Archive for the ‘1967’ Category

‘Hurry, Tuesday Child . . .’

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Tuesdays around here are usually pretty quiet: Laundry’s a day in the past, the routine of the week is settling in, and after I throw a post into the blogosphere, I often have a lunch of herring filets – usually in a mustard sauce – with flatbread.

This week, however, Tuesday is Laundry Day. Why?

Well, it has to with the years that the Texas Gal spent working for Creative Memories, a home-sales firm that marketed scrapbooking supplies: Specially designed albums, specially designed pages, and all sorts of accessories and gadgets that could be used to put anyone’s memories into a scrapbook. It’s probably not too fine a point to say that Creative Memories invented the scrapbooking industry. And then, the company faltered and failed for a number of reasons, including the fact that other firms began making and selling similar goods in retail stores for much lower prices.

Anyway, during the years that the Texas Gal worked there, the company would often sell older and discontinued merchandise to its employees at ridiculously low prices: an album that retailed for around $40 would go for $1, and so on. So boxes of scrapbooking supplies gathered first in the closet of the apartment across the way and then in the basement here at the house. And in an effort to declutter a little bit, the Texas Gal – who tried scrapbooking as a hobby but decided to stick with quilting and gardening – decided a few weeks back that it was time to get rid of the sixteen boxes of albums, pages, stickers and whatnot that were gathered in one end of the basement.

So Sunday I started hauling boxes to the living room, and yesterday, instead of doing laundry, I finished that task and then straightened the place up a bit, as one of the Texas Gal’s co-workers was stopping by after work to relieve us of some of the scrapbooking supplies.

That’s why today, a Tuesday, is Laundry Day, and to add to the confusion, I’m waiting for the air conditioner guy to give me a call and come out and fix the AC, which quit working yesterday morning. It’s not supposed to be too warm today, and normally, I’d open the windows, but – according to news reports – the second wave of smoke from Canadian wildfires will blow into the area sometime late this morning or early afternoon. I was out to run an errand in the first wave of smoke yesterday, and it was not pleasant. So we’ll stay closed up here, doing laundry and waiting for the AC guy. I’ll still probably have herring filets and flatbread for lunch, though.

Anyway, here’s a Tuesday song: Bobbie Gentry’s “Hurry, Tuesday Child,” originally found on the 1967 album Ode to Billie Joe.

‘Voodoo’

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Casting about for an idea, as I often do, I took a look this morning at the Billboard Hot 100 from July 3, 1965, fifty years ago today. And sitting at No. 31 was a title and an artist’s name that caused more than an instant of cognitive dissonance: “Voodoo Woman” by Bobby Goldsboro:

It doesn’t give me a sense of the jungles of Haiti or the bayous of Louisiana, but it’s not a truly awful record. The drums kind of work and the shrill harmonica gives the record an alien sound. As to the drums, I wondered if the famed Wrecking Crew provided the backing and the drums were Hal Blaine’s, but my copy of the book The Wrecking Crew is at Rick’s house (though the book might not have answered my question anyway), and I didn’t want to spend time googling this morning.

“Voodoo Woman” was Goldsboro’s seventh record in or near the Hot 100, and by the time early July rolled around in 1965, it was coming down from its peak at No. 27. I don’t think I’d ever heard it until this morning, which isn’t surprising, as I wasn’t a listener at the time. And finding it made me wonder how many tracks on the digital shelves also have “voodoo” in their titles (if not in their marrow).

A search for the word brings up 109 mp3s, but a number of the results have to be discarded: All of D’Angelo’s 2000 album Voodoo and all of the Rolling Stones’ 1994 album Voodoo Lounge have to be set aside, and all but the title tracks from Alex Taylor’s 1989 album Voodoo In Me and the 1959 exotica album Voodoo by Robert Drasnin have to be left behind as well. We also lose Rhythm Disease, a 2001 album by the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, and several tracks each by the Voodoo Dogs and the Mumbo Jumbo Voodoo Combo.

