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Loses long struggle with heart attack complications

R.I.P. TOMMY TATE

Jackson, MS - January 20, 2017
 
Memphis Chanteuse

Ruby Wilson - The Queen of Beale Street - Dies at 68

Memphis, Tennessee - August 12, 2016

Ruby Wilson, known as the Queen of Beale Street, has died in Memphis at age 68 just days after suffering a heart attack.

Equally accomplished in Soul, Blues, Gospel, Pop, and Jazz, Wilson’s reputation as a matchless chanteuse won her instant fans worldwide; she toured Europe and Asia several times, performed with Isaac Hayes and B.B. King, Ray Charles and the Four Tops, Al Green’s Full Gospel Tabernacle, and was a featured favorite at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

She recorded ten solo albums and appeared in numerous films such as “The Chamber”, “Cookie’s Fortune”, and “The People vs. Larry Flynt”. She became a weekly feature at B.B. King’s Blues Club on Beale Street after moving to Memphis in 1972.

Wilson’s career was interrupted by a serious stroke in 2009, but she recovered sufficiently to resume her career, and had performed live as recently as last week. Ruby Wilson was born in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1948.

“Ruby was an extraordinary ambassador for Memphis, and soul, and R&B and gospel,” said her manager Rollin Riggs. “She had an exceptional stage presence that made you fall in love with her, no matter what style she was singing.” 

Resilience and persistence personified

The Gary Edwards Story

New Orleans, LA - April 23, 2015

Gary Edwards - Sound of New Orleans founder“This P Bass was with me for years and I had it cleaned up in Houston, still worked,” says Gary Edwards, owner and producer of Sound of New Orleans Records. “I gave it to the son of a guy that was very nice to me when we were there. His son is doing well in the biz, working for Red Bull shows, whatever they do. This picture is from 2005 I think, sometime after Katrina. Things were so damned confused then that I am not sure. I sent the picture to Fender. They used it in their magazine and sent me a new case and a nice bass amp. I gave that away to Carl Marshall, great guitar and bass player, now living in Houston. He had been burglarized, lost lots of stuff. So, I gave him the amp [and] another Fender Jazz Bass that we had restored from the flood.”

Throughout his career, Edwards has remained deeply embedded in the New Orleans music scene. An early association with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival continued for nearly two decades as Edwards helped establish new stages for the rapidly growing event, but more importantly was given responsibility for the Festival’s series of music workshops with visiting musicians in local schools throughout the city. During the 1980s, he was stage manager for the world-renowned Blue Room nightclub of the Fairmont Hotel, a venue for touring national acts.

Following a series of gospel recordings in the early 1980s, Edwards began to recognize the international appeal of Louisiana music of all genres, which led to his exploring Cajun and Zydeco music as well as local blues and R&B performers and, during the 1990s, the explosion of local brass bands blending old traditions with new sensibilities. Realizing he could record a wide variety of artists and that his label likely had a long future ahead of it, Edwards began construction of his own recording studio and offices in 1988, following a devastating fire that destroyed his previous office.

It was there that Edwards began creating the extraordinary series of recordings resulting in a catalogue of roughly 75 releases, 50 of them on CD, and still growing. Staying true to his original vision, selectively choosing acts to record and carefully producing each release, Edwards has vividly documented the richness of the New Orleans music tradition for more than 25 years. In the process, he has become a music-community resource, providing a platform for musicians who might otherwise go unheard while amassing a recorded collection of vernacular New Orleans and Louisiana Gulf Coast music unmatched by any label in the world.

Hurricane Katrina, which had been forecast to track northward along the U.S. Atlantic Coast before abruptly crossing the state of Florida and entering the Gulf of Mexico, took Gary Edwards, along with hundreds of thousands of other New Orleans residents, by surprise. Having very little time to prepare an evacuation, he threw some essentials in his van and relocated, along with his wife, Jennifer, to the greater Houston area. Behind, he left studio and offices eventually submerged under ten feet of floodwaters, destroying all equipment, files, and master tapes. A recently completed project with Zydeco rising star Dwayne Dopsie, was completely destroyed.

Upon relocating, Edwards set out to do what he knew best, make recordings, book musicians, and help out where possible. To assuage his own sense of grief, and fearing he would never again have the opportunity to record authentic New Orleans gospel, Edwards set about collecting the best and most moving tracks from his own gospel catalogue, releasing a CD called Gospel Favorites. At the same time, he made arrangements with Dwayne Dopsie and his band to use a Houston recording studio and re-create their lost release track-by-track, resulting in Traveling Man. He also made contributions to local New Orleans churches and helped them restore or replace musical instruments.

Returning to New Orleans in the spring of 2009, Edwards enthusiastically began to write a new chapter in the Sound of New Orleans story. Working directly with label owner Patrick Fremeaux, he helped assemble a 2-CD tribute released by the prestigious French label Fremeaux and Associates, known for its excellent taste in American roots music. The Story of the Independent New Orleans Jazz, Blues, Zydeco & Gospel Label represents the best overview so far of the entire range of music recorded by Gary Edwards over the past two decades. As label owner Patrick Fremeaux says. "All these titles, rescued from the flood, bear witness to the strength, resilience, and unquenchable spirit of the people of New Orleans."

Like the city itself, the Sound of New Orleans label, which had triumphed in the face of adverse conditions, entered a new phase of post-disaster survival and success.

At the same time, Edwards also formed an alliance with industry veteran Tim Whitsett to make Sound of New Orleans tracks from more than 50 albums available as digital downloads - either as single tracks or whole albums - on Whitsett's roots-music website LocoBop.

After that, it was back to the studio for Edwards and he began turning out in quick succession a series of soulful new CDs. Edwards also remains active in his role as New Orleans music ambassador, booking New Orleans-based acts in venues around the country and especially in Europe.

- Reprinted in its entirety from the 13th annual Blues Festival Guide.

"I am the King of this Bayou"

G.G. Shinn Returns for One Last Kiss

LocoBop News - April 21, 2015

Growing up and learning to play music in South Louisiana in the 1960s, I got to hear G.G. Shinn sing with the legendary swamp-rock band The Boogie Kings. I remember a Boogie Kings concert in the Atchafalaya Basin when G.G. brought the audience to its feet.  As he walked by me on his exit from the stage, he said, “I am the King of this Bayou!” No one could deny that.

Thus began my lifelong admiration of perhaps the greatest “Blue-Eyed Soul” vocalist ever.  In 2000 a dream came true for me:  I got the chance to produce the album “You Can Never Keep a Good Man Down” for G.G.

