Coldwater Army on S-K’s Agape

Billboard would post this glowing review of Coldwater Army‘s debut album on Agape, a subsidiary label of Starday-King, in their July 10, 1971 edition:

This is quite an extraordinary first record for a group.  It features some of the tightest arrangements heard in a while and vocals that flow well with the music.  To say the Coldwater Army is a brass based group would not be fair, although their brass section is dynamite.  The LP must be taken as one unit as the Army marches along to the beat of a different drummer.  One of the brightest groups to appear in a very long time.

“Hey People”     Coldwater Army     1971

Four months prior, Billboard had posted a ‘General News’ item in their March 20, 1971 edition that announced “Starday-King Forms Agape, a New Label“:

NEW YORK — The Starday-King Music Group has formed a new label, Agape Records.  According to Hal Neely, president of Starday-King, the new label will serve as an outlet for the increasing number of contemporary pop, rock and country-rock records scheduled for release later this month, while other labels within the Starday-King complex will continue their output of specialty product.

“The significance of the label name we’ve chosen,” said Neely, “derives from the Latin and means ‘love, feast and fellowship.’  In some early Christian times the Feast of Agape was celebrated in good spirit, brotherhood and acts of charity–so much of which is reflected in contemporary music and stressed in the lyric content of the new generation of songwriters.  He added, “We hope to bring some of that early spirit of the ancients into modern times.”  (Agape is pronounced ah-goh-pay.)

Several artists have already been signed to Agape including songwriter – singer – producer Myrna March from New York; Fort Worth, Tex. producer David Anderson; a rock group from Georgia known as Coldwater Army to be produced by Bobby Smith; First Friday who will be produced by Darrell Glenn, and a Miami-based unit whose production will be undertaken by veteran producer Kelso Herston.

Agape’s initial product will feature singles by Miss March and Anderson.  While Miss March has written a great deal of product for Starday-King artists, and recently produced Tony & Carol and the Manhattans for King via her Make Music Productions with Bert Keyes, she is making her Agape debut with a Bee Gees song, “Touch and Understand Love” backed with her own “I Can Remember.”  Recorded in Nashville, her sessions were under the personal supervision of Neely.  Anderson’s release will be “Songbird.”  Prior recordings by David Anderson with the company will ultimately be switched over to the Agape label.

Initially, the Agape label will be managed and administered by the staff of Starday-King with heavy responsibilities falling to sales manager Lee Trimble, Mike Kelly in the East, Bob Patton in the Midwest and Dexter Shaffer on the West Coast will coordinate regional promotion for all new releases and the over-all operations will be guided by Neely and vice-presidents Henry Glover and Jim Wilson.

The inception of Agape marks the latest in a series of moves towards the rebuilding of Starday-King under the encouragement and guidance of the LIN Broadcasting Corp., of which it is a division.  In addition to strengthening the operations of the Starday and King labels, the company has reactivated the old Macon, Ga.-based Federal label and the original DeLuxe Records, a blues-rock label.  Recent increased activity, too, has centered on the jazz-oriented Bethlehem label with particular interest focusing on the big sounds of Oscar Brandenburg.

Coldwater Army’s debut/only album Peace would also find release in 1971 in Canada, albeit on Columbia [speaking of which:  Seymour Stein, you might recall, had curated a pair of King hits anthologies for “Big Red” in 1967 — see here and here].  Peace was issued for the first time on compact disc in 2017.

Auction prices for Coldwater Army’s debut album on Agape

Lonnie Mack at King Records

Lonnie Mack‘s most famous recordings might be associated with Cincinnati’s other notable indie label from the roots rock era, Fraternity, but the hugely influential guitarist from Southeast Indiana also made a number of recordings at King Studios.  Ace UK’s Lonnie Mack anthology CD From Nashville to Memphis includes a “Lonnie Mack Discography on Fraternity Records” – compiled by John Broven & Stuart Colman – whose contents reveal that all of Lonnie’s recording sessions between 1963 and 1965 (except for one session at RCA Nashville) took place at Cincinnati’s King Records.  Lonnie would return to King in 1967 for one final Fraternity session that produced two songs:  “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and “Omaha” (a.k.a., “Down in the Dumps”).

Note:  Click on each of the 3 images below to view in high resolution

Intriguing to learn from the discography above that (a) Gene Lawson — of Lawson Microphones fame — played drums on legendary recording “Memphis” and (b) Cincinnati tenor saxophonist Jimmy McGary played on a handful of tracks, including “Coastin’” and “Tonky Go Go.”   Randy McNutt also notes in The Cincinnati Sound that Lonnie Mack recorded two of his seminal 1960s albums for Elektra at Jewel Recording Studios (in nearby Mt. Healthy, Ohio), founded by one-time King recording artist, Rusty York.

