Friday, September 26, 2008

Ooo Daddy Take Me Home!

This record is amazing!

I plucked this little pearl outta the stacks at the since defunct ‘Black Cat’ records (Ari from ‘Lifetime’s old gig) in Redbank New Jersey ages ago. From the general setup, I was bracing myself for a Ronnie Spector-esque jaunt through down-town Motown, but was floored when I heard this caterwaul.

Lil’ Donna Lou sounds just like a chick offa the streets of Bayonne. Every time I play this record I can practically smell the Aquanet and grape bubblegum. Donna manages to slur her way through these tunes like she has a nail appointment to keep and her boyfriend ‘Frankie’ is layin’ on the horn out front in the car (pronounced Caahh).

The band isn’t any better, the falsetto backing vocals practically lost beneath that puny sax honking away like a bicycle horn. I especially love that one late hit at the end of ‘Cadillac’ that sounds like the snare drum falling over. Pure genius!

Don’t misconstrue what I’m layin’ down as any form of detraction. This record is essential Rock & Roll! Take Donna home and give her the buisness, won’t cha!

White Cadillac – Donna Lou

Only Heaven Knows - Donna Lou

Thursday, September 25, 2008

9.9 on the Richter Scale

A mystery even more perplexing then “Who Built the Pyramids?” would be “Who are Pyramid?”, cause I gotta be honest, I got nothin’ on this stone-soul mover. One thing is for sure, I’m willing to bet that these Pyramids are not of the ‘Penetration’ variety.

Always a sucker for a pt 1 / pt 2, the flip is admittedly the better of the offerings, what with its Latin drive-train and sharp fuzz solo. If the brash brass is any indication, figure on it being an early seventies cut.

Oh, and if you happen to hear a wobble at the beginning or this track, let me assure you that the disk isn’t warped, that’s just the earth movin’ under your feet.

“Feel it rumble! Feel it roar!”

Earthquake Shake pt 2 - Pyramid

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Sound of the Hound

Just a heads up, all around ace DJ The Hound has joined the Blogroll.

If’un you don’t already know (live under a rock do ya?) WFMU’s the Hound (pictured above in an artists rendering) used to broadcast outta East Orange NJ from the mid-eighties to the mid-nineties and was a Saturday afternoon staple in the crack house me and my no-good brother lived in (since demolished) on Poplar Street in Fords.

Blues Hangover, Hillbilly Hangover, Soul Caboose…it sure was a kick following an evening of bending our heads around a case of ‘Black Label’.

You can scope him out @ The Hound Blog and download archived shows @


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Famous Amos

My traveling variety show managed to get booted from Canada due to some illicit activity on the part of a band mate who shall not be named (Ehem).

I don't quite know what's worse, driving 600 miles in a van with these assholes for nothing, or, upon getting pinched, having to turn around and drive 600 miles in the other direction.

The only saving grace would be Arby's foothold on the east coast (The Arby-Q is back!!!); that, and the bottle of Basil Hayden's Bourbon in Montana's backpack. And it's in the spirit of that very same penacia that I give you a sampling of the alcoholic works of Amos Milburn.

The only real way to dig this R & B junk is on 78rpm, a risky proposition if you are anything like me and have a bad habit of stepping on, sitting on, or else Atom-smashing the shit out of 'Unbreakable' discs.

I managed to scam these, along w/ a decent pile of other R & B platters in a chicken coop in Lancaster PA many moons back. While I made it out unscathed and heavy in the wallet, it just about broke my heart to see what discs lay pulverized at the bottom of that packing crate ('Passing By Blues' anyone?). But getting back to Mr. Milburn:

"Born in Houston, one of thirteen children, by the age of five Milburn was playing tunes on the piano. He enlisted in the United States Navy when he was fifteen and earned thirteen battle stars in the Philippines, before returning to Houston and organizing a sixteen-piece band playing in Houston clubs, and mixing with the Houston jazz and blues scene. He was a polished pianist and performer and in 1946 attracted the attention of an enterprising woman who arranged a recording session with Aladdin Records in Los Angeles. Milburn's relationship with Aladdin lasted eight years during which he cut over seventy-five sides. His cover of "Down the Road a Piece" (1946), a blues with a rocking Texas boogie beat that bordered on rock, was ahead of its time. However, none caught on until 1949 when seven of his singles got the attention of the R&B audience.

He became one of the leading performers associated with the Central Avenue music scene of Los Angeles' Watts neighborhood. Among his best known songs was "One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer". In 1950 Milburn's "Bad, Bad, Whiskey" reached the top of the R&B charts and began a string of drinking songs (none written by Milburn, but several penned by Rudy Toombs). However, there is no evidence that Milburn had a drinking problem.

Milburn continued his successful drinking songs through 1952 {"Thinking and Drinking", "Trouble in Mind"} and was by now touring the country playing clubs. While touring the Midwest that summer, he announced that he would disband his combo and continue as a solo act and that fall he joined Charles Brown for a Southern concert tour. For the next few years his tours were made up of strings of one nighters. After three years of solo performing he returned to Houston in 1956 to reform his band. In 1957 Milburn's releases on Aladdin Records did not sell well, and the record label, having its own problems, went out of business. He tried to regain commercial success with a few more releases on Ace Records but his time had passed. Radio airplay was becoming focused on the teenage market."

Be it 'Good, Good Whiskey' or 'Bad, Bad Whiskey', the fact of the matter is you got a lot of whiskey to down. I suggest you get started, and remember, when a customs agent gives you the business, lie like a rug. Cheers!

Bad, Bad Whiskey - Amos Milburn

One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer - Amos Milburn

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Hooks", Line & Sinker

Can't hang much on ole' Mr. Hooks here besides several sides on 'Excello', home of such illustrious performers as Slim Harpo, among others. Likewise, the only other encouraging note I could find on Coleman is some scattered session work, but none of it quite holds a torch to this, his insidious plan of putting a black widow spider in the coffee of a former paramour !!!

More soul than blue lit, ya have to hand it to Hooks; it shows a lot of ingenuity where a simple pistol or hatchet would have sufficed.

Have a hot cup of Joe on Mr. Coleman here...just make sure you check the mug for arachnids.

Black Widow Spider - "Hooks" Coleman

The Art of Julio Ruelas

Julio Ruelas (1870-1907)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"We Got a Long Way to Go and a Short Time to Get There."

One of the worlds most underrated guitarists has done gone on. You only wish you were cool enough to be in a Scooby Doo cartoon.

R.I.P. 03/20/37 - 08/31/08

Don't Think Twice It's All Right - Jerry Reed