Early in 2015, G.G. called to say that he’d found an unreleased album that he recorded in the 1990s. The musicians were from his band: George Bitzer: Keyboards, Joel Carr: Guitar, Roger Blevins: Bass, Randy Carpenter: Drums. When you listen to this album, you’ll agree that G.G.’s voice was at its amazing best, and the musicians were absolutely perfect.  -- Gary J. Edwards, Producer.

---------

 I will never forget the first time I heard him sing. He took over the entire room - the band, the crowd, the help. I was mesmerized.  As a nineteen-year-old singer still in the development stage, that night started a lifetime of hero worship for me. I went to see him every chance I could, I acquired his recordings, I studied, I learned, I emulated, and he became my mentor and my friend.

 A talent like G. G. Shinn comes along maybe once in a lifetime, if at all. He should have been a household name everywhere for the last fifty years but, like many others, he somehow slipped through the cracks of the star maker machinery. Here on the Gulf Coast, he remains a legend, larger than life. His voice is simply extraordinary.

 To me, finding unreleased recorded material from G.G. Shinn is like discovering gold. -- Gregg Martinez, leader of the Delta Kings.

 

Spring is here, it's getting warmer

Hot Smoking Soul

LocoBop News - March 17, 2015


Listen \ Buy - Smoking SoulSmoking Soul features twelve hot tracks from LocoBop’s vaults by classic soul artists such as Jerry Butler, the Bar-Kays, the Masqueraders, Luther Ingram, Dobie Gray, Eddie Floyd, Carla Thomas and more.

Chicago’s Ice Man Jerry Butler opens the set with one of his best, “Only The Strong Survive.” Stepping up next is the Sweet Soul Singer Luther Ingram with his 1970s hit “I Like The Feeling”

Not to be outdone, Eddie (Knock On Wood) Floyd jams his version of the smash he wrote for Wilson Pickett: “Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do)”.  Dobie Gray then takes the stage with a truly smoking “Love To Burn”. 

Next up, the ever-wonderful Masqueraders deliver their disco-era anthem, “Desire”.  The Bar-Kays blow out the windows with their smash “Freakshow on the Dance Floor ". 

The Memphis Queen Carla Thomas gives us a live version of her ‘60s hit “B-A-B-Y”, which was recorded at a Roman Amphitheatre in Vienne, France.  Back in Memphis, Taxi Man J. Blackfoot powers through some soulful advice about the “Way Of The City”. 

Former Falcons member (with Eddie Floyd and Wilson Pickett) Sir Mack Rice wrote “Slow Rain Fast Train” for Tommy Tate who proves himself worthy of the song here. After Tommy’s lament, soul diva Veda Love, finds herself down in New Orleans “Standing On Shaky Ground”.
 

One the last artists to sign with Stax Records, R.B. Hudmon renders great version of Otis Redding’s posthumous hit, ”Too Hard To Handle”. The inimitable Memphis All Stars close the show with their infectious “Ain’t Nothing Better “.

 

Getting you in the mood

Romance your Soul

LocoBop News - March 3, 2015


For that quiet time at night, Romance My Soul features twelve timeless songs by classic soul artists Jerry Butler, the Masqueraders, Luther Ingram, Dobie Gray, Carla Thomas and more.

Romance My SoulLuther Ingram opens the show with his Stax-era smash, “Ain’t That Loving You For More Reasons Than One”. Ice Man “Jerry Butler then reprises his very first hit, from the ‘50s, “For Your Precious Love”. 

Next, Dobie Gray steps up to perform his late night, bedroom serenade version of Percy Sledge’s "When A Man Loves A Woman”.  In the same mood, the unsurpassable Ruby Wilson reproves herself for being the “Fool That I Am”. 

It’s The Masqueraders turn now, tackling the age-old mystery of “Love Between a Woman and a Man”. Randy Brown‘s smooth baritone croons about being mesmerized by “Bedroom Eyes”.

Amber lets Terri Anderson take the spotlight on the beautiful country-tinged ballad “Outside of Your Loving Me”. Next, in her warm soothing voice, New Orleans nightingale Tara Darnell assures her love “I’ll Be Here for You”.

Up the river in Memphis, the incomparable barrel house queen Di Anne Price sings the melancholy “Just For a Thrill”.  Tommy Tate, meanwhile, is going for broke in pursuit of love, with his composition “All Or Nothing”. 

Ex-Soul Children singer J. Blackfoot sings an ode to his girl with the Homer Banks classic “Sunshine Lady”. And Memphis sweetheart Carla Thomas closes out with another Homer Banks song, “Blossom”.

 

The Neighbors Will Call the Cops

More Jams to Shake the House

LocoBop News - February 24, 2015


Volume Two of LocoBop’s new Shake the House series will shatter your glasses and topple yourShake the House Vol. II chimneys. The lineup here includes Albert King, The Bar-Kays, J. Blackfoot, Eddie Floyd, Luther Ingram, Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, and more. 


Curtain raisers, the Barkays romp through one of their glorious funk anthems of the 1980s: “Traffic Jammer”. Then Eddie Floyd steps up with an equally rousing live version of “On A Saturday Night” from his late 1960s repertoire. 

One of Louisiana’s top swamp-poppers - G.G. Chinn leads his big band through a regional favorite with “She’s a Big Fat Woman”. Yan C, a Memphis rapper who was under-appreciated at the time is happily repersented on this album with two tracks: “Shake What You Got (Part One)” and “Shake What You Got (Part Two)”. 

Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers race through their steamy track “Got My Mind Gone” from the LocoBop album Up In Flames. Keeping up the pace, Houston swamp-popper and blues-harmonica virtuoso Tommy Dardar gives us “That's What Keeps Me Rockin'” from his album Blues Fool. 

Our favorite barrel-house queen, the late Di Anne Price takes us deep into a dark, smoky roadhouse atmosphere with “I’m Not Drunk, I’m Just Drinkin’”. Next up, J. Blackfoot of Taxi fame, sings one of his typically funky Memphis soul classics, “City Slicker”. The Jumpin’ Chi Chis, (the Memphis answer to Joe Butera and the Witnesses) storms the stage now with “Chicks 4 Chi Chi”.

Wrapping up, are two former Stax stalwarts: Luther Ingram and Albert King. Luther’s soulful plaint - “It's Too Much” is one of his finest uptempo recordings. Albert’s live version of “Finger On The Trigger” is definitely a show closer.