Ben Sandmel’s liner notes in Alligator’s reissue of 1963 album The Wham of That Memphis Man! point out that Lonnie Mack was working as a King session guitarist at the time of that album’s release.  Lonnie Mack’s 1960s session work at King would involve James Brown [“Tell Me That You Love Me“], Hank Ballard (*), and Freddy King, with whom Mack recorded four songs at King’s final session for the label on September 14, 1966:  “You’ve Got Me Licked“; “Double Eyed Whammy“; “Use What You’ve Got“; [click on each song title above] and today’s featured track, Girl From Kookamunga:

“Girl From Kookamunga”     Freddy King     1966

Ruppli’s King recording sessionography notes that “Tell Me That You Love Me” — flip side of “Don’t Be a Drop Out” — was recorded live at Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa, Florida on April 24, 1966.  2007’s release of James Brown:  The Singles Volume 4:  1966-1967 by Hip-O Select identifies Lonnie Mack as the guitarist on this track (sure sounds like him), even though Ruppli’s detailed listing of musicians, strangely, fails to include him.

45 picture sleeve releases from Sweden (left) and Italy (right)

Zero to 180 is still trying, unsuccessfully, to find out which Hank Ballard recordings feature Mack’s guitar playing.[see note at the very end]

Just three years after his final 1967 King recording session, Mack return to Cincinnati’s (newly-renamed) “Starday-King” Studio to accompany Albert Washington and his band, you might recall, on at least eight songs that got released as three 45s on Rusty York‘s Jewel label, while the fourth 45 came out on Starday-King subsidiary label, DeLuxe, curiously enough..

What a pleasant surprise to learn that the Grammy Foundation produced a video clip in 2015 that features former King session musician and funk innovator Bootsy Collins reflecting on his experience “meeting his musical idol” Lonnie Mack:

Many of the obituaries for Lonnie Mack note that the Bigsby tremolo bar was unofficially dubbed the “Whammy” bar in recognition of Mack’s influential Top Five hit instrumental. Danny Sandrik‘s excellent tribute piece – “Blue-Eyed Soul and the Cincinnati Sound” – notes that Lonnie Mack, along with Beau Dollar, “was” the Cincinnati Sound and reveals that it was Chuck Sullivan, not Mack (as indicated in the discography above), who played the signature guitar lines on Beau’s classic version of “Soul Serenade.”  Sullivan would also relate the details of that famous recording session of 7 February 1966 to Brian Powers in a special radio program James Brown Productions, Part One that aired on Cincinnati’s WVXU during 2018’s King Records 75th Anniversary Celebration.

Mack’s 1960s recordings laid down at King Records would enjoy release overseas in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia, as well as Canada.

Recorded at King – released in the Netherlands

Ditto – Japan – 1963

Special Offer!

This used Gibson Lonnie Mack Signature Flying V can be yours for a mere $21,993.94.

* [On the issue of Hank Ballard, Zero to 180 received this email on 15 March 2019:

I am the author of the Wikipedia article on Mack and have just read your posts on him.  Excellent archaeology!   You mention being unable to find any proof that he had played on records of Hank Ballard.  Although I could not use “original material” in the article, I did interview Mack several times.  He specifically told me that he had never played on any Hank Ballard record.  He told me that this misinformation was the result of a garbled interview in which Mack told the interviewer that Ballard was a singing influence.  After that, the mistake took on a life of its own as it was repeated in numerous subsequent reports.
Regards,
Steve Paine

Meet Lonnie Mack

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of Ace Records

Lonnie Mack-hippy mod

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

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

Lonnie Mack - Soul Express 45

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

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

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

Mountain Snow = Icy Heart

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

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

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

Lonnie Mack - 1960s

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

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

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

1966 release                                                        1967 release

Lonnie Mack 45-1bLonnie Mack 45-1a

All Roads Lead to Shad O’Shea

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

Photo courtesy of Rubber City Review

Shad O'Shea behind the board

“Soul Serenade”: Beau Dollar + Coins

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

“Soul Serenade”     Beau Dollar & the Coins     1966

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

                      DJ copy                                        45 on Cincinnati’s Fraternity label

Beau Dollar - Prime 45Beau Dollar - Fraternity 45

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

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

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

Beau Dollar - King 45

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,” which is, in fact, a track recorded by Lonnie Mack for Fraternity Records.  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.”

Lonnie subsequently recorded “Soul Serenade” and two other songs with Wayne Young and Marvin Maxwell’s outfit, Soul Inc, although Harry Carlson of Fraternity Records made the curious decision to release the 45 under the name “Beau Dollar & the Coins.” Stuart Colman provides a postscript:

“Despite a lack of chart action, there was a further show of faith in ‘Soul Serenade’ when the master was leased to the Chess-distributed Prime label in October 1966.  Inspired by the fact that most local bands were now including the tune in their sets, the Casinos (who’d just been signed to Fraternity) cut a version for the flip of their debut single.  According to leader Gene Hughes, this track was used as theme for DJ Tom Kennington’s show on WSAI in Cincinnati.”

