Milt B’s “Mod Popcorn R&B”

Philip Paul‘s stellar stick work really drives this “killer” instrumental version of “Fever” that features organ (Milt Buckner) and vibes (Gene Redd) — recorded at Cincinnati’s King Studios on March 5, 1963:

“Fever”     Milt Buckner     1963

Organ:  Milt Buckner
Drums:  Philip Paul
Bass:    Bill Willis
Vibes:   Gene Redd

“Fever” — rightly selected as the A-side of a 1963 single release on King subsidiary, Bethlehem (paired with “Why Don’t You Do Right“) — would be characterized 54 years later as “Mod Popcorn R&B” when sold at auction.

“Fever” would also be one of the highlights of 1963 long-playing release The New World of Milt Buckner, an album produced by Hal Neely, arranged by Gene Redd and Milt Buckner, and engineered by Chuck Seitz. (with cover design by Joseph F. Wood).  2013 would see the album reissued on compact disc in Japan.

Milt Buckner’s Organ:  Too Hot?

Milt Buckner’s “hot” organ – as CrownPropeller’s Blog humorously relates – would reach “fever pitch” at a Chicago night club, The Eden Roc, in 1962 the year prior.

Jet  – July 19, 1962 issue – courtesy of CrownPropeller Blog

Philip Paul: The Pulse of King

How fun and fulfilling to see Philip Paul (as well as Bootsy Collins and Otis Williams) included in the official photograph taken on the day when Jack White was awarded the key to the city in early June, 2018 by Cincinnati mayor, John Cranley, while strategically positioned outside the original King Records headquarters in Evanston.

*

.*[L to R:  Bootsy Collins; Otis Williams; Jack White; Mayor John Cranley; Patti Collins & Philip Paul at Cincinnati’s King Records = photo courtesy of Jack White]

Paul would recount for historian Steven C. Tracy in Going to Cincinnati: A History of the Blues in the Queen City (1993) the creative pressures of being a studio musician and the demands placed on the drummer by Syd Nathan to keep rhythms endlessly fresh:

Well, like I would get a call the same morning.  You know, maybe 7 or 7:30 a.m.  Can you get over here in a half hour?  O.K.  I’d get up and walk over there.  And, uh, maybe the artist wouldn’t be there.  But maybe whoever the A&R man was may have, would have a little riff or something in his head.  He’d say, ‘It goes like this’ or something, you know?  And we’d wait until the artist arrived, and the artist would sing.  Maybe they couldn’t keep four bars together.  But we’d work until we put something together.  If it took all day … Yeah, with the little head sets.  And they used all kinds of recording devices.  But basically they never came, very seldom did they come in with charts for everybody and say play this, play this, play that.  It was always – Syd Nathan wanted you to do something fresh all the time.  I don’t care if you recorded three albums a day, he always wanted something different.  He didn’t want the same beat on every tune.  And you would have to sit there and come up with something.  Because he would be in the booth hollering at you, you know.  I look back on that and it was very insulting at the time, but it was a lesson also, because he provided musicians an opportunity to record under those conditions and see what recording was really about.

Getting the “right sound” at King would, for Paul, also involve the occasional use of kettle drums, wood blocks, and even a suitcase in place of a kick drum, points out Tracy.

Paul would initially intersect with King Records in 1952 through his professional relationship with Tiny Bradshaw — whose group had the house band gig at Cincinnati’s top black nightspot, the Cotton Club, according to Tracy.  Six months earlier, Bradshaw had first taken notice of Paul’s playing at the Savoy Ballroom.  The next nine years with Bradshaw would serve as a proving ground:

We knew we had to work hard.  Like we would play an hour set; he didn’t restrict us.  We was basically a blues band, but we had, at times we had some guys in the band that were very good jazz players. Sonny Stitt played with us. Johnny Griffin played with us. Al Sears played with us.  We had all kinds of musicians out of Duke [Ellington]’s band playing with us.  So when they came in the band, even if it was for one night or two nights, they really had to work.  Noble Watts, Sil Austin – oh God, we wore out tenor players.  But Red [Prysock] was the backbone; he could really handle it.

It was through Bradshaw, as Tracy writes, that “Paul got hooked up with King, and countless sessions followed.”  According to Brian Powers, Paul has played on over 350 recordings and, like CalvinEagle EyeShields, backed a number of King’s country artists, such as Bonnie Lou, Cowboy Copas, and Hawkshaw Hawkins (also Grandpa Jones, say both Tracy and Nager), even though documentation is similarly and frustratingly scant.

Paul – whose father (from St. Croix) played trumpet and uncle drummed professionally – grew up in Harlem.  While in New York, according to Steven Tracy, “Paul played with Milt Larkin, recorded for Decca with Buddy Johnson, and cut some sides with Basie sidemen accompanying Jimmy Rushing.”  As Powers notes in A King Records Scrapbook:

His career took off when he began playing with jazz musicians Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis, Sonny Stitt, Bud Powell and Dizzy Gillespie.  He got a regular gig at the famed Savoy Ballroom in Harlem with Buddy Johnson’s Big Band that featured the great vocalist Arthur Prysock.  Eventually Paul met bandleader Tiny Bradshaw whose drummer, Calvin ‘Eagle Eye’ Shields, was leaving the band.  Bradshaw was impressed with Paul’s playing.

