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.

Friday 27 September 2019

Doc Bagby / Luis Rivera - Battle Of The Organs

Side 1 (Doc Bagby):
01) Hay Ride
02) Soft One
03) Grinding
04) Deep Purple
05) I Want A Little Girl
06) Memories Of You

Side 2 (Luis Rivera):
01) Tangerine
02) Fat Stocking
03) Heavy Hips
04) Bobby Sox
05) Manhattan
06) Milamo Blues

1980s Sing reissue of King LP 631 which was originally issued in 1959. Four of the six Doc Bagby tracks were originally issued on King singles in 1955 while the two remaining solo tracks made their first appearance on this LP. Of the featured Luis Rivera tracks five were originally released on Federal singles in 1955, while one track received its first release on this LP.

At the time these recordings were made Doc Bagby was a member of the Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Trio. The four "Doc Bagby Quartet" sides (Grinding, Hay Ride, Soft One, I Want A Little Girl) were cut at a Lockjaw Davis Trio session on April 20th 1955, with guitarist Clifford Bush stepping in to make the trio a quartet. The two unreleased solo tracks were cut at a Lockjaw Davis Trio session on August 16th, 1955.

For more tracks from these Lockjaw Davis sessions and lots more info on Lockjaw see these posts on the blog -

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - Modern Jazz Expressions

New Mega links have been added to the above posts.

Harold "Doc" Bagby was a native of Philadelphia who started his musical career at the age of fifteen when he took piano lessons at Central High School with one of his classmates being Bill Doggett. In the 1930s he was leading his own small groups around Philly and went on to lead a big band. After war service he returned to Philly but the economic climate was not condusive to keeping a big band going and Doc soon found himself leading a "cocktail combo" in the lounges of the Philadelphia area.

When the New York record label Gotham relocated to Philadelphia in 1948, Doc was appointed its musical director, arranging and playing on numerous R&B and Gospel sessions from the late 1940s into the 1950s. The first recordings on which he was named artist were released on Gotham in 1952 /53. On these sides he played organ and was accompanied by guitarist Billy Butler but it must be said that it's difficult to get excited by these tracks.

In 1954 Doc teamed up with jazz tenor sax man Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and drummer Charlie Rice to form a successful sax / organ / drums trio which was an early template for what later became known as "Soul Jazz." In 1956 Doc split from the Lockjaw combo and was signed by Okeh with whom he recorded R&B sides up until early 1958.

The success of Bill Doggett's "Honky Tonk" in 1956 set off a craze for R&B based instrumentals. Doc's Okeh sides featured Mickey "Guitar" Baker and occasionally Everett Barksdale or Billy Muir on guitar and tenor saxes by Seldon Powell and Ellworth Gooding. "Dumplin's" was a hit for Bagby in 1957, climbing not only the R&B chart but also reaching the lower end of the pop chart. A follow up LP "Honky Tonk In Silk" also sold well. Doc played organ on Sil Austin's big instrumental hit "Slow Walk" which reached number 17 on the pop charts in November 1956 and also on Austin's Wing LP "Slow Walk Rock" the cover of which informed the public that this was "an album for 'hip dancers'."

Calling hipsters everywhere - Doc's in the house

The success of "Dumplin's" led to appearances in Rock 'n' Roll stage shows including with Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Lee Andrews & The Hearts, The Clovers and Chuck Berry. In the late '50s and early '60s Doc recorded a series of singles for a variety of small labels, all in an R&B / Rock 'n' Roll style. The Jasmine 2CD set "Smooth Organ, Groove Organ" devotes its second disc to 24 of these small label sides. The first disc has 24 sides from Gotham, King and Okeh. Excellent notes by Bob Fisher. Recommended!

Doc's last single seems to have been a 1966 release on the Newark label - "I'll Always Be In Love With You" / "These Foolish Things" by Doc Bagby and his Organ Trio. There were a couple of LPs in the mid to late '60s - "A Place In The Sun"- The Doc Bagby Hammond Organ Trio (Current S/475) and "The Hits Of The Drifters" - Doc Bagby at The Hammond Organ (Power S 9008).

