September 27, 2005

Sugar and Spice

"Girls Are Made For Lovin'" (Elliott Small)
Elliott Small, Bang, 1969
(Hear it on HOTG Internet Radio)

Sometimes we just need some musical empty calories, a bit of meaningless confection to soothe the soul. After the frazzled, mostly sleepless weekend I had waiting out Rita with my wife and in-laws, low impact is the order of the day. Because we headed about 70 miles Northeast of Lafayette along the Mississippi River, and the storm turned that way as it left the state, we had 30 hours of wind and torrential rain, over half the time with no power, but no damage at the evacuation house or home. We got off far luckier than those with seawater flooding and heavy wind damage to our South and West. Coastal Louisiana is now a shambles, almost border to border. Dig deep to help out some more; and allow me to settle back into things with this one.

“Girls Are Made For Lovin’”, a Wardell Quezergue (“Big Q”) production, has the feel of something by Curtis Mayfield, maybe, or Smokey Robinson. It’s not an identifiably New Orleans record, although it was made there, originally released on the New Sound label and picked up by Bang in 1969; but I really like its easy, lilting groove and the melody that is stuck in my head. Elliott (a/k/a Elliot) Small wrote the tune and sings the harmless, rather sweet lyrics pleasantly enough. Smokey Johnson might be on the drums, as Quezergue used him a lot. And, I believe that’s Mr. Small playing the harmonica, too.

Elliott Small may be best known to record collectors for an earlier tune, the great, upbeat groover he did with Quezergue producing for ABS out of New Orleans,
“I’m A Devil”, which also features his harmonica. The only other single I know of for him was a very funky piece of fluff, “E Ni Me Ni Me Ni Mo (Parts 1 & 2)” also produced by Quezergue and released on Malaco in the early 1970’s. Part 1 is on the out of print Malaco CD box set retospective, The Last Soul Company. As I learned in my research, Small was later a street performer (blowing harp and singing) in the French Quarter for many years. He and his partner, Stoney B, were featured in a piece on New Orleans street musicians in Where Y’At magazine in 2003. God only knows what’s become of him now.*

Here are some CD compilations with Wardell Quzergue productions and/or Elliott Small cuts:

Sixty Smokin' Soul Senders
New Orleans Soul A Go-Go
Don't Be No Sqaure, Get Hip to Quezergue
Northern Soul Of New Orleans
Strung Out

* [Elliott moved back to New Orleans in 2006 and can still be found at various spots around the Quarter streets singing and playing harmonica as 'Grandpa', but he has also become an international entertainer of note through his invlovement with Playing For Change. He has since toured in the US and various countries and played his first JazzFest at home in New Orleans this year (2010). Congratulations, Elliott! You were far too talented to just be singing for spare change.]


Blogger Larry Grogan said...

Cool tune, Dan. I'd never heard of Small or the tune. Really different sound for a NOLA record.

1:00 PM, September 28, 2005  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

It just goes to show ya how pervasive New Orleans music is, right?

Glad to hear you and the family made it through Rita in one piece!

6:19 PM, September 28, 2005  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Yeah, Larry, that's why I'm here.
And, Red, thanks.
QSD, thanks for the memory. I hope so, too. I'm glad 'Where Y'At' did that article and put in online.

9:42 AM, September 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Dan,

nice one!
Nothing against the chosen "light" track but now I just heard the "I'm a devil" via your posted link. New to me.
A nice little killer! Should be played out in a club on full volume.

Two questions on that:
Year of release? You were (ony) stating earlier than the BANG track.
Any idea on the price? Hard to come by?

Thanks a lot (not only for this but for a continuous brilliant blog)!


4:04 AM, October 02, 2005  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

The only date I can find for "I'm A Devil" is a general 1960-61 range on the ABS discography from the R&B Indies - but that seems a bit early to me. It sounds more mid'60's. The CD comps it's on do not offer a date, either.

I don't have a copy of that single, nor have I ever seen it for sale. So, I can't help you there, either. Get on the hunt!
And let me know if you score one.

3:49 PM, October 02, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dan,
Accidentally I got in your blog, cause I was resercheasing about Elliot Small and his records.
He survived Katrina and he is currently stay with us in Geismar,La
He was playing in the Royal street in New Orleans, with two partners, Oscar and Stoney B.
He is known on the streets as grandpa.
If you like to come and talk with him, you'll be welcome.
Last weekend they performed at the Washington Parish Fair in Franklinton.
Ardanuy Kemp

8:26 PM, October 24, 2005  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

I appreciate this information on Elliot(t). Glad to know he is safe and performing again. I will try to contact him.

10:11 AM, October 26, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank, it's very interesting.

2:10 PM, December 28, 2005  
Blogger Hhhhh said...

If anyone can get any of his CDs he sells for me and maybe a few others, we'd be very grateful, I don't imagine I'll get back down to New Orleans for about a year at the very least.

10:09 PM, March 08, 2007  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Update for you Archive Lurkers: Elliott moved back to New Orleans in '06 and still performs on the streets of the French Quarter. I wasn't aware that he sold CDs, but I'll check on that next time I see him. I've recently discovered a version of this song by another artist and will try to feature it in the near future on the main page.

10:46 PM, March 08, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

on recent trip to USA met Stoney B playing acoustic guitar in Gaslamp quarter of San Diego. He gave me contact details for Grandpa Elliott Small and i have spoken with Grandpa who is going to send me 3 cds of Michael Stone. Michael told me of Katrina experience but had only been in San Diego for 5 weeks. I live in Uk and love Blues music.Micheal was great. Regards SD.

7:22 AM, April 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I cant say how proud I am to see all the kind words her in the blog section on my Father, thank you all so much, My pop is doing well,though I'm here in Arizona, we talk every other day, I will tell him about this site and all you fine people, thank you..

2:05 AM, March 06, 2008  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Thanks to you for your words about your father. I have featured his work several times here (there is a new post as of 3/5/08 with a song he co-wrote) and am glad he is still well. I spoke with him by phone after Katrina, as he was moving back to New Orleans - but no longer have his number. If he wants to talk some more, feel free to email me at the address on the left sidebar of the main blog page.

8:20 AM, March 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fantastic tune im a devil,danced to this on the nothern soul scene,I have a copy on A.B.S Green label Unmistakable harmonica from elliot small,brill keep blogging

8:52 AM, May 12, 2010  

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