Gillian’s Found Photo #14

This week’s found photo comes from Hot Springs, Arkansas and is a shot of a fellow named Little Buddy. I love Hot Springs, if you ever get there check in to the Arlington Hotel (built by Al Capone) one of the most luxurious and beautiful monuments to Art Deco in America. Getting back to our photo, I’m not sure what Little Buddy is holding (a racing form?), but what I find odd about this picture is, well, check out Little Buddy’s shadow. This man is obviously some sort of sent from hell satyr, or perhaps an alien from a previously unknown galaxy. A person’s shadow, like their handwriting can tell you a lot about them, and this shadow scares me.

Magazines- They Ain’t What They Used To Be pt 2. (Brigitte Bardot Special Edition)

The Sleaze mags loved Bebe….
and she gave ’em plenty of ammo, like three suicide attempts
the art of the pout (no plastic surgery for Bebe!)
a Brazilian TV Guide cover
Got this at a Paris, Flea Market in ’81
Great moments in passion!
too big for the scanner!

While I was pickin’ through old music mags I found some misfiled Bardot ephemera that I thought I’d post today as a way to buy time while I work on the next two blogs (and probably won’t finish until mid-week). Enjoy. Next subjects will probably be old music mags and Rene Hall.

Magazines- They Ain’t What They Used To Be

One of Brigitte Bardot’s first American magazine covers, pre-blonde hair!

More digest size magazine stuff, these were 5″ x 7″ pocket size.

Nice Shot of Nappy Brown in action.

“Folk idiom”? Don’t they mean “fuckin’ idiots”?

I love these little digest size magazines from the fifties. In fact I love magazines, although there’s really not many good ones anymore. I mean there’s Blues & Rhythm: The Gospel Truth (amazing photos), Ugly Things, and ……I’m at a loss for another good modern magazine. Like the record biz, the magazine business is in decline because it is run by idiots and thieves. Take it from me, I’ve written for at least 100 different mags and newspapers over the years and I can count the intelligent editors I’ve met on my fingers. Anyway, here’s some old favorites to look at, I’ll post some old music mag stuff soon, I just dug out a pile of old Dig, Star-Club News, Rhythm & Blues, etc. and plan to go through ’em this weekend.

The "5" Royales and Lowman Pauling

early promo pic
insane guitar solo
original version of James Brown hit
their best record
Lowman Pauling solo disc
another Lowman Pauling solo disc

