August 22, 2005

Yeah, You Right, Baton Rouge! (Updated)



"Yeah, You Right" (Shaab-Carter-Zeigler-O'Rourke-Cowart)
The Sister And Brothers, Uni 55238, ca. 1969
LISTEN

[6/18/2008 - I've updated and revised this post several times, since some more information has come to light, thanks to several people who contacted me after reading it and got me doing more sleuthing. Your comments and/or emails are always welcome and will always be credited, unless you wish to remain anonymous.]

I discovered this single in a huge lot of 45s I bought right after I moved to Lafayette; and "Yeah, You Right", with its highly percussive groove and insinuating Afro-beat rhythmic flavor, sucked me in as soon as the needle dropped. As the label states, both sides were cut at Deep South Recording Studios in Baton Rogue. Some good funk-related music has been made in the city over the years; but quite frankly, I’ve never heard anything quite like our feature track come out of Baton Rouge before or since. It’s another song like “Get Up” by Willie Tee and the Gaturs, where the groove takes hold and makes the inconsequential lyrics unimportant, the vocals becoming just another part of the sonic ensemble. Not to denigrate the lead vocalist here, who I've determined with some certainty was Geraldine Richard, (a/k/a Sister Geri). She sang on all three of the group's singles, and had a soulful, high quality delivery, especially on the non-funk numbers, such as the flip side of this one, “Dear Ike (Remember I'm John's Girl)”, one of those slow burner monologue songs where the talking goes on longer than the actual singing; but when she finally does start in, it’s well worth hearing, too.

Through a comment from The Tyrone Gringos (dated 11/2/2008) to an an earlier version of this post, I've learned that The Sister And Brothers were a working band, at least for a short time, in the Baton Rouge area. I had thought before that they might have been only a studio creation. From the information in that comment, it seems the band members were not the core unti that played on this single, though, as I have learned that session band was a very busy separate entity. No information has yet come to light about who played on the other releases credited to the group, though.

Recorded in 1968 or early 1969, the earliest single for The Sisters And Brothers may have first appeared locally on Lucky Sounds #1010, but was re-issued on Uni 55199, “The Jed Clampett, Parts 1 & 2”, the a-side of which can be heard on
Mr. Finewine's 02/09/2001 WFMU show. Ron Shaab, who produced or co-produced all three of the records, wrote the raw, Southern funkifried tune, featuring some excellent broken up drumming, that has Richard mainly talking with attitude over the groove, rather than singing.

Following soon thereafter, likely later in 1969 or early 1970, was “Yeah, You Right". The label gives co-production credit to Shaab and Cold Gritz, perhaps better know as Cold Grits, a legendary session band that has been shrouded in mystery since the release of their chill, one-off funk single on Atco that same year, "It's Your Thing" b/w "Bring It On Home To Me". The unit was from the Baton Rouge area originally and had backed John Fred (as his Playboy Band) on tour and on his records for Uni in the late 1960s, which is probably how The Sister And Brothers came to the label. The drummer for Cold Grits, Ronald 'Tubby' Ziegler, has verified to me that his group were actually the ‘Brothers’ who played on the awesome "Yeah, You Right" and it's b-side, both of which which they are credited as co-writing with Shaab. Under the circumstances, it is likely they were on the first Uni single, too. The other members of Cold Grits were Harold Cowart on bass, Jimmy O'Rourke on guitar, and Billy Carter on keyboards.


In an anonymous comment to this post, someone has provided a kind of fuzzy history of Cold Grits after they left John Fred's employ, which you are free to read. I have not independently verified all the information offered there. What is clear is that they soon encountered Jerry Wexler, who, around 1969, invited them to come to Atlantic's new Criteria Studios in Miami to work on backing tracks for a number of artists, including Wilson Pickett and Jackie Moore; and, as noted, the group's lone 45 was also issued at the time. Cold Grits came to Criteria around the same time that Wexler brought in the Dixie Flyers rhythm section (mainly from Memphis) for various other projects. For sure, Criteria was a happening place for making records and the hits were flying.

