ and that is a fair comment on the record.  Though I hate to have to say it, it will sell in vast quantities in the north and almost nothing in the south.  The beat never lets up and it will make ideal meat for discos — many have been playing the import version for years, of course.”

Written by Earl Nelson

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • #46 on Billboard‘s R&B chart on April 20, 1968.
  • #42 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for April 27, 1968.

Written & produced by Teddy Vann

 

AUDIO LINK for “Look at What I Almost Missed” by The Parliaments

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

  • “Look At What I Almost Missed” 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.”
  • Record World‘s review in the March 9, 1969 issue:  “A rocking and rolling beat here.  The fans will like what they hear.”

Written by George Clinton & Tamala Lewis

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • Record World‘s March 9, 1968 review:  “Irresistible ditty featuring Bob Morrison.  Deserves to get big.”
  • 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).
  • Global distribution network for the “What a Day” single included Turkey.

Written by Bob Morrison — Produced & arranged by Bill Justis

 

AUDIO LINK for “Billy Sunshine” by Evie Sands

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

  • Billboard‘s March 2, 1968 review reveals that even the best-laid plans do not necessarily 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.”
  • Record World‘s February 10, 1968 review:  “Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni have produced this moving, grooving song that Evie does right by.”
  • 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.

B-side in France — Art nouveau picture sleeve

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • In the 23 August 1969 edition of Record Mirror, pioneering BBC Radio One & Capital Radio disk jockey, Dave Symonds, was asked to select a dozen tracks that represent the best of the old and new for the trade’s “DJ 12” weekly feature.  Symonds leads off with this Love track:  “I’ve picked [‘Alone Again Or’] because I think it’s a very pretty number,” he said.  “Possibly it was a bit ahead of its time and I think there is going to be a return to pretty melodic records — I forecast this.  I think the very hairy, freaky, feedback, fuzz-box sort of thing is going to go and acoustic guitars and woodwinds will come back.”
  • “Alone Again Or” is also the lone Love track (!) on this 4-song Doors EP issued in Iran — does Jac Holzman know about this?
  • Written by Brian MacLean.

45 picture sleeves from France (left) & Netherlands (Right)

 

AUDIO LINK for “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!)
  • #12 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 11, 1968 — same issue says the song is getting good radio action in Miami, according to Kal Rudman’s “Money Music” column.
  • #16 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 22, 1968.

45 — Germany

 

Days of Pearly Spencer” by David McWilliams

peaked at #134 on June 1, 1968

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • Record World‘s review in the May 25, 1968 edition:  “Billy Vera and Judy Clay have another love duet here tagged ‘When Do We Go’ that will go to chart top.”
  • Cash Box‘s review in the May 25, 1969 issue:  “The ‘Storybook Children’ team softens its style, retaining the emotional power and dropping the tempo of “City Boy-Country Girl” [sic] for an exciting effort here that should bring home some solid sales showings on the pop and blues fronts. Look for a building excitement to follow this side as a result of its re-play appeal. Could become a monster.
  • 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).
  • Written by Ted Daryll and Chip Taylor.

45 — Italy

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 Come 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.”
  • #49 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for August 24, 1968 — same issue reports good radio response in Detroit.
  • #16 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for August 31, 1968.
  • Somehow the single made its way over to France.
  • Written by Tom Shannon, Carl Cisco & Nickolas Ameno.

45 — France

 

AUDIO for “Mission Impossible Theme/Norwegian Wood” by Alan Copeland

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

  • Assuming Alan Copeland is also behind the previous year’s “A Bubble Called You” — attributed to The Alan Copeland Conspiracy.
  • I agree with the person who uploaded this audio clip that this recording must be one of the firstmash-ups” in popular music history.
  • Cash Box‘s August 3, 1968 review:  “Knockout coupling of the television theme and Beatles Rubber Soul cut comes on with the immediate punch of a belting instrumental and a more subtle impact with the expert adaptation of the lyric over Lalo Schifrin’s ‘Grammy’ rhythmic.  Sensational track that has all the makings of a pop blockbuster and much middle-of-the-road potential.”
  • Alan Copeland would repeat the formula for his next single — an amalgamation of “Classical Gas” and “Scarborough Fair” released December 1968.
  • Similar concept tried with 1970’s “Strawberry Fields/Something” by Pozo Seco, a 45 that likewise “bubbled under” (peaked at #115 on October 28, 1970).

Japan — 1970

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • #11 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart in the Sept. 28, 1968 issue.

Written by Wayne Thompson

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.

Written by Albert Byrd & Eddie Edgehill

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • Predicted (November 30, 1968) to reach the top 60 of Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart:  “His ‘Shape of Things to Come‘ proved a big chart item and this raucous rock follow-up with lyric line along similar lines has much of that sales potency as well.”
  • #13 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 28, 1968.
  • Written by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil.

45 — France

 

AUDIO for “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass” by Buck Owens & 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.
  • 45 would also top Record World‘s C&W Singles chart on Mar. 29, 1969 [pg. 38] (click link for October 18, 1969 issue and scroll to page 83 for a full-page ad of Buck Owens and the Buckaroos).
  • #5 on Cash Box‘s Country Top 60 chart for April 5, 1969.
  • Written by Buck Owens and covered by Sue Thompson that same year.