 

Tear the House Down

Let's Shake the Place

LocoBop News - February 10, 2015
 

Shake the House Vol. IVolume One of LocoBop’s new Shake the House series is guaranteed to rattle your windows.  Featured artists include the Bar-Kays, Eddie Floyd, Rufus Thomas, Luther Ingram, Eddie Cotton and more, all selected to get you on your feet.

Eddie Floyd
kicks things off with his classic “Raise Your Hand” followed by blues guitar-maestro Eddie Cotton rollicking through his version of the old Willie Dixon favorite called “The Same Thing”.
 

Before you can catch your breath, accordion whiz Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers offer the slamming “Better Go Get It”. Keeping up the pace, Houston’s Pop-Swamper and blues-harmonica virtuoso Tommy Dardar tells us about our “Crazy Mixed Up World”. 

The legendary minstrel showman and world’s oldest teenager Rufus Thomas is up next, partying with “I’ll Be A Good Boy”. Rufus composed the next track, “Philly Dog”, which was recorded live in Viennes, France by the Memphis All Star Band, when they opened a concert for Rufus’s Daughter, Carla Thomas. Speaking of Carla’s concert, her live recording of “Lovey Dovey” is just as exciting now as when she and Otis Redding charted with it over 40 years ago.

“Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone” is Bourbon Street fixture Chewy Thunderfoot Black’s worthy contribution to the album. Chewy is followed by fellow Big Easy star Tommy Ridgley rocking his way through the New Orleans classic “Ooh Poo Pah Doo.”

The final three tracks take us back to Memphis: The Memphis All Stars give us an incredible house destroying version of “Jesus On The Mainline;” “I Can't Stop” comes from sweet soul singer Luther Ingram; and lastly the great Bar-Kays bring down the roof and end the set with “Holy Ghost”.

 

The Definitive Tommy Tate Retrospective

Best of Tommy Tate's Album Releases from LocoBop, Urgent!, and Koko/Stax Records

LocoBop News - January 15, 2015


An almost cult-like figure in the Deep Soul, Southern Soul, and British Northern Soul circles, Tommy Tate started drumming and singing in small clubs in the Jackson, Mississippi area when he was thirteen.

During the 1960s, he recorded singles for ABC-Paramount
, Okeh, Verve, Swing, Atco, BigTommy Tate - Refreshed Ten, and Musicor. On many of these recordings, he was backed by fellow Jacksonians, Tim Whitsett & the Imperial Show Band. In 1965, Tommy began performing with Whitsett’s band (along with Dorothy Moore) and by 1966 he’d become their featured vocalist.  Between 1966 and 1969, Tommy and the Show Band, traveled extensively, performing in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Canada. 
 

In 1970, Whitsett joined Stax Records and recruited Tommy to the label’s roster. Tommy recorded some 20 tracks for Stax and its distributed label KoKo, and wrote many chart songs for Luther Ingram. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, he cut one album for Frederick Knight’s Juana label, two LPs for Tim Whitsett’s Urgent! Records, dozens of sides for the Sundance label, and wrote numerous songs for Malaco artists Bobby Blue Bland, Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton, et al.
 

Tommy Tate’s singing and songwriting career came to an unfortunate and premature end in 2002 when he suffered a debilitating stroke. But he continues to gain new fans as his recordings keep appearing in compilations and new formats.

 

Sound of New Orleans showcases Patrick Williams

Real Deal Harmonica Blues

LocoBop News - January 15, 2015


Patrick Williams - Big Easy Blues
Looking for the real-deal blues? Well, step right up and give a listen, because Patrick Williams and His Blues Xpress deliver blues like they were meant to be played: fiery hot through and through, with the soul-stirring conviction of a veteran bluesman who plays each and every note like he really means it. And he does. Whether it’s a take-your-time ballad like Bobby Blue Bland’s “Double Trouble,” an uptempo blazer like “Big Leg Woman,” a psychedelicized version of Jimi Hendrix’ “Little Wing,” or a Latin-beat rocker like “Already Gone,” Patrick Williams packs a lifetime of absorbing and perfecting the best blues influences from the streets, the bandstand, and the blues stratosphere into each and every performance. Raised in the New Orleans projects, he’s always been surrounded by the inspirational sounds of blues and jazz. Teaching himself to play harmonica in high school, he went on to obtain a formal education in music performance. By his early 20s, he was already gigging on Bourbon Street and touring the world with the Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr., band, jamming with A-listers from Dan Ackroyd to Louisiana’s own Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Along the way, he has fine-tuned his take-no-prisoners approach, grinding the surface to a fine sheen and bulking up the lock-it-in-the-pocket drive, so you can be assured that Patrick Williams and His Blues Xpress is going to deliver the blues like they were meant to be played, wrapped in a great big sound, and honed to perfection making it easy to enjoy—The Big Easy Blues—all that and nothin’ but—from Patrick Williams and His Blues Xpress.
-  Sir Roger Hahn

 

Sound of New Orleans Founder Recognized

Lifetime Achievement In Music Business: Gary Edwards

LocoBop News - December 29, 2014

 

By Jeff Hannusch for OffBeat Magazine
 

Gary Edwards - founder of Sound of New Orleans RecordsIt’s somewhat appropriate that this year Gary Edwards is the recipient of OffBeat’s Lifetime Achievement Award, annually given to a member of the New Orleans music-business community, since he recently moved to Music Street in the Gentilly section of the city.
 

During the last 50 years, Edwards has worn many hats in the business of music. Musician, booking agent, sound engineer, retailer, wholesaler, producer, label and studio owner—if it has something to do with music, Edwards probably has done it.

Edwards grew up on the Northshore and by the time he was in high school was playing guitar and bass in several bands. “We played R&B, not rock ’n’ roll,” specifies Edwards. While attending Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Edwards continued to play R&B and began managing a popular club—Cave Tangi—where he booked popular bands from around the area. After graduation, Edwards moved to New Orleans in the mid-’60s to pursue a teaching career.

“I taught high school chemistry for several years,” he recalls. “The plan was to go to law school, but after one semester, I decided that law wasn’t for me. There was a lot of great music around New Orleans at the time. Deacon John probably had the best band around then—they were so good they intimidated me as a musician.”

Edwards took a job in a musical instrument shop and eventually took over its ownership. Through the shop, Edwards nurtured a relationship with one of his primary influences, Ellis Marsalis.

