January 02, 2005

Eddie Bo and Friend

Well, here it is 2005 and two and a half months into this blog; and I haven’t done an Eddie Bo side yet. What’s up with that? I have posted one of his productions before; but it’s time to give him some. The congenial Mr. Edwin Bocage, owner of the Check Your Bucket Café in New Orleans, is high up on the Home of the Groove list of talented musical multi-taskers as a singer, keyboard wiz, songwriter, arranger, producer, and label-owner, who has had a fifty year career. He can still be found keeping it funky at his club and on various stages around his hometown. At the end of this piece, I’ve given you some links so that you can find out more about him.

His last recording for the Seven B label, at least using his own name, “Lover & A Friend”, is a rare duet, featuring Bo along with a young singer, Inez Cheatham, who regularly sang back-up on his sessions in a group called the Triple Souls, whose other members were Sena Fletcher (who Bo recorded as Mary Jane Hooper), and Mercedes Morris. The group also did a lot of singing behind Allen Toussaint and Wardell Quezergue productions of the day. Though probably just out of her teens, Ms Cheatham already had a strong, mature sounding voice on this 1968 single, which was subsequently picked up by Capitol Records for national release without success. Surprisingly, I have found no evidence that she ever recorded solo.

The groove exemplifies Bo’s funk tendencies that began to blossom in his 1960’s work and came to the forefront on his singles for Scram and his own labels at the end of the decade and beyond. My Charley CD notes attribute the attention grabbing drum work on this track to Bobby Williams, of whom I know little other than his own instrumental single produced by Bo, "Boogaloo Mardi Gras", was released soon after “Lover & A Friend” (thanks to Larry Grogan at Funky 16 Corners for that tidbit).

So, you want to find this cut on CD? It first appeared on Charly’s compilation, The Minit/Instant Story, now gone bye-bye. But it’s also available on the serviceable New Orleans funk comp, Voodoo Soul; and I read it’s on another comp of sample sources called Brainfreezebreaks. There will be more to come here from Eddie Bo. That I promise.

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Blogger Larry Grogan said...

Thanks for the link Dan! Great blog, and an especially great song.

3:07 PM, January 04, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re. innez cheatham / mary jane hooper.

According to the sleevenotes on eddie charly LP Vippin' & Voppin', they were two differet people.

The confussion arises as innez cheatham (innez young) and mary jane hooper (sena fletcher) were members of the same girl group. The name escapes me at the moment...

11:05 AM, April 09, 2005  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

I have that LP; but it is in storage, so I could not refer to it for the post. You know, I have heard conflicting stories on Inez Cheatham before. Your version sounds plausible to me simply because I think the vocal on this song sounds better that anything elase I've heard Sena/Mary Jane do. That said, I don't recall ever hearing or reading anywhere else that Eddie Bo verified that it is Inez Young. I'll reseach it further. Thanks for your comments.

11:57 PM, April 10, 2005  

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