Doc Bagby died in New York in September 1970 at the comparatively young age of 51.

Information on Luis Rivera is harder to come by, however the sleevenotes of his 1961 Imperial LP "Filet Of Soul" can be found in a review posted on the "Fat Sound" blog here:

The post includes a link to a YouTube video which has excerpts of all the LP tracks. Luis was born in San Antonio, Texas, spent most of his early life in Ohio, was a captain in the US Army Air Force, and after the war he studied psychology at the University of Miami. He gave up a position as a clinical psychologist to follow a musical career, starting out with the band of Ivory Joe Hunter, then joining the Roy Milton band when they came through Texas. He accompanied the band to Los Angeles which became his home base.

Luis had a short spell with the Flip Phillips Quintet and then worked with Billie Holiday for two and a half years including tours to Europe and Asia. There was also work as a session musician around LA, including a 1951 /52 session with Joe Houston for Modern,  an Earl Bostic session for King in June 1953, a Linda Hopkins session for Federal in February 1954, and a Linda Hayes session for Hollywood and King in January 1955.

The sides on this LP which were recorded in November and December 1954 were Luis's first releases under his own name. His next release was the "Filet Of Soul" Imperial LP which was recorded in December 1960 and January 1961.

 Billboard, 20th March 1961

The "Filet Of Soul" sleevenotes finish with the information that "Luis may be currently heard at one of Los Angeles' main jazz spots, Dynamite Jackson's Lounge."

Another jazz organist at Dynamite Jackson's

Luis's last recording as named artist was for a Cash LP CLP-1002) sometime in the early 1960s - "Las Vegas" and thereafter the trail fades ...

Vegas, Baby! Vegas!

It's safe to assume that as Luis was a war veteran he is probably no longer an active musician at least here on Earth, for he may well be playing the eternal gig in God's own organ lounge in the sky.

Original Issue Of The Trax on "Battle Of The Organs"

Doc Bagby Quartet: Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor sax); Harry "Doc" Bagby (organ); Clifford Bush (guitar); Charlie Rice (drums).

Grinding / Hayride - Doc Bagby Quartet - King 4804 - released June 1955

I Want A Little Girl / Soft One - Doc Bagby Quartet - King 4823 - released September 1955

Doc Bagby solo tracks "Deep Purple" and "Memories Of You" first released on King LP 631 in 1959.

Luis Rivera: on "Tangerine" "Fat Stocking" "Milano Blues" - Bill Gaither (tenor sax); Luis Rivera (organ); Ulysses Livingstone (guitar); Gene Wright (bass); Albert Bartee (drums).
On "Bobby Sox" "Manhattan" " Heavy Hips" - Calvin Ponder replaces Gene Wright on bass; add Don Johnson on tumba.

Tangerine / Fat Stockin' - Luis Rivera - Federal 12207 - released January 1955

Heavy Hips / Ruby - Luis Rivera - Federal 12211 - released February 1955

Bobby Sox / Manhattan - Luis Rivera - Federal 12226 - released July 1955

Milano Blues first released on King LP 631 in 1959.

Four Luis Rivera singles were released on Federal. The single not listed above was -

Don't Take Your Love from Me / Please Be Kind - Federal 12215- released April 1955.

