Be Bop Wino Pages

Joan Selects - the complete Joan Selects Collection

Big Ten Inchers - 78rpm rips by El Enmascarado

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 - - see comments on Little Esther Bad Baad Girl post for details.

2. Use Keka - - see comments on Johnny Otis Presents post.

Sunday 16 June 2019

The "5" Royales - The Roots Of Soul

Side One:
01. I'm Gonna Run It Down
02. Devil With The Rest
03. You Didn't Learn It At Home
04. How I Wonder
05. Mohawk Squaw
06. When I Get Like This
07. I Ain't Getting Caught
08. Right Around The Corner

Side Two:
01. I Could Love You If You Let Me
02. Come On And Save Me
03. Get Something Out Of It
04. Think
05. Tell The Truth
06. Don't Let It Be In Vain
07. The Slummer The Slum
08. I'm With You

This LP has been posted on other blogs but having posted recently on the Apollo sides of  The "5" Royales, I couldn't resist presenting my own copy of this compilation of King sides which were recorded by the group between 1954 and 1960. It's a good follow up to the previous "The Rockin' 5 Royales" post and, more importantly, it's an excellent LP in its own right.

The "5" Royales signed for King in the Spring of 1954 although their first recording session for their new label was delayed by a lawsuit brought by Apollo chief Bess Berman. Their first issue on King was in August 1954 - "I'm Gonna Run It Down" / "Behave Yourself." If the group thought that their transfer to King with its superior distribution facilities would revive the R&B chart success they had experienced in 1953, they were in for a rude awakening. The single failed to chart as did every other of their King singles until July 1957 when "Tears Of Joy" climbed to #9 in the R&B chart.

Their next King release, "Think", also reached #9 in the R&B chart in September 1957 and even made it to the lower reaches of the pop chart (#66). And that was it for The "5" Royales as far as chart action was concerned. Not another hit, nada, despite two of their subsequent releases becoming hits for other artists - "Dedicated To The One I Love" for The Shirelles (and later for The Mamas and The Papas) and "Tell The Truth" for Ray Charles.

It's a common theme whenever anyone writes about The "5" Royales. Why, after releasing 25 singles on King between August 1954 and June 1960, did this group only chart twice? I've been immersing myself in their King material over the last few weeks and can say that their records mostly ranged from the very good to the absolutely outstanding. So what went wrong?

Perhaps they were too old for the teen market which drove the success of most of the big vocal group hits of the 1950's. Their material was mostly adult in nature and their performances may have been too intense, too bluesy, and simply too Southern for Northern city teenagers. In his introduction to the notes for the Ace CD "It's Hard But It's Fair" Billy Vera noted that as an avid listener of R&B radio in 1950's New York he never once heard a "5" Royales record.

It's largely in retrospect that The "5" Royales are now seen as a major vocal group. They were an important influence on James Brown and the rise of Soul music in general. Group guitarist (and songwriter and bass singer) Lowman Pauling has been acknowledged as an influence by Steve Cropper, although his superb guitar work only really came to the fore on the group's records from 1957 onwards. His guitar playing had been kept in the background while lead guitar duties on the records had been carried out by Mickey Baker, Billy Butler and Tiny Grimes.

The "5" Royales left King in the Spring of 1960 and retreated south to the Memphis based Home Of The Blues label. Lowman Pauling, however, remained at King. Teaming up with "5" Royales pianist Royal Abbit, he had five singles released on King subsidiary Federal between September 1960 and June 1962.

For a more in depth account of The "5" Royales see the excellent article by Steve Walker on the Blackcat Rockabilly website. I've compiled a list of the "5" Royales' single releases on King largely from the article with a couple of alterations from info on Billboard and the website and included it as a pdf in the download from this post.

Original Issue Of The Holy Rollin' Trax on "The Roots Of Soul"

King 4740 - I'm Gonna Run It Down / Behave Yourself - August 1954

King 4744 - Monkey Hips And Rice / Devil With The Rest - October 1954

King 4770 - You Didn't Learn It at Home / Every Dog Has His Day - January 1955

King 4785 - How I Wonder / Mohawk Squaw - March 1955

King 4806 - I Need Your Lovin' Baby / When I Get Like This - June 1955

King 4830 - I Ain't Gettin' Caught / Someone Made You For Me - September 1955

King 4869 - Right Around The Corner / When You Walked Through The Door - January 1956

King 4901 - My Wants For Love / I Could Love You - March 1956

King 4952 - Come On And Save Me / Get Something Out Of It - August 1956

King 5053 - Think / I'd Better Make A Move - May 1957

King 5141 - Tell The Truth / Double Or Nothing - July 1958

King 5153 - Don't Let It Be In Vain / The Slummer The Slum - October 1958

King 5329 - I'm With You / Don't Give No More Than You Can Take - March 1960

Recommended CD

Ace CDCHD 1038 "It's Hard But It's Fair" (2005)

I've had the above CD for many a year and it most definitely is one of my favourite vocal group collections. 26 tracks and informative notes by Tony Rounce with an introduction by Billy Vera.

