The Dapps at King Records

Music writer/historian, Randy McNutt, in King Records of Cincinnati, points out the irony of “How You Gonna Get Respect (When You Haven’t Cut Your Process Yet)” – a Hank Ballard single “obviously aimed at the R&B market” – being voiced by mostly white musicians:

[James] Brown discovered [The Dapps] in Cincinnati’s Inner Circle nightclub and used the band on his and other performers’ recordings.  At various times the band included guitarist Troy Seals, who became a major Nashville songwriter; Tim Hedding, organ; Eddie Setser, guitar; Tim Drummond, bass; Les Asch, saxophone, and [William] Beau Dollar [Bowman], drums.

McNutt also notes the band’s shared history with Jo Ann Campbell prior to the formation of The Dapps, in The Cincinnati Sound:

Petite vocalist Jo Ann Campbell made her mark as a 1950s recording artist who appeared on disc jockey Alan Freed’s live rock-and-roll shows.  She recorded an answer song called “I’m the Girl on Wolverton Mountain.”  By 1964, however, she had married Troy Seals, a Fairfield, Ohio, bass player [born in Bighill, KY] who had toured with Lonnie Mack and other Cincinnati acts.  Campbell and Seals moved to Cincinnati, formed their own white soul band called The Cincinnati Kids, and started performing at the Inner Circle near the University of Cincinnati.  The band was one of the hottest acts in town.  When Campbell became pregnant, she dropped out, and the band evolved into the Dapps.

Image courtesy of Dave Parkinson —
CLICK on image TO VIEW IN HIGH RESOLUTION

[L to R] Dave Parkinson; Eddie Setser; Jo Ann Campbell; Troy Seals;
Tina, the “designated” go-go dancer; Tim HedDing; Doug Huffman

.

Don TigerMartin, one of The Great Drummers of R&B, Funk & Soul and an early member of The J.B.’s, shared his memories of The Dapps in 1996 with drummer, educator and historian, Jim Payne:

Sometimes we come and watch the Dapps, an all-white band.  You remember the white guy who used to be like James [Brown] — Wayne Cochran?  Well, he used to come to town all the time and everybody would go and see him.  His band was real tough [Jaco Pastorius played bass for Cochran – Jim Payne notes].  Well, the Dapps had a better white band than him.  They were so cold they were ridiculous!  ‘Beau Dollar’ played drums and sang lead, and they had another drummer named Ron Grayson, who was bad.  Ron could play right-handed or left-handed.  Tim Drummond, the bass player, was also in the Dapps.

Prior to becoming The Dapps, the group had already released two 45s under the name, Beau Dollar and the Coins.  The band’s second single features a classic arrangement of “Soul Serenade” that is, in fact, a track produced by Lonnie Mack for Fraternity Records, with Chuck Sullivan on lead guitar, Wayne Bullock on Hammond B-3, and Bill Jones on bass   According to Stuart Colman‘s liner notes from the Ace UK anthology, Lonnie Mack — From Nashville to Memphis:

“Sax supremo King Curtis could hardly have imagined the kind of track record that his immortal ‘Soul Serenade’ would one day generate.  Not long after its public debut, this mellifluous instrumental became part of the Lonnie Mack repertoire where it sat alongside such well-loved favourites as Don and Juan’s ‘What’s Your Name‘ and Bobby Parker’s ‘Watch Your Step‘.  The personnel of Lonnie’s road band at this point included guitarists Troy Seals and Eddie Setser, who’d previously worked together backing Johnny Tillotson and Tommy Roe, along with a remarkably solid drummer named Bill Hargis ‘Beau’ Bowman Jnr.  However, with a line-up that was in a constant state of flux the trio departed for pastures new, leaving the Lonnie Mack legend to take a significant turn during 1965 towards a musical enterprise known as Soul Incorporated.”

As Randy McNutt recalls in a piece from 2011 entitled “Who Knows Beau Dollar:

“Beau was the really funky one.  I remember hearing Beau Dollar and the Coins at a forgotten club in Middletown, about twelve miles north of Hamilton [Beau’s hometown].  Back then he had curly brown hair–sort of a white man’s afro–and sang some terrific blue-eyed soul.  He came up with his name as a play on Bo for Bowman; he paired it with dollar because of the natural connection:  a beau dollar, an old Southern term for silver dollar.  By the mid-1960s, Beau Dollar and the Coins had become one of the area’s more popular white soul bands, with a devoted following that enjoyed dancing.  Beau sometimes wore a fancy vest befitting his name–a beau, or a dandy. He seemed poised for the local radio charts

In those days, you could find white soul bands, many of them with good horn sections, in clubs throughout southwest Ohio–places called the Half-Way Inn (halfway between Hamilton and Middletown [and owned by the parents of guitarist, Sonny Moorman]), the Tiki Club in Hamilton County, and the Hawaiian Gardens in Cincinnati.”

Brian Powers‘ first-rate interview [42-minute mark] with saxophonist Dave Parkinson  (of Canton, Illinois) for Cincinnati’s WVXU answers so many questions about how Beau Dollar and The Dapps first converged:

“We were a popular band in the Cincinnati area called The Cincinnati Kids, and we were the house band at The Inner Circle, which is now Bogart’s.

INNER CIRCLE — ORIGINALLY 1890 VAUDEVILLE THEATER
[IMAGE COURTESY OF FORT THOMAS MATTERS]

“Troy Seals and Jo Ann Campell headed up the band, and I played saxophone, and Les Asch was the other saxophone player, and Eddie Setser — we called him “Fat Eddie” — was the guitarist.  Tim Heding [sometimes spelled with one D] played keyboards, and Tim Drummond played bass with us for a time, although Troy Seals doubled on bass and sang a good amount of that time.  We had Ronnie Grayson play drums with us, and we had two or three different drummers.  Doug Huffman, who lives in Indianapolis now, played drums with us when I first joined the band.  I don’t recall any other drummers.  A good friend of ours was Beau Dollar, but Beau was more of an entity to himself, and he never actually played with the band.  He didn’t necessarily record with us at King that I remember, but I know he did some recording with James [Brown].  Beau was a big part of the music scene around the Cincinnati area.  He was a really good funky drummer and a great singer.

“I think James just started coming around The Inner Circle.  Of course, that was a big thrill for all of us, and he started to sit in occasionally with the band.  That was about the time “Cold Sweat” and “There Was a Time” — it was about that era, ’67-’68, I guess — and James became interested in the group.  That was a kind of delicate time racially, and I think James thought it might behoove him to become involved with white groups similar to ours.  We did a lot of soul and we did pop covers, too, but the rhythm and blues and soul was pretty much our forte.

[On how The Cincinnati Kids became The Dapps] “That would have been after we became disassociated with Troy and Jo Ann, and actually, James tagged the name The Believers on us, that was our first name with James.  We eventually turned into The Dapps.”

For this same 2018 WVXU broadcast, Brian Powers also interviewed Eddie Setser,  who wryly remarked, “It was hard to believe we got $45 for, like, a three-hour session.”  Setser informed Powers that their first studio collaboration, “I Can’t Stand Myself (When You Touch Me),” was originally inspired by a riff from a jazz artist, possibly Kenny Burrell, but altered substantially enough by James Brown as to be unrecognizable. When asked to describe James Brown’s creative process, Setser told Powers:

“When he starts doing things, these arrangements are put together, he always does the drums first, then the bass.  He gets the groove going, then he’ll do the guitars and then, you know, the horns will do their thing. The keyboard works in there somewhere.  You get the groove going and you just keep playing it, you know what I’m sayin’?

One local music venue where the group enjoyed playing, located in the basement of Cincinnati’s Hotel Metropole, was called The Trip when The Dapps played there, says Setser, who added that later it became a club – Tommy Helms’ Dugout – named for the Reds’ second baseman (and later one of the first area discos, with “girls in cages” and all the frippery).

In this hotel’s basement once dwelled a club called The Trip

Zero to 180 spoke with both Les Asch and Dave Parkinson in May/June/July of 2020.  During our first phone conversation,  Dave Parkinson expressed his own confusion over the irony that “The Dapps” ended up being known as James Brown’s white backing band when, in fact, the original concept was to have a show band that featured black members of JB’s renowned live orchestra.

Parkinson auditioned for the group in late 1965 (possibly early 1966) at the Holly Oak in Indianapolis — a storied venue that once hosted Fats Domino, Little Richard, Wayne Cochran, Wayne Newton, Kenny Rogers, and Dolly Parton, according to the fine folks at East Side Tire & Wheel.

This building – confirms East Side Tire & Wheel – was once the Holly Oak

Thanks to RoadArch.com companion for the helpful tip!

At the time of Parkinson’s audition, the group was named for its two lead artists, Jo Ann Campbell and Troy Seals who – as “Jo Ann and Troy” – recorded a pair of singles for Atlantic in 1964-65.  With regard to the band’s membership at the time of his audition, Parkinson, who played tenor sax and “a little alto,” recalls Seals and Roger Troy  sharing bass duties, with Eddie Setser on guitar, Tim Hedding on keyboards, and Doug Huffman on drums.

Soon after the audition, the group played a 10-week engagement at The Beachcomber in Seaside Heights, New Jersey “having more fun than anyone has a right,” according to Parkinson, who indicated that Ronnie Grayson also went along for the ride.

The Beachcomber — saved by sprinklers in massive 2013 boardwalk blaze

The band subsequently anchored itself in the Cincinnati area, playing the three big music clubs at the time:  The Inner Circle, Guys and Dolls, and The Roundup Club, the latter two venues located in nearby Northern Kentucky.  Les Asch joined the band during this period and recalled that the group — billed as Troy Seals and the Cincinnati Kids — had a regular Wednesday-through-Sunday engagement at The Inner Circle, with Jo Ann Campbell joining the group on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Guys and Dolls (formerly Grayson’s Inn) + Erlanger’s Roundup Club

Asch remembers Troy Seals bringing in another drummer, Tommy Matthews, when Ronnie Grayson (who would later play on Delaney Bramlett’s 1972 debut album with Tim Hedding) was recovering from injuries sustained in an auto accident.  During this recovery period, Seals would insist that Grayson remain a contributing band member.  Grayson, it turns out, had some trumpet experience, and thus was recruited for the horn section, where he played under the stage name, Ronnie Geisman.

After Grayson had healed, Tommy Matthews was then let go by Seals, prompting some of the band members — Eddie Setser, Tim Hedding, Les Asch and Dave Parkinson — to defect from the group temporarily to link up with Lonnie Mack, who was present at the Inner Circle when Matthews got his pink slip, according to Asch.

The Cincinnati Kids, with Lonnie Mack now at the helm (and Eddie Setser on bass), continued at the Inner Circle for another five to six weeks, says Asch, before Mack informed the group of an engagement in Florida at a place called Johnny’s Hideaway.  The gig proved a bust after only a couple weeks, however, when a liquor violation shut the club down.  Tim Hedding, fortunately, would field a phone call from Troy Seals, who informed the musicians of a work opportunity at a Hamilton, Ohio music venue named The Halfway House.  After locating a U-Haul trailer for Les Asch’s 1966 Plymouth Fury, the group then reformed in Cincinnati.

Tim Drummond (of Canton, Illinois) – Dave Parkinson’s original connection to the band – had almost certainly joined by this point.  According to Parkinson, “Tim joined us for a few months prior to when he left to go with the James Brown band” — sometime in 1967, by his estimation.  James Brown’s guest appearances with the band at The Inner Circle led to invitations to record at King Studios for other artists produced by Brown, such as Bobby Byrd, Marva Whitney, and James Crawford.

The Dapps backing James Brown @ The Trip
[L to R] Les Asch, Dave Parkinson; Panny; James Brown; Eddie Setser

Dave Thompson – in his Funk listening companion – states in the entry for “Beau Dollar & The Dapps” that James Brown “took the group into the studio that same year [1965] to cut the two-part ‘It’s a Gas‘ single, intended for release on King under the name the James Brown Dancers.”  However, “Brown’s then ongoing dispute with the label saw the single go unissued, but Brown kept tabs on the Dapps.”  By the way, you can now hear both sides of this unreleased 45 (originally slotted for February 1967), though the odd thing is, when you scrutinize Alan Leeds‘ musician credits for “It’s a Gas” on James Brown: The Singles, Volume 4 (1966-1967), none of the players are from The Dapps.

Q:  When do Troy Seals and the Cincinnati Kids (i.e., The Dapps) make their first appearance in Ruppli’s King Records sessionography?

A:  The session for James Brown’s “Why Did You Take Your Love Away From Me,” the lone track recorded at Cincinnati’s King Studios on April 27, 1967:

Special Note:  Les Asch (who plays baritone, tenor and/or alto saxophone) and Dave Parkinson (who plays primarily tenor) both agree that some of the horn credits below might have been unwittingly switched in the Ruppli session notes – a red asterisk (*), therefore, is used to indicate such instances.

