Thursday, 24 December 2015

Joan's "A Doo Wop Christmas"




Well, we just can't have Christmas without reviving this collection from the "Joan Selects" series.

01 - Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer - The Melodeers
02 - Jingle Jangle - The Penguins
03 - White Christmas - The Drifters
04 - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - The Harmony Grits
05 - You're My Christmas Present - The Skyliners
06 - Can This Be Christmas - The Falcons
07 - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer - The Cadillacs
08 - It's Christmas Time - The Five Keys
09 - Rockin' Santa Claus - The Martels
10 - It's Christmas Once Again - Frankie Lymon
11 - Merry Christmas To My Heart - The Sheps
12 - Merry Merry Christmas Baby - The Tune Weavers
13 - Merry Twist-Mas - The Marcels
14 - Merry Christmas Darling (And A Happy New Year) - The Uniques
15 - Mambo, Santa, Mambo - The Enchanters
16 - Mr. Santa's Boogie - The Marshalls
17 - Just A Lonely Christmas - The Moonglows
18 - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Hank Ballard & The Midnighters
19 - (It's Gonna Be A) Lonely Christmas - The Orioles
20 - A Christmas Long Ago (Jingle Jingle) - The Echelons
21 - Hey Santa Claus - The Moonglows
22 - What Are You Doing New Year's Eve - The Orioles
23 - White Christmas - The Ravens
24 - After New Year's Eve - The Heartbeats
25 - Every Heart Is Home At Christmas - The Five Keys
26 - Happy Holiday - The Shells
27 - Christmas Is Coming At Last - The Rhythm Kings
28 - Rockin' & Rollin' With Santa Claus - The Hepsters
29 - Christmas Letter - La Fets and Kitty
30 - Have A Merry Christmas - The Robins
31 - Love For Christmas - The Ebonaires
32 - Merry Christmas - The Cameos

Download from here:


I think I can hear sleigh bells .... Merry Christmas Joan, and a Merry Rock 'n' Roll Yule to everyone else!

Monday, 21 December 2015

The Clovers - Five Cool Cats






Side One
1 - One Mint Julep
2 - Good Lovin'
3 - Lovey Dovey
4 - I Got My Eyes On You
5 - Down In The Alley
6 - Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash
7 - In The Morning Time
8 - Don't You Know I Love You

Side Two
1 - Blue Velvet
2 - Love Bug
3 - If I Could Be Loved By You
4 - Nip Sip
5 - Devil Or Angel
6 - Your Tender Lips
7 - So Young
8 - All About You

Download from:


First time for this LP on Be Bop Wino, which frankly I can't believe. I remember getting this record as a Christmas present (along with The Drifters' "Bip Bam") thirty years ago. Just where the heckity heck has the time gone?

In a fit of excessive enthusiasm a couple of posts ago I may have declared that I would be posting the greatest drunken R&B vocal group ever. And it's not The Lamplighters! Step forward Atlantic's finest, The Clovers - the top selling R&B act between 1950 and 1955. The 6th best selling R&B act of the 1950s, behind Fats Domino, The Platters, Clyde McPhatter, Chuck Berry and Little Richard (if you're wondering).

Now let me make it plain that I'm not casting aspersions on the sobriety or otherwise of any members of this magnificent vocal group. I was in fact referring to the classic series of discs they released between 1951 and 1955 which are redolent of the consequences of hanging around in a bar all day. Hymns to lost love or, even worse, the catastrophic results of just that one mint julep. Records that reek of booze and tinkling barroom piano (played by Harry Van Walls) and squawking inebriated tenor saxes. Classic numbers that belong right up there with the alcoholic anthems of Amos Milburn.




Label shots courtesy Joan K
You get a good dose of that in this collection which is an overview of their Atlantic sides between 1952 and 1958 and which therefore charts their progress (?) from sleazy and rumbustious R&B to the smoother pop sound of the second half of the '50s. It's a good collection despite the inclusion of saccharine pop numbers, and the back cover has classy liner notes by Clive Anderson.

Back in the 1990s the UK Sequel label licensed Atlantic material and released two Clovers CDs based around their 1950s Atlantic LPs "The Clovers" and "Dance Party" but each with many extra tracks. If, like myself, you had the opportunity and the good taste to buy these CDs then you possess just about everything they ever recorded for Atlantic. If you upload the said CDs to your computer and compile a chronological playlist on your music player of choice then you can experience the sheer joy of their 1951 - 1955 output. If, like me, you have spent most of the day hanging around in bars then your listening experience will be considerably enhanced.

The pop material of their later Atlantic sides can be dismissed with a mouse click if you so wish, but do give "Down In The Alley" a listen.


LP covers courtesy Joan K
Personnel include Buddy Bailey, Harold Lucas, Matthew McQuater, Harold Winley, Bill Harris, Charlie White and Billy Mitchell.

Marv Goldberg has a three part Clovers story on his great R&B Notebooks blog, starting here:


Get yourself over to Unca Marvy's and get hip!

