How We Roll
Eddie having fun
"I Just Keep Rolling" (Edwin Bocage)
Eddie Bo [likely an unissued Rip session] 1962
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Back in the 1980’s, I picked up a Charly LP called Vippin’ and Voppin’, a compilation of Eddie Bo’s sides for Seven-B, mainly, but including a few from the Rip label, several of which seem to have been unissued at the time. It was my introduction to this phase of his work and was quite a revelation. For the most part, I found many of these songs to be more musically satisfying than some of his earlier records for Ace, Apollo, Chess, and Ric. The dates of the sides on the comp range from 1962 to 1967, the period just prior to the beginnings of his definitive funk recordings.
The album notes listed “I Just Keep Rolling” as unissued and recorded on June 9, 1962, which corresponds to the period of other sides Bo did for Rip Records. In my recent reading of the Eddie Bo Discography at soulgeneration, I see that Martin thinks this song was released on a Rip single. Eddie’s website shows that, too; though neither of them show a flip side or issue number. Meanwhile, The R&B Indies do not show any such release on Rip*; but the Rip catalog may not yet be completely known.
Released or not, this upbeat souler with a distinct, relaxed New Orleans feel is quite obscure. Listen to the casual, syncopated parade beat drumming. It shows up often in the city’s music, related as it is to the second line brass band breakdown at the final stage of a jazz funeral. I guess you could call it unpremeditated funk that just naturally bubbles up, given a good drummer and half a chance. Having it here makes for a great groove, combined with the hip swing and sway of the horns. Bo doesn’t sweat the light lyrics sounds like he's having fun with them. If this track was unissued, the likely reason would be that Eddie came in for the last verse too early after the instrumental break. He starts "I -", stops, then improvises a few more "I - I - I"'s for a bar before starting the at the right spot. It's not a major malfunction, but may have been enough to keep this great song in the can, maybe thinking he'd redo the vocal later - although that didn't seem to happen.
Eddie Bo’s transition from R&B/soul to funk is worthy of a dissertation that I won’t go into now. But, let me refer you once again to Larry Grogan’s excellent, enjoyable take on that important aspect of Bo’s career at his Funky 16 Corners website, if you want to pursue it. Otherwise, just let Eddie keep us rolling.
* [Note 4/5/2009: The R&B Indies shows Rip 160 as "Mama Said" b/w "Tee-Na-Na", credited as by Eddie Bo; and I once thought "I Just Keep Rolling" might possibly the same tune as "Mama Said", since the lyrics in the first verse of this recording say 'mama said' several times, although 'I just keep rolling' is the repeated chorus throughout. Recently, a contributor here, Peter, sent me a scan and rip of that Rip revealing that it was actually a Reggie Hall single, produced and written by Bo; and "Mama Said" was a completely different song. Just goes to show, even our best sources can be wrong sometimes. The Indies also shows that Rip 157 was not issued - no titles are listed. Perhaps that is the missing single where "I Just Keep Rolling" was to have appeared, or that awaits discovery in some dusty box. I look forward to further enlightenment from anyone. Thanks, Peter, for your help in setting things at least a bit more straight.]