Paul’s ability to be on call as a session musician at King was facilitated by means of a house in Evanston “which Syd Nathan had helped him purchase,” points out Powers.  Even after Nathan’s passing in 1968, Paul continued to forge a musical career, as Powers explains, that enabled him to remain rooted in Cincinnati but with the flexibility to tour as needed:

By the late 1960s, Paul began several years of recording for Columbia Records in New York as one-third of Roy Meriwether‘s hard-driving gospel-influenced trio.  [Stone Truth and Popcorn & Soul, both LPs from 1966].  He played for six years at the Carrousel Inn on Reading Road in [Cincinnati’s Roselawn neighborhood], but also toured with jazz artists like Herbie Mann, Jimmy Smith and Nat Adderley throughout most of the country.  He played festivals and clubs, including the famous Apollo Theater in New York.  Paul has accompanied George Wein & the Newport All-Stars throughout the United States and Canada.

Philip Paul:  the Roselawn connection

Paul would eventually get “overdue” recognition for his contributions to music history, thanks to Larry Nager‘s profile “Keeping Time” in the October, 2009 edition of Cincinnati Magazine.  Among Cincinnati’s household names and musical institutions, Nager notes unequivocally, “when it comes to impacting American music and culture, this quiet, unassuming octogenarian stands alone.”  Furthermore, Nager cogently observes, “as America struggles to find something – anything! – we can sell to the world, the one unqualified success continues to be our music,” as Ebay prices in the new century for original vinyl make clear (see discography/listening section below).

In 2002, the Cincinnati Enquirer would bestow upon Paul a Lifetime “Cammy” (Cincinnati Area Music) Award as part of a select group, Legends of King Records.  Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, in 2009, would create a special exhibit, as part of its of Songwriters to Sound Men series, to celebrate the session work of Paul — who would also receive that same year an Ohio Heritage Fellowship, “the state’s highest honor for traditional artists,” notes Nager.  Says the Ohio Arts Council:  “The Ohio Heritage Fellowship program recognizes Ohio folk and traditional artists who are influential masters of their particular art forms and traditions, and whose work has had a significant impact on their communities.”

PHILIP PAUL TRIO – CINCINNATIAN HOTEL
[Photo courtesy of bill Hulsizer]

The 21st century would find Philip Paul issuing his first album, 2003’s It’s About Time, on which he served as bandleader — supporting musicians would include Peter Frampton, Edwyn Conley, Kenny Poole, Steve Schmidt, and Mike Sharf.  The following year, Paul and Conley would comprise the rhythm section for Big Joe Duskin‘s final album, Big Joe Jumps Again!, joined by Frampton on two tracks, as well as producers, Larry Nager (bass) and William Lee Ellis (guitar).  A 2016 Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame Inductee, Paul – who has been a weekly fixture at the Cincinnatian Hotel’s Cricket Lounge for countless years – would be feted in 2018 by Cincinnati’s Listernmann Brewing Company with a beer “Fas’ Foot Phil” named in his honor.

[Photo courtesy of Bill Hulsizer]

Earliest Philip Paul Recordings

[*Special Update – April 8, 2020]

Click on song title links below for streaming audio ←

Big note of appreciation to Ben Levin, a force for good, who has been working behind the scenes on various Cincinnati music history fronts.  Ben helpfully suggested that I dig a little more deeply into Philip Paul’s earliest recordings for the Buddy Johnson Orchestra.  Here are some of the things that turned up in the research.

First of all, thanks (once again) to the Europeans for their devotion to American music, as evidenced in the detailed musician credits for the Buddy Johnson compilation album, I’ll Dearly Love You, released in Sweden in 1989.  Philip Paul is listed as drummer on the first three tracks = “Down Yonder”; “Li’l Dog” and “The Stars Fell on Alabama.”  We know that Philip Paul recorded for Buddy Johnson prior to joining the Tiny Bradshaw Orchestra in 1951, but it is a challenge to validate exactly which other recordings he played on besides those three titles.  This Philip Paul discography from Switzerland provides a couple more clues.  Skim past the album listings and note that Paul is linked to two other recordings – “I’m Gonna Jump in the River” (with vocalist, Ella Johnson) and “Root Man Blues.”  45Cat says “Jump in the River” was released January 1952, while “Root Man Blues” was released the following month.  Are these Paul’s final recordings with the Buddy Johnson Orchestra?

Once more, Europe helps us unearth our country’s own jazz history in this “Enciclopedia del Jazz” webpage tribute to Buddy Johnson that lists Philip Paul on a New York City recording session that produced “Jump in the River,” “Root Man Blues” and two other tracks – “Till My Baby Comes Back” (with Ella Johnson) and “My Aching Heart” (with vocalist, Arthur Prysock).  Also, fascinating to find this related bit of history in Nelson Harris’s Roanoke Valley in the 1940s:

“Buddy Johnson and his orchestra played for a dance at the American Legion Auditorium on September 23 [1948].  Vocalists were Ella Johnson, Arthur Prysock, and the Four Buddies.  Johnson was known for his hits ‘Baby Don’t You Cry,’ ‘Since I Feel For You,’ ‘Fine Brown Frame,’ and ‘Li’l Dog.’  White spectators were admitted [!].”

Also, from the Nov. 13, 1948 issue of Billboard:

“Betty Lou Purvis, WPGH, Pittsburgh, reports that Buddy Johnson’s Decca ‘Li’l Dog’ is pulling heavy mail and a phone response on her Strictly Jazz show.”