That still leaves plenty of tracks, with perhaps the best-known being “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” from the 1968 album Electric Ladyland by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Beyond the version that ended up on the album, I’ve somehow managed to get hold of sixteen alternate versions of the Hendrix tune, which is likely overkill even for me, and it’s not what I have in mind this morning anyway.

Of the maybe forty tracks remaining, do any call to mind midnight in the jungles and along the bayous? Taylor’s “Voodoo In You” is decent, but it’s a cover of Johnny Jenkins’ version from the 1970 album, Ton-Ton Macoute! The backing tracks for Jenkins’ album began as tracks for a Duane Allman solo album before he formed the Allman Brothers Band and thus includes work from Allman, some of the future members of the ABB and a few other Muscle Shoals standouts, so Jenkins’ “Voodoo In You” is good. On the other side of the gender divide, I have covers of Koko Taylor’s “Voodoo Woman” from Susan Tedeschi (2004) and Ana Popovic (2011) but oddly, not Taylor’s 1975 original (an omission that will be rectified soon). But none of those quite fill my empty space today, either.

Passing over those tracks seems to leave it up to the Neville Brothers, which feels right. Here’s “Voo Doo” from their 1989 album Yellow Moon. The album went to No. 66 on the Billboard 200.

Assisted Living Music

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

My mom’s been living in her assisted living center for nine years now, which means I’ve dropped by there somewhere around a thousand times. Beyond the fact that some of Mom’s fellow residents don’t seem all that much older than I am, one of the main things I notice about Ridgeview Place over in Sauk Rapids is the background music. (That figures, eh?)

There’s a CD player in a small sitting room adjacent to the foyer, and there’s another one upstairs in what’s called the Great Room, where the folks who live at Ridgeview Place gather for musical performances by community groups and presentations by visitors. (Travel tales with photos and videos are a big hit.) It’s also where the folks gather monthly for a Happy Hour – some wine, crackers and cheese – and where they play bingo twice a week. (Mom told me on the phone yesterday afternoon that she’d just won that day’s blackout game; she netted two dollars.)

When the Great Room isn’t hosting an event, though, music comes quietly from the CD player there, and the CD player in the sitting room seems to be playing tunes through the day.

So what is it the folks at Ridgeview Place are hearing? Well, you’d think it was 1942 or maybe 1948, which makes some sense. On my regular walks through the foyer, I hear a lot of Big Band stuff, recognizing on occasion some Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman. I was waiting to talk to the director the other afternoon, and as I sat there, I heard a nice rendition of “I’ll Be Seeing You.” I’m not sure whose version it was, except that it was neither the Bing Crosby version nor the Tommy Dorsey version (with a vocal by Frank Sinatra), both of which were big hits in 1944.

There are moments when the time focus slides a little bit further into the Twentieth Century: I’m pretty sure that the other day I heard Percy Faith’s 1953 hit “The Song From Moulin Rouge (Where Is Your Heart),” and there have been a few other moments when I’ve heard something that comes from the easy listening files of the late 1950s or even the early 1960s. And that makes some sense. If we assume that the idea is to present the music of the residents’ youth (when they were, say, fifteen to twenty-two) and the current residents range in age from, oh, seventy-five to ninety-three (my mother’s age), then the years from which the music would be drawn would range from 1936, when my mom was fifteen, to 1962, when a seventy-five year old resident would have been twenty-two.

That ending date – 1962 – might be a bit recent. During my trips through the lobby – and they’re brief though frequent – I’ve not yet heard much from the late 1950s or early 1960s. But I imagine hits from those years are coming: Probably not much Elvis or any Lloyd Price, but certainly the Browns, the McGuire Sisters, some Perez Prado, some Percy Faith and some Floyd Cramer.

The topic came up this morning as I drove the Texas Gal to work. A tune came on WXYG, and she said, “That’s probably what we’ll be hearing when we’re in assisted living.” I laughed and said, “Maybe.” And then I told her that I had not yet heard anything on the Ridgeview Place CD players from the era of the Beach Boys, Lesley Gore and Chubby Checker.