The “5” Royales (the quotation marks were part of their name, which is pronounced roy-ALS) were one of the seminal rhythm and blues groups of the fifties, and their guitarist Lowman Pauling, in an era with so many brilliant and original sounding guitar players (Mickey Baker, Guitar Slim, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Ike Turner, Clarence Holiman, Rene Hall, Cal Green, Chuck Berry, Pat Hare, Gatemouth Brown, Pee Wee Crayton, Bo Diddley, Jody Williams, insert name of your favorite here) stands out as one of the wildest and most unique string benders in the history of rock’n’roll.
The group came together in the countryside outside of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, tobacco growing country and all it’s members grew up working the land. In High School guitarist/bass singer Lowman Pauling met lead singer Johnny Tanner (they may have been cousins) and put together a gospel group called the Royal Sons Quintet. Other original members included Paulings’ brother Clarence (the first to leave the group, he’d later show up at Motown Records as Berry Gordy’s assistant), Otto Jeffries, William Samuels, Johnny Holmes and Obidah Carter. Johnny Tanner was drafted in 1945 and replaced briefly by Jimmy Moore. Like all R&B vocal groups they would go through a bewildering number of personal changes with Johnny Tanner and Lowman Pauling being the constants. At some point Johnny Tanner’s brother Eugene joined the group and often sang lead, especially when Johnny lost his voice from the rigours of touring. Otto Jeffries would leave the group and become their road manager. Johnny Holmes was gone before they cut their first sides.
Their first break came when original road manager Robert Woodward sent a letter to Bess Berman’s Apollo Records in New York City along with a demo tape. Bessman signed the group in 1952 and brought them to New York where they recorded their first single– a version of Thomas A. Dorsey’s Bedside Of A Neighbor b/w Journey’s End. The a-side had already been recorded by the Norfolk Jubilee Quartet and the Dixie Hummingbirds, and the Royal Sons version went nowhere. A second gospel single– Let Nothing Separate Us sold even less. Two months later they were back in the studio and Apollo executive Carl Le Bow, who would eventually become their manager suggested the group change it’s name and start recording rhythm and blues, either that or they’d soon be back in the tobacco field. They were redubbed the “5” Royales and their first R&B single, two Lowman Pauling originals — You Know I Know b/w Courage To Love were recorded in August of ’52 and with sales strong sales in the south, they were encouraged to follow the R&B path to stardom. They were back in New York at Beltone Studio in the Brill Building in October of that same year where they recorded their first hit– Baby Don’t Do It, which would rise to #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart in January of 1953. So began their gravy years (1953-4) on Apollo Records. Unlike the “bird” groups like the Ravens and the Orioles who were topping the R&B charts at that time, the “5” Royales were not a smooth harmony group, their sound was rough, with gravel voiced Johnny Tanner wailing out the blues in the style of shouters like Wynonie Harris and H-Bomb Ferguson. The instrumental backing was dominated by guttural sax and whomping drums (Lowman Paulings guitar wouldn’t come to the forefront of their sound until later in their career), and the lyrics were often lascivious double entedres. Their next record would leave the church for the alley, more specifically the laundromat on the corner of the alley– Laundromat Blues, although it didn’t chart in Billboard (I don’t have access to Cash Box magazine’s R&B charts, which for R&B were far more accurate since they counted juke box sales and plays), it was a big seller, and one of their finest records, using the idea of an automatic washing machine as a sexual metaphor. They would chart four more times between May ’53 and February of ’54 with Help Me Somebody (#1 R&B), Crazy, Crazy, Crazy (#5 R&B), Too Much Lovin’ (#4 R&B) and I Do (#6 R&B) their final hit for Apollo. Apollo even issued an LP– The Rockin’ “5” Royales, a copy of which I found at the Astor Place thieves market for $1 in 1980. They hit the road and toured constantly, but payment from the hard boiled Ms. Bessman was practically non-existent and soon they filed a lawsuit to recover lost royalties, and in April of ’54 they left Apollo and signed with Sid Nathan’s King label out of Cincinnati, Ohio (a move that would cause the Royals then rapidly rising up the R&B charts on King’s Federal subsidiary with a bump and grind fuck song– Work With Me Annie to change their name to the Midnighters, see the November, 2008 posting Hank Ballard for their story). The “5” Royales entire Apollo output can be found here.
The “5” Royales would record for King from 1954-1962, and although they only appeared on Billboard R&B chart twice in those eight years first with Tears Of Joy (#9, June, 1957) and then again with Think (#9, September, 1957) their records must have sold because King kept releasing them, issuing dozens of singles and at least four LP’s. They were one of the most influential groups of the era, most especially for James Brown and his Famous Flames who would base their original sound very closely on the “5” Royales hard shouting style. Brown would cover their tune “Think” in ’62 taking it to the top of the charts, and it was this rivalry that led the group to eventually leave King Records. Other “5” Royales tunes from the pen of Lowman Pauling would find their way to the charts via cover versions like Tell The Truth, which Ray Charles would cover in a thrilling live rendition, and Dedicated To The One I Love which would top the charts twice, first for the Shirelles in ’61 and then again for the Mamas and the Papas in ’67 (Michelle Phillips only lead vocal that was released as a single).
As the saxophone based style of R&B was eventually replaced by guitar dominated rock’n’roll thanks to hit making string busters like Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, B.B. King, Guitar Slim, and John Lee Hooker, the “5” Royales style too evolved into a guitar dominated sound, with Lowman Pauling’s Les Paul Custom taking center stage. His ultra distorted sound recalls that of Johnny “Guitar” Watson, who as Young John Watson had recorded a crazed instrumental called Space Guitar for Federal in 1954, all bizarre stops and shrieking feedback and echo noises. Pauling, who would indulge in all manner of guitar acrobatics onstage, would record some truly monstrous guitar noise, the best of the bunch being the 1955 single Say It b/w Messin’ Up, a record that is still ahead of it’s time. Their best single came in 1956– a rocker called Slummer The Slum a sort of protest song with a whacked out guitar solo that never charted but would work its way into the repertoire of almost every white group on the southern frat party circuit (Sun Records last great group– The Jesters would record a fine version that remained un-issued until 2008). Another of their finest moments was the bluesy ballad– Don’t Let It Be In Vain on which Paulman’s guitar cuts like a broken off Thunderbird bottle. The best of the “5” Royales King recordings can be found here.
While at King, Lowman Pauling also began a solo career on the Federal subsidiary, recording some of his greatest tunes including the bluesy I’m A Cool Teenager issued under the name El Pauling & Royalton, and the rockin’ gospel sound of Solid Rock which are particularly good. Lowman Pauling would become a major inspiration on an entire generation of younger guitar players. Steve Cropper for one has never been shy about citing Lowman Pauling as his greatest influence. Another highlight of Paulman’s solo career is Mr. Moon Man pts. 1 & 2, I’m a sucker for outer space records with weird guitar solos.
In 1962, after the aforementioned falling out with James Brown, the “5” Royales moved to Memphis where they signed with the Home Of The Blues label which was connected to the Beale Street record shop where Elvis bought his 45’s. Their first single was a cover of James Brown’s Please Please Please. Their output for Home Of The Blues was varied, including Coasters’ style rock’n’roll (Goofball) and proto-soul (Catch That Teardrop), and Pauling’s guitar was prominent on all these discs, but the small label couldn’t give the Royales a hit and soon they recorded a session for Vee Jay, and then another for Todd (an excellent remake of Baby Don’t Do It), but the times they were a changin’ and by 1963 the “5” Royales had gone their seperate ways. Their Home Of The Blues sides along with Lowman Pauling’s Federal recordings can be found here
Lowman Pauling died in 1974. The Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame (whose publicist called Danny Fields a couple of weeks ago and asked if Joey Ramone would be available for interviews after the re-dedication ceremony for his award) never heard of him, or the “5” Royales. That’s okay, that’s what I’m here for.

