Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vinyl Obscurities - 5: Ponderosa Stomp

I'm off to the US in a few weeks with three Woodie friends for a road trip which will be taking in the Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans, as well as a festival in Springfield, Missouri, and some time in Memphis and Mississippi. As ever, there are loads of well-known and not so well-known soul, R and B and rock and roll artists appearing at the Stomp and it looks like it will be well up to the standard of previous years. As a taster, here are some 45s that I have of a few of the acts, with YouTube links where possible.

1. Warren Storm - Seven Letters/ I Need Somebody Bad. Released 1983 on South Star records, Hendersonville, TN.
This Ben E King song is 'the best song in the world, according to C C Adcock, or so I read on the Ponderosa Stomp blog ( Warren's performance of it was certainly one of the highlights of the recent Li'l Band Of Gold gig in London. Worth checking out Ben E King's original and a great ska version by Derrick Morgan if you can.
2. Bobby Allen & the Exceptions - Soul Chicken/ I Apologise. Released c1965 on Soul Sound records of Crowley, LA.
Crowley-born Bobby Allen recorded a few records on this Excello subsidiary in the early 60s, including this excellent double sider. Apparently he now performs with Lil Buck Sinegal. I' ve never seen him live, so could be interesting.

3. Carol Fran - Crying In The Chapel/ I'm Gonna Try. Released c1964 on Port records.

I've seen Carol Fran several times in partnership with husband Clarence Holliman, now deceased. Carol's recording career goes back to 1957 when she made her first record for Excello.
This soulful remake of the Orioles song was recorded for Port, a subsidiary of Jubilee.

4. Al Johnson - Carnival Time/ Good Lookin'. Released in 1959 on Ron records of New Orleans.

Al 'Carnival Time' Johnson is one of a handful of original New Orleans R and B artists still performing and this Mardi Gras classic is ubiquitous in the Big Easy at any time of year. It's good to see that Al is still going strong.

5. Big Jay McNeely - There Is Something On Your Mind/ Back..Shack..Track. Released in 1959 on Swingin' records of Hollywood. Vocals by Little Sonny Warner.

Saxman Big Jay McNeely's career goes back to the 1940s when he recorded with Johnny Otis. I've seen and enjoyed Jay's honking sax several times, both in New Orleans (at Jazzfest) and in London. This 1959 hit was recorded shortly afterwards by New Orleans' own Bobby Marchan.
6. Miss Lavell - Everybody's Got Somebody/ The Best Part of Me. Released in 1965 on Vocalion V-P 9236. Mint value: £30.

Miss Lavell (aka Lavelle White) recorded a dozen or so singles for Duke records of Houston, but this was the only one to be issued in the UK. She first recorded in the 1950s and she's been singing ever since - I remember seeing her at the Blues Estafette in Utrecht a few years back.

7. Mack Rice - Love's A Mother Brother/ Coal Man. Released in 1969 on Atlantic 584250. Mint value: £10.

'Sir' Mack Rice was once a member of The Falcons, but is equally well known as a songwriter - of Respect Yourself, Cheaper to Keep Her and, of course, Mustang Sally. He performed at Porretta a few years ago and is one of many genuine musical legends appearing at the Stomp this year. I couldn't find this particular track on YouTube, so here's his all time classic, Mustang Sally.


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