Be Bop Wino Pages

Joan Selects - the complete Joan Selects Collection

Big Ten Inchers - 78rpm rips by El Enmascarado

Attention Mac Users!

Mac users have been experiencing problems in unpacking the WinRAR archives used on this blog. Two solutions have been suggested.

1. Use The Unarchiver - - see comments on Little Esther Bad Baad Girl post for details.

2. Use Keka - - see comments on Johnny Otis Presents post.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Aladdin 14 Magic Lamps

Face A:
01) I Ain't Drunk - Jimmy Liggins
02) Doo Dob Sha Bam - The Spence Sisters
03) New Orleans Hop - Monte Easter
04) Shtiggy Boom - Patti Anne
05) Way Down Boogie - Harold Burrage
06) Smack Smack - Marvin & Johnny
07) Yak A Dak - Chuck Higgins

Face B:
01) Maggie's Boogie - Peppermint Harris
02) Doodle Doodle Doo - Gene & Eunice
03) Chuck A Buck - Chuck Higgins
04) John, John - Aggie Dukes
05) No One Can Love You Like I Do - Skinny Dinamo
06) Go Ahead - Joe Liggins
07) If I Were A Itty Bitty Girl - Velma Nelson

Here's the second early 1980s Pathe Marconi compilation of Aladdin sides, the follow up to "Aladdin's Rock'n Roll Sock Hop." Like its predecessor, this LP was originally posted on Be Bop Wino in 2008 with incomplete cover scans and now makes its comeback with all-new, complete scans of front and back covers plus disc label scans. There is also a folder with some single label scans provided by Joan.

And what makes this post a delight is that I don't have to do any trawling through Billboard, The Cash Box, or to dig out the fax on these tracks, jack, because the sleeve notes by Colin Escott not only detail recording dates and original issue numbers, they also give the issue dates of these platters that once mattered. And so download and dig this selection of Aladdin jump, R&B and rock 'n' roll tracks and peruse the arcane knowledge imparted on the back cover.

There are no big hits here but there are memorable tracks by Jimmy Liggins, Velma Nelson and the unique Aggie Dukes whom we met a couple of posts ago where she warbled through "Swing Low Sweet Cadillac" accompanied by Buddy Collette on flute. Both are back on the similarly eccentric "John John." Solid!

Of note - a number of nonsense titles such as "Yak A Dak" and "Doo Dob Sha Bam." Post literate titles for a post literate age. Hubba hubba.

Thanks to Joan for the scans of singles featured in this short series of Aladdin posts and to Marv for kicking this short Aladdin season off with his Score LP contribution.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Aladdin's Rock'n Roll Sock Hop

Side 1:
01) P.B. Baby - Little Wilbur & The Pleasers
02) I'm Out To Get You - Thurston Harris
03) Rockin' With The Clock - Shirley & Lee
04) Hey Lawdy, Miss Claudie - Calvin Boze
05) I'm So In Love With You - Gene & Eunice
06) Purple Stew - Thurston Harris
07) Rockin' At Cosmo's - Lee Allen

Side 2:
01) Little Mama - The Jivers
02) Flim Flam - Gene & Eunice
03) Bow Wow - Amos Milburn
04) Runk Bunk - Thurston Harris
05) Move It Over Baby - Gene & Eunice
06) Let's Get Together - Gene & Eunice
07) Good Time Sue - Calvin Boze

As a follow up to the Score "Rock'n Roll Sock Hop" LP, we just have to go with the 1980s Pathe Marconi compilation "Aladdin's Rock'n Roll Sock Hop" which turns out to be a very different album. I first uploaded this LP to Be Bop Wino back in 2008, along with its companion volume "Aladdin 14 Magic Lamps." Both posts disappeared in the great takedown of 2009 and although I had a back up archive, I didn't repost because of the poor quality cover scans.

