Archive for the ‘Little Jerry Williams’ Category

Little Jerry Williams

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Listen: I’m The Lover Man / Little Jerry Williams
LittleJerryWilliamsLoverMan.mp3

Every much a writer and a producer as he is an artist, Jerry Williams began a long timeline of releasing 45′s as Little Jerry Williams in ’54. Ten years down the line from there, he recorded ‘I’m The Lover Man’ as a one off for Loma, the Warner Brothers imprint created primarily as an outlet for RnB/Soul and Bob Krasnow, who oversaw the operation.

By ’74, he was Swamp Dogg.

In a recent on-air interview for NPR, Jerry Williams claimed to be raised on country music.

“Black music didn’t start ’til 10 at night ending around 4 in the morning and I was in bed by then. If you strip my tracks, take away all the horns and guitar licks, what you have is a country song.”

In fact, as proof, he even earned a Grammy nomination in ’71, along with Gary US Bonds, for composing the Johnny Paycheck Country Single Of The Year, “She’s All I Got”.

‘I’m The Lover Man’ indeed seems to exemplify the template, while maintaining his signature tongue in cheek lyrics.

The Sandpebbles

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Listen: Love Power / The Sandpebbles
Love

Clocking in at just over two minutes, ‘Love Power’, like The Flirtations ‘Nothing But A Heartache’, could qualify as one of the greatest Motown tracks never to be issued by Motown.

Instead, the independently owned soul label, Calla Records out of New York, distributed by Roulette, released ‘Love Power’ in late ’66, and by the end of winter ’67, it was both an RnB and Pop hit (#14 / #22).

Nate McCalla was the guy, keeping his company active from ’65 to ’77 . Originally being both a bodyguard for and associate of Morris Levy, Roulette Records legendary owner, connects the dots to the label’s distribution setup and supposedly Nate’s execution style demise in ’80.

Calla Records was a rather unsung entity, and Nate McCalla certainly seemed to have an ear. In addition to The Sandpebbles, his roster included J.J. Jackson, Little Jerry Williams (aka Swamp Dogg), Jean Wells, The Emotions, The Fuzz, Lonnie Youngblood, The Persuaders and Betty LaVette. Not shabby.

‘Love Power’ was one of many greats written, and in this case produced, by Teddy Vann. Revived years later by Luther Vandross and made into an even bigger hit meant Teddy finally achieved a long awaited Grammy for such a powerful track.

The Sandpebbles may be little known. Still, lead vocalist Calvin White along with his two musical partners Andrea Bolden and Lonzine Wright, can always put claim to their performance on ‘Love Power’, one of soul’s best records ever.

I know, I sprang an entire week’s allowance for it, and my single still has the original price sticker to prove it.

Gus Jenkins

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Listen: Chittlins / Gus Jenkins
Chittlins

Damn, I wish I knew more about Gus Jenkins. I know he recorded as early as ’56, under the name Gus Jinkins, and he’s up there as one of the most mysterious raw blues obscurities around.

Someone at Capitol decided to release ‘Chittlins’ via their newly formed subsidiary, Tower, in late ’64.

The Tower label went on until ’68, amassing a small, but fairly collectable bunch of releases, the most famous of course being all the very early US singles by The Pink Floyd. But there were more, Joe Meek masters by Heinz and Tom Jones, Ian Whitcomb & Bluesville, The Chocolate Watch Band, The Standells…pull up a Tower discography sometime. Nice stuff.

Even on first listen, you’ll agree, a wonderfully noticeable amount of Gus Jenkins’ swagger may have influenced The Cramps just a bit, and even more, The Rolling Stones, sounding not unlike any number of tracks from their first few albums.

According to BILLBOARD’s November 14, 1964 RnB DJ Roundup below, along with Jimmy Reed’s ‘I’m Going Upside Your Head’, Ed Wright at WABO Cleveland was spinning it, Ed Hardy over at KDIA in San Francisco chose ‘Chittlins’ as well as Little Jerry Williams’ ‘I’m The Lover Man’, a filthy sleaze fest of a single, a no fucking around must for every collection. And let’s not forget WYLD’s Ed ‘Screaming’ Teamer in New Orleans, who was not only jamming Gus Jenkins and Little Jerry Williams, but was playing the mad great ‘My Country Sugar Mama’ by Howlin’ Wolf.

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.