“Ellis had been playing with Al Hirt, making plenty of money, but he quit to start his own group,” Edwards says. “I’d go see him play in the Quarter. He played trad jazz but he did it with a modern flare. He was getting ready to present regular jazz gigs at the Labor Union Hall and the hall needed a sound system. I knew how to put one together so I did it for Ellis. Then, when he went to Lu and Charlie’s, I put the sound system in there. I was always amazed that here was an extraordinarily talented musician—he’d play his gigs and go back to his family’s motel and be the night clerk. He had to, to make ends meet.”

Through his experience with amplified sound, Edwards was approached by Quint Davis to set up the sound at the first New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1970—four stages at Congo Square.
 

A two-day event then, someone made off with all of his microphones after the first day and Edwards had to scramble to find 20 more microphones so the second day could be presented. It was at the 1970 festival that Edwards met another big influence—Sherman Washington, who led the Zion Harmonizers.

“There was just something emotional and honest about their [gospel harmony] music that struck me,” Edwards remembers. “It was more than just singing; it was delivering God’s love and message. Being around that music and those musicians had a tremendous effect on me.”

Not only would Edwards later record the Zion Harmonizers when he later started his own label (aptly named the Sound of New Orleans), Washington introduced him to the local black religious community, which helped him expand his sound rental and retail business. A favorite at music festivals in Europe, Washington also introduced Edwards to several European promoters—contacts he has maintained to this day. (Just last month, Edwards took several New Orleans groups to the Umbria Festival Italy.)

The ’80s was a very busy decade for Edwards. His music-rental business grew to be the largest in the South (he continued to supply equipment to the Jazz and Heritage Festival and did likewise at the 1984 World’s Fair) and he also owned St. Bernard Parish’s largest record shop. (“I made a fortune selling Led Zeppelin, Motley Crew and Michael Jackson LPs,” Edwards says with a laugh.) He also became the stage manager at the Fairmont Hotel’s famed Blue Room. If that wasn’t enough, Edwards took an expanding interest in working in the studio, building up the Sound of New Orleans’ catalog of gospel, Dixieland, blues, R&B and trad jazz. This would lead him to his third major influence—Cosimo Matassa.

“I got to know Cos at his last studio on Camp Street,” Edwards explains, “but I’d studied his recordings for years. Cos had this unique way of capturing spontaneity in his recordings. He just let the musicians do their thing and got out of the way. That’s the approach I copied.”

Unfortunately, Edwards’ world went up in smoke in 1988 as a huge fire destroyed his Mid City warehouse. He lost all of his sound equipment, his files, his stock of albums and tapes. “One of the biggest regrets in my life is not having fire insurance,” laments Edwards.

Back at square one, Edwards moved to St. Louis and didn’t return to New Orleans until 1992. Back on his feet, Edwards set up shop on Canal Boulevard, where he opened the Sound of New Orleans Studio. The ’90s was a fertile decade for New Orleans music and Edwards helped facilitate its growth. With the advent of the compact disc, the Sound of New Orleans catalogue grew rapidly. By recording the Treme, Algiers and High Steppers brass bands, Edwards assisted in the New Orleans brass-band explosion. Several Latin, swamp pop, Cajun and zydeco releases also appeared on S.O.N.O., along with the Dixieland, R&B and gospel standbys. Clearly, by the early part of the new millennium, Edwards had one of the largest and most diverse local recording labels. Then came Katrina.

Edwards’ building took on 10 feet of water. Again, he lost everything, including 13 rare and highly collectable Hammond organs Edwards obtained over the years form local churches. “My other big regret is not having flood insurance,” says Edwards.

After the storm, Edwards and his wife bought a house in Houston, not to return to New Orleans until 2009. Edwards steadily picked up the pieces, replacing his catalogue and adding to it. In fact, at the time of this interview, Edwards was in the process of finishing up a CD project with Patrick Williams and his Blues Xpress.

While rooted in tradition, Edwards also has his thumb on modern trends. When asked about the current “sound” of New Orleans music, he was quick to reply: “Truthfully, I think it’s getting diluted. It’s losing its unique identity. Since the storm, a lot of out-of-town musicians have moved here. Technically, they’re very good players, but they don’t have that New Orleans feel that a lot of listeners are used to.”

 

Stone cold classic

New Single by Tommy Ridgley: Ooh Poo Pah Doo

LocoBop News - October 15, 2014

Tommy Ridgley is a real New Orleans legend, having remained active as aListen | Buy - Tommy Ridgley - Ooh Poo Pah Doo popular lead singer and bandleader for almost 50 years following his 1949 Imperial Records debut.  With a style based on the genre of jump blues that preceded the emergence of rhythm & blues in the early 1950s, he was well-suited to pleasing audiences in New Orleans and throughout the Gulf South as a bandleader, R&B stylist, and serious blues belter. “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” is a stone-cold classic of certified R&B roots written and originally recorded by Jesse Hill. Ridgley makes it his own with his version, cut it true to the original a few years before his death in 1999.

1962 smash revived

Carol Fran Single: I Know

LocoBop News - October 15, 2014

Listen | Buy - Carol Fran - I KnowBorn in Lafayette, Louisiana, this highly accomplished pianist and singer’s outstanding talent has paved the way for her prominence in the best Gulf Coast nightclubs and a series of European music festivals.  Backed by guitar, bass, and drums, she turns in an intensely upbeat and swinging performance of the 1960s New Orleans classic “I Know”.

Charlie harkens back to Lee Dorsey

Charlie Cuccia Single Begs for  Relief: Get Out of My Life Woman

LocoBop News - October 15, 2014

New Orleans native Charlie Cuccia pays tribute to the Crescent City’s deep R&BListen | Buy - Chatrlie Cuccia - Get Out of My Life Woman tradition with a sizzling version of Lee Dorsey’s “Get Out of My Life, Woman”. Cuccia’s rough-hewn, tightly deployed, rockabilly-tinged, hard-rockin’ rock’n’blues has been a favorite of audiences throughout the Southeast region since the 1970s.

Dixieland with "unbridled enthusiasm"

Sizzling Single from Jack London's Bayou Jazz Band

LocoBop News - October 15, 2014

Listen | Buy - Jack London - That's a PlentyJack London‘s Bayou Jazz Band Jazz blend’s both the spirit of early Americana and old-time jazz with irresistible, high-spirited playing and unbridled enthusiasm. Playing “clean,” tight, and with unrelenting, pulsating momentum – they revive tunes from the early 20th century, bringing them to life in a style that resembles the contemporary swing-band roots movement. In “That’s a Plenty” The Bayou Jazz Band has created a timeless classic.