> AUDIO LINK for “Why Did You Take Your Love Away
by James Brown [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown & Bud Hobgood

ACCORDING TO RUPPLI’S SESSION NOTES —

James Brown:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano
David Parkinson:  Tenor & Baritone Sax*
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

“Why Did You Take Your Love Away” would end up on 1968’s, I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me album, whose rear cover reveals Brown’s endorsement deal with the Vox musical instrument company (whose guitars Eddie Setser did not enjoy as much as his Fender Telecaster and Gibson ES-335).

Rear cover — I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me

 

These twelve tracks were sold in Europe under a different title, This Is James Brown, (albeit with “Fat Eddie” as the final track rather than “Funky Soul #1), while in France and Israel, this same set was issued as Mr. Soul. (and in Argentina as El Rey Del Soul – “The King of Soul”).

US album cover       vs.        UK album cover

Germany — 1968                                       France — 1968

The Dapps returned to King Studios on August 8, 1967 to serve as Bobby Byrd‘s  backing band on “Funky Soul #1,” a song that calls out praises to key musical destinations — NYC, DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, The Bay Area, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Detroit:

> AUDIO LINK for “Funky Soul #1 (Pts. 1 & 2)” by Bobby Byrd

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & James Crawford

ACCORDING TO RUPPLI’S SESSION NOTES —

Bobby Byrd:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Keyboard
David Parkinson:  Saxes*
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

US 45 — 1968                                      Iran EP (c. 1968)

Ruppli’s session notes (below) indicate that this King master recording [K12439 “Funky Soul (Vol. 1)” = red star] was used as the backing track for James Brown‘s own recording of “Funky Soul #1” onto which Brown overdubbed organ at a King recording session [marked with a red circle] that took place exactly two weeks later on August 22, 1967.  Billboard‘s September 23, 1967 edition predicted Bobby Byrd’s version would “reach the R&B singles chart,” while the November 25, 1967 edition predicted Brown’s organ version would “reach the Hot 100 chart.”

Red star = “Funky Soul #1” master recording

This organ instrumental serves, fittingly, as the final track on 1968 LP I Can’t Stand When You Touch Me, as well as the B-side for “The Soul of JB” — although note that the 45 label credits “James Brown and the Famous Flames.”

Also notice in the King session notes posted above that James Crawford, one of the song’s authors, recorded “I’ll Work It Out” at King Studios on August 8, 1967 — the same date as the Bobby Byrd “Funky Soul #1 session — with “possibly same [personnel] as on K12439” [green circle].   Seems pretty reasonable to assume that The Dapps backed both vocalists that night.

> AUDIO LINK for “I’ll Work It Out
James Crawford backed by The Dapps?

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & James Crawford

Billboard predicted in its October 23, 1967 issue that “I’ll Work It Out” would “reach the R&B Singles chart.”  Cash Box‘s review in their November 4, 1967 edition:  “James Crawford could grab a nice piece of airplay with this feelingful, slow-paced, James Brown-produced moaner.  Give it a spin.  Flip: ‘Fat Eddie‘”  Record World gave it a “four-star single” with this review in the November 11, 1967 issue:  “Nitty gritty wild one here [‘Fat Eddie’].  James sings the slow ballad with all the soul he can muster [I’ll Work It Out].”

US — 1967                                    France — 1968

Marva Whitney would also have a go at “I’ll Work It Out” which found release in 1968 as a King 45 — is it possible that The Dapps provided musical backing on this recording?

> AUDIO LINK for “I’ll Work It Out” by Marva Whitney

The Dapps backed James Brown on the next (undated) session listed in Ruppli’s notes (wrongly attributed to “prob. band without James Brown“) that yielded “The Soul of J.B.” plus one ‘unknown title’ left in the can.

> AUDIO LINK for “The Soul of J.B.
by James Brown [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Gladys Knochelman

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Organist, Arranger & Producer
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

US — Nov. 1967

James Brown – The Singles, Volume 5 (1967-1969) affirms that the same Dapps lineup above were the musical unit that laid down the sounds for “Just Plain Funk,” recorded August 30, 1967 and used as the B-side for “I Guess I’ll Have to Cry, Cry, Cry” — a single that saw release in both Rhodesia [now Zimbabwe] and South Africa.

> AUDIO LINK for “Just Plain Funk
by James Brown [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Troy Seals

aCCORDING TO Discogs

Bobby Byrd [?]:  Organ
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

Italy — 1968                                             South Africa — 1968

One week after the “Just Plain Funk” session, Hank Ballard laid down a pair of tracks with unnamed musicians at the King Studios on September 7-8, 1967 that would be released as a King 45 — “Which Way Should I Turn” b/w “Funky Soul Train.”  Given that the A-side was written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood, Beau Dollar & Troy Seals, could it be possible that The Dapps backed Hank Ballard on these two tracks?

You might think that The Dapps served as the backing band on the James Crawford recording session at King Studios on September 14, 1967 that produced a song entitled “Fat Eddie” — undoubtedly named for guitarist “Fat” Eddie Setser.  However, you would be mistaken.

Ruppli’s session notes say that The Brownettes recorded a pair of songs on October 17, 1967 at King Studios — and nothing more.  Thanks to Nothing But Funk Volume 3, however, we can rejoice in knowing the names of both the singers and players of instruments (as noted below):

> AUDIO LINK for “Never Find a Love Like Mine” by The Brownettes

> AUDIO LINK for “Baby Don’t You Know” by The Brownettes

Both sides written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Troy Seals

ACCORDING TO Discogs

Grace Ruffin, Martha Harvin & Sandra Bears:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

Is it a coincidence that the vinyl seller who has received the highest bid yet on Ebay ($82) for the Brownettes King 45 is also the one who added “Dapps” to the title of the auction?  Interesting to note that the 45 seller is from Japan.

Ruppli’s session notes state that Vicki Anderson recorded two songs at King Studios on October 23, 1967 with unnamed musical support.  1998’s double-disc celebration, James Brown’s Original Funky Divas, fortunately, named names, so we now know that The Dapps were Anderson’s backing band on these two tracks (as detailed below).  The A-side, interestingly, had already been recorded six days prior by The Brownettes, while the Lowman Pauling-penned B-side was originally recorded by The5Royales:

> AUDIO LINK for “Baby Don’t You Know
by Vicki Anderson [with The Dapps]

> AUDIO LINK for “The Feeling Is Real
by Vicki Anderson [with The Dapps]

ACCORDING TO Discogs

Vicki Anderson:  Vocals
William ‘Beau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone

One week later on October 30, 1967, a lean contingent of The Dapps returned to King Studios to back James Brown on “I Can’t Stand Myself (When You Touch Me)”:

> AUDIO LINK for “I Can’t Stand Myself (When You Touch Me) Pts. 1 & 2
by James Brown and the Famous Flames

Written by James Brown

ACCORDING TO RUPPLI’S SESSION NOTES —

James Brown:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ

Spain — Feb. 1968

Dave Parkinson points out that Tim Drummond enjoys the distinction of being the one band member called out by name (at the 2:50 mark) on this recording.

Troy Seals and the horn section then joined Brown on “Baby Baby Baby Baby,” recorded at that same session and included on 1968’s I Can’t Stand Myself LP:

> AUDIO LINK for “Baby Baby Baby Baby
by James Brown and the Famous Flames

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & James Crawford

ACCORDING TO RUPPLI’S SESSION NOTES —

James Brown:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

By year’s end, The Dapps would finally get a recording session under their own name at King Studios on December 12, 1967.  But wait a minute, it’s not what you think — “The Dapps Featuring Alfred Ellis,” in this case, means Clyde Stubblefield (drums), Bernard Odum (bass), Jimmy Nolen & Alfonzo Kellum (guitars), Alfred ‘Pee Wee’ Ellis (tenor sax & arranger), and Maceo Parker (tenor sax), according to Alan Leeds’ liner notes for James Brown – The Singles Vol. 5 (1967-1969).  These musicians recorded two instrumental tracks at that session, “Bringing Up the Guitar” and “Gittin’ a Little Hipper.”

The Dapps first 7-inch release

A-Side by James Brown
B-Side by James Brown and Bud Hobgood

Cash Box‘s review from their February 3, 1968 issue:

Dapps (King 6147)

“Bringing Up the Guitar” (3:00)
[Dynatone, BMI-Brown] James Brown
penned instrumental that carries a zest
which could score with r&b audiences.
Very fine staccato track with plenty of
dance appeal.  Flip: “Gittin’ A Little Hipper”
(2:59) [Golo, BMI-Brown, Hobgood]

March 5, 1968 was an especially productive day at King Studios, according to Ruppli:

THE DAPPS:
Incl. Alfred Ellis                                               Cincinnati, March 5, 1968

K12588   The Rabbit Got the Gun                   King 6169
K12589   I’ll Give You Odds                             unissued

VICKI ANDERSON:
Vicki Anderson (vo) with prob. same band      Same date

K12590   I’ll Work It Out                                   King 6221, 6251; Brownstone 4204

BOBBY BYRD:
Bobby Byrd (vo) with prob. same band            Same date

K12591   My Concerto                                      King 6165, LP1118

JAMES BROWN:
James Brown (vo, org) Bobby Byrd or Timothy Hedding (p) Eddie Setser (g) Tim Drummond (el b) William Bowman (dm).          Cincinnati, March 5, 1968

K12592   Shhhhhhhh (For a Little While)          King 6164, LP1031
K12593   Here I Go                                                          —            —

James Brown (vo, p) Eddie Setser (g) Tim Drummond (el b) William Bowman (dm).  Same date.

K12594   Maybe I’ll Understand (pt. 1)              King LP1031, LP1047
K12595   Maybe I’ll Understand (pt. 2)                        —               —

Notice the musician credits listed for “Shhhhhhhh (For a Little While)” and “Here I Go” (released as a King 45 that “bubbled under” the Hot 100, you might recollect) — both songs also included on 1968 LP I Got the Feelin’:

> AUDIO LINK for “Shhhhhhhh (For a Little While)
by James Brown and the Famous Flames

Written by James Brown and Bud Hobgood

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Organ
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano

Brazil — 1968

But then check out the musician credits for “Here I Go” as supplied by Alan Leeds in James Brown – The Singles Vol. 5 (1967-1969), and notice the inclusion of two horn players:

> AUDIO LINK for “Here I Go
by James Brown and the Famous Flames

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Ron Lenhoff

According to Discogs

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

Ruppli’s session notes above indicate that three members of The Dapps backed James Brown on “Maybe I’ll Understand (Pts. 1 & 2)” at this same March 5, 1968 session:

> AUDIO LINK for “Maybe I’ll Understand
by James Brown

Written by James Brown and Bud Hobgood

According to Ruppli’s session notes —

James Brown:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
[Tim Hedding:  Piano]*

These Discogs credits* credit Tim Hedding for piano on “Maybe I’ll Understand” (though not on Ruppli’s notes above).

But take one last critical look at the Ruppli session notes for March 5, 1968 and notice that the Bobby Byrd track (“My Concerto”), as well as the Vicki Anderson recording (“I’ll Work It Out”) both indicate “with probably same band” as the one listed at the very beginning of the list — The Dappswithout actually naming any of the musicians who played on “Rabbit Got the Gun” and “I’ll Give You Odds,” vexingly enough, other than Alfred Ellis.

> AUDIO LINK for “My Concerto
by Bobby Byrd [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Fred Wesley & Bobby Byrd

> AUDIO LINK for “I’ll Work It Out
by Vicki Anderson [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & James Crawford

> AUDIO LINK for “Rabbit Got the Gun
by The Dapps Featuring Alfred Ellis

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Reggie Lavong

The Dapps second 45

“There Was a Time” — you might recall — came close to cracking Billboard‘s Hot 100.  Cash Box‘s review in their June 15, 1968 edition [musician credits further down]:

“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‘.”

As was also recently noted, future Neil Young and Bob Dylan bassist, Tim Drummond, played the famous funk lines on  “Licking Stick Licking Stick” — one of five James Brown sides recorded at Cincinnati’s King Studios on April 16, 1968, along with two others by different vocalists:

Ruppli’s King session notes [pg. 397]

K12597  Licking Stick, Licking Stick (Pt. 1)
K12598  Little Fellow [instrumental]
K12599  Go On Now [instrumental]
K12600  Fat Soul [instrumental]
K12601  Licking Stick, Licking Stick (Pt. 2) = James Brown [April 16, 1968]

K12602  You’re Still Out of Sight [unissued] = Bobby Byrd [April 16, 1968?]
K12603/123604  no information (rejected titles)
K12605  You’re Still Out of Sight = Leon Austin “with probably same band”  [April 16, 1968]

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Vocals & Organ
John Sparks:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Jimmy Nolen:  Guitar
Maceo Parker:  Tenor Sax
Alfred Ellis:  Alto Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax

April 29, 1968 also ended up being a particularly productive day of recording at King Studios, as indicated by Ruppli‘s session notes:

THE BELIEVERS:
(actually The Dapps)

K12606    I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow
.               (Than I Was Yesterday)                              King 6201
K 12607   A Woman, A Lover, A Friend                             —

MARVA WHITNEY:
Marva Whitney (vo) with prob. James Brown band   Cincinnati, April 29, 1968

K12608   Things Got to Get Better                             King 6168

JAMES BROWN:
Prob. same band                                                        Same date

K12609   Soul With Different Notes                            King LP1034

THE DAPPS:
Incl. Alfred Ellis                                                            Same date

K12610   In the Middle                                                 King 6205
K12611   There Was a Time  (instr.)                             King 6169

I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow (Than I Was Yesterday)” b/w “A Woman, A Lover, A Friend” is the third King 45 to be credited to “The Dapps” — Ruppli’s notes above from an undated session do not name any musicians, however.  Guesses anyone?