Gillian’s Found Photo #13

    From the Fang’s vast archives this week’s found photo is an examination of young love. This photo was taken at the Mineola Skating Rink. Mineola is out on Long Island, New York. Long Island scares me, you can’t drive through it, if you want to leave the only way out is to turn around and go back the way you came. Unless you have a boat waiting somewhere. Still, plenty of great rock’n’roll came from Long Island including the Bell Notes (“I’ve Had It”), 3/4th’s of the Velvet  Underground, the Young Rascals, Billy Miller of Norton Records (who grew up on the same block as Joe Satriani and Steve Vai!). Technically Queens and Brooklyn are on Long Island, so you can add the Shangri-Las (from Cambria Heights), the Vagrants, the Ramones (both from Forrest Hills), the Excellents (“Coney Island Baby”), the Magnificent 4 (“Uncle Sam”), and the Heartbreakers, not to mention songwriting teams like Goffin & King, Mann & Weil, Burton & Sawyer, etc.  I went to a wedding in Mineola once, I remember it as being a mostly Jewish-Italian middle class suburb, looking like most of Long Island– strip malls in every direction, all the women snapping gum, lots of traffic.  I’m not sure if the skating rink is still there, nor do I have any idea what became of Russ and his gal, but I love this  photo.

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

notice autograph
pre-I Put A Spell On You
Can’t remember who took this one…..
bubblegum card
signed business card
Esquerita Milochi lights up….