What women are like

Rocking R&B Single - G.G. Shinn's Ain't That Just Like a Woman

LocoBop News - October 15, 2014

There’s a special brand of music that evolved along the Gulf Coast of southeastListen | Buy - G.G. Shinn - Ain't That Just Like a Woman Texas and on the prairies of southwestern Louisiana called “swamp pop” and it remains a favorite genre for legions of regional music fans, not to mention music lovers all around the world. Simply put, swamp pop combines early R&B formats with a mainstream sensibility and a strong blues feeling. G.G. Shinn is one those southeast Louisiana musicians famous among fans of “swamp pop” but mostly unheard of by the majority of music fans.  G.G.’s version of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That Just Like a Woman” will make an instant believer of anyone who loves early rock’n’roll, big-band R&B arrangements, and hard-driving blues.

Memphis Guitar

Papa Don McMinn's Auto-Biographical Single: Black Guitar

LocoBop News - October 15, 2014

Listen | Buy - Papa Don McMinn - Black GuitarMemphis Music legend Papa Don McMinn was instrumental in the rebirth of the Home of the Blues: Beale Street in Memphis Tennessee. During the mid-1980s, Papa Don’s band had the "house gig" at Rum Boogie on the corner of Beale and Highway 61. Everyone who was anyone was there, and when the big names came to town to record or perform, there was only one place to go - to see Papa Don McMinn and his Rum Boogie band. Papa Don has worked and recorded with the likes of Memphis Slim, John Mayall, Bobby "Blue" Bland, and Albert King. Some of the notables who’ve made cameo appearances with Papa Don's band are Joe Walsh, Gregg Allman, Rufus Thomas, Jon Bonjovi, Billy F Gibbons, and Eddie Floyd. Self-penned “Black Guitar” is an audience favorite among Papa Don’s repertoire.

Second life star back on the road

New Single from Von Johin

LocoBop News - October 15, 2014

Nashville musician and vocalist Von Johin grew up in the southern USA playingListen | Buy - Von Johin - Back on the Road Again juke joints all across the Chitlin’ Circuit. An ardent follower of the greats of blues music, Von Johin delivers his powerful shows every week online at  Second Life. Von’s real life persona has recorded and performed with members of Hot Tuna / Jefferson Airplane, Joe Louis walker, Jerry Garcia band, Fleetwood Mac, and Narada Michael Walden. Raised playing blues and bluegrass, Von fuses the two genres together with his self-penned “On the Road Again.”

Historical New Orleans bandleader

Great Single from Placide Adams & the Original Dixieland Hall Jazz Band: New Orleans Function

LocoBop News - October 15, 2014

Placide Adams was an exemplary and stalwart proponent of traditional New Orleans jazz.

Listen | Buy - Placide Adams - New Orleans FunctionBorn Aug 30, 1929 near Algiers, Louisiana, He then toured with early rhythm and blues stars like Clyde McPhatter, Ruth Brown, Roy Brown, B.B. King and Big Joe Turner. But in the 1960s, Placide returned to traditional jazz, becoming a founding member of Preservation Hall. In 1978, Adams became the fourth leader of a New Orleans institution - The Onward Brass Band (founded in 1886), and remained the band’s leader right up until his death. But, in addition to the Onward Brass Band, Adams was also leader of the Original Dixieland Hall Jazz Band. From 1991 until he died in 2003, he was a fixture with the band at the popular Hilton Hotel in New Orleans.

Swamp pop sixties hit reborn

Mathilda: New single served up by Selwyn Cooper

LocoBop News - October 15, 2014

Listen | Buy - Selwyn Cooper - MathildaElectric guitar slinger and blues vocalist Selwyn Cooper has done much more than simply pay his dues – he has banked away the kind of musical experience few other blues musicians can match. Just for starters, he’s played in the back-up bands of three of the greatest musicians to emerge from the southwest Louisiana Gulf Coast: Zydeco King Clifton Chenier, Zydeco World Ambassador Buckwheat Zydeco, and Zydeco Heir Apparent Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. “Mathilda,” originally a hit by Cookie & the Cupcakes, is a classic Louisiana swamp pop anthem, played exactly the way it was meant to be heard!

J. Blackfoot Hooks You With This Song

Going Half Way In, Coming Half Way Out

LocoBop News - September 19, 2014


After a stint with the Bar-Kays, J.Blackfoot became lead singer in a new Stax vocal group, The Soul Children (scoring 15 R&B hits between 1968 and 1978). Later as a solo artist, and until his death in 2011, he placed R&B charters such as “Taxi” and “Just One Lifetime”.

One of our favorite Blackfoot recordings is “Halfway in Halfway Out”, written by Frederick Knight. The song’s hook will stay with you forever.
 

Carry Me On to the Graveyard

Tommy Tate in 1968 re-release

LocoBop News - September 19, 2014


Tommy Tate’s music career came to an unfortunate and premature end in 2002 when he suffered a debilitating stroke.

His repertoire, starting in the mid-sixties, includes numerous releases on ABC-Paramount,Tommy Tate - Get it Over Anyway Verve, Atco, Musicor, Okeh, and KoKo (Stax), plus the dozens of songs he wrote for others (James Carr, Bobby Blue Bland, Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton, et al).

“Get It Over Anyway” and “Stand By Me” were recorded with Tim Whitsett’s Imperial Show Band in the 1960s; they show off the young Tommy Tate in full throat, ready to go one on one with Wilson Pickett, Ben E. King, and other contemporary soul men of this era.

 

When a Man Loves a Woman

Dobie Gray Croons the Percy Sledge Anthem

LocoBop News - September 19, 2014


Dobie Gray - When a Man Loves a Woman
Percy Sledge’s searing classic “When a Man Loves a Woman” is treated to a smooth, romantic interpretation by Dobie Gray, giving the song a whole new meaning.

Best remembered for his Top 5 hit, "Drift Away," Dobie scored numerous other hits during his career, not only as a recording artist, but also as a songwriter for Don Williams, Charley Pride, George Jones, and John Denver, etc.

Dobie pursued an acting career as well, appearing In several television series and a two-and-a-half year stint
in the Los Angeles production of Hair.
 

