01. Just A Little Bit
02. That's What You Do To Me
03. No More Doggin'
04. Goin' Home (Tomorrow)
05. A Fool In Love
06. Dapper Dan
07. I'm Locked Up
08. Surely I Love You
01. Every Night In The Week
02. What I Wouldn't Do
03. Let 'Em Try
04. Sit Right Here
05. My Chick
06. Jelly, Jelly, Jelly
07. New Orleans, La
A good collection which contains just about everything Rosco Gordon recorded for Vee-Jay between 1959 and 1961. Only 8 of these sides were released on singles, so this disc includes 7 previously unreleased sides but it's all good stuff. These are much more polished productions than the material contained in the earlier post "The Legendary Sun Performers: Rosco Gordon", with Rosco stepping back from piano playing and being accompanied by rockin' bands (some great sax breaks) and even vocal groups.
The first Vee-Jay single, a re-recording of his 1952 RPM hit "No More Doggin'" didn't sell much, but his second release "Just A Little Bit" was a hit which reached number 2 in the R&B chart and also entered the Hot 100 pop chart. Unfortunately Rosco's remaining two Vee-Jay singles failed to repeat this success and his final session for the label in 1961 remained unreleased.
Rosco, who was now based in New York City, recorded for ABC-Paramount in 1962/63 and for Old Town in 1964. He was accompanied on some records by his second wife Barbara and although they were occupied in the dry cleaning business, they would occasionally record into the 1970s for small NYC labels and their own Bab-Roc label. If you search in YouTube on "Rosco and Barbara" you can find some of their sides which were in the soul style.
In the early 1980s he was "rediscovered" and appeared at the Memphis Blues Festival in '82, toured in Europe and cut a live album for UK label JSP. Following the early death of his wife in 1984 he devoted more time to his musical career. Shortly before his own death in 2002 he was part of a live tribute to Sam Phillips at the WC Handy Awards show in Memphis, appearing in a band featuring fellow Memphis Recording Sevice alumni B.B. King, Ike Turner and Little Milton Campbell.
This concert and other scenes featuring Rosco were prominent in the film "The Road To Memphis" directed by Richard Pearce as part of the "Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues" series. I absolutely recommend that you get hold of a copy!
Fax on the Rockin' Trax
Vee-Jay released 4 Rosco Gordon singles as follows:
VJ 316 - No More Doggin' / A Fool In Love - May 1959
VJ 332 - Just A Little Bit / Goin' Home - November 1959. This single reached number 2 in the R&B chart in February 1960 and reached number 64 in the Hot 100.
VJ 348 - Surely I Love You / What You Do To Me - June 1960
VJ 385 - Let 'Em Try / What I Wouldn't Do - May 1961
All tracks on this LP were recorded in Chicago as follows -
No More Doggin', Goin' Home (Tomorrow), A Fool In Love - recorded on April 21st, 1959. Personnel: Rosco Gordon (vocal) with: Earl Washington (piano); Lefty Bates and Classie Ballou (guitars); Quinn Wilson (bass); Al Duncan (drums).
Just A Little Bit, What You Do To Me - recorded on September 16th, 1959. Personnel as above but add Cliff Davis (tenor sax) and McKinley Easton (batione sax), also Classie Ballou (guitar) not present.
Dapper Dan, I'm Locked Up - recorded on March 16th, 1960. Personnel as on April 21st, 1959 session.
Surely I Love You - recorded on April 13th, 1960. Personnel as on March 16th session but add vocal group - Erny Colston, James Moore, Emmett Simmons.
Two sessions were held on unknown dates in 1961. Rosco was accompanied by an unknown lineup which included trumpet, tenor and baritone saxes, 2 guitars, bass, piano, drums and on the first session a vocal group. It's possible that the musicians included Red Holloway (tenor sax), James Moore (guitar) and Chico Chism (drums).
1st session - What I Wouldn't Do, Every Night In The Week, Let 'Em Try.
2nd session - Sit Right Here, My Chick, Jelly, Jelly, Jelly, New Orleans, La.
Above: crossover action for Rosco Gordon and Dee Clark - Billboard ad in March 1960.