It was the only bar on the Bowery I had never had a drink in. It was called Frida’s Disco and it sat on lower 3rd ave in the spot that now stands a club called the Continental. It was a scary looking dive, and in the doorway there was always a drag queen who looked like a thuggish version of one of Wayans brothers (the one who played Homey The Clown on TV) with a head to toe five o’clock shadow and an askew blonde wig. If you got too close to the door the thing that sat in the doorway on a bar stool would call out– “Hey honey, come here and let me suck yo’ cock, it’s just $5”. I would cross the street just to avoid that doorway. Then one day Frida’s was gone, I don’t remember the year but it must have been in the early 80’s, and in it’s place appeared an oddly suburban looking restaurant, a sort of faux- Tony Roma’s type place called Jack The Ribber, all new and clean looking, with a sign in the window that advertised– “Every Wed. Night Live In Person: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins”. I stopped and stared for a few minutes, it was in fact Wed night, and as I pressed my nose to the glass I could see Jay’s greasy conk staring back at me from the other side of the window.
I had met Jay a few months earlier at the old Lone Star Cafe on 5th Ave, and had interviewed him for a rag I was working at called the East Village Eye. Jay waved at me to come in (there wasn’t even a cover charge), and I was surprised he had remembered me. He told me he got the article that I had sent to his manager’s office, and soon he asked me to join him and his Hawaiian wife Ginnie at their table for a drink. So began a weekly ritual that lasted around six months.
Every Wed. night I’d go to Jack The Ribber and hang out with Jay and his wife, catch his set, shoot the shit. Jay could drink me and any five people I knew under the table, drinking large water glasses full of J&B, one after the other, they seemed to have no physical effect on him. Ten glasses later, he would set down at the piano and deliver his set without ever missing a note on the keyboard, or flubbing a line. He would always be remembered for his immortal hit– I Put A Spell On You (then experiencing a bit of a revival since it was on the soundtrack of Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise which had just been released). He always sang it, along with the flip side, the rocker Little Demon. The rest of his set drew from his later records like his incredible rendition of I Love Paris, Bite It— a goofy, x-rated take on the Mar-Keys’ Last Night, an over the top, stomach wrenching masterpiece called Constipation Blues, his version of Fats Domino’s Please Don’t Leave (the arrangement the Fleshtones would soon adopt), my personal favorite– I Hear Voices with it’s almost Shakespearean line– “I long so much to be/the way I was before I was me”, and sometimes tunes from his first Okeh LP– The Feast Of The Mau Mau, Yellow Coat, and Alligator Wine. He’d shake Henry, the top hatted skull on a stick he’d carry with him onstage, pop and roll his eyes, wag his tongue, shake his shoulders, and you could hear his voice clear out to the middle of Third Ave. For the first few months attendance was sparse, and I got to spend a lot of time talking to Jay and his wife. Ginnie had originally eyed me with suspicion, but when I started bringing a joint or two for her she warmed to me and always seemed happy to see me. The autograph on the top of this page “To James– the man with the best” was a reference to the joints I always brought. When I requested he sing one of his pre- Spell sides– Baptize Me In Wine, he dedicated it to me, I think it was the first time anyone had ever done that.
He told me stories about Alan Freed, and his manager Tommy “Corky” Vastola, known as “the Gahloot” (the Hesch character on the Sopranos is a composite of Vastola and Morris Levy, watered down into a harmless little Jewish guy, the real duo were terrors). He talked about Tiny Grimes the four string guitar player who gave him his first break, and about wildman Wynonie Harris, one of his heroes. He’d reminisce about playing in afterhour clubs in Cleveland in the 40’s, working for Moe Dalitz who became one of the most important men in Las Vegas, and of being a professional boxer in Alaska, where he was nearly killed in the ring. He had funny way with a story, and a very subtle, very sick sense of humor, often punctuating his stories by rolling his eyes all the way back in his head.
Around that same time Esquerita Milochi aka S.Q. Reeder Jr. (who began his career playing piano behind gospel singing sissy Brother Joe May “The Thunderbolt Of The Midwest”) had surfaced and was playing a regular Monday night gig seven blocks away at Tramps on 16th St, then a hangout for the Westies, a scary gang of west side Irish thug coke heads, who were also the muscle for some wise guys out in Bensohurst. Once I looked up from my drink to see a little runty lookin’, red eyed leprechaun in a dirty army jacket staring at me, it was Mickey Featherstone and his glazed eyes caused me to break out in a cold sweat. I returned my eyes to my drink. The same club would book Lightnin’ Hopkins, Big Joe Turner (who I saw play there the night he died, he sang Honey Hush twice in row and didn’t realize he’d just sung it), Johnny Shines & Robert Lockwood Jr., and other greats to play for crowds of a couple of dozen people at most. Upstairs in the office was the real action, I met my child hood hero Wayne Kramer of the MC5 there, both of us hovering over a mirror full of white powder.
Anyway, I had become friendly with Esquerita who took to buying dime bags in the old east village storefronts like the Blue Door, and the Rock, the later being right across the street from my apartment. One Wed. night I took Esquerita with me to see Jay play, SQ had told me they were old friends and he was anxious to catch up with Jay for old times sake, but when I walked into Jack The Ribber with him in tow, I knew something was wrong. Jay stared at me with a cross expression on his face, slightly shaking his head. He pulled me aside— “You know that guy”? Yeah, that’s Esquerita, man, he taught Little Richard how to play rock’n’roll! “I know who he is…..” Jay said, making a funny, grumbling noise that emanated from deep in his diaphragm.
“That man will steal the fillings out of your teeth”. Naw, Jay, he’s cool, I insisted. The night ended with the two of them out on the street in front of the club, Jay with a knife, Esquerita with a broken off bottle, blood was spilled, luckily not mine.
Soon the Wed. nights became less fun, Jay never quite trusted my judgment after that, and while he was never rude, I could tell he knew I was a fool (which I admit I am and will always be). The weird rib joint began filling up with trendoids with ironed hair and goofy clothes who thought they would become the next Cramps by osmosis if they could just get some of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ mojo in them. The scene just wasn’t fun anymore, although things began picking up for Jay which made me happy. He got a shot opening for the Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden, and he appeared there, emerging from a coffin, a bone in his nose and Henry on a staff in his hand. In 1989 Jarmusch cast him as a hotel clerk in Mystery Train (which I think is his best movie). Jay stole the show in a scene where he swipes the bellboy’s peach and swallows it in one gulp. Jay was always an under rated comedian, the best poker face since Keaton, and Jarmusch was the only director smart enough to spot his natural acting talents.
Screamin Jay Hawkins would eventually leave New York, first for Hawaii, then to Paris where he lived in tax exile. Jay would tour with the Clash, appear in TV commercials in France, and in the year 2000 he died of an aneurysm, leaving at least 55 illegitimate children. Esquerita would die of pneumonia in a New York hospital in 1986, his immune system destroyed by aids. Mickey Featherstone (who once shot a guy in a 10th Ave bar in the head for not lending him $20) rolled over on his pals in the Westies and went into the Federal Witness Relocation Program. Wayne Kramer lives in Hollywood and still makes music (he’s currently doing the music for the HBO sitcom Eastbound and Down). And I’m still here, the last fool standing.