Sunday 15 September 2019

The Vocal Group Album (Roots of Rock 'n' Roll Volume Eight)

Side A:
01. Poor Butterfly - The Three Barons
02. Milk Shake Stand - The Three Barons
03. Palace Of Stone - The Toppers
04. I'm Living For You - The Toppers
05. If Money Grew On Trees - The Toppers
06. These Are Things I Want To Share With You - The Syncopaters
07. River Stay Away From My Door - The Syncopaters
08. Out In The Cold Again - The Syncopaters

Side B:
01. It Could Have Been Me - The Four Buddies
02. You Left Me Alone - The Four Buddies
03. Ooh Ow - The Four Buddies
04. I'd Climb The Highest Mountain - The Four Buddies
05. It All Comes Back To Me Now - The Marshall Brothers
06. I Didn't Know - The Marshall Brothers
07. My Life Is My Life - The Marshall Brothers
08. I Won't Believe You Anymore - The Marshall Brothers

Side C:
01. Call For Me - The Carols
02. I Got A Feelin' - The Carols
03. Mighty Lak A Rose - The Carols
04. Fifty Million Women - The Carols
05. I'm Losing My Mind - The Dreams
06. Under The Willow - The Dreams
07. My Little Honeybun - The Dreams
08. I'll Be Faithful - The Dreams

Side D:
01. I Won't Cry - Little David & The Harps
02. You'll Pay - Little David & The Harps
03. Baby Dee - Little David & The Harps
04. Wah Diddy Wah - Little David & The Harps
05. Say You're Mine - Jimmy Jones & The Savoys
06. We Made A Vow - Jimmy Jones & The Savoys
07. I Love Only You - Jimmy Jones & The Savoys
08. With All My Heart - Jimmy Jones & The Savoys

Over on the "Don't Ask Me ... I Don't Know" blog, Xyros is collecting together the Savoy Roots of Rock 'n' Roll series which was a 15 volume set of double and single LPs of rhythm and blues originally released on the Savoy and National labels. They started appearing in 1977 and were probably the first attempt by a record company to demonstrate that rock and roll had roots and antecedents from a time before Elvis or Bill Haley or Chuck Berry.

I started to pick up copies of the albums some time in the early 1980s and such was the impression they made on me I can still remember where I bought some of them. I bought "The Original Johnny Otis Show Volume 1" in a little record shop in a back street in Tulle in southwestern France. I picked up the second volume of Johnny Otis in Doug Dobell's record shop in Soho. "Honkers and Screamers" was purchased in the much missed Tower records in Glasgow and the first volume in the series, "The Roots Of Rock 'n' Roll," was found in the crammed browsers of Backbeat Records in Edinburgh.

You can now browse through most of the series on Xyros' blog here - "Savoy Roots of Rock 'n' Roll Volume 1 -15" and I'm pleased to say that this volume, "The Vocal Group Album," will be joining its companions with my full blessing.

The sharp eyed among you will have noticed that two volumes remain missing - both volumes of "Ladies Sing The Blues." Can anyone out there help?

As for this double LP set, it serves as a good guide to the changing style of vocal group recordings over a period of 12 years. The collection kicks off with hip harmonies from The Three Barons accompanied by Tiny Grimes and then moves onto the self contained instrumental / vocal group The Five Red Caps, here recording as The Toppers. 

As the years roll by we encounter groups who show the varied influences of the Ink Spots, The Ravens, and The Drifters. The Dreams, Little David And His Harps, and Jimmy Jones take us into more rock and roll territory. The Dreams are backed by a Leroy Kirkland led band which features Sam "The Man" Taylor and Mickey "Guitar" Baker, so we have moved pretty far from the world of 1940s Harlem and Tiny Grimes. Little David is David Baughan who was in the earliest lineup of The Drifters and later returned for a brief spell as replacement for Clyde McPhatter. You can hear the obvious vocal similarity between the two.

The download includes the full gatefold sleeve and its essay by vocal group expert Marv Goldberg.

More Info On The Trax

The Three Barons:
Milkshake Stand / I'd Give My Life - Savoy 527 - The Three Barons with The Tiny Grimes Quintette
Poor Butterfly - unissued recording. Recorded as The Three Riffs with The Tiny Grimes Quartette.

The Toppers:
Steve Gibson and the Five Red Caps recording under a pseudonym.
If Money Grew On Trees / Palace Of Stone - The Toppers - Savoy 559
I'm Living For You / I'm All Alone - The Toppers - Savoy 656 - a 1947 reissue of "Palace of Stone" retitled "I'm All Alone."