Similar report in Billboard’s Nov. 20, 1948 edition:

“Don Potwin, KYAK, Yakima, Wash., says: ‘Buddy Johnson’s Decca ‘Li’l Dog’ receives the most comment from my listeners.  People ask me to incorporate it into my theme, which I did.”

Lastly, this Wikipedia page for Buddy Johnson lists all his single releases.  As I scan the song titles from “Li’l Dog” all the way down to “Root Man Blues,” would love to know which of these recordings feature Philip Paul’s drum work –- especially want to know, for instance, if Mr. Paul played on the flip side of “Down Yonder,” “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball.”

*

A Philip Paul Jukebox!
King Recording Session Chronology:  1952-1964*

[*Source: The King Labels: A Discography, edited by Michel Ruppli & Bill Daniels]

→ Click on song title links below to hear streaming audio of songs ←

  • Tiny Bradshaw & His Orchestra [Philip Paul (drums), Clarence Mack (bass), Jimmy Robinson (piano), Red Prysock & Rufus Gore (tenor sax), Ted ‘Snooky’ Hulbert (alto/baritone sax), Andrew Penn (trombone), and Leslie Ayres & Lester Bass (trumpet)] — Oct. 6, 1952 — Cincinnati

Soft” + “Strange

1956 ‘Soft’ LP on King = $208 at auction in 2006

  • Bullmoose Jackson (vocals) w/ Tiny Bradshaw’s Orchestra [Philip Paul (drums), Clarence Mack (bass), Jimmy Robinson (piano), Red Prysock & Rufus Gore (tenor sax), Ted ‘Snooky’ Hulbert (alto/baritone sax), Andrew Penn (trombone), and Leslie Ayres & Lester Bass (trumpet)] — Oct. 6, 1952 — Cincinnati

I Needed You” + “Big Ten Inch Record

Original “Big Ten-Inch Record” 78s & 45s can do well at auction

  • Tiny Bradshaw & His Orchestra [Philip Paul (drums), Clarence Mack (bass), Jimmy Robinson (piano), Red Prysock & Curtis Ross (tenor sax), Andrew Penn (trombone) & Lester Bass (trumpet)] — Jan. 19, 1953 — Cincinnati

Off and On“; “Heavy Juice“; “Free For All“; “Hold On, Josie

  • Tiny Bradshaw & His Orchestra [Philip Paul (drums), Sam Jones (bass), Jimmy Robinson (piano), Sil Austin & Rufus Gore (tenor sax), Andrew Penn (trombone) & Bill Hardman (trumpet)] — Jul. 29, 1953 — Cincinnati

Powder Puff“; South of the Orient“; “Later“; “Ping Pong

1954 King EP = 4 songs on 45

  • Tiny Bradshaw & His Orchestra [Philip Paul (drums), Sam Jones (bass), Jimmy Robinson (piano), Sil Austin & Rufus Gore (tenor sax), Andrew Penn (trombone) & Bill Hardman (trumpet)] — Apr. 5, 1954 — Cincinnati

The Gypsy“; “Don’t Worry ’bout Me“; “Overflow“; “Spider Web

  • Wynonie Harris (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), James Royal (bass), Clarence Kenner (guitar), Fred Clark (alto sax), David Brooks (tenor sax) & Tommy Purkson (baritone sax) — Apr 14, 1954 — Cincinnati

I Get a Thrill“; “Keep a-Talkin’“; “Don’t Take My Whiskey“; “Shake That Thing

Original King single sells respectably well at auction

Other single from the same recording session does even better at auction

  • The Midnighters [Hank Ballard (lead) + Charles Sutton, Henry Booth & Sonny Woods (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Clarence Mack (el bass), Arthur Porter (guitar), Eddie Smith (piano), Charles ‘Buddy’ Montgomery (vibes) & Sil Austin (tenor sax)] — Apr. 24, 1954 — Cincinnati

Work Baby“; “Sexy Ways“; “Don’t Say Your Last Goodbye

“Sexy Ways” one of 1954’s top 10 R&B records (sales & jukebox) per Billboard  

NOTE:  Released on the Federal label in US but on King in Canadawhat gives?

  • Tiny Bradshaw & His Orchestra [Philip Paul (drums), Sam Jones (bass), Clarence Kenner (guitar), Jimmy Robinson (piano), Rufus Gore & Noble Watts (tenor sax), Andrew Penn (trombone) & Bill Hardman (trumpet)] — Sep. 1, 1954 — Cincinnati

Light” “Stack of Dollars“; Choice“; “Cat Fruit

1955 “Light” & “Choice” King EP$100 at auction in 2014

  • Tiny Bradshaw & His Orchestra [Philip Paul (drums), Sam Jones (bass), Jimmy Robinson (piano), Clifford Bush (guitar), Leon Burns & Lovejoy Coverson (tenor/baritone sax), Rufus Gore (tenor sax), Andrew Penn (trombone) & Bill Hardman (trumpet)]– Jan. 11, 1955 — Cincinnati

Cat Nap“; “Come On“; “Stomping Room Only“; “Pompton Turnpike

King “bio disc

Flip side refers to the bandleader as “Brad”!

