Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Lamplighters - Be Bop Wino
































































Side 1:
01. You Hear
02. Yum Yum
03. Goody Goody Good Things
04. I Wanna Know
05. Believe In Me
06. Roll On
07. Love, Rock And Thrill
08. Hug A Little, Kiss A Little

Side 2:
01. Be Bop Wino
02. Part Of Me
03. Sad And Lonely
04. Turn Me Loose
05. Crazy Times
06. Give Me
07. Smootchie
08. I Can't Stand It


It simply had to be. Finally an appearance of the source of the title of this illustrious blog, in the shape of a 1980's compilation of some of the Lamplighters' oeuvre on the Federal label. Some of their best known tracks, such as "Bo Beep," "Salty Dog" and "Ride, Jockey, Ride" aren't included but nevertheless this an LP that is well worth a listen. The music is that kind of rockin' vocal group R&B of the first half of the 1950's which I like so much. The influence of the 5 Royales, the Clyde McPhatter led Dominoes and Drifters, and The Midnighters looms large, and if The Lamplighters' recordings are considerably less polished than those of their role models, the music still rocks like crazy.

Unfortunately there's no Marv Goldberg article on The Lamplighters to which I can link, but the sleevenotes by Jim Dawson provide a comprehensive account of the sometimes stormy career of the group, a career which was entirely unburdened by chart success, but which did eventually lead to two fleeting examples of pop glory in Thurston Harris's version of "Little Bitty Pretty One," and the gloriously moronic "Papa Oom Mow Mow" by The Rivingtons.

They were a South Central LA group, who emerged via local talent shows in venues such as Johnny Otis's Barrelhouse Club to be signed to Federal Records, the Ralph Bass run West Coast subsidiary of King Records. The classic Lamplighters line up on their discs during 1953 and 1954 was: Thurston Harris, Willie Rockwell, Alfred Frazier and Matt Nelson. By all accounts they had a pretty wild stage act but the penchant of some members to keep the wildness going offstage was a contributory factor to the personnel changes which affected the group from late 1954 onwards. A classic tale of drink, dope 'n' dames.


When Thurston Harris split in 1955, the rest of the group continued to record for Federal as The Tenderfoots. In late '55 Harris was reunited with the group who once again recorded under The Lamplighters moniker. When their last single was released in March 1956, Thurston Harris had already left for good and The Lamplighters were no more. The surviving members became The Sharps who were reunited briefly with Harris as the backing group on his big hit on Aladdin, "Little Bitty Pretty One." In the early 1960's The Sharps became The Rivingtons and found success with releases on Liberty - "Papa Oom Mow Mow," "The Bird's The Word" and "Hully Gully."


The Lamplighters' singles on Federal

Federal 12149 - Turn Me Loose / Part Of Me - September 1953
Federal 12152 - Be Bop Wino / Give Me - November 1953
Federal 12166 - Smootchie / I Can't Stand It - January 1954
Federal 12176 - I Used To Cry Mercy Mercy / Tell Me You Care - April 1954
Federal 12182 - Salty Dog / Ride, Jockey, Ride - June 1954
Federal 12192 - Five Minutes Longer / You Hear - August 1954
Federal 12197 - Goody Good Things / Yum Yum - October 1954
Federal 12206 - I Wanna Know / Believe In Me - January 1955
Federal 12212 - Roll On / Love Rock And Thrill - February 1955
Federal 12242 - Hug A Little, Kiss A Little / Don't Make It So Good - November 1955
Federal 12255 - Bo Peep / You Were Sent Down From Heaven - February 1956
Federal 12261 - Everything's All Right / It Ain't Right - March 1956

Cash Box gets Lamplighters' disc title wrong

The ACE CD "Loving, Rocking, Thrilling" (CDCHD 1040) is a 28 track collection of the complete Federal recordings of The Lamplighters. The sound quality is much better than on the home ripped mp3s I've posted here and the booklet has updated sleevenotes by Jim Dawson detailing all of the personnel changes in the group. Highly recommended by Be Bop Wino!


Back later in the week with more Bostic!

5 comments:

frank tally said...

thank you 4 this music - Aussie

Bob Mac said...

Thanks BW, I'll be doing some traveling early next week so I'll stick this on a flashdrive and have a listen as I'm rolling' down the highway.

boogiewoody said...

Frank - G'day!

Bob Mac - Buzz Buzz A Diddle It!

Thanks for commenting, guys.

BW

Anonymous said...

Thank you boogiewoody and Be Bop Wino. Lamplighters: much appreciated. George.

christophe said...

A big thanks for these sides.