The Syncopators:
Mule Train / These Are Things I Want To Share With You - National 9093
River Stay Away From My Door / These Are Things I Want To Share With You - National 9095

The Four Buddies:
It Could Have Been Me - unissued recording.
Ooh-Ow / My Mother's Eyes - The Four Buddies with Hal Singer's Orchestra - Savoy 888
I Wanna' Know / I'd Climb The Highest Mountain - A-Side credited to Dolly Cooper with Hal Singer's Orchestra; B-Side credited to Dolly Cooper with The Four Buddies - Savoy 891.
You Left Me alone - unissued recording.

The Marshall Brothers:
The Marshall Brothers with the Rene Hall Quartet -
It All Comes Back to Me Now; I Didn't Know; My Life Is My Life; I Won't Believe You Anymore - unissued Savoy session.

The Carols: 
Fifty Million Women / I Got A Feelin - The Carols - Savoy 896
Call For Me; Mighty Lak A Rose - unissued recordings.

The Dreams:
I'm Losing My Mind / Under The Willow - The Dreams - Savoy 1140
I'll Be Faithful / My Little Honeybun - The Dreams - Savoy 1157

Little David and His Harps:
Little David = David Baughan
I Won't Cry / You'll Pay - Little David and His Harps - Savoy 1178
Baby Dee; Wah Diddy Wah - unissued recordings.

Jimmy Jones & The Savoys:
Say You're Mine / You - The Savoys featuring James Jones - Savoy 1188
With All My Heart / Please Say You're Mine - Jimmy Jones And The Savoys - Savoy 1586
We Made a Vow - unissued recording.

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Johnny "Guitar" Watson (King LP 857)

Side 1:
01. Cuttin' In
02. Embraceable You
03. Broke And Lonely
04. What You Do To Me
05. Gangster Of Love
06. Highway 60

Side 2:
01. Those Lonely, Lonely Feelings
02. Posin'
03. That´s The Chance You´ve Got To Take
04. I Just Wants Me Some Love
05. Sweet Lovin' Mama
06. You Can't Take It With You

Thanks to Marv for contributing this reconstitution of a King LP which was originally released in December 1963. The album includes two tracks from Watson's first recordings as named artist for Federal in 1953 (as Young John Watson), with the rest of the tracks coming from his 1961 - 1963 spell recording for King, by which time he was billed as Johnny "Guitar" Watson.

John Watson Jr. was born in Houston, Texas, in 1935. He learned how to play guitar at an early age and was influenced not only by the music but also by the flashy stageshows of T-Bone Walker and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown.

At the age of fifteen he moved to Los Angeles where he quickly became involved in the R&B scene, not initially as a guitarist, but as piano player and occasional vocalist with Chuck Higgins and the Mellotones. Watson's first recordings were with the Higgins band for Combo, including several sides such as "Motorhead Baby" and "Just Won't Treat Me Right" which featured Young John's vocals and piano. These sides show a distinct Amos Milburn influence which was still evident when he left the Higgins outfit and started recording for King subsidiary label Federal in 1953.

Watson's first two sessions for Federal in January and May 1953 saw him continuing to record as a pianist and vocalist with guitars being played by Wayne Bennett and Harold Grant. However for his final session for Federal in February 1954 Watson took over on guitar, with the sides including the flashy instrumental showcase "Space Guitar."

In 1955 to early 1956 Watson recorded for RPM and with his guitar playing very much to the forefront he was now billed as Johnny "Guitar" Watson. Tracks recorded for RPM included a cover of Earl King's "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights," plus "Hot Little Mama," "So Tired," "I'm Gonna Hit That Highway" and "Three Hours Past Midnight."

After leaving RPM, Watson spent the subsequent few years drifting from label to label, usually with only one recording session at each. Between 1956 and 1961 he recorded for Dig, Keen, All Stars, Class, Goth, Arvee, and Escort. One record worth mentioning from this period is his first recording of "Gangster Of Love" which he would re-record for King in 1963.

