Attention Mac Users!

Mac users have been experiencing problems in unpacking the WinRAR archives used on this blog. Two solutions have been suggested.

1. Use The Unarchiver - www.theunarchiver.com - see comments on Little Esther Bad Baad Girl post for details.

2. Use Keka - http://www.kekaosx.com/en/ - see comments on Johnny Otis Presents post.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Johnny Otis & His Orchestra - All Nite Long






















Side 1:
01. Midnight In The Barrelhouse
02. Boogie Guitar
03. Hangover Blues
04. Head Hunter
05. New Orleans Shuffle
06. Turkey Hop Part 1

Side 2:
01. Turkey Hop Part 2
02. Blues Nocturne
03. Freight Train Boogie
04. Mambo Boogie
05. All Nite Long
06. Honky Tonk Boogie

Johnny Otis & His Orchestra - All Nite Long (Mega)

Johnny Otis & His Orchestra - All Nite Long (Zippy)

Another in the Savoy series of home made "LPs" and this time the quintessential New York indie record company goes way out west to the Land Where Dreams Come True as label prexy Herman Lubinsky recruits producer Ralph Bass (who had previously been with Black & White Records) to be Savoy's man on the Coast. And then Bass recruits Johnny Otis, his dynamite band (as you can hear on this collection) and his star vocal acts Little Esther, Mel Walker and The Robins. The result was a staggering series of R&B hits by the Otis organisation in 1950, including "Double Crossing Blues," "Mistrustin' Blues," "Cupid's Boogie" "Deceivin' Blues," "Wedding Boogie" and "Cry Baby."

These vocal hits will feature in future compilations but in this post I've concentrated on the mainly instrumental sides recorded by the band itself. Johnny Otis, drummer, vibes player, pianist, occasional vocalist, bandleader, impresario, nightclub owner, producer and arranger, talent spotter, song writer, disc jockey, label owner, political activist, minister of religion, artist, writer and chicken farmer was what you might call a Renaissance man. He simply did it all.

He was born John Veliotes in 1921 in Vallejo, California into a Greek immigrant family.  He was raised in Berkeley where his parents owned a grocery store which served the local Black community, a community with which Johnny would identify for the rest of his life. He was a fan of big band swing, especially of the band of Count Basie. As the 1930's turned to the '40's, Johnny took up playing the drums and gained his first band experience with a local small group, Count Otis Matthews & His West Oakland House Rockers.

The basic blues 'n' boogie of the group would stand Johnny in good stead in the future when the big band era came to end and rhythm 'n' blues took its place. But before that, back in 1941, Johnny got his chance to play in a big swing band when he joined the long established Omaha based outfit of Lloyd Hunter. Also in the band were alto sax man Preston Love, tenor sax players Paul Quinichette and James Von Streeter and bass player Curtis Counce, all of whom would spend spells in Johnny Otis led bands in the future.


Above: Omaha, 1941 - Preston Love and Johnny Otis in front of the Lloyd Hunter band bus

After two years with Lloyd Hunter, Johnny Otis and Preston Love quit to form their own band, but it was short lived as Count Basie came in for Love. Hearing that former Kansas City bandleader Harlan Leonard (now established at the Club Alabam in Los Angeles) was looking for a drummer, Johnny headed to LA where he got the spot, staying with Leonard until 1944 when he transferred to a band led by former Chick Webb front man Bardu Ali. Johnny and Bardu would later become business partners when they opened The Barrel House Club in Watts in late 1947.

In 1945 Johnny formed his own big band as the new house band at the Club Alabam and signed with Excelsior Records in the autumn of that year. His second disc for the label, "Jimmy's Round The Clock Blues," featuring Basie blues shouter Jimmy Rushing on vocals, backed with the classic bump 'n' grind instrumental "Harlem Nocturne" was a big seller and the band embarked on a national tour on the back of it. The Johnny Otis Orchestra recorded for Excelsior as a big band until December 1946 but by the next and final Excelsior session in December 1947 the band had slimmed down to an eight piece. The first track on this compilation "Midnight In The Barrelhouse" dates from that session although it was re-released on Savoy in 1951, thus justifying its inclusion here.

The final Excelsior line up included several musicians who would be mainstays of the Johnny Otis band during its most successful years - George Washington on trombone, Pete "Guitar" Lewis, and Mario Delagarde on bass. The band's next recording session was for Modern in August 1949 which was the first session to feature Little Esther on vocals. In November 1949 the band started recording for Savoy with Don Johnson on trumpet, Lorenzo Holden and James Von Streeter on tenor saxes, Walter Henry on baritone sax, Devonia Williams on piano and Leard Bell on drums. Along with Lewis, Washington and Delagarde this would be the core of the Johnny Otis band on Savoy and subsequently on Federal (unofficially) and Mercury.


