Based on the premise that the true Home of the Groove, at least on the North American landmass, is the irreplaceable musical and cultural nexus, New Orleans, Louisiana and environs, this audioblog features rare, hard to find, often forgotten, vintage New Orleans-related R&B and funk records with commentary. Some general knowledge of N.O. music is helpful here, but not required to get your groove on.
I currently host a weekly show, "Funkify Your Life", on KRVS 88.7 FM in Lafayette which includes music covered on HOTG and more. You can listen-in live Thursdays at 1:00 PM or to the rebroadcast Fridays at 9:00 PM, or stream shows on demand and see playlists at the station website under the Programs tab. I am a former resident of Memphis, TN, where I did a weekly radio show called "New Orleans: Under the Influence" from 1988 to 2004 on WEVL 89.9 FM. I've been collecting and researching this kind of music (& others) even longer.
Individual audio files are accessible for a limited time after posting. Link to access audio will be on the song title. No link? Audio's outa here*.
When you hit a song link, a player streams it in a separate window. For other listening options, right click on the player when it comes up.
Note: Audio files on this blog are not high resolution (usually 128k) and are posted for reference purposes only. Please do not link directly to them. Use caution if booty shaking while operating vehicles or heavy machinery. Whenever possible, please buy music by these artists!!!
*HEADS UP: If the audio is no longer available here, hit the affiliated site, HOTG Internet Radio, a fully licensed webcast streaming a huge playlist of songs from the HOTG Archives. So go on, get down with the get down.
EMAIL: hotgblog (AT) gmail (DOT) com
ARTISTS & LABELS (or reps thereof): Want to submit your New Orleans/Louisiana grooves for review or posting consideration,
or want an audio post discontinued? Email me.
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QUOTES OF NOTE:
"New Orleans is of such key importance to American music because historical factors combined to make it the strongest center of
African musical practice in the United States, and, cliches aside, that practice really did travel up the Mississippi and did
spread overland." - Ned Sublette, from Cuba And Its Music
"I heard a group called Huey Smith & the Clowns, out of New Orleans. Now this is where funk was really created! That's where funk originated....
I couldn't understand how to do it, so this drummer from Huey Smith's band [Hungry Williams] showed me how to play [it]." - Clayton Fillyau,
drummer for Etta James and James Brown, on the origins of the 'James Brown Beat', in The Great Drummers Of R&B, Funk & Soul, interviewed by Jim Payne.
"A lot of those New Orleans drummers would come through, and I got a lot of stuff from those guys....Tenoo [Coleman] was...as funky as any of them.....
I learned some of that funk by listening to Tenoo." - John 'Jabo'Starks, drummer for Bobby Bland and James Brown, to Jim Payne as above.
"At the risk of sounding egotistical, a lot of the broken up stuff that these guys are playing now stems from the stuff that I had started doing." -
Earl Palmer, on his early days drumming with Dave Bartholomew's band, to Jim Payne, as above.
"With funk, it's almost more what you don't play than what you do play. I like those long silences between riffs,
I like the empty spaces. Those empty spaces, when you stop and let the groove wash all over you, make the
difference between fake funk and real funk." -Art Neville in The Brothers Neville
"Thank the good Lord for the funk musicians." -Jon Cleary ("Pin Your Spin")
"Without New Orleans, there would be no America." -Keith Frazier, Rebirth Brass Band, 2005.
"....don't be fooled. This city is deeply wounded. I'd say it's like an amputee
with phantom memory." -David Freedman, WWOZ, post-Katrina.
"If there was no New Orleans, America would just be a bunch of free people dying of boredom."
-Judy Deck, in an e-mail to Chris Rose at the Times-Picayune
"I'm not finished!" - Wardell Quezergue's final comment of the night after accepting the 2008 Best of the Beat
Lifetime Achievement In Music Award from Offbeat
"I discovered New Orleans along the way, and that made a big difference - It loosened me up." - Richie Hayward, the late drummer for Little Feat.
