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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Frank Culley And Buddy Tate - Rock'n Roll Instrumentals For Dancing The Lindy Hop

Side A (Frank Culley)
1. Nine O'Clock Express
2. Lindy Rock
3. Go, Floorshow!
4. Bubbles
5. Speed Limit

Side B (Buddy Tate)
1. Sent For You Yesterday
2. That Girl
3. Fatback And Greens
4. Tete-A-Tate
5. Skip-A-Page
6. Jackie
7. Blue Buddy

Previously posted in 2008. I have added new front and back cover and label scans. Volume on the sound files has been equalized. There has also been a complete rewrite of the post.

This is a 1984 Krazy Kat reissue of Baton BL-1201 which was released in May or June 1955. A brief note in the May 28th 1955 issue of Billboard announced that Baton intended to release "a package of rock and roll instrumentals for lindy hoppers." It was also noted that Frank Culley had "inked an exclusive deal with Baton." The Buddy Tate tracks "Jackie" and "Blue Buddy" were not on the original Baton LP.

Side A was recorded in NYC in May or June 1955. The musicians accompanying Frank Culley (tenor sax) are unknown although it is possible that Harry Van Walls was on piano.

Side B was recorded in NYC on the 29th March 1954. Personnel: Pat Jenkins (tp); Eli Robinson (tb); Ben Richardson (cl,as,bar); Buddy Tate (ts); Skip Hall (p,org on "Jackie"); Flat Top Wilson (b); Clarence "Fats" Donaldson (d)

Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps.

Download from:

Baton Records was founded in New York City towards the end of 1953 by Sol Rabinowitz. He had recorded four sides by The Rivileers with the intention of selling them to an existing record company, but having failed to strike a deal, he started his own record company and had a major hit with his first release, "A Thousand Stars" by the aforementioned Rivileers. Baton's second release was a Rivileers' follow up "Darling Farewell" / "Forever" which had good sales although rather less than a "Thousand Stars."

For the label's third release, Sol turned to ex Count Basie tenor sax player Buddy Tate who in early 1954 was leading a small band which played regularly at Harlem's Celebrity Club. The band recorded a session for Baton on 29th March 1954, resulting in the release of two singles. The first release (Baton 202), "Blue Buddy" / "Fatbacks And Greens", had good sales in the Philadelphia area as it was featured heavily on the local "Bandstand" TV show. A second Buddy Tate single, "Jackie" / "Sent For You Yesterday" failed to sell despite airplay from DJ Alan Freed after whose wife the A side was named.

Buddy Tate
In September 1954 amid much hoopla Alan Freed relocated to NYC from Cleveland and began broadcasting his R&B / Rock 'n' Roll show six nights a week on WINS. Rock and Roll was suddenly big news in the Big Apple and the record companies were soon scrambling aboard the bandwagon. At the end of May 1955 Baton announced that they had signed former Atlantic Records R&B tenor sax star Frank "Floorshow" Culley and that an LP of rock 'n' roll instrumentals was in the pipeline.

Culley had enjoyed R&B chart success on Atlantic in 1949 - 1951 with hits such as "Cole Slaw", "After Hour Session", "Hop 'N' Twist" and "Gone After Hours." His record sales along with those of Tiny Grimes and Joe Morris had helped to establish Atlantic in its early years, before the really big hits of Ruth Brown, The Clovers, and Big Joe Turner transformed the label into the number one R&B outfit of the 1950s.

Frank "Floorshow" Culley (Atlantic LP cover)
The five tracks recorded by Culley for Baton, probably at the end of May or during June 1955, were combined with five of the more uptempo Buddy Tate tracks from the March 1954 session to make up the LP "Rock'n Roll Instrumentals For Dancing the Lindy Hop" a title which may have caused some bemusement among dance purists, but may have been aimed at the older swing generation as well as the new rock 'n' roll generation in the hope that neither would be too fussy about the number of beats to the bar.

Baton EP cover courtesy Joan K
In May 1956 Baton released a two part instrumental single by Frank Culley, "After Hours Express, Parts 1 and 2" (Baton 226), which was an edit of "Nine O'Clock Express" from the "Rock'n Roll Instrumentals" LP. Billboard opined:"This is a pair of sides given over entirely to solid instrumental jamming. It's wild, fast-moving stuff and should drive those terping kids crazy. Culley blows tenor for all he's worth. Should be a good box entry."

The arrival of the rock and roll craze prompted a slew of instrumental releases in 1955-56, kicking off with the success of Red Prysock's "Hand Clappin'" on Mercury. The June 16th 1956 issue of Billboard noted the phenomenon but cautioned "Rock and Roll has retired some of the formerly popular instrumental groups ... new bands and new dance steps have taken their place; some of the veterans are converting successfully. Lack of disk jockey support seems to be the only drawback to producing big instrumental hits with greater frequency in the next months."

Although the biggest selling R&B record of 1956 was an instrumental, Bill Doggett's "Honky Tonk," many of the rush of  instrumental releases such as "After Hours Express" failed to chart. Sil Austin's "Slow Walk" and its subsequent cover version by Doggett were the exceptions. Two years later Baton finally had a national R&B and pop instrumental success with Noble "Thin Man" Watts' "Hard Times (The Slop)."

1 comment:

rm said...

thank you very much