Now the LPs make their return in 2019 (inspired by Marv's post of the Score LP) complete with brand new Be Bop Wino standard cover scans. Same sound files, though. It's a good listen - Aladdin never did quite come to terms with the rock'n roll revolution in my opinion as they lacked the big star which some of the other indy labels had, e.g. Little Richard at Specialty, Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson at Imperial, Chuck Berry at Chess, The Drifters, Ray Charles, Chuck Willis and others at Atlantic. Nevertheless Aladdin put out some good rock and roll material before being taken over by Imperial.

This comp was also my introduction to Calvin Boze whose Louis Jordan style jumpin' jive seems somewhat out of place here. The same can be said in spades for Amos Milburn's "Bow Wow" which is a rather chaotic instrumental first released as the B-Side of "Let's Make Christmas Merry, Baby" in 1949. What on Earth is it doing on this album? It sounds like it's been beamed in from another planet or even another galaxy.

Original Issue Details

Wilbur Whitfield And The Pleasers - P.B. Baby / The One I Love - Aladdin 3381 - May 1957

Thurston Harris - I'm Out To Getcha' / Be Baba Leba - Aladdin 3415 - March 1958

Thurston Harris - Purple Stew / I Hear A Rhapsody (Thurston Harris and The Masters, Rufus Hunter featured vocalist) - Aladdin 3440 - November 1958

Thurston Harris - Bless Your Heart / Runk Bunk - Aladdin 3452 - April 1959

Shirley & Lee - The Flirt / Rockin' With The Clock - Aladdin 3390 - August 1957

Calvin Boze - My Friend Told Me / Hey Lawdie, Miss Claudie - Aladdin 3122 - February 1952

Calvin Boze - Keep Your Nose Out Of My Business / Good Time Sue - Aladdin 3132 - May 1952

Gene and Eunice - This Is My Story / Move It Over, Baby - Aladdin 3282 - March 1955

Gene and Eunice - Flim Flam / Can We Forget It - Aladdin 3292 - July 1955

Gene and Eunice - Let's Get Together / I'm So In Love With You - Aladdin 3321 - June 1956

Lee Allen - Rockin' At Cosmo's / Shimmy - Aladdin 3334 - September 1956

The Jivers - Little Mama / Cherie - Aladdin 3329 - August 1956

Amos Milburn - Let's Make Christmas Merry, Baby / Bow Wow - Aladdin 3037 - October 1949

- All discographical information from

Thanks to Joan for the Aladdin 45rpm scans. These and some more scans by Joan are included in the download.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Rock'n Roll Sock Hop (Score SLP-4018)

Side 1:
01) Rockin' With The Clock - Shirley & Lee
02) Hootchy Kootchy - Gene & Eunice
03) The One I Love - Little Wilbur & The Pleasers
04) Yak, Yak - Marvin & Johnny
05) Swing Low Sweet Cadillac Part I & II - Aggie Dukes

Side 2:
01) Lets Get Together And Rock And Roll - Gene & Eunice
02) The Flirt - Shirley & Lee
03) Pretty Eyes - Marvin & Johnny
04) P B Baby - Little Wilbur & The Pleasers
05) Midnight Mover Groover - Crawford Brothers
06) Midnight Happenins - Crawford Brothers

Many thanks to Marv for reconstructing this Score LP which was originally issued in March 1958. And a big thank you to Joan for purchasing and ripping Aladdin single 3381, which was the only way to obtain "The One I Love" by Wilbur Whitfield and The Pleasers, or Little Wilbur & The Pleasers as they are credited on this LP.

Aladdin Records subsidiary label Score was used for issuing budget priced LPs. The Billboard Magazine issue of 31st March 1958 lists this LP plus several other Score LPs on its Long Play Albums page, under the heading "Pop - low priced." Among other Score issues of Aladdin material listed in that issue were albums by Lynn Hope, Lightnin' Hopkins, Billie Holiday, Lloyd Glenn and Shirley & Lee. The recommended retail price of each album was $3.98.