Danny Sandrik‘s excellent tribute piece – “Blue-Eyed Soul and the Cincinnati Sound” – notes that Lonnie Mack, along with Beau Dollar, “was” the Cincinnati Sound and reveals that it was Chuck Sullivan, not Mack (as indicated in this discography), who played the signature guitar lines on Beau’s classic version of “Soul Serenade.”  Sullivan would also relate the details of that famous recording session of 7 February 1966 to Brian Powers in a special radio program James Brown Productions, Part One that aired on Cincinnati’s WVXU during 2018’s King Records 75th Anniversary Celebration.

Ohio Valley + Muscle Shoals = Rick Powell

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

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

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

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

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

Little Flint 45

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

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

Rick Powell - 1974As Powell recounted later to McNutt:

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

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

This drummer sings, you know

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

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

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

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

Raisins 45-1Raisins 45-3

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

Raisins

A-Side Turned B-Side?

Louisville’s Soul Inc. is another music group from my hometown’s Ohio Valley region that recorded a local hit (“Love Me When I’m Down“) on a local label (Counterpart) that had been recorded locally (at Ray Allen’s studio in Louisville perhaps?) and played on local AM hits radio station WSAI (thus, giving further credence to Nick Clooney‘s recent statement (see below*) that Cincinnati was a uniquely endowed media market that rivaled/bettered Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles):

“Love Me When I’m Down”     Soul Inc.     1968

“Love Me When I’m Down” is the A-side of a 1968 ‘rock ‘n’ soul’ Counterpart single that directly led to the band’s signing with the respected independent label, Laurie — only to have the A & B sides reversed on their debut Laurie 45!

A-Side                                                            B-Side

Soul Inc - Counterpart 45Soul Inc - Laurie 45

As Soul Inc. explains on its own website:

The band’s in-your-face quality was evident on Love Me When I’m Down,’ released as their next single along with ‘I Belong to Nobody.‘  More than anything else the group recorded, Love Me When I’m Down’ captures Soul, Inc.’s live sound, with Young and Bugbee’s driving guitars (the solo is by Bugbee), Settle’s aggressive vocal, and Maxwell’s pounding drums.  We always said that we wanted the drums to sound like a bag of rocks,‘ Maxwell recalls.

Interesting to note that, as with The New Lime, (a) Soul Inc’s first 45 would also be issued on Cincinnati’s Fraternity label and (2) Shad O’Shea‘s Counterpart Records would likewise help pave the path toward the band’s getting signed to a more nationally prominent label.

Original copies of their Laurie and Counterpart 45s have sold for $125 (2018) and $71 (2009), respectively.

*Cincinnati Channel 12 story (May 21, 2015) about Dave Letterman’s final broadcast:

Long before David Letterman unveiled “Stupid Pet Tricks” to the world, he worked as a wacky weatherman in Indianapolis.  “I think you’ll see that once again we’ve fallen to the prey of political dirty dealings.  And right now you can see what I’m talking about.  The higher-ups have removed the border between Indiana and Ohio making it one giant state.  Personally, I’m against it,” Letterman joked in a weathercast for WLWI-TV in Indianapolis.

Letterman grew up watching live talk shows that were produced in Cincinnati and broadcast in Indianapolis, Dayton and Columbus by Crosley Broadcasting, later called Avco.  Former Local 12 News anchor Nick Clooney was a part of the network of shows.  “What was happening in Cincinnati was unique,” Clooney said in an interview with Local 12 News.  “It was a local, live haven.  No place in the country – including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago – all great broadcast cities. None had the local live shows as many as we did.”

Letterman started watching “The 50-50 Club” hosted by Ruth Lyons with his mother when he was in the fourth grade.  He talked about it in an interview with MoonDream Media, LLC in 2010.  “I would come home for lunch and the television would be on midday and that was rare to have it on midday.  And she would watch it and sort of know a little bit about it each day in half hour hunks when I was home for lunch,” Letterman said.

Letterman was truly captivated by Lyons.  “You got the sense that you weren’t watching a television show you were just watching a woman who had invited folks in to spend 90 minutes or whatever,” Letterman said in an interview with Local 12 producer Mark Magistrelli in 1995.  “I wish I could do that.  To me that would be the best show you could do.”

But “The Paul Dixon Show” truly inspired David Letterman.  “I loved Paul Dixon, too.  I really got a kick out of that guy. just thought he was great.”  Like Letterman, Dixon had an edge and was goofy.  His demeanor and bad toupee made him appealing to audiences.  He zoomed in on women’s legs with a binocular lens feature on the camera and gave away sausages.  “It was very entertaining and I found it endlessly gratifying that with nothing, and doing nothing the same way over and over every day,” Letterman said.

