Archive for the ‘Inez & Charlie Foxx’ Category

Swamp Dogg

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

SwampDoggCreeping, Swamp Dogg, Jerry Williams, Elektra

Listen: Creeping Away / Swamp Dogg SwampDoggCreepingAway.mp3

SwampDoggBelieve, Swamp Dogg, Elektra, Island, Jerry Williams

Listen: Do You Believe / Swamp Dogg SwampDoggDoYouBelieve.mp3

I vividly recall my first look at the RAT ON! sleeve, his only album for Elektra from which both these single sides come. I thought, this is gonna be terrible.

There was nothing more I loved doing than checking every last record that came into our college station. I would sit for hours, well into the night, and instead of studying my class work, I studied records. Cataloging, suggesting cuts for airplay, deciding what to call into the labels for extra copies of, basically to fatten my collection. It was great being both MD and PD of a college station.

First listen, it went into a certain space, meaning very musical in a more grown up way, not unlike the occasional jazz or blues album that struck me, or The Crusaders, The Meters, The Blackbyrds and Dr. John.

I got slightly more interested when a 7″ showed up shortly thereafter. I loved this guys voice, and his name, terrific. Both sides segued nicely with ‘Wash Mama Wash’, a Dr. John single I liked playing on the occasional late, late shift I’d sit in for once in a while.

Gotta admit though, despite my liking of Swamp Dogg, I didn’t exactly follow up accruing the next few releases, which I recall being on the Brut label. I just wasn’t interested in certain record companies as a kid. Very stuck up, a know it all, basically an early version of a Pitchfork contributor. Well, a word to the wise, wrong attitude, a lesson learned later in life having to backtrack, filling in gaps of the vinyl collection. The Swamp Dogg gap being one in particular.

SwampDoggUKA, Swamp Dogg

SwampDoggHomeTooSoon, Swamp Dogg, Elektra, Island, Jerry Williams

Listen: Did I Come Back Too Soon (Or Stay Away Too Long) / Swamp Dogg SwampDoggHomeTooSoon.mp3

SwampDoggJukeboxTab, Swamp Dogg, Jerry Williams, Inez & Charlie Foxx

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Jerry Williams

Come ’74, Swamp Dogg is suddenly on Island, with a seriously happening album HAVE YOU HEARD THIS STORY?. I worshipped every last track, could sing any one of them for you on a dime. And the sleeve, in one way, a mess. An out of focus shot of a very unkept Swamp Dogg in a very unkept room, surrounded by records and books, perched atop a bean bag chair. Yet in another way, completely inviting and totally descriptive of the music inside. His talent for some twisted lyrics, actually clever slants on slightly sleazy subjects drew me in further.

“Did I Come Back Too Soon (Or Stay Away Too Long)’ Have a listen. Can’t be said any better, kind of funny yet very true. Always take care of your partner. And again, that signature voice.

SwampDoggMind, Swamp Dogg, Elektra, Island, Jerry Williams

Listen: The Mind Does The Dancing / Swamp Dogg SwampDoggMind.mp3

A second UK single from the album, and pressed promo only. This was a hard one to track down, plus it’s an edit, making finding a copy even more necessary. The full 7:20 album version gets cut to 5:30, not that much of a radio friendly timing, but seems this was more aimed at clubs, given the disco leaning beat and a vocal that doesn’t begin until 2:22.

Besides, Island UK only did five singles with this label design and the USA catalog number prefix, all aimed seemingly at clubs. Given the time period, Swamp Dogg wasn’t far from Ike Turner’s musical path, wah-wahs and revue horns still in place.

For fun, a press release below that was inside the album’s radio station shipping envelope, which the hoarder in me saved. I had a habit of sticking all these type things inside the sleeves, making for sometimes fascinating reading nowadays.

SwampDoggLetter, Swamp Dogg, Danny Holloway, Island

Swamp Dogg indeed has many releases, starting in 1970. Prior, he recorded under his real name, Jerry Williams, beginning with Little Jerry Williams until, I’m assuming, he grew up.

A closing trainspotter bit here. Jerry Williams co-wrote and had studio involvement with, to me, Inez & Charlie Foxx’s greatest ever single and those are big words as they had many: ‘(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days’.

