Saturday, May 08, 2021

'Mr Personality' Lloyd Price RIP

I'm very sad to hear of the death, at the age of 88, of Lloyd Price. Lloyd was a true pioneer of rock and roll, recording his first million seller 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy' aged just 19 in 1952. He was a songwriter, a band leader and a businessman, setting up important record labels, yet never quite got the reecognition he deserved. He was also an exciting performer, as shows that I witnessed over the years in New Orleans, Las Vegas and the UK demonstrated.
Born in Kenner just outside New Orleans he was discovered by Dave Bartholomew who introduced him to Art Rupe of Specialty Records who recorded Lloyd's own song 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy' with superb backing by Dave Bartholomew's band which included Fats Domino, Frank Fields, Earl Palmer and Lee Allen. Other Specialty tracks such as 'Mailman Blues', 'Oh Oh Oh' and 'I Wish Your Picture Was You' showed his talent both for singing exciting blues and his songwriting skills, but his career was interrupted by a spell in the US Army. When he returned he set up KRC records with long time associate Harold Logan and Bill Boskent and immediately had success with 'Just Because' which was picked up by ABC Paramount. This led to a string of hugely successful pop orientated blues flavoured songs including 'Stagger Lee', 'Personality', 'I'm Gonna Get Married', 'Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day)', 'Lady Luck' and 'For You'. In 1962 he set up Double L Records with Harold Logan. signing Wilson Pickett as a solo artist in the process, and enjoyed success with a version of 'Misty'. Logan was murdered in 1969 (the case was unsolved) and Lloyd set up Turntable Records along with a night club of the same name in New York. In the seventies he joined with boxing promoter Don King, the man behind the 'Rumble In The Jungle' fight and the accompanying concert starring B B King and James Brown. He set up yet another record label - LPG - and had his final hit with 'What Did You Do With My Love'. Lloyd remained an exciting stage performer and I saw him at the Giants of Rock and Roll show at Wembley Arena in 1992 where he presented a 60th birthday cake to Little Richard - the man who took his place as Specialty's brightest star back in the fifties. I also saw him at Jazzfest in 1993 where he also starred in a show at the Sheraton Hotel along with other New Orleans artists including Benny Spellman, Bobby Marchan and Roland Stone. I saw him most recently at Viva Las Vegas in 2014 where he put on a fantastic show with a superb band. Top picture shows Lloyd in Las Vegas in 2014. Photos below show Lloyd at the Sheraton in New Orleans in 1993 and at the Wembley show the previous year.


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