EXCELLO ROCKERS / Various Artists:
Listen: Shake Your Hips / Slim Harpo
Listen: I’m A Lover Not A Fighter / Lazy Lester
Listen: Wild Cherry / Leroy Washington
Listen: Hello Mary Lee / Lightnin’ Slim
EP’s came along from the labels for many reasons. Besides being generally rare due to their overall lack of substantial sales, as only the very biggest shifted sizable quantities, many were issued as promotional only. As a rule, they went to radio and the press, but on some occasions, to retail for in-store play, the latter being prevalent in the US during the early 1970′s.
EXCELLO ROCKERS wasn’t really any of the above though. It was about this time that England’s Ace Records issued a series of Excello artist compilations as indicated on the EP’s back cover. So what better reason was needed to create a classy promo only treat for the most informed industry friends and clients of the label? None. Clearly much care was taken in it’s preparation, right down to the cobalt blue and tangerine tri-centered pressing.
Three of the four acts here were amongst Excello’s best known and seemingly biggest sellers, given the number of singles each released during the label’s most active ten years, from 1962.
Then there’s Leroy Washington. His backwoods moonshine style was a template for so much of the mid and late 60′s output by the white British blues bands that I’m surprised he’s never name checked. Or maybe they didn’t even know he was their guy. Sounds to me like he, let’s say, rubbed off on many of his contemporaries. Perhaps without knowing, it could have been Leroy Washington who influenced Freddie King who influenced Peter Green or Kim Simmonds who influenced….the dominoes tip from there.
‘Wild Cherry’ was Leroy Washington’s first on Excello in 1958 with only two more to follow for the label during ’59 and ’60. The track is really blues on it’s way to becoming rockabilly, and wouldn’t have been out of place on the The Cramps BLUES FIX EP.