  • Rufus Gore (tenor sax & vocals), with backing by Philip Paul (drums), Sam Jones (bass), Mickey Baker (guitar) & Duke Parham (piano) — Feb. 24, 1955 — New York City

Firewater” + “Ghost Walk

This Rufus Gore session is possibly the only one Paul recorded outside of Cincinnati

  • Bill Jennings Quintet [Bill Jennings (guitar), Philip Paul (drums), Jackie Wilson (piano), Paul Henry Sparks (guitar) & Albert Jennings (vibes)] — Jul. 24, 1955 — Cincinnati

Willow Weep for Me“; “Day Train“; “Glide On“; “Three Little Words” + 2 unissued

People have paid three and even four figures for Bill Jennings’ King releases

  • John Puckett Trio [John Puckett (piano & vocals), Philip Paul (drums) & Edwyn Conley (bass)] — Jun. 7, 1957 — Cincinnati

12 songs that comprise Meet John Puckett & His Piano ($100 at auction in 2015)

  • Tiny Topsy & the Charms (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Edwyn Conley (bass), John Faire & Arthur Porter (guitar), Ivory Joe Hunter (piano) & Ray Felder (tenor sax) — Oct. 2, 1957 — Cincinnati

Come On Come On Come On” + “Ring Around My Finger

Tiny Topsy “mit orchester”:  Single enjoyed release in Germany & the UK

  • Titus Turner (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Edwyn Conley (bass), Clifford Bush (guitar), Jon Thomas (piano) & Ray Felder (tenor sax) — Nov. 7, 1957 — Cincinnati

Stop the Pain” + “Hold Your Loving

45 can fetch three figures at auction

  • Earl Connelly King (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Edwyn Conley (bass), Clifford Bush (guitar), Jon Thomas (piano) & Ray Felder (tenor sax) — November 7, 1957 — Cincinnati

Every Which Kinda Way” + “I Don’t Want Your Love

 People will shell out up to $300 for the 45 — A-side reissued in UK in 2012

  • Tiny Bradshaw (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Clarence Mack (bass), Clifford Bush (guitar), Jon Thomas (piano), Ray Felder (tenor sax) & Osborne Whitfield (flute) — Jan. 16, 1958 — Cincinnati

Short Shorts” + “Bushes

  • Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul & George De Hart (drums), Navarro Hastings (el bass), John Faire (guitar), Jimmy Johnson (piano), JC Davis & Henry Moore (tenor sax) & Mark Patterson (trumpet) — Aug. 6, 1959 — Cincinnati

Said I Wouldn’t Beg You“; “Look at Little Sister“; “I Could Love You“; “Never Knew

  • Gene Redd & the Globe Trotters, featuring Gene Redd (“timbales, sweet wind”), Philip Paul (drums), Clarence Mack (bass) & John Faire + Freddie Jordan (guitar) — Sep. 4, 1959 — Cincinnati

Zeen (Surfin’) Beat” + “Old Virginny Rock

1959 A-side got “repurposed” as “Surfin’ Beat” for 1962 King LP below

  • Trini Lopez (vocals), with backing from musicians on “celeste, g, b, dm [presumably, Philip Paul]” — Sep. 25, 1959 — Cincinnati

The Search Goes On“; “Nobody Loves Me“; “Then You Know (You’ve Been in Love)”; “Won’t You Be My Queen For a Day“; “Nobody Listens to Our Teenage Problems” & “Sweet Thing

  • Rudy West (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Edwyn Conley (bass), John Faire (guitar), Jon Thomas (piano) & Gene Redd (vibes) — Sep. 29, 1959 — Cincinnati

Just To Be With You“; “You Were Mine“; “The Measure of My Love“; “This Is Something Else“; “My Mother’s Prayers“; “As Long As I Live

Rudy West — lead tenor for The Five Keys

  • Trini Lopez (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Edwyn Conley (bass) & Freddie Jordan (guitar) — October 1, 1959 — Cincinnati

The Club for Broken Hearts“; “Don’t Go“; “Jeanie Marie“; “I’m Just a Poor Little Schemer“; “Chain of Love” & “It Seems

Lopez’s 2nd album for King (right) would see release in Venezuela in 1964

  • Little Willie John (“& Strings“), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Edwyn Conley (el bass), John Faire (guitar) & Sonny Thompson (piano) — Dec. 23, 1959 — Cincinnati

A Cottage For Sale” + “Loving Care

Both songs included on 1961 King LP

  • Lynn Hope (tenor sax), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Clarence Mack (bass), Freddie Jordan (guitar), Jimmie Palmer (piano) & Gene Redd (trumpet & vibraphone) — Mar. 4, 1960 — Cincinnati

Juicy“; “Tenderly“; “Full Moon“; “Shockin’“; “Ghost of a Chance“; “Body and Soul

King 45 issued on UK ‘ska’ label note “corrected” spelling to King’s English!

  • Lynn Hope (tenor sax), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Edwyn Conley (bass), Freddie Jordan (guitar), Jimmie Palmer (piano) & Gene Redd (trumpet & vibraphone) — Mar. 28, 1960 — Cincinnati

Blue and Sentimental“; “The Very Thought of You“; “Rose Room“; “Sands of the Sahara“; “Little Landslide“; “Oo Wee“; “Stardust

  • Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Navarro Hastings (el bass), Jimmy Johnson (piano) JC Davis (guitar), Henry Moore & Otis Finch (tenor sax), and Mark Patterson (trumpet) — Mar. 31, 1960 — Cincinnati

I Must Be Crazy“; “These Young Girls“; “Finger Poppin’ Time“; “Thinking of You

Finger Poppin’ Time” enjoyed release in Australia & New Zealand

  • Tab Smith (alto sax), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass) Jon Thomas (piano & organ) & Ernest ‘Butch’ Luckett (guitar) — Apr. 28, 1960 — Cincinnati

