Posts Tagged ‘Tribe’

The Sir Douglas Quintet

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

The Tracker / Sir Douglas Quintet - US

Listen: The Tracker / The Sir Douglas Quintet
The Tracker / The Sir Douglas Quintet

Like so many bands popping up around the country circa ’64 – ’65, all imitating Britain’s Invasion, The Sir Douglas Quintet appeared. Unlike those others, they had a recognizable sound (perfectly part Bo Diddley, part Pretty Things) and could both write and find great songs, and had the production advantage of Huey P. Meaux guiding them. The band never released a bad single on London Records’ imprint Tribe. They eventually moved to Smash/Philips where their greatness, and the occasional hit single, continued.

‘The Tracker’, followup to their debut smash ‘She’s About A Mover’, was a real favorite despite it’s national stall at #105 in July ’65 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart.

I recall seeing them on SHINDIG, Doug Sahm (Sir Douglas) doing a mean Phil May imitation vocal on ‘The Tracker’ while holding an oversized magnifying glass, kind of roaming around the stage as though following footsteps visible when enlarged, Sherlock Holmes style. Not only did they have the sound down, but the look as well.

Blue Norther / Sir Douglas Quintet - US

Listen: Blue Norther / The Sir Douglas Quintet
Blue Norther / The Sir Douglas Quintet

‘Blue Norther’, the B side, with it’s rather haunting patent Sir Douglas Quintet formula (not to be taken as a bad thing), I like to think is about the train line and totally conjured up nighttime images of a freight winding it’s way through some dark mountain woods or the Texas desert, assuming there is one there.

Listen: In Time / The Sir Douglas Quintet
In Time / The Sir Douglas Quintet

Quickly released that September, no doubt in hopes of refuelling interest after their huge debut, ‘In Time’ stiffed completely. Shame, just listen to it’s perfection. No other US band quite captured their flawless mixture of Texas and England, a recipe that should’ve easily worked. To my knowledge, only KNAC in Salt Lake City charted it for a week in October at #63. Otherwise, klunk

Listen: The Story Of John Hardy / The Sir Douglas Quintet
The Story Of John Hardy / The Sir Douglas Quintet

For the flipside of ‘In Time’, as with Manfred Mann’s rendition of the Lomax/Lomax written ‘John Hardy’ (it too a B side of ‘Sha La La’), the ever present influence of The Pretty Things, marraccas particularly, prevailed. The band’s more folk blues ‘version’, retitled ‘The Story Of John Hardy’, songwriting mischievously credited to Doug Sahm, succeeded in establishing yet again that sound so unique to this band.

Many years later, Doug Sahm formed The Texas Tornadoes and signed to Warner Brothers. I saw him in the office one day (my company, The Medicine Label, was a WB label) and he graciously filled out a jukebox tab for me. It was a chance meeting, so I wasn’t prepared with B side info. I couldn’t remember it, neither could he.

Sir Douglas Quintet - Juke Box Tab

Above: Jukebox Tab filled out by Doug Sahm.

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.

Barbara Lynn

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Listen: You Left The Water Running / Barbara Lynn
You Left The Water Running / Barbara Lynn

Girls with guitars. You can’t top them. Especially when they’re playing RnB. That’s exactly what Barbara Lynn did then and does now.

A personal production project for longtime creative partner, Huey P. Meaux, I imagine he had equity in Tribe Records, or possibly a lot of sway as a result of The Sir Douglas Quintet hits. ‘You Left The Water Running’ was the second of four singles for the label.

Listen: Take Your Love & Run / Barbara Lynn
Take Your Love & Run / Barbara Lynn

Not by design I’m sure, ‘Take Your Love & Run’ reeked of Northern Soul before any of us knew what that even meant. Still under the production supervision of Huey P. Meaux, this unlikely July ’71 B side will empty your wallet fast, but deservedly so. Be careful, it’s an easily addicting record.

The Fortunes

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

Here It Comes Again / The Fortunes

Here It Comes Again / The Fortunes

Listen: Here It Comes Again / The Fortunes FortunesComes.mp3

Back in the 70′s, many record stores bought direct from each label. Only the really small shops were forced to buy via a one stop, which were distributors that represented all the labels, a kind of middle man. I worked for Discount Records in ’74-75. Although a chain owned by CBS, they were deep catalog stores and centered around college towns and campuses, hence their two Syracuse locations. And each of these shops would buy direct from the various labels. Every Tuesday all the reps would stop by, bring the staff hot drinks and donuts, plus stacks of promos, T shirts and posters. It was heaven. One summer day, I went to the Syracuse University library, having been alerted to their complete bound collection of BILLBOARD magazines from the 60′s, to sit for hours and pour through them. I took a new marble notebook and dated each page to the corresponding issue then listed any facts of interest. Chart entries, new releases with catalog numbers, etc. Years later, I managed to find a magazine dealer selling a complete run of issues from ’64 – ’68. Perfect, I bought them all.

A few days later, I got this ‘why not’ idea. I ordered about one hundred long out of print 7″ titles on the London family labels from our rep, one copy each, using the newly acquired catalog numbers from my day of research.

I’d actually blanked and didn’t even think more about the order, being sure they’d never turn up. I mean how could they? This was ’75 and some of them had come and gone, most were flops, some ten years prior. But lo and behold, about a week later, the London order arrived, and one of the boxes was chock full of many, many of those very titles. Oh man, I was flying. Amongst them were all the Press singles from The Fortunes, not to mention The Small Faces, Los Bravos, The Pudding, The Gibsons and loads more. And those was just the ones on Press. I won’t even get into the Deram, London, Tribe, Hi and Parrot selections on this post. My immediate reaction was to order five copies of many that had turned up, which I did, but no more ever came. Obviously, these had been sitting on the shelves for literally a decade.

I think most kids considered The Fortunes sound to be manufactured, over orchestrated, adult leaning, the music your parents would like too. All true I guess, but I did love those big, ballad-y Greenaway/Cook and/or Les Reed boomers. ‘Here It Comes Again’ was a decent hit here, #27 in Nov ’65.

This Golden Ring / The Fortunes

This Golden Ring / The Fortunes

Listen: This Golden Ring / The Fortunes FortunesGolden.mp3

But the followup, ‘This Golden Ring’ struggled slowly, and perfectly, to a problem #82 in February ’66. The Fortunes were burned into my psyche as a wintertime sound. Most of their records remind me of the freezing cold walks to and from school with my little red transistor radio clamped to my ear, pre ear buds by decades.

Gone From My Mind / The Fortunes

Gone From My Mind / The Fortunes

Listen: Gone From My Mind / The Fortunes FortunesGone.mp3

‘Gone From My Mind’, despite it’s confident delivery, didn’t make a ripple. Never heard it on the radio in my life, and therefore really excited to find it amongst the others in that London shipment. No surprise, it’s ended up as my favorite.