A-Side by Stanley Poindexter, Jackie Members & Robert Poindexter
B-Side by Sidney Wyche

Tim Drummond is the sole Dapps member to perform on Marva Whitney’s “Things Got to Get Better,” in addition to funk instrumental, “In the Middle” and a horn-heavy take on “There Was a Time.”  :

Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Jimmy Nolen:  Guitar
Alfonzo Kellum:  Guitar
James Brown:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Tenor Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax
Waymon Reed:  Trumpet
Fred Wesley:  Trombone
Levi Rasbury:  Valve Trombone

Ruppli’s session notes above say that the musicians used for Marva Whitney’s “Things Got to Get Better” is “probably the same band” who backed James Brown on “Soul With Different Notes” — used as the eight-minute opening track for 1968’s James Brown Plays Nothing But Soul.  Zero to 180 just noticed that the B-side “What Kind of Man” (co-written by Troy Seals) is not listed in the Ruppli sessionography, though the presumption is that its recording took place at the same April 29, 1968 session.

Worthy of mention:  Two of The Dapps — Les Asch & Dave Parkinson — participated in a June 27, 1968 New York City recording session that produced six songs that were included on Thinking About Little Willie John And a Few Nice Things, plus one that ended up (“Let Them Talk”) on Say It Loud I’m Black And I’m Proud [click on song titles below for streaming audio].

ACCORDING TO RUPPLI’S SESSION NOTES —

James Brown:  Vocals
Bernard Purdie:  Drums
Al Lucas:  Bass
Wallace Richardson:  Guitar
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Organ & Piano
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
John Grimes:  Trumpet
Waymon Reed:  Trumpet
Sammy Lowe:  Music Director

» “A Cottage for Sale” «
» “Suffering With the Blues” «
» “Home at Last” «
» “Talk to Me, Talk to Me” «
» “Heartbreak (It’s Hurtin’ Me)” «
» “Bill Bailey” «
» “Let Them Talk” «

Back in Cincinnati at King Studios the following night, June 28, 1968, Hank Ballard laid down two songs that were released as a King 45.  Ruppli’s session notes do not list any musicians, but thanks to Nothing But Funk Volume 4, we now know who provided musical support on “I’m Back to Stay” — a track you won’t find on Ballard’s 1968 album, You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down:

> AUDIO LINK for “I’m Back To Stay
by Hank Ballard [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Hank Ballard, Reggie Lavong & Lucky Cordell

According to Discogs

Hank Ballard:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
Pee Wee Ellis:  Alto Saxophone

Likewise, thanks to Nothing But Funk Volume 2, we can see who’s behind the big horn sound on the flip side, “Come on Wit’ It” — although, I am a bit surprised to see such a vastly different lineup, with only one member of The Dapps overlapping between the two bands recorded the same night at King Studios:

> AUDIO LINK for “Come On Wit’ It
by Hank Ballard

Written by James Brown, Hank Ballard & Bud Hobgood

According to Discogs

Hank Ballard:  Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Alphonso Kellum:  Guitar
Jimmy Nolen:  Guitar
James Brown:  Piano
Maceo Parker:  Tenor Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax
Waymon Reed:  Trombone
Fred Wesley:  Trombone
Levi Rasbury:  Valve Trombone

“Come on Wit’ It” was predicted by Billboard “to reach the R&B Singles chart” in their July 20, 1968 editionCash Box‘s singles review from their July 27, 1968 edition:  “Hank Ballard, absent from the hit scene for quite some time, makes his comeback bid with this pulsating, highly danceable outing which is vaguely autobiographical.  Good juke box & disko item.  Flip: ‘Come On Wit’ It’.”

Sometime in July of 1968 (best guess), The Dapps recorded two songs (likely at King Studios) that remain unissued, according to Ruppli’s session notes — “Who Knows” and “I Can’t Stand Myself.”

On September 6, 1968, James Brown recorded an organ instrumental with The Dapps at King Studios entitled “Shades of Brown” (a.k.a., “A Note or Two”):

> AUDIO LINK for “Shades of Brown
by James Brown [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Organ
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
[unknown]:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Tenor Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*

B-side in Japan (left) and Germany (right)

On September 11, 1968, according to Ruppli, Hank Ballard was joined by The Dapps at King Studios to record two songs that got released as a King 45 plus an early attempt at “Thrill on the Hill” (that remains unissued) — thanks to Nothing But Funk Volume 4 for providing musician credits:

> AUDIO LINK for “How You Gonna Get Respect (When You Haven’t Cut Your Process Yet)”
by Hank Ballard Along With “The Dapps”

Written by James Brown, Hank Ballard & Bud Hobgood

According to Discogs

Hank Ballard:  Vocals
John ‘JaboStarks:  Drums
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Charles Summers:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone
Ken Tibbetts:  Trumpet
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

“How You Gonna Get Respect” peaked at #15 on Billboard‘s R&B Singles chart on December 14, 1968.

> AUDIO LINK for “Teardrops on Your Letter
by Hank Ballard Along With “The Dapps”

Written by Henry Glover

Same Hank Ballard recording session = Per Discogs

Hank Ballard:  Vocals
John ‘JaboStarks:  Drums
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Charles Summers:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone
Ken Tibbetts:  Trumpet
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

1968 single — France

Inferring from Ruppli’s session notes, October 1968 is approximately when The Dapps (thanks to these musician credits supplied by Alan Leeds) backed James Brown on three recordings for the Thinking About Little Willie John LP — “I’ll Lose My Mind” plus “What Kind of Man” (co-written by Eddie Setser and Troy Seals) and “You Gave My Heart a Song to Sing.”

> AUDIO LINK for “I’ll Lose My Mind
by [The Dapps Along With Bobby Byrd]

Written by James Brown, Bobby Byrd & Bud Hobgood

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

> AUDIO LINK for “What Kind of Man
by [The Dapps Along With Bobby Byrd]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood, Eddie Setser & Troy Seals

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

> AUDIO LINK for “You Gave My Heart A Song To Sing
by [The Dapps Along With Bobby Byrd]

Written by James Brown, Bobby Byrd & Bud Hobgood

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

The Dapps returned to King Studios on October 23, 1968 to back The Soul Believers on a pair of tracks that comprised a King 45 — “I’m With You” and “I Don’t Want Nobody’s Troubles”:

> AUDIO LINK for “I Don’t Want Nobody’s Troubles
by The Soul Believers With The Dapps

Written by Orlonzo Bennett

According to Discogs

The Soul Believers: Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone
Ken Tibbetts:  Trumpet

Expect to shell out three figures for a vintage copy of this 45 (someone just recently forked over $540).

B-side written by Lowman Pauling — one of ‘5’ Royales’ final King A-sides

Ruppli’s notes indicate that The Dapps recorded a version of “White Christmas” (presumably at King Studios) c. mid-November 1968 that remains ‘unissued.’

Les Asch and Dave Parkinson both recall The Dapps supporting James Brown at Madison Square Garden, a concert we know to have taken place November 22, 1968, thanks to Asch’s mother, who purchased this program on the night of the performance:

Image courtesy of Les Asch —
CLICK on image TO VIEW IN HIGH RESOLUTION

Menu for May 8, 1968 White House State Dinner attended by James Brown
(included in Madison Square Garden concert program)


[Thank you, Maralah Rose-Asch]

.

James Brown Scores Knockout With Soul Music at the Garden” was the title of Robert Shelton’s review in the November 23, 1968 edition of the New York Times.  Dave Parkinson remembers Count Basie and Slappy White (et al.) being on the bill that night.

It was during this same New York City visit that Hank Ballard & the Dapps appeared on the November 27, 1968 episode of The Merv Griffin Show, along with James Brown  (plus Lily Tomlin early in her career).

The Dapps on The Merv Griffin Show [clockwise from rear]:

Ken Tibbetts (valve trombone); [unnamed] “English” trumpeter; Bob Thorn (trumpet)
Jerry Love (drums); Eddie Setser (guitar); Les Asch (tenor sax)
Dave Parkinson (tenor sax); Howie McGurty (baritone sax)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Dapps-on-Merv-Griffin-Show-Nov-1968-a-edited-1.jpg

[Dapps Photos courtesy of Dave Parkinson]

Indianapolis News TV listing for December 4, 1968

Parkinson also recalls The Dapps accompanying James Brown as guests at The Apollo Theater, where they were acknowledged from the stage by Joe Tex and Little Johnny Taylor.

The Dapps – along with The Sisters of Righteous (sisters Geneva “Gigi” Kinard and Denise Kinard together with cousin Roberta DuBois) – would next back James Brown at a King recording session that took place December 2, 1968 and yielded two songs, “Sometime” and “I’m Shook,” plus one track – “Bobby Kaie” – that was ultimately ‘rejected.’

> AUDIO LINK for “Sometime
by James Brown [with The Dapps & The Sisters of Righteous]

Written by James Brown and Bud Hobgood

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
GenevaGigiKinard:  Backing Vocals
Denise Kinard: Backing Vocals
Roberta Dubois: Backing Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Bob Thorn:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax
Ronald Lewis:  Baritone Sax

B-side of this German 45 — released Nov. 1969

> AUDIO LINK for “I’m Shook
by James Brown [with The Dapps & The Sisters of Righteous]

Written by James Brown

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
GenevaGigiKinard:  Backing Vocals
Denise Kinard: Backing Vocals
Roberta Dubois: Backing Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Bob Thorn:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax
Ronald Lewis:  Baritone Sax

My eyebrows go up as I read these notes on Discogs related to the “I’m Shook” 45:

“[45] Never got a full distribution.  Most copies were probably pulled back for unknown reasons and a few quantities of this exist.  Both tracks [“I’m Shook” b/w “Little Groove Maker Me“] feature on It’s A Mother.  ‘I’m Shook’ is a different recording than featured on the album.”

Ruppli’s sparse notes also indicate an undated session (early December 1968?) in which Hank Ballard was supported by unnamed members of The Dapps on two recordings, “You’re So Sexy” and “Thrill on the Hill.”  Just before the guitar break on “You’re So Sexy” (around the 1:20 mark), Hank calls out “Fat Eddie, play your thing” — so at least we know that Eddie Setser was part of the backing ensemble.

> AUDIO LINK for “You’re So Sexy
by Hank Ballard Along With The Dapps

Written by James Brown, Hank Ballard & Bud Hobgood

Ruppli then follows with two entries for December 10, 1968 at King Studios — (a) the first session has Hank Ballard recording “How You Gonna Get Respect” with unnamed musicians plus two ‘unknown titles’ — all three tracks unissued; (b) the second entry is for The Dapps, with one attempt at a track named “Later for the Saver” that remains in the vaults.

Who Knows” — recorded by The Dapps c. July 1968 though kept in the can — finally got a release by King, although attributed solely to Beau Dollar, as the B-side of his second and final King single, “(I Wanna Go) Where the Soul Trees Grow”:

> AUDIO LINK for “Who Knows
by Beau Dollar [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & William ‘Beau Dollar’ Bowman

According to Discogs

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Bobby Byrd:  Tamborine
Charles Summers:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tm Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone
Kenny Tibbetts:  Trumpet

How curious to discover that in 1992 Pure Records, a French boutique label, decided to pair Beau Dollar’s “Who Knows” with a funk track by Lee Majors (“The Bull Is Coming“) for a twelve-inch “maxi-single.”

According to Ruppli’s session notes, Beau Dollar, along with unnamed musicians, recorded 21 songs over the course of three days [January 20-22, 1970] most likely at King Studios — 12 selected for King LP 1099 (to be titled Beau Dollar), plus 9 other tracks that remain ‘unissued’ to this day.  The funny thing, however, is how utterly impossible it is to retrieve an image of the album cover on the Internet.  Ruppli refers to King LP 1099 as an actual release, yet Discogs has no entry (yet) for this King LP.  The King LP discography at Both Sides Now Publications references it by catalog number and album title but no cover image, curiously, nor song titles (the latter which you will find listed at 1540brewster.com).

There are a few other ‘unissued’ Beau Dollar recordings from 1969 (“My Concerto”; “Looking For Someone to Love”; “But It’s Alright”; “I Gotta Get Away From You”) in addition to the outtakes from Beau Dollar’s alleged LP (“Funky Street”; “Everybody’s Talkin'”; “Na Na, Hey Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye”; “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”) that remain in the vault.