John Gilmore- Laid Bare

I’ve been laying around sick for a few days, head full of snot, retching up some horrid yellow bile (some sort of side effect from the chronic hep c), and blogerating is the last thing I feel like doing, but lying around staring at TCM, too out of it to even bother starting a new book, I find myself re-reading one of my favorite showbiz memoirs, a book that got almost no attention here in New York when it was published back in ’97 (I assume it must have made a stink in L.A. because when I was there in ’97 living high on the hog at the Chateau Marmont just a mention of Gilmore’s name would send folks into seismic frenzies of denial), but I assure you this is a book you want to read: Laid Bare by John Gilmore (Amok Press, 1997).
 Gilmore’s clear eyed, lucid prose captures Janis Joplin years before fame as a down and out North Beach tramp, Hank Williams at the Opry on the verge of superstardom and then pissing his pants months before his death, the only account of James Dean I’ve ever read that made him seem like a real person, scathing looks at Steve McQueen, Dennis Hopper, the underbelly of Hollywood– the Black Dahlia, Manson, Mickey Cohen, and wait, a side trip to Tuscon to cover the trial of Charles Schmidt, the Pied Piper Of Tuscon, sleaze galore from Barbara Payton and Franchot Tone, sad sack Tom Neal (“fate can point the finger at you or me, for any reason at all”), the sadly forgotten John Hodiak, Brigitte Bardot in Paris, Jane Seberg, Lenny Bruce, Vampira, every page of this book is fascinating. I can’t remember who turned me onto it, I just remember an uncorrected manuscript showing up in my mailbox at WFMU at I think my final show (who did I pass that on to? I hope it found a good home….). I’ve given away a dozen copies over the years and have read every other book Gilmore’s written (they’re all excellent, I especially like Deranged aka the Tuscon Murders aka Cold Blooded), but Laid Bare is something truly special, a tell all that tells the truth, and it is written so well it sparkles like jewels on the page. I’m going back to my sick bed for a few days, I suggest you hunt down a copy of Laid Bare for yourself.