“Well, thank God for that,” she said. “Maybe they’ll skip that era.”

I doubt it. I expect that when folks eight to ten years older than I become the majority of the residents at places like Ridgeview Place, the music in the sitting rooms and activity rooms will include tunes from the Highwaymen, Ferrante & Teicher, the Kingston Trio, Bobby Vee, the Shirelles and other artifacts of the early 1960s.

The more interesting question to me is whether the music in places like Ridgeview Place will follow the shifts in popular music that took place in the 1960s. Will the music by those artists mentioned in the above paragraph be followed in five to ten years by tunes from Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Beatles, Janis Joplin, the Allman Brothers Band and Jimi Hendrix?

That, too, I doubt. I think any music from our era – and my sweet spot stretches from 1967 to 1975 or so – will draw from the softer side: Simon & Garfunkel, the 5th Dimension, Seals & Crofts, Neil Diamond, Carole King and so on. And some years down the road, as I sit as a resident in one of those foyers, even though it would amuse me, I doubt very much that I’ll hear Blood, Sweat & Tears’ “And When I Die.”

Nor, I would think, will I heard the tune that came on WXYG this morning, the one that got the Texas Gal and me talking: the Doors’ 1967 track, “Break On Through (To The Other Side).”

‘Living On Free Food Tickets . . .’

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

We mentioned briefly last week the minor hit the Winstons had in the fall of 1969 when “Love Of The Common People” went to No. 54 in the Billboard Hot 100 (and to No. 19 on the Easy Listening chart). By then, the song had been around for couple of years. In the autumn of 1967, versions by Wayne Newton (No. 106) and the Everly Brothers (No. 114) had bubbled under the Hot 100.

I’ve never been much of a Newton fan, so his version doesn’t move me much. Nor does the Everlys’ take on the tune grab me. So I dug a little deeper and found the original version of the tune, recorded in October 1966 and released in January 1967 by the Four Preps. That one was okay, and I liked the delivery of lead singer David Somerville (one-time lead singer for the Diamonds). But I kept digging anyway, and I found a countryish version from 1970 by John Hurley, one of the song’s two writers.

That was okay, too, but I’m still liking the Winstons’ version most, and I wonder if that’s because of my vague memories of hearing it in 1969. I’m not sure where that would have been; neither the Twin Cities surveys at Oldiesloon nor the collection of surveys at Airheads Radio Survey Archive show the record on a KDWB survey (and the same is true for the Twin Cities’ WDGY, which I could not get in St. Cloud). Neither of those collections is complete, of course, and it’s quite possible that the record showed up for just one or two weeks on KDWB and I heard it once or twice.

Anyway, beside the Winstons’ take on the song, what versions move me? There are plenty to choose from, based on the list at Second Hand Songs. I liked the 1967 cover from Waylon Jennings, but was even more impressed by the version that Jim Ed Brown released the same year. And there are plenty of covers listed at Second Hand Songs that I didn’t check out. Some of the familiar names there were Sandy Posey, Lynn Anderson, the Gosdin Brothers, John Denver, Wanda Jackson, B.J. Thomas, and Paul Young, whose 1984 take on the tune went to No. 45 on the Hot 100.

But I suppose I should close with the version of the song that reminded me the other week of the Winstons’ charting version. Here’s Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band from the 2007 release Live In Dublin:

‘Come On In My Kitchen . . .’

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Come on into the kitchen here at the studios. You need an invitation? Okay, here’s one by a British blues musician named Paul Williams, from his 1973 album In Memory Of Robert Johnson:

Looking at the record jacket shown in the video, a blues fan sees a couple of errors. Robert Johnson did not die in a hotel room but rather in a house in Greenwood, Mississippi (at 109 Young Street, if the late Honeyboy Edwards’ commentary in the 1991 documentary The Search For Robert Johnson is accurate). And Johnson was twenty-seven when he died, not twenty. But the mistakes on that jacket simply illustrate how little was known about the man forty years ago when his music had already inspired a generation of blues artists through whatever 78s had survived nearly forty years and through two LPs released by Columbia.