Can't resist Di Anne Price

She Wants a Bowl of Sugar and a Bottle of Beer

LocoBop News - September 19, 2014


If you’ve never heard Di Anne Price, this digital single (“Sugar in My Bowl” b/w “One More Bottle of Beer”) will compel you to join the ranks of her die-hard fans.Di Anne Price - Sugar in My Bowl

The late Memphis blues and jazz artist was easily one of the fabled music city’s most beloved performers. Her superb LocoBop albums showcase her smoky vocals, barrelhouse piano, and her fascination with a variety of blues and jazz styles from 1920s throwback to more contemporary arrangements.
 

Betcha can't sit still

Eddie Cotton Scorches Willie Dixon's "Same Thing"

LocoBop News - September 9, 2014

Eddie Cotton’s triumphant arrival on the blues scene was a thrilling discovery for blues fans, especially those serious aficionados worrying about the future of the genre. In Eddie Cotton, they celebrated the rebirth of authentic traditional blues just as the revered generation of 20th century blues icons passed.

Eddie Cotton found inspiration in traditional blues masters like Little Milton, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Albert King, as well as soul singers like O.V. Wright, Little Willie John, and Otis Redding.

Eddie shines on creative arrangements and interpretations of Willie Dixon’s scorching “Same Thing” and Hound Dog Taylor’s “She’s Gone.” These two great tracks are from Eddie’s LocoBop album “Live at the Alamo Theater.”

 

Who left ashes in my ash tray?

Jody Got Chewy Thunderfoot Black's Girl

LocoBop News - September 9, 2014

Before heading out on his own in the mid-1990s, Chewy “Thunderfoot” Black was the drummer and musical director for nearly decade behind Buddy Ace, the “Silver Fox” of the blues. Prior to that, the versatile R&B artist had toured extensively with such icons of soul as Joe Tex, Johnny Adams, Tommy Ridgely, Earl King, and Malaco Records star, Z.Z. Hill.

But simply calling Chewy “old school” hardly begins to describe the finesse, grit, and deep feeling the versatile and accomplished vocalist, drummer, and bandleader brings to his hard-rocking and impassioned repertoire.

The selections we present here as a digital “single” are from his eponymous Sound of New Orleans / LocoBop album entitled, of course, Chewy Thunderfoot Black. Our ‘A side’ choice is a window rattling version of the Johnnie Taylor hit “Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone.” But the ‘B side’ - James Brown’s classic “I Feel Good” - will also get you off your seat and onto your feet just as quickly.

Making use of a select group of top New Orleans R&B musicians, Chewy has crafted two “old school” arrangements for this recording that highlight the hard-driving sound of a full complement road band.

Professor LocoBop says, “You will like this, by gum.”

 

He ain't nothing but a son in law

C.P. Love's 1968 Version of Trick Bag is Available At Last

LocoBop News - September 9, 2014

Carleton Pierre (C.P.) Love was born in 1945 on the West Bank of New Orleans. By the age of 12, he was a self-taught guitarist leading a four-piece band. Love later joined Little Benny and the Creoles playing the bass, but when the vocalist couldn’t learn new material, he dropped the bass and concentrated on singing.

Influenced by what he heard on radio - Sam Cooke, Elmore James, Danny White, Smiley Lewis, and Johnnie Taylor, C.P. also picked up pointers at the Dew Drop, listening to Deacon John, Esquerita, and Earl King.” And on his first marquee gig he shared the stage with Professor Longhair.

In the late ‘60s, C.P. cut his first record (“You Call the Shots”) for Earl King’s label . Then in 1968, Tim Whitsett brought C.P. to Malaco Studios in Jackson, MS, and produced “Trick Bag”, a New Orleans classic written by Earl King. Whitsett joined Stax Records soon afterward, and “Trick Bag” languished unheard - apart from releases in the U.K. and Japan in the 1980s and ‘90s - on a tape reel buried under a stack of others. So here, after nearly five decades, we present to the world C.P. Love’s high clear baritone rendition of “Trick Bag”.

 

 Jaunty Joplin-esque Jazz

The Tony Thomas Trio Goes Neo-Retro with Melodious Funk

LocoBop News - September 9, 2014

Keyboardist Tony Thomas, bassist Sam Shoup, and drummer Tom Lonardo have been playing together since 1979. Acclaimed in the Memphis area for their original and highly innovative jazz compositions, the Tony Thomas Trio also garnered a degree of world-wide fame in a previous incarnation: the Dog Police. Their recording and video of the same name was an MTV sensation in the 1980s.  

The trio, both individually and as a unit, are among the most esteemed musicians and in-demand session players in the south. They’ve performed with Diahann Carroll, Mose Allison, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Wynton Marsalis, Richard “Groove” Holmes, The Memphis Symphony, The New York Pops Orchestra (for which bassist Sam Shoup is a staff arranger), and on literally thousands of commercial music jingles. 

The trio work in an easygoing swing setting that compares to classic Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, and Ahmad Jamal. 

This “Singles” 2-sider format focuses on two tracks from their award-winning, all-original jazz album, Progreso. The jaunty Joplin-esque number appropriately called “Melodious Funk” and the beautiful hymn-like “Saints” were both composed by drummer Tom Lonardo.

Professor LocoBop devoutly loves the Tony ThomasTrio and emphatically thinks you should too.

 

They woulda, coulda, shoulda

Amber Alert!

LocoBop News - May 9, 2014


Amber
, two girls and a guy combining the racial make up of Tony Orlando & Dawn with the smooth vocal harmonies of Abba, graced the disco charts in Europe in 1979-1981 with tracks released on EMI and the London Label. Their Abba-ish vocal sound was reinforced somewhat by their producer Carson Whitsett, who wrote and arranged all their material.

Amber’s European flair added occasional confusion about their origins during their short career together, as they appeared on various popular music television shows across Europe, such as Britain’s Top of The Pops. Actually, they were from Jackson, Mississippi.

Cheryl Bundy and Val Kashimura came to Jackson by way of Detroit. At the time, Carson Whitsett was theListen | Buy - Amber - Love Attack keyboardist in the Malaco Records session band, as well as a co-producer for a number of Malaco Artists. One of the first recordings Val, Cheryl, and Carson worked together on was “Ring My Bell”, by Anita Ward, which became a worldwide jillion-selling summer disco anthem. In 1980, one of Carson’s co-producers (Tommy Couch) came across a song recorded in London. It was called “Together We Are Beautiful,” written by a Londoner, Ken LeRay. They produced it on Malaco artist Fern Kenny. In America, the label released a disco version of Fern grinding her way through “Groove Me,” a record that got great reception in the US Disco markets. But Malaco’s distribution in England was handled by Warner Brothers, who decided to turn the  record over and promote “Together We’re Beautiful”. The decision was justified; within weeks, the record was number one throughout Great Britain.