Gillian’s Found Photo #12

The Fang’s outdone herself this week. Check out these hepsters. The photo is dated 1968 which makes the haircuts ten times cooler, and they were already pretty fucking cool. The guy on the right has some amazing shoes, he really needs some pinstriped socks to go with ’em.

The rest of the writing on the back of the photo seems to be in some Asian language, my guess is these guys are Indonesian or Filipino, surf music was huge in the south Pacific. If you want to see the greatest Indonesian band ever see the Nov. 19th, 2008 posting on the Tielman Brothers. Then again this could be Mexico, or anyplace south of the border. The writing could be some sort of Aztec or Mayan hieroglyphics. There were some amazing Mexican surf and garage bands– Los Locos Del Ritmo being the best that I’ve heard. Here’s their version of Pedro Pistolas (Peter Gunn), played in Spanish.
Getting back to these rockin’ greaseballs, they seem to be standing outside a village, and I bet those guitars came from a factory somewhere nearby, they look brand new. They must have fallen off a donkey.
BTW: Check out Miriam Linna’s (A-Bones/Norton Records/Kicks & Bad Seed mag) new blog: Kicksville 66.  First entry is her amazing memoirs of her first year in New York City as the original drummer in the Cramps.

Tod Browning & Werner Herzog

I’m a bit late on the draw, but for those of you in the New York City area, Film Forum has retrospectives of two of my all time favorite directors running simultaneously.
Tod Browning, whose Freaks and The Unholy Three kicked off his series last Monday is represented by one of his greatest films– West Of Zanzibar which is on a double bill with Mark Of The Vampire on Monday, June 1st. I’ve written about it already a bit (and the William Cowan talkie re-make Kongo), but let me reiterate, it’s one of the most jaw dropping films ever made. There will be Browning double features every Monday until June 8th. I’m also reposting the rare photo of Mr. Browning that my wife gave me, just because I like the photo. That’s Tod second from right. The entire schedule can be found here. My fall posting on Browning and TCM is here.

Werner Herzog is the closest thing in the modern world there is to a heroic artist. Well, he’s my hero anyway. The series Herzog: (Non) Fiction starts on May 18th and runs through June 7th, by the title I guess you’ve figured out his documentary work is featured. I’m no film critic but I’d like to recommend two– Bells From The Deep (showing May 27), an incredible and often hilarious look at superstition and religious mysticism in Russia, and Wodaabe–Herdsmen Of The Sun, which documents a male beauty pageant that this nomadic African tribe hold every year. The strange opera music on the soundtrack is supposedly the only recording of the last castrato, who made a few rare opera 78’s almost a century ago. BTW the latest issue of the Paris Review (#188, Spring 2009) contains some of Herzog’s journal kept during the filming of Fitzcarraldo. The above clip from Les Blank’s Burden Of Dreams will give you some idea of his mindset at the time. All it needs is a laugh track. The schedule for Herzog: (Non)Fiction can be found here. Every movie listed is worth seeing.