In July 1961, at his first session for King, Watson moved away from straight blues guitar and singing by recording in a much more "pop" style with accompanying strings and vocal chorus. Tracks included the standards "Embraceable You" and "The Nearness Of You" but it was the more country sounding "Cuttin' In" which gave him a big R&B hit. Also recorded at this session was the stomping dance novelty "Posin'."

His second King session in October 1961 was in a soul vein and all four tracks are present on this LP. See below for recording date details. Watson's next King session (December 1962) was backed by a Johnny Otis led group with a female backing chorus. One track from this session is on the LP, the impassioned "That's The Chance You've Got To Take," which fits in well with the October 1961 sides.

The last King session in May 1963 saw Watson re-record two of his RPM and Keen sides - "Gangster Of Love" and "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights" the latter being retitled "Those Lonely, Lonely Feelings" for its release on this LP.

Watson's subsequent career was long and fruitful, including a period recording and performing with Larry Williams, and a reinvention as a funk artist in the 1970s complete with pimptastic clothes, accessories, hairstyle, and hit albums such as "Ain't That A Bitch," "A Real Mother For Ya" and "Funk Beyond The Call Of Duty." His career kept going through the '80s and into the '90s when he had another hit album with "Bow Wow" but, alas, it all came to an end when he suffered an onstage heart attack in Yokahama in 1996.

Recording dates:

01. Cuttin' In - 21st July, 1961
02. Embraceable You - 21st July, 1961
03. Broke And Lonely - 17th October, 1961
04. What You Do To Me - 17th October, 1961
05. Gangster Of Love - 14th May, 1963
06. Highway 60 - 20th January 1953
07. Those Lonely, Lonely Feelings - 14th May, 1963
08. Posin' - 21st July, 1961
09. That´s The Chance You´ve Got To Take - 14th December, 1962
10. I Just Wants Me Some Love - 17th October, 1961
11. Sweet Lovin' Mama - 17th October, 1961
12. You Can't Take It With You - 1st February, 1954

- All tracks recorded in Los Angeles.

Original release details:

Highway 60 / No I Can't - Federal 12120 - March 1953 (as Young John Watson)

Gettin' Drunk / You Can't Take It With You - Federal 12183 - May 1954 (as Young John Watson)

Embraceable You / Posin' - King 5536 - August 1961

Cuttin' In / Broke And Lonely - King 5579 - December 1961

I Just Wants Me Some Love / The Nearness Of You - King 5607 - March 1962

What You Do To Me / Sweet Lovin' Mama - King 5666 - July 1962

Cold, Cold Heart / That's The Chance You've Got To Take - King 5716 - February 1963

Gangster Of Love / In The Evenin' - King 5774 - July 1963

Those Lonely, Lonely Feelings - this LP, King LP 857 - December 1963

Johnny "Guitar" Watson (King LP 857) - ripped at a modest but still effective 128 kbps. Artwork from the internet with gratitude to the original uploaders.

Recommended further listening -

King Masters CD - KCD 6004

The above CD has 20 tracks, 12 of which are from the Federal sessions, with the remainder being early 1960's King tracks.

Sunday 8 September 2019

The Golden Groups Volume 47 - The Best Of Apollo Records Part 1

Side One:
01. One More Time - The Mel-O-Dots
02. Just How Long - The Mel-O-Dots
03. Rock My Baby - The Mel-O-Dots
04. Baby Won't You Please Come Home - The Mel-O-Dots
05. Angel Baby - Billy Austin and His Hearts
06. Night Has Come - Billy Austin and His Hearts
07. Oh But She Did - The Opals
08. My Heart's Desire - The Opals

