November 05, 2004

Nothing weak about this one

"Too Weak To Break The Chains" (Huey Smith)
Skip Easterling, Instant 3311, 1971

(tune in to HOTG Internet Radio)

This is the third and final offering (for now) from my Joe Banashak stable of labels stash. With Skip Easterling, we move out of the '60's to 1971. He had started recording for Alon under the direction of Allen Toussaint in the early '60's, when Banashak first took him on. After a handful of singles with Toussaint that didn't get much notice, Easterling was assigned to Eddie Bo, who produced several good sides on him, including "The Grass Looks Greener" and "Keep The Fire Burning" (Alon 9033) around 1966/67. Then, in 1970, Huey Smith started producing him on Instant, where Easterling recorded a memorable funk version of "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man" b/w "Ooh Poo Pah Doo" (#3309) that was popular regionally.

"Too Weak To Break The Chains", written by Smith. came out soon thereafter, right as Banashak was starting to close down the operation. It and the flip, "I'm Your Man" were great, funky sides. Smith's arrangement on our feature has nice horns and an over-driven, reversed guitar lead that takes some getting used to, maybe, but sets the piece off. There were three more Instant singles for Skip, that understandably did not have a chance to get over due to the demise of the label.

Easterling was one of the few white artists who recorded for Banashak's labels. He had a good, soulful voice and convincing delivery. But, as with so many of his fellow artists, nothing much happened commercially with his output. I originally encountered this song on the Charly LP compilation of Easterling's Alon and Instant material, Taking Inventory, long out of print. Skip really deserves a remastered CD compilation devoted to him.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to see you spreading the music of my friend Skip Easterling, he is a great man with an outstanding voice, his later alon and instant sides are fantastic. I have a nice interview with Skip on my website you or your readers may like... - its under the features section. keep up the good work. martin lawrie

3:06 PM, June 09, 2005  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Thanks, Martin. I do have a link to that interview in this post; and I hope people have gone over to your fine site to read it. I plan to post another track by Skip in due course.

11:23 AM, June 10, 2005  

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