I am still working on an even murkier connection The Sister And Brothers may have had to another group associated with Baton Rouge, Cold Gritz and The Blackeyed Peas, who had a short-lived deal with Ode Records around 1970 that resulted in only one single, “Bayou Country”, although at least a album’s worth of material was recorded. Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Duke Bardwell, another vocalist and area legend Luther Kent, plus three female singers were some of the members of that group. I am still trying to suss out whether Sister Geri might have been one of those other singers, and if any Cold Grits players were also in Cold Grtiz (still with me?), or if similarities stopped with the name. Plenty of questions remain., such as why Cold Grits was shown as Cold Grtiz on the "Yeah, You Right" single.

I hope to talk more with ‘Tubby’ Zeigler about this period, as we have only had a few brief phone calls and emails as yet. He is recuperating from a recent heart attack and needs time to mend. I wish him all the best. With such an interesting career as a stone grooving sideman, he needs his own feature. After he left Cold Grits and Miami in the early 1970s, he toured and recorded with Steven Stills for several years, and then went back to Criteria to work sessions for Atlantic. He also played on many recordings for Miami-based T.K. Productions, well-known for their soul and funk output on Alston, Cat, Drive, Glades, Kayvette and many more related labels. Harold Cowart also stayed in Miami for many years working on many of Criteria's big name sessions.

Cedited to The Sister & Brothers, the final single, “Ack-A-Fool” b/w “Chained”, appeared on the Calla imprint in 1970. See that linked post for more details. But, as with the two prior Uni releases, it quickly slipped into obscurity.

During the 1970s, Ron Shaab also worked on recordings with other Baton Rouge soul/funk artists such as Earnest Jackson and George Perkins, and was also a concert promoter for a while in the city. Unfortunately, he passed away in the late 1990s; and I haven't learned any more about him, so far.

Regardless of the remaining mysteries of its back story, this outstanding track has that highly sought after HFQ (High Funk Quotient) we covet and is certainly worthy of a shout-out to any and all those in Baton Rouge who made it happen.




23 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

great track! nice one for sharing that, now to find a copy...
martin (soulgeneration)

5:38 PM, August 22, 2005  
Anonymous hellhound said...

Uuhh Huh! Yes! I can dance to that, much to the chagrin of my entire family. Wasn't the John Fred you mentioned the same guy who won a Cleo with Luther Kent a few years back?

10:07 PM, August 22, 2005  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Happy hunting, Martin!

Shaking your groove thang, Hound o' Hell? Can't say as I balme ya. The late John Fred (just recently passed) could have gotten that award. I wasn't aware of it.
08/23/2005

12:46 AM, August 23, 2005  
Blogger AK said...

This track has been burning up my laptop for the entire day! Excellent post, definitely putting this on the "must buy" list.

5:08 PM, August 24, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing groove on this one. Thanks! As Miles Davis would say, it has "all the tension up in it." Keep up the good work and keep that HFQ sky high!

11:20 AM, August 25, 2005  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

So glad y'all like it. This song has been running through my head on constant repeat for days - it gets its hooks in ya.

Thanks for that great Miles quote. I may have to borrow it sometime.

12:04 PM, August 25, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bit On the GRITs and the Blackeyed peas. I worked in B'Ham , Ala..at United recording and knew them when they worked with

6:14 PM, April 08, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE REST of THE STORY

Here is the rest of the story on the Cold Grits, founding members Tubby Ziegler (drums) Harold (Hog) Cowart (bass) Jimmy O'Rouk (guitar) and Jimmy Carter (Keyboards),,,
Having separated from John Fred and the Playboys, the group ended up in B'Ham , Ala and was referred to Bob Grove, The founder of United Recording and Productions. Unity was an independent label and at the time was using the Muscle Shoals guys (when available) for production. Some of the M.S. writers and Producers ( Marlin Greene (when a man loves a woman ,+++) and Nashville ,John Hurley (unity Writer) ( Son Of a Preacher Man and other greats) hoping to discover a new production studio. Presently producing some self contained up and coming acts among them the Alman Brothers. They needed a staff group in the studio for production work on individual acts.