There are several more comprehensive collections of The "5" Royales available - just search in the usual places and peruse the results. "Soul & Swagger - The Complete 5 Royales 1951-1967" (5 CD set) seems to be the one for the completists.

Monday 3 June 2019

The Ravens - The Greatest Group Of Them All

Side 1:
01. Mahzel
02. For You
03. Would You Believe Me
04. Write Me A Letter
05. Until The Real Thing Comes Along
06. September Song
07. Always
08. Searching For Love

Side 2:
01. I'm Afraid Of You
02. Fool That I Am
03. Together
04. There's No You
05. How Could I Know
06. It's Too Soon To Know
07. White Christmas
08. Silent Night

Side 3:
01. Deep Purple
02. There's Nothing Like A Woman In Love
03. Careless Love
04. If You Didn't Mean It
05. Someday
06. Lilacs In The Rain
07. I've Been A Fool
08. I'm Going To Paper My Walls

Side 4:
01. Sylvia
02. Tea For Two
03. Without A Song
04. It's The Talk Of The Town
05. No More Kisses For Baby
06. Moonglow
07. Who's Sorry Now
08. I've Got The World On A String

Two LPs of Ravens sides recorded for National between 1947 and 1950. I found this double LP set a few years ago in a record fair at Glasgow University (in the QMU for those of you familiar with that noble seat of learning) and despite its rather beat up condition the fact that it was part of the Savoy "Roots Of Rock And Roll" series meant that it just had to be purchased. After the first play I was underwhelmed by the crackles, clicks and pops, the rather muddy sound quality, and what seemed to be track after track of schlock sung in a Delta Rhythm Boys or even Ink Spots style.

We're all a few years down the line now and this set has grown on me. A lot of the "schlock" now sounds like pretty hip interpretations of the standards of the day, mainly thanks to the dominant feature of the Ravens' sound, the deep bass voice of Jimmy Ricks. There are a few bluesier sides plus one out and out rocker, "Write Me A Letter" which was the group's biggest hit on National. A sign, surely, that if only they had rocked a little harder they may have sold more records. But then we have to remember that the most commercially successful vocal groups who preceeded The Ravens were The Mills Brothers, The Ink Spots and The Delta Rhythm Boys, and it is likely that The Ravens were hoping to emulate the pop success of those groups.

I should also point out that this collection followed the release of a single LP on Savoy of The Ravens' National sides, "Old Man River" (SJL 1156) which had 15 tracks and was the better introduction to The Ravens on National.

The go-to site for information on The Ravens is of course Marv Goldberg's R&B Notebooks with this being the first of four pages on the Ravens' career:

The Ravens came together in New York City in 1946 with the intitial lineup being Jimmy Ricks (bass), Warren Suttles (baritone), Leonard "Zeke" Puzey (tenor) and Henry Oliver "Ollie" Jones (tenor).

Their first recordings were for the Hub label in June 1946 with three records being issued from August to October 1946. In early 1947 Ollie Jones was replaced by tenor Maithe Marshall and the new lineup re-recorded the sides they had already recorded on Hub.The group signed for National Records in April 1947 and recorded 4 sides on the 23rd and 24th of that month - "Mahzel," "Ol' Man River," "For You" and "Would You Believe Me."

Their second release on National, "Ol' Man River" / "Would You Believe Me" was a hit, reaching #10 in the R&B charts, but this was surpassed by their third release, "Write Me A Letter" / "Summertime" which not only climbed the R&B chart to #5 but also reached #24 in the pop chart. This success was followed by a series of pop standard and ballad releases which while always classy didn't really bring about much chart action.

"September Song," "Until The Real thing Comes Along," "There's No You," "Together" and others were stellar performances, but the next National chart success wasn't until the autumn of 1948 with a double sided hit - a cover of The Orioles' best selling "It's Too Soon To Know" reached #11 R&B while its flip side, the bluesy "Be On Your Merry Way" reached #13. Just prior to this, The Ravens had a chart hit on the King label which had bought up the Hub masters. "Bye Bye Baby Blues" / "Once And For All" reached #8 in the R&B chart. There was more success and another double sided hit for The Ravens with their Christmas 1948 smash "Silent Night" / "White Christmas." The latter was very much the inspiration for a hit version by Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters in 1954/55.