Drivin’ the Blues“; “In a Mellow Dream“; “Over and Under”; “They’re Off“; “Lovely Springtime“; “Easy Going”; “Big Wheel”

  • Little Willie John (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass), Freddie Jordan (guitar) & Jimmy Palmer (piano) — Jul. 8, 1960 — Cincinnati

The Very Thought of You“; “I’m Sorry“; “Walk Slow“; “Sleep“; “There’s a Difference

Billboard chart history for “Sleep” (#13), “Walk Slow” (#48) & “Very Thought” (#61)

  • Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Navarro Hastings (el bass), Jimmy Johnson (piano), Gene Redd & Mark Patterson (trumpet), and JC Davis & Henry Moore (tenor sax)– Jul. 26, 1960 — Cincinnati

Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go“; “Sick of You“; “Keep on Dancing“; “Goodbye So Long

The Chambers Brothers & East Bay Soul Brass among groups to cover “Let’s Go”

  • Tab Smith (alto sax), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass), Freddie Jordan (guitar) & Sonny Thompson (piano) — Aug. 5, 1960 — Cincinnati

Chuggin’ Along” & “Night Hawk Prowl” [“The Midget” + “The Old Mill” (unissued)]

  • Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, featuring Hank Ballard (vocals), Philip Paul & Joe Hardwick (drums), Navarro Hastings (el bass), Jimmy Johnson (piano), Gene Redd & Mark Patterson (trumpet), JC Davis & Henry Moore (tenor sax)– Aug. 16, 1960 — Cincinnati

When I Need You“; “If You’d Forgive Me“; “The Hoochi Coochi Coo

Note: “Hoochi Coochi Coo” peaked at #23 on Jan. 30, 1961 — 11 weeks on chart

Canadian 45                                                      French EP

  • Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, featuring Hank Ballard (vocals), Philip Paul & Joe Hardwick (drums), Navarro Hastings (el bass), Jimmy Johnson (piano), Gene Redd & Mark Patterson (trumpet), JC Davis & Henry Moore (tenor sax) — Aug. 17, 1960 — Cincinnati

Mona Lisa“; “Just One More Chance“; “Summertime

$100 (and more) has been paid for 1961 Hank Ballard Spotlight LP

  • Smokey Smothers (guitar & vocal), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), [Bill Willis on bass?], Freddy King & Freddie Jordan (guitar) & Sonny Thompson (piano) — August 25, 1960 — Cincinnati

Smokey’s Lovesick Blues“; “Crying Tears“; “Midnight and Day“; “Honey, I Ain’t Teasin’“; “Blind and Dumb Man Blues“; “What Am I Going To Do“; “I’ve Been Drinking Muddy Water“; “I Ain’t Gonna Be No Monkey Man No More“; “You’re Gonna Be Sorry“; “Can’t Judge Nobody“; “Give It Back“; “Come On Rock Little Girl

Jon Hartley Fox writes in 2009’s King Records history, King of the Queen City: “Guitarist and singer Otis ‘Smokey’ Smothers [Howlin’ Wolf’s guitarist prior to signing with King] never came close to stardom, but for a period in the early 1960s, he had one of the most talked-about albums of the day.  Smokey Smothers Sings the Backporch Blues, released in 1962, is highly coveted by collectors today as one of the rarest of blues albums.  Forty-five years ago, it was an unexpected blast of down-home blues that took everybody by surprise.”

1962 King LP released (and retitled) on Polydor in UK (1966) & Germany (1967)

[Auction alert!   $1223 paid in 2009 for original Smokey Smothers King LP]

  • Freddy King (guitar & vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass) & Sonny Thompson (piano) — Aug. 26, 1960 — Cincinnati

You Know That You Love Me“; “See See Baby“; “You’ve Got To Love Her With Feeling“; “Have You Ever Loved a Woman“; “Hide Away“; “I Love the Woman

Attn:  Disc Jocks – This instrumental will be liked by The Teenagers!”

3 figures paid for 1961 King LP = reissued in Europe (2014) & Spain (2015)

  • Clifford Scott (tenor sax), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass), Hank Marr (organ), Charles Brown (piano) & Freddie Jordan (guitar) — Nov. 26, 1960 — Cincinnati

Shu-ee“; “Fros-Tee Nite“; “Blue Lady“; “Broadway Caravan

  • Clifford Scott (tenor sax), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass), Hank Marr (organ), Charles Brown (piano) & Freddie Jordan (guitar) — Dec. 6, 1960 — Cincinnati

“No. 1 in the Book”; “Chocolate Malt“; “Bushy Tail

1962 French EP on Odeon

  • Clifford Scott (tenor sax), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass), Hank Marr (organ), Charles Brown (piano) & Freddie Jordan (guitar) — Dec. 9, 1960 — Cincinnati

“Hobby Horse”; “Cutie“; “Skitchy” & “Hang Out

  • Hank Marr (organ), with unnamed musicians, including [in all likelihood] Philip Paul (drums) and Clifford Scott (tenor sax) — Dec, 10 1960 — Cincinnati

Tonk Game” & “Hob Nobbin’

Note:  1963 King LP Hank Marr Trio + 3 — Teentime Latest Dance Steps kicks off with “Tonk Game.”  Furthermore, Ben Levin reports that the liner notes for 2016 compilation Night Sounds:  The Genesis of Soul/Jazz Organ Combos identify Hank Marr to be — after Bill Doggett — King’s next big organist, who recorded several influential discs, “including ‘Tonk Game’ which became so popular with Britain’s Jamaican immigrant population that it received a British released on the Blue Beat label.”

