Archive for the ‘Tony King’ Category

Thomas Wayne

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

thomaswaynetragedyuka, Thomas Wayne, Twinkle, The Shangri-Las, American London,

Listen: Tragedy / Thomas Wayne
Tragedy / Thomas Wayne

Both sides are a childhood memory record. And I had all but forgotten this one until there it was in the collection I’d bought from Tony King. Certainly not representative of the general sound I ultimately went for until years later, unsure if it was the very first record I had someone buy me, but it was certainly one of the first.

Possibly ‘Tragedy’ is what planted that seed toward favoring violent death and horror records like those by Jimmy Cross, Twinkle, The Shangri-Las, Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages even The Gun Club. Thomas himself died in a car crash.

thomaswaynesaturday, Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley, Thomas Wayne, Fernwood Records, London American,

Listen: Saturday Date / Thomas Wayne
Saturday Date / Thomas Wayne

Like Side A, the flip, ‘Saturday Date’ was produced by Scotty Moore, one time Elvis Presley guitarist. Why it wasn’t included in the AMERICAN GRAFFITI soundtrack is beyond me. Lyrically, you can’t capture the era better. Speaking of guitarists, Thomas Wayne was indeed the brother of Luther Perkins, who played lead for Johnny Cash.

A side scan from Tony King’s collection, B side scan is my original copy from the day.

Larry Williams

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

larrywilliamsshortfat, Larry Williams, Johnny Guitar Watson, London American, Northern Soul

Listen: Short Fat Fannie / Larry Williams
Short

Larry Williams is seldom respected as an original bad boy of RnR, but he should be. Legend has his underworld activities stretching back prior to these initial recordings. He eventually bit the bullet, literally, a victim of a suicide, although street legend claims otherwise. Having served time in the early 60′s for drug dealing, he hooked up with Johnny Guitar Watson upon release to sleaze out in late night Hollywood, which admittedly may be my self fulfilling fantasy, and also make some of the most authentic Northern Soul tracks known to mankind for Okeh.

I was excited when The Mooney Suzuki, who I looked after while at Columbia, recorded in the same studio on Santa Monica Boulevard that he and Johnny had. I literally thought about it constantly while there. I was pissing in the same toilet as the dynamic duo. No one else seemed to apprciate my excitement.

Prior to all that, he wrote ‘Bonie Maronie’, ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’, ‘Slow Down’ and ‘She Said Yeah’, my favorite, as recorded and performed by The Rolling Stones on HULLABALOO:

‘Short Fat Fannie’ goes back to pre Northern, pre Johnny Guitar Watson and pre jail time. It was actually one of his hits (#31 RnB / #35 Pop) in ’57 and comes courtesy of the Tony King Collection.

Original post: August 19, 2009.

Dean Courtney

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

DeanCourtneyNeedYou, Dean Courtney, RCA, Northern Soul

Listen: I’ll Always Need You / Dean Courtney
DeanCourtney.mp3

‘I’ll Always Need You’ could almost pass for the mold used to make Northern Soul. I had a few odd Dean Courtney records, a later album on some Columbia distributed label, and a few singles but none of them can touch this. It’s been floating around the house for a while, got it with Tony King’s collection a couple of years back.

I always knew a few of his RCA’s were sought after, but didn’t expect this to be one somehow, figured that was too good to be true. Instead, indeed it happens to be his most valuable single, according to The Northern Soul Price Guide. Even if it weren’t in monetary terms, it has to be in musical ones. I gave it a spin last night, and my eyes bugged out. Whoa. This is fantastic, made just a little bit better by being able to watch that ‘A’ label go round the turntable.

The Rolling Stones

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Listen: Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow? / The Rolling StonesStonesMotherShadow.mp3

Today is Mick Jagger’s birthday, and still very much in top form.