When this compilation was issued, its tracks were all fairly recent, having originally been issued on singles during 1956 and 1957. Most of the material is indeed "rock'n roll" with the sides by Shirley & Lee, Gene and Eunice, Marvin & Johnny, and Wilbur Whitfield And The Pleasers all obviously aimed at the youth market.

However, how to explain the Aggie Dukes stoned two-parter version of "Swing Low Sweet Cadillac"? It's one of the weirdest records I've heard! Dig that crazy flute playing by Buddy Collette! The two sides by the Crawford Brothers are heavy duty growling sax bump and grind. All in all an interesting mix of tracks for the clean cut young dancers depicted on the record sleeve.

Tracks Originally Issued On The Following Singles:

Shirley & Lee - The Flirt / Rockin' With The Clock - Aladdin 3390 - August 1957

Gene and Eunice - I'll Never Believe In You / Hootchy-Kootchy - Aladdin 3315 - March 1956

Gene and Eunice - Let's Get Together / I'm So In Love With You - Aladdin 3321 - June 1956

Wilbur Whitfield And The Pleasers - P. B. Baby / The One I Love - Aladdin 3381 - May 1957

Marvin & Johnny - Pretty Eyes / Yak-Yak - Aladdin 3371 - April 1957

Aggie Dukes - Swing Low Sweet Cadillac Part I / Swing Low Sweet Cadillac Part II - Aladdin 3364 - March 1957

Crawford Brothers - Midnight Mover Groover / Midnight Happenins - Aladdin 3375 - May 1957

Thanks to original uploaders of the artwork and some of the sound files used here, and of course thanks again to Marv and Joan. More Aladdin sides on the way soon!

Friday, 4 October 2019

Bull Moose Jackson Sings His All-Time Hits

Side 1:
01) I Love You Yes I Do
02) I Can't Go On Without You
03) Cherokee Boogie
04) My Little Baby
05) I Want A Bowlegged Woman
06) Have You No Mercy

Side 2:
01) All My Love Belongs To You
02) Little Girl Don't Cry
03) Why Don't You Haul Off And Love Me
04) Sometimes I Wonder
05) Sneaky Pete
06) I Never Loved Anyone But You

Thanks to Marv for a "restoration" of Audio Lab AL-1524 which was released in March 1960. Of course the 12 sides were originally released as singles on King much earlier, in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Most of the music on this album consists of ballads which were big sellers for Bull Moose but there are a few rockers, including the risque "I Want A Bow Legged Woman" and "Sneaky Pete", and the R&B versions of two Country hits - "Cherokee Boogie" originally by "King Of The Hillbilly Piano Players" Moon Mullican, and "Why Don't You Haul Off And Love Me" which was originally by harmonica ace Wayne Raney.

Billboard, 14th March 1960

I must also thank Joan who supplied the rip of track 4, "My Little Baby" and additional artwork below:

Original 78 rpm release of "Sneaky Pete"

King EP-211, released in 1953

Original release of the tracks on Audio Lab AL-1524

I Love You Yes I Do / Sneaky Pete - King 4181 - October 1947. A double sided hit with "I Love You Yes I Do" reaching number 1 in the R&B chart and number 24 in the pop chart.

All My Love Belongs To You / I Want A Bowlegged Woman - King 4189 - February 1948. The A-Side reached number 3 in the R&B chart, while the B-Side reached number 5.

I Can't Go On Without You / Fare Thee Well, Deacon Jones - King 4230 - June 1948. The A-Side was another number 1 R&B hit.

Moosey / Little Girl Don't Cry - King 4288 - April 1949. "Little Girl Don't Cry" was the fifth best selling R&B single of 1949.

Why Don't You Haul Off And Love Me / Is That All I Mean To You - King 4322 - October 1949. A-Side was sitting at number 5 in the R&B chart in December 1949.