45 — Norway

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • Cash Box‘s November 9, 1968 album review of Nash’s Hold Me Tight LP:  “Currently riding the biggest hit of his career, vet songster Johnny Nash follows with a well-thought-out album which should easily solidify and enlarge his following.  Leaning heavily on the West Indian sound which is strongly responsible for his current resurgence, Nash turns in a tasty collection of oldies and newies.  Known songs include ‘Don’t Look Back,’ ‘Groovin’,’ Cupid,’ and ‘Lovey Dovey.’  Good new sides are ‘Love’ and ‘You Got to Change Your Ways.’  Should do very well.”
  • Billboard‘s November 9, 1968 album review, meanwhile, amusingly misidentifies the “new” Jamaican sound to which the Texas singer has now attached himself:  “Johnny Nash’s Hold Me Tight, a calypso-tinged soul gem, caught fire and burned up both the r&b and pop charts, and the LP, a potent package of sweet, swingin’ soul sounds, should stir up the album charts.  ‘You Got Soul,’ the Rascals’ ‘Groovin’,’ Sam Cooke’s ‘Cupid’ and ‘Lovey Dovey’ make this LP a sleeper with smash potential.”
  • Written by Ahmet Ertegun and Eddie Curtis.
  • Johnny Nash on Zero to 180 — including his 41-second Christmas song.

45 — Belgium

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #29 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 8, 1969.

Written by Jesse James

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 in the April 19, 1969 edition— “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.”
  • #22 on Record Worlds “Singles Coming Up” chart for June 7, 1969.
  • #28 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 24, 1969.

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • Record World‘s review in the May 24, 1969 issue — “The Bubble Puppy have a brilliant change-up from their ‘Hot Smoke’ click, and it’s a country-flavored ‘If I Had a Reason’ ballad.”
  • #24 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for July 19, 1969.

Written by Gene Corbin & Roy Cox

 

AUDIO LINK for “Stomp” by NRBQ

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

  • “Stomp” is one of the earlier recordings that contain a Hohner Clavinet — previously celebrated on Zero to 180.
  • Album review in the June 7, 1969 issue of Cash Box — ” NRBQ, the subject of a massive publicity campaign, has the sound to capitalize on the exposure they’re getting and should do quite well with their debut album.  The group mixes styles, playing straight rock (midwest originated). blues (midwest also) and hillbilly rock.  ‘C’Mon Everybody‘ and ‘Hey Baby‘ fall into the first category, ‘C’Mon If You’re Comin’‘ into the second and ‘Kentucky Slop Song‘ into third. ‘Rocket Number 9,’ a Sun Ra tune, is unclassifiable.  Their current single ‘Stomp’ is also included.”
  • #31 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for July 19, 1969.
  • Both sides of the 45 written by Steve Ferguson.

Netherlands — 1969

 

AUDIO LINK for “South Carolina” by The Flirtations

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

  • “South Carolina” — follow-up 45 to the classic “Nothing But a Heartache
  • Check out this full-page ad in the August 2, 1969 issue of Billboard.
  • Record World‘s August 2, 1969 edition reports “good reaction to new Flirtations ‘South Carolina’ in the Carolinas.”
  • #4 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for July 19, 1969.
  • Written by Tony Waddington and Wayne Bickerton.

Japan — 1969

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.’”
  • Deemed an “Album Pick of the Week” by Record World in their August 16, 1969 issue:  “Jim Ford is known as the writer of ‘Niki Hoeky‘ and Harlan County is his most worthy debut LP.”
  • #15 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for September 6, 1969 — same edition reports strong radio reaction in Louisville.
  • #86 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for September 20, 1969 — the previous week, “Harlan County” was #1 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart.

Written by James Ford

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 as well as 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.”
  • Selected by Record World as a “Single Pick of the Week” for September 6, 1969:  “The Monkees best record is now on the market.  It’s called ‘Mommy and Daddy’ and Monkee Dolenz wrote it.”
  • Billboard predicted this single would reach the top 60 of the Hot 100 chart:  “Monkees turn in one of their bounciest performances in some time with this item, penned and produced by Micky Dolenz.  Should bring them back to a high spot on the charts in short order.” [September 6, 1969]
  • #9 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for October 25, 1969.

1969 EP — Mexico (includes “Mamita Y Papito”)

 

AUDIO LINK for “Never in Public” by Candi Staton

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

  • Record World designated this a “Sleeper Pick 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.”   Following issue’s “R&B Beat” column:  “Strong new Candi Staton is ‘Never in Public.’  Rick Hall is wild.”
  • 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.
  • Written by Aaron McKinny and George Jackson.

45 Netherlands — 1969

 

AUDIO LINK for “Comment (If All Men Are Truly Brothers)” [B-side]
by Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

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

  • #17 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for Oct. 11, 1969.
  • Written by Charles Wright and Yusuf Rahman.
  • B-side when released in the US, but an A-side when issued in France.

 

AUDIO LINK for “We Got Latin Soul” by Mongo Santamaria

peaked at #132 on October 18, 1969 [Columbia]

  • “We Got Latin Soul” was written by bassist/songwriter, R. Lester [Arlester] Christian who, as “Dyke,” was a member of The O’Jays backing band until he formed Dyke & the Blazers in 1965, according to Discogs.  Nod of gratitude to WayBackAttack for pointing out that “Latin Soul” is “a guaracha variation on the Dyke & the Blazers hit “We Got More Soul.”
  • “Latin Soul” – which also peaked at #40 on Billboard‘s Soul chart – was Mongo’s final 45 for Columbia.  Billboard‘s November 22, 1969 edition reported that “Atlantic’s signing of Mongo Santamaria is one of the most important of the year.”
  • “Latin Soul” also reached #33 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart, as well as #31 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B “tear-out guide.”

 

AUDIO for “Baby You Come Rollin’ Cross My Mind” by John Beland

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

  • This song by Jesse Lee Kincaid — also covered by The Peppermint Trolley — was the subject of a Zero to 180 piece from 2014.
  • Cash Box‘s review in the August 16, 1969 issue:  “A medium-sized hit for the Peppermint Trolley about a year back, ‘Baby You Come Rollin’ comes on once more as a slightly slower, somewhat more lyrical/less rock side in this new performance.  Side adds further MOR impact to the teen flavor of the track giving it a broadened hit momentum.”
  • Kal Rudman, in his “Money Music” column for Record World, deemed this 45 a “Super Pick” for the week of September 27, 1969.