Side Two:
01. Do Let That Dream Come True - The Jumping Jacks
02. Long Haired Raggedy Rascal - The Jumping Jacks
03. Why Oh Why - The Jumping Jacks
04. Julocka Jolly - The Jumping Jacks
05. I Just Love You So - Lydia Larson & The River Rovers
06. Bald Headed Daddy - Lydia Larson & The River Rovers
07. Little Side Car - The Larks
08. Tippin' In - The Larks

I came across this LP in a local second hand shop a couple of months ago and just couldn't resist. When Relic were issuing these Golden Groups LPs way back in nineteen canteen I didn't buy a single one. Now I'm the proud possessor of two, thanks to recent second hand purchases. See here for Volume 6 - The Best Of Ember Records.

I've been on an Apollo kick in my own recent listening so this collection fits in nicely with that. It's definitely a mixed bag, though. Here's a quick run through -

The Mel-O-Dots release on the Apollo popular series has a good rockin' A-Side in "One More Time" which features a rather strange fairground organ break. What were they thinking of? B-Side "Just How Long" is an effective ballad in the Ink Spots style. The unreleased "Rock My Baby" does indeed rock along in fine style until that ghastly organ blasts in. "Baby Won't You Please Come Home" is a slow harmony pleader which thankfully remains organ free. Again there are echos of the Ink Spots and early 1940s harmony groups.

The releases by Billy Austin and His Hearts and The Opals are both excellent R&B vocal group discs. The uptempo "Angel Baby" has a tenor sax break by Charlie "Little Jazz" Ferguson."Night Has Come" is a fine weepy. Both Opals' sides are very good indeed. "Oh But She Did" - uptempo effort featuring a hoarse voiced lead with good guitar licks. "My Heart's Desire" - soft and romantic. Classic vocal group sound.

The Jumping Jacks. Good golly almighty what fresh hell is this? How could anyone believe that this sort of thing would sell in 1953? Overwrought cloying bollocks with kitsch organ backing. The unreleased sides are better by virtue of the fact that they fairly rattle along. It's hard to believe that The Jumping Jacks originated from the same neighbourhood as The "5" Royales. It's even harder to believe that after recording this dross they transmogrified into The Romeos and recorded some excellent R&B in a much more contemporary style, especially their two knowingly suggestive sides "Somebody's Been Plowing My Mule" and "Oh Baby Oh." Another good'un by The Romeos is "I Beg You Please" which is a world away from what's on offer by The Jumping Jacks. These Romeos sides were featured on Relic's second part of the Apollo Records story.

Lydia Larson's unreleased "I Just Love You So" borders on chaos and doesn't quite cut it but she gets us bumpin' and grindin' with "Bald Headed Daddy" which drips with sleaze. Girl group The River Rovers chant away in the background in an el primitivo style.

This LP ends with two contrasting sides from one of the great vocal groups.The Larks weigh in with the bluesy double entendre "Little Side Car" and a jazzy vocal version of "Tippin' In" which was originally composed as an instrumental by Bobby Smith for the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra and was subsequently re-recorded by Bobby and his own small group on Apollo. Here he is again backing The Larks on their sophisticated version to take us out swingin'. Solid, man!

Original Release Details

The Mel-O-Dots: One More Time / Just How Long (Apollo 1192) released May 1952, in Apollo's 1000 "Popular" series. Jazz and R&B releases were in the 350-500 series. Rock My Baby; Baby Won't You Please Come Home - unreleased.

Billy Austin and His Hearts: Angel Baby / Night Has Come (Apollo 444) released December 1952. With Charlie Ferguson, His Tenor and Orchestra.

The Opals: Oh But She Did / My Heart's Desire (Apollo 462) released October 1954.

The Jumping Jacks: Do Let That Dream Come True / Why Oh Why (Lloyds 101) released June 1953. Long Haired Raggedy Rascal; Julocka Jolly (?) - unreleased.

Lydia Larson & The River Rovers: Delta Drag / Bald Headed Daddy (Apollo 432) released November 1951. "Delta Drag" was credited to The River Rovers. Both sides backed by the Bill Harvey Orchestra. "I Just Love You So" - unreleased.