Sometimes I Wonder / Time Alone Will Tell - King 4373 - June 1950

Without Your Love / Have You No Mercy - King 4422 - December 1950
My Little Baby / Forget And Forgive - King 4433 - April 1951

Cherokee Boogie (Eh-Oh-Aleena) / I'm Lucky I Have You - King 4472 - September 1951

I'll Be Home For Christmas / I Never Loved Anyone But You - King 4493 - November 1951

Information from, and Billboard magazine.

Elsewhere On The Blog

Thanks again to Marv and Joan.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Doc Bagby / Luis Rivera - Battle Of The Organs

Side 1 (Doc Bagby):
01) Hay Ride
02) Soft One
03) Grinding
04) Deep Purple
05) I Want A Little Girl
06) Memories Of You

Side 2 (Luis Rivera):
01) Tangerine
02) Fat Stocking
03) Heavy Hips
04) Bobby Sox
05) Manhattan
06) Milamo Blues

1980s Sing reissue of King LP 631 which was originally issued in 1959. Four of the six Doc Bagby tracks were originally issued on King singles in 1955 while the two remaining solo tracks made their first appearance on this LP. Of the featured Luis Rivera tracks five were originally released on Federal singles in 1955, while one track received its first release on this LP.

At the time these recordings were made Doc Bagby was a member of the Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Trio. The four "Doc Bagby Quartet" sides (Grinding, Hay Ride, Soft One, I Want A Little Girl) were cut at a Lockjaw Davis Trio session on April 20th 1955, with guitarist Clifford Bush stepping in to make the trio a quartet. The two unreleased solo tracks were cut at a Lockjaw Davis Trio session on August 16th, 1955.

For more tracks from these Lockjaw Davis sessions and lots more info on Lockjaw see these posts on the blog -

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - Modern Jazz Expressions

New Mega links have been added to the above posts.

Harold "Doc" Bagby was a native of Philadelphia who started his musical career at the age of fifteen when he took piano lessons at Central High School with one of his classmates being Bill Doggett. In the 1930s he was leading his own small groups around Philly and went on to lead a big band. After war service he returned to Philly but the economic climate was not condusive to keeping a big band going and Doc soon found himself leading a "cocktail combo" in the lounges of the Philadelphia area.

When the New York record label Gotham relocated to Philadelphia in 1948, Doc was appointed its musical director, arranging and playing on numerous R&B and Gospel sessions from the late 1940s into the 1950s. The first recordings on which he was named artist were released on Gotham in 1952 /53. On these sides he played organ and was accompanied by guitarist Billy Butler but it must be said that it's difficult to get excited by these tracks.

In 1954 Doc teamed up with jazz tenor sax man Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and drummer Charlie Rice to form a successful sax / organ / drums trio which was an early template for what later became known as "Soul Jazz." In 1956 Doc split from the Lockjaw combo and was signed by Okeh with whom he recorded R&B sides up until early 1958.

The success of Bill Doggett's "Honky Tonk" in 1956 set off a craze for R&B based instrumentals. Doc's Okeh sides featured Mickey "Guitar" Baker and occasionally Everett Barksdale or Billy Muir on guitar and tenor saxes by Seldon Powell and Ellworth Gooding. "Dumplin's" was a hit for Bagby in 1957, climbing not only the R&B chart but also reaching the lower end of the pop chart. A follow up LP "Honky Tonk In Silk" also sold well. Doc played organ on Sil Austin's big instrumental hit "Slow Walk" which reached number 17 on the pop charts in November 1956 and also on Austin's Wing LP "Slow Walk Rock" the cover of which informed the public that this was "an album for 'hip dancers'."