"National Funk Congress Deadlocked On Get Up/Get Down Issue" -The Onion
"Find The Thing You're Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life" -ditto dat
Original air date: Thursday, October 9, 2014, 1:00 PM on KRVS 88.7 FM Lafayette/Lake Charles, and online at krvs.org, with a rebroadcast Friday nights at 9:00. You can hear a podcast of this showand all the others I’ve produced so far on the website under “Programs”, anytime. They are archived by date there, down below the most recent playlist. Speaking of which, you’ll also find basic playlists for all FYL shows there on the KRVS site. Meanwhile, these annotated playlists are now running about three weeks behind. Once again, tempus fergeddaboudit! “Funkify Your Life” [Intro] - The Meters “Making It Better” (W. Querzergue-M. Adams-A. Savoy) - The Barons, Ltd - from their original Chimneyville single #436, 1971. For details about the two singles the Barons did for Chimneyville as part of their lengthy association with Wardell ‘Big Q’ Quezergue, see my2011 post. “Making Love To Funky Music” (R. Bell-J. Strickland) - Reuben Bell - from his original Alarm single #2118, 1977. I’ve been cooking up a post for over a year on Big Q’s association with Alarm Records, based in Shreveport, LA, but am trying to snag a few more singles - the harder ones to get, of course. This cut by Reuben Bell, one of the principal artists on the label, is not one of those, but still not all that common. You can learn as much as I know about Alarm by getting hold of the 2007 soulscape CD,Sound City Soul Brothers, which collects some of the best sides by Bell, Ted Taylor, and Eddie Giles, and includes great notes by Paul Mooney. From them I learned that Alarm regularly imported the Malaco Studio house musicians and backing singers for their sessions. So they are likely backing Bell on this Big Q produced/arranged track. “Woman Don’t Go Astray” (King Floyd) - King Floyd - from his original Chimneyville single #443, 1972. I put this single in context inPart 3of my Big Q series. “Before I Met You” (Marc Adams) - Marva Wright - from her Sky Ranch CD,Born With The Blues, 1993. I wrote about Marva and this album, which I still consider her best, shortly after her death back in 2010. As I mentioned on the show, Sonny Landreth played slide guitar on this cut, and songwriter Marc Adams was on piano, along with an impressive cast of other supporting players, such as Wilbert ‘Junkyard Dog’ Arnold on drums. “Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” (Marc Adams) - The Adams-Griffin Project .- from their Sound of New Orleans CD,Choices, 1994. Speaking of Marc Adams, here he is singing and playing piano on another original tune. This one-off album featured the band he put together with trumpeter, Tracy Griffin. “The Mouse” (Smilin’ Myron) - Smilin’ Myron - from their CD,What About The People, 1997. An insidiously funky little number from one of the many short-lived New Orleans funk bands of the 1990s. “99 44/100 Pure Love” (A. Reed) - Al Reed - from his originalAxe single#103, 1967. Both sides of this record, arranged by Big Q, are keepers. Reed was more of a songwriter than a performer, though he did make a few 45 between the mid-1950s and mid 1960s. Probably his best known song is “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”, originally cut by Danny White for Frisco Records. “Satisfied With Your Love” (Joan Parker) - Barbara George - for her original Seven B single #7019, 1968. I did abrief tributeto Ms George shortly after her passing in 2006, and included this track, written by Eddie Bo, under one of his many aliases, who also produced and arranged it. :Getting The Corners” (Leroy Lewis) - The T.S.U. Tornadoes - from their original Atlantic single #2579, 1968. As I said on the air, this Houston funk ‘n’ soul band came up with an original instrumental tune that became “Tighten Up”, when Archie Bell and the Drells recorded their vocals over it. This track sounds a lot like that hit, but never took off. For more on the band, seethis articlefrom the Houston Press. “Cocodrie” (Z. Richard) - Zachary Richard - from his Rounder CD,Mardi Gras Mambo, 1989. Some local color from back when Lafayette’s own rootsman, ZR, was gettin’ down funky onstage and in the studio. ‘Easy Days” (C.J. Chenier) - C. J. Chenier - from his Slash CD,I Ain’t No Playboy, 1992. A rarely heard instrumental cut featuring C. J. (son of Clifton) on flute, backed by his fine band. I picked this song and the previous one since Festival Acadiens et Creoles was going on the weekend the show aired and both these guys were there.. “Soulful Woman” (J. Hill-M. Rebennack-A. Robinson) - Al Robinson - from his original Pulsar single #2417, 1969. For background on Alvin ‘Shine’ Robinson’s collaborations with Mac Rebennack, Jessie Hill and Harold Battiste out on the Left Coast in the late 1960s, seemy postfrom 2010. “Light My Fire” (The Doors) - Tami Lynn - a track recorded in 1969/1970 for Pulsar but not issued until the Ace CD,More Gumbo Stew, 1993. This compilation from the UK was the second of an authorized three CD series of recordings overseen by Harold Battiste, during the 1960s. He recorded Tami Lynn, who he had worked with when the AFO label was active in New Orleans, backed by the same crew of players who worked on other Pulsar projects, many of them NO expatriates. For somebackstoryon Tami, see my 2008 post on one of her later records. “Bayou Cadillac” (B. Holley-E. McDaniel…...) - Beausoleil - from their Rounder CD,Bayou Cadillac, 1989. A true hybrid of rock-blues-R&B-second-line funk-cajun-zydeco that only Michael Doucet and the ultra-fine Beausoleil could pull off so well. They, too, played Festival Acadiens this year.