The autumn of 1948 had also seen some personnel changes within the group. Warren Suttles left in September, being replaced by Joe Medlin. The following month Maithe Marshall left and was replaced by Richie Cannon. Then Medlin left and Marshall returned! In early 1949 Suttles returned and Cannon left, so basically the group was back to what it was when they started with National.

In 1949 failures to chart dominated the Ravens' output although there was one hit with "Ricky's Blues" / "The House I Live In" which reached #8 R&B. As 1949 turned to 1950 there was one last hit on National - "I Don't Have To Ride No More" / "I've Been a Fool" hit #9 in the R&B chart. It's noticeable that the last two hits were both strong blues performances which went down well with R&B audiences. In early 1950 Warren Suttles left again and was replaced with Louis Heyward.

The Ravens recorded their last session for National in August 1950 and then signed to Columbia. Their last release on National was in February 1951- the tender "Lilacs In The Rain," featured a beautiful vocal by Maithe Marshall, while the other side "Time Is Marching On" was a rousing rockin' blues with a lead by Jimmy Ricks and some stinging electric guitar in the arrangement. It failed to chart.

For the rest of the Ravens story - get yourself over to Marv Goldberg's website.

Original Release Details

01. Mahzel - National 9034
02. For You - National 9034 / 9039
03. Would You Believe Me - National 9035
04. Write Me A Letter - National 9038 / Rendition R-5001
05. Until The Real Thing Comes Along - National 9045
06. September Song - National 9053
07. Always - National 9064
08. Searching For Love - National 9039
09. I'm Afraid Of You - National 9098
10. Fool That I Am - National 9040
11. Together - National 9042
12. There's No You - National 9042
13. How Could I Know - National 9059
14. It's Too Soon To Know - National 9056
15. White Christmas - National 9062
16. Silent Night -National 9062

01. Deep Purple - National 9065
02. There's Nothing Like A Woman In Love - National 9085
03. Careless Love - National 9085
04. If You Didn't Mean It - National 9089
05. Someday - National 9089
06. Lilacs In The Rain - National 9148
07. I've Been A Fool - National 9101
08. I'm Going To Paper My Walls - National 9111

The remaining eight tracks (Side 4) were not released on single -
09. Sylvia
10. Tea For Two
11. Without A Song
12. It's The Talk Of The Town
13. No More Kisses For Baby
14. Moonglow
15. Who's Sorry Now
16. I've Got The World On A String

Ravens Singles On National

Titles in italics are not on this compilation. They are mostly on the LP "Old Man River" (SJL 1156) with the exception of - Be On Your Merry Way; I'm Gonna Take To The Road; Phantom Stage Coach.

National 9034 - April 1947 - Mahzel / For You

National 9035 - June 1947 - Ol' Man River / Would You Believe Me - #10 R&B

National 9038 - October 1947 - Write Me A Letter / Summertime - #5 R&B, #24 Pop

National 9039 - December 1947 - Searching For Love / For You

National 9040 - December 1947 - Fool That I Am / Be I Bumblebee Or Not

National 9042 - February 1948 - Together / There's No You

National 9045 - May 1948 - Until The Real Thing Comes Along / Send For Me If You Need Me

National 9053 - August 1948 - September Song / Once In A While

National 9056 - October 1948 - It's Too Soon To Know / Be On Your Merry Way - #11 R&B / #13 R&B

National 9059 - November 1948 - How Could I Know / I Don't Know Why I Love Like I Do

National 9062 - December 1948 - The Raven's Rendition Of: Silent Night / The Raven's Rendition Of: White Christmas - #8 R&B / #9 R&B

National 9064 - January 1949 - Always / Rooster

National 9065 - February / March 1949 - Deep Purple / Leave My Gal Alone

National 9073 - May 1949 - The House I Live In (That's America To Me) / Ricky's Blues - #8 R&B

National 9085 - August 1949 - There's Nothing Like A Woman In Love / Careless Love

National 9089 - September 1949 - Someday / If You Didn't Mean It

National 9098 - December 1949 - I'm Afraid Of You / Get Wise Baby

National 9101 - February 1950 - I've Been A Fool / I Don't Have To Ride No More - #9 R&B

National 9111 - April 1950 - Count Every Star / I'm Gonna Paper All My Walls With Your Love Letters

National 9130 - December 1950 - I'm Gonna Take To The Road / Phantom Stage Couch (Sic)

National 9148 - February 1951 - Lilacs In The Rain / Time Is Marching On

Rendition R-5001 - autumn? 1951 - Write Me a Letter / Marie 
(Rendition was a subsidiary of National)

Recommended listening -
Double CD spanning releases from Hub, National, King, Columbia / Okeh, Mercury and Jubilee.