Calling hipsters everywhere - Doc's in the house

The success of "Dumplin's" led to appearances in Rock 'n' Roll stage shows including with Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Lee Andrews & The Hearts, The Clovers and Chuck Berry. In the late '50s and early '60s Doc recorded a series of singles for a variety of small labels, all in an R&B / Rock 'n' Roll style. The Jasmine 2CD set "Smooth Organ, Groove Organ" devotes its second disc to 24 of these small label sides. The first disc has 24 sides from Gotham, King and Okeh. Excellent notes by Bob Fisher. Recommended!

Doc's last single seems to have been a 1966 release on the Newark label - "I'll Always Be In Love With You" / "These Foolish Things" by Doc Bagby and his Organ Trio. There were a couple of LPs in the mid to late '60s - "A Place In The Sun"- The Doc Bagby Hammond Organ Trio (Current S/475) and "The Hits Of The Drifters" - Doc Bagby at The Hammond Organ (Power S 9008).

Doc Bagby died in New York in September 1970 at the comparatively young age of 51.

Information on Luis Rivera is harder to come by, however the sleevenotes of his 1961 Imperial LP "Filet Of Soul" can be found in a review posted on the "Fat Sound" blog here:

The post includes a link to a YouTube video which has excerpts of all the LP tracks. Luis was born in San Antonio, Texas, spent most of his early life in Ohio, was a captain in the US Army Air Force, and after the war he studied psychology at the University of Miami. He gave up a position as a clinical psychologist to follow a musical career, starting out with the band of Ivory Joe Hunter, then joining the Roy Milton band when they came through Texas. He accompanied the band to Los Angeles which became his home base.

Luis had a short spell with the Flip Phillips Quintet and then worked with Billie Holiday for two and a half years including tours to Europe and Asia. There was also work as a session musician around LA, including a 1951 /52 session with Joe Houston for Modern,  an Earl Bostic session for King in June 1953, a Linda Hopkins session for Federal in February 1954, and a Linda Hayes session for Hollywood and King in January 1955.

The sides on this LP which were recorded in November and December 1954 were Luis's first releases under his own name. His next release was the "Filet Of Soul" Imperial LP which was recorded in December 1960 and January 1961.

 Billboard, 20th March 1961

The "Filet Of Soul" sleevenotes finish with the information that "Luis may be currently heard at one of Los Angeles' main jazz spots, Dynamite Jackson's Lounge."

Another jazz organist at Dynamite Jackson's

Luis's last recording as named artist was for a Cash LP CLP-1002) sometime in the early 1960s - "Las Vegas" and thereafter the trail fades ...

Vegas, Baby! Vegas!

It's safe to assume that as Luis was a war veteran he is probably no longer an active musician at least here on Earth, for he may well be playing the eternal gig in God's own organ lounge in the sky.

Original Issue Of The Trax on "Battle Of The Organs"

Doc Bagby Quartet: Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor sax); Harry "Doc" Bagby (organ); Clifford Bush (guitar); Charlie Rice (drums).

Grinding / Hayride - Doc Bagby Quartet - King 4804 - released June 1955

I Want A Little Girl / Soft One - Doc Bagby Quartet - King 4823 - released September 1955

Doc Bagby solo tracks "Deep Purple" and "Memories Of You" first released on King LP 631 in 1959.

Luis Rivera: on "Tangerine" "Fat Stocking" "Milano Blues" - Bill Gaither (tenor sax); Luis Rivera (organ); Ulysses Livingstone (guitar); Gene Wright (bass); Albert Bartee (drums).
On "Bobby Sox" "Manhattan" " Heavy Hips" - Calvin Ponder replaces Gene Wright on bass; add Don Johnson on tumba.

Tangerine / Fat Stockin' - Luis Rivera - Federal 12207 - released January 1955

Heavy Hips / Ruby - Luis Rivera - Federal 12211 - released February 1955

Bobby Sox / Manhattan - Luis Rivera - Federal 12226 - released July 1955

Milano Blues first released on King LP 631 in 1959.