Anyway, you’re in the kitchen. Over there, on the right, is the stove. In a 1929 recording, Blind Willie McTell warns Bethenea Harris that “This Is Not The Stove To Brown Your Bread” (with Alfoncy Harris adding guitar in the background). But the oven’s been in use, according to Spencer Wiggins, who wants to know “Who’s Been Warming My Oven” in a track recorded for Goldwax sometime around 1967 but not released at the time:

And over there, on the left, is the refrigerator. Alice Cooper sang in 1970’s “Refrigerator Heaven” about being frozen until a cure for cancer was found, but that’s happening in some lab, not in my kitchen. So we’ll turn a little bit and head for the counter, and that’s where we find Dolly Parton’s “Old Black Kettle” waiting for soup or stew or whatever we’ll have for dinner this evening, as it has been since she sang about it in 1973. And next to it we find breakfast: The “Second Cup Of Coffee” that Gordon Lightfoot’s been sipping since 1972 and some “Shortnin’ Bread” courtesy of Mississippi John Hurt, probably from 1966.

And then we’re out the door for the day.

Like Nancy & Lee On Acid?

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Once again, things that I might have known, things that I maybe should have known, and things that I wish I had known coalesce, just because I looked at the entries in the lower levels of a Billboard chart.

The chart in question was from February 24, 1968, forty-seven years ago today, when I was fourteen and liked hearing the No. 1 record of the day, the sublime “Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat. I also liked the No. 10 record, the Lettermen’s medley, Medley: “Goin’ Out of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” The rest of the Top Ten – the Classics Four, the Temptations, Otis Redding, the Lemon Pipers and the rest – were of little interest to me.

I was still very much an Easy Listening kid (or, in today’s parlance, an Adult Contemporary kid, a label I probably would have liked very much).

So even though I knew most of the stuff on the top of the chart – and learned to like a lot of it in the years to come – there are, as always, records on the bottom of the chart that I never heard back then (and that I generally never hear until I do one of these posts). Today, in that chart from 1968, it’s “Dr. Jon (The Medicine Man)” by Jon and Robin & The In Crowd, which was bubbling under at No. 125.

The title intrigued me, so I found a video of the record at YouTube, clicked the play button and found great weirdness:

While I listened, hearing a vague echo of something else, I glanced through the comments, and I saw that a visitor calling himself StudioZ7 had noted: “Sounds like Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood on acid.” And I nodded, because that pretty much nailed it. And there’s a similar sort of weirdness, this time with a garage rock foundation, in “Love Me Baby” on the B-side.

The record went to No. 87, a far cry from the first release from Jon & Robin & The In Crowd: “Do It Again A Little Bit Slower” went to No. 18 in June 1967. As familiar as “Do It Again” is, I must have heard it sometime, and it was likely the Jon & Robin version; a quick search for covers in the U.S. comes up blank (though I do find references to covers in Denmark and France without much effort). But I’d certainly forgotten about the record until this week.

It turns out that the duo’s Jon was John Abnor, Jr., and the Abnak label on which the duo recorded was owned by his father, John Abnor, Sr. The label was started, says Wikipedia, mainly as an outlet for the music of young Jon and his partner, Javonne “Robin” Braga. I wonder if that was truly the case, though, as the label’s largest success came from the Five Americans, whose “Western Union” went to No. 5 in April 1967, before Jon & Robin & The In Crowd had seen “Do It Again” enter the chart.

(In Top Pop Singles, Joel Whitburn notes that in 1970, Javonne Braga – “Robin” – married James Wright of the Five Americans. Maybe it was no big deal, but I can’t help wondering if Wright stole that girl away.)

“Do It Again . . .” and “Dr. Jon” were the only records that Jon & Robin – with or without the In Crowd – got into the Hot 100; three other singles, two credited just to Jon & Robin, bubbled under. All five singles are available at YouTube at the #JonAndRobin channel, and all five of them are on the 2006 CD Do it Again: The Best of Jon & Robin. (A sixth single, “Hangin’ From Your Lovin’ Tree,” is listed in Top Pop Singles but is credited to simply the In Crowd, and it’s not on the CD.)