The Larks: Little Side Car / Hey, Little Girl (Apollo 429) released August 1951. With Bobby Smith's Orchestra. If It's A Crime / Tippin' In (Lloyds 110) released June 1954. With Bobby Smith's Orchestra.

Thursday 5 September 2019

The Prisonaires - Five Beats Behind Bars

Side One:
01. Baby Please
02. Just Walking In The Rain
03. My God Is Real
04. Softly And Tenderly
05. I Know
06. No More Tears
07. Don't Say Tomorrow
08. What Do You Do Next?

Side Two:
01. That Chick's Too Young To Fry
02. Lucille, I Want You
03. If I Were A King
04. Surleen
05. All Alone And Lonely
06. Rockin' Horse
07. Two Strangers
08. Frank Clement (What About)

A rare foray by Sam Phillips into vocal group recordings. The Prisonaires were in fact prisoners in the State Penitentiary in Nashville Tennessee whose music came to Sam's attention via Red Wortham of Wortham Music, and Jim Bulleit who in early 1953 owned a small share in Sun Records.

The Prisonaires were first formed in the State Pen in the early 1940s and this is reflected in most of the music they recorded which is heavily influenced by the Ink Spots and the close harmony groups of the late 1930s.The main man was Johnny Bragg who was serving a 99 year stretch for rape. Two more group members were also serving 99 year sentences (for murder) - Ed Thurman and William Stewart. The lineup which first recorded for Sun in June 1953 had been put together by Bragg in 1951: Johnny Bragg (lead, 99 years); John Drue (lead tenor, doing a 3 year stretch for larceny); Ed Thurman (2nd tenor and 99 years); Marcel Sanders (bass, 1-5 years for involuntary manslaughter); William Stewart (baritone, guitar, 99 years).

Bragg was also a songwriter who cowrote the group's first release on Sun, "Just Walkin' In The Rain" which became a minor R&B hit and was covered very successfully 3 years later by Johnnie Ray. The influence of the Ink Spots is obvious on this wistful ballad, but its success was almost immediately dissipated by the decision to issue a religious record as a follow up - My God Is Real / Softly And Tenderly. Their third release, A Prisoner's Prayer / I Know, also failed to sell. "I Know" sounds even more like an Ink Spots performance than "Just Walkin' In The Rain" while "A Prisoner's Prayer" is what might be called "overwrought."

A final release in July 1954, There Is Love In You / What'll You Do Next, also went nowhere.There were a couple more recording sessions at the Sun studio before the end of 1954 but nothing was released. Some of these unreleased tracks were in a much more contemporary R&B style, especially "Lucille I Want You," ""Rocking Horse," "Surleen," and "All Alone And Lonely."

The group broke up in 1955 as Drue and Sanders finished their sentences and Stewart and Thurman were released on parole. Back in the hoosegow Johnny Bragg formed a new group called the Sunbeams which recorded some unreleased tracks for Excello and then after a change of name to the Marigolds, achieved a hit on the same label with "Rollin' Stone."

Bragg was released in 1959 and started recording and songwriting for Decca. His new career came to an abrupt end in 1960 when he was reincarcerated for parole violations. He remained in prison until 1967. After his release he recorded a couple more discs for ElBeJay, but the following decade was an unhappy one for the former Prisonaire as he spent several more spells in prison until his final release in 1977.

The final phase of Bragg's life was uneventful. He made no attempt to reignite a musical career and confined his singing to performing in church. He died in 2004.

Prisonaires Singles on Sun Records:

Sun 186 - Baby Please / Just Walkin' In The Rain - July 1953

Sun 189 - My God Is Real / Softly And Tenderly - September 1953

Sun 191 - A Prisoner's Prayer / I Know - November 1953

Sun 207 - There Is Love In You / What'll You Do Next - July 1954

Thanks to Joan for the labelshots

Two CD collections have been issued which have identical titles and which cover the same ground, i.e. just about everything ever recorded by The Prisonaires:

 Bear Family BCD 15523

Charly CPCD 8120

The Bear Family CD was released in 1990 and the Charly CD in 1996. Both have 26 tracks.

