FUNKIFY YOUR LIFE - SHOW #3 - PLAYLIST
Air dates: Thursday, 8/21/2014, at 1:00 PM Central and Friday, 8/22/2014, at 9:00 PM, on KRVS 88.7 FM Lafayette.. A podcast and playlist for this edition of Funkify Your Life and past shows are available from the KRVS website under “Programs” [or just use/bookmark the link!] You’ll find the podcast(s) in the ”Music” section under the current playlist - click on the link with name and date of show, then hit “Listen”.
This week’s playlist turns out of have been almost totally sourced from vinyl, with the exception of one CD cut. . . and the intro.
“Funkify Your Life” [Intro] - The Meters - from Sundazed CD re-issue of New Directions, 2000.
“Yeah You Right” (Shaab-Carter-Zeigler-O’Rourke-Cowart) - The Sister and Brothers - from the original Uni 45 (#55238), 1970.
Recorded at Deep South Studios in Baton Rouge and produced by Ron Shaab and Cold Gritz. The story of The Sister and Brothers, featuring Geri Richard on lead vocal with instrumental backing by Cold Gritz, is involved and still somewhat murky. You can get more details in my 2008 post on this record, which was the group’s second release. There you will find a link to another piece I did on their third single that came out on Calla. I’ve yet to cover their first 45 on Uni, but hope to get to it one of these days, as well as play more cuts on the show.
“It’s Your Thing” (R. Isley-O. Isley-R. Isley) - Cold Grits - from a re-issue of their Atco 45 (#741671), that was a part of the 2006 limited-edition What It Is vinyl box set.
I ended up using this copy because it is so clean, instead of the original 1970 45 (#6707) shown in error on my station playlist [soon to be revised]. Anyway, the Cold Gritz of the previous track and this Cold Grits are the same band, as their drummer, ‘Tubby’ Zeigler, verified to me. They produced and arranged both sides of the record, which likely was cut at Atlantic Records’ Criteria Studio in Miami. Just prior to that, Cold Grits had come to the attention of one of Atlantic’s esteemed producers, Jerry Wexler, who brought them to Criteria to work as one of the session bands backing various artists making records there. This was their only release as a group
Other details about them can be found in the post on the Sister and Brothers linked above.
“The Rubber Band” (Traci Borges) - Eddie Bo and the Soul Finders - from the original Knight 45 (#303-4), 1970.
Produced and written by Traci Borges, who owned the Knight label and studio in Metairie, LA. Eddie Bo arranged and sang the two-part song. I don’t recall if the Soul Finders were the backing female vocalists or the unidentified musicians. I wrote about this single, one on Bo’s most obscure funk releases, back in my March Mardi Gras post this year.
“Adam and Eva” (Herbert Hardesty) - Herb Hardesty - from the original Federal 45 (#12423), 1961/63
Lead saxophonist for over 60 years in Fats Domino’s band and on many of his studio recordings, Herb made some great records on his own, backed by some of his fellow band members between the late 1950s and 1963. This track, originally titled “Adam and Eve”, was cut in New York City in 1961, with the jazz pianist Hank Jones sitting in. The single was released twice at the time on two labels out of Philadelphia, but did not prosper. In 1963, Herb signed with Federal Records, which re-issued his NYC recordings and some new material; but none of those got any traction either. For more details see my post from last month featuring this track.
“For You My Love” (Paul Gayten) - Paul Gayten - from the Chess/MCA LP, Chess King of New Orleans, 1989.
Recorded in New Orleans for Chess Records, when Gayten was their A&R man in the city, this track from 1957 was not issued at the time, and first saw the light of day on this compilation of some of Gayten’s own recordings from the mid to late 1950s (also on CD and mp3s with extra cuts). Players included some of the N.O.’s best: Earl Palmer on drums, Frank Fields, bass, Gayten on piano, Edgar Blanchard, guitar, plus Lee Allen on tenor sax and ‘Red’ Tyler on baritone.
Palmer gave the tune a great New Orleans bounce groove with a hint of Latin flavor. Larry Darnell originally recorded the song with an R&B/swing groove for Regal Records and had a #1 R&B hit with it in 1949.
“Come On, Part 1” (Earl King) - Earl King - from the original Imperial 45 (#5713), 1960.
Dave Bartholomew, who produced and wrote or co-wrote so many hits for Fats Domino and others, was the long-time A&R man for Imperial Records in New Orleans and signed King in 1960 after he had left Ace Records. King’s two-part “Come On” was the first of his five singles for Imperial, plus one on the affiliated Post imprint, over the next two years. He had recorded a version of this tune for the Ace label earlier, but it was not issued until King’s Imperial single started getting airplay at home.
While King’s Imperial recordings are considered classics today, the singles were not particularly successful at the time, because the label did not promote them. I’m pretty sure Wardell Quezergue arranged most of the tracks King recorded for Imperial. On this one, James Rivers played tenor sax, and ‘Kid’ Jordan baritone, with King on guitar, plus bassist George Davis, and Bob French’s casually funky drumming. As I said on the show, Jimi Hendrix did an amped-up cover of “Come On” in 1968 on his Electric Ladyland LP, which gave the song new prominence that inspired other covers over the years.