Well in fact, one of the greatest soul singles of all times, posted elsewhere on this blog if you care to have a listen.

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

DDDBMTZabadakUSA, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich, Imperial

Zabadak / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Listen: Zabadak / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich
Zabadak

In honor of yet another year owning ‘Zabadak’, one of my all time favorite singles by an all time favorite band, I’m continuing my annual tradition of reposting that original entry about the single’s history from December 28, 2008 at SO MANY RECORDS SO LITTLE TIME.

Footnote: In the original post linked above, I mention the single’s strong airplay at the time. Click here after reading the post to check out some of the US Top 40 stations that played and charted the record. This link organizes the airplay by date, and note there are 6 pages of station listings viewable. See upper right corner to scroll though all 6.

The Vibrations

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Listen: Gonna Get Along Without You Now/ The Vibrations
Gonna

According to one of my favorite books ever, THE NORTHERN SOUL PRICE GUIDE, this white label promo, in mint condition, easily goes for £50. Fun reading, but the real deal price guide these days is Popsike.com. There you get the past several years worth of final sale amounts for any record that commanded $25 or more. According to the site, a $52 May 2012 winning bid for the wlp of ‘Gonna Get Along Without You Now’ was it’s highest in three years. That’s as far as the data goes back.

Therefore my £24 (approximately $37) win was indeed a bargain when compared to the prices set in the guide. Never mind, this single’s a bargain at £100 if truth be told.

Having tastes that always ran toward the mid chart, or better yet, flop follow-ups, likewise my parallel fondness was for the seemingly second division players. Just as Inez & Charlie Foxx sat sideline when Ike & Tina Turner were in reach, so too did The Vibrations when say, The Temptations were around. According to the mainstream that is, but in my world, I coveted any single by either.

It’s seriously hard to recollect a song attempted in more diverse styles through the years than this. Country, reggae, alternative, disco, ska, Euro-dance, rock steady and even Latin via Trini Lopez, which is version that first introduced me to the track. No idea why his was played so heavily in upstate New York at the time (’67). Trust me, it wasn’t often a #93 BILLBOARD peak meant a record got hammered by both our local Top 40′s. And it’s not like there was a Latin scene going on in subzero Syracuse that winter either.

Unfortunately, The Vibrations’ version never graced my ears while current in ’66. Years later I stumbled on it, unable to ignore any Okeh single with their Cadbury purple labels and matching sleeves. One play and boom, the amphetamine mess of an arrangement and speed pitched chorus made me a fan for life.

Wilbert Harrison One Man Band / Prince La La / Derek Martin

Monday, December 30th, 2013

THE SUE SOUL BROTHERS / Various Artists:

SIDE 1:

Listen: Let’s Work Together (Parts 1 & 2) / Wilbert Harrison One Man Band
WilbertWorkTogether.mp3

Side 2:

Listen: She Put The Hurt On Me / Prince La La
She

Listen: Daddy Rollin’ Stone / Derek Martin
Daddy

Just check my previous two posts. Not hard to guess, I’ve been picking through the various artists section of my wall shelf.

Weirdly enough, this is usually a head scratching process. I don’t do it often, but every time seems to unearth a multi-artist record, usually an EP, that I’d never really noticed before, suddenly falling into the ‘where on earth did I get this from’ category. And honestly, it happens every single time. One source, the UK weeklies, who for a few years there during the late 80′s/early 90′s were including free EP’s, whether it be NME, Music Week or Melody Maker, with each issue. I religiously grabbed every one and stuck them in that VA section for a rainy day. The entire chunk now being a treasure trove of both obscure and focus tracks.

When the Ensign label got all hot and bothered about the Sue Records catalog, which I’m guessing they could suddenly access via their 1983 Island distribution deal, they issued a series of four song EP’s religiously honoring the labels iconic history. Some were single artist compilation EP’s by Ike & Tina Turner or Inez & Charlie Foxx. Others were theme centric: SUE INSTRUMENTALS, THE SUE SOUL SISTERS and this, the latter’s partner, THE SUE SOUL BROTHERS. I played all three in the past few hours and basically did a blindfold drill to choose today’s 31 Days Of December – All EP’s post.