Enter Mike Mullen. Mike had also been a background singer at Malaco; he was also Hollywood handsome. To Carson, It really seemed an obvious idea to combine Mike with the girls and then pursue recording fame and glory. In retrospect, it still seems like it was a good idea. But by 1982, Carson had moved to Nashville, Mike was traveling full time for an Oil company, Val was living in Japan, and Amber’s balloon was out of air.
 

We're Going Disco Crazy Again

Here's Your Summer Party Music

LocoBop News - April 30, 2014


Disco Loco Volume III
is the latest release in LocoBop’s series of dance tracks circa 1977 – 1982 covering the flamboyant disco era represented in the film Saturday Night Fever.

 

The Bar-Kays 40-year career produced 27 albums (5 gold and 1 platinum), 37 singles (28 in the Top Ten) and membership in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. "Traffic Jammer" continues to be a dance favorite today. J. Blackfoot scored Soul/R&B hits before and after the disco period (solo and with the Soul Children). “Cool this Fire” was cut at the height of Disco’s popularity.

Listen | Buy - Disco Loco Vol. III
The Masqueraders
’ “Desire”, "Lady, You've Got to Get the Groove" by The Amazing Mr. Brown and Eddie Floyd covering his own classic “Knock on Wood” in Trance-Disco fashion are other prime examples of Memphis soul acts who cashed in on the disco fad without harming their R&B credentials. Carson Whitsett’s “Chu Chu Peru” is a frenetic, melodic electro disco instrumental flush with sequencers and synthesizers.
 

Amber, two girls and a guy coupling the racial make up of Tony Orlando & Dawn with the smooth vocal harmonies of Abba, graced disco charts in Europe on the London label with “DixieDisco”. “Jumping Jack” is from the late Scott Mateer, a top mid-South DJ of the period.

New Orleans fixture Chewy Thunderfoot Black takes Johnnie Taylor's “Jody's Got Your Girl and Gone” and makes it his own. Richard Orange is another Memphis icon whose “Long Distance Love” made noise in Europe on the DJM label.

 

Wacky Memphis band Dog Police (whose eponymous hit was ubiquitous on MTV in the '80s) serve up a quirky ode to being "In The Studio." And what became of Dog Police? They evolved into the Jumpin' Chi Chis  and conjured up "Can't Get Down", using a portion of the Average White Band's DNA.

 

The most exciting living Zydeco accordionist

Dwayne Dopsie - Zydeco fire from Louisiana

LocoBop News - April 18, 2014


Cajun music and Zydeco have long flourished as family affairs. Dynasties such as Chenier, Balfa,Listen | Buy - Dwayne Dopsie Ardoin, Savoy and Delafose come quickly to mind – and so does the Rubin family. The late accordionist Alton Rubin (1932 - 1993), better known as Rockin’ Dopsie, fathered four sons who proudly celebrate his Zydeco legacy today. Three of them – David (a.k.a. Dopsie Junior) Anthony, and Tiger – lead the band that now bears the Rockin’ Dopsie name. And Dopsie’s son Dwayne fronts his own group, the aptly named Zydeco Hellraisers, who unleash a supercharged style that is simultaneously traditional, contemporary, and futuristic.

Dwayne’s fifth album, Up In Flames, was heralded by critics as an accomplished and important arrival of a young force to be reckoned with in Zydeco. His deft accompanists, guitarist Shelton Sonnier and saxophonist Carl Landry, are similarly daring yet equally well-grounded soloists. The band’s fierce groove is further insured by the powerful three-man rhythm section of bassist Dion Pierre, frottoir player Alex MacDonald, and drummer Calvin Sam.

This single, two-song format features two brilliant tracks from the Up In Flames album: ‘Better Go Get It’ and ‘Just Come Back Home.’
 

We can't get enough of this jazz trio

Put the Tony Thomas Trio on a loop

LocoBop News - April 11, 2014


Listen | Buy - Tony Thomas Trio - Sad Eyes
Keyboardist Tony Thomas, bassist Sam Shoup, and drummer Tom Lonardo have been playing together since 1979. Acclaimed in the Memphis area for their original and highly innovative jazz compositions, the Tony Thomas Trio also garnered a degree of world-wide fame in a previous incarnation: the Dog Police. Their recording and video of the same name was an MTV sensation in the 1980s.  

The trio, both individually and as a unit, are among the most esteemed musicians and in-demand session players in the south. They’ve performed with Diahann Carroll, Mose Allison, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Wynton Marsalis, Richard “Groove” Holmes, The Memphis Symphony, The New York Pops Orchestra (for which bassist Sam Shoup is a staff arranger), and on literally thousands of commercial music jingles. 

The trio work in an easygoing swing setting that compares to classic Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, and Ahmad Jamal. 

This “Singles” 2-track format focuses on two songs from their award-winning, all-original jazz album, Progreso.  The hauntingly beautiful Sad Eyes was composed by drummer Tom Lonardo; the New Orleans-flavored groove of Slide-L is the inspiration of bassist Sam Shoup.

 

Did he sell his soul for that voice?

Presenting the Amazing Mr. Brown...

LocoBop News - April 3, 2014


The mid-1980s was a particularly hectic time for producer / songwriter Homer Banks. HisListen | Buy - The Amazing Mr. Brown professional life had been rushed for years due to demand from artists, record labels, and other producers for fresh songs from his personal workshop, songs like the hits he’d provided for Luther Ingram, The Staples Singers, Johnnie Taylor, Sam & Dave, Rod Stewart, Elvis Costello, and others. Now he had cofounded Soundtown Records, and was producing and writing around the clock for artists signed to his label (Shirley Brown, J. Blackfoot, Carla Thomas, Randy Brown, to name a few). And he also had executive duties as well, managing the record company.
 

Then into Homer’s hive of hyper-activity one afternoon walked a young man named Willie Brown. Despite a very full plate, a full roster, and very little free time, Homer was intrigued by Brown’s voice, and arranged for him to cut a couple of demos. Pleased with the demo results, Banks offered a singles deal to Brown and scheduled a session to cut two sides for Soundtown.
 