Monday 2 September 2019

Jimmy Coe - After Hours Joint

Side A:
01. After Hour Joint
02. Baby I'm Gone
03. What Will I Tell My Heart
04. Organ Grinder
05. Empty Bed
06. How Deep Is The Ocean
07. Fast Blues

Side B:
01. Run Jodie Run
02. He's All Right
03. A Fool Was I
04. Lady Take Two
05. Raid On The After Hour Joint

After Hours Joint (Zippy)

Apologies to regular  readers of the blog. My temporary break became much longer than I thought it would due to illness (the dreaded lurgie: coughing, wheezing, the sweats and the shivers and it was NOT a hangover) but the blog returns despite it all. There's a backlog of stuff to get through - my own LP rips, contributions from Marv, and a new volume of Joan Selects. I propose to write a lot less and just post the music and some basic info over the next few months, but that's easier said then done!

I'm going to kick off with an LP which I bought some months ago on eBay after  a request came in for Jimmy Coe, an alto and tenor sax player and bandleader whose "After Hour Joint" was a minor R&B hit in 1953. I think this 1989 Delmark LP may well be the only collection of his tracks to ever be issued. It's not a comprehensive career survey but a compilation of the material he recorded for the Chicago based States label. Jimmy only had three singles on the label so the LP is "padded out" with unissued tracks.

There's a Boogiewoody bonus for you sax-starved Be Bop Winos. One of the unissued tracks is a longish version of "Lady Be Good" titled "Lady Take Two" which features an extended Stephane Grapelli type jazz violin solo. I've produced an edited version without the violin which I've called "Jimmy Be Good (tenor sax edit)" and it's backed by "Cole Tater" which I grabbed off YouTube (my thanks to the original uploader). This was a track Jimmy released on King under the name "Jimmy Cole", so I hope you folks enjoy the Be Bop Wino pirate single which is included in the download.

The go-to website for information on any States / United artist is of course the Red Saunders Research Foundation website.

Scroll down the front page here as far as "J" and you'll find an introduction to Jimmy Coe. Click on the "Jimmy Coe" link in that entry and you find yourself on The Jimmy Coe Discography page which is a marvellous biography plus comprehensive discography of his releases on a multiplicity of labels from 1942 to 2000.

Be Bop Wino fans will note that his first recordings were with the Jay McShann Orchestra in 1942, with Charlie Parker also in the lineup. His next recordings were for King in January 1952, backing vocalist Flo Garvin as well as recording two band instrumentals under the name Jimmy Cole. He was billed as Jimmy Cole when he recorded again for King in February 1952, playing alto sax on a Tiny Bradshaw session.

When King failed to listen to Coe's comic vignette "After Hour Joint" he went to the States label where he recorded it in February 1953. His second and last session for States was in October 1953 when he recorded a follow up to "After Hour Joint", "Raid On The After Hour Joint".

For full details of all these sessions and Jimmy Coe's subsequent lengthy career get yourself over to the Red Saunders Research Foundation website. As for me, having clued you in to these hep sounds, I am now retiring to my sick bed.

Jimmy Coe singles on States:

S-118 - After Hour Joint / Baby I'm Gone - Jimmy Coe and his Gay Cats of Rhythm - June 1953

S-129 - He's Alright With Me (vocal: Helen Fox) / Raid On The After Hour Joint - Jimmy Coe and his Gay Cats of Rhythm - December 1953

S-155 - Run Jody Run (vocal: Max "Blues" Bailey) / The Jet - Jimmy Coe and his Gay Cats of Rhythm - March 1956

Note - "The Jet" is retitled "Fast Blues" on this LP. All other tracks unreleased until this LP in 1989.