THE SUE SOUL BROTHERS, most likely by design, builds around much covered songs from Sue’s UK catalog. And there were many songs to choose from here, not forgetting, the Sue UK label issued the American Sue releases along with various blues and RnB singles from small and indie US labels. Initially, Juggy Murray, who owned Sue in the US was reportedly furious with Chris Blackwell and Guy Stevens, the day to day guy at Island/Sue in London. Apparently, neither had cleared the idea of picking up product from other US companies and slapping a Sue label on it for the UK.

As a result, other than the bothersome bad blood, Sue’s British catalog and discography rivaled the majors like Decca’s, who bolstered their output and image by repping Atlantic, Monument, Tribe, RCA, Coral and others in Britain. Island became the little indie that could, even harder in the 60′s, when swimming against the tide of Decca, CBS, EMI and Pye was near impossible.

And so, the team at Ensign picked some solid originals here that went on to become widely popular as covers. Loads of bands, including The Who and John’s Children released Derek Martin’s ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ during the Mod era.

Canned Heat, blues experts themselves, took Wilbert Harrison’s ‘Let’s Work Together’ Top 40 in 1970, delaying their version to give the original a chance to sell and reach #32 on BILLBOARD. In a loose full circle chain of events, John Mayall chose to record Wilbert Harrison’s ‘Let’s Work Together’ for his fantastic, and I do mean fantastic, Island album, A SENSE OF PLACE from 1990.

Charlie Whitehead

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Listen: Love Being Your Fool / Charlie Whitehead
Love

Given that Charlie Whitehead was discovered and signed to Musicor by Charlie Foxx, well that’s all I ever needed to know. I was in.

At Musicor, a long musical partnership resulted with Jerry Williams. And when he, as Swamp Dogg, moved to Island, so too did Charlie Whitehead.

And for a change, a switch to Island meant a hit record. Yes, ‘Love Being Your Fool’ made the BILLBOARD RnB chart in ’75.

I never did find out who at Island was responsible for the label’s mid 70′s infatuation with the strain of Delta soul that brought, not only Charlie Whitehead and Swamo Dogg to the roster, but also Robert Parker, The Wild Tchoupitoulas, Jay Dee Bryant and Tyrone Taylor.

Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Listen: Game Of Love / Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders
Game

At this late night moment, other than Dave Dee, Dozy. Beaky, Mick & Tich’s ‘Hold Tight’, I can’t think of any other song with a more powerful intro. Well hold on, there’s Inez & Charlie Foxx ‘Count The Days’ and The Cramps ‘Human Fly’ and….

Regardless, no one can deny ‘Game Of Love’. Doesn’t matter what genre you prefer. This single is absolutely top. Admittedly overplayed for thirty odd years but now almost as scarce on the airwaves as the US picture sleeve above, ‘Game Of Love’ also challenges David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ for most perfect use of a metallic tambourine as a no turning back now arrangement accelerator. When that moment occurs at 0:14, the song and the whole world just elevates up a notch. Fact.

Inez & Charlie Foxx

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Listen: Tightrope / Inez & Charlie Foxx
Tightrope

The walking bass lines throughout ‘Tightrope’ and the song’s lyric “Walk that tightrope baby” seem intentionally aligned. Is it coincidental? Is it just me?

One thing for sure, I can never praise Inez & Charlie Foxx enough. Helplessly in love with her I have always been. Given the obscurely obscure reach of youtube, how the fuck is it possible not one clip of the dynamic duo, as they’ve always and justifiably been tagged, exists?

Shouldn’t there be an international campaign to change that?

Marie Knight

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Listen: Cry Me A River / Marie Knight
Cry Me A River / Marie Knight

Hey thanks Vicki Wickham, for keeping this one since the 60′s. Yes, it was part of her 45 collection that I was gifted by Saint Vicki herself last fall.

You know, I love you Vicki Wickham.

Let’s talk about Vicki Wickham. We first met in ’89, when she managed Phranc during her Island days. I remember exactly where we first shook hands: backstage at the Beacon Theater, in the the very stairway where Ahmet Ertegan took his last spill. Phranc had just hired her, and was at that time on tour with The Pogues.

