Archive for the ‘Bob Thiele’ Category

Charlie Phillips

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Listen: Sugartime / Charlie Phillips

Recorded and produced by Norman Petty in his Clovis, New Mexico studio, ‘Sugartime’ became Charlie Phillips’ debut release as Coral 61908, on the original B side, to be precise. The record’s origins are fascinating, especially the bit about turning up to find Buddy Holly & The Crickets had been booked as the backing band. Themselves newly successful to the charts, the guys were still earning fees playing on Norman Petty’s many studio sessions in ’56, when this was recorded. Norman Petty’s list of credits, as well the studio’s, are stunning.

Soon after ‘Sugartime’ scaled the US Country charts, Petty suggested Coral get the song covered, then release it to the pop audience. The label’s Bob Thiele brought in The McGuire Sisters, whose version (Coral 61924) was issued in short order, immediately entering BILLBOARD’s Hot 100, within weeks hitting #1 during Spring ’57.

This original, with an authentic hillbilly delivery as it was called, has the eerie ability to embody my fantasy of how AM rockabilly radio sounded in rural Texas during the mid-50′s. If only we had the means to time travel back and dig through piles of disc jockey records jammed into the cupboards of any audition studio at just one of those long gone broadcast buildings.

Shirley Scott Trio

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

ShirleyScottShot, Shirley Scott, Prestige, Impulse, Stanley Turrentine

Listen: A Shot In The Dark / Shirley Scott Trio
A Shot In The Dark / Shirley Scott Trio

Why The Shirley Scott Trio didn’t do a James Bond theme escapes me. If ever there was proof of that potential, it’s on this remake of Henry Mancini’s ‘A Shot In The Dark’. Hints of blaxploitation are seeded within this Oliver Nelson arrangement / Bob Thiele production most likely by accident instead of design. From the absolute must have GREAT SCOTT album, the bombastic arrangements almost can’t be topped. Search it out, if only for the fantastic cover shot of Shirley during her classic blond hair dye job gone wrong period of ’64 – ’65.

Married to Stanley Turrentine during the 60′s, they shared recording contract obligations, releasing as many as ten albums between them on a yearly basis at one point. Another born again of the Jimmy Smith church, Shirley switched from piano and trumpet to a big Hammond B3 shortly after seeing him live in her home town of Philadelphia.

ShirleyScottKeepFaith, Shirley Scott, Prestige, Impulse, Stanley Turrentine

Listen: Keep The Faith, Baby / Shirley Scott Trio
Keep The Faith, Baby / Shirley Scott Trio

For my palate, ‘Keep The Faith, Baby’ is the ultimate peak of her vast body of recorded work, certainly the 7″ singles. Not only does it live up to the mod jazz tag often associated with her mid 60′s stuff, but it reminds me of how lucky I was to frequent Seattle in the early 90′s, when the town was bursting with used record stores.

There was a chain, privately owned, specializing in singles, all divided up by genre. I spent hours pawing through those bins. Everything, particularly jazz, was a steal. A good portion of my Shirley Scott singles, around twenty, came from those trips. It was very bizarre to me that nobody, including collectors, was interested in jazz 7′s. God, I drooled over them. Thick vinyl pressings on Impulse, Verve and Blue Note were too much to pass up. And I’m glad now that I didn’t.

‘Keep The Faith, Baby’ was recorded on January 13, 1967 at Capitol Studios in New York, again with Bob Thiele producing. It features the ultimate Shirley Scott Trio lineup with George Duvivier on bass and Mickey Roker, drums.

Mel Brown

Friday, May 14th, 2010

MelPreacher, Mel Brown, Impulse, Bob Thiele

Listen: Son Of A Preacher Man / Mel Brown MelBrownSonPreacher.mp3

I recall seeing Mel Brown playing guitar with Buddy Guy in a small club near the RIT college campus. Saw Freddie King there quite soon afterwards as well. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the place. It was not glamorous by any stretch and must have made any one of these national acts think ‘how did I end up here?’. But in the well known tradition of blues guys, they’d just blister through it all, eyes closed. It was on that night my interest in Mel Brown was sparked.

I’d seen a few of his Impulse albums in the college station’s library, logically tucked away (as all Impulse releases immediately were) in the jazz section. Most of those albums were in close to mint condition as very few college radio dj’s knew jack about jazz, me included – and certainly none of us played the stuff on our tomorrow’s hip rock music today programs. Wouldn’t be surprised if they’re all still sitting there….clean as a whistle.

Thing was he’s really a blues player, as I discovered that evening. I dug around the piles of singles in the ‘free – take what you want’ boxes back at the station right after the show, positive I’d seen at least one of his in there and sure enough – bingo.

I was a bit bummed discovering it to be a cover of the Dusty Springfield hit, ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’ and it sounded all muzak-y, but held on to it anyways. Now I’m glad I did. It makes for a nice breather, and through the years my penchant grew for instrumental covers of big pop hits.

MelBrownChitlins, Mel Brown, Impulse

Listen: Eighteen Pounds Of Unclean Chitlings (Part 1) / Mel Brown MelBrownChitlins.mp3

Along comes this single with a hip title. Like many before it, who can pass up one called ‘Eighteen Pounds Of Unclean Chitlings’. First spin reminded me of just about any track from Ten Years After during their STONEHENGE period. Not a bad thing.

Warning: initial listen might sound a bit ho-hum. Give it a few plays – it really sticks.