Fast forward to 1971 — 45Cat’s RogerFoster points out that “Just Won’t Do Right” by Lyn Collins “is actually a duet with James Brown and according to the booklet notes by Alan Leeds in the 2009 CD compilation James Brown – The Singles Volume Seven: 1970-1972 this was to be released with Mr. Brown being the headline act on King 6373 but only promos were made.”  Ruppli gives no indication as to when Collins made this recording at King Studios with The Dapps:

> AUDIO LINK for “Just Won’t Do Right
by Lyn Collins [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown

According to Discogs

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Julius Reliford:  Congas
Dave Harrison:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Howard McGurty: Trumpet
Ken Tibbetts: Trumpet

“Just Won’t Do Right” was picked by Record World as one of its “Hits of the Week” in the January 8, 1972 issue and praised thusly:  “James Brown both wrote and produced this impressive debut disc.  Powerful r&b ballad of the kind that crosses-over pop so often these days.”

“Just Won’t Do Right” was the B-side to “Wheels of Life” when released in France with a charming sleeve designed by noted graphic designer, Jean-Claude Trambouze, who also did complementary designs for a dozen other James Brown productions out of the King studios.

1968 FRENCH B-SIDE
SLEEVE DESIGNED BY JEAN-CLAUDE TRAMBOUZE

Dapps Chart Trivia

Joel Whitburn Presents Across the Charts: The 1960s has an entry for “The Dapps Featuring Alfred Ellis” that identifies two 45s:

(1) “There Was a Time” (King 6169), which bubbled under Billboard’s Hot 100 at #103, and (2) “How You Gonna Get Respect (When You Haven’t Cut Your Process Yet),” (King 6196) which peaked at #15 on Billboard‘s R&B chart.

By 1970, The Dapps had disaffiliated itself with the James Brown organization.  According to Les Asch, the first fissure occurred early on when Brown’s studio manager, Bud Hobgood, attempted to get the group under contract, only to find out that Troy Seals and Jo Ann Campbell were already signed to Atlantic Records.  Ultimately, The Dapps ended up working for James Brown without any contractual arrangement.  As Dave Parkinson confessed to Bob Miller in 1991:

“If I’d stuck with Troy [Seals] I would be quite well off today.  But Troy was a lot more patient than the band, we had stars in our eyes and when we got an offer to join James Brown’s production company, it was a mass defection.”

During the James Brown years, recalls Les Asch, Beau Dollar was first accorded bandleader duties within The Dapps, followed by Dave Parkinson and then Asch.  At one Dapps rehearsal held at The Inner Circle, Asch made the “mistake” of admitting (perhaps in the egalitarian spirit of the times) that, as bandleader, he was being paid double.  When band members balked, Asch met with Mr. Brown to inform him that this differentiated pay scale was “killing morale.”  Brown, however, was not only unsympathetic but profoundly disappointed that Asch would make such a tactical error as the band’s musical director.  At that point, relations between The Dapps and the James Brown organization would cease.

When asked by Brian Powers why The Dapps broke up, Eddie Setser had this to say:

“[Bud Hobgood] kept saying we were gonna be making all this money, big money.  Thought we were doing pretty good, but he put us on a retainer, and the guys didn’t like it.  Hank Ballard came and told us, he said, “You ain’t gonna be making any money. He says, “You’re all gonna be paid the same thing” … the thing just kind of blew up.”

The Dapps, however, carried on with that name for somewhere between six months to a year, reckons Asch, with The Golden Lion, a short jaunt up Interstate 75 in Dayton, essentially serving as base of operations.  Dave Parkinson informed Brian Powers in that same interview for WVXU how The Dapps first joined forces with Roger “Jellyroll” Troy (née McGaha):

“After The Dapps had become disassociated with James [Brown], we were the house band at a place called [The Golden Lion in Dayton, Ohio], and we were there about a year under the leadership of a guy named ‘Jellyroll,’ Roger Troy.”

2014 issue of Oct. 27, 1969 live performance by the Stan Kenton Orchestra

Trumpeter BobMaynardVandivort (who spoke to me over the phone recently) auditioned for The Dapps during this period at The Golden Lion.   Leader (along with Jerry Gehl) of The Hi-Fi Band and later, Maynard & the Countdowns, who opened for Lonnie Mack at The Hawaiian Gardens and played many of the area’s sock hops, roller rinks, and teen clubs in the early 1960s, Vandivort’s experience would be marked by the Vietnam War.  Three of the Countdowns, including drummer Dave Listerman, received their draft notices soon after winning a “Battle of the Bands” contest, while Vandivort (who did Air Force ROTC at the University of Cincinnati) himself would get called up on March 23, 1966.  Vandivort — who studied under Frank Brown (later lead trumpet for James Brown) and Bill Berry (who played with Duke Ellington) — served at Fort Knox in the 158th Army Band, a unit whose function was to recruit volunteers, and a job that kept the musicians on the road six months out of the year.  Owning an automobile during his three years of active duty made Vandivort a valuable commodity, as he often shuttled fellow musicians to James Brown gigs in Indianapolis and Louisville (while “lookalikes” would be used as stand-ins for the AWOL soldiers).  Bud Hobgood and Vandivort, coincidentally, were once neighbors at Charlestown Square in Cincinnati’s western area (one-time home for Les Asch, too).

James Brown was initially furious at the continued use of the Dapps name and sent Charles Bobbitt to order the band to desist.  Asch recalls that, thanks to the largesse of the Dayton club owners, an attorney was hired to defend the band.  The court would make a determination that the musicians — having been seen in a public capacity as The Dapps (i.e., Merv Griffin Show appearance, Madison Square Garden concert, and the visit to the Apollo) — therefore, had “inherent properties” with respect to the band name, according to Asch.

Despite the legal victory, the band continued only briefly as The Dapps, as the Dayton scene began to sour for the band, and the musicians were heading in various directions.  Asch remembers a late-night stealth mission to liberate Roger Troy from his current engagement with The Fendermen (a stint at the Holly Oak, no less) that involved the unforgettable image of a jettisoned laundry bag landing within inches of the car, followed by Troy’s exhortation to the band, “C’mon boys, let’s skirtsy!”

Once liberated, the group of musicians then headed to Boston for a three-week stint playing five hours a night, seven days a week at a place called (I’m not making this up) K-K-K-Katy’s.

K-K-K-Katy” was a popular WWI-era “stammering” song

During this period (c. late 1969), the group — which numbered ten musicians — made some demo recordings at a Boston-area sound studio, with one of the stand-out tracks being the band’s arrangement of Jimmy Webb’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”

Following the Boston engagement, the band would return to Dayton and find itself ensconced at The Golden Lion’s main competitor — The Diamond Club, owned by Jennie Krynzel.

Images courtesy of Diamond Club Facebook group

Meanwhile, drummer/manager Stu Perry told his friend Richard Podolor (engineer behind albums by Three Dog Night and Iron Butterfly (et al.), along with Bill Cooper) that he knew “this group from the midwest” and gave him a copy of the Boston demos.  Particularly impressed by the band’s arrangement of “Phoenix,” Podolor in turn sent these recordings to Jay Lasker, president of Kapp Records, who then set about arranging a showcase for the band at one of the music venues on Sunset Strip.

The band would subsequently relocate to the West Coast to take advantage of this new major-label opportunity — although the ten-member ensemble would not survive the cross-country trek.  For one thing, Stu Perry’s involvement meant that Jerry Thompson was no longer the drummer.  Also bowing out of the venture were saxophonist Howie McGurty and bassist Ken Tibbetts, who also played trombone.  [Tibbetts’ response would be to gather Thompson and McGurty and organize a funky new horn-heavy outfit called Melting Pot, whose 1970 debut album on Ampex was produced and engineered by Johnny Sandlin].

Band residence during the Jellyroll sessions — according to Les Asch

The Jellyroll-led outfit that played for Jay Lasker at a private after-hours showcase, sadly, only numbered seven musicians.  Asch recalls Lasker being distinctly underwhelmed by the band’s overall sound, which was noticeably thinner than the larger ensemble recorded in Boston.  Nevertheless, Kapp would commit to a full-length album that featured an elaborate design in a gatefold cover.  A $50,000 advance, according to Asch, went to the group’s attorney, who “doled out money in dribs and drabs.”

Jellyroll‘s debut album was released in 1971 on MCA-owned Kapp (and reissued in 2015 in South Korea).  Discogs notes that a test pressing of the album was actually done in 1970, with the group’s debut 45 “Strange” b/w “Help Me Over” issued September 1970 in the US, according to 45Cat (although curious to note that two completely different tracks were selected for the 45 release in Turkey).  Tim Hedding wrote one of the album’s tracks (“Quick Trip“), Eddie Setser got co-writing credit on another (“Standing on the Inside“), and the band itself is listed as the author on half the songs.

Gatefold LP cover art

Roger Troy:  Bass & Lead Vocals
Stu Perry:  Drums & Percussion
Cosme Joseph Deaguero:  Congas
Ed Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Keyboards & Backing Vocals
Les Asch:  Alto, Tenor & Baritone Saxophones
Dave Parkinson:  Tenor Saxophone
Bob Thorn:  Trumpet

45 – Mexico                                             45 – Turkey

There was no accompanying tour, sadly, to promote Jellyroll’s debut album.  Roger Troy and five of his bandmates — Tim Hedding, Eddie Setser, Les Asch, Dave Parkinson, and Stu Perry — soon found themselves back in Cincinnati, this time based at a club named Reflections, located at Calhoun and Vine in the University of Cincinnati area.  But alas, after just a couple weeks, Stu Perry (following an argument with Roger Troy)  snuck into Reflections one night and removed all of his percussion gear without informing the band.  The owner of the club, according to Les Asch, was livid when notified by the band that they could not fulfill their engagement.  This would prove to be the group’s last gasp.

History, however, demands that I make mention of Roger Troy’s participation in a local recording session for Wayne Perry — at the behest of his producer, Randy McNutt — that ended up generating a buzz in English clubs when reissued in 2020 nearly fifty years later as a limited edition 45 that sold out in three months!  McNutt recounts the tangled tale on his music history blog, Home of the Hits:

We cut “Pain” in the summer of 1972 at Rusty York’s Jewel Recording in suburban Cincinnati, where we did much of our local work.  Now this part is important–vital–to understanding this story:  We cut two versions of the song.  Both shared the same rhythm track, so they sound nearly identical.  Wayne sang the first version; Wayne and a guy from Alaska sang the second as a duet.  Their voices sounded a lot alike, and they sang the choruses together and exchanged on the verses.  Shortly after recording the duet version of “Pain,” the narrative began to get muddied.  We had two vocal versions that used the same rhythm track.

The track cooked from the start.  This was due to the musicians.  They included Roger “Jellyroll” Troy, a singer-bassist who led the group Jellyroll on Kapp Records. Roll, as we called him, had come home on vacation, and Wayne asked him to play on the session.  On drums was Jerry Love, a popular blues-rock drummer in Cincinnati.  He did a lot of sessions over at King Records.  He was a favorite of guitarist Lonnie Mack, the father of Cincinnati’s blue-eyed soul movement.  The B-3 organist was a kid (only 17) named Terry Hoskins, who lived in our home city, Hamilton, Ohio, about 25 miles northwest of Cincinnati.  We just let him wail on that song.  We had to get his father’s permission to take him to the studio with us.  On guitar we hired Gary Boston, a freelance session man at King and a local band veteran.  Like so many of these guys, Gary also did some work at King’s studio and at times worked on sessions with James Brown.  (Today, I use Gary on new recordings.)  The horn guys were Les Asch, Craig Shenafeld, and Terry Burnside.  They also played on some James Brown sessions over at King.  On the day we cut the rhythm track, we were all standing in the little studio, talking about the song, and suddenly a guy we didn’t know walked in and asked, “Hey, who owns the cool Firebird sitting out front?”  Jellyroll said proudly, “Why, I do!”  The guy said, “Well, it just got repossessed.”

The original 45 was issued on McNutt’s own Beast imprint, which was distributed by Shad O’Shea‘s Counterpart label.  Though the single did not see much action beyond the tri-state area initially, both mixes of “Pain” were included on 2012 compilation,  Souled Out: Queen City Soul-Rockers Of The 1970s.  At one point, a songwriter friend informed McNutt about the growing buzz on YouTube, where the 7-inch was first uploaded in 2010.  Nik Weston of London’s Mukatsuku Records then contacted McNutt in 2018 about reissuing the two “Pain” mixes as a 45 (that remains “out of stock“).

> AUDIO LINK for “Pain” by Wayne Perry

Post-Jellyroll:  In a Nutshell

Roger “Jellyroll” Troy (who played on Shades of Joy’s Music of El Topo LP from 1970 with Jerry Love) would join The Electric Flag for their final album, The Band Kept Playing, before going on to collaborate with Mike Bloomfield, Howard Wales, Jerry Garcia, Mick Taylor, and the Goshorn Brothers, among others.  Troy Seals, under the mentorship of Conway Twitty, went on to enjoy a successful songwriting career in Nashville, where he was inducted in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988.  Seals, in turn, provided similar strategic guidance for Eddie Setser, who also became one of the Nashville’s top songwriters (before leaving us this past January).  Tim Hedding (who played organ on Delaney Bramlett’s 1973 album, Mobius Strip) became part of Gregg Allman’s band for 1987’s “comeback” album, I’m No Angel and its follow-up album, When the Bullets Fly.  Howard McGurty, holder of numerous industry patents and inventor of the first Phantom Sound speaker system, is founder of a Mason, Ohio-based company that has provided sound systems for such clients as Bruce Springsteen and the Cincinnati Symphony.  Dave Parkinson, who returned to Central Illinois in 1971 to tend to his mother’s health, has been a leading light in Peoria’s jazz scene, as well as founding member of funk-fusion group, Kriss Kross, a local favorite.  Les Asch continued to play locally after The Dapps disbanded at places such as The Roundup Club before deciding to pursue work opportunities outside the music industry.