I was actually meeting thee Vicki Wickham. The one that booked READY! STEADY! GO!, managed Dusty Springfield, co-wrote ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’ with Simon Napier-Bell, produced Labelle. The one who not only booked the infamous Saville Theatre series, brought the Motown Review to England, worked at Track Records with The Who, Thunderclap Newman, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Marsha Hunt, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, John’s Children, and yes, The Cherry Smash; but also knew Scott Walker…and Brian Jones. I was nervous and in awe. Vicki Wickham was a higher form of life.

Fast forward. Nowadays, we meet often for lunch, on 9th Ave and 44th Street at Marseilles, possibly her favorite restaurant. She always orders the asparagus omelette and eats about half. I grill her for details: RSG, The BBC during the 60′s, Rediffusion Television, Top Of The Pops not to mention every band and everybody she ever encountered. Did she visit the Immediate Records office, Deram, Philips, Fontana. What was the Ready Steady Go canteen like, did she know Tony Hall, Steve Marriott, Inez Foxx, Joe Meek, Dozy. When did she last speak with Andrew Loog Oldham, P.P. Arnold or Madeline Bell…..we cover, discuss, judge and trash tons of people. Yes, we are guilty. Needless to say, there’s never a loss for topics.

On one such occasion last year, she mentions having just found boxes of 45′s in storage, and the only one she can remember seeing in the whole bunch was the Bessie Banks ‘Go Now’ UK A label pressing. Was I interested in the lot? That’s like asking Alago, Duane, Joe and I if we’d like a free bump in the VIP bathroom at The Ritz in the 80′s. Ahh, yeah.

Vicki, you ARE a saint, and a beloved friend.

And you turned me on to Marie Knight. Praise be.

Tiny

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Ah! Shucks Baby / Tiny

Listen: Aw! Shucks Baby / Tiny
Aw! Shucks Baby / Tiny

Not unlike Big Maybelle, Tiny could belt it out. With only a few minor hits to claim, she came and went in relative obscurity. Despite being signed to King/Federal, and touring with, amongst others, Joe Turner, Bo Diddley, Little Willie John, Etta James and Ray Charles, it seems her star never properly shined. From the sound of this single, she was a powerhouse. Originally released in ’57 (she was signed from ’57 – ’60), King decided on reissuing this, her most successful record in ’63 which is pressing above.

I was in Washington DC in the early 90′s, returning to New York on a Sunday. Duane and I were there to see a band for Medicine, my label. Next morning, I scoured the yellow pages for a vinyl shop. One small listing was close by and sounded interesting, claiming doo-wop, gospel and blues amongst it’s specialties, so we gave it a go.

It was in a pretty run down section of town and to be honest, we were the only two white folks in sight. The elderly man who ran the place, as he had for 30+ years, was behind the counter making small talk with a few women his age, all in their Sunday best, fresh from church. The shop was filled with cds and only a small section of 7″ vinyl in a back corner, not at all like he described his stock when I’d called earlier. Even more frustrating, the very vast majority of them were recent reissues. Really dreadful.

But I did notice a few Chess, Checker and King originals amongst them, all of which I selected and eventually made my way up to the counter with them in hand. Duane too had picked out a bunch. When I asked the price, he looked through them and said “They’re usually $4 but I think we should have a half price sale today, seeing as you boys have chosen some really nice stuff here”.

We immediately launched into all kinds of questions – from both sides. “How did we know about these records?” from him, and “Did you ever get to see Inez & Charlie Foxx or Slim Harpo?” from us. That kind of banter. We were having a great old time. Then he says “It’s about time to close but if you’d like, I’ll let you into the basement. I have a lot more records down there and you might find a few good ones”. We were taking the shuttle home, they flew hourly and therefore in no hurry. Seemed a little odd to close your shop midday (it was at that point around 2pm) and invite the only two customers, behind the counter then down to the basement. We took the chance.

Oh my God, the place was heaving with boxlots of 45′s. Loads and loads, mostly Chess and King. He came down and started spinning Sonny Boy Williamson and Hank Marr records, so many others too. We were there for hours, high as kites on the buzz. I still ask Duane, what were we thinking? We should have bought them all. I came home with at least 200, all in company sleeves. Tiny’s ‘Aw! Shucks Baby’ was just one of the endless jems.