Five More 45’s

Five more 45’s off the shelves. Let’s start where we left off on Tuesday with Dossie Terry, this time with “Thunderbird” as his middle name as a selling point, proving that the last posting must have sold some records despite it not showing up in the R&B charts. I’m still trying to figure out who this guy was/is although Dick Blackburn wrote to report he is listed in the latest edition of Blues Records 1943-1970 and his first release was in 1946 on the Chicago label. This one here, on the Amp-3 was issued in ’59. The a-side, Skinny Ginny is an attempt at a Larry Williams style saxophone led rocker, Terry sounding a bit too old to pull off such a dumb song with much enthusiasm but the band is solid enough, I prefer the flip, an equally dumb barnyard rocker– Fool Mule which has more prominent guitar and while the lyrics are just as dumb as the a-side, Terry sounds more comfortable with them. Not a great record, I guess you’d call this a rock’n’roll genre record, but I still like it quite a bit. While we’re still on the subject of the mysterious Mr. Terry, Barry Stoltz checked in again and provided us with this one– Railroad Section Man which came out on the budget Extra label. A nice piece of mush mouthed R&B slop if I ever heard one. Barry also reports that according to Blues Records Kenny Burrell is playing the guitar on Thunderbird not Mickey Baker. This makes sense, if you listen to the Sammy Price records on Savoy it’s hard to tell which ones feature Mickey Baker and which are Burrell. This is a case of two guys with a similar style of rock’n’roll playing, but Baker can’t play jazz to save his life, Burrell  is a fantastic jazz player (my favorite example being BlueNote LP 1152- Live At The Village Gate) Thanks, Barry. I’ve made it my personal mission to find this Dewey Terry if he’s alive, or at least find out his story if he’s dead. Lets move on to some really great discs.
New Orleans based Dave Bartholomew is one of the most important names in the history of rock’n’roll– band leader, talent scout, producer, songwriter, he’s been involved with more great records than any living human being. Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis, Shirley & Lee, etc all made their best sides under Bartholomew’s tutelage. He cut dozens of fine discs with his crack band (which included the cream of New Orleans players like Earl Palmer and Lee Allen) for King and Imperial, including this one. The Monkey, however is something of an anomaly in the Bartholomew catalog–no wailing, sax section, no rolling piano, no second line beat, just a distorted guitar playing one chord over bass and drums with Dave doing this pre- Planet Of The Apes recitation about an indignant chimp, much offended that he’s been accused by Charles Darwin of begetting the loathsome mankind. Great record, Bartholomew even did an updated, lounge rendition of it at the first Ponderosa Stomp back in 2003. The flip– Shufflin’ Fox is more typical Bartholomew’s output, a sort of mutated Night Train riff R&B instrumental, and I don’t think it’s ever been re-issued.
Royal Earl and his Swinging Kools, now there’s a great name. They cut this one for the Gem label out of Dallas, Texas which I’m pretty sure is the only record the label ever released. Talking Guitar pt1 and pt2 is basically a goofy tune made into a great record by Earl’s out of control guitar workout. He gives Guitar Slim a run for his money on the b-side. It’s hard to date this one, probably late from the late fifties.
Willie Dixon is best known as a songwriter (Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Otis Rush and so many others) as well as bass player, producer and all around man. He started his own Yambo label in the early 70’s and the best release on it was this double entendre Petting The Baby which Dixon didn’t write, but features somebody makes obscene sounds by rubbing up against a balloon while Dixon coos along. I think this is Willie Dixon’s best solo record. The flip is rather jaunty take on the old gospel standard You Gotta Move. Thanks to Phast Phreddie Patterson who gave me this one years ago. Phreddie dj’s all over the NYC area, you can find his latest whereabouts here.
The mystery record today is The Prowlers’ Bongo Rock, errr… I mean “Bongo Rock”,  a home made job, no record company name needed. The a-side is a dreary version of Gershwin’s Summertime, but the flip– Bongo Rock sounds like the Fenderman jamming with Preston Epps (two guitars, drums and bongos being the only instruments). If I had to guess I’d date it around ’59, where these guys were from is anybody’s guess. I don’t think it’s the same Prowlers that made two killer singles for Aaragon, who were Canadian, I think.

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