1961 UK single on Blue Beat

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Hank-Marr-45-UK-aa.jpg

  • Freddy King (guitar & vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (el bass) & Sonny Thompson (piano) — Jan. 17, 1961 — Cincinnati

Lonesome Whistle Blues” [subject of a 2014 piece] + “If You Believe (In What You Do)

  • Freddy King (guitar & vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (el bass), Sonny Thompson (piano), and Osborne Whitfield & H. Johnson (tenor sax) — Jan. 18, 1961 — Cincinnati

It’s Too Bad (Things Are Going So Tough)” + “I’m Tore Down

Canada                                                          US

  • Hank Marr (organ), with backing from Freddy King (guitar), Philip Paul (drums), Lawrence Frazier (el bass), Michael Robinson (piano) & Osborne Whitfield (tenor sax) — Jan. 18, 1961 — Cincinnati

Ram-Bunk-Shush” + “The Push

Note:  “The Push” also included on 1963 Hank Marr Trio +3 LP

  • Lulu Reed (vocals),  with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass), Freddie Jordan & Lawrence Frazier (guitar), Sonny Thompson (piano) & Osborne Whitfield (tenor sax) — January 19, 1961 — Cincinnati

Know What You’re Doing“; “What Makes You Feel So Cold“; “I Got a Notion” and “Ain’t No Cotton Pickin’ Chicken

Billboard‘s review of “I Got a Notion” in its April 24, 1961 edition:  “Fervid reading by the canary on an emotion-packed blues rockaballad.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Lula-Reed-45-aa.jpg

  • Lulu Reed (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass), Freddie Jordan & Lawrence Frazier (guitar), Sonny Thompson (piano) & Osborne Whitfield (tenor sax) — March 19, 1961 — Cincinnati

Puddentane” + *Baby Baby” [*unissued until Ace UK’s Just a Little Bit:  Federal’s Queens of New Breed R&B (2010) – although that song would be “Lula‘s” second 45 release for her next label, Tangerine, owned by Ray Charles, an “early admirer“]

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Lula-Reed-45-cc.jpg

  • Lulu Reed (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass), Freddie Jordan & Lawrence Frazier (guitar), Sonny Thompson (piano) & Osborne Whitfield (tenor sax) — March 20, 1961 — Cincinnati

I’m a Woman (But I Don’t Talk Too Much)”; “I Know“; “Say Hey Pretty Baby” – plus – “You Gotta Have That Green

1962 French EP on Odeon

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Lula-Reed-EP-France-aa.jpg

  • Hank Marr (organ), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Lawrence Frazier (el bass), Freddy King (guitar), Michael Robinson (piano) & Osborne Whitfield (tenor sax) — March 22, 1961 — Cincinnati

 “Mexican Vodka” & “Travelin’ Heavy

Billboard‘s review of “Mexican Vodka” in its April 3, 1961 edition:  “Here’s an invigorating, insinuating side with a touch of the below-the-border flavor.  It rocks via the horn work and the organ is punching too.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Hank-Marr-45-c.jpg

  • Freddy King (guitar), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (el bass), Freddie Jordan (guitar), & Sonny Thompson (piano) — Apr. 5, 1961 — Cincinnati

Sidetracked“; “Stumble“; “San-Ho-Zay“; “Wash Out“; “Just Pickin’“; “Heads Up

$255 paid in 2008 for this 1961 King LP

  • Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Navarro Hastings (el bass), Freddie Jordan & Dave Hamilton (guitar), Henry Moore (tenor sax) & Gene Redd & Mark Peterson (trumpet) — Jul. 18, 1961 — Cincinnati

Big Red Sunset“; “Nothing But Good“; “Do You Remember” & “Can’t You See I Need a Friend

  • Freddy King — Jul. 24, 1961 — Cincinnati

Christmas Tears“; “Let Me Be“; “Takin’ Care of Business“; “You Mean Mean Woman“; “I Hear Jingle Bells“; “In the Open“; “Out Front“; “Swooshy

“Christmas Tears” & “Jingle Bells” strictly 45 tracks — reissued in 1975 (below)

  • Eddie Clearwater (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Lawrence Frazier (el bass), Freddy King (guitar), Hank Marr (organ) Michael Robinson (piano) & Osborne Whitfield (tenor sax) — Nov. 22, 1961 — Cincinnati

A Real Good Time“; “I Was Gone“; “Twist Like This” & “Hey Bernardine

$261 in 2017 for this A-side

Philip Paul with Charles Brown & Amos MilburnHistorical Sidebar

Philip Paul informed Zero to 180 directly – in private consultation over the phone – that he, in fact, provided the backbeat for all of Charles Brown & Amos Milburn‘s Cincinnati recording sessions for King in the years 1960-63 and beyond, for which we know the following song titles and little else:

Essential Christmas LP alert!