After all that, this truly kind, gentle and generous man drove us to the airport in his big old, polished, oversized 70′s car, going way below the speed limit, in true fashion. It was like a little kid’s first ride in a stretch, and the stories about the past, like seeing shows at The Howard Theatre, kept flowing. Duane recalls his name being Christian, but in the high of the moment, we didn’t exchange contact info, a real regret. Still, a priceless memory for life.

King Records Warehouse

Above: A shot of the King Records shipping room. I wonder if any of Tiny’s were being picked and packed?

Inez & Charlie Foxx

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days / Inez & Charlie Foxx

(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days / Inez & Charlie Foxx

Listen: (1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days / Inez & Charlie Foxx
(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days / Inez & Charlie Foxx

There’s not a person I play this to who doesn’t, after one spin, decide they need a copy.

I was always extremely partial to this poor man’s Ike & Tina Turner, as I’d seen them referred to. Inez & Charlie Foxx had their biggest love in the UK, like so many before and after would too. But seeing them perform on Cleveland’s UPBEAT show in the 60′s confirmed my loyalty. UPBEAT was a weekly music program, with a good six to ten acts miming their latest releases on every episode. I guess the local network cornered all of them as they passed through Cleveland, happy to get any TV exposure. It was syndicated to various cities in the US, including Syracuse hence I got to see it every Sunday.

There’s a website for the show, and it is particularly boring to navigate – I believe the producer’s son deals with the estate, and basically highlights only the name acts, when the true interest in the show would be the many obscure ones that were on. Hopefully that footage was preserved and will be freed up. There is definitely a goldmine there.

So it was May of ’67 when I saw Inez & Charlie on that very show. We had recently upgraded to a family color TV, so everything was a technicolor dream come true. No bigger one than Inez Foxx in a skin tight floor length carnation pink dress playing a matching pink Stratocaster; and brother Charlie off behind her to the left singing and dancing on a very small riser perfectly clad in a matching pink chino suit, black shirt and pink tie. Talk about having your visual together. And ‘(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days’ was the song they performed. Produced and written by Charlie Foxx and Swamp Dogg, Gene Pitney covered it a year or so later. As great a singer as he definitely was, it was no match for Inez Foxx’s delivery. Along with Inez & Charlie Foxx’s ‘Come By Here’, ‘Tightrope’ and ‘Hurt By Love’, it’s a life long favorite.

Jack Dupree

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Tongue Tied Blues / Jack Dupree

Listen: Tongue Tied Blues / Jack Dupree
Tongue

This was a bizarre discovery from that very first pile of singles I blagged off WMCR, claiming to be from the local Children’s Hospital and needing donations. There were many greats in that stack of about fifty (The Others, The Pretty Things, Inez & Charlie Foxx, The Mickey Finn, The Hullaballoos, Ike & Tina Turner, Jimmy Reed), but this earned an immediate spot.

I played it for everyone, all as baffled as myself on first listen. We were feeling confidently hip to this blues music The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds and The Kinks claimed as their influences, even though we simply were not. A true and pure example had yet to be served our way until that very first spin of ‘Tongue Tied Blues’. Just listen and you’ll understand.

The Marvelettes

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game / The Marvelettes

Listen: The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game / The Marvelletes MarvelettesHunter.mp3

I loved The Supremes, who didn’t? But there’s something about the underdogs that make them even more appealing to me. Happens every time.

I guess The Rolling Stones (who I always preferred) were considered second to The Beatles for a while there; and then The Pretty Things to The Stones. Or as I mentioned in an earlier post, Inez & Charlie Foxx to Ike & Tina Turner.

Like Martha & The Vandellas, The Marvelettes were certainly playing second fiddle, at best, to The Supremes over at Motown. There’s a terrific book CALLING OUT AROUND THE WORLD / A MOTOWN READER by Kingsley Abbott, detailing (and I mean detailing) those heydays of Motown. It describes the songwriting rivalries, struggles for priorities, everything. It’s a fascinating read. According to Kingsley, William Robinson, or Smokey as we know him, was always under appreciated by Berry Gordy. Even when coming off of a hit, Smokey’d be starting over. Marvin Gaye too. The girl groups were in a constant struggle to get first dibs on the strongest new songs. It’s why Mary Wells left the fold – well at least according to this book.

