Monday, January 31, 2011

Jimmy McGriff - MG Blues

Organ master Jimmy McGriff may have studied formally at Juilliard and at Philadelphia's Combe College of Music, but there's nothing fancy about his music. It's basic to the bone, always swinging and steeped in blues and gospel. McGriff's brand of jazz is about feeling. "That's the most important thing," he says.
In 1962, Sue Records released the single "All ABout My Girl", but it was the B-side that my dad played the  most and with "MG Blues", the organist staked out a musical turf all his own, somewhere between the jazz of Jimmy Smith and the r&b of Booker T. & the MGs.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Al Casey - Jivin' Around

Al Casey was a member of L.A.'s "Wrecking Crew," a group of studio session musicians who played on countless hit records in the 1960s.
This record from 1962, the year of my birth, was my introduction to the Al Casey sound.

“Al Casey, at 21, is regarded in the music trade as one of the best guitar players in the country.” 
-- The Arizona Republic, June 1, 1958. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Packers - Hole In The Wall

The Packers were an American soul group formed by tenor saxophonist Charles "Packy" Axton, who was the son of Stax Records part-owner Estelle Axton. Axton was a former member of the Mar-KeysLeon Haywood (on organ) was among those who played on the group's records. Their first album, Hole in the Wall, reached #7 on the Billboard Black Albums chart on the strength of the titular single, which reached #5 on the Black Singles chart and #43 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Hole In The Wall was written by Stax all-stars, Cropper, Jackson, Jones & Nathan and released in 1966.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Herbie Mann - Sports Cars

Not actually one of Dad's 45s, but one that made an impression on me nonetheless. The year was 1970 or 71 and I was across the street at my friend Tim Brown's house, listening to 45s in his room with he and his brother Mike. Tim put this one on and I immediately dug it. Years later, I searched the song out and found this promo 45 from 1968.
Herbie Mann was one of the greatest jazz flautists the world has ever known. His "Memphis Underground", "Push Push" and of course, "Hijack", which was a Billboard Number-one dance hit of 1975 are timeless groove records. This one is for you Tim!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dizzy Gillespie - Joogie Boogie

Dizzy Gillespie - Joogie Boogie

Recorded in NYC, July 8, 1957 and released on Verve in 1958.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Al Simmons - Old Folks Boogie

This is west coast rockin' blues! Al Simmons tears it with Slim Green & The Cats From Fresno in this 1957 release on DIG records.
Young and old alike will indeed boogie with a smile on their face when listening to this.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Fugitives - Freeway

This is another one that I played the heck out of as a kid. It's a rockin' little instrumental number from 1960 with some great sax licks in it. I could not find much information about The Fugitives, but evidently this track was first released on the SIMS Records label prior to the Arvee issue.
The Arvee Label was formed in 1959 as a subsidiary of the High Fidelity Recording Company. The "Arvee" name was derived from Richard Vaughn, the company president's initials, "R.V." The output of the label was popular music and rhythm and blues.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Virtues - Guitar Boogie Shuffle

This is personally one of the most influential records that had me wanting to play guitar as a lad. The song was originally written by Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith as a country hit in 1948 that sold nearly 3 million copies. Frank Virtue (1922-1987) struck gold again with this song when his band, The Virtues released a rock reworking of the song in 1958. The instrumental became a major hit in the U.S., peaking at #27 on the Black Singles chart and #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959. Recorded in the basement of his Fayette Street house in Philadelphia, Guitar Boogie Shuffle is a milestone in early rock and roll history.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Johnny Pate - Swinging Shepherd Blues

Johnny Pate (born December 5, 1923, Chicago Heights, Illinois) is a jazz bassist who later became a music arranger/producer, and a leading figure in Chicago soul as well as pop/R&B music.
The Johnny Pate Quintet had a hit with "Swinging Shepherd Blues," which reached number 17 on Billboard's R&B chart in spring 1958. Johnny is still with us and has a website that you can check out.
Here's dad's copy as released on Parlophone Records. The flip side is called "The Elder".

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Walkin' With Mr. Lee - Lee Allen

Tenor saxophonist Lee Allen was born in Kansas, grew up in Denver and moved to New Orleans to attend the Xavier University, while in New Orleans and under the influence of its exceptional musical heritage he decided to play saxophone. He started out in Paul Gayten's band and quickly moved on to playing session with some of the biggest names around, including Fats Domino, Amos Milburn, Smiley Lewis and Little Richard. He can be heard on countless R&B, Rock & Roll, Jump Blues and Ballads of the 1950s, his signature tune Walkin' With Mr. Lee was his first for the Ember label and his biggest hit; and was also released in the UK on both 78 and 45 RPM formats.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Wailers - Shakedown

No, not the Bob Marley variety. These Wailers hailed from Tacoma, WA and in 1959, released this little gem on Etiquette Records.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tommy "Deanie Boy" Dean - Skid Row

Tommy Dean recorded this in 1956. On "Skid Row," Dean sometimes plays piano with one hand and organ with the other.
The atmosphere is dark, smoky and evocative on this number. Cigarettes are burning and everyone's a little high.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Steve Rowland - Out Ridin'

Songs with the sounds of motorcycles and hot rods in them were popular when this single by record producer / television actor, Steve Rowland was released in the early 1960s. I really dig this record. The metallic clave sound was a nice touch. This single was released in May of 1963.


