Archive for the ‘Ike Turner’ Category

The Ikettes

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

FINE, FINE, FINE / The Ikettes:

Side 1:

Listen: (He’s Gonna Be) Fine, Fine, Fine / The Ikettes
IkettesFine.mp3

Listen: How Come / The Ikettes
How

Side 2:

Listen: Peaches ‘n’ Cream / The Ikettes
Peaches

Listen: The Biggest Players / The Ikettes
The

Lord knows how many hours I’ve spent wondering what Ike Turner’s recording sessions with The Ikettes must have been like. Who exactly were The Ikettes in fact? Now there’s a mystery probably never to be unraveled lurking behind that curtain. No doubt these details have had inquiring minds swirling for decades.

Of equal interest is Steve Venet’s involvement, credited as Ike’s co-producer on these original Modern Records masters. Not only did he produce The Reflections, The Essex and the infamous GREATEST HITS FROM OUTER SPACE album, but he actually was in the studio with The Ikettes and basically, the players from The Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Wow.

He’s also one in the same as songwriter to a couple of my lifetime favorites: ‘Action’ by Freddy Cannon and ‘Primitive’ originally released in 1966 by The Groupies then covered by The Cramps on PSYCHEDELIC JUNGLE. Have mercy.

Ike Turner

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Listen: She Made My Blood Run Cold / Ike Turner
She Made My Blood Run Cold / Ike Turner

Lux and Ivy profusely praised Ike Turner, despite the various mainstream accusations, as being one of the most important contributers to their raw and primal style. ‘She Made My Blood Run Cold’ is easily proof. No shortage of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins or ‘Fever’ similarities either.

Who came first and gets the trophy? We’ll never know.

Marva Josie

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Listen: Don’t / Marva Josie
Marva Josie.mp3

How this clocks at £200 in THE ESSENTIAL NORTHERN SOUL PRICE GUIDE is beyond me. Not being a dancer of any worth myself, I’m probably in no position to judge. Still, this doesn’t sound easy to hully gully to, even on repeated listens. And I thought that was the whole point of Northern Soul, hence all nighters and such. Oh well, learn something everyday.

I do love a voice, rich in gospel timbre, one that could’ve easily fleshed out as a rotating member of Phil Spector’s background vocalists or Ike Turner’s Ikettes even. Marva Josie possessed just that. In fact, this has a number of passages that had me slipping into The Crystals’ ‘Little Boy’ while humming it in my head earlier today, walking from the subway along 6th Avenue to my office. I must have played ‘Don’t’ twenty times last night when ending the weekend with a healthy unboxing/filing marathon and couldn’t get it out of my brain.

Ike Turner

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Listen: Right On / Ike Turner
Right

Lux and Ivy once pulled me aside in Toronto’s Kop’s Collectibles while we were shopping for 45′s just after doing a MUCH MUSIC interview. In deadpan seriousness, Ivy handed me an Ike Turner single proclaiming if I did not own it, I needed it. “He’s incredible, like seriously incredible.”

“Forget all that whoee about his domestic life, the records, just get ‘em all”, Lux in an almost scolding tone.

I have obeyed, and as an email I recently got specific to my several posts on this blog conveyed, you can never have enough Ike & Tina Turner.

‘Right On’ came out as a 7″ back when I was a college rep for United Artists, desperately interested in The Move, Wizzard, The Bonzo Dog Band and Family from their current roster, but also into the occasional Blue Note (who they distributed) funk-jazz release and any Monk Higgins or Bobby Womack single.

How I missed, misplaced or failed to pay attention to ‘Right On’ is a scary blank in my memory. It’s so good, so racey, so unforgettable. What the fuck happened? Did I black out for three months or something? Well, I’ll never know. But as I lie here in bed, with it on repeat and type this post, I can tell you one thing. At this very moment, it’s my favorite record in the whole wide world.

These lyrics are hysterical. Listen to every one. It may take a few plays, and I suggest headphones, but you’ll pick them up. Ike’s delivery will get in your face, maybe even scare you a bit, his voice is that alive. Wow.

Last week, while out on the Matt & Kim / blink-182 tour, we had a day off in Pittsburgh. Typically, they hit the Warhol museum, I think the crew went to a sporting event of some stadium sort, and I hit today’s version of the yellow pages, Google, looking for used 45′s. First thing that comes up: Jerry’s Records.

I rang to ask, did they have 45′s from the 50′s and 60′s. It was Jerry who answered.

Affirmative. “About 700,000.”

Hmm, ok, sounds like a bit of a stretch, but certainly more than a few boxes, and it was close, four miles. What the heck.