In the case of The Marvelettes, there were few occasions when they got those gems. Like ‘The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game’ (another Smokey composition), many of The Marvelettes releases had a slight darkness to them – not quite as glistening with all the pop flash that those Supremes singles packed, hence their cult appeal? Probably.

I'll Keep Holding On / The Marvelettes

Listen: I’ll Keep Holding On / The Marvelletes MarvelettesHoldingOn.mp3

Let’s face it – The Marvelettes were hip. Hats off to The Action for the brave and triumphant cover of ‘I’ll Keep Holding On’

My Baby Must Be A Magician / The Marvelettes

My Baby Must Be A Magician / The Marvelettes - UK

Listen: My Baby Must Be A Magician / The Marvelettes MarvelettesMagician.mp3

And thank you to Tony King for generously giving me the UK promocopy of ‘My Baby Must Be A Magician’ pictured above.

Inez & Charlie Foxx

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days / Inez & Charlie Foxx

(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days / Inez & Charlie Foxx

Listen: (1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days / Inez & Charlie Foxx InezCountTheDays.mp3

Not the first time I’ve posted about this unbeatable sister/brother duo, but it is the first time I’ve posted a song for a second time. Got a load of stories about Inez & Charlie Foxx elsewhere on the blog – but on this occasion, I’m just finding a half baked excuse to also let you have a look at the below tip sheet ad in the March 3, 1968 issue of Billboard:

This single still sounds as good as the day it was released. There isn’t one person I’ve played it to, upon hearing it for the first time, that has not loved ‘(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days’. Not ever. Not one.

As much as I cherish this trade ad, it’s a reminder of how pissed off I still am, all these years later, that it didn’t get over that payola airplay hump and go all the way. If ever a single deserved to be huge, this was it.

Aretha Franklin

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

ArethaTakeALook, Aretha Franklin, Columbia, Atlantic, John Hammond

Listen: Take A Look / Aretha Franklin ArethaTakeALook.mp3

It’s well known that Aretha Franklin and her family’s musical beginnings were in Gospel. Yet in early 1960, she signed with John Hammond at Coumbia, a historically well respected A&R executive, but oddly a musical mismatch for Aretha. Despite initially scoring a few semi-hits on the Billboard Pop and RnB Singles charts, those initial results began a slow downward spiral of misjudged A&R song choices, bland jazz leaning arrangements, tiringly safe, and quite frankly, dull results. However, by the end of ’66, with little commercial success in those six years with Columbia, they threw her on the scrapheap, a policy that insensitively continued and in fact grew exponentially during my time there.

As the story goes, desperate for a sound of her own, she signed with Atlantic Records to work with producer Jerry Wexler. By ’67, Aretha Franklin issued her first Atlantic single, ‘I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)’, a blues ballad that eliminated the safe musical stench Columbia forced her way, and introduced listeners to her original Gospel influences. Recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and produced by Wexler, the song became her true breakthrough single, reaching the Hot 100 Top 10 and holding the #1 spot for seven weeks on Billboard’s R&B Singles chart. In fact, the B-side, “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”, charted on the R&B side as well, and again introduced a more Gospel element to Franklin’s developing sound. It also set a pattern for ballady bluesy B sides ahead.

Her next single, ‘Respect’, written and originally recorded by Otis Redding, instantly became her signature tune for life, reaching #1 on both the RnB and Pop charts—holding the top spot on the former for a then record eight weeks. In the next eighteen months, she released a number of singles we all know and love: ‘Baby I Love You’, ‘Chain of Fools’, ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’, ‘The House That Jack Built’ and ‘Think’, to name the cream of her early successful, now decidedly upbeat run.

Part of all that fun in the spotlight was, behind the curtain, Columbia’s attempt to ride Atlantic’s successful coat tails by releasing what sure did sound to me like records parallel with her now current sound – from their vaults. Finally, at least, Coumbia was doing some work on her, and doing it pretty well. With just about everyone from the label then now long gone, it’s impossible to ever know if it was astute planning or random desperation.