Four Luis Rivera singles were released on Federal. The single not listed above was -

Don't Take Your Love from Me / Please Be Kind - Federal 12215- released April 1955.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

The Vocal Group Album (Roots of Rock 'n' Roll Volume Eight)

Side A:
01. Poor Butterfly - The Three Barons
02. Milk Shake Stand - The Three Barons
03. Palace Of Stone - The Toppers
04. I'm Living For You - The Toppers
05. If Money Grew On Trees - The Toppers
06. These Are Things I Want To Share With You - The Syncopaters
07. River Stay Away From My Door - The Syncopaters
08. Out In The Cold Again - The Syncopaters

Side B:
01. It Could Have Been Me - The Four Buddies
02. You Left Me Alone - The Four Buddies
03. Ooh Ow - The Four Buddies
04. I'd Climb The Highest Mountain - The Four Buddies
05. It All Comes Back To Me Now - The Marshall Brothers
06. I Didn't Know - The Marshall Brothers
07. My Life Is My Life - The Marshall Brothers
08. I Won't Believe You Anymore - The Marshall Brothers

Side C:
01. Call For Me - The Carols
02. I Got A Feelin' - The Carols
03. Mighty Lak A Rose - The Carols
04. Fifty Million Women - The Carols
05. I'm Losing My Mind - The Dreams
06. Under The Willow - The Dreams
07. My Little Honeybun - The Dreams
08. I'll Be Faithful - The Dreams

Side D:
01. I Won't Cry - Little David & The Harps
02. You'll Pay - Little David & The Harps
03. Baby Dee - Little David & The Harps
04. Wah Diddy Wah - Little David & The Harps
05. Say You're Mine - Jimmy Jones & The Savoys
06. We Made A Vow - Jimmy Jones & The Savoys
07. I Love Only You - Jimmy Jones & The Savoys
08. With All My Heart - Jimmy Jones & The Savoys

Over on the "Don't Ask Me ... I Don't Know" blog, Xyros is collecting together the Savoy Roots of Rock 'n' Roll series which was a 15 volume set of double and single LPs of rhythm and blues originally released on the Savoy and National labels. They started appearing in 1977 and were probably the first attempt by a record company to demonstrate that rock and roll had roots and antecedents from a time before Elvis or Bill Haley or Chuck Berry.

I started to pick up copies of the albums some time in the early 1980s and such was the impression they made on me I can still remember where I bought some of them. I bought "The Original Johnny Otis Show Volume 1" in a little record shop in a back street in Tulle in southwestern France. I picked up the second volume of Johnny Otis in Doug Dobell's record shop in Soho. "Honkers and Screamers" was purchased in the much missed Tower records in Glasgow and the first volume in the series, "The Roots Of Rock 'n' Roll," was found in the crammed browsers of Backbeat Records in Edinburgh.

You can now browse through most of the series on Xyros' blog here - "Savoy Roots of Rock 'n' Roll Volume 1 -15" and I'm pleased to say that this volume, "The Vocal Group Album," will be joining its companions with my full blessing.

The sharp eyed among you will have noticed that two volumes remain missing - both volumes of "Ladies Sing The Blues." Can anyone out there help?

As for this double LP set, it serves as a good guide to the changing style of vocal group recordings over a period of 12 years. The collection kicks off with hip harmonies from The Three Barons accompanied by Tiny Grimes and then moves onto the self contained instrumental / vocal group The Five Red Caps, here recording as The Toppers. 

As the years roll by we encounter groups who show the varied influences of the Ink Spots, The Ravens, and The Drifters. The Dreams, Little David And His Harps, and Jimmy Jones take us into more rock and roll territory. The Dreams are backed by a Leroy Kirkland led band which features Sam "The Man" Taylor and Mickey "Guitar" Baker, so we have moved pretty far from the world of 1940s Harlem and Tiny Grimes. Little David is David Baughan who was in the earliest lineup of The Drifters and later returned for a brief spell as replacement for Clyde McPhatter. You can hear the obvious vocal similarity between the two.