‘Going Down The Stoney End . . .’

Friday, February 20th, 2015

The Texas Gal and I were killing time between television shows the other night. She played a game on her laptop while I read a copy of Rolling Stone as the Seventies channel on the TV provided the soundtrack. There was a flourish of drums followed by a ringing piano introduction, and Barbra Streisand sang:

I was born from love and my poor mother worked the mines
I was raised on the good book Jesus
Till I read between the lines
Now I don’t believe I wanna see the morning

And as I listened to Streisand deliver “Stoney End,” one of Laura Nyro’s (perhaps) less cryptic songs, I wondered who played piano on the track, as the piano intro and the later piano fills are two of the things that make me like the record more than I like a lot of Streisand’s work. So when the song ended, I went to the stacks to check out the Stoney End album jacket, but it turns out I don’t have the vinyl of the 1971 album. All I have is a digital copy scavenged from somewhere, and the album credits I find online list several keyboard players, so I don’t know who to thank for that chiming intro on “Stoney End.”

At that point, this post could have gone several different ways. I could assess Streisand’s work in detail, but I gave a brief assessment of my reaction to her work in a 2010 post about a drive-in movie date gone wrong, and nothing has changed my view that Streisand’s career went off the rails – artistically, at least – in 1977 with the ego-trip film A Star Is Born. (The Texas Gal dates the artistic derailment a bit later, with the 1983 release of Yentl. We both agree that early in her career – the 1960s – Streisand was a great interpreter of songs from Broadway and the Great American Songbook.)

And I didn’t really want to turn my interest in Streisand’s “Stoney End” into a post on the late Laura Nyro’s music. You’ve heard folks say about Bob Dylan, “A great songwriter, but man, I cannot stand to listen to him sing,” right? I feel a little bit like that about Laura Nyro: I love her songs, as inscrutable as they may sometimes be, but on too many of her recordings, she sounds shrill to me, so even though I have a little of her work around, I rarely listen to it. Happily enough for today’s exercise, Nyro’s take on “Stoney End” – found on the 1967 album More Than A New Discovery – is one of her better performances, and I quite like it.

So, with both of those versions of “Stoney End” echoing in my ears, I wondered about other versions of the song. And in the past few days, I’ve found nine other covers of the Nyro song, almost all of them jammed between the years 1967 – when Nyro released her version – and 1972, when Bert Kaempfert released, on his album 6 Plus 6, the only easy listening version of the tune I’ve found. (Maynard Ferguson also released an instrumental version of the tune, his coming on his self-titled 1971 album, but being a typically bold and brassy Maynard Ferguson track, one can’t classify it as easy listening.)

From what I find online, the first to cover “Stoney End” were the Blossoms, an R&B backing group with a massive list of credits but perhaps best known for having Darlene Love as one of its members and for being the actual performers on a couple of Phil Spector productions that were credited to the Crystals. The Blossoms recorded “Stoney End” in 1967 for the Ode label. Sharp-eared listeners will note that Love did not take the lead vocal; one of the comments at YouTube notes that in her autobiography (My Name Is Love), Love wrote, “Some of the chorus parts were too high for me, so Jean [Thomas] took the lead.”

Actress and singer Peggy Lipton – whose musical career I examined in a post last summer – recorded the tune in 1968, also for the Ode label, and one doesn’t need to have very sharp ears at all to realize that producer Lou Adler laid Lipton’s vocals over pretty much the same backing track as he’d put together for the Blossoms a year earlier. Lipton’s single release of “Stoney End” was the first one to tickle the Billboard charts, bubbling under the Hot 100 at No. 121. (Streisand’s 1970 single release is the only other version of the song to chart; it went to No. 6 on the Hot 100 and to No. 2 on what was then called the Easy Listening chart.)