 

AUDIO LINK for “Ballad of Paul” by The Mystery Tour

peaked at #104 on November 29, 1969

NEW YORK — Paul McCartney is not dead, yet very much alive is label interest in the aftermath of the rumors that the Beatles member was gone.

MGM Records has purchased a master, “The Ballad of Paul” by the Mystery Tour, for which Lenny Sheer, director of sales and distribution, is directing an “all-out” campaign to include the packaging of the disk in a special sleeve, full page ads in the trades, saturation distribution of 5000 disks to radio stations and a direct mailing campaign of sample disks and title strips to one-stops and juke box operators.  Also, reviewers on national mags, newspapers and wire services are being covered.

In another release. Silver Fox Records, thru Shelby Singleton’s organization, is offering “Brother Paul” by Billy Shears & All Americans.  The name “Billy Shears” appears in the Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper’s “Lonely Hearts Club Band.”  Furthermore, Capitol Records has marketed a re-release, “St. Paul” an eight-month old tribute to McCartney written, produced and performed by Terry Knight.  The lyrics take on added meaning in light of recent talk, but Knight has refused to comment on the disk.

Capitol has officially re-released the deck, following activity in Philadelphia, but Knight has refused to participate in promotional plans.

  • “Ballad of Paul” was also pegged by Cash Box in its November 8, 1969 edition as one of the “newcomer picks:   “With the Paul McCartney rumors at their peak, and sales of Beatle product resurgent to track detectives, the singles product joins the furor.  Two new mysterious rumor sides are the “Brother Paul” lid by Billy Shears (named for the look-alike figure who supposedly had replaced McCartney) and the All Americans (Silver Fox).  Side is gaining radio exposure through the south and could score ahead of ‘The Ballad of Paul’ from the Mystery Tour (MGM).  Also in the competition is Capitol’s reissue of the several month old noise-maker ‘Saint Paul’ by Terry Knight.  All are long-shot sides, based as much on fad lyrics as musical value.”  Elsewhere in that November 8, 1969 Cash Box issue is a promotional ad from MGM about The Mystery Tour’s “provocative” new single.
  • Record World‘s November 15, 1969 review:  “This one lives up to the name of the group as it evokes mystery and uncertainty about guess who.”
  • “Ballad of Paul” is also included on I Buried Paul: The Paul McCartney Death Rumour Singles.

Written by Evans & Brady

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • Cash Box selected “Cow Pie” as one of the week’s “newcomer picks” for its November 8, 1969 issue:  “Surrounded by rumors of personnel including virtually all the heavyweight teen stars of the day, a group called the Masked Marauders has become wishfully legendary in underground circles.  Following the publicity lead, this single has already become a request item.  The instrumental side has thus been picked up for national distribution through Reprise.  Flip:  ‘I Can’t Get No Nookie’.”
  • Stan Cornyn, the legendary promo man for Warner Brothers Records, later documented his role in bringing the Masked Marauders to life in Exploding, Cornyn’s indispensable history of the label, which The Christian Science Monitor reviewed for their March 28, 2002 edition:  “Cornyn forged the image of Warner Brothers Records as the hip place to work and the hip label to buy.  As head of WBR Creative Services, he crafted indelible copy, even conspiring in an elaborate hoax:  The Masked Marauders, a 1969 album released on the one-off label, Deity.  Its creation followed a bogus review in Rolling Stone by then-staffer Greil Marcus under the name T.M. Christian.  The album allegedly featured several Beatles, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, and ‘a drummer as yet unnamed.’  It sold 40,000 copies and is now available from Rhino Handmade, a limited-edition, Internet-only arm of Rhino Records, a subsidiary of Warner Music Group.  Which proves that rock ‘n’ roll – even fake rock ‘n’ roll – never dies.”

Harmonica work possibly by Bob Dylan

 

AUDIO LINK for “Hello Sunshine” by Rev. Maceo Woods &
The 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.”
  • Irene W. Johnson, in her “Gospel Time” column for Record World, began her report for the March 7, 1970 issue thusly:  “Bro. Esmond Patterson of WAOK in Atlanta, Georgia celebrated his 14th Radio Anniversary at the Municipal Auditorium there Sunday, February 8.  It was a highly spiritual program in its entirety.  Rev. Maceo Woods and five members of the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir of Chicago, The Pilgrim Jubilees of Chicago and Bill Moss and the Celestials of Detroit, Michigan were headlining the program.”  Elsewhere in her column, Johnson reports that (as expected) is a “top tune” in Chicago.
  • #13 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for December 20, 1969.

Netherlands 45 — 1970

 

Freight Train” by Duane Eddy

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

ITALIAN 45 — 1970
IS THAT DUANE EDDY ON ACCORDION?  SERIOUSLY, WHERE’S Duane Eddy?

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • Record World‘s review in the March 28, 1970 issue:  “Out of the wonderful vault comes another fantastic memory of the late great Otis Redding.  Always a fine performance.  Forever!”
  • #36 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for April 4, 1970.
  • #96 on Record World‘s 100 Top Pops chart for April 11, 1970.
  • #48 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart for April 11, 1970.
  • Written by Don Covay and Otis Redding.