In 2013, Egon of Now-Again Records penned a paean to Beau Dollar for Red Bull Academy that spelled out his contributions to the field of funk drumming using precise music terminology:

“‘I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me,’ recorded in October 1967, is a different beast altogether. Its groove surely owes a debt to Stubblefield’s ‘Cold Sweat’ rhythm, but gone are his swinging eighth note hi-hats, replaced by William Hargis ‘Beau Dollar’ Bowman’s lockstep quarter notes, bashed onto a slightly askew hi-hat.  Bowman avoids the ‘one’ – the first beat of a measure, all important to James Brown’s establishment of funk – in the second half of each two bar phrase and builds up to the one’s return with 16th note bass drum interplay, and what rhythm researcher Alan Slutsky called ‘two accented snare drum attacks.’  Brown ‘gave’ Stubblefield four uninterrupted bars in ‘Cold Sweat’ and the drummer was able to showboat.  In contrast, Bowman’s metronomic groove doesn’t change when Brown explains to his band that he wants ‘everyone to lay out but the drummer.’  Brown, notifying Bowman of his task the same way that he would soon instruct Stubblefield on ‘Funky Drummer,’ seemed to know when he needed to keep a drummer under a tense bridle.

Had Bowman only recorded ‘Can’t Stand Myself,’ his place amongst Brown’s elite cadre of funk drummers would have been earned, and his enduring presence assured.  While no one can say definitively who invented the style, Jim Payne, author of Give The Drummers Some, calls Bowman’s groove ‘the Quarter Note High Hat style – quarters on the high hat and everything else beneath it: a difficult thing to do, by the way.’  Its influence grew.  To follow the timeline from 1967 onwards is complicated, but to my ears it goes something like this:  Bowman hears Stubblefield’s ‘Cold Sweat’ and ponies up a response when Brown crashes his band’s – the all-white The Dapps – recording session for an improvised vocal performance.”

Dave Parkinson Remembers
My Association with James Brown, Bud Hobgood
And All the People at King Studios

It all started at a place called The Inner Circle in Clifton up by the University of Cincinnati.  I was playing tenor sax with a band called the Cincinnati Kids led by Troy Seals and Jo Ann Campbell.  Tim Drummond from Canton, IL near where I grew up was playing bass.  Tim later joined James’ traveling group.  He recorded on many of James’ hits, including “I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me” and many more.  James started frequenting the Inner Circle and sitting in with us.  Most memorable was “Cold Sweat” and “There Was a Time.”  James gradually wooed Tim, Les Asch, Tim Hedding, and “Fat Eddie” away from Troy and Jo Ann and we signed to James Brown Productions.  We recorded behind Bobby Byrd, Marva Whitney, Hank Ballard and many others.

“Good God!  A Thousand Dollars” was coined by James’ brilliant manager, Bud Hobgood.

This is the time we met and befriended Bud Hobgood.  He always had a $1,000 bill in his wallet, which he would show us once in awhile.  Bud was a long, tall shrewd country boy who advised James and kept him in line.  I think to this day, that if Bud was still alive, James would be too.  When we recorded with James or watched him set up tunes with his band, he would go to each member; horns, percussion, bass, guitar, conga and tell or sing to them their parts.  It invariably came out perfect and amazingly funky.

I was in the studio when he did “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” with those children and it brought tears to my eyes.

I recorded “Honky Tonk” and the band recorded “The Rabbit Got the Gun” and we covered instrumentally a lot of James’ hits.

At first James called the band the “Believers.”  I remember one night he got us all together and kind of sized us up as to what role we played in the band.  When he came to me, he gave me the biggest compliment I’ve ever had.  He said, “Dave, you the musician”  I can’t describe how good that made me feel.  For a time, he made me the band leader and we went to New York to the main offices of Cash Box magazine and he introduced me to the CEO.  It wasn’t long after that Billboard picked James up and the rest is history.  During that stay in New York we played Madison Square Garden with Count Basie, Slappy White, and many others.  The next evening we all went by limo with James to the Apollo Theater and saw Little Johnny Taylor, Joe Tex and a host of other great talent.  We then went to Lloyd Price’s club and someone tear gassed the place.  James then took us to Long Island where his father stayed and fed us some incredibly hot chili.  The next day, we did the Merv Griffin Show, along with Lily Tomlin.  The following day, James took me to A & R Studios, where I played with his band.  I remember walking in and Bernard Purdie had an easel set up that said “Purdie, Purdie.”  He was on the session.

After returning home, James put us on the road to Atlanta with Hank Ballard.  Had too much fun with Hank!  He looked at me one night in my apartment in Cincinnati and said, “You’re a Scorpio, right?”  He was dead on.

Then James took us to Cleveland to see Marvin Gaye in an intimate nightclub setting.  It was indescribable!

Then we were off to L.A. to do the Donald O’Connor pilot show [1968], which flopped.  Remember, Bud Hobgood was in the wings, keeping a lid on everybody.

After that, things began to taper off.  I could have gone to the Ivory Coast and Vietnam, but marital problems were getting in the way.

Getting back to Troy Seals, I had the privilege of sitting in on a meeting in Troy and Jo Ann’s apartment in Hamilton, Ohio between Troy and Conway Twitty.  After that meeting, Troy and Jo Ann moved to Nashville where Troy’s career went to the stratosphere.  Troy became one of the biggest writers and producers, writing songs like “I’ve Got a Rock and Roll Heart” [Eric Clapton], “Honky Tonk Angel” [Conway Twitty] and many more.  He took “Fat Eddie” Setser with him and they collaborated on “Seven Spanish Angels” [Ray Charles & Willie Nelson] and numerous others.  “Fat Eddie” was the guitar player for the Cincinnati Kids.  He was a very gifted writer in his own right.  I collaborated with Troy on a song called “But I Do,” which was picked up by The Oak Ridge Boys who put it on their Room Service album.

Back in 1970 I had a meeting with Mac Heywood.  Not being too well versed in business and the Hollywood scene, nothing came of it; but shortly thereafter, I started seeing the Heywoods all over television.  Quiz shows and the like.  The meeting with Mac took place at The Roundup Club in Erlanger, Ky., just across the river from Cincinnati.

When I first came to the Cincinnati area, I became fast friends with guys like Lonnie Mack, Beau Dollar, Roger “JellyRoll” Troy, Ronnie Grayson, Jerry Love and later on Glen Hughes of The Casinos.  Just about every time I went to L.A., I’d run into Gene walking around Hollywood.

The members of The Believers were:  Panny Saracason on bass, Les Asch on tenor with me, Tim Hedding on B-3, and “Fat Eddie” on guitar.

I cannot stress enough the role Bud Hobgood played in James Brown Productions.  He was the bedrock that kept James grounded.  As I stated earlier, if Bud was still alive, so would James be.

We went to Nashville where John R. and Hoss Man Allen of WLAC produced us on several tunes.

I’m about out of things to say, but my friend Bob “Maynard” Vandivort can add a lot and maybe fill in some blanks.

 

3 Out of 4 Doctors Agree:
Zero to 180 best viewed on a big screen – not smart phone

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.”

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

King Records — Day of My Birth

Ruppli’s King Labels discography is a 2-volume reference set that can be hard to make sense of initially, given all the subsidiary labels and various quirks in its numbering systems, among other things.

Volume 1 features information pertaining to all the releases on the King label from 1943 to 1973, with a great many of these recordings laid down at King‘s Cincinnati studios.  It can be great fun to browse chronologically in order to determine whether any recording took place on the birthdate of someone you know, such as family members and friends.  At first I was disappointed to find out that no King artists were laying down any new sounds on the day of my birth — at least, in Cincinnati.

Page 470 concludes the post-Syd Nathan Starday-King era, with a listing for a Nashville session that took place on September 23, 1973 by a group called The B.K.‘s [Bob Kames + company], with only one song recorded “Choo Choo Choo” (the B-side of King 6426 — a 45 that appears never to have been issued).  However, pages 471-476 list a King 16000 master series of recordings that took place in Los Angeles between the years 1961-1963 (sessions with Johnny Otis and Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson, et al., including “Gangster of Love“).

But the real kicker is this announcement near the bottom of page 476:

Note:  Series discontinued and resumed later in Macon, Ga.”

Volume 1, thus, ends with four pages of King recording sessions between the years 1964-1965 that took place in Macon, Georgia at Bobby Smith Studios (and therefore serve as the “missing link” to all the later work* highlighted in last October’s celebration, “Bobby Smith’s King Productions“).  So, today I decided to browse these pages with a certain date in mind, and wouldn’t you know it:  The Fabulous Denos recorded two songs with Bobby Smith at the helm [“Once I Had a Love” & “Bad Girl“] on the day of my birth — April 13, 1964!

“Bad Girl”     The Fabulous Denos     1964

Bad Girl” – the featured song in this King history piece – served as the B-side of a single released in June, 1964.

Tip of the hat (again) to 45Cat contributor davie gordon for this snippet from Billboard‘s August 22, 1964 edition that shows “Bad Girl” to be a ‘R&B Regional Breakout’ for the urban centers of Atlanta and Cleveland, the city where my dad would relocate by decade’s end — foreshadowing?

Bobby Smith Productions = 1964-1965
Info from The King Labels: A Discography compiled by Michel Ruppli

<click on all song titles below for streaming audio>

Sam Anderson & the Telstars                    [No Date]
BS500    Standing at the Edge of the Sea       King 5855
BS501    Back on the Block                     King 5855

Wayne Cochran                                  [No Date]
BS502    Last Kiss                             King 5856
BS503    I Dreamed, I Gambled, I Lost          King 5856
BS504    The Coo                               King 5874
BS505    Cindy Marie                           King 5874

Alice Rozier                              March 16, 1964
BS16133  I Love You a Bushel and a Peck         unissued
BS16134  My Candy Man                          King 5896
BS16135  George, BB and Roy                    King 5896
BS16136  Love Me Like I Love You                unissued

Eddie Kirk                                March 17, 1964
BS16137  Let Me Walk With You                  King 5895
BS16138  I Just Want to Be Loved                unissued
BS16139  Monkey Tonight                        King 5895
BS16140  Mary                                   unissued

James Duncan [and The Duncan Trio]                [1964]
BS16141  Here Comes Charlie                    King 5887
BS16142  Everybody Needs Somebody to Love      King 5923
BS16143  I'll Be Gone                          King 5923
BS16144  My Pillow Stays Wet                   King 5887

Billy Soul                                March 19, 1964
BS16145  My Darlin' Honey Baby                 King 5929
BS16146  Big Balls of Fire                     King 5929
BS16147  She's Gone (Pt. 1)                    King 5904
BS16148  So Many People                         unissued

Bobby Leeds                               March 22, 1964
BS16149  Nothing Too Good for You              King 5928
BS16150  When I Fell                           King 5928
BS16151  I'm Through, I'm Gone, I'm Free       King 5903
BS16152  Big Brick Wall                        King 5903

C.V. Williams                             March 19, 1964
BS16153  I've Lost the Only One                 unissued
BS16154  My Once-a-Week Love                    unissued

Eddie Kirk                             September 8, 1964
BS16155  Hog Killin' Time                      King 5959
BS16156  Treat Me the Way You Want Me          King 5959

James Duncan                            October 11, 1964
BS16157  Three Little Pigs                     King 5966
BS16158  I Can't Fight the Time                King 5966

Bobby Skelton                                  [No Date]
BS16159  It Goes Without Saying                King 5897
BS16160  Just Two People in the World          King 5897

The Fabulous Denos                     November 23, 1964
BS16161  Hard to Hold Back Tears               King 5971
BS16162  I've Enjoyed Being Loved by You       King 5971

King Keels                                 April 4, 1964
BS16163  Wondering, Wondering, Wondering       King 5969
BS16164  I Hear Love Bells                     King 5969

James Styles                               April 4, 1964
BS16165  Sweeter Than a Flower                  unissued
BS16166  I'm on My Way                          unissued

Bobby Cash                                April 12, 1964
BS16167  I Don't Need Your Love and Kisses     King 5894
BS16168  Answer to My Dreams                   King 5894

Dennis Wheeler                            April 12, 1964
BS16169  Down in Daytona                       King 5898
BS16170  Rock Bottom                           King 5898

The Fabulous Denos                        April 13, 1964
BS16171  Once I Had a Love                     King 5908
BS16172  Bad Girl                              King 5908

Bennie Anderson and the Teals             April 28, 1964
BS16173  Little School Girl                    King 5893
BS16174  Sugar Girl                            King 5893

Billy Soul                                March 19, 1964
BS16175  She's Gone (Pt. 2)                    King 5904

Oscar Toney Jr. (& The Kayos Band)        April 19, 1964
BS16176  You're Going to Need Me               King 5906
BS16177  Can It All Be Love                    King 5906

Wayne Cochran                           January 17, 1965
BS16178  Think                                 King 5994
BS16179  You Left the Water Running            King 5994

James Duncan                              March 12, 1965
BS16180  All Aboard                             unissued
BS16181  My Baby Is Back                        unissued

Alice Rozier                           February 24, 1965
BS16182  Lonely Girl                            unissued
BS16183  Hold on to You                         unissued

Oscar Toney Jr. (& The Kayos Band)    February [ ], 1965
BS16184  I've Found a True Love                King 6108
BS16185  Keep on Loving Me                     King 6108

James Duncan                              March 12, 1965
BS16186  Guilty                                King 6013
BS16187  Mr. Goodtime                          King 6013

Stanley K.                                      [No Date]
BS16188  unknown title                          unissued
BS16189  unknown title                          unissued

Zero to 180 on his Father’s lap – Cincinnati, OH – March, 1966

*Brian Powers was, indeed, correct in his assertion (back in October, 2018) that Bobby Smith Studios had been up and running prior to 1966

For Serious King Records Fans OnlyPage 481

Check out these random bits of King recording session info on the very last page of Volume 1 that fall under the catch-all title Additional King Sessions — including a live James Brown & the Famous Flames set at Baltimore’s Royal Theater in 1963.


