Back to the '60's
"Sufferin' So" (Joe Tex)
Ernie K-Doe, Instant, 1963
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We shift our focus for the next few posts to the 1960's. I want to give a listen to a few hard to find sides from the family of New Orleans labels owned and run thoughout the decade by Joe Banashak: Minit, Instant, ALON, Seven B, Bandy, and several others. Because he was either wise enough or lucky enough to have A & R, production, and songwriting duties handled by Allen Toussaint, Eddie Bo, Sax Kari and Huey Smith over the years, many great records were issued on those labels; and quite a few have been reissued on various CD compilations. On the unlucky side, except for some of Toussaint's early '60's productions that hit it big, his other releases never had a national sales or chart impact, though they were popular locally or regionally.
I first heard this Ernie K-Doe track on an undocumented Bandy compilation LP I picked up back in the 1980's, which has some hard to find tunes on it. The song originally appeared in 1963 on this Instant single with the flip side, "Baby Since I Met You" (check it out), which I aquired later. I can only assume it is a Toussaint production with its easy going, typical New Orleans popeye groove of the period. Written by Joe Tex, who did some of his earliest recording in New Orleans, the lyrics speak a sad wisdom but still have that novelty tune way of spelling out some of the words. The main vocal is classic K-Doe; and I think that is Benny Spellman singing the bass lines, as he did on Ernie's earlier, Toussaint-penned big hit, "Mother In Law".
What can be said of the late (and missed) Ernie K-Doe, self-described Emperor of the Universe, that he hasn't proclaimed for himself? He was a very flamboyant, happily deranged entertainer who stood out in a city that has no shortage of the outrageous and colorfully wacko. Of course, he is known to the outside mostly for his one chart-topper; but he put out many good records over the years worth hearing. You won't find "Sufferin' So" just anywhere, though. Enjoy it here, while you can.