July 20, 2007

That's Right - More Danny James

I was going to wait to post these other two Danny James sides I mentioned that are favs of mine; but it seems to make more sense to put them up now, right behind the prior post with his background information near at hand/eye. I forgot say earlier that almost everything I know about James I learned from the notes to that Ace CD I referred to earlier, which were written by Robert Hankins back in 1996. The Ace label in England is top notch and usually always does its homework in researching the artists it features to provide adequate background and context to the music.

"That's Right"
(W. P. Guidry - C. S. Williams)

(tune in to HOTG Internet Radio)

"No Yo" (C. J. Guillory)
(tune in to HOTG Internet Radio)

Appearing on his debut single for Goldband, these cuts pre-date "Switch It" by about a year in terms of release. All of James instrumentals were probably cut between 1966 and 1967; and I would suspect that the band for the sessions was primarily made up of members of the Fabulous Kings with whom James regularly played at the time. Bandleader Clint West (Clinton Guillory) is said to have been the drummer on at least some of the cuts. That's likely him on "No Yo", which he wrote. Neither of these could be construed as funk; but the tunes have great grooves and arrangements and did not deserve the near instant obscurity they obtained.

"That's Right" is a minor key (G minor, I believe), way cool workout. James pulls off some supple runs, riffing with twangy dexterity - but the standout for me here are the horn charts. Talk about enhancing a track. Dig especially the interjected lines of syncopated staccato punches they throw during the main body of the song. It's high class, lowdown pro work that I could listen to all night. Yeah, that's right!

Meanwhile, the b-side, "No Yo", is nothin' but a groove, an insistent and deceptively simple one at that, with kind of a jazz feel to it. The backing chords do nothing more than a rhythmic half step slide up between two augmented nine chords that have an interesting harmonic complexity that becomes more apparent when the horns begin to play longer notes. Repeated over the course of the song, these changes create an inner tension that, combined with a fine, slightly syncopated drum shuffle, locks the listener into a groove which seems to move back and forth yet have a forward thrust, as well. Nice trick. Atop it all, James peels off some gritty, swampy string bending that hovers somewhere between Steve Cropper and Roy Buchanan territory. When it fades just after the two minute mark, you wish it had been a much longer ride and reach for the repear button.

Speaking of back and forth, I can't decide which one of these I like the most. They are both so knocked out. Combined with "Switch It", which is really the most straightforward of the three Danny James instrumentals I've featured, these potent products are indeed unique sounding tracks for Goldband, and for South Louisiana music of the period in general. At least they were a real surprise to me. Discovering hip stuff like this is what keeps me on the hunt for and totally strung out on South Coast sounds.


Blogger thisistomorrow said...

hi there... i just wanted to let you know that i really love your site... lots of information and great music... i have added your link to my blog, would be great if you could do the same... thanks and keep up the good work... mike

10:19 AM, July 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks! this really is great music...!!

3:40 PM, July 26, 2007  
Blogger Red Kelly said...


Posilutely absitively da REAL DEAL, dan-o!!


9:23 PM, July 26, 2007  
Blogger Todd Lucas said...

Just love these old guitar 45's, a la Lonnie Mack, etc. This is a really good one, both sides.

8:32 AM, July 30, 2007  

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