Here are a couple photos of my dad's old Triumph motorcycle. My uncle Fritz did the awesome pinstripe work. I can imagine my dad firing up his bike with my my on the back before I was conceived. Then things got serious, I came along and dad got rid of the bike.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

James Booker - Gonzo

This was one of my favorites when I was in my single digit years and still is today. It just struts along so nicely with the grooviest interplay between the organ and flute. James Booker's "Gonzo" reached number 43 on the U.S. Billboard chart, and number 3 on the R&B chart. The B side is called "Cold Turkey."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Clovers - One Mint Julep

My dad said that the first record he ever bought was "One Mint Julep" by The Clovers.
Dad was really into the early R&B music and would have been around 15 years old when this song was released in 1952.

In 1961 "One Mint Julep" finally reached a mass audience when Ray Charles's recording reached No. 1 on the R&B charts and also No. 8 on the pop chart. Among the many who covered or remade this song are the following:

We do not have his original 78 rpm record to play for you today, but here is that old R&B drinking song, "One Mint Julep".

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cruise Ready

This blog entry is an old post from my POTF blog.

Here is a photo of the interior of my dad's 1957 Chrysler Windsor, that he had when I was a young boy. He bought this car used and had it until the early 70s. You rarely see one of these on the road today. I have only seen a few in my lifetime.
My father installed a small turntable that could play 45 rpm records. It was in a drawer, mounted on springs that helped to dampen road vibration. I do remember some skipping, but for the most part, it was just so cool to be able to listen to your own "sounds" while cruising around. I clearly remember dad taking me down to the Pike in Long Beach, right before they closed the Cyclone Racer forever. We had The Mama's & The Papa's song "California Dreamin'" playing as we motored along Ocean St. I was too young and scared to ride the Cyclone, but wished I had later when I realized that it was one of the most classic wooden roller coasters of all time.
The awesome pin stripe work on the dash was of course done by my uncle Fritz.
Kustom tuck and roll upholstery and the trick machined hubcaps and grill that he made were nice touches. He also removed most of the exterior branding and badges for a cleaner appearance.

Here is dad looking sharp.
How I wish I had this car today in the condition of the photo.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jimmy McCracklin - Get Back

Jimmy McCracklin (born August 13, 1921, St. Louis, Missouri) is an American pianist, vocalist, andsongwriter. His style contains West Coast blues, Jump blues, and R&B. Over a career that has spanned seven decades, he says he has written almost a thousand songs and has recorded hundreds of them. McCracklin has recorded over 30 albums, and owns four gold records.
Here is "Get Back" from a 1956 Premium Records 45rpm release.

Ernie Fields Orchestra - In The Mood/Christopher Columbus

Ernie Fields (August 28, 1904 – May 11, 1997) was an African American trombonistpianistarranger and bandleader. He first became known for leading the Royal Entertainers, which were based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and toured along a circuit stretching from Kansas City, Kansas, to Dallas, Texas.

In the late 1950s Ernie Fields moved to Los AngelesCalifornia, joining Rendezvous Records, for whom he ran the house band. This included pianist Ernie Freemanguitarist Rene Hall (who had previously worked with Fields in the 1930s), saxophonist Plas Johnson, and drummer Earl Palmer. In 1959 this band had an international hit with an R&B version of Glenn Miller’s "In the Mood", credited to the Ernie Fields Orchestra, which reached #4 on the Billboard Charts. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold discThe band, with minor changes of personnel, went on to recordinstrumentals under many different names, including B. Bumble and the StingersThe Marketts and The Routers.
Rendezvous Records folded in late 1963, and Fields retired soon after.
His son is saxophonist and bandleader Ernie Fields, Jr.
Here is the original Rendezvous 45 for your enjoyment.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Space Flight Parts 1 & 2 - Sam Lazar Trio

The first record I would like to play for you is "Space Flight Pts 1 & 2", by The Sam Lazar Trio with Sam on the Hammond B3 and a young Grant Green on guitar. This is one of his earliest records from what I understand. This was released in 1959 and predates the 1960 ARGO label lp release by Lazar under the same name. Dig it now!

Greetings music lovers!

I have started this little old blog to feature records that belonged to my father and that I heard often growing up.
My dad passed away last August and I wanted to share some of the music that he loved.
Dad kept most of his 45 rpm records in two cool old Platter Pak record cases similar to the ones pictured here. I'll probably post photos of the actual cases at some point. They are in storage at the moment.

I transferred most of these to digital format some years ago and am happy to share some of them with you all. There are better sounding versions of some of these out there for sure, but it's the unique sound of each copy of a record with it's own distinct crackles and pops that make it fun to listen to and enjoy for it's own individuality.
Anyway, on with the show.