Fax on the trax, Jack:

"Midnight In The Barrelhouse" recorded in Los Angeles, December 1947. Johnny Otis Orchestra : John Anderson (trumpet); George Washington (trombone); Cecil "Big Jay" McNeely (tenor sax); Lem Tally (baritone sax); "Darby Hicks" (piano); Pete "Guitar" Lewis (guitar); Mario Delagarde (bass); Johnny Otis (drums).

Released on Excelsior JR 536 in February 1949. There were two virtually simultaneous Johnny Otis releases numbered Excelsior JR 536. "Happy New Year Baby" / "Barrel House Stomp" was listed in advance release notices in Billboard, 29th January 1949. This record was reviewed in Billboard on 12th February 1949. A second disc with the number 536, "Midnight In The Barrel House" / "Barrel House Stomp" was probably released shortly afterwards as it was rather late for a "New Year" release. 

"Midnight In The Barrelhouse" (note change in spelling) was re-released on Savoy 815 in September 1951 as the B-Side of an alternate take of "Harlem Nocturne" which was originally released on Excelsior JR 142.












Above: Billboard 30th April 1949

"Boogie Guitar" and "Hangover Blues" recorded in Los Angeles on November 10th, 1949. Johnny Otis and his Orchestra : Don Johnson and Lee Graves (trumpets); George Washington (trombone); Lorenzo Holden, James Von Streeter (tenor saxes); Walter Henry (baritone sax); Johnny Otis (vibraphone, drums); Devonia Williams (piano); Pete Lewis (guitar); Gene Phillips ( Hawaiian guitar on "Hangover Blues"); unknown 2nd guitar on "Boogie Guitar"; Mario Delagarde (bass); Leard Bell (drums).

This was the first Johnny Otis Orchestra session for Savoy.

"Boogie Guitar" first released on Savoy LP SJL 2230 "The Original Johnny Otis Show" in 1978.

"Hangover Blues" first released on Regent 1036 (also listed under Savoy 787), April 1951 as B-Side of "I Dream" (vocals by Mel Walker and Little Esther.)

"Head Hunter" and "New Orleans Shuffle" recorded in Los Angeles on December 23rd 1949. Probable personnel - Johnny Otis Orchestra: Lee Graves, Don Johnson (trumpets); George Washington (trombone); Big Jay McNeely, Lorenzo Holden (tenor saxes); Walter Henry (baritone sax); Johnny Otis (vibes); Devonia Williams (piano); Pete Lewis (guitar); Mario Delagarde (bass); Leard Bell (drums). It's possible that James Von Streeter is present in place of Big Jay McNeely.

"New Orleans Shuffle" / "Blues Nocturne" released on Savoy 743 in May 1950.

"Head Hunter" / "Cool And Easy" (vocal by Redd Lyte) released on Regent 1028 in January 1951. Also listed under Savoy 774.

"The Turkey Hop Parts 1 & 2" and "Blues Nocturne" recorded in Los Angeles on January 11th 1950. Personnel: John Anderson (trumpet); Floyd Turnham (alto sax); Big Jay McNeely (tenor sax); Bob McNeely (baritone sax); Devonia Williams (piano); Pete Lewis (guitar); Mario Delagarde (bass); Johnny Otis (drums); The Robins - vocals on "The Turkey Hop Part 2."

"The Turkey Hop Part 1" / "The Turkey Hop Part 2" released on Savoy 732 in February 1950.


Above: The Cash Box, 18th February 1950

"Blues Nocturne" released on Savoy 743 in May 1950, B-Side of "New Orleans Shuffle."

"Freight Train Boogie" was recorded in Chicago on June 20th 1950. Personnel: Johnny Otis Orchestra: probably - Don Johnson, Lee Graves, Hosea Sapp (trumpets); George Washington (trombone); Lorenzo Holden, James Von Streeter (tenor saxes) Walter Henry (alto, baritone saxes); Johnny Otis (vibraphone); Devonia Williams (piano); Pete Lewis (guitar); Mario Delagarde (bass); Leard Bell (drums).

"Freight Train Boogie" released on Regent 1021 (b/w "Good Time Blues" vocal Redd Lyte) in August 1950.