Charles Brown‘s Cincinnati King Sessions:  1960-1963

September 21, 1960

Please Come Home for Christmas

December 13, 1960

Baby Oh Baby” + “Angel Baby

January 22, 1961 (*with Amos Milburn)

I Wanna Go Back Home” + “My Little Baby

June 27, 1961

This Fool Has Learned” + “Butterfly

July 3, 1961

“It’s Christmas All Year Round” + “It’s Christmas Time

August 7, 1961

Let’s Make Every Day a Christmas Day“; “Christmas in Heaven“; “Christmas Blues”; “Bringing in a Brand New Year“; “Christmas Finds Me Lonely Wanting You” & “Christmas Comes But Once a Year”

August 10, 1961

Christmas Questions“; “My Most Miserable Christmas” & “Wrap Yourself in a Christmas Package

October 9, 1961 [?]

“Without a Friend” + “If You Play With Cats

January 26, 1963

“I’m Just a Drifter” + “I Don’t Want Your Rambling Letters”

August 26, 1963

If You Don’t Believe I’m Crying, Take a Look at My Eyes“; “Lucky Dreamer“; “I Wanna Be Close”; “Too Fine for Crying“; “Come Home” & “Blow Out All the Candles (Happy Birthday to You)”

Amos Milburn‘s Cincinnati King Sessions:  1960-1961

September 21, 1960

Christmas Comes But Once a Year

January 22, 1961 (*with Charles Brown)

I Wanna Go Back Home” + “My Little Baby

March 7, 1961

My Sweet Baby’s Love” + “Heartaches That Make You Cry

July 5, 1961

“Movin’ Time” + “The Hammer

  • Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Navarro Hastings (el bass), Freddie Jordan & Dave Hamilton (guitar), Sonny Thompson (piano), Elmer Yates (tenor sax) & Gene Redd (trumpet & vibraphone) — Jan. 6, 1962 — Cincinnati

It’s Twistin’ Time“; “Good Twistin’ Tonight“; “Get Ready“; “I Want to Thank You“; “Your Lovin’“; “She’s the One“; “Dream World

1962 King LP does pretty well at auction

  • Freddy King, with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (el bass), Freddie Jordan (guitar), Sonny Thompson (piano), Gene Redd (trumpet) & Clifford Scott (alto & tenor saxes) — Jan. 10, 1962 — Cincinnati

Closed Door“; “Texas Oil“; “She Put the Whammy On Me“; “On My Way to ATL“; “Overdrive (Untouchable Glide)”; “Driving Sideways“; “Sittin’ On the Boat Dock” & “Come On

Note:  Ruppli’s notes indicate “High Rise” to be an alternate title for “Closed Door.”

  • Lula Reed & Freddy King with Sonny Thompson & His Orchestra [musicians not listed by Ruppli – Philip Paul almost certainly the drummer on this session] — February, 1962 — Cincinnati.

Do the President Twist” [subject of a 2013 piece]; “(Let Your Love) Watch Over Me“; “You Can’t Hide“; “Your Love Keeps a-Working on Me“; “What About Love” and also “It’s Easy, Child” [Covered by The Moody Blues and issued as the b-side of their first big hit, “Go Now”]

Cash Box‘s review of “Do the President Twist” in their March 17, 1962 edition:  “Lulu Reed teams up with Freddy King for an extremely effective twist side.  The twosome reads a good lyric over the fast-moving strains of the Sonny Thompson ork.  Wax has plenty of pop market potential.”

Vocal by Lulu Reed and Her Little Teeners

  • Hank Marr (organ), with backing from unnamed musicians, including (quite possibly) Philip Paul on drums — c. Spring 1962

The Watusi-Roll” + “Sweet Nancy

Note:  Both issued as a Federal 45 and included on 1963’s Hank Marr Trio +3 LP.

  • Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), David Walker (el bass), Freddie Jordan & Marion Wright (guitar), Sonny Thompson (piano), Vonzell Cooper (organ), Garnell Cooper (tenor sax), Gene Redd (trumpet) & Sal Samuels (tamborine) — Sep. 12, 1962 — Cincinnati

Shaky Mae“; “Christmas Time for Everybody But Me“; “I Love and Care for You

  • Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), David Walker (el bass), Freddie Jordan & Marion Wright (guitar), Sonny Thompson (piano), Vonzell Cooper (organ), Garnell Cooper (tenor sax), Gene Redd (trumpet) & Sal Samuels (tamborine) — Sep. 13, 1962 — Cincinnati

Santa Claus Is Coming“; “Love Oh Love”; “Bring Me Your Love

  • Bob Kames (organ), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass) & Rollie Tipton (guitar) — October 1-4, 1962 — Cincinnati

Songs that comprised two full-length albums:  King LP Bob Kames Goes Western and Bob Kames at the Organ— engineered by Chuck Seitz & produced by Hal Neely, with cover art by Dan Quest.