Bernard Purdie at King Records

Zero to 180 is thrilled to learn that two titans of funk who both recorded for King – BernardPrettyPurdie and WilliamBootsyCollins – are teaming up for a set of new recordings.  In accordance with this event’s historical significance, the Mayor of Cincinnati, John Cranley, recently paid tribute to Purdie’s King drumming legacy by proclaiming January 5, 2019 to be “Bernard Purdie Day“!  Zero to 180 is honored to have provided the King Records Building Non-Profit Steering Committee with background research in preparation for this proclamation.

<Click here to view Mayor Cranley’s Bernard Purdie Day proclamation>

Bernard Purdie @ King Records – 1/5/19

Photo by Celia Purdie

Purdie’s first King sessions for Mickey and Sylvia, actually, precede his work for James Brown and yet, nevertheless, connect him once more to hip hop history, as vocalist, Sylvia Robinson (née Vanterpool) – “the Mother of Hip Hop” – would go on to found Sugar Hill Records!   Ruppli’s King Labels recording sessionography lists Bernard Purdie as the drummer on Mickey and Sylvia’s big hit,  “Love Is Strange” — not the original 1956 recording but a “redoof the song several years later for the tiny Willow label, as Purdie recounted for Drum Magazine in their January 16, 2013 edition.

But wait — as Ruppli reveals, Willow was, in fact, a label distributed by King Records. Furthermore, Discogs asserts Willow to have been a subsidiary label “created in 1961 by Mickey [i.e., Baker, long-time King session guitarist] and Sylvia.”   Purdie’s name is listed as drummer for Mickey and Sylvia on at least 4 sessions for Willow in 1961 that produced six songs [click on all song titles below for streaming audio]:

⇒ “Love Is Strange
⇒ “Walking in the Rain
⇒ “I’m Guilty
⇒ “Since I Fell for You
⇒ “He Gave Me Everything
⇒ “Darling (I Miss You So)”

Check out Mickey Baker’s searing guitar work on “Darling (I Miss You So)” – a fantastic 45 waiting to be rediscovered:

“Darling (I Miss You So)”     Mickey & Sylvia & Bernard     1961

Five years later, Purdie would lay down drums on the first of six recording sessions for James Brown between the years 1966-1968, according to Ruppli’s session notes:

Session #1> March 30, 1966 — New York City

James Brown with Band – Sammy Lowe, arranger/conductor – including Waymon Reed, Dud Bascomb & Lamar Wright (trumpets); Haywood Henry (baritone sax); Unknown (trombone); Nat Jones (piano); Jimmy Nolen or Wallace Richardson (guitar); Unknown (bass) & Bernard Purdie (drums) plus strings:

EP France – 1966                                               45 Italy – 1966

45 Germany – 1966                                     45 Australia – 1966

Session #2> January 25, 1967 — New York City

James Brown with Band – Sammy Lowe, arranger/conductor – including Joe Newman, Waymon ReedDud Bascomb (trumpets); Ernie Hayes (trumpet/piano); Richard Harris, Jimmy Cleveland & Garnett Brown (trombones); St-Clair Pinckney (baritone sax); Carl Lynch & Wallace Richardson (guitars); Al Lucas (electric bass) & Bernard Purdie (drums):

  • Kansas City
  • “You’ve Got the Power” [unissued version]
  • Think” [issued as by James Brown & Vicki Anderson]
  • Fever

45 Spain – 1967

EP Spain – 1967                                               45 France – 1967

Session #3> March, 1967 — New York City

James Brown with Orchestra – Sammy Lowe, arranger/conductor – including Unknown (trumpets, trombones & French horns); Ernie Hayes (trumpet/piano); Jimmy Nolen or Wallace Richardson (guitar); Al Lucas (electric bass) & Bernard Purdie (drums) plus strings:

  • “I Guess I’ll Have to Cry, Cry, Cry” [unissued]
  • “Too Much”  [unissued]
  • You’ve Got the Power” [issued as by Vicki Anderson & James Brown]

ALSO = Vicki Anderson “with prob. same band” on “prob. same date” recorded “(Something Moves Me) Within My Heart” [although unissued].

ALSO = King Coleman (vocals) “with similar band” – Sammy Lowe, arranger/conductor – on two tracks:

45 USA – 1968                                                   45 USA – 1967

Session #4> April 5, 1967 — New York City

James Brown with Band – Sammy Lowe, arranger/conductor – including John GrimesDud Bascomb & Waymon Reed (trumpets); Ernie Hayes  (trumpet/piano); Richard Harris, Jimmy Cleveland & Garnett Brown (trombones); AlfredPee WeeEllis (tenor sax/piano); St.-Clair Pinckney (baritone sax); Carl Lynch & Wallace Richardson (guitars); Al Lucas (electric bass) & Bernard Purdie (drums):

*ALSO = Vicki Anderson “with prob. same band” on “prob. same date” recorded “People” [although unissued].

Promo 45 USA – 1968                                     45 Canada – 1968

                        45 USA – 1967                       “Stagger Lee”/”Fever” 45 Nigeria – 1968?

Session #5> October 4, 1967 — New York City

James Brown with Band – including Dud BascombJohn Grimes, & Ernie Hayes (trumpets); Richard Harris (trombone); Haywood Henry (baritone sax); Wallace Richardson & Carl Lynch (guitars); Al Lucas (electric bass); Bernard Purdie (drums); Julian Cabrera (congas); Rafael Rivera (timbales) & Edward Williams (percussion) plus strings [Selwart Clarke; Charles Libove; Harry Katzman; Sam Ram; Winston Collymore; Harry Melnikoff; Nick Hardone; Matt Raimond; Marion Cuabo; Sidney Edwards]:

           45 France – 1968                                 45 Germany / Italy / Spain – 1968

EP Mexico – 1968                                         45 Rhodesia – 1968

Session #6> June 27, 1968 — New York City

James Brown with Band – Sammy Lowe, arranger/conductor – including John Grimes & Waymon Reed (trumpets); Les Asch (tenor sax); David Parkinson (baritone sax); AlfredPee WeeEllis (organ/piano); Wallace Richardson (guitar); Al Lucas (electric bass) & Bernard Purdie (drums):

   6 of 7 tracks above included on 1968 LP     …..     as well as stereo 8-track Tape

ADDITIONAL James Brown tracks!

According to musician credits posted on Discogs, Bernard Purdie also played drums on James Brown B-side “I Know It’s True” [1972], as well as “Woman (Pts. 1 & 2)” [1973] — both songs arranged by Sammy Lowe (though, “Woman (Part 2)” appears not to have been issued in the US market, curiously).

45 Belgium – 1972                                            45 Germany – 1972

45 France – 1972                                            45 Netherlands – 1974

 45 Netherlands – 1973                                        45 France – 1973

45 Germany – 1973                                           45 Belgium – 1974

Update on King Records Preservation Efforts:

“King Dream Team” at 1540 Brewster Ave.

[L to R] Philip Paul; Bernard Purdie; Celia Purdie; Otis Williams; Bootsy Collins; Anzora Adkins

Photo by Elliott V. Ruther

According to Herzog Music, “The City of Cincinnati now owns the King Records buildings on Brewster Avenue in Evanston.  The King buildings are being stabilized with $700,000 of city and Evanston funds, thanks to a united City Council.”

“With Mayor John Cranley and the City of Cincinnati, a restricted fund for the buildings has been established through the King Records Building Non-Profit Steering Committee to raise private funds and realize the revitalization vision.  The Steering Committee comprises leadership of Evanston Community Council, Bootsy Collins Foundation, King Studios and Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation (CMHF).

“CMHF will acknowledge the tax deductible donations and share with each Steering Committee organization as it works to formalize the non-profit arrangement with the City.  CMHF is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization — donors may deduct contributions as provided in IRC 170(c)(3) of the U.S. Tax Code.”

You can be part of the King Records revitalization success story — please consider a donation to the King Building Fund.

The Men in Black:  Bernard & Bootsy

Photo courtesy of the Bootsy Collins Foundation

Stay plugged in:   Bernard Purdie and Bootsy Collins

Special thanks to Elliott V. Ruther of the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation

Derek Trucks wearing a Bernard Purdie shirt on Austin City Limits


Lord Thunder: Final Deluxe 45?

Browsing DeLuxe releases in chronological order in Discog’s database, Lord Thunder‘s “Thunder” from 1975 appears to be the last gasp of Starday-King:

“Thunder”     Lord Thunder     1975

But wait:  1975 sounds much too late in the post-Syd Nathan saga for a new production to come out of the Starday-King studios, especially with IMG/Gusto now running the show.  I’m suspicious.

For one thing, the catalog number 106 would indicate the recording to be closer to 1969, tied to the first string of releases from the resuscitated DeLuxe imprint — at that point owned by Lin Broadcasting.  An examination of the catalog record for this 1975 Gusto 45 release on Discogs finds this revealing note:

“This is the legal second issue from 1975 – reissued for the UK Northern Soul market.  The original does not have the ‘1975 etc’ text around the outside and the release is originally from the late 60’s/early 70’s.

This late 60s “northern soul” instrumental was written by Leroy Tukes and Grady Spires, who would also put together “I Got It Made (In the Shade)” for James Duncan, released March, 1970 on Federal (and featuring Eddie Hinton on swamp guitar)..

Both songs were included on 2007 CD compilation Crash of Thunder:  Boss Soul, Funk and R&B Sides From the Vaults of the King, Federal and DeLuxe Labels — a special collection of rare tracks curated by Matt “Mr. Fine Wine” Weingarden and released on Spanish label, Vampi Soul.

So uh, no, this was not the “final” DeLuxe 45, in terms of latest original recording intended for release.

From browsing Discogs’ listing of DeLuxe releases in chronological order and then examing the catalog numbers in (relative) sequential order, I see that the highest number “152” coincides with 1973 single release from The Manhattans – “Do You Ever” b/w “If My Heart Could Speak” (with the A-side written by Agape recording artist, Myrna March, who also co-produced).  Could this possibly be one of the final recordings to come out under the DeLuxe label?  To answer this question, it sure would help to know the recording dates of the other DeLuxe 45 releases from 1973:

= “Mama’s Baby” b/w “You Are Gone” by Royal Flush
= “Camelot Time” b/w “Victory Strut” by J. Hines & the Fellows*
= “Leave My Kitten Alone” b/w “All the Time” by Reuben Bell
= “Rainbow Week” b/w “Loneliness” by The Manhattans

Ruppli provides no information whatsoever about these recordings and, in fact, does not even list Royal Flush, Reuben Bell, or J. Hines & the Fellows in the index.  Not even known whether any of these 45 releases had been recorded in the year 1973.  More research is needed to determine the final recording to come out on DeLuxe.

Click on song titles above to hear streaming audio of A & B sides

With regard to Zero to 180’s recent musings about which Bethlehem release was the last original recording intended for that King subsidiary label, this online discography has considerably more detailed information than Ruppli’s sessionography with regard to Bethlehem’s last few years of existence, thus forcing me to recalculate the situation

New Observations about Bethlehem‘s Final Releases!
Tip of the hat to the Bethlehem Records Discography Project

  • The James Brown recording session from May 20, 1970 (David Matthews’ “The Drunk” recorded in two parts, with only Part Two issued) that ended up as the B-side of a Bethlehem (not King) 45 “A Man Has to Go Back to the Crossroads” b/w “The Drunk”  appears to be the last original recording released on Bethlehem — a session that took place at King Studios in Cincinnati (as did the session for the single’s A-side on March 2, 1970, on which David Matthews served as Director).  Interesting to note that A-side “charted on 18 July, 1970 on Record World’s “Singles Coming Up” chart peaking at #110″ (Discogs).
  • The next-to-last entry for 1970 says that Arthur Prysock laid down 12 tracks with “unidentified orchestra” and Bill McElhiney serving as arranger/director at Nashville’s Starday-King recording facility on April 8, 1970 for Prysock’s Unforgettable album (released on King).  The two singles from this LP, curiously, would be issued on separate labels — “Cry” b/w “Unforgettable” on King, while “Funny World” b/w “The Girl I Never Kissed”  ended up on Bethlehem.
  • This discography of Bethlehem recordings/releases from 1958 to the present ends in the year 1970 — and yet omits any references to The Saloonatics from 1969. What up?  1969 would also see recording sessions in Cincinnati for Wayne Cochran and His C.C. Riders (previously paid tribute here), as well as The Dee Felice Trio (with Frank Vincent) for LP and 45 releases on Bethlehem.