"Mambo Boogie" was recorded in Los Angeles on January 10th 1951. Personnel - Johnny Otis Orchestra: Don Johnson (trumpet); George Washington (trombone); Walter Henry (alto sax); Lorenzo Holden, James Von Streeter (tenor saxes); Johnny Otis (vibes); Devonia Williams (piano); Pete Lewis (guitar); Mario Delagarde (bass); Leard Bell (drums).

"Mambo Boogie" was released on Savoy 777 as the B-Side of "Gee Baby" (vocal - Mel Walker) in February 1951.

"All Nite Long" and "Honky Tonk Boogie" were recorded in New York City on March 19th and March 21st respectively, 1951. Personnel - Johnny Otis Orchestra: probably - Don Johnson (trumpet); George Washington (trombone); Earl Warren (alto sax); Lorenzo Holden (tenor sax); Walter Henry (alto and baritone sax); Devonia Williams (piano); Johnny Otis (vibes, percussion); Pete Lewis (guitar); Mario Delagarde (bass); Leard Bell (drums); vocal: Johnny Otis, George Washington and the band.

The March 21st session was the last Johnny Otis Orchestra session for Savoy.

"All Nite Long" was released on Savoy 788 b/w "New Love" (vocal - Mel Walker) in July 1951.

"Honky Tonk Boogie" was first released on Savoy LP SJL 2230 "The Original Johnny Otis Show" in 1978.

Elsewhere on the blog:



El Enmascarado's rips from a 78 rpm Johnny Otis disc. Includes added James Von Streeter and Big Jay McNeely tracks plus plenty of background info / speculation. Check it out.

More Johnny Otis coming soon!

Friday, 17 November 2017

H-Bomb Ferguson - Good Lovin'






















Side One:
01. Slowly Goin' Crazy
02. Preachin' The Blues
03. Sundown Blues
04. Good Lovin'

Side Two:
01. Give It Up
02. Big City Blues
03. Bookie's Blues
04. My Brown Frame Baby

H-Bomb Ferguson - Good Lovin'

or alternatively for fans of intrusive downloads and browser hijackers:

H-Bomb Ferguson - Good Lovin'

"Slowly Goin' Crazy," "Preachin' The Blues," "Sundown Blues" and "Good Lovin'" were recorded in New York City on December 12th, 1951 by the following personnel:

H-Bomb Ferguson (vocal) with: J. Hawkins (trumpet); Julius "Hawkshaw" Watkins (trombone); Ernest "Pinky" Williams (alto and baritone sax); Purvis Henson (tenor sax); Kelly Owens (piano); Leon Spann (bass); Jack "The Bear" Parker (drums)

"Give It Up," "Big City Blues," "Bookie Blues" and "My Brown Frame Baby" were recorded in New York City on January 10th, 1952 by the following personnel:

H-Bomb Ferguson (vocal) with: Leon Comegys (trombone); Ernest "Pinky" Williams (alto sax); Lowell "Count" Hastings (tenor sax); Jimmy Neely (piano); LaVerne Barker (bass); Jack "The Bear" Parker (drums)

"Good Lovin'" / "Slowly Goin' Crazy" was released on Savoy 830 in January 1952.

Above: Good taste is timeless: Billboard January 12th 1952

"Bookie's Blues" / "Big City Blues" was released on Savoy 836 in February 1952. The track "Bookie's Blues" on this collection is an alternate take.

Above: Billboard, 9th February 1952

"Preachin' The Blues" / "Hot Kisses" was released on Savoy 848 in June 1952.

"Tortured Love" / "Give It Up" was released on Savoy 865 in November 1952. "Tortured Love" credited to H-Bomb Ferguson with Varetta Dillard.

"Sundown Blues" and "My Brown Frame Baby" were not released as singles. They were issued in 1980 on the Savoy Jazz 2LP set "The Shouters: Roots Of Rock 'N' Roll Vol. 9" (SJL 2244) and on the 1986 Savoy Jazz LP "Life Is Hard" (SJL 1176).

This little collection in the ongoing Savoy series of mini LP's that never were is a good representation of blues shouter H-Bomb Ferguson's annus mirabilis, 1952. Born Robert Purcell Ferguson in Charleston, South Carolina, the future "H-Bomb" had arrived in New York as a vocalist with the touring Joe Liggins band around 1946/7. The tour having ended in NYC, he split from the band and won a regular gig at the Club Baby Grand in Harlem. At this stage he was billed as "The Cobra Kid" but when he took up with drummer and bandleader Jack "The Bear" Parker he reverted to his own name - Bob Ferguson.