The 1966 Rolling Stones were in top form too, dropping double A sided singles every few months, looking better seemingly by the day in paisleys, polka dots, pastel trousers, flowered jackets – you name it. Their summer US tour to promote AFTERMATH, by far one of their greatest (and thee greatest) albums, caused riots everywhere, including my hometown of Syracuse on 7/6/66, where Brian Jones was arrested post show for allegedly dragging a US flag along the ground.

Having made my way backstage, full colour program in hand to be autographed, I’ll testify that I saw no such behavior. The guys talked to me at length having remembered our first meeting that previous fall and all the blues records we enthused over. As they rounded up their bags to get into the awaiting station wagon, I left. Whatever supposedly happened must have occured within the next few minutes. But considering their exit would have been down the same flagless stairway and through the same flagless door I traveled, it’s quite hard to believe. As I exited, I saw their said awaiting car. I did, however, also witness a bunch of pudgy, balding, aggressively intimidating policemen who had earlier been jealously eyeing the flawless visual perfection of Brian Jones and his band upstairs. One of many crooked law enforcement setups that were coincidentally about to plague The Rolling Stones? Quite possibly.

That night’s show opened with ‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Love’ (as it had on their previous visit October 30, 1965) before launching into a merciless onslaught of masterpieces: ‘Mother’s Little Helper’, ‘Paint It, Black’, ‘Lady Jane’, ‘Under My Thumb’, ‘Cry To Me’, ‘Heart Of Stone’, ‘The Last Time’, ’19th Nervous Breakdown’, ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’, ‘Not Fade Away’….I’m still not fully recovered.

By September of ’66, it was as if AFTERMATH was old hat, and the seminal songs kept coming. This time in the form of a loud, chaotic soundclash of fuzz, brass, piano and tom toms: ‘Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?’. Even the title broke all the rules. It took years for many to realize the superior genius of the track. I spun it dj-ing a month or so back and the freaking place blew up.

A few years ago, I asked Tony King if he knew where the infamous drag shot of the band was taken, having tortured myself for years trying to work out the spot. I could tell from the street and buildings it was clearly NYC. That picture, and a shot of the group in the same location wearing identical outfits as on the Ed Sullivan Show (9/11/66) – most likely shot the same day, made up the front and back sleeve of the US single (compare clip to sleeve):

After a few days, Tony emailed me, having heard back from the original photographer with the location. I hurried over to said spot – lo and behold – there it was. I milled about for some time. It was early evening, quite cold, and either the brisk air or other worldly energy, or both, had me shivering ever so slightly. A true high that I will never forget.

The proof:

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.

Lesley Gore / Quincy Jones

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

LesliePartyUKA, Lesley Gore, Mercury, Quincy Jones, Reprise

Listen: It’s My Party / Lesley Gore LesleyParty.mp3

We had a Christmas lunch today, but friends actually started showing up around 10AM. I find the simplest background music solution for these gatherings to be Music Choice, part of the Time Warner cable selections. Our setup spans the kitchen, den, living room, basically the ground floor, so everyone’s covered. For the more hardcore, it’s off to a whole ‘nother part of the house with the turntables, jukebox, record library, memoribilia, the works, but I digress.

Back at the main floor party, the 60′s channel got everyone’s vote. It was a nice if predictable mix, nothing obscure that might put off a WalMart shopper of course. On comes ‘It’s My Party’. The mood turned up a notch. An all time favorite combined with champagne at 11AM did the trick. Seriously, she sounded great, and I’d been forever meaning to spin some of her 7′s lately. Having spent the last few days trying to file a couple thousand singles that have just enveloped my existence, I happened on a nice original UK A label from Tony’s collection of ‘It’s My Party’ – a repeat play was in order.

LesleyShesFoolPS, Lesley Gore, Mercury, Quincy Jones, Reprise

Listen: She’s A Fool / Lesley Gore LesleyFool.mp3

I keep forgetting that the first 1/3 or so of her Mercury hits were produced by Quincy Jones just after he took over the NY Mercury offices in ’64 (Shelby Singleton and Bob Crewe divided up the last 2/3′s pretty evenly).