Air dates: Thursday, October 2, 2014, 1:00 PM, and Friday, October 3, 2014, 9:00 PM, onKRVS 88.7 FMLafayette/Lake Charles, and online at krvs.org. You can hear a podcast ofthis showand previous shows on the website under “Programs” anytime. This was a mostly vinyl episode, with a couple of choice CD cuts. I’m officially a week behind on these annotated playlists. So, from here on out, they will be briefer with links to more info. “Funkify Your Life” [Intro] - The Meters “Move Your Body” (D. Tabb-D. Shezbie-C. Honore) -Rebirth Brass Band- from their Basin Street LP,Move Your Body, 2014. “Bring It” (Shane Theriot) -Shane Theriot- from his Shose CD, Dirty Power, 2009. “Boogie The Blues” (Ray Johnson) - Ray Johnson - from his original Mercury single #7023, 1954. My 1/4/2014postincluded this side. “Still My Little Angel Child” (A. Mondy) - Alma Mondy - fromMercury Blues & Rhythm StoryCD set, 1996. Originally recorded for Mercury in New Orleans in 1949, backed by George Miller & his Mid-Driffs. Alma was called ‘The Lollipop Mama’ or ‘Miss Lollipop’. “Cat Walk” (L. Allen-A. Toussaint) -Lee Allen- from his original Ember single #1057. Toussaint likely arranged this session, too. From the sound of it, James Booker played organ, with Charles ‘Hungry’ Williams on drums. A recording with sonic problems that were on the master tape. “Then I’ll Believe” (D. Johnson) - Martha Carter - from her original Ron single #346, 1962. This single came up inPart 3of my In Pursuit Of Bo Consciousness series. “Keep The Fire Burning” (Edwin Bocage) - Skip Easterling - from his original Alon single #9033, 1966. For some background on Skip and this single, seePart 7of that Bo series. “I’ve Got Reasons” (E. Bocage-J. Scramuzza) - Mary Jane Hooper - from her original Power single #105-4051, 1968. IfeaturedMs Hooper (a/k/a Sena Fetcher) and her Eddie Bo produced tracks from this 45 and another back in 2008. “Do What You Wanna Do” (Isaac Bolden) - Tony Owens - from his original Island single #069, 1976. A few days after Katrina hit, and the seriousness of the subsequent Federal Flood hadn’t quite sunk in, I dida poston the singer and this tune. I was admittedly late to the Tony Owens bandwagon, but have since gotten more of this recordings and seen him perform live quite a few times, becoming a fan. Still, since much of his output has been on the deeper soul end of the spectrum, I haven’t written much more about his work, but hope to slip in some other tunes on the show. “Humpin’ To Please” (James Canes) - Jean Knight - from her original Ola single #1-102, 1977. This track wasdiscussedon the blog back in 2007. “Don’t Turn Your Back On Me” (Terry Manuel) - Louisiana Purchase - from their original LP, Louisiana Purchase, ca 1982. Despite the synthesizers and that slick “aural exciter” sound of the 80s, I dig this track and others on this LP. Iwrote aboutit and this tune in 2007. “Why You Wanna Do It” (W. Harper-T. Royal) - Willie Harper - from the Charly compilation LP,Sehorn’s Soul Farm, 1982. This album has two Willie Harper tunes, both co-written with guitarist Teddy Royal, that were probably recorded in the early mid-1970s, since Royal did not relocate to New Orleans until 1971, when he was hired on to King Floyd’s road band, the Rhythm Masters. From the sound of the backing musicians and arrangement, I would suspect this was recorded after Sea-Saint Studios opened in 1973, when Wardell Quezergue had returned from Malaco to work there. Early on, Smokey Johnson was drumming on sessions at Sea-Saint: and, in my2005 poston this tune, I hazarded a guess he played on this tune. “The Devil Gives Me Everything” (M. West-L. Laudenbach-The High Society Brothers) -Willie West- from his forthcomingTimmionLP/CD, Lost Soul. This track was first released five years back by Timmion, based on Norway, on a 45 issued in Europe, with good results. The new album will come out across the pond first, with later release in the US. “Country Road” (James Taylor) - Merry Clayton - from her Ode 70 LP,Gimme Shelter, 1970. A great, funked-up version of the JT classic from this outstanding vocalist most famous for her background work, but who has always deserved to be up front. Check out thisdetailed summaryof her recording career. “Running Man” (B. Ellman- T. DeCouet-Galactic) - Galactic - from their Capricorn CD,Late For The Future, 2000. Vocal by Theryl DeClouet, who sang with the band for several years.