It didn’t take long to figure out that that the Grits needed a place to make music and the studio needed production talent. With that in mind a union was formed..

Funds were meager and a lot of belt tightening and long hours followed. The Grits worked local gigs at night and the studio during the day, a grueling and productive schedule indeed. Their compensation was an apartment and enough cash for the necessities. During which time they played gigs with Clarence Carter, Candi Statton and numerous soul artists at night, then wrote and produced music in the studio.

This was all during the time that race relations were difficult in B’Ham, Bull Conner and the dogs, you name it. The studio was under fire by some of the local radicals but we never allowed that to interfere with our commitment to R & B , we did our thing and let the outside world handle its own thing.

Unity records at the time had studio commitments with several artists but the spot light went to Sam Dees, Roy Smith , Kiesa Brown and the Soul-touchers and a un-named female vocal group, Later to be named The Black-Eyed Peas, in the true southern tradition, The Cold Grits and the Black-eyed Peas..

The Black- eyed Peas was composed of Candi Statton (You Cant stop Me, Stand by your Man and numerous other great sounds), she later Married Clarence Carter, then after a tumultuous life as an R & B artist returned to her Gospel roots, and is now a successful TV Evangelist and still as powerful as ever. The Black-eyed Peas consisted of her sisters and some of their friends..
Combined with the Grits they had the blend for hit records..

In any event The grits cut hours of great tracks, resulting in a few records on Sam Dees, the most recognition went to a Eddie Hinton tune he recorded " It's all wrong , Its all right", released on Hi-Lo records the R & B subsidiary of Roulett records..and numerous sides which he wrote, Sam went on to be a prolific writer with over 400 published songs.

The grits had produced material enough for about six albums, with product in hand went to Muscle Shoals to meet Jerry Wexler (Atlantic Records).. He loved the Band and bought all recordings and material from United Recording.. From there the Group was move to the New Criterion studios in Miami where they worked with the greats on Atlantics label.. The Cold Grits also had a couple of single releases through Atlantic on the material..
Beginning with Brooke Benton's Rainy night in Georgia..Baby Washington and too many more to mention..

After the stint in Miami , the group difted apart, Jimmy Carter and O'Rouke moved back to Baton Rouge, Tubby Ziegler worked with Hog a while longer and then settled in Miami, and Hog went on to make music with some of the greats , Streisand , Rogers and Pardon (islands in a Stream) The Bellamy Brothers , Andy Gibb, The BGEES (Grease) Later to settle down on his childhood homestead in Prarieville, La . It was here he decided to build a production studio and ease back to collect the royalty checks from an amazing musical career.

7:47 PM, April 08, 2007  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

ANONYMOUS -
Thank you for this information, which I will sort through. I hope to use it to add to the main post. Would you please email me (see email link on upper left side of page), so that I can discuss a few things with you? I'd appreciate it.
Very interesting information!

11:58 PM, April 08, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my old high school band from baton rouge (1974-1978) is having a reunion next month and the cold gritz version of "bayou country" once again will grace our song list as it is one of our all-time faves. i learned it by listening to it on the juke box in der weinerschnitzel just outside the gates of lsu. the black eyed peas were credited on the record too, as i recall. the only version i've found lately is casey kelly's original country version from his second album. we'll also do the george ratzlaff (potliquor) version of "you can't get there from here". the early 70s in b.r. was very musically interesting. rock on.

7:11 PM, May 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MY NAME IS TUBBY ZEIGLER AND I WOULD LIKE TO SET THE RECORD RIGHT . I WENT OFF TO PLAY WITH STEVEN STILLS FOR 3 YEARS CAME BACK TO MIAMI AND CUT ALL ANDY GIBB RECORS AND DID STAYEN ALIVE WITH BERRY GIBB. DID KENNY AND DOLLY WITH BERRY GIBB. ALSO DID A LOT OF HITS AT TK RECORDS IN MIAMI I DID NOT JUST FADE A WAY MY EMAIL IS ronald.zeigler@gmail.com. thanks for letting me get the record right. still playing drums tubby zeigler

4:36 PM, October 12, 2007  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Well, let me say I am honored to have Tudbby Ziegler make a comment here. I suppose you are referring to the earlier anonymous comment from someone about Cold Grits' history. I never did find out who posted that, but needless to say, it glosses over a lot. And I never could verify the information. I generally do not use information I get from unidentified people; and I can understand why, you, Mr. Ziegler, would like to set the record straight about your impressive drumming career.

