Archive for the ‘Juggy Murray’ Category

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

Monday, December 30th, 2013

THE SUE SOUL BROTHERS / Various Artists:


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

Side 2:

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

Listen: Daddy Rollin’ Stone / Derek Martin

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.

Thelma Jones

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Listen: Stronger / Thelma Jones

I recall hearing the last minute or so of ‘Stronger’ upon entering one of the many used vinyl shops along Ladbroke Grove in March ’77. Despite being totally infatuated with punk, my tastes were still pretty wide when it came to stuff before it, like glam and RnB and such. Plus it was just as hard to avoid a deep strong female voice then as it is now, and so Thelma Jones spiked my interest on the spot.

The bickering about the record’s £100 price sticker immediately disqualified me as it’s potential owner and I proceeded to get plenty light headed over stacks of other things. But I always remembered needing that Thelma Jones single on Sue from then on.

Almost ten years later to the day, I was working for Island and suddenly in the fortunate position of having access to the overflow of extras and forgotten copies that were stowed in various cabinets and cupboards around the St. Peter’s Square office. Rob Partridge, even then a long time employee was now head of press and showed me into a massive storage room bulging with multiples representing all eras, including a few boxes of Sue singles from the bygone days when Island distributed the US label in England.

Distributed initially that is, until Island’s Guy Stevens reportedly started licensing non Sue titles from America and issuing them on Sue UK, unbeknown to Juggy Murray who owned the original label. That resulting saga is easily found on many Sue Records fan and historical sites.

‘Stronger’ was one such record, having been released on the Barry label in the States. Upon finding the above copy amongst the Sue extras in that storage room, I was forever surprised to discover that the last minute I heard several years prior, whereby the “stronger’ lyric is on repeat, was actually the entire song from start to finish. No lyrics basically, and no chorus. Yet when it’s over, seems most folks are drawn to hear it all over again.

Baby Washington

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Listen: Hey Lonely One /Baby Washington
Hey Lonely One / Baby Washington

Born Justine Washington in 1940, Baby Washington began her recording career in ’56 as a member of The Hearts, but within a year, was confusing folks by issuing singles as both Justin Washington and Jeanette Washington. By the time she signed with Juggy Murray’s Sue Records in ’62, Baby Washington had settled in as her best known professional identity. Well, except for two of those sixteen Sue releases, when for whatever reason, Sue 797 (’63) and Sue 124 (’65) were issued as Justine Washington. Go figure.

Possible reason being, as Baby Washington, she may have had trouble getting live bookings. From what I witnessed yesterday when Baby Washington made a rare NYC appearance, she probably blew away all the competition on any of those stages back then. Even now, at 70 years old, it takes a lot of balls to follow her. Seriously, her poise and confidence were impeccable. She looked beautiful and then there was the voice. Do not miss her if you get the chance.

Luckily, through the years, I’ve managed to collect all but three of her US 7′s. Not a weak one in the bunch, plus it’s pretty hard for this completist to pass up anything on Sue. Far too many peaked at #90 or below on Billboard’s Top 100. Even more didn’t chart at all. God bless America is not applicable when it comes to Baby Washington.

‘Hey Lonely One’ (or ‘Hey Lonely’ as the early DJ copies read) spent one lonely week at #100 on 10/12/63. It wasn’t included in her all too short set yesterday, probably due to it being less familiar. I like to think it was out of her mercy for others on the bill.