Hold My Baby’s Hand – James Brown & the Famous Flames
“The eruption of feelings and emotions that follows a near-death experience, or any event that causes us to stop and look deeply at the reality of our lives, is ripe with the potential for insight & clarity.” – Allan Lokus
Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City – Bobby Bland
“Dimensions are limitless; time is endless. Conditions are not invariable; terms are not final. Thus, the wise man looks into space, and does not regard the small as too little, nor the great as too much; for he knows that there is no limit to dimension. He looks back into the past, and does not grieve over what is far off, nor rejoice over what is near; for he knows that time is without end. He investigates fullness and decay, and does not rejoice if he succeeds, nor lament if he fails; for he knows that conditions are not invariable. He who clearly apprehends the scheme of existence does not rejoice over life, nor repine at death; for he knows that terms are not final“. – Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu)
First outing on themusicologist for the multi talented Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews a cat who was BORN and RAISED with brass in his mouth.
“So advanced was he that, at the age of EIGHT, a club in the city’s Tremé district, where he was born and raised, was named Trombone Shorts in his honor”. – Thom Jurek
This 2011 cut is highlighted from the ‘Backatown’ set which features, (among others), one of Nola’s GREATEST urbanemusicologists the majestic Allen Toussaint whose first, (credited), production the 1960 recorded mod/ern/ist R&B classic ‘Ooh Poo Pah Doo’, (musicology #334), was for Troy Andrews’ grandfather, (Jesse Hill).
“What we tried to do with the record is capture what we do live and then just tighten it up a little bit, make it translate on record. Live, we may come across some stuff and jam on it, but the record brings it in and focuses on what we needed to do. We worked hard and we didn’t rush it. I think we alright with this one.” – Troy Andrews
long time comrades in, (musical), arms of the ‘project/diary/soundtrack’ will know that for me Sidney Bechet is one of the GIANTS of improvisation/jazz/recorded music etc.
One of the MASTERS of the art that I have been blessed enough to have stumbled across along ‘the way’. Apprentice’ and Journeymen are in abundance. Masters are few and far between.
Second time on themusicologist for this one..if i was asked “what is music?” i would pull this one out. listen to Bechet blow and how he drives the intensity, demanding that the other cats on the session step up.Which, of course, they do.
Had me nut down over the past few weeks studying for an exam I sat on Friday.
the incredible drawing is by the legendary, pioneer of contemporary neuroscience, Ramon y Cajal. Pathologist, histologist, neuroscientist, and Nobel laureate, (not to mention artist).
sliding out of the Ska and into the 60’s Rhythm and Blues with this cut from the Vibrations. A vocal group who first appeared on the scene as the Jay Hawks in 1956 and had a ‘hit’ with; Stranded in the Jungle, (remind me to dig it out from the vaults and lay it down), as well as notable early ‘Soul’ cuts Oh Cindy, Since I Fell For You, the Watusi, Peanut Butter and the classic My Girl Sloopy.
Don Pedro shares a West Coast connection with these cats who hail from the City Of Angels in California. the Don took up residency there for many years after deciding it was time to leave the auld Country and head out West to stroll the Boulevards.
Back in the day the Don and I used to be found frequenting ‘Mod’ hang outs. I had become disillusioned with the rare Funk clique and was in between scenes and even though it was my second time, (once a mod/ern/ist always a mod/ern/ist), the scene had evolved, (or maybe it was us who had evolved??), anyway we had some memorable times together and it was there that my love and respect for the Don was born…again I digress so i’ll leave it there. Suffice it to say that the music connects us and i Know that he will enjoy this one… recorded for and released on Atlantic in 1964.
sticking with the Rhythm and Blues selection for round two with more Don Pedro Philosophy..but before, during or after the cut i hope you will lend me your ear as i wax philosophically on this thing called Life…
the age old question of meaning is one i often ponder as i walk down the road and the longer the journey goes on the clearer i can see the path. for me life’s meaning is in the relationships we forge. not the aquaintances, the authentic connections to each other. the ones that present us with the opportunity to be ourselves, without fear or damnation. In the play Macbeth, Shakespere wrote the words:
“Out, out brief candle, life’s but a walking shadow a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signyfying nothing”
is it? … I have been honoured to share the journey with Giants along the way and regardless of how long we rolled together they continue to have a positive influence on me. They are by no means angels of virtue but their actions and non actions have touched the depths of me soul.
Don Pedro is one of them giants and the relationship will always be a cherished one.
This selection is taking shape serendipitously as today’s cut features the Gigantic Joe Morris, (another major player at the forefront of the shift from big band swing to small band jump/rhythm and blues), who, in his brief career, journeyed with some heavyweights such as Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Big Joe Turner, Dinah Washington, Wynonie Harris, as well as being the unoficial house band at Atlantic records in the early 50’s when Cats like brother Ray and Lowell Fulsom were cutting their R&B teeth. His candle went out at the tender age of 36 but half a century on and his voice is still heard loud and clear…
cracking on with a new selection in tribute to a genuine living legend who i call Don Pedro, a KING amongst pawns who is an inspiration. Before i kick off though allow me to talk a while.