Air dates: Thursday, September 25, 2014, 1:00 PM, and Friday, September 26, 2014, 9:00 PM, onKRVS 88.7 FMLafayette/Lake Charles, and online at krvs.org. You can hear a podcast ofthis showand previous shows on the website under “Programs” anytime. “Funkify Your Life” [Intro] - The Meters “Ride Your Pony” (Naomi Neville) - Betty Harris - from the Charly LP compilation of Betty’s Sansu material,In the Saddle, 1980. My original 45 (Sansu #480), is a bit worse for wear on this side, so I went with this re-issue track. I played the flip side of the single, “Trouble With My Lover”, on show #1. For more thoughts on this tune, which is a Toussaint-written/produced cover that beats Lee Dorsey’s 1965 original, seemy postfrom 2010. And for some background on how Ms Betty came to record in New Orleans, checkthis one. “Love, I Can’t Seem To Find It” (Larry Williams) - Larry Williams - from his original Venture single #622, 1968. For some background on Williams’ music career, his gangster lifestyle, and this single in particular, check outmy postfrom 2006, where I featured the other side, “Shake Your Body Girl”. “Don’t Stop Now” (Tony Bryce) - Lloyd Price - from his original JAD single #212, 1968. I featured this single back in 2006; andthe postis chock full of interesting factoids, most of which I’d since forgotten. Glad I wrote it down, and caught back up. “Chasing Rainbows” (Teddy Royal) -Johnny Adams- from his original Ariola single #7701, 1978. This single was featured in the first of my two-part post on the career of Teddy Royal, who got the writing credit on this single, which had its initial release on Hep’ Me. Later, when I did a feature on soul singer Willie West, he told me that he had co-written (uncredited) the song with Royal, contributing the lyrics. Adams only did a handful of true funk songs; and his voice classed up all of ‘em. “Freddie’s Walking” (Chuck Mangione) -C. P. Love- from his original Stone single #201, 1973. C. P. Love is one of the many fine soul singers who were signed to Elijah Walker’s artist management company in New Orleans, Skyline Productions, and the A&R company he ran with Wardell ‘Big Q’ Quezergue, Pelican Productions, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That got Love a chance to record at Malaco in Jackson, Ms, when Big Q and Walker worked with the studio; but the one single that resulted did not sell. Walker died around 1973, and Love moved on, recording this one-off single for Stone, a Baton Rouge label, that year. [See my post from the Big Q series, for more on Love’s story.] While his take on the gospel flavored “Freddie’s Walking” (anybody know what this song, written by pop-jazz flugelhorn player Chuck Mangione, is about?) showed off his vocal chops, the record was another commercial non-starter. Love later recorded for Orleans records and recently has joined the band Fo’Reel, about which see below. “What I Can Do” (M. Domizio-C. P. Love) -Fo’Real- from their independently released CD, Heavy Water, 2014. An impressive aggregation of veteran players, Fo’Real greatly benefits from the participation of C. P. Love, one of New Orleans’ best unsung vocalists, whose career stretches back to the 1960s. The other members are guitarist and songwriter, Mark Domizio, bassist David Hyde [since replaced by another great, David Barard], and Johnny Neel on keyboards. On this track, Allyn Robinson played