A few more covers came along as the 1960s waned and the 1970s dawned: Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys recorded the song for their 1968 album Linda Ronstadt, The Stone Poneys & Friends, Vol. III, Diana Ross recorded the song during the sessions for her self-titled 1970 album, but the track didn’t see the light until 2002, when it showed up as a bonus track, and jazz singer Selena Jones laid down her take on the tune on her 1971 album, Platinum.

And a couple of singers in recent years have recorded the song for tribute albums: Beth Nielsen Chapman added her idiosyncratic take on “Stoney End” to the multi-artist album Time And Love – The Music Of Laura Nyro in 1997, and Broadway singer Judy Kuhn included “Stoney End” on her own tribute album, Serious Playground – The Songs of Laura Nyro, released in 2007.

Of the covers noted in those last two paragraphs, only one stands out to me: The 1968 version by Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys. (And many thanks to reader and pal Yah Shure for providing the mp3 to make the video below.)

In The Cool Of The Night

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Sometime Sunday afternoon, the furnace here became uncooperative.

During the winter, we generally keep the indoor temperature at about 68, adjusting the thermostat to account for the slight warming and frequent cooling trends outdoors. But around mid-afternoon Sunday, we realized the indoor temperature was dropping, and nudging the thermostat upward wasn’t having any effect.

Finally, in the early evening, when we pushed the red bar on the thermostat up to where it was (theoretically) calling for 80 degrees, the furnace kicked in and things got warmer. When the temperature got to about 70, we pulled the red bar down to that level. And the temperature started to drop.

We didn’t want to bother our landlord on a Sunday, so at about nine o’clock, we pushed the red bar up high again, let the place warm up, and then pulled the bar down, hoping it wouldn’t get too cool overnight.

When I got up Monday morning, it was 59 degrees in the house. I tinkered a moment with the furnace and the thermostat and got nowhere. So I put our space heater in the bathroom so the Texas Gal could take care of her morning routine in relative comfort, and after I got back from taking her to work – I do so on sub-zero mornings – I called our landlord and waited for a call back. As I waited, I managed to get the furnace going, and I did the red bar dance the rest of the morning.

It turns out that our landlord is out of the country. His wife called back around noon and said she’d called their furnace guy, and he’d be by around five. I let the temperature do the roller coaster through the afternoon, until Andy the furnace guy showed up. Andy quickly determined that a fan in the furnace needed replacing. He didn’t have a spare immediately at hand, but he said he’d find one by morning. He showed me how to get the furnace running manually if it ever quit responding to the red bar.

That evening, we got the temperature on the main floor to about 72 and then let it go for the night, relying on the space heater to warm the bathroom and the loft where we sleep. When we got up Tuesday, it was 50 degrees in the house, or perhaps colder; the thermometer on the thermostat only goes down to 50. I started the furnace manually, and it was maybe 60 degrees by the time Andy got here.

I pulled the space heater into the study, and as Andy worked on the furnace – replacing a circuit board as well as a fan – I put on a third shirt and shivered as I sat at the computer, periodically moving the space heater from one side of me to the other. Andy finished his work about noon, and I set the red bar at 75 and started the slow process of bringing the temperature back up to 68.

By the time we retired, we were comfortable. And we remained so through the night and on into the morning.

And though the tune that I dug out of the stacks would be more appropriate during summer than it is now, it’s hard to resist Ray Charles. So here Brother Ray’s 1967 theme from the movie In The Heat Of The Night. It went to No. 33 in the Billboard Hot 100 and to No. 21 on the R&B chart.

Jerryo’s Boo-Ga-Loos

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

When I’m out wandering the Interwebs, looking at lists, checking out blogs or clicking from link to link at YouTube, there are many names in the musical universe that catch my eye and make me either stop or click back to see what I’ve missed. Among those names are those of Funk Brothers Benny Benjamin and James Jamerson, drummer and bassist, respectively, and the foundation of much of Motown’s 1960s musical genius.

They popped up again today as I was idly sorting through videos of singles from the Billboard Hot 100 from September 30, 1967, which happened to be my sister’s seventeenth birthday. Sitting at No. 1 on that long-ago day was “The Letter” by the Box Tops. Anchoring the Hot 100 from its Bubbling Under spot at No. 135 was “Been So Nice” by the Righteous Brothers.