The download includes the full gatefold sleeve and its essay by vocal group expert Marv Goldberg.

More Info On The Trax

The Three Barons:
Milkshake Stand / I'd Give My Life - Savoy 527 - The Three Barons with The Tiny Grimes Quintette
Poor Butterfly - unissued recording. Recorded as The Three Riffs with The Tiny Grimes Quartette.

The Toppers:
Steve Gibson and the Five Red Caps recording under a pseudonym.
If Money Grew On Trees / Palace Of Stone - The Toppers - Savoy 559
I'm Living For You / I'm All Alone - The Toppers - Savoy 656 - a 1947 reissue of "Palace of Stone" retitled "I'm All Alone."

The Syncopators:
Mule Train / These Are Things I Want To Share With You - National 9093
River Stay Away From My Door / These Are Things I Want To Share With You - National 9095

The Four Buddies:
It Could Have Been Me - unissued recording.
Ooh-Ow / My Mother's Eyes - The Four Buddies with Hal Singer's Orchestra - Savoy 888
I Wanna' Know / I'd Climb The Highest Mountain - A-Side credited to Dolly Cooper with Hal Singer's Orchestra; B-Side credited to Dolly Cooper with The Four Buddies - Savoy 891.
You Left Me alone - unissued recording.

The Marshall Brothers:
The Marshall Brothers with the Rene Hall Quartet -
It All Comes Back to Me Now; I Didn't Know; My Life Is My Life; I Won't Believe You Anymore - unissued Savoy session.

The Carols: 
Fifty Million Women / I Got A Feelin - The Carols - Savoy 896
Call For Me; Mighty Lak A Rose - unissued recordings.

The Dreams:
I'm Losing My Mind / Under The Willow - The Dreams - Savoy 1140
I'll Be Faithful / My Little Honeybun - The Dreams - Savoy 1157

Little David and His Harps:
Little David = David Baughan
I Won't Cry / You'll Pay - Little David and His Harps - Savoy 1178
Baby Dee; Wah Diddy Wah - unissued recordings.

Jimmy Jones & The Savoys:
Say You're Mine / You - The Savoys featuring James Jones - Savoy 1188
With All My Heart / Please Say You're Mine - Jimmy Jones And The Savoys - Savoy 1586
We Made a Vow - unissued recording.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Johnny "Guitar" Watson (King LP 857)

Side 1:
01. Cuttin' In
02. Embraceable You
03. Broke And Lonely
04. What You Do To Me
05. Gangster Of Love
06. Highway 60

Side 2:
01. Those Lonely, Lonely Feelings
02. Posin'
03. That´s The Chance You´ve Got To Take
04. I Just Wants Me Some Love
05. Sweet Lovin' Mama
06. You Can't Take It With You

Thanks to Marv for contributing this reconstitution of a King LP which was originally released in December 1963. The album includes two tracks from Watson's first recordings as named artist for Federal in 1953 (as Young John Watson), with the rest of the tracks coming from his 1961 - 1963 spell recording for King, by which time he was billed as Johnny "Guitar" Watson.

John Watson Jr. was born in Houston, Texas, in 1935. He learned how to play guitar at an early age and was influenced not only by the music but also by the flashy stageshows of T-Bone Walker and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown.

At the age of fifteen he moved to Los Angeles where he quickly became involved in the R&B scene, not initially as a guitarist, but as piano player and occasional vocalist with Chuck Higgins and the Mellotones. Watson's first recordings were with the Higgins band for Combo, including several sides such as "Motorhead Baby" and "Just Won't Treat Me Right" which featured Young John's vocals and piano. These sides show a distinct Amos Milburn influence which was still evident when he left the Higgins outfit and started recording for King subsidiary label Federal in 1953.

Watson's first two sessions for Federal in January and May 1953 saw him continuing to record as a pianist and vocalist with guitars being played by Wayne Bennett and Harold Grant. However for his final session for Federal in February 1954 Watson took over on guitar, with the sides including the flashy instrumental showcase "Space Guitar."

