Saturday, 1 December 2012

Baby, You’re Tops With Me / Slippin’ And Slidin’ – Calvin Boze and His All-Stars (Aladdin 3086)

  

“Baby, You’re Tops With Me” was recorded in Los Angeles on January 13th, 1950. Probable personnel: Calvin Boze (vocal); Floyd Turnham (alto sax); Don Wilkerson (tenor sax); Chuck Walker (baritone sax); Willard McDaniel (piano); Ulysses Livingstone (guitar); Bill Cooper (bass); Walter Murden (drums)

“Slippin’ And Slidin’” was recorded in Los Angeles on January 15th, 1951. Personnel: Calvin Boze (trumpet and vocal) with possibly Marshall Royal (alto sax); Maxwell Davis (tenor sax) plus unknown baritone sax, piano, guitar, bass and drums. Possibly Scatman Crothers with vocal ensemble.


Aladdin 3086 was released at the beginning of May 1951. It was reviewed in Billboard on May 5th. The verdict on “Baby You’re Tops with Me” was – “Shuffle boogie novelty drives, with Boze doing a Louis Jordan on the lyrics, of which he sings a couple of choruses.” The B-Side, “Slippin’ And Slidin’” was given a higher rating and more positive review – “Boze projects an engaging set of novelty lyrics infectiously, while combo puts down a swingy, medium shuffle. Could click.”

Both these sides are obviously heavily influenced by Louis Jordan. I find myself in agreement with Billboard – “Slippin’ And Slidin’” is a funny (and gloriously politically incorrect) account of the joys of dancing (?) with big boned women.  Somehow one night Calvin finds himself in a shabby joint on the wrong side of town - “… A big fat chick walked up and said ‘come on baby, and dance with me.’” Who could possibly resist such an invitation? “That big fat chick knew all the tricks, she’s got me in a spin …” In fact there’s nothing for it but to go back again the following night for another close encounter with the energetic large dame.
“Baby You’re Tops With Me” is another good jump blues but it doesn’t quite hit the spot the way “Slippin’ And Slidin’” does. The two sides were recorded almost exactly a year apart with different personnel, but they both feature fantastically tight arrangements and playing. Despite this, the record didn’t chart. Dominating the Billboard Rhythm And Blues chart in May 1951 were “Black Night” by Charles Brown, “Lost Love” by Percy Mayfield, “Teardrops From My Eyes” by Ruth Brown and “Rockin’ Blues” by Johnny Otis, featuring Mel Walker.

For much more on Calvin Boze, please read the post “Choo Choo’s Bringing My Baby Home.”

 
A big thank you to El Enmascarado for providing the rips and scans from a 60 year old 78 rpm shellac disc. Once again the sound quality is remarkably clear and a testament to the work put in on these artefacts from the great years of R&B.
 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Slipping and sliding and sneaking and hiding and shoving me out and in"....Wow! The lyrics to this song just kill me. This record played really nicely, so there was very little cleanup work needed. One could make a case that this is the 1951 version of rap music. Little Richard certainly must have know this song. ...The Masked One

boogiewoody said...

Yep it's one of those double entendre blues records that has somehow slipped under my radar - until now! Structurally it recalls Louis Jordan's "Saturday Night Fish Fry."