March 21, 2006

King Floyd's First LP

"Love Ain't What It Used To Be" (K. Floyd - L. Milton)
King Floyd, from Heart Of The Matter, VIP, 1971/A Man In Love, Pulsar 1969

New Orleans native King Floyd, III, who passed away on March 6th at 61, grew up in the intense, post-WWII musical atmosphere of the city, which was heavily laden with the heady rhythm and blues and early rock ‘n roll that changed the world. Deciding to become a singer at an early age, he was inspired not only by seeing and hearing the likes of Earl King, Ernie K-Doe, and Irma Thomas in their early days, but by national stars like Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson.

While still a teenager in the early 1960’s he got his first gigs on Bourbon Street, but soon was in the military. Upon his discharge, he began singing professionally again, not in his hometown, but in the New York City area, and working on his songwriting, learning the ropes from such masters as Don Covay and J. J. Jackson. He then moved on to Los Angeles to seek his fortune, arriving in the mid-1960’s and encountering a number of New Orleans expatriates in the business there, including producer, arranger, musician
Harold Battiste, whom he knew from back home. Battiste’s connections got Floyd into the LA scene; and the young singer soon recorded his first single, “Walkin’ and Thinkin’” b/w “Why Did She Leave Me?”, released on Original Sound. From there he was able to get an album deal with Pulsar, again with the help of Battiste, who also produced and arranged on the project. The result, A Man In Love, was issued in 1969.

Today’s feature, “Love Ain’t What It Used To Be”, is taken from that album, although my copy is a 1971 VIP (Motown) re-issue of it called, Heart Of The Matter, that was put out to cash in on King Floyd’s new popularity when “Groove Me” hit. As good as the album is, with Floyd writing or co-writing (two with Mac Rebennack!) every song on it and singing well throughout, it does not really reveal anything of the soulful funk that he would pursue in the 1970’s. I’ll address that in another post; but, for now, as this song reveals, Floyd’s direction on his first LP was more of a soul/pop sound with a definite Motown influence. I find his songwriting ability to be surprisingly well-developed and consistent on his first full-length effort. Surely, Harold Battiste’s hand in developing the record and doing the arrangements had much to do with the over-all quality of the finished product.

Although I have no session information on this album, it is likely that there are some New Orleans musicians on it, as Battiste had access to a pool of HOTG talent that had re-located to the West Coast; but, despite its positives, A Man In Love, was not promoted and did not sell. And after spending a while longer in California with no more recording opportunities forthcoming, performing sporadically, and writing for other artists such as Alvin ‘Shine’ Robinson and Jane Mansfield (?!), King Floyd moved back home, soon to begin the more successful phase of his career.

I’ll be featuring more about that in my next post. But, ‘til then, enjoy this nice bit of up-tempo soul and the smooth tenor voice of a young man getting his first big break. And, by the way, what's up with that puffy shirt?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice tribute!
And nice to see that cover. Never seen it before.

Was this an unusual attempt of cash-in on Floyd's hit by Motown (VIP) as this is a Lousiana production or are there other examples?


11:11 AM, March 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, not a real Lousiana production when it comes to the state, but well, the people behind the record.

11:13 AM, March 24, 2006  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Well, Dominik, re-releasing product on an artist to capitalize on a current big hit is standard operating procedure in the music business. After all, nothing sells like success. That's not just for a New Orleans artist, but for any artist. Any company having some old tracks lying around, or a prior record that didn't sell could give it a try. And, if they don't put much information on the packaging, maybe people will think it's a new product!

I am reminded of what producer, label owner and crook Huey Meaux did when Dr. John got famous. He issued a bunch of demos Mac had made years before; and in some cases, Meaux added a backing band to the solo tracks! To fill out an album, he hired some guy to sing like Dr. John on a few tracks. So it goes. . .

5:35 PM, March 24, 2006  
Blogger Joseph said...

Would it be at all possible for you to upload this album? It's virtually impossible to find, and I truly love all that I've heard so far from King Floyd. "Handle With Care" is an absolute gem. I'd greatly appreciate it.

Cheers to a great blog!

1:02 PM, May 02, 2011  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Thanks, Joseph. I don't post full albums; but, if you will email me (address is on the left side of this page with @ and . spelled out)we can discuss it further. Peace.

12:22 PM, May 06, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And covered by fellow Pulsar artist Wayne Talbert the same year (produced by Dr. John).

11:36 AM, January 07, 2014  

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