In 1955 to early 1956 Watson recorded for RPM and with his guitar playing very much to the forefront he was now billed as Johnny "Guitar" Watson. Tracks recorded for RPM included a cover of Earl King's "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights," plus "Hot Little Mama," "So Tired," "I'm Gonna Hit That Highway" and "Three Hours Past Midnight."

After leaving RPM, Watson spent the subsequent few years drifting from label to label, usually with only one recording session at each. Between 1956 and 1961 he recorded for Dig, Keen, All Stars, Class, Goth, Arvee, and Escort. One record worth mentioning from this period is his first recording of "Gangster Of Love" which he would re-record for King in 1963.

In July 1961, at his first session for King, Watson moved away from straight blues guitar and singing by recording in a much more "pop" style with accompanying strings and vocal chorus. Tracks included the standards "Embraceable You" and "The Nearness Of You" but it was the more country sounding "Cuttin' In" which gave him a big R&B hit. Also recorded at this session was the stomping dance novelty "Posin'."

His second King session in October 1961 was in a soul vein and all four tracks are present on this LP. See below for recording date details. Watson's next King session (December 1962) was backed by a Johnny Otis led group with a female backing chorus. One track from this session is on the LP, the impassioned "That's The Chance You've Got To Take," which fits in well with the October 1961 sides.

The last King session in May 1963 saw Watson re-record two of his RPM and Keen sides - "Gangster Of Love" and "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights" the latter being retitled "Those Lonely, Lonely Feelings" for its release on this LP.

Watson's subsequent career was long and fruitful, including a period recording and performing with Larry Williams, and a reinvention as a funk artist in the 1970s complete with pimptastic clothes, accessories, hairstyle, and hit albums such as "Ain't That A Bitch," "A Real Mother For Ya" and "Funk Beyond The Call Of Duty." His career kept going through the '80s and into the '90s when he had another hit album with "Bow Wow" but, alas, it all came to an end when he suffered an onstage heart attack in Yokahama in 1996.

Recording dates:

01. Cuttin' In - 21st July, 1961
02. Embraceable You - 21st July, 1961
03. Broke And Lonely - 17th October, 1961
04. What You Do To Me - 17th October, 1961
05. Gangster Of Love - 14th May, 1963
06. Highway 60 - 20th January 1953
07. Those Lonely, Lonely Feelings - 14th May, 1963
08. Posin' - 21st July, 1961
09. That´s The Chance You´ve Got To Take - 14th December, 1962
10. I Just Wants Me Some Love - 17th October, 1961
11. Sweet Lovin' Mama - 17th October, 1961
12. You Can't Take It With You - 1st February, 1954

- All tracks recorded in Los Angeles.

Original release details:

Highway 60 / No I Can't - Federal 12120 - March 1953 (as Young John Watson)

Gettin' Drunk / You Can't Take It With You - Federal 12183 - May 1954 (as Young John Watson)

Embraceable You / Posin' - King 5536 - August 1961

Cuttin' In / Broke And Lonely - King 5579 - December 1961

I Just Wants Me Some Love / The Nearness Of You - King 5607 - March 1962

What You Do To Me / Sweet Lovin' Mama - King 5666 - July 1962

Cold, Cold Heart / That's The Chance You've Got To Take - King 5716 - February 1963

Gangster Of Love / In The Evenin' - King 5774 - July 1963

Those Lonely, Lonely Feelings - this LP, King LP 857 - December 1963

Johnny "Guitar" Watson (King LP 857) - ripped at a modest but still effective 128 kbps. Artwork from the internet with gratitude to the original uploaders.

Recommended further listening -

King Masters CD - KCD 6004

The above CD has 20 tracks, 12 of which are from the Federal sessions, with the remainder being early 1960's King tracks.