Former Cincinnati Enquirer TV columnist John Kiesewetter said Letterman studied Cincinnati television.  “I’ve talked to people who worked at Channel 5 because it was a sister station where he was the weather man at Channel 13 in Indianapolis. When he’d come to town on his off day, he’d show up in the control room at WLW and watch them do the Braun Show or something,” Kiesewetter said.  David Letterman loved Cincinnati TV but he also loved the city.

In 1997, Kiesewetter and a Letterman fan traveled to New York City and met the talk show host.  They gave Letterman a Cincinnati Reds jersey paid for by the Chamber of Commerce with his last name on the back and the number 15 to celebrate his 15th year in late night television.  “I used to love going down there to see the Reds play.  We spent some time there just goofing around,” Letterman said.  Cincinnati and its television shows made an impression on David Letterman. And in return, he put his own spin on the talk show and became a TV legend.  “There’s something kind of remarkable about Letterman.  He is sort of the patron saint of irony and most of the young people of let’s say George’s age just gravitated toward him because he was so salty,” Nick Clooney said.

“Hold It Baby”: Swedish Soul

Sweden’s Slam Creepers, judging solely by their name, sounds like a band of relatively recent vintage (e.g., 1980s hardcore?) — and yet, their first release, fascinatingly enough, was a split single in 1965 a 7-inch flexi-disc in which shared Slam Creepers shared space with The Hollies and fellow Swedish band, Lucas!

Vinyl debut:  Slam Creepers on … flexi-disc!

Slam Creepers flexi-discFour years and a handful of singles later, Slam Creepers would find themselves in another “shared” arrangement — a 12-inch “Shelby Singleton product” wherein the band would be rubbing shoulders on the same LP with Jeannie C. Riley, The Hep Stars, and Mister “Cincinnati Kid” himself, Prince Buster!

The Hep Stars would include future ABBA founder, Benny Anderson
Great Youth Festival LP-x

Title of the Hep Stars’ first album:  ‘WE AND OUR CADILLAC

*

The Great Youth Festival includes “Hold It Baby,” a driving rock ‘n’ soul number that was only issued as a B-side in Sweden and cannot be found on either of their two albums:

“Hold It Baby”     Slam Creepers     1968

Worth considering  how “radical” it was in 1969 to release a sampler album that co-mingled late 60s country (Riley), Jamaican rocksteady (Buster) & Swedish pop (Slam Creepers & The Hep Stars) — albeit one that was issued for the Spanish market.

From a typography standpoint, I am intrigued that Slam Creepers utilized — as did their American musical colleagues, The Afro-Blues Quintet Plus One — the “Future Shock” typeface for the cover of their 1967 debut album:

Slam Creepers LPAfro Blues LP-x

Are there any earlier LPs with this same “Future Shock” typeface than these from 1967?

CONTEST OPEN TO ALL:
Who can find the earliest musical use of this 1960s typeface?

Future Shock-x

In 1968, Slam Creepers would issue two singles, and – in the noblest Beatles fashion – these four songs would not find release on the band’s sophomore ’68 LP Sweet Ruth.

Slam Creepers’ 1968 B-side “Hold It Baby” reveals a refreshing American soul influence:

“Hold It Baby”     Slam Creepers     1968

Wanna take a trip to Catchy Town?  Check out 1968 sure-fire hit, “We Are Happy People“.

“Think”: Squeezing Soul From a Stone

I had assumed lots of people were already familiar with Chris Farlowe‘s kicking mod soul version of Jagger & Richard’s “Think” – but viewership numbers on YouTube tell otherwise:

“Think” wisely enjoyed release in India, Finland, France, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden, as well as its native UK, where it went to #37 on Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate label.  “Think” is also the kick-off track on Farlowe’s 1966 LP, 14 Things to Think About.

14 Things and Yet Only 10 Faces – What Gives?

Chris Farlowe LP

Q: “Do You Feel It”? A: Quite

The Soul Survivors enjoyed lots of radio play in 1967 with “Expressway to Your Heart,” a #4 hit that was the first million-seller for legendary producers, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who went on to form the Philadelphia International label – Motown’s big rival – in 1971.  The Soul Survivors’ debut album, When the Whistle Blows Anything Goes, on the Crimson label, curiously, did not fare nearly as well as the single, only hitting #123 on the pop chart.  The album’s rock ‘n’ soul kick-off track, “Do You Feel It,” features fun stereo separation between the lead and backing vocals – and also the drums during the first big instrumental break:

Soul Survivors LP

Their second album would find them signed to Atlantic subsidiary, Atco – with Duane Allman playing slide guitar on a few tracks at their December 1968 recording sessions at Fame Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.