Yes, that Quincy Jones. If you want your mouth to drop and eyes to bug, check out his discography. A cat does not have this many lives. There’s hardly a bad one in the bunch.

‘She’s A Fool’ rivaled ‘It’s My Party’ as my favorite for ages. I’d forgotten the autographed sleeve Howard got me one time. Apparently she visited a friend at CBS often back when he was there.

QuincyUKA, Lesley Gore, Mercury, Quincy Jones, Reprise

Listen: Money Runner / Quincy Jones QuincyMoneyRunner.mp3

His many accomplishments included writing and producing some 33 film scores and soundtracks. I’d bet that number is even higher, but even if it’s not, wow, can you imagine? Another of Tony’s singles that almost got filed, but instead has been played about 20 times, is ‘Money Runner’ from the ’71 film/soundtrack THE HEIST. Quincy Jones even dipped his toe into Blaxploitation, with a bit of ‘Shaft’ mixed in. It was this year’s Christmas Day favorite.

Will Lord Warddd play it at Brooklyn Bowl on January 1?

Rex Garvin & The Mighty Cravers

Friday, August 14th, 2009

rexgarvinpt11, Rex Garvin & The Mighty Cravers, Atlantic, JB, James Brown

Listen: Sock It To ‘em JB (Part 1) / Rex Garvin & The Mighty CraversRexGarvinPt1.mp3

rexgarvinpt1, Rex Garvin & The Mighty Cravers, Atlantic, JB, James Brown

Listen: Sock It To ‘em JB (Part 2) / Rex Garvin & The Mighty CraversRexGarvinPt2.mp3

This single always eluded me, but lo and behold, I finally snagged it as part of Tony King’s fantastic collection, which I still thank him for profusely to this day. Thank you Tony.

I wondered initially was this Fred & The JB’s under another name? Did some research and found out otherwise. Basically go to Funky 16 Corners, have a read about the record and band (I couldn’t improve on that write up), see a picture – then come on back and have a listen (or the other way around).

Roy Redmond

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

royredmondgoodday1, Roy Redmond, Jerry Ragavoy, Warner Brothers, The Beatles

Listen: Good Day Sunshine / Roy Redmond RoyRedmondGoodDay.mp3

royredmondfeeling, Roy Redmond, Jerry Ragavoy, Warner Brothers, The Beatles

Listen: That Old Time Feeling / Roy Redmond RoyRedmanThatOldTime.mp3

Part of the Loma Records roster in the mid 60′s, Roy Redmond’s path crossing with Jerry Ragovoy made perfect sense. He’d produced many acts for the label, almost like a house producer, most notably Lorraine Ellison. Warner Brothers, being the imprint’s parent label, obviously decided not to give them their own UK visibilty. To my knowledge, all those US Loma’s came out on WB over there, as with Roy Redmond’s.

Having recently gotten this as part of Tony King’s collection, it was the B side ‘That Old Time Feeling’ that drew me in based on the Ragovoy production. Plus it was co-written by Donnie Fritts, for years Kris Kristofferson’s keyboardist, having learned his craft at Muscle Shoals and with Rick Hall’s Fame Studios.

Until a few days ago, the A side ‘Good Day Sunshine’ was simply a repellant to my interest, being a most cheesy Beatles composition in an already crowded list. With ‘That Old Time Feeling’ being so good, I felt responsible to give it a spin. Wow. I should have trusted Jerry Ragovoy’s work way more. It’s terrific. Amongst the song’s many qualities – it sounds nothing like The Beatles original.

Don Covay & The Goodtimers

Friday, June 12th, 2009

doncovaymercyuka, don covay, atlantic, the rolling stones

doncovaymercyukre, don covay, atlantic

Listen: Mercy, Mercy / Don Covay & The Goodtimers DonCovayMercy.mp3

I woke up one day realizing albums by The Rolling Stones serve as introductory encyclopedias for figuring out the best American RnB and Blues originals. I felt really behind the curve at that moment, but considering it was still 1969, I caught up ok. The band, or someone in their camp, had impecable taste when picking this stuff. I still read the occassional story of their early visits to the US, whereby they’d all flock to now infamous record shops in Harlem or East LA just to buy all the black releases. Man, those stores must have been amazing. And where are all those records now? There were plenty of those original US pressings amongst the Tony King collection…..