A first of these, ‘Take A Look’, was a good vault find, and to be fair, probably previously released as an LP track. It was during that summer (’67 – read past post on WMCR to understand) when the little local station, WMCR, was in the full-on groove of giving me all their non-easy listening singles during my regular Friday night visits to their studios. And I ended up loving it, as I did “Ain’t No Way’, B side of ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ – both interestingly recorded and performed in an almost identical style.

ArethaMockingbird, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Wexler, John Hammond

Listen: Mockingbird / Aretha Franklin ArethaMockingbird.mp3

Despite the play to piggy back onto Atlantic’s marketing spend toward making Aretha Franklin a household name, ‘Mockingbird’ was a great choice on Columbia’s part to compete with, yet actually compliment the groove her hits were in.

Written by Inez & Charlie Foxx, who had a Top 10 of their own with it in ’63, Aretha shined on ‘Mockingbird’. Had it been released at the time, things may have turned out differently. A great song, it did Carly Simon no harm when she took it to #4 in ’74.

ArethaSoulville, Aretha Franklin, Columbia, Atlantic, John Hammond

Listen: Soulville / Aretha Franklin ArethaSoulville.mp3

This was originally an A side Columbia issue (reaching #121) in ’64, then reissued in ’68, coinciding timewise with ‘Think’, where it dragged it’s way to a tired #83. But I admit, I picked up the original as a closeout (it’s pictured above) on it’s title alone. In fact it was to be my first Aretha Franklin single, price: 10¢.

Although Columbia tried issuing a few more 7′s, none charted and basically they retreated, tail between legs.

Inez & Charlie Foxx

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Listen: Come By Here / Inez & Charlie Foxx InezComeByHere.mp3

Starting the New Year off with a classic has to be good luck. There are about six desert island essentials by Inez & Charlie Foxx on my list – and ‘Come By Here’ is one. Now live, they were hard to beat. Crawling the sweaty chitlin circuit, crowds would urge Inez to even greater vocal heights while Charlie and the band drove a relentless groove. Their well oiled touring machine made for consistent studio performances. With it’s rich blend of blues and gospel, ‘Come By Here’ is one of the two songs they performed on Cleveland’s UPBEAT show in May ’67 (the other was ‘(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days’ – see my post from 6/6/08 to listen). UPBEAT is a TV cult classic, and it would be huge if someone could free up all those episodes. Word is they still exist. There was a pretty weak website for the program at one time, but it focused on the bigger names (like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones) when in fact, many obscure acts were on as well (Love / The Seeds / The Hullaballoos / Terry Knight & The Pack / The Velvet Underground). A weekly hour long show, syndicated in many markets, it predated Shindig but then survived concurrently – and in short, any act passing through the Cleveland area got herded in to mime a couple of numbers. On this particular episode, Charlie, wearing a black shirt with matching carnation pink chino suit and tie, sang and danced on a small circular podium behind Inez. In her pink dress and heels, she sang a live vocal over the prerecorded bed, picking on a pink stratocaster and strutting not unlike The Duchess. Have mercy indeed.

Please God let this footage resurface.

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

Zabadak / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

Listen: Zabadak / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich
Zabadak

Last year around this time, Bob Lefsetz, who publishes a fascinating subscription letter you should all Google and sign up for, wrote about hearing The Box Tops during Christmas break in Vermont, ’67. It was a nice piece, time traveling me back to that Christmas/New Year’s week, growing up outside of Syracuse, a ten year old obsessed with records. I wrote him a response with much of the following, but don’t know if he ever read it. He never responded.

Everything happens for a reason. It motivated me to start my own blog, so all good.

Basically, I still like the winter weather as it reminds of that week off school as a kid. Everyone wants to escape it here in NY nowadays but I love staying home, hanging around the deserted city, having friends over especially if they bring Christmas cookies, keeping the fireplace going and hoping for snow.

Growing up near Syracuse was pretty drab but we had one remarkable perk: a Top 40 station, WOLF, that from ’64 – ’67 seemed to flawlessly play the good bits of BILLBOARD’s chart alongside national non-hits, most of them British, and many rightfully considered classics today, including several US flops each by The Who, Them, The Move, The Zombies, The Kinks, The Moody Blues, Unit 4 + 2, The Hullaballoos, The Pretty Things and Manfred Mann.

