April 11, 2006

Lloyd Price's Jamaican Connection



"The Truth" (Jimmy Norman & Al Pyfrom)
Lloyd Price, JAD 212-A, 1968

No lie



"Don't Stop Now" (Tony Bryce)
Lloyd Price, JAD 212-B-1, 1968

Soon come. . .

Continuing the ongoing detective work right here, I am always amazed at how an obscure single I’ve bought on a whim or a hunch can open a window on unknown (to me) aspects of a song, an artist’s career, a record label, a significant time in the history of recording, etc. Such is the case with today’s single, “The Truth” b/w “Don’t Stop Now”, by New Orleans native Lloyd Price on New York-based JAD Records. I like the record so much that I thought I’d let you hear both sides; and the back story maybe makes more sense, if you hear them together.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Lloyd Price should be well known at least to fans of New Orleans music from the 1950’s, from his classic R&B debut with “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” in 1952, backed by Dave Bartholomew’s band with Fats Domino on piano, to his more slick, uptown pop records later that decade and into the next for ABC, after he had left his hometown. By the late 1960’s, his recording career had cooled off, at least as far as hits were concerned; and, in 1968, he released two singles on JAD.

Taken from the initials of the first names of its principals, singer
Johnny Nash, producer Arthur Jenkins, and Nash’s business partner, Danny Sims, JAD Records was a venture that initially sought to develop Jamaican artists for the American and international market, specifically Bob Marley and his group the Wailers, whom Nash encountered on a trip to the island in 1967. This was a transitional period in Jamaican music when the rock steady style was just beginning to move toward reggae, with Marley and band to become the greatest exponents of the latter style. But, at the time, Marley wanted to be a soul singer in the Otis Redding mold and hoped his association with JAD would help him get there. Nash and the label brought in a New York engineer, songwriters, and such A-list session players as Bernard Purdie, Chuck Raney, Richard Tee and Eric Gale (the frequent studio band for Atlantic Records) for the basic tracking sessions in Jamaica. Tunes cut there then went back to New York for any needed overdubs of horns, strings, etc. Although some of these sessions were released in Jamaica on local labels, it appears that JAD only issued one single of Marley and the group, “Bend Down Low” b/w “Mellow Mood” in the name of Bob, Rita & Peter in 1968. When it didn’t sell, JAD lost interest in the project, leaving Marley to wander in the recording wilderness for a few more formative years.

Besides, attempting to develop and break the budding genius, JAD released about a dozen other singles, mainly by Johnny Nash, who benefitted the most from the Caribbean association. I don’t know how Lloyd Price got involved with the label for his two singles; but the songs presented here are certainly unworthy of obscurity. “The Truth”, composed by American R&B writers Jimmy Norman and Al Pyfrom, has a convincing Jamaican flavor for a track done by, I assume, the same NYC cats who played the Marley sessions. Meanwhile, the upbeat B-side dancer, “Don’t Stop Now”, is USA all the way with a great groove, hot horns, and Price's inspired vocal.

About a year after his JAD singles were released into relative oblivion, Price started a club in New York, The Turntable, and the short-lived Turntable label. He released one single of his own on it, the great “Bad Conditions” b/w “The Truth”, the same side as on JAD 212. The A-side was also taken from those same Jamaican sessions; but the single went nowhere, as well. I’ll try to feature it a little later on. Turntable, by the way, is probably best known for releasing some Howard Tate tracks that same year [see the thread in the comments for more on this].

Since Jamaican popular music was heavily influenced by American R&B/soul, including many New Orleans records, it’s interesting to learn of artists from this country, such as Lloyd Price and Johnny Nash, trying to capture some of that island sound at the source well before reggae caught fire through that young man who stood up to sing Rasta soul.

See there. All that connection from a record I pulled from a pile one day because it looked promising. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Merkin Muffley said...

The Howard Tate on Turntable was recorded in Jamaica, and is co-produced by Lloyd Price and Johnny Nash!

11:06 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Hmmmm, Merkin, I think Lloyd and Johnny did have a side deal going. I only have one of those Tate singles on Turntable, "That's What Happens" b/w "These Are The Things That Make Me Know You're Gone". The label says it was recorded at LP's Turntable in NYC and produced by Price and Arthur Jenkins. But, it also says "Distributed Exclusively By JAD Records, Inc.".
With that connection and Price's own Turntable single being a Jamaican session, I can see it being possible that some of Tate's sessions (he had at least four singles on Turntable) were done down there. Do you have some of those singles, or is this info from elsewhere? Thanks for the comment. It made me go pull that Tate single, which I should have done earlier!

11:32 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Larry Grogan said...

Dan
I have one of the Tate/Turntable 45s and I'd always heard that they were NY based recordings.
Larry

10:16 AM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Funny, Howard Tate's official website doesn't seem to mention anything about the Turntable sessions or singles. Anyway, I think I may have found the Jamaican connection with Tate and Price. It was Tate's Turntable album,'Howard Tate Reaction', that says it was recorded in Jamaica and produced by Price and Nash. From what I've read (I do not have this LP), it has at least some of his Turntable single sides on it! Confused yet? If I had to guess (and I do have to), Tate had some sessions in Jamaica for the LP, but not all of the LP sessions were done there. Making the album's production claim less than accurate. Maybe he just did the rock-steady/reggae cut(s) there.
Any other information is welcome, people.

11:07 AM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger J Epstein said...

Bloggers:

I know at least one listener who would be fascinated to hear what Howard Tate singing a rock steady track would sound like . . . .

Also:
Note that "Mother And Child Reunion" by Paul Simon.
is a very successful track to emerge from this JA/Stuff cross-pollination.

8:03 AM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

You're right, J. Surely some blogger has that Tate album. It's a call to action. I'd like to hear it, too.

10:00 AM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Per Oldaeus said...

Hi, glad that I found you're interesting website. I'm very interested in the NO.La - Jamaican connection. Working on a book! If you are knowledgeable about the subject, please let me hear from you, very best wishes Per Oldaeus (Stockholm, Sweden)(more later)

10:10 AM, August 27, 2006  
Anonymous Per Oldaeus said...

Hi, glad that I found you're interesting website. I'm very interested in the NO.La - Jamaican connection. Working on a book! If you are knowledgeable about the subject, please let me hear from you, very best wishes Per Oldaeus (Stockholm, Sweden)(more later)

10:10 AM, August 27, 2006  
Blogger Chris T said...

Greetings!
Great blog, wow! what a collection.
Please re-up these Lloyd Price tunes.
Would greatly appreciate it.
My email address is locks33326@gmail.com.
One love!

9:13 PM, July 16, 2010  

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