Archive for the ‘Big Amos’ Category

Norm West

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Listen: Baby Please / Norm West

In the last few years, M.O.C. Records has become a favorite when obscure soul labels haunt my brain. You know they’re worth pursuing once a few singles, all good, find there way into your life and then, even Wikipedia doesn’t shed any info on the company.

Such is the case here. From ’62 to around ’69/’70, the label was timidly distributed by London, and when my first orange swirl encounter occurred via a Big Amos title, I knew another chapter of collecting had begun.

My best find so far: ‘Baby Please’ by Norm West from early ’66, which turned out being a $50 Northern single, according to the NORTHERN SOUL PRICE GUIDE. Both sides of this one are credited to D. Bryant, and given Norm West’s two previous singles were released by Hi, I’m just guessing it’s Don Bryant.

Later, a member of the successful Stax act, The Soul Children, it’s nice to hear he ended up winning.

Big Lucky

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Listen: I’ve Been Hurt /Big Lucky

Levester Carter, a native of Choctaw County, Mississippi described his earliest influences as being both a wind-up phonograph and the stack of blues records purchased at Sears-Roebuck that were played on it. He took up guitar in the 50′s while in the Navy, and after playing in various bands around Memphis, sang lead on the two Ed Kirby aka Prince Gabe singles, ‘Blue Nights’ and ‘Mean Old Gin’, released by Sam Phillip’s Sun Records.

Come ’68, local Memphis disc jockey A.C.’Moonah’ Williams put Big Lucky Carter, his then stage moniker, in touch with Hi Records boss Willie Mitchell, who demo’d him at the Hi studios. Liking the result, he coupled ‘Miss Betty Green’ and ‘Stop Arguin’ Over Me’ as the first of two singles for the label’s subsidiary M.O.C. (MOC 670), released April 7, 1969, according to an old production schedule from Hi/M.O.C.’s parent label, London Records, that I have poured over for many hours through the years.

Coupled with ‘Goofer Dust’, ‘I’ve Been Hurt’ (MOC 673) followed as an A Side on Dec 8, 1969. My favorite of the bunch, it sat nicely next to label mate Big Amos Patton’s ‘Going To Viet Nam’ (MOC 665) from a year or so earlier. The two records just go hand in hand despite having nothing in common lyrically.

Like Big Amos, his association with Hi did little to expand Big Lucky’s profile, matching neither Big nor as is his case, Lucky, in real life. Nothing beyond local Memphis airplay resulted and two more greats proceeded into obscurity, making their records even more cherished collectibles.

Ann Peebles

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Listen: I Don’t Lend My Man / Ann Peebles
I Don't Lend My Man / Ann Peebles

Hi Records, with their Willie Mitchell led house band, not many labels had anything on them. Between Hi and Stax, the 70′s must have been a fantastic time to live and play in Memphis.

Always having a major soft spot for London Records, and the UK parent company Decca, meant I was interested in all their subsidiaries: Parrot, Deram, Tribe, Press and, despite a very different sound and roster, Hi. I have never passed up a Hi single at a garage or church sale. Can’t physically do it. And if it’s in the company sleeve, well forget it. As a result over the years, I’ve got loads of extras, so many Al Greens, for instance. Hey, they always come in handy: the jukebox, new friends, new neighbors, copies if I ever get that summer house.

Plus it’s led to amassing some crazy obscurities: Big Amos, Quiet Elegance, Bobo Mr. Soul, Erma Coffee, Gene Bowlegs Miller. It’s really how I got hooked on Ann Peebles, collecting the label. Probably owned two or three singles before properly checking her out. Then bang. Her’s is a real treasure trove of material. No denying the greatness of ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’. But when she veers toward the Millie Jackson lyrical sass, that’s when I love her most. ‘I Don’t Lend My Man’ – that title tells you everything you’re about to hear before you start.