His first recording opportunity and appearance on record was with Derby around 1950/51 as vocalist on a Jack "The Bear" Parker session. In 1951 he was again vocalist on a Parker session for Prestige. Around this time he recorded under his own name for Atlas (backed by the Charlie Singleton band). The Prestige and Atlas sides remained in the can but Bob (by now going under the "H-Bomb" name) got his big break when he started recording for Savoy in December 1951.

His first release on Savoy, "Good Lovin'" / "Slowly Goin' Crazy", in early January 1952, sold well locally but failed to chart nationally. Sales were strong enough to encourage both Atlas and Prestige to issue their own H-Bomb singles at the end of January - "Rock H-Bomb Rock" / "I Love My Baby" (Atlas 1003) was reviewed in Billboard on the 26th January 1952 while the same issue carried an advance notice of the release of Prestige 918, "Feel Like I Do" / "My Love" (credited to H-Bomb Ferguson with Jack "The Bear" Parker Orchestra.)

A second recording session for Savoy followed on 10th January 1952 with a second release "Bookie's Blues" / ""Big City Blues" coming out in February. This disc was another good seller, but not enough to break into the national charts. A further Savoy release, "Hot Kisses" /  "Preachin' The Blues" appeared in June 1952 but also failed to chart. In July H-Bomb recorded "Tortured Love" with Varetta Dillard in his final Savoy session. This side was issued (with "Give It Up" on the B-Side) in November 1952, a release which brought an end to his brief spell with Savoy.

The rest of H-Bomb's career can be briefly summed up - a few one-off record deals in 1953, a move to Cincinnati in the mid 1950's followed by another series of sporadic releases on small labels, culminating in a couple of platters on a big label - Federal - including the much compiled "Midnight Ramblin' Tonight" in 1961, and then nothing for decades.

In the 1980's H-Bomb entered his "wild wig" phase - beginning a series of live appearances wearing a series of increasingly bizarre wigs, while reviving his recording career with singles on Radiation, Finch and Papa Lou Records and a couple of albums on Papa Lou and Earwig, the latter in 1993. By now H-Bomb was something of an institution not only on the Cincinnati blues scene, but also on the festival circuit. There's plenty of footage on YouTube of this stage of his career including videos recorded just a few months before he passed away in 2007. At least he kept rockin' almost to the very end and without the wigs, thank the Lord.

Elsewhere on the blog:

I've revived an old post on H-Bomb's first Savoy single by restoring the streaming audio. Click here for "Good Lovin'" and ""Slowly Goin' Crazy." Not only sounds but also arcane knowledge for your rockin' edification.

Recommended purchase:


Revola CD CR BAND 4. From 2006 and long out of print, but you may be able to pick up a second hand copy at a reasonable price. One drawback about this release is that the track order is totally different from that listed on the cover. Should you locate a copy here is the correct track order (with thanks to whoever uploaded it to the online database):

01. I Love My Baby
02. Rock H-Bomb Rock
03. Slowly Goin' Crazy
04. Preachin' The Blues
05. Sundown Blues
06. Good Lovin'
07. Give It Up
08. Big City Blues
09. My Brown Frame Baby
10. New Way Blues
11. Bookie's Blues
12. Life Is Hard
13. Hot Kisses
14. Double Crossin' Daddy
15. Tortured Love
16. Work For My Baby
17. You Made Me Baby
18. She's Been Gone
19. Nobody Knows
20. Baby Don't Go
21. Josephine
22. Baby Please (alt. of "She's Been Gone")
23. Hole In The Wall
24. On My Way
25. Good Time Gal
26. Feel Like I Do
27. My Love
28. Wine Head
29. Hard Lovin' Woman
30. My Baby's Blues
31. I Need You Baby

Good hunting!

Monday, 13 November 2017

Old King Gold Volume 11
























Side One:
01. Move Me Baby - Jimmy Witherspoon
02. The Big Push - Cal Green
03. It Feels So Good - The Swallows
04. No Regrets - Little Willie John
05. I Know - Lula Reed
06. Rub A Little Boogie - Champion Jack Dupree

Side Two:
01. Let's Rock - Johnny Otis
02. Oh Miss Nellie - The Drivers
03. Nosey Joe - Bull Moose Jackson
04. Don't Leave Me This Way - Billy Ward & The Dominoes
05. Light Up Your Lamp - Willie Mabon
06. Must I Cry Again - Todd Rhodes & Lavern Baker