I will contact you by email and see if we can talk more. Thanks for writing.

8:34 PM, October 12, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a picture of Cold Gritz and the Black Eyed Peas back in the day. That is Duke Bardwell playing guitar and I think Big Luther Kent in the middle.

http://www.thepatmurphyband.com/gritz.jpg

10:06 PM, January 21, 2008  
Blogger Genny said...

Just thought I would let you know that the "Jimmy" Carter (keyboard) you are referring to is actually "Billy" Carter. He's my Dad, and this must be a common mistake because he often laughs and introduces himself as "Billy Carter-Republican." I've always wondered about the Cold Grits...he doesn't talk about it much but still tears up the piano from time to time.

11:32 AM, October 31, 2008  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Hi, Genny, thanks for the comment about your dad. I have him shown as Billy in my piece - it's that anonymous commenter who sent the "rest of the story" (still unverified) who called him "Jimmy". Anyway, if you dad would ever like to talk about the Cold Grits/Grtiz days, please contact me at the email address shown on the left sidebar of this page or the main page. I'd be glad to call him - or meet him for a beer, if he's still in BR. There is still an interest in the band, and a lot that we don't know.

1:30 PM, October 31, 2008  
Blogger The Tyrone Gringos said...

Hi, I knew several members of The Sisters and Brothers and also saw them gig several times. The last time I recall on a flat bed truck at an LSU frat house. The keyboard player's name is Guy Bradley, on bass Alonzo "Pato" Johnson, Drums, Herman "Rat" Johnson, guitar, Eddie Harris. They were in fact a "real" band, not merely a studio creation and did gig on a regular basis. I had the pleasue of jamming with "Rat" and "Pato" on many occassions in my own home studio. Both are still playing in zydecho bands.

3:51 PM, November 02, 2008  
Blogger Emil said...

I was a drummer with Wayne Cochran and the CC Riders when Tubby joined the band. Tubby and I hit it off right away and started playing well together. I was so impressed with how funky Tubby played. In my opinion Tubby is one of the great soul drummers. He has a great feel and can slip into a groove and hammers it.

9:25 AM, June 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All well and good - So where can I get a copy of "Bayou Country" by Cold Grits & Blackeyed Peas? Amazon doesn't have one available; does anyone else know of a source?

11:59 AM, November 17, 2009  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Well, anon, as far as I know, "Bayou Country" is not on any CD compliations - but I have seen it listed as an mp3 download. The single of "Bayou Country" on Ode was just credited to Gritz (the 45 is hard to find). Do a google search for Gritz and Bayou Contry and see what comes up. Also, check out the video trailer for the "Bayou Contry" documentary. Good stuff.

1:54 PM, November 17, 2009  
Blogger Joe said...

I've recently become friends with Hog. Maybe he could fill in some gaps for you if you're still interested? georgetull@cox.net

8:25 AM, May 11, 2010  
Anonymous Trey Merrill said...

Hog died on June 26, 2010.

1:38 PM, December 15, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi. has anyone ever heard of a group called, chewing gum and the gum wrappers? the songs on the 45 are, "i want'a know/chewing gum". both were written by shaab-jones.
they were produced by shaab productions babton rouge, la.
the label is ron records of baton rouge. thank you.

kraig

11:39 AM, January 03, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I first became aware of tubby ziegler from his work with stephen stills,which lead me to his other work,including the black eyed peas.He has become one of my favorite soul and funk drummers.I`m a drummer myself and really appreciate a guy who can get into the groove and stay there,and tubby does that as well as anybody.

5:30 PM, November 12, 2013  

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