“Her Mind Is Gone” (Roy Byrd) - Professor Longhair - from the Atlantic double LP, The Last Mardi Gras, 1982. See my 2010 Mardi Gras post on this live album, recorded at Tipitina’s in New Orleans in 1978, for the backstory with a link to an earlier post on this specific track. Great performance, great recording - could have been an utter disaster for so many reasons, but fortune smiled.
“S.A.M.” (Sam Bros) - Sam Bros. 5 - from their eponymous Arhoolie LP, 1979.
See my July post on this tune in Part 1 of my Summertime Syncopations series.
“Straight Shot” (Johnny Ray Allen-Tommy Malone) - the subdudes - from their Lucky CD, 1991.
As I said on the show, I picked this tune particularly because co-writer and bassist, Johnny Ray Allen, passed away recently. I first heard of the subdudes when they were runners-up in the Musician Magazine Best Unsigned Band contest in the late 1980s. I knew of Magnie and Malone from previous New Orleans bands they were in, L’il Queenie and the Percolators and the Continental Drifters. Guitarist Malone, percussionist Steve Amadee, and bassist Allen were all from Edgard, LA. Magnie, the keyboardist was from Colorado, but had been working in New Orleans for quite some time. The four moved to Colorado for a few years while getting the band going, signed with EastWest, a division of Atlantic, in 1989 and release of their first CD, the subdudes. Lucky was their second, and last for the label. For more on the band’s history and musical connections, check out their informative website.
This tune shows more of the rock side of the ‘dudes, with definitely a funk feel to the groove. Nice horn work by Joe Cabral (The Iguanas), too.
“I Need You” (F. Beverly) - Stooges Brass Band - from their recent (undated) LP, Street Music, on the Sinking City label.
The first of many brass band cuts I plan to air on the show as it goes along. I picked this track because it’s fresh on vinyl and was written by funky soul showman Frankie Beverly, who with the San Francisco-based band Maze have been perennial favorites in New Orleans live and on record since the 1970s.
“I Can Fix That For You” (W. James-D. Garyson) - Dori Grayson - from original Murco 45 (#1045), 1968.
Starting in 1967, Shreveport soul chanteuse Dori Grayson, cut three singles for Heads Up Productions, run by Dee Marais there. Two appeared on Murco (#s 1038 & 1045), and the other was on Peermont (#1056) in 1970. Both were local labels. Grayson had an appealing voice and stuck mainly to the more pop side of soul; but her records didn’t find a big enough audience to take her beyond the Shreveport scene.
“Doin’ Sumpin’” (Naomi Neville) - Al Fayard - from the original Alon 45 (#9020), 1964,
Allen Toussaint arranged, wrote the tune (under his pen-name), and played piano on it. As I said on-air, the backing band was the Stokes, formed by Toussaint while he was in the service in Texas. With Fayard, their drummer, they recorded a string of mainly instrumental records written by Toussaint for the Alon label in New Orleans, released between 1964 and 1965; but they had only modest local appeal. One of the tunes, “Whipped Cream”, was covered by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass in California and became a national hit in 1965. See my post on both of Fayard's Alon singles for more of the story.
“Soul City” (Ray Johnson) - Ray Johnson - from the original Infinity 45 (#024B), 1964.
As I noted on the show, Ray, who passed away last year, was the brother of the great saxophonist Plas Johnson, who for decades was a first-call session musician in L.A., CA, as well as a respected jazz player. Both of them relocated to the West Coast from New Orleans in the early 1950s. For more information on Ray, check my 2012 post on this song plus some other groovy organ tunes.
He was definitely working out on some proto-funk here, backed by some uncredited California session cats.
“Whatever” (Leon Ware) - Merry Clayton - from her Ode LP, Merry Clayton, 1971.
While highly prized as a backing vocalist since the 1960s, probably best known for her work on the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter”, Merry has done her best to get established as a solo artist over the years, but with only limited success. She was one of the featured singers in the award-winning 2013 documentary, 20 Feet From Stardom - highly recommended; and I did a brief overview of her career here back in 2008. Her albums are all well worth hearing.
“Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further” (Allen Toussaint) - Lee Dorsey - from his Polydor LP, Yes We Can, 1970.
As noted, this album was produced and arranged by Toussaint, who also wrote most of the material. The Meters were the rhythm section of record on this track, and almost all the others, with Gary Brown doing the sax work. I wrote about the album and song here back in 2011.
“Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley” (Allen Toussaint) - Robert Palmer - from the Island LP, Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley, 1974.
Producer Steve Smith, who formerly worked at Muscle Shoals Sound, brought Robert Palmer from the UK to record his first solo album in New York City with veteran Atlantic Records session players, and in New Orleans at the newly built Sea-Saint Studios, hiring the Meters as the backing band. Smith also called in Lowell George, leader of Little Feat, to play his sublime slide guitar on all the sessions.
The Sea-Saint tracks all cooked; but the killer was this tight, multi-layered, and intense reinterpreting of the song first recorded by Lee Dorsey on that Yes We Can LP. For more details on Palmer’s album and the New Orleans connections, check out the post I did on it this past June.