As it bids adieu to the King Records’ 75th Anniversary Celebration, Zero to 180 would like to pose these four questions:

  1. What is the last original recording for Starday-King that took place at Cincinnati’s King Studios?
  2. What is the final recording — regardless of whether the artist was under contract to Starday-King — that took place at the (former) King Studios in Cincinnati?
  3. What is the last original recording at the Nashville Starday Studios intended for release on Starday-King or one of its subsidiaries?
  4. What is the last original release from Starday-King before the label’s sale to IMG/Gusto?

A Starday/King/DeLuxe Musical Prank*

Whoa!  Is it possible that 1973 instrumental “Victory Strut” by J. Hines & the Fellows (on Starday-King subsidiary, DeLuxe) features what must be some of the earliest turntable scratching on record?!   But alas, the comment below – in reply to the person who posted this audio clip – reveals musical tomfoolery perpetrated at the hands of DJ Ol’SkOul!

“So as much as I love the record scratches on this, I actually bought this 45 thinking they were a part of the song. Sooo yeah, you might want to tell people this is your remix of it.  Either way thanks for posting. Great tune.”

Hear for yourself =  special ‘REMIX’ of “Victory Strut”

DJ Ol’SkOul likewise provides turntable embellishments for A-side “Camelot Time

History Messing with My Mind Dept.

Recently, in the course of scanning the index in Ruppli’s King Labels sessionography, I was struck by a fairly unusual name: “SACASAS”.  Anselmo Sacasas, it turns out, was a Cuban bandleader who recorded exactly one session for King Records in Miami on April 8, 1955 – four songs recorded, including one tune entitled (hold onto your hats) “Trumpcrazy”!

Billboard‘s reviewer would score this trumpet-heavy “Latino instrumental” a 72 (in the “good” range) in its July 23, 1955 edition.  This extremely obscure 45 was nearly lost to history until an audio clip was posted on YouTube in July of 2016.

“Trumpcrazy”     Sacasas & His Orchestra     1955

For King Records History Fanatics Only:

49-Page Compilation of “Maxi-Tweets” from King Records Month 2018 (pdf file)

Bobby Smith’s King Productions

Bobby Smith, we now know, had been commissioned by Syd Nathan to build a recording studio in Macon, Georgia — the adopted hometown of King Records’ biggest star, James Brown.  The following recordings were produced by Bobby Smith at Bobby Smith Studios, the recording location for these (Starday-)King-related releases — with one notable exception, as indicated a little further down the page:

[click on song titles below for streaming audio]

History Wrinkle:  The earliest appearance of “Macon, Georgia” as a recording location in Ruppli’s King recording sessionography – “May 4, 1966” – can be found on a session for Thomas Bailey that yielded “Just Won’t Move” and “Fran” — a single that, for some odd reason, did not find release until 1970.  Perhaps Ruppli’s carbon-dating tests somehow got mishandled in the lab?  The more likely explanation can be found in John Ridley’s liner notes for the first Ace UK/Kent compilation King Serious Soul:

“Bailey was active in the Macon area with his group, the Flintstones, around the turn of the 70s and was involved with Bobby Smith.  He wrote material for Mickey Murray, among others, as well as making his own discs.  His first Federal 45 coupled the ballad ‘Fran’ with the strutting Southern funk of ‘Just Won’t Move.'”

Zero to 180 recently spoke with King Records historian, Brian Powers, who asserted that Bobby Smith Studios, indeed, was up and running by 1966 and, in fact, had already been in operation for several years.**

Here’s one other Bobby Smith production that might be the latest recording of the bunch — first of two featured songs in today’s history piece:

Push and Shove” b/w “Just Be Glad”    Willy Wiley     1973

Must note with confusion that Bobby Smith is listed as producer on Gloria Walker’s classic slice of funk “Papa’s Got the Wagon” (along with its mate “Your Precious Love“), even though Ruppli’s sessionography notes state that this March, 1971 single had been recorded in “Cincinnati” — is it possible that Smith came to King Studios for this session (which also produced “Lonely and Blue” and “Dancing to the Beat” – two songs that remain locked away in the King vaults)?

NOTE:  Check out the “prequel” to this piece via King RecordsDay of My Birth, which includes session information for Bobby Smith Productions 1964-1965 

In the course of browsing the Federal Records section of Ruppli’s King Labels recording sessionography, I couldn’t help but notice one particular James Duncan session** that took place in Muscle Shoals, Alabama — not Macon, Georgia.  But wait, Bobby Smith’s name is attached to this entire August 14, 1969 recording session — is it possible that Smith traveled to Muscle Shoals to record James Duncan?   Listen to the classic guitar work on “I Got It Made (in the Shade)” — sure sounds like Eddie Hinton, right? Compare with “This Old Town” by Wilson Pickett, a song previously celebrated here.

“I Got It Made (in the Shade)”     James Duncan     1969

As it turns out, the ‘Musical Columbo’ – Soul Detective – had already pondered this question ten years earlier, having discovered a key piece of research in John Ridley’s liner notes to Volume 2 of the Ace UK/Kent anthology series, King Serious Soul that affirms Ruppli’s assertion, pointing out that James Duncan’s Federal singles “were mainly cut at Muscle Shoals [Sound] and were uniformly of a very high standard indeed.”

James Duncan, along with the Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section, laid down six songs at 3614 Jackson Highway in Sheffield, Alabama on August 14, 1969, with producer Bobby Smith at the helm:  “Money Can’t Buy True Love”; “My Baby Is Back”; “All Goodbyes Ain’t Gone”; “I’m Gonna Leave You Alone”; “I Got It Made (in the Shade)” & “You’ve Got to Be Strong” [Ruppli].  Also recorded at Muscle Shoals, according to Ridley, is the Lori & Lance single “I Don’t Have to Worry” b/w “All I Want Is You.”

** Zero to 180 would subsequently stumble upon Bobby Smith’s productions for King and assemble a “prequel” research piece, King Records — Day of My Birth, posted April 25, 2019.

Mickey Murray LP II: Released?

Soul singer Mickey Murray recorded only two full-length albums over the course of his career — one for SSS International, 1967’s Shout Bamalama & Super Soul Songs  (the label’s first hit for Shelby Singleton), and the other, entitled People are Together, for King subsidiary Federal Records in 1970 — an album produced by Bobby Smith, who had been commissioned earlier by Syd Nathan to build a recording and production facility in Macon, Georgia, the adopted hometown of James Brown.

Album released in US on Federal and in Brazil (year unknown) on Joda

abstract crowd backdrop —  used for front and back cover images

Going Back to Alabama” — first of three B-sides issued on Federal for Starday-King — includes some prototypical “rapping” in the James Brown tradition.  Note the playful musical references to “Sweet Soul Music” — a song previously celebrated here:

“Going Back to Alabama”    Mickey Murray     1970

Discogs acknowledges three Federal single releases over the course of three years beginning in 1970.

For those who wonder why such limited output from a one-time potential hitmaker, NPR reporter Eric Luecking’s accompanying history piece for “People are Together” — selected as ‘Song of the Day‘ for February 24, 2012 — suggests that Murray may have been more than a little disillusioned by his experience with the music industry:

Born in South Carolina in the 1930s, Mickey Murray had roots in Georgia and shined shoes to help earn a living early in life.  He proved he could sing with gravel and grit, had a million-selling single in the late 1960s, and signed with the King/Federal label.  It’s striking how similar Mickey Murray’s story is to that of James Brown, yet while Brown left an indelible mark on soul and popular music, Murray remains a mere blip in the musical cosmos.  As the liner notes to his recently reissued lost album tell it, Murray doesn’t believe that People Are Together was ever officially released after it was recorded in 1970.

It was a risky endeavor to push “People Are Together” as the album’s lead single in the South.  It was reportedly black DJs who killed the record, labeling it as too progressive and fearing that they’d lose their on-air jobs should they play it. It doesn’t sound remotely controversial today:  It’s a call to all of mankind to join together and love one another, in the spirit of “What the World Needs Now Is Love” and many other songs of its time.

Regardless, fame and a longer singing career didn’t follow for Murray, although he’d record later in life.  But the defiantly hopeful “People Are Together,” written by Bob Garrett and Calvin Arline, now stands as a virtually unheard gem; whether it was known to the public when it was recorded more than 40 years ago is irrelevant. What is relevant is the song itself, a timeless three-minute sermon which implores us all to give a little more love.

In 2011, Secret Stash Records reissued the album in limited edition (“1200 individually numbered copies”), with extended liner notes, never-before-seen photos, and access code for a free MP3 download of the entire album (“first 250 copies also include a 7″, hand-numbered with the corresponding number.”)

45Cat acknowledges two singles following Murray’s stint with Starday-King — one in 1975 and the other in 1979, which appears to be singer’s final musical statement.

Musical Postscript:  Dept. of Zaniness

Sole Release for NYC’s indie label Pepco

  later bought out by Potomac Electric Power Company


Albert Washington’s Psych Funk

King Records Month 2018 — Extended Through October!

After Syd Nathan passed, King Records was sold to Starday Records in 1968, who subsequently sold the combined Starday-King catalog to Nashville’s Lin Broadcasting.  The new King owners would revive the Deluxe label in 1969 or so – check out this interesting bit of pop soul from Albert Washington on the *resuscitated imprint:

“Somewhere Down the Line”     Albert Washington     1970

Steven C. Tracy would devote a chapter to Albert Washington in Going to Cincinnati:  A History of the Blues in the Queen City:

In 1970 Albert’s manager Harry Carlson [owner of Fraternity Records] signed Albert to a contract with Starday-King Records, and Albert is listed in the King discography [edited by Michel Ruppli, with Bill Daniels] as recording at the studios on Brewster Avenue on May 19 and October 16, 1970.  Unfortunately the discography is incomplete and inaccurate for Albert’s work for Starday-King, from the misspelling of Harry Carlson’s name (Cartson) to the listing of all titles as unissued and the inclusion of titles not recorded at Starday-King.  A number of titles are recognizable as earlier Fraternity issues.

From these Starday-King recording sessions, states Tracy, four singles were issued:

  • “Loosen These Pains and Let Me Go” b/w “Go On and Help Yourself”   Jewel 822
  • “Love Is a Wonderful Thing” b/w “I Wanna Know How You Feel”   Jewel 836
  • “Betty Jane” b/w “If You Need Me”   Jewel 837
  • “Ain’t It a Shame” b/w “Somewhere Down the Line”   Deluxe 45-135

The sessions included Albert on vocal and guitar, backed by Andy Johnson or Lonnie Mack on guitar, Hal Byrd and Scooter on horns, Hubert Herb on piano, Lonnie Bennett or Jimmy Thompson on organ, Walter Cash on bass, and Cornelius Roberts on drums, along with stray trumpet added here and there.

Of the four singles, notes Tracy:

His best is on the release on Deluxe, a King subsidiary, where Albert hits another peak for blues fans.  Roy Brown had recorded the song, A&R man and vice-president of King Henry Glover’s composition, previously [unavailable on YouTube], but his smooth ballad rendering pales before Albert’s version of “Ain’t It a Shame.”  Led by Lonnie Mack’s restrained guitar and underpinned by a rock-steady bass, Albert preaches in smooth and soaring tones while one of the most tastefully used female choruses – Gigi and the Charmaines – echoes and underlines Albert’s pleading.  And the marvelous vamp out!  [Blues Unlimited co-founder Mike] Leadbitter calls it “typical intense Albert,” but that kind of intensity is really atypical.

The flip side [“Somewhere Down the Line“] is psychedelic funk with tasty guitar and something that sounds like an echoing flute, female chorus, and chording piano and “you’ll never miss your water” in the lyrics — not of blues interest, really, but strong for its genre.

For those of you who noted the three 45 releases on Jewel and wondered if Rusty York was directly involved in making that happen, you would be correct:

Rusty York had been involved in the production of a number of these songs for Albert, and some of the songs recorded at Starday-King came out on Jewel Records.  Also at this time, however, Albert went back into the Jewel Studios, recording with the same band at Starday-King, for a release on the [Cincinnati-based] Rye label.

Tracy would invite Washington to perform at Walnut Hills High School in 1972.  In turn, Washington would invite Tracy play harmonica on two sides cut at Jewel, with Johnny Dollar (piano), Ed Thompson (guitar), Walter Cash (bass), and Cornelius Roberts (drums) – “So Good” b/w “Before the Sun Goes Down” – that were released on Cincinnati label, L & W.