This is an unexpected addition to the Old King Gold series of posts. I am grateful to a generous donor for this set, which continues in much the same vein as the rest of the series. The usual eclectic mix of jump blues, proto soul, frantic rockers and weepy ballads. The sound quality on this one is good to very good so there are no skips, pops or clicks to interrupt your listening pleasure.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Old King Gold Volume 2


Side One:
01. Honky Tonk (Part 1) - Bill Doggett
02. Honky Tonk (Part 2) - Bill Doggett
03. Talk To Me - Little Willie John
04. Sixty Minute Man - Billy Ward & The Dominoes
05. Down The Aisle - Patti Labelle & The Blue Bells
06. White Cliffs Of Dover - The Checkers

Side Two:
01. Harlem Nocturne - Earl Bostic
02. Beside You - The Swallows
03. Sexy Ways - The Midnighters
04. Dedicated To The One I Love - The "5" Royales
05. Well Oh Well - Tiny Bradshaw
06. It Hurts To Be In Love - Annie Laurie


or alternatively:


This is the last of my "Old King Gold" LPs, complete with thick cardboard sleeve, a generic back cover pasted on to the sleeve (which is why so many of them are leaning at a crazy angle), and variable sound quality. This disc was in reasonable condition, so you get the sounds exactly as they are, complete with a few pops and clicks. Sound ripped at a listenable level and quality - same as the previous post. And so we leave the imported U.S. cutouts lying in the bargain bin circa 1978, and head for pastures new.

If you wish to get the complete series, Twilightzone is reposting rips of the Rare Bid (Bellaphon) German issue of "Old King Gold." Volume One is already up - go git it! Tell 'em Boogiewoody sent ya!

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Old King Gold Volume 6























Side One:
01. The Twist - Hank Ballard
02. The Bells - Billy Ward & The Dominoes
03. Bloodshot Eyes - Wynonie Harris
04. Walkin' With Mr Lee - Johnny Pate
05. Come Home - Bubber Johnson
06. Hold It - Bill Doggett

Side Two:
01. Gumdrop - Otis Williams & The Charms
02. My Friends - The Strangers
03. The Goof - Big Jay McNeely
04. Somebody Done Stole My Cherry Red - Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson
05. Big Boy - Bill Jennings

Old King Gold Volume 6

or:

Old King Gold Volume 6

Only eleven tracks, but every one a gem. I've been tweaking the audio settings on my computer and I think that these rips are an improvement on the previously posted Volume 4 with much less clipping this time round. There is a bit of brief distortion on "The Twist" but that's due to a fault in the original vinyl. I've got one more volume to post and then I may revisit the previous volumes in order to improve the sound quality. Keep a groovin', R&B fans!

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Old King Gold Volume 4


Side One:
01. Hideaway - Freddy King
02. Fever - Little Willie John
03. Little Things Mean A Lot - Billy Ward & The Dominoes
04. Good Rockin' Tonight - Wynonie Harris
05. Trying - Todd Rhodes & Laverne Baker
06. September Song - Earl Bostic

Side Two:
01. Chica Boo - Lloyd Glenn
02. Kansas City - Hank Ballard & The Midnighters
03. All My Love Belongs To You - Bull Moose Jackson
04. Another Woman's Man - Joe Tex
05. Shout Bamalama - Otis Redding
06. Tenderly - Lynn Hope


or alternatively:


I think this was the first Old King Gold LP that I bought back in the mid to late 1970's. I probably chose it because I recognised some of the artists on the back cover - Freddy King, Joe Tex and Otis Redding - and also because I had other versions of some of the songs - "Good Rockin' Tonight" (Elvis) and "Kansas City" (Wilbert Harrison). After one listen that was it, I was hooked on R&B.

This LP is in much better shape than the ones I have already posted, so there was no need to go looking for alternative sources for any of the tracks. This time you are hearing the record as it is. I've solved the problems I was having with getting good rips - it was all caused by settings on Realtek Audio Manager, so I may well revisit some of my recent rips. It took a day and a half of fiddling with PC and HiFi settings before I discovered what the problem was. That's me below, hard at work in Be Bop Wino MegaCorp H.Q. yesterday.


The new volume settings aren't what I'm used to, so you may find that I slightly overcooked the rip. For once I had to use Mp3 Gain to reduce the volume on the sound files as they were at speaker blasting level.

So enjoy more Old King Gold, recorded in all-new Drunkophonic 3D Vivid Distortion Sound. I'll be back with even more Gold in a day or two!