  • Milt Buckner (organ), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass), & Gene Redd (vibraphone) — Nov. 26, 1962 — Cincinnati

Misty“; “Why Don’t You Do Right“; “I Left My Heart in SF“; “All Blues“; “Take Five

  • Freddy King (guitar & vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass), Freddie Jordan (guitar), Sonny Thompson (piano), and Gene Redd & Clifford Scott (saxes) — Nov. 27-29, 1962 — Cincinnati  [musician credits courtesy of 2002 compilation, The Very Best of Freddy King Volume Two]

Bossa Nova Blues“; “Bossa Nova Watusi Twist“; “Walk Down That Aisle (Honey Chile)” Someday After Awhile (You’ll Be Sorry)”; “You Walked In”; “You’re Barkin’ Up the Wrong Tree“; “Is My Baby Mad At Me“; “(The Welfare) Turns Its Back on You“; “It Hurts to Be in Love“; “Look Ma I’m Cryin’“; “(I’d Love to) Make Love to You” & “One Hundred Years

1963 LP reissued in 2014 (US & Europe) and 2016 (Japan)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Freddy-King-LP-gg.jpg

  • Hank Marr Trio +3 [Hank Marr (organ), Taylor Orr (drums) & Rusty Bryant (tenor sax)], with assistance from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass) & Cal Collins (guitar) — December 13, 1962 — Cincinnati

“All My Love Belongs to You”; “Bossa Nova Watusi Twist”; “Day By Day”; “Little Girl Don’t Cry”; “Midnight Moon”; “Let’s Cut One”; “Stand In Line”; “One Step Around”; “Marsanova” & “The Squash

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Hank-Marr-Trio-LPfront-cover-a.jpg

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Hank-Marr-Trio-LPrear-cover-a.jpg

Note:  Back cover liner notes for Latest Teentime Dance Steps (penned by Gene Redd) outline the album concept as “Hank Marr Trio +3” — i.e.,  the trio of musicians on the front cover augmented by “three of the finest musicians in the mid-west,” thus adding a double drummer dimension to the group’s sound in order to get dancers on the floor:

Hank Marr heads up a real rockin’ group, which includes Rusty Bryant on tenor sax and Taylor Orr on drums.  However, to make these recordings stronger and even more danceable, three of the finest musicians in the mid-west – Bill Willis on bass, Cal Collins on guitar and Philip Paul on drums – were added to the group for the purposes of making this albumTwo drummers were used to insure the best possible beat.  The arrangements were especially prepared and scored by Hank Marr and Gene Redd and were designed to fit each dance step.[note the 13 different dance steps named on the front cover]

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Hank-Marr-Trio-LPrear-cover-liner-notes-by-Gene-Redd.jpg

  • Milt Buckner (organ), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Bill Willis (bass), & Gene Redd (vibraphone) — Mar. 5, 1963 — Cincinnati

Fever“; “Kansas City“; “Pick Yourself Up“; “Moon River“; “Fly Me to the Moon

1963 Milt Buckner LP reissued in Japan in 2013

  • Freddy King (guitar & vocals), with backing from Philip Paul (drums), Oscar Crummie (el bass), Freddie Jordan (guitar), Sonny Thompson (piano) & Gene Redd (tenor sax) — Sep. 26, 1963 — Cincinnati

Now I’ve Got a Woman“; “Surf Monkey“; “If You Have It“; “Low Tide (Zoo Surfin’)”; “Remington Ride“; “Monkey Donkey“; “Meet Me at the Station“; “Full Time Love“; “King a Ling

  • Freddy King (guitar & vocals), with backing from bass [Benny Turner – Freddy King’s brother], guitar [Bobby King (Federal artist)], piano [Sonny Thompson?], organ [Hank Marr?], saxes [Gene Redd and/or Clifford Scott?] & quite possibly Philip Paul on drums — August 26, 1964 — Cincinnati

I Love You More Every Day“; “Teardrops on Your Letter“; “Some Other Day, Some Other Time“; “She’s the One“; “She’s That Kind“; “Man Hole“; “Fish Fare“; “Funny Bone“; Cloud Sailin’“; “The Sad Nite Owl“; “Nickel Plated” & “Freddy’s Midnite Dream”

1965 LP reissued in 1984 (Germany), 1996 (Japan) & 2010 (US)

If You Have It” — from especially rare Freddy King album (King LP 931)

[*Musician Credits: The King Labels: A Discography, edited by Michel Ruppli & Bill Daniels]

A King History Moment:  Session Bassist Bill Willis

Bill Willis quoted in 2000’s Rollin’ and Tumblin’:  The Postwar Blues Guitarists:

King Records had four of us who played on everything — me, Philip Paul on drums, Sonny Thompson on piano and Freddie Jordan on guitar.  Everything was live so you had that spontaneous feeling going.  None of us played together outside.  The only time we played together was in the studio.  A lot of times I didn’t hear what I was playing, like on “Hide Away,” because I went directly into the board.  They turned my bass amp off, and I very rarely used headphones.  I wanted to hear everybody through the room and catch all the nuances. 

Philip Paul Postscript from Brian Powers — in a Zero to 180 exclusive:

“I am sure Paul played on some Cowboy Copas stuff — before Copas left King in 1955, but I couldn’t tell ya what.  I’m pretty sure he played on Hawkshaw Hawkinsalbum recorded in fall 1962 (with Gene Redd on vibes and Bill Willis on bass), which had a number one country hit with “Lonesome 7-7203.”  I know this because Ray Pennington told me – he produced it and there are quite a few songs written by Ray.”

But, as Jon Harley Fox notes with a heavy heart (in King of the Queen City):

After a long, dry spell with only one hit to his credit, Hawkins returned to King in 1962.  He cut twelve songs in a September session, including the song that restarted his career, “Lonesome 7-7203,” a honky-tonk shuffle in the style of Ray Price.  It would be Hawkins’s first number one hit single, but he wouldn’t live to see it happen.  Just three days after the record entered the Billboard county chart, Hawkshaw Hawkins was killed in a plane crash with Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas.  Nothing else from Hawkins’s last session made the charts.

Be sure to check out these special radio moments with Philip Paul: