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.