Sweden — 1970

 

Boogie Woogie Country Girl” by Southwind

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

  • Part of the roots-rock revival (like NRBQ) percolating upward in popular culture?
  • Record World’s April 11, 1970 review:  “As the title indicates, this is a country rocker in the early Jerry Lee Lewis/Elvis mode.  It sure sounds good to hear this kind of music again.  Thanks.”
  • Blue Thumb’s full-page ad in the May 2, 1970 edition of Billboard consisted of the headline “Call your local DJ today and give him the word,” followed by Greil Marcus’s review of the 45 for Rolling Stone:  “This snazzy performance sounds like the B-side of an old Jerry Lee Lewis single, which it might have been—who knows.  Rumble rumble—Southwind has that boogie woogie riffing right down in their pockets, and you can almost hear the band getting ready to charge as the lyrics fade and their chance to play hard and fast comes up.  There aren’t any stars in Southwind; it’s a solid, unassuming rock and roll band, like the Crickets, or the Blue Caps, but totally contemporary, and not at all interested in smothering the listener with nostalgia.  This number, which certainly ought to be the hit the band has missed up until now, has the same excitement and drive as, say, ‘I Don’t Want to Discuss It’ from the new Delaney and Bonnie LP.  ‘Boogie Woogie Country Girl’ was co-authored by Doc Pomus, a middle-aged man who wrote ‘This Magic Moment’ and ‘I Count the Tears,’ among others.  He was one of those men who had a perfect sense of teenage, despite his years, but he’s been on the shorts, pretty much out of work, since the Beatles retrieved the idea that musicians could and should write their own material.  Southwind, though, obviously know good stuff when they hear it (as with their fine version of Johnny Cash’s ‘Rock and Roll Ruby‘ on their Ready to Ride album).  Well, let it ride.  Call your local DJ today and give him the word.”
  • #7 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 23, 1970.

45 — France

 

AUDIO LINK for “Feeling Bad” by Mel and Tim

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

  • “Feeling Bad” — produced by Gene (“Duke of Earl“) Chandler.
  • Recorded at Universal Sound Studios in Chicago.
  • #29 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 23, 1970.

Written by Gary Wright & Mike Kellie

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • Record World‘s review from the April 25, 1970 issue:   “The song is from Alan Funt’s experiment in voyeurism.  Errol does pose an interesting question here.”
  • 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.”
  • #31 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 30, 1970.

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • Record World’s review of Swamp Dogg’s Total Destruction to Your Mind “Swamp Dogg has his own idea of what the blues are and should be on total Destruction to Your Mind.  All self-penned tunes.”
  • #12 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for May 16, 1970.

Written by Jerry Williams, Jr. & Gary Bonds

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • Record World‘s review in the May 16, 1970 issue:  “Country-flavored message tune with a ‘you never had it so good’ theme.”
  • #37 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 2, 1970.
  • #99 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for May 9, 1970.

Written by Ray Buzzeo

 

AUDIO LINK for “Handsome Johnny” by Richie Havens

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

  • Co-written by Richie Havens and actor Lou Gossett, Jr.
  • Record World‘s June 13, 1970 review:  “This is an old Havens cut which was recently featured in the Woodstock movie.  Good as ever.”

Bonus 45 included in double album set, On Stage

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • Identified by Record World as a “Sleeper Pick of the Week” in the May 30, 1970 issue:  “Dr. John the Night Tripper will have his first single hit with ‘Wash Mama Wash.’  Far out.”
  • One of the week’s “top record releases for coin phonographs,” as reported in the June 6, 1970 issue of Cash Box.

France — 1970

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #2 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 13, 1970.
  • #94 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for June 27, 1970.

Written by Jean Jacques Perrey & Andy Badale

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • Record World‘s June 27, 1970 review:  “The ‘El Chicano’ gang gives this Lennon & McCartney standard quite a Latinized workout.  Will be the second of two in a row.”

45 — Italy

 

AUDIO LINK for “Simple Song of Freedom” by Spirit of Us

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

  • Written by “Bob” Darin, arranged by Tommy Oliver & produced by Snuff Garrett.
  • Recorded at TTG Studios in Hollywood.
  • 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.”
  • Two weeks later (!) Record World would deem this 45 worthy of a 2nd review:  “Unique treatment of the Bob Darin/Tim Hardin song features a huge chorus and a Dixie background.”
  • Cash Box news items from the year before in the September 20, 1969 issue:  “The Robert Fitzpatrick Corp. has signed Gary LeMel to produce and Tommy Oliver to arrange an album for Spirit of US.  Spirit is a 19-member vocal-dancing group formed last summer by the Theodore Hamm Brewing Co. for their admission-free, patriotic musical road show, ‘America Sings.’”

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 August 1, 1970 review:  “Very effective anti-war song is directed right to the seat of power.  Sylvia wrote and produced.”
  • “Had Any Lately” — originally released as an A-side — became a B-side when reissued in 1973 and then again in 1974.

1970 original single release + 1973 German picture sleeve

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • Record World‘s review in the August 8, 1970 issue:  “Starting to click for Janet Lawson, Trella has a short with her version.  Country-pop click.”

Written by J. Woods

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #14 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for November 14, 1970.
  • #139 on Record Mirror‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for November 21, 1970.
  • Written by Nils Lofgren.

Bob Gordon, Nils Lofgren, Bob Berberich

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • #53 on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B chart for October 17, 1970.
  • Adaptation of George Gershwin’s classic composition.

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #25 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 5, 1970.
  • #89 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for December 26, 1970.

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

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”

Netherlands — somewhat  unimaginative (and literal) sleeve

 

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).
  • #93 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for February 6, 1971.
  • #107 on Record World‘s “Singles 101-150” chart for January 30, 1971.
  • Written by Robbie van Leeuwen.

45 picture sleeve — Yugoslavia

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • News item in Record World‘s January 16, 1971 issue – “Action at Roulette” – reports that “David T. Walker’s ‘Love Vibrations’ single on the Zea label, distributed by Roulette, is expanding to the pop market and serving to focus attention on Walker’s album.”
  • #35 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for December 19, 1970.
  • #36 on Record World‘s R&B Singles chart for January 16, 1971.
  • #39 on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B for January 23, 1971.
  • From the Plum Happy album — distributed by Roulette Records.

Written by Curtis Colbert & William “Mickey” Stevenson

 

AUDIO LINK for “Too Many Lovers” by Shack

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

  • “Crying baby” intro sounds like something out of LeeScratchPerry‘s audio lab.
  • Record World‘s “Pick of the Week” for December 19, 1970:  “Ingenious intro features a baby’s cry followed by the main theme:  “Too many lovers and not enough men.”  A very real problem provides a dynamic topic for this contender.  Frank stuff.”
  • #23 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for February 20, 1971.
  • #25 on Record World‘s R&B Singles chart for March 13, 1971.
  • #40 on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B Singles chart for February 27, 1971.
  • #81 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for March 13, 1971.
  • “Too Many Lovers” reissued on Volt in 1977.

Written and produced by Homer Banks & Raymond Jackson

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • Top of the chart in Holland/Belgium, as reported in the March 6, 1971 issue of Record World.
  • #9 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 6, 1971.
  • Last place (#150) on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for the week ending March 6, 1971.
  • Jack Kegg, columnist for Western Maryland’s Cumberland Times-News, remembers well the song’s personal impact in a 2007 Sunday paper piece entitled “Remember Gilbert O’Sullivan:

“In early 1971, the late WTBO radio personality Chad Riley gave my father some promotional 45s to give to me.  Chad would do this once in a while, and there always seemed to be gems among the vinyl.

Dad mumbled, ‘That’s all he needs; more damn records,’ and said, ‘These are from Chad.  Now be sure to thank him.’  Of course, I always showed my gratitude.

One of those records was called ‘Nothing Rhymed‘ on the Mam label by an artist called Gilbert O’Sullivan.  I was impressed by the plaintive lyrics and the production by Gordon Mills, who also handled Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck, and Johnnie Spence’s musical arrangement.

I don’t think any of the local stations played ‘Nothing Rhymed,’ but I loved the record.  It eventually “bubbled under” Billboard’s Hot 100.

I became an ardent fan of Gilbert O’Sullivan, collecting all of his 45s, the million sellers and the ‘duds.’  His real name is Raymond O’Sullivan, and he was born in Waterford, Southern Ireland on Dec. 1, 1946.  The family moved to Swindon, England, in 1960, and Raymond enrolled at a local art college.

The young boy showed an interest in music, so his mother bought him a piano, but his thumping style resulted in Gilbert and the piano being relegated to the garden shed.

But he developed a unique style, and while at college, played in semi-professional bands the Doodles and the Perfects.  He began to write songs, citing his influences as diverse as Rodgers and Hart, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles.

He sent out tapes of his songs, and CBS in Britain was interested, although ‘I Wish I Could Cry‘ (1967) failed to hit; and ‘Mr. Moody’s Garden‘ on the Major Minor label met with cold response.

One of Gilbert’s tapes, however, made its way to Gordon Mills, who was fascinated by the catchy tunes and style.  Gordon contacted Gilbert, and the two began a strong partnership as Gordon became Gilbert’s ‘father’ after his dad died.

In 1970, ‘Nothing Rhymed’ was recorded, and became a huge European hit. But to the shock of everyone, including Gordon Mills, Gilbert chose a strange dress code of flat cap, flannel suit way too small, and short cropped hair. People laughed, but they listened.  He had three more hits in Britain: ‘Underneath The Blanket Go,’ ‘We Will,’ and ‘No Matter How I Try.’  None of those made an impact in the U.S., although the latter was played on WUOK and WKLP, locally; and WTBO played ‘We Will.’”

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.”
  • A “Pick of the Week” in Record World‘s April 3, 1971 edition:  “Newcomers should do Creedence-type action for the label with this update of the original Jimmie Rodgers.  Very tight rock and roll.”
  • University of Houson’s KUHF gave this 45 strong radio play, as reported in Billboard‘s May 29, 1971 edition.
  • #88 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for April 24, 1971.
  • #118 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for April 24, 1971.

45 picture sleeve — Portugal

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #18 on Billboard‘s Country Singles chart for July 31, 1971.
  • #20 on Cash Box‘s Country Top 65 chart for July 10, 1971.

 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.”

 

AUDIO LINK for “Ten and Two (Take This Woman Off the Corner)”
by Gene and Jerry

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

  • Selected by 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.”
  • #126 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for June 12, 1971.
  • #32 on Record World‘s R&B Singles chart for week of July 3, 1971.
  • #44 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for the week of June 26, 1971.
  • #42 on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B chart for the week ending July 3, 1971.

Written by James Spencer

 

AUDIO for “Funky L.A.” by Paul Humphrey & His Cool-Aid Chemists

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

  • BillboardTop 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.”
  • Peaked at the #45 spot on Billboard‘s Soul chart on August 28, 1971.
  • #7 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Up” chart for July 10, 1971.
  • #97 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending July 31, 1971.
  • #136 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for August 28, 1971.

Written by Nolan Porter

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #40 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for September 4, 1971.
  • #46 on Cash Box‘s R&B Singles chart for August 14, 1971.
  • Single appears to have first been issued on Yambo before being picked up Today for broader distribution.
  • Written by Willie Dixon and Lucky Peterson.

45 picture sleeve — click on image below to view in high resolution

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 of August 14, 1971.
  • #20 on Record World‘s R&B Singles chart for the week of September 4, 1971.

Written by Bobby Pointer, Ronald Simmons, Walter ‘Simtec’ Simmons & Wylie Dixon

 

AUDIO for “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.'”
  • #24 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 25, 1971.

Written by Bessie Martin, Bobby Martin & John Mobley

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #118 on Record World‘s “Singles 101-150” chart for March 18, 1972.
  • Album initially released on Ampex, then reissued the following year on Bell.

Written by Alzo Fronte

 

AUDIO LINK for “Love the Life You Live (Pt. 1)” by Kool and the Gang

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

  • Review from the December 17, 1971 issue of UK’s Blues and Soul:  “Acknowledged as one of the leading exponents of psychesoul, this often brilliant jazz-tinged band come up with something different here.  The basic funk is certainly in evidence but the horns seem more mellow than on their most recent outings.  The whole thing is totally devoid of any definite pattern and that’s half the beauty of it all.  The subtle use of the wah-wahs is good, and the occasional vocal chorus tucked in behind the music is appealing.”
  • #40 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for the week of February 26, 1972.
  • #60 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 60 chart for the week of March 11, 1972.
  • #126 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 18, 1972.
  • #124 position on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart (March 25, 1972).

Written by Gene Redd, Jr. and Kool & the Gang

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.’”
  • #115 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 13, 1972.

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • Single “recommended” by Billboard in the August 5, 1972 edition.
  • #81 on Record World‘s Top Singles chart for August 26, 1972.
  • Last place (#100) on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for August 19, 1972, while the previous week, the single had just been beyond the reach (#102).
  • “Regional Breakout” single in New Orleans, as reported in the August 19, 1972 issue of Billboard.
  • “Too Late” made the Top 15 in Brazil, as reported in the December 9, 1972 issue of Billboard.
  • Written by Carole King and Toni Stern.

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

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 guy[s] behind Daddy Dewdrop’s ‘Chick A Boom‘.”
  • Record World‘s review of Wolfman Jack’s Wooden Nickel album (liner notes by Isaac Hayes, Leon Russell & Todd Rundgren):  “Legendary L.A. dj has been increasingly in the public eye lately, helped along by a recorded kudo from Todd Rundgren.  Now he’s done an album, from which ‘I Ain’t Never Seen a White Man’ already shapes up as a hit single.  Many other distinctive cuts from that distinctive voice.”
  • #102 position on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for the week of October 14, 1972.
  • #106 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for October 7, 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.
  • Record World review of The Kinks’ Everybody’s in Show-Biz long-player in the September 9, 1972 issue:  “Two-record gift from Ray Davies & company consists of a live album and a studio set.  Many of the new cuts are outstanding Kinks material, with ‘Supersonic Rocket Ship’ sounding especially hitbound.  ‘Celluloid Heroes‘ is an instant classic.”
  • Kinks first “bubbled under” in 1965 with “See My Friends” (which reached #111).
  • Written by Raymond Douglas Davies.

45 picture sleeve — Netherlands

 

AUDIO LINK for “Bang!” by Washrag

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

  • Musical trio featuring [Booker T & the MGs guitarist] Steve Cropper, along with David Mayo and Ron Capone, who released one album in 1973 that was recorded at Trans Maximus Sound Studios in Memphis.
  • Kal Rudman, in his “Money Music” column for Record World, writes excitedly in the September 2, 1972 issue:  “Hot advance tip from Memphis:  ‘Bang’ Washrag on TMI.  This instrumental is a piece of pure funk.  It has solid top sales in Memphis and is rapidly spreading to r&b stations and secondary pop stations. The sound is so strong and so commercial that we can predict it will be a top 10 record nationally.  There is no way to keep still while this record is playing.  It is truly a magic record.”
  • Cash Box enjoyed a playful poke in their August 5, 1972 review:  “Group is out to ‘clean up’ with this chuggin’ little instrumental with a rockabilly flair.”
  • Written by Steve Cropper, David Mayo, and Ron Capone.

“Bang!” — album‘s title track

 

AUDIO LINK for “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, according to Billboard.
  • Written by Bill Durst and Joe DeAngelis.

45 picture sleeve — Germany

 

AUDIO LINK for “Trying to Live My Life Without You” by Otis Clay

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

  • Produced by Willie Mitchell — recorded in Memphis at Royal Studios (“one of the oldest perpetually operated recording studios in the world”).
  • Record World‘s review from their October 7, 1972 edition:  “A powerful and sensitive singer in the Otis Redding manner, Clay is a natural for Willie Mitchell’s Memphis magic.  One of the better r&b records in a good year for r&b records, it will pop top forty.”
  • #24 on Billboard‘s Soul chart (December 9, 1972).
  • #39 on Record World‘s R&B Singles chart (November 11, 1972)
  • Link to tribute produced by NPR’s “Fresh Air” program:  “Remembering Otis Clay – A Blues Hall of Fame Musician

Written by Eugene Williams

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.”
  • #110 position on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart (March 10, 1973).
  • #109 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (February 27, 1973).
  • Produced and arranged by Junior Walker — written by Arnold Langley, Autry DeWalt, and Ronald Harville.

1973 picture sleeve — France

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • #51 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 65 (March 17, 1973), as well as #102 on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart (October 5, 1974).
  • #111 position on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart (November 2, 1974).
  • Sly and the Family Stone’s 1974 album Small Talk, coincidentally or not, includes a song called “Loose Booty.”

Written by George Clinton & Harold Beane

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 (on which Al is joined by Tom Staley and Terry and Donn Adams, among others) — released prior to Anderson joining NRBQ.
  • Review from Record World‘s February 3, 1973 issue:  “New singer writer debuts with this selection from his first LP.  Cut shuffles right along in the same vein as Van Morrison, complete with horns.  Potent entry for starters.”
  • #116 on Cash Box‘s “Singles — Looking Ahead” chart (February 24, 1973).
  • #112 position on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart (March 10, 1973).
  • Recorded between June and September 1972 at Vanguard’s 23rd Street Studios.
  • Written by Al Anderson.

New Zealand — 1973

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • #57 on RPM’s Top Singles chart for June 9, 1973.
  • #106 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for April 6, 1973.
  • According to Billboard, “Part of the Union” reached the Top 5 on Australia’s pop chart, made the Top Ten in Singapore, and nearly hit the top of the charts in Bangkok.
  • Written by John Ford and Richard Hudson.

1973 picture sleeve — France

 

AUDIO LINK for “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:  “Former Velvet Undergrounder shocked the world by having a Top 15 single with ‘Walk on the Wild Side‘ [with Herbie Flowers on bass]. From Transformer comes this more cosmic composition.  David Bowie’s genius is there in the production.  Should soar to the top.”
  • 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 two consecutive weeks for June 23 & 30, 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

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 (May 26, 1973) to #93 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart (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.”
  • “Bra” written by Patrick Patterson and Steve Scipio.
  • That same issue of Cash Box includes this ad from Chess/Janus:

Nyah-Rock, is the music of Cymande
A wicked blend of calypso, Afro rock and love
Through it they speak their ideals, heritage and themselves.

Their first album was such a success
it’s only natural they follow it with a Second Time Round

1973 picture sleeve — Netherlands

.

 

AUDIO LINK for “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!”
  • Tip of the hat to 45Cat’s RichardSibello, who informs us that “the stereo version has a spoken ending that the mono version doesn’t.”
  • Written by Dan Dalton and L. Rood.

Listen in stereo – if you dare

 

AUDIO for “Haldeman, 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.
  • Written by Bob Warren.

Remember those 70s Dymo label makers?

 

“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 between 1972 and 1973 — “Back in the Hills” is a non-LP B-side that easily sells for two figures at auction.
  • According to the Forgotten Hits music blog:
During the recording of the Mardi Gras album, John was already at work on his first solo release.  Since he only contributed three new songs to [Mardi Gras] LP (and, some say, refused to play on the songs contributed by Stu and Doug), John had free time on his hands and devoted that time to recording what would become The Blue Ridge Rangers album.  By the time of that album’s release in early 1973, [Creedance Clearwater Revival] was pretty well represented on the record shelves:  solo albums by John Fogerty, the second solo disk from his brother Tom, and Doug Clifford’s first solo LP were all now available.  Only John’s album sold well enough to make the charts … The Blue Ridge Rangers peaked at #47 early that summer [June 9, 1973 edition of Billboard].
Released with virtually no reference to John Fogerty’s involvement (other than the producer’s credit on the back cover), it simply featured five silhouettes of Fogerty against a sunset on the front cover, each pictured playing a different instrument.  It was, for all purposes, an anonymous release.  The first single release, “Blue Ridge Mountain Blues,” failed to make the charts at all.  The follow-up, a great re-working of the Hank Williams classic “Jambalaya,” made Cash Box Magazine‘s Top Ten.  (It stopped at #16 in Billboard but was a #5 smash here in Chicago.)  The next release, “Hearts Of Stone,” went to #33. Even John wasn’t guaranteed chart success by virtue of his previous resume … his next two releases “Back In The Hills” b/w “You Don’t Owe Me” and “Comin’ Down The Road” b/w “Ricochet,” both failed to chart.  (Both were non-LP singles and are now quite collectible.)  They would also be his last releases for Fantasy Records.”

45 — Japan

 

AUDIO LINK for “Take Life a Little Easier” by Rodney Allen 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 commercial.  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 that somehow involved Thomas “Snuff” Garrett (though not as producer) — check out this cheeky ad from the December 15, 1973 edition of Billboard. (“Who Is Snuff Garrett And Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About…”)
  • “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).
  • Written by Sid Woloshin and John Annarino — Arranged and produced by (the recently-departed) Al Capps.

 

AUDIO LINK for “Your Funny Moods” by Skip McHoney and the Casuals

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

  • Recorded at Silver Spring’s DB Sound Studios — celebrated in detail here.
  • Cash Box‘s November 24, 1973 edition – in its “R&B Additions” section – reported that “Your Funny Moods” was added to the playlist of Cleveland’s WABQ.
  • #56 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 70 chart for the week of March 16, 1974.
  • Your Funny Moods LP reached #196 on Record World‘s “151 to 200” Album Chart for the week ending February 8, 1975.
  • According to the bio posted on Discogs:

Skip Mahoney, together with fellow Francis Cardozo hall-dwellers George Norris, James Morse, Franklin Radcliff, and Morris Moore, the Casuals, Washington D.C, were formed in 1965.  Upon graduation in 1968, Skip had a draft scare, but received a reprieve when, after a few agonizing months in basic, he was deemed flatfooted and sent back to the capital.  In 1969, the group solidified around its best-known lineup:  Roger Chapman, Billy Jones, and original member George Norris.  Most importantly, the quartet joined forces with schoolmate James Purdie, a partially blind multi-instrumentalist who had made a name for himself at Cardozo.  Purdie could play, arrange, and write songs, and proved essential to the group’s unique and professional sound; equally important, he would be the driving factor in connecting the Casuals with Robert José Williams.

The Casuals played frequently at The Room and the Mark IV in Northwest D.C. and The Carousel in Baltimore, with guitarist Otis Brown and bassist Ira Watson joining James Purdie, who handled drums and keyboards as needed. Over the course of two years, the group cut seven tunes with Williams at DB Sound:  “Your Funny Moods,” “(Seems Like) The Love We Had Is Dead And Gone,” “We Share Love,” “I Need Your Love,” “Town Called Nowhere,” “I’m Looking Away From My Past,” and “Strugglin’ Man.”  When their first single for DC International Records, Inc. came back from the pressing plant, the group was dismayed to find itself billed as Skip Mahoaney & the Casuals, after being a vocal group for nearly a decade.  Chapman, Jones, and Norris quit in disgust, but their complete R.G.B. recordings were collected on 1974’s Your Funny Moods LP.  Unfazed, Skip rallied Tracy Reid, Jerome Rodgers, and Allen Morgan to join him in support of the album, taking the group to realms outside of DC International Records, Inc.’s limited regional scope.

Released in 1976 on Nashboro’s Abet imprint, Land Of Love took full advantage of the increased recording budget a national label could provide. Now upgraded to producer, Purdie arrived at Track Recorders [Silver Spring] with a handful of guitarists, backing vocalists, a harpist, two trombonists, two trumpeters, two bassists, an oboe player, a trio of saxophonists, and a full string quartet arranged by Eddie Drennon.  The album’s first single, “Running Away From Love,” got widespread radio play on R&B stations, but couldn’t get over the hump and onto the pop charts.  After a management deal went south with mob-connected Joe Fontana in New York City and discos sprung up in place of live venues, the group finally petered out in 1978.
Harrison Hoaney died March 2020.”

Written by Skip Mahoney and James Purdie

 

AUDIO LINK for “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.
  • #30 on Cash Box‘s Country Top 75 chart for October 26, 1974.
  • #116 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart on October 26, 1974.
  • Dick Feller — also known for “Biff The Friendly Purple Bear

Written by Dick Feller

 

AUDIO LINK for “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).”
  • Thanks to 45Cat’s jukebox george who reports that “BMI.com credits Track A to James Brown, St. Clair Tony Pinckney Jr., and Fred A Wesley Jr.  Track B to James Brown & Leon Austin.”

 

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

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

  • “Jaws”-themed break-in record with “Jaws Jam” on the flip side — also released in the UK.
  • Nice stereo imaging effect during the fade-out amidst all the newsroom sounds.
  • #116 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for September 13, 1975.
  • One 45Cat contributor informs — “Got extensive play in the Philadelphia area [made the Top 10 on WFIL] which caused it to Bubble Under.  As Byron McNaughton was a known personality in the area, his record was more popular than Dickie Goodman’s.”
  • Another 45Cat contributor points out the 45 label (below), which indicates the duration of the recording to be “2:61“!

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 [pg. 11] 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.”

 

AUDIO for “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.
  • The original Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section was inducted into Nashville’s Musicians Hall of Fame in 2019.

 

AUDIO LINK for “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).
  • Denny Bruce — John Fahey’s one-time producer who later formed Takoma Productions with Fahey — offered Spectrop this amusing and offbeat tribute:

Jack Nitzsche – Arranging With Stars in His Eyes

RooseveltRoseyGrier was a giant of a man, big, heavy, and fast who played defense and was feared for his power.  Jack said he had the worst sense of timing for a singer he had ever worked with.  They were doing “I Who Nothing” which, of course, was a hit for Ben E King.  Everyone knew the song.  Maybe in the showers after a game he would sing and his teammates would say, “Hey man, you’re a hell of a singer.”  Jack did the track, and Rosey shows up with four of his teammates, who all wanted a show-biz career, whatever would be, would be.  Standing in the studio wearing headphones (probably for the first time in his life) the track would play and Rosey was maybe hypnotized by hearing the music but didn’t sing.

Jack said, “Rosey, you know when to come in, don’t you?”  In listening to the Ben E King song, the arrangement is not just a standard arrangement, and the first word “I” followed by “who have nothing” sold the song.  Well, they tried to just record “I” and once they got that Jack thought the battle was over.  Wrong!!  He then brought Rosey into the control room, and let him listen to the playback over the studio speakers.  Jack said, “Once you hear the intro if you count to yourself, (I forget the number) 1,2,3,4,5 it’s time to sing “I”.  Well, that did not work. So Jack stood up, and would lift his fingers: 1,2,3,4,5 and ‘cue’ Rosey.  This only rattled him more.  Jack would try and capture the rhythm of the track, with body language, and try his damnedest to make him feel where “I” came in.  The guy had no sense of rhythm, and one and a two and now I point and you sing “I” backfired.  Rosey’s eyes were like a deer trapped in the headlights – he focused on Jack, but when he brought down his arm to point at Rosey, he would just blurt out “I.”

This is the bull[dung] not a lot of people know about how tough it is to make records with celebs.  Soupy Sales was equally bad, but hilarious to work with, because he’s a comedian.

Rosey went on to national fame, as he was with Bobby Kennedy the night Sirhan Sirhan shot him at the Ambassador Hotel, LA in 1968.  Rosey actually grabbed him, and threw him to the ground [LA Times notes that Grier “reportedly sat on the gunman until police arrived”].  Jack and I were roommates at the time, and saw it live on TV.

 

AUDIO LINK for “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 101 to 150” chart (June 26, 1976).

 

AUDIO LINK for “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).

1977 UK B-side as part of 3-song single

 

“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 fourteen of them from 1963 to 1993.  [source]
  • One quirky bit of chart synchronicity (below):  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)

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

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.

> AUDIO LINK for “Licking Stick Licking Stick (Pt. 1)”
James Brown and the Famous Flames (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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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?

> AUDIO LINK for “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 MartinBootsy 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”?

> AUDIO LINK for “That Woman
Charles Spurling (1969)

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:

> AUDIO LINK for “More Mess on My Thing
The J.B.’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:

> AUDIO LINK for “Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine (Pt. 1)”
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):

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

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

“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.

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “Bewildered” [part one]

> AUDIO LINK for “I Got the Feelin’” [part two]

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can
The J.B.’s (1970)

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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?

> AUDIO LINK for Untitled Instrumental
James Brown (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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “The Whole World Needs 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)”:

> AUDIO LINK for “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:

> AUDIO LINK for “Soul Power ’74
Maceo and the Macks (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:

> AUDIO LINK for “Doing the Doo
Bobby Byrd Featuring The J.B.’s

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 Y