Boogiewoody's favourite Clovers tracks (label number and release date):

Don't You Know I Love You So / Skylark (Atlantic 934, April 1951)
Fool, Fool, Fool (Atlantic 944, August 1951)
One Mint Julep / In The Middle Of The Night (Atlantic 963, February 1952)
Ting-A-Ling / Wonder Where My Baby's Gone (Atlantic 969, May 1952)
I Played The Fool / Hey Miss Fannie (Atlantic 977, September 1952)
Crawlin' / Yes It's You (Atlantic 989, February 1953)
Good Lovin' (Atlantic 1000, June 1953)
Comin' On / The Feeling Is So Good (Atlantic 1010, October 1953)
Lovey Dovey / Little Mama (Atlantic 1022, February 1954)
Your Cash Ain't Nothing But Trash (Atlantic 1035, June 1954)
Blue Velvet (Atlantic 1052, December 1954)
In The Morning Time (Atlantic 1060, May 1955)
Nip Sip (Atlantic 1073, August 1955)
Down In The Alley (Atlantic 1152, August 1957, recorded March 1953)

The above discographical information is from Nick Tosches' "Unsung Heroes Of Rock 'n' Roll, except for "Down In The Alley," the information on which is from the liner notes by Gordon Skadberg and George Povall on the Sequel CD "The Clovers" (RSA CD 857).

Click on the link below to listen to "In The Morning Time":

In The Morning Time - The Clovers

Click on the link below to listen to "Nip Sip":

Nip Sip - The Clovers

Those 1997 Sequel CDs (RSA CD 857 and RSA CD 858). Familiar artwork and 49 tracks in all!



Nick Tosches' "Unsung Heroes of Rock 'n' Roll" chapter on The Clovers, memorably titled "Absalom, Absalom! Doo-Wah, Doo-Wah!" is a hoot. To use his own words, it "beehooves beholding." Have a cool Yule, y'all!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Pee Wee Crayton (Crown LP 5175)





Many thanks to El Enmascarado for salvaging this Crown LP for our aural delectation. It's the familiar budget label packaging which just adds to the charm - cardboard sleeve with good front cover  picture, generic back cover slapped on to the sleeve at an odd angle, and minimal labels on the disc itself which at least seem to list the tracks which are actually on the record (we hope).

This LP was originally released in 1960, but the illustrations on the back cover and the plain white label with crown logo point to this copy being an early 1970s issue, sometime between the end of 1969 and 1972 when Crown stopped issuing records.

Tracks:

Side 1
1. Texas Hop
2. Blues After Hours
3. Phone Call From My Baby
4. Tired Of Travelin'
5. California Women

Side 2
1. Blues In My Heart
2. Pee Wee's Boogie
3. Old Fashioned Baby
4. Blues For My Baby
5. My Everything

"Texas Hop" recorded in Los Angeles, 1948. Originally issued as single Modern 20-643. Features Buddy Floyd on tenor sax.

"Blues After Hours" recorded in Los Angeles, September 1948. Original single release Modern 20-624.

"Tired of Travelin'" recorded in Los Angeles, 1951. Rerecording of single release Modern 20-796, recorded in late 1949.

"Phone Call From My Baby" and "Blues In My Heart" recorded in Los Angeles, August 1950. Both first issued on this LP. Backing musicians include Ben Webster (tenor sax) and Joe Comfort (bass). "Blues In My Heart" is an alternate take (with added echo) of "Answer To Blues after Hours" Modern single 20-763.

"California Women," "Pee Wee's Boogie," "Blues For My Baby," and "My Everything" all recorded in Los Angeles circa late 1951 and first released on this LP.

"Old Fashioned Baby" was recorded in Los Angeles, late 1949. Original single release Modern 20-719.
Connie Curtis Crayton was born in Texas in 1914, spent his youth in Austin and moved out to the West Coast in 1935. In the early 1940s he took up blues guitar playing, being mentored by none other than the great T-Bone Walker. His first professional gigs were with the small bands of Count Otis Matthews and Ivory Joe Hunter and his first recordings were with the latter combo. In 1948 he was signed by Modern Records. In September of that year he recorded a moody instrumental "Blues After Hours" which topped the Race Records chart by the end of October.


Also in the charts at the time - Sonny Thompson with the equally moody "Late Freight" a follow up to "Long Gone" which was surely an inspiration for "Blues After Hours."



In February 1949 Pee Wee had a second big chart hit on Modern with the rollicking instrumental "Texas Hop" which featured brilliant sax work by Buddy Floyd. This time round Pee Wee's disc peaked at number 5, and was soon followed by his third and last hit, "I Love You So."



Pee Wee continued to cut sides for Modern until October 1951. Although it was mostly primo jump, boogie and blues, nothing else charted and in November Pee Wee moved over to Aladdin Records for one session. In 1953 he recorded material for John Dolphin's Recorded In Hollywood label. In 1954 he was recording for Imperial with Dave Bartholomew's band and in 1956 - 57 he recorded some good stuff for Vee Jay.

Thereafter his recording career became very intermittent and he dropped out of the music business. In 1970 there was the start of a revival when he appeared at the Monterey Jazz festival with Johnny Otis which led to an album for Vanguard and further recordings with Otis. Pee Wee was still active as interest in genuine 1940s R&B continued to revive in the 1980s. He recorded with Rod Piazza, appeared at festivals, and saw his 1940s and 50s Modern material reissued by Ace (UK). Unfortunately Pee Wee died of a heart attack in 1985.

Ace have repackaged his Modern sides in 3 CDs. Your starting point should be Ace CD CHD 632 "The Modern Legacy Volume 1." Get hip or stay square as they say!


With many thanks to El Enmascarado for reviving this scratched old Crown LP. Merry Christmas, Compadre!