And just eleven spots north of “Been So Nice” was “Karate-Boo-Ga-Loo” a release on the Shout label by a performer calling himself Jerryo. I’d heard of neither the record nor the performer, so I headed to YouTube. The first video of the record I found was a little off in its sound, so I kept clicking, but not until I read that first video’s statement that the Funk Brothers, including Benjamin, Jamerson and pianist Popcorn Wylie, had provided the backing for Jerryo on “Karate-Boo-Ga-Loo.”

It’s well known, of course, that the Funk Brothers frequently moonlighted, working sessions for record labels other than Motown, a practice that just as frequently annoyed Motown’s Berry Gordy. And I suppose that the moonlighting practices of Bemjamin, Jamerson and the rest are now so legendary that their names have been appended all over the Internet to music they had no part in making. So it was with a grain or two of salt that I listened to “Karate-Boo-Ga-Loo” this morning. And all I can say is that it sounds like Benny Benjamin on the drums, and – perhaps a little less definitively – like James Jamerson on the bass.

Shout was a subsidiary of the Bang label and the listings at Discogs.com show releases – nearly all 45s – starting in 1966 and ending in 1975. Scanning the list of singles at that site, I see two that are familiar to me: Freddy Scott’s “Are You Lonely For Me” from 1966 and Erma Franklin’s “Piece Of My Heart” from 1967. I’ve no doubt heard others but evidently not frequently enough to know them by their titles.

Jerryo, according to Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles, was actually Jerry Murray, who with Robert “Tommy Dark” Tharp made up the duo of Tom & Jerrio (and why the spelling is different, I have no idea). Before Jerry’s single was released on Shout, the duo had two records on ABC-Paramount: “Boo-Ga-Loo” went to No. 47 (No. 11 on the R&B chart) in the spring of 1965 and “Great Goo-Ga-Moo-Ga” bubbled under at No. 123 for one week in August of that year.

“Karate-Boo-Ga-Loo” went to No. 51 (No. 16 R&B), and I thought for a minute about the reasons for including the word “karate” in its title. It seems to me, based on vague memories, that pop culture at the time was going through one of its occasional fascinations with Asian martial arts. I have no specific memories or citations on which to base that, except that the cheap aftershave called Hai Karate, also trading on our fascination with those martial arts, showed up on shelves during the same year, 1967, a memory confirmed at Wikipedia.

As for Jerryo, he had one more single get some airplay: “Funky Boo-Ga-Loo” spent one week at No. 40 on the R&B chart in early 1968. Are there Funk Brothers there? I don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

One Chart Dig: September 16, 1967

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Renowned drummer Bernard Purdie has been mentioned two times in this space over the years, and I know without needing any references that such a low number is all out of proportion to the number of times that we’ve featured or talked about recordings on which Purdie has played. (Nevertheless, a look at his credits as a sideman as gathered at Wikipedia is instructive.) But Purdie popped up this morning in a place that was unexpected: In the Billboard Hot 100 from September 16, 1967, when “Funky Donkey” by Pretty Purdie was bubbling under at No. 130.

The single – Purdie’s only appearance under his name in the Hot 100 – went to No. 87.

Even as I headed to YouTube to check out the record, I didn’t connect “Pretty Purdie” with the famed drummer, and when it became obvious that they were one and the same, well, I felt a little dumb. But then, as his mentions here indicate, I’ve never paid much attention to Purdie, and I would guess that something that’s going to change.

I might start with the rest of the tracks on the album Soul Drums. Jason Ankeny at AllMusic says Soul Drums is “[n]ot so much an album as it is a master class in the art of funk percussion,” and he adds that the record is “an unstoppable rhythm machine made all the more memorable by its fiercely idiosyncratic production.”

It turns out that Soul Drums is easily available at the usual outlets, with several bonus tracks added to the original 1968 release. So that’s another one to put on my ever-lengthening list.