Lord have mercy. This was the most jaw dropping, overwhelming record store I can recall being in, maybe ever. If you visit, and you seriously must, be ready. What you see pictured above is one row from the $3 section of 45′s, then a few of those rows representing around one third of that total $3 section. Plus there’s the $7 section, the new arrivals and the $100+ locked room, none of those even pictured here. In total, they all take up maybe one quarter, tops, of the entire shop. The rest is albums. The walls are lined with memorabilia and every space is crammed with old displays and trade ads and, and, and……

I stood there frozen, body and brain. Couldn’t think of one single I needed for like five minutes. It was that powerful. But once I got going….forget it.

Promise yourself you will visit, and don’t plan on doing it in just one day. Maybe bring a stretcher. You might need to leave on it.

Like ‘Right On’, which I purchased at Jerry’s, I’d somehow never heard of either.

Aren’t records the greatest! There are so many, you never run out of the need to keep looking.

Bobby Blue Bland / Ike Turner & His Orchestra

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Listen: Love You Baby – Bobby Blue Bland / Ike Turner & His Orchestra
Love

It might be a bit of a generic juke joint rumble, but this particular rumble was done with Bobby Blue Bland, Ike Turner and God only knows who else in one room.

Let’s envision it for a moment. No multi-day, starting at noon, air conditioned, catered, I’ve had a blog hit so I know what I’m doing recording session here. These were guys who slaved the chitlin circuit, with it’s separate drinking fountains, cordoned off restaurant seating, trudging from small town to small town, grinding out a paycheck. Just imagine the rock gut liquor hangover that morning after. Enduring long rides in crowded smoke filled cars, getting to that next engagement. And this was every day. Back when you truly had to master your craft, in fact, rouse crowds into frenzies nightly, simply to earn a working musician’s living. And if you were black, second class everything was a way of life.

Although credited on the label, Ike Turner is seldom name checked when ‘Love You Baby’ gets mentioned, if ever it does.

For me, the 2:25 playing length is a welcome daydream to another time, not unlike my fantasy with DRIVING MISS DAISY and her son’s aqua kitchen, but obviously on the other side of the tracks. I even let the phone ring off the hook last night while listening to ‘Love You Baby’ on repeat, despite it being my sister, worried about the hurricane.

Bobby Blue Bland and Ike Turner in the same room. God I wish I could have been there.

Ike & Tina Turner

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Listen: Nutbush City Limits / Ike & Tina Turner
INutbush City Limits / Ike & Tina Turner

Given that Ike & Tina Turner’s Bolic Sound Studio from the 70′s was quite near LAX, I asked my cab driver would he please cruise past it’s address, 1310 North La Brea, on our way to the airport yesterday. And of course, he did. Every Los Angeles trip I try to visit some historic location or landmark, most of the time only historic to me, usually bringing on the creeps, which is exactly the plan. More often than not, they now provide zero clues to the past. Like after an auto accident is cleared away, the street cleaned up, like it never happened. All that history just gutted, renovated, erased. It’s disgraceful.

Such was the case here. Given the early morning hour, it meant the area stood deserted, smoggy and still asleep. The building now connected to it’s legend only in address. Equal parts sad and eerie. What went on behind those walls in the early 70′s? What about the decor? What happened to all that equipment, furniture, or those wall hangings, plaques? I recall friends from United Artists working in the label’s office at the time, saying Ike Turner’s deal, which included large advances and complete studio funding, pretty much sank their ship. When you’re spending someone else’s dime, you tend to over-decorate I’m sure.

One thing was certain, there, right in front of my eyes, just a few yards away, stood the building where Ike & Tina Turner recorded and mixed a portion of their vast output. Lucky enough, we hit a red light. I had a solid minute to just stare and zone and imagine. Surely some priceless characters spilled out into the broad daylight, splat onto that corner, in who knows what outfits or states, after many an all night session. Not to mention, the boxes of promos arriving for each release. Where did they all go?

Swamp Dogg

Monday, May 17th, 2010

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.

Nice 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. Go ahead, start the first day of the rest of your life.

The Ikettes

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

IkettesMakeEmUSA, The Ikettes, Ike Turner, Pompeii

Listen: Make Em Wait / The Ikettes IkettesMakeEm.mp3

IkettesBeautyUSA, The Ikettes, Ike Turner, Pompeii

Listen: Beauty Is Just Skin Deep / The Ikettes IkettesBeauty.mp3

I can admit it, the slightest reason has me in front of the wall shelf, flipping through The Ikettes section, all the while completely smitten with their behind the scenes details. Either truth or fantasy, the revolving lineups and drug dramas running rampant in LA’s black music scene during the 60′s – 70′s make for constant detail digging this end. Add Ike Turner into that mix and boom. Yet, everybody was popping out one great record after the next almost weekly.

Seems Ike was indeed of assembly line mindset. Recycling instrumental tracks often, and rewriting the same song regularly meant the verse/hook had to be strong – seemingly as hard a chore but way cheaper on the wallet.

Not an easy white label promo to find, I was only too happy stealing this for $6 on eBay recently.