Don Covay entered my world via OUT OF OUR HEADS. The Rolling Stones started side one of the US version with ‘Mercy, Mercy’. OUT OF OUR HEADS was their fourth and final US album to pressed initially (first run only) in the UK, then exported to the US and sleeved here. Just recently have collectors been alerted to this detail, but for years I was buying up those UK copies at garage sales for $1. They are particularly easy to spot. The font is obviously different than US London labels, but they’re also deep groove, and they indicate ‘Made In England’. Quite helpful. A few other London releases during the era (’64 – ’66) were intially pressed in the UK as well: Marianne Faithfull, Tom Jones and Them.

When I worked at Island in the late 80′s, Chris Blackwell signed Don Covay, who came by regularly to see Holly Furgeson and her office was next to mine. She did the A&R admin, and Don Covay handled all his own business. I remember him working diligently on the project only to have it shelved, a bad habit Island always had.

I was well pleased to find not only the original DJ copy of ‘Mercy, Mercy’ amogst Tony’s records, but a very nice UK reissue as well, both pictured above.

Snooky

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Listen:  Sugar Lips / Snooky

Listen: Sugar Lips / Snooky 01 Sugar Lis.mp3

I spoke with Roger Armstrong today. He was one of the guys who opened London’s Rock On record shop in the 70′s, having started out with a few standups of used records just off Shaftsbury Avenue and later, founded Ace Records, the catalog/reissue company, which he still owns and operates. Like the rest of us, he’s just a plain old record junkie. Luckily, when I bought Tony King’s 45 collection back in May, Roger offered a helping hand, and as a result, they’re still all boxed up and sitting in one of Roger’s spare rooms, waiting to come home to NYC. So we had a fun hour catch up call today. He mentioned the Camden Record Fair from a Sunday or two ago, whereby he picked up 70/80 singles, about two thirds of which he’d never heard of. Even the deepest record collectors and musicologists always are finding more records to collect. That’s the beauty of it all, there are so many records, not only to play but to discover as well, and the search is never ending. Wonderful.

Tonight Phil stopped by. We played singles for a good three hours. I pulled out a stack of Contempo releases I’d faithfully bought in the late 80′s and tucked away on a bottom shelf. The Notting Hill Record & Tape Exchange was the place to be then, for me that is. I always stayed at the The Pembridge Court Hotel, a mere block away. Sometimes I’d make a few trips to and from the shop with armloads of singles, dumping them in my room and resuming the digging minutes later. One time, Corinne dropped me off around 10 AM on her way to Soho to shop, and noticed me in the ground floor 7″ section around 4 PM that afternoon when she returned. I’d been there the whole time, by now starving and needing to piss badly. True story. All the 7′s were around a pound or so a piece then. I remember loving the look of the Contempo labels, and their stock sleeves, despite being pretty unfamiliar with the company. I did know of the BLUES & SOUL magazine that the label was loosely associated with from the 70′s. A good publication, even if they over celebrated themselves a bit too often. Well all these years later, I finally got around to playing through this chuck of Contempos, finding this, ‘Sugar Lips’ by Snooky, licensed from Feelgood Records Ltd in 1975.

Phil didn’t know a thing about this record’s history, not did I. We Googled Snooky. Googled Feelgood Records. Checked the RECORD COLLECTOR PRICE GUIDE. No info, not anywhere. Who is this? Who are Feelgood Records? No idea. Very bizarre. But in keeping with one of the great consistencies of record collecting, there’s always more records to discover. It never ever ends.

Interestingly, for such a hardcore soul label, this track sounds quite like The Tremeloes. I love it.