Hopefully everyone knows a ‘Don Pedro’ one of them Cats whose actions speak MUCH louder than their words. Trailblazers who lead, Shepherds not sheep who ‘Walk the Walk’ rather than ‘Talk the Talk’. I first met Don Pedro in my late teens, the man was sharp like PAPER. Never settling for anything less than the best that life was offering. International traveller with a taste for the fine things. Don Pedro hustled with the best and could sell snow to eskimos. The best hustlers are the ones that present opportunities rather than try to take you for what you’ve got and Don Pedro was right up there with the champions. Life was/is NEVER dull when you are rolling with the Don. Memories are made of these connections and relationships like these are rare and full of life. Pedro lives life to the FULL and this selection is in his honour. Enough with the words and on with the music. STRICTLY boss tunes for the Don from across the musical spectrum
Roll on DON Pedro you touch and continue to inspire everyone who has the fortune to call you friend…
First up is a slice from one of the Rhythm and Blues pioneers whose Tympany 5 was instrumental in changing the direction of urbanmusicology from Big Band Swing to Small Band Rhythm & Blues and in the process inspired a new genre. a GENUINE legend Louis Jordan and Don Pedro speak the same language, sing from the same hymn sheet, blow the same horn and would have rolled together in the 1940’s. NO doubt.
Fitting start to the selection as Don Pedro ALWAYS made sure to ‘Let The Good Times Roll’
Can’t believe that I haven’t already laid it down on themusicologist over the last 4 years..!! For me the BEST version of this Irving Berlin penned classic courtesy of the MAJESTIC Hadda ‘Queen Of The Boogie’ Brooks.
Sticking with the 60’s Soul festivities with this cut from none other than the legendary ‘Big O’.. I’m led to believe that this one was released in 1968?? which would make it a year after he ‘boarded the train’ to the pearly gates..if it was then it would have be synoymous with themusicologist as I was born in the month of December, in the year of the Earth Monkey whilst revolution filled the air. Having already laid Otis’ majestic rendition of Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’ down two years ago I’m very happy to be bringing this version of Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore’s Rhythm & Blues Christmas classic ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ to the festive table..First recorded by the Three? Blazers, (Johnny Moore, his brother Oscar, Charles Brown, Eddie Williams), in 1947.
Moving out of the festive sounds of Jamaica and into this majestic slice of West Coast Rhythm and Blues/Doo Wop/Vocal Group Christmas action from the Nic Nacs, fronted in the finest style by the vocal talents of Mickey Champion who has been working it since being ‘discovered’ by the Legendary band leader Johnny Otis in L.A back in the mists of time…BOSS tune.
Today’s cut is courtesy of little known prewar blues icon, powerhouse singer and influential composer Arnold Dwight “Gatemouth” Moore, who turned his back on the world of ‘popular’ music in the late 40’s to serve as a minister, (preceeding the host of Gospel singers who went the ‘other way’ in the years that followed). Superb downtempo festive cut from the man whose nom de plume was a reference to the strength of his voice.
As important as Sam Cooke was to Soul, Big Joe took Jump, Boogie Woogie, Blues and Rhythm rolled them all up into a package and fathered Rock & Roll. Of course there were others who contributed, (Louis Jordan, Count Basie, Amos Milburn, Wynonnie Harris to name but 4), and as with all ‘Popular’ music no one person was responsible but as Doc Pomus is quoted to have said “Rock & Roll would never have happened without him…and as previously mentioned on themusicologist the dynamic duo’s late 40’s cut ‘Rocket 88 Boogie’ was the ‘inspiration’ behind Ike Turner’s seminal ‘Rocket 88’, a tune that has long been canonised into Rock and Roll history..
Today’s cut was recorded in the Big Apple on December 30th 1938…I’ll repeat that 1938 and released on a Columbia 78, which I was planning on laying down here but in truth it’s a piece scratchy !! so instead it’s the (top quality 24 bit), remastered version that certainly does the original justice….I can only imagine what it would have been like to witness these two in action back in Kansas City in the 1930’s a musical hotbed that kicked every bit as hard as Chicago, New Orleans and New York…Roll ‘Em Pete….
Today’s cut is In memory of another Soul man who has left us…General Norman Johnson..whose voice rose to prominence first as Lead for the Showmen and then Chairman Of The Board. This was one of their, (unreleased), demo’s sent to Joe Banashak whose Minit label ranks high on themusicologist’s list of supreme Rhythm & Blues/Soul labels. Why this marrow trembler went unreleased is beyond me…Norman Johnson Rest In Peace…gone but never forgotten.
Busy designing today so bit late with the 3rd instalment of the mOare selection…also I’m in the kitchen rustling up the evening meal, (Bangers & Mash), so It will have to be hit and run today while I’m running…Hold this TOP RANKING slice of Rhythm & Blues by the Spidells, (Lee Roy Cunningham, Wallace Brown, Billy Lockridge and Michael Young)..later covered by Elvis Presley, Nancy Sinatra and others. No prizes for guessing which one themusicologist favours. BIG Mod/ern/ist cut.