drums. Other tracks also feature a fine horn section. I’m sure I’ll get to other tracks as time goes by. “New Orleans Twist” (P. King-D. Bartholomew-W. Quezergue) - Blazer Boy - from his original Imperial single #5801, 1961. At the time of this recording, producer Dave Bartholomew was nearing the end of his long association with Imperial Records, which started in the late 1940s and brought about the huge success of Fats Domino. Wardell Quezergue was doing a lot of the arrangements for these later Imperial sides. The young Smokey Johnson was likely drumming on this standard issue dance song, featuring the not often recorded George Stevens, dubbed Blazer Boy, on vocal. “Olde Wine” (James Black) - Red Tyler - from his original At Last single #1003, 1963. The At Last label was a subsidiary ofAFO (All For One) Records, started by producer/musician Harold Battiste and a group of like-minded black studio musicians who wanted to get more financial rewards from the records they played on, arranged, and helped make hits. SaxophonistAlvin ‘Red’ Tyler, who played on countless R&B records starting in the late 1940s, was a founding member of AFO and the featured artist on this track, written by drummer/composer,James Black. Like the majority of the AFO associates, Black was primarily a jazz musician who played R&B to make a living, making a lot of music history in the process. “You Ain’t Hittin’ On Nothing” (Naomi Neville) -Irma Thomas- from her original Minit single #666, 1963. Among Irma’s best and most remembered recordings were the tracks she cut for the Minit label in the early 1960s, with Allen Toussaint writing, arranging and producing. This funky, sassy little number ,written by Toussaint under his nom de plume, was the flip side of her classic, “Ruler Of My Heart”, with backing by a stripped down rhythm section headed by Roy Montrell on guitar. He was also one of AFO’s founders, many of whom Toussaint used at the time, such as bassist Chuck Badie and drummer John Boudreaux, who very likely are on this, too. “Love Slip Up On Ya” (Neville-Nocentelli-Porter-Modeliste) - The Meters - from their original Reprise LP,Fire On the Bayou, 1975. I wrote a shorttributeto this funk-sway groove monster back in 2006. “Hear The Words, Feel the Feeling” (L. Dozier-M. Jackson) - Margie Joseph - from her original Cotillion LP,Hear The Words, Feel the Feeling, 1976. While I think she did her best records and funkiest tunes with producer/arranger Arif Mardin for Atlantic a bit earlier, this album on Atlantic’s subsidiary, Cotillion, has its moments even though disco tendencies were evident. After all, it was produced by the great Lamont Dozier on out the Left Coast. The distinctive, stylized funk of the title track is far from the New Orleans feel [She recorded next to nothing in her hometown.], but still mighty effective. Read David Nathan's thoroughoverviewof Margie’s career at SoulMusic.com. “Mojo Hannah” (A. Williams-C. Paul-B. Paul) - Aaron Neville - from his original Mercury single #73310, 1972. Iwrote-upAaron’s hot take of this tune, backed by the Meters, back in 2010. “Junk” (Fantoms) - The Fantoms - from their original Power Funksion single #10002, 1972. Covered this single and some of the band’sbackstoryin a 2007 post. “I Want Somebody (To Show Me The Way Back Home)” [W. Turbinton] - Willie Tee - from his original Atlantic single #2302, 1965. Just pre-Katrina, during the first year of HOTG, Idiscussedthis side, one of my absolute faves by Mr. Turbinton. “We’ll Figure It Out” (S. Allen-J. Butler- and band) - Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs - from their POME/Threadhead Records CD, Box Who In?, 2009. As the title of the CD implies, it’s hard to box in Shamarr and his band, as their musical adventures range from jazz to funk, hip-hop to hard rock, and tosses in some rap from Dee-1 for good measure. Check Shamarr’swebsitefor more details.