So I’d spend that whole week glued to the radio, crawling the record shops and record departments at W.T. Grants and Woolworths, collecting chart handouts, asking for discarded Billboard magazines and stocking up on deletions.

One of the UK bands whose label, Fontana, didn’t or couldn’t put the needed payola cash behind them on a national level, actually had hits upstate: Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. Some consider them too pop, or zany, but I just loved their image of paisley pants with flowered shirts and their music.

KHJ chart 1-24-68

Eventually, they switched US labels in late ’67, to Imperial, who made a big attempt at breaking them here and almost did. ‘Zabadak’ got a lot of play, charted in many markets and got great reaction. KHJ in Los Angeles took it Top 10. (See chart above). Both my local Top 40′s were spinning it, and even the adult contemporary one.

I was feeling liberated. Finally Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich were having a hit, and The Small Faces too, ‘Itchycoo Park’ was doing equally well. US radio was about to be on pulse. I didn’t need to find a way to live in England after all.

Then thud. ‘Zabadak’ stalls at #52 on BILLBOARD’s Hot 100 (above). Seems it’s been all down hill ever since.

December 28th: it’s been 41 years today, the receipt is still in the sleeve, that I bought ‘Zabadak’ at Walt’s Records on Salina Street, doing my part. It’s a fantastic single. All jungle drums with haunting strings and chants. Sounded stunning on the radio then, like nothing else. A lot of stations played it for a few weeks. The kind of record that zaps me right back, hence I always remember the date and I’ll always remember that great record shop.

I can easily visualize the decor and it’s unique record shop smell. I wanted everything in the place, still do. One whole wall was lined with brackets that held 25+ copies of a single, where all the biggest sellers made it. But the obscure records, many of the ones I mentioned, would reside in the back on a four sided carousel that swirled, and had slot like pockets, each able to hold ten or so copies of a single. I would go straight to that unit every visit which was usually once or twice a month, having to decide which two or three singles I could afford on my dollar per week allowance. Some of the ones I had to pass up took me years to locate: The Small Faces ‘All Or Nothing’ with the picture sleeve and The Riot Squad ‘How Is It Done’ come to mind. But there were many I did get like Them ‘Richard Corey’, The Yardbirds ‘Goodnight Sweet Josephine’ and The Herd ‘From The Underworld’.

On December 28, 1967 I tore to that rack and there it was. ‘Zabadak’. My Aunt Nancy, a grand lady, had brought me shopping and kindly paid as a Christmas treat, thereby allowing me to spend my dollar allowance on Inez & Charlie Foxx’s ‘(!-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days’. We went on to visit another relative that afternoon where I was tortured, staring at these jems, jonesing to get home and play them as they did not own a record player.

Now I’m convinced Hot Chip could do a killer remake of ‘Zabadak’.

Oh and one other tid bit about Walt’s. I ran there to buy Traffic’s ‘Hole In My Shoe’ the day after seeing them at Syracuse University’s Jabberwocky Club on their first tour. As I walked in, out came Traffic, with loads of soul and jazz albums. They patiently waited as I bought the single then signed it’s picture sleeve.

Swamp Dogg

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Did I Come Back Too Soon? / Swamp Dogg

Did I Come Back Too Soon? / Swamp Dogg

Listen: Did I Come Back Too Soon? / Swamp Dogg 01 Did I Come Back Too Soon_.mp3

Seemingly an ever present bargain bin resident, like everyone else, I just passed all his releases by in the day. Then I read he and Jerry Williams were one in the same. Wait, the Jerry Williams who had produced Inez & Charlie Foxx? It pays to read label credits.

Before that stuff vanished from those bins for good, I picked up a bunch. It was down and dirty. I liked this guy.

The great list of singles he’s written or produced or both is pretty impressive: ZZ Hill, Patti La Belle & The Bluebells, Arthur Conley, Ruth Brown, Gene Pitney etc etc. Being the Inez & Charlie freak, stalker, that I am, he’s a saint in my book, having co-written my all time favorite ‘(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days’.

In the 70′s he signed to Island, and released a great album from which they pulled two singles. This is one, with a fun story line that sounds as country as it does funky – was oddly a US B side but UK A side. If only it had been a hit.

Check out the CD compilation of his work on Ace: Blame It On The Dogg – The Swamp Dogg Anthology.