Archive for the ‘Huey P. Meaux’ Category

The Sir Douglas Quintet

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

The Tracker / Sir Douglas Quintet - US

Listen: The Tracker / The Sir Douglas Quintet
The Tracker / The Sir Douglas Quintet

Like so many bands popping up around the country circa ’64 – ’65, all imitating Britain’s Invasion, The Sir Douglas Quintet appeared. Unlike those others, they had a recognizable sound (perfectly part Bo Diddley, part Pretty Things) and could both write and find great songs, and had the production advantage of Huey P. Meaux guiding them. The band never released a bad single on London Records’ imprint Tribe. They eventually moved to Smash/Philips where their greatness, and the occasional hit single, continued.

‘The Tracker’, followup to their debut smash ‘She’s About A Mover’, was a real favorite despite it’s national stall at #105 in July ’65 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart.

I recall seeing them on SHINDIG, Doug Sahm (Sir Douglas) doing a mean Phil May imitation vocal on ‘The Tracker’ while holding an oversized magnifying glass, kind of roaming around the stage as though following footsteps visible when enlarged, Sherlock Holmes style. Not only did they have the sound down, but the look as well.

Blue Norther / Sir Douglas Quintet - US

Listen: Blue Norther / The Sir Douglas Quintet
Blue Norther / The Sir Douglas Quintet

‘Blue Norther’, the B side, with it’s rather haunting patent Sir Douglas Quintet formula (not to be taken as a bad thing), I like to think is about the train line and totally conjured up nighttime images of a freight winding it’s way through some dark mountain woods or the Texas desert, assuming there is one there.

Listen: In Time / The Sir Douglas Quintet
In Time / The Sir Douglas Quintet

Quickly released that September, no doubt in hopes of refuelling interest after their huge debut, ‘In Time’ stiffed completely. Shame, just listen to it’s perfection. No other US band quite captured their flawless mixture of Texas and England, a recipe that should’ve easily worked. To my knowledge, only KNAC in Salt Lake City charted it for a week in October at #63. Otherwise, klunk

Listen: The Story Of John Hardy / The Sir Douglas Quintet
The Story Of John Hardy / The Sir Douglas Quintet

For the flipside of ‘In Time’, as with Manfred Mann’s rendition of the Lomax/Lomax written ‘John Hardy’ (it too a B side of ‘Sha La La’), the ever present influence of The Pretty Things, marraccas particularly, prevailed. The band’s more folk blues ‘version’, retitled ‘The Story Of John Hardy’, songwriting mischievously credited to Doug Sahm, succeeded in establishing yet again that sound so unique to this band.

Many years later, Doug Sahm formed The Texas Tornadoes and signed to Warner Brothers. I saw him in the office one day (my company, The Medicine Label, was a WB label) and he graciously filled out a jukebox tab for me. It was a chance meeting, so I wasn’t prepared with B side info. I couldn’t remember it, neither could he.

Sir Douglas Quintet - Juke Box Tab

Above: Jukebox Tab filled out by Doug Sahm.

Alton Joseph & The Jokers

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Listen: Where’s The Place / Alton Joseph & The Jokers

Anything with Huey P. Meaux’s name attached should heighten your radar immediately. From what I know, he’s never made a bad record.

The former music director from a one of a kind, progressive 60′s / early 70′s Rochester AM Top 40, WSAY, brought me two massive burlap bags of promo 45′s when the station sadly lost steam in ’79, by then churning out a weak country format to deaf ears. The aged and nasty private owner was selling. Everyone was losing their jobs.

It was a drag, this guy was so distraught and worried, yet clearly wanted to share some decency via the truly unexpected gifts. He knew I had drooled over the thousands of singles locked behind management’s doors, and decided to just say fuck them, grabbing me several hundred. At the time, I was a local promotion rep for MCA, and always took good care of him while most others were dismissive and disinterested. It was a massive surprise when he buzzed me from my apartment building lobby, huge burlap bags in each fist and certainly a most kind repayment.

Impossible to wait, halfway up the stairs, I pulled out a couple. ‘Please Stay’ by The Cryin’ Shames on an orange swirl US London was one, this was the other.

About then, my interest in Loma was beginning to fully form, and anything from the label bugged my eyes. Alton Joseph & The Jokers, produced by Huey P. Meaux, well I couldn’t get upstairs and to my turntable fast enough.

This was April ’79. The thirteen year gap between a Spring ’66 release of ‘Where’s The Place’ and my first listen already created a euphoric walk back into time. Nowadays, it’s a total rocket ship ride to the past, in a good way.

I swear, this was a one take, live in the studio natural for these guys.

Listen: The Other Place / Alton Joseph & The Jokers

Never could I find any comprehensive information about Alton Joseph & The Jokers, their lineup or origins. Bob Krasnow, who ran Loma and years later, Elektra during my time there, couldn’t remember many details either, barring an almost complete certainty that they were Texas beer joint locals, and broke musician friends of Heuy P. Meaux on the three boogie woogie sets a night treadmill.

‘The Other Place’ might indeed verify Bob’s instinct, given it’s a penny pinching instrumental of the A side, only shortened a bit and given a slighty different mix.

Magic was made.

Barbara Lynn

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Listen: You Left The Water Running / Barbara Lynn
You Left The Water Running / Barbara Lynn

Girls with guitars. You can’t top them. Especially when they’re playing RnB. That’s exactly what Barbara Lynn did then and does now.

A personal production project for longtime creative partner, Huey P. Meaux, I imagine he had equity in Tribe Records, or possibly a lot of sway as a result of The Sir Douglas Quintet hits. ‘You Left The Water Running’ was the second of four singles for the label.

Listen: Take Your Love & Run / Barbara Lynn
Take Your Love & Run / Barbara Lynn

Not by design I’m sure, ‘Take Your Love & Run’ reeked of Northern Soul before any of us knew what that even meant. Still under the production supervision of Huey P. Meaux, this unlikely July ’71 B side will empty your wallet fast, but deservedly so. Be careful, it’s an easily addicting record.