Tracy would recall the charge of hearing “Turn on the Bright Lights” (with Lonnie Mack) for the first time on local Top 40 “hits” station WSAI in 1969 and recalling it as the moment Washington had “turned me on to the blues in Cincinnati.”  Also backing Washington on “Bright Lights” are Tim Drummond (of The Dapps, not to mention bassist for James Brown’s special 6-person backing band on a harrowing Vietnam tour the year before), Denny (“Dumpy“) Rice on piano, Ron Grayson on organ, Rusty York on harmonica, and an unknown drummer, according to Tracy.

Check out the prices people are shelling out for Albert Washington on vinyl

Larry Nager’s obituary in the October 28, 1998 edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer

Ω                                             Ω                                             Ω

*King Records History Moment:
DeLuxe Records

According to Both Sides Now Publications:

“The DeLuxe label was founded by brothers David and Jules Braun in Linden, New Jersey, in 1944.  Syd Nathan bought into the company in the late 1940s and finally bought out the Braun brothers in 1951.  From that time, DeLuxe operated as a King subsidiary.” 

The JB’s Debut: Polydor not King

The debut album by The JB’sJames Brown‘s backing band that included a group of Cincinnati musicians who would soon join forces with George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic and later form the core of Bootsy’s Rubber Band — was originally scheduled for release in July, 1971 on the King label (SLP 1126), as noted on Discogs.  Starday-King even issued a test pressing, with Ron Lenhoff overseeing the engineering and editing of this four-song LP, half of which (“The Grunt” and “These Are the J.B.’s”) was recorded at King’s Cincinnati studios on May 19, 1970, and the other half (“I’ll Ze” and “When You Feel It Grunt If You Can”) recorded at Starday Studios in Nashville on June 30, 1970.

But alas, it was not meant to be** — as one Discogs contributor wryly observes:

Mmm. I wonder how many people have one of these [test pressings] … other than James Brown himself, Hal Neely, Dave Matthews, Charles Bobbit and anybody directly involved in King Records (as in office staff), most of the members of the band probably never got a copy of this TP, as this was at the precise point when JB’s catalogue got bought out by Polydor and the JB’s (Mk.1) had already exited stage left.  Probably 25-50 made max.

The original These Are the J.B.’s LP comprised just four tracks (click on audio links):

“These Are the J.B.’s”     The J.B.’s     recorded in Cincinnati – May 19, 1970

Bass: WilliamBootsyCollins
Guitar:  PhelpsCatfishCollins
Drums:  Clyde Stubblefield (A1 & B2)
Drums:  FrankKashWaddy (A2 & B1)
Congas:  Johnny Griggs
Flute & Baritone Sax:  St-Clair Pinckney (A1)
Tenor Sax:  Robert McCullough
Trumpet:  ClaytonChickenGunnels & DarrylHasaanJamison
Organ:  James Brown (A2)
Piano: Bobby Byrd (B1)
Engineer:  Ron Lenhoff
Producer: James Brown

James Brown would describe the band in his 1986 autobiography thusly:

They were called the Pacesetters and were all from Cincinnati.  They’d hung around King for awhile and then started doing session work there.  I had used them myself on several things.  Bootsy Collins (who later went on to become a big star with the Parliament-Funkadelic Thang and his own Rubber Band) was the bass player; his older brother, Phelps ‘Catfish’ Collins played guitar; Frank ‘Kash’ Waddy played drums; Robert McCullough played sax; a fella called Clayton ‘Chicken’ Gunnels played trumpet.

“These Are the J.B.’s” – songwriting credits per Discogs

Written by Phelps CollinsClayton Isiah GunnelsClyde StubblefieldDarrell JamisonFrank Clifford WaddyJohn W. GriggsRobert McCollough and William Earl Collins

“The Grunt” – songwriting credits per Discogs

Written by – Phelps Collins, Clayton Isiah Gunnels, Clyde Stubblefield, Darrell Jamison, Frank Clifford Waddy, James Brown, John W. Griggs, Robert McCollough, and William Earl Collins

“Medley: When You Feel It Grunt If You Can” – songwriting credits per Discogs

Written by – Art Neville, Gene Redd*, George Porter Jr.*, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Joseph Modeliste, Kool & The Gang, and Leo Nocentelli

Note:  “When You Feel It Grunt If You Can” includes portions of “Let The Music Take Your Mind,” written by Kool & The Gang and Gene Redd Jr.; “Chicken Strut,” written by The Meters; and “Power Of Soul,” written by Jimi Hendrix.

The following year in 1972, when Polydor released what would be known as the debut album by The J.B.’s, a much different collection of songs would would end up in the marketplace, as Food For Thought comprised ten songs [“The Grunt” & “These Are the J.B.’s (Pt. 1)” being the only overlapping tracks] vs. the four song set as mixed and sequenced by Ron Lenhoff.

Funk fans worldwide rejoiced in 2014 when the original four-song mix enjoyed release on vinyl (as well as digital download) for the first time, with a 12-page booklet of liner notes by Alan Leeds stating that, in fact, only two test pressings are known to have existed (so says a Discogs contributor).  Worth pointing out that “the originally scheduled issue of this album included overdubbed crowd noise — for this issue of the album, the original, undubbed two-track stereo mix was used as source.”

Given the variant titles and track listings in various markets worldwide, Discogs advises caution:

Different original editions and reissues have different titles and artwork, including Food For Thought; Pass The Peas; and Food For Thought – Pass The Peas – I Mean Gimme Some More.

Main cover (US, Canada, Spain)

Alternate cover (UK, Germany, France, Turkey)

Cover – Japan

“The Grunt” – famously sampled for 1987’s “Rebel Without a Pause” by Public Enemy – would enjoy single release on King in August of 1970, just three months after being recorded.  Billboard would select the single in the August 8, 1970 edition for its Top 20 Soul Spotlights “predicted to reach the Top 20 of the top-selling R&B Singles chart.”

King 45 + UK 45 on Mojo + Test Pressing of “The Grunt” – a steal at $120

A second single – “These Are the J.B.’s” (Pts. 1&2)” – followed in November, 1970Billboard‘s Ed Ochs would select the 45 for his “picks and plays” for the week of October 24, 1970 in his ‘Soul Sauce’ column.  Interesting to point out that the same Billboard November 21, 1970 issue that mentions Starday-King release of “These Are the J.B.’s” also notes that “the James Brown Show played Fargo, N.D. recently – the good response was particularly encouraging because this was the first time his show had ever played that state.”

Obituary for Phelps ‘Catfish’ Collins
Billboard — August 10, 2010

R&B guitarist Phelps “Catfish” Collins, a veteran of James Brown’s J.B.’s, Parliament-Funkadelic and his younger brother William “Bootsy” Collins‘ Rubber Band, passed away at his home in Cincinnati on Aug. 6 at the age of 66, following a long battle with cancer.

Bootsy Collins issued a statement saying that “my world will never be the same” without his brother.  “Be happy for him, he certainly is now and always has been the happiest young fellow I ever met on this planet.”

Bootsy’s wife, Patti Collins, told The Cincinnati Enquirer that Catfish “was a father figure to my husband.  He’s the reason why Bootsy is who he is.”

Catfish, eight years Bootsy’s senior, was the one who suggested his brother put bass strings on an old guitar, and the two were part of a Cincinnati group called The Pacemakers that became the rhythm section for the city’s famed King Records label.  James Brown recruited the Collins brothers, and starting in 1968 they played on Brown classics such as “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine,” “Give It Up or Turnit a Loose,” “Super Bad” and “Soul Power” as the J.B.’s.

By 1971 they had left Brown’s employ, going on to form The House Guests and then joining Funkadelic in 1972 for albums such as America Eats Its Young and Cosmic Slop.  Catfish remained with the group — which also lost guitarist Garry Shider to cancer in June — until the mid-’80s.

“(Catfish) was a hell of a musician,” keyboardist Bernie Worrell, who played with the guitarist in Funkadelic, told the Enquirer.  “People seem to forget that the rhythm guitar behind James Brown was Catfish’s creative genius, and that was the rhythm besides Bootsy’s bass.”

George Clinton alumnus Dumine DePorres seconded that notion, telling Billboard.com that Catfish’s particular niche was playing “the subliminal stuff, those inferred parts that you might not be able to hear right out front but without it there’s a big hole.  It’s like the glue that holds the glue together.”

After Funkadelic, Catfish went on to play in Bootsy’s Rubber Band and also recorded with Deee-Lite, Freekbass and H-Bomb [Ferguson].  In 2007 he reunited with Bootsy, Worrell, Clyde Stubblefield and others for the soundtrack to the Judd Apatow comedy “Superbad.”  A number of Cincinnati musicians gathered to play a tribute show for Catfish during July at a club in Roselawn, Ohio [Celebrities night club in the Valley Shopping Center on Reading Road, just a mile down the road from the Carrousel Inn].

Funeral arrangements have not been announced for Catfish, who had two children.

Bootsy’s Brother Succumbs to Cancer
Cincinnati Enquirer — August 6, 2010

KENNEDY HEIGHTS – Before there was Bootsy, there was Catfish.

The older brother of Cincinnati’s legendary funk icon, Phelps “Catfish” Collins was a jovial guitar player with a huge smile, a mentor who helped shape his brother’s musical career as well as his life.

“He was a father figure to my husband,” said Patti Collins, William “Bootsy” Collins’ wife. “He’s the reason why Bootsy is who he is.”

Phelps Collins died Friday after a long battle with cancer. He was 66.

Mr. Collins was a lifelong musician and Cincinnati resident. He was born eight years before Bootsy, who gave him the nickname “Catfish” because he thought he looked like one.  He was fiercely protective of his family, once threatening to kill his father with a butcher knife if he saw him hurt their mother again, Bootsy told the Enquirer in an interview last year.

In 1968, Phelps and Bootsy Collins helped form local R&B band the Pacemakers, which became the rhythm section at the renowned King Records in Evanston.  They played with James Brown, backing him on such songs as “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” as part of a group that became known as the J.B.’s.

James Brown & the J.B.’s – Bologna, Italy – April, 1971

In 1971, the brothers formed a flashy funk group called the House
Guests with band mates including drummer Frankie “Kash” Waddy and
former Pacemakers singer Philippé Wynne.  Wynne went on to lead a group
called the Spinners, and the rest joined the free-wheeling Parliament-
Funkadelic.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame keyboardist Bernie Worrell played with the
Collins brothers in Parliament-Funkadelic.  Worrell said he and Catfish
were the elders of the group.

“He was a loving, caring person, but at the same time, he wouldn’t
take any bullcrap when it came to business,” Worrell said.  “He was a
hell of a musician.  He taught me a lot about rhythms.  People seem to
forget that the rhythm guitar behind James Brown was Catfish’s
creative genius, and that was the rhythm besides Bootsy’s bass.”

Phelps Collins later joined Bootsy’s Rubber Band and would go on to
play rhythm guitar on albums by Deee-Lite, Freekbass and H-Bomb [Ferguson].  He also performed on the soundtrack to the 2007 Judd Apatow comedy
“Superbad” with Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell and other original
members of the J.B.’s.

“He was one of probably the most underrated musicians in R&B and funk
history,” said Cincinnati bassist Chris “Freekbass” Sherman, who cites
both Collins brothers as influences.  “He’s such an amazing guitar
player.  No one did it like him.”

Patti Collins said her brother-in-law, a father of two who lived in
Kennedy Heights, made a life of music and continued to collaborate
with Bootsy as the brothers grew older.

About a month ago, local musicians gathered at Celebrities in Roselawn
to perform a tribute to Catfish, said Lincoln Ware, who hosts a daily
radio show on WDBZ-1230 AM.

Ware said Mr. Collins, always a boisterous and smiling presence,
clearly wasn’t feeling his best that night.  But he sat back anyway,
soaking in the music that had always meant so much to him.

Services are pending.

Fall, 1971 – “What So Never the Dance (pts. 1 & 2)”

The Other Lost King Album With the JBs

As it turns out, more than one planned project got shelved when James Brown made the big decision to leave Starday-King and sign on the dotted line with Polydor, to wit:

**TONIGHT – One Night Only!

Friday, September 28, 2018 from 6-8 PM | James Brown’s Lost King Album.

In August 1971, James Brown planned to release a triple vinyl album of his electrifying March 1971 concert at the Olympia in Paris, backed by the original JB’s, featuring Bootsy and Catfish Collins.  Sequenced and mixed by Brown himself for a King Records release, he considered it among his best work.  However, when Brown’s contract was sold to Polydor Records, the masters were shelved and the album was not released.  The complete concert recording would not be heard until 43 years later when Sundazed Records released it on “tri-fold” vinyl in July 2014.  Join Bootsy Collins protege, Freekbass, as he plays the album on his own Funk Radio show = streaming on Radio Artifact, and simulcast on Cincinnati’s WVXU FM (listen here).

Note:  Cincinnati music history fans will be interested to know that Kenny Poole (guitar) and arranger, David Matthews (organ) join The JB’s on one song — “Who Am I” — a tune on which James Brown plays on drums (assuming that Zero to 180 is correctly reading the musician credits).