Sunday, 30 December 2012

Bill Ramal – Screamin’ Saxes (MGM E/SE 4051)

 
 
 
 
 
Side 1
1. Hand Clappin'
2. Hard Times
3. Cloudburst
4. Walkin' With Mr Lee
5. Em-Bee
6. Ichi-Ban

Side 2
1. Back Street
2. Castle Rock
3. Blow Your Horn
4. Sting Ray
5. Honky Tonk
6. Hot Rod

Here’s something that differs from the usual Be Bop Wino fare. It’s not quite the usual cool R&B / Jazz / Rock ‘n’ Roll that I like to think is the staple diet of this august blog. The album title, the front cover art, the track list, it all looks right and yet it’s kind of “off kilter.” There’s positively lurid use of stereo separation as the tenor saxes of Bill Ramal and big band veteran Georgie Auld tear through 12 honking sax instros but the feeling I get from listening to this set is that it consists of R&B by the numbers, or ersatz R&B.

“Screamin’ Saxes” was released in 1962. The sleeve notes assure us that the sounds contained therein are “… big and driving and new; this sound of the 60s.” In fact it’s a compilation of cover versions of 1950s R&B honking sax juke box hits, plus 3 original compositions by Bill Ramal: “Em-Bee”, “Ichi-Ban” and “Sting Ray.”

The cover versions are – “Hand Clappin’” and “Blow Your Horn” both originally by Red Prysock, “Hard Times” by Noble Watts, “Cloudburst” by “Claude Cloud and his Thunderclaps" (really the Leroy Kirkland band with Sam “The Man” Taylor on tenor sax), Lee Allen’s “Walkin’ With Mr. Lee”, Eddie Chamblee’s “Back Street”, “Castle Rock” by Johnny Hodges (Al Sears on tenor sax),” Honky Tonk” by Bill Doggett (Clifford Scott on tenor sax) and “Hot Rod” by Hal Singer.
 
 
There’s an interesting post on Bill Ramal at the Ill Folks blog. He was a saxophone player and arranger who worked with Del Shannon and Johnny And The Hurricanes. He also arranged and composed novelty records with Dickie Goodman. The Ill Folks post has a sound sample from Ramal’s 1963 LP “Young America Dances To TV’s Greatest Themes.”

Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps.

Download from here:


Or here:


The password on the rapidshare download is greaseyspoon. There is no password on the mediafire download.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Joan Selects - Volume 11 - A Doo Wop Christmas

 

'Tis that time of year again, when we try to hold back Time's inexorable advance by losing ourselves in Joan's classic comp from way back when - "A Doo Wop Christmas." Weepers and rockers with a festive theme, chiming bells, wailin' saxes, plaintive lyrics, crazy lyrics, lovelorn teenagers, lovelorn adults who have been around the block a few times, sentimentality and exploitation all mixed in a gumbo that can only be called rock and roll.

Download from here:

http://rapidshare.com/files/329639692/Joan_Selects_Volume_11.rar

or from here:

http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?a4d9d8vmnbwfyhd

Unfortunately despite all our efforts there is no holding back Time, and we must mark the passing of another of the artists who made the 1940s and 1950s such a great musical era - Cozy Eggleston. His echo-drenched version of "Blue Light Boogie" retitled "Big Heavy" was one of the great R&B sax instrumentals of the early 1950s. The classic photo of Cozy and his wife indulging in saxophonic shenanigans has been a feature on the sidebar of this blog for quite a while now. Like "Big Heavy" it encapsulates the real spirit of rhythm and blues. Goodbye Cozy.


Here's a little playlist with a couple of Cozy's sides, and to bring us back to Christmas, a cool medley of seasonal tunes blasted out by Gene Ammons and Tom Archia. May you all continue to indulge in Be Bop, Doo Wop and Mop Mop. Keep swingin'!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Suede Jacket / Lion’s Roar – Russell Jacquet And His All Stars (King 4242)



Personnel: Russell Jacquet (trumpet); J.J. Johnson (trombone); Sonny Stitt (alto sax); Leo Parker (baritone sax); Sir Charles Thompson (piano); Al Lucas (bass); Shadow Wilson (drums)

Both sides were recorded at United Sound Studios, Detroit, in May or June, 1948.

The recordings were made for the Sensation label which was owned by Bernard Besman. The Billboard issue of June 19th 1948 carried an article on the purchase of 64 Sensation masters by King Records. The purchase included sides by Todd Rhodes, “Lord Nelson”, Milt Jackson and Russell Jacquet. “Suede Jacquet” / “Lion’s Roar” was released on King 4242 at the end of July or beginning of August 1948. The same record was also released on Sensation 8.



Russell Jacquet was the elder brother of tenor sax giant Illinois Jacquet, in whose band he played trumpet and contributed vocals from 1945 until 1953. During this period he also recorded occasionally as a band leader in his own right, beginning in Los Angeles in 1945 with a group which included Calvin Boze in its line-up.
The session which produced “Suede Jacket” and Lion’s Roar” wasn’t the first time Russell had recorded in Detroit. In 1947 he recorded with Sonny Stitt and Sir Charles Thompson in a group led by Milt Jackson. In May / June 1948 three sessions featuring various line-ups were held by Sensation in Detroit. The first session was credited to “Lord Nelson and His Boppers”, in reality a group led by Sonny Stitt and Milt Jackson. The second session was by The Sonny Stitt Sextet which included Stitt, Milt Jackson, Russell Jacquet and Sir Charles Thompson.

The third session was credited to “Russell Jacquet and His All-Stars.” This was actually the Illinois Jacquet band minus Illinois, but with Sonny Stitt added. Two discs resulted from this session – “Suede Jacket” / “Lion’s Roar” and “Scamparoo” / “Relaxin’ With Randel” (King 4259 and Sensation 12).

“Suede Jacket” is a nice bop workout with solo space given to Stitt, Johnson, Parker, Jacquet and, very briefly, Thompson. “Lion’s Roar” is a rousing showcase for the big bad baritone sax of Leo Parker. This session was a reunion for half of the Unholy Four sax section of the bop-leaning Billy Eckstine big band, Sonny Stitt and Leo Parker both being former members, along with Dexter Gordon and John Jackson.
Many thanks to El Enmascarado for putting the BeBop into the Wino with this 78 disc!

Sources - Bruyninckx  Discography. Sleevenotes by Joop Visser to 4CD set on Proper, "Sonny Stitt - Sax O' Bebop." The May / June 1948 Sensation sessions are included in the set.

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.