Everyone was very happy with the recording session, but – Brown disappeared soon afterwards. And he’s remained a mystery and a vanishing memory until now. We’ve rediscovered these tracks thirty years after the session, thirty years after anyone connected with the session has seen Willie Brown. Homer Banks died years ago, as have many of the musicians on the session. The few people we were able to track down remember Willie Brown, but they can’t even agree on what he looked like, much less where he was from, where he might have gone, or what might have happened to him. But they do all agree on one thing. Without being prompted, they each said, “He had an amazing voice!”

 

Turn Out The Lights

The Crooners Will Turn You On

LocoBop News - March 24, 2014


Ten top tier soul crooners are featured on this LocoBop album of warm, romantic songs.

Listen | Buy - Romantic Soul CronersThe inimitable Jerry Butler opens the set with his rendition of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s classic “Make it Easy on Yourself.” Jerry Butler transitions into Dobie Gray’s “When a Man Loves a Woman”, a far smoother and more romantic version than Percy Sledge’s impassioned plea. The ‘sweet soul singer’ Luther Ingram offers the third selection, his multi-jillion selling “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to be Right.”

Eddie Floyd debuts a heretofore unreleased track, “Loving You,” recorded with former Stax colleagues in 1980. The Masqueraders offer up one of their most favorably received songs “(Call Me) The Traveling Man.” We reach way back into the vaults to reissue “Don’t Fool Yourself” from Ivory Joe Hunter.” Memphis product J. Blackfoot sings another beautiful Homer Banks anthem, “I’m Going Away.”

Tommy Tate croons the self-penned “Don’t Make Me Explain.” Another great Homer Banks song follows, “Bedroom Eyes”, this time more than ably taken up by Randy Brown. R.B. Hudmon closes us out with “It Makes Me Wanna Cry.”
 

Truly a child of soul

More picks from LocoBop's vault: J. Blackfoot!

LocoBop News - February 28, 2014

 

'J. Blackfoot' is a nickname John Colbert picked up during hisListen | Buy J. Blackfoot Refreshed boyhood years in Memphis, Tennessee. He broke into the music business at age nineteen as lead singer of a new line-up of The Barkays, whose original members had died in the plane crash that also killed Otis Redding.

 
Isaac Hayes and David Porter (famed for their Sam & Dave productions) then recruited Blackfoot to sing lead in a new vocal group, The Soul Children (who scored 15 R&B hits between 1968 and 1978).


After the group split up, Blackfoot began his career as a solo artist, produced by Stax colleagues Homer Banks and Chuck Brooks. Success came with the R&B smash 'Taxi´ followed by 'Just One Lifetime.’ After the Banks and Brooks partnership ended, former Stax keyboard maestro Lester Snell teamed with Homer Banks, and Blackfoot’s output continued seamlessly with no hiccup in quality or quantity.


J. Blackfoot died of cancer in November 2011. He was 65. “What I remember more than anything about him was his naturalness,” said Stax songwriting legend David Porter, who discovered Blackfoot more than 40 years ago
. “When I first heard him, there was naturalness in his phrasing, in his charm, that was unique. He always stayed true to that.”

 

LocoBop’s vault contains around 60 tracks by J. Blackfoot, from which we’ve released five albums prior to this one. We chose 12 of those tracks to “refresh” for Blackfoot’s old fans and to hopefully engage many future fans as well.
 

One of the pillars of Stax

Favorites from the LocoBop vault: Eddie Floyd!

LocoBop News - February 20, 2014


Listen | Buy Eddie Floyd Refreshed
Soul fans have known Eddie Floyd for six decades. Cofounder of The Falcons, a Detroit vocal group that paved the way for The Temptations and The Four Tops, Floyd and the group recorded what is considered one of the first Soul records, "You're So Fine". Later, they recruited Wilson Pickett and scored again with "I Found a Love".

In the early sixties, Stax Records brought Floyd to Memphis as a songwriter. He had immediate successes with artists Carla Thomas, Sam & Dave, and old mate Wilson Pickett, but it was a song he wrote for Otis Redding that Stax decided to release on Floyd himselfthat changed everything for Eddie. "Knock On Wood",co-written with guitarist Steve Cropper, quickly became one of the biggest hits of 1966 and has been a Soul staple ever since. It has been covered by over 200 different artists including Count Basie, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, and Amii Stewart, whose global megasmash in 1979 defines the Disco era.

LocoBop has opened its vaults to compile some of our best Eddie Floyd Tracks in a new volume called simply Eddie Floyd Refreshed. Our favorites include his old hits “On a Saturday Night” and “Raise Your Hand” as well as knockout performances of soul classics he wrote for others (“Ninety-Nine And A Half" for Wilson Pickett; “The Breakdown” for Rufus Thomas). Two other stellar turns include “I Will Always Have Faith In You” and a slammin’ trance mix of Eddie’s anthem “Knock On Wood.”
 

Memphis Wizard Don Nix Produces

Papa Don McMinn Fulfills 20-Year Goal, Releases 'Pick A Dream' Country Album

LocoBop News - February 15, 2014


Papa Don McMinn is one of Memphis’s most respected blues guitarists  and vocalists. For years he was part-owner of Rum Boogie Café, where he was leader of the house band andListen | Buy Papa Don McMinn - Pick a Dream instrumental in the re-development of Memphis’s Beale Street. Over the years he has performed or recorded with B.B. King, John Mayall, and Etta James, to name a few. For years he has wanted to record a country album, Memphis style, one that would reflect a more soulful take on country music. Pick a Dream is the culmination of that dream, as nurtured by the creative genius of veteran Memphis producer Don Nix, and it shows McMinn at his very best.

In August 1989, producer Nix and executive producer James L. Dickerson, then owner of the nation’s third largest circulation music magazine, Nine-O-One, and the nation’s only blues and country music radio syndication, Pulsebeat Productions, went into 3 Alarm Recording Studio in Memphis to make McMinn’s dream come true—and, in the process, to provide country music with a new perspective by injecting Memphis soul into traditional country music.

Once the album was completed, Dickerson played it for Nashville music executives, who recoiled at the music’s soulfulness and its use of nontraditional country instruments. One record label president, upon listening to the song “Quittin’ Time,” asked Dickerson, “What’s that?” Dickerson responded with, “That’s a saxophone.” The label head growled, “Hmmp—you can’t use saxophones on country music records.”

Another label head listened to a song on the album titled “Black Like Me”— a song about a young boy’s struggle to understand racial discrimination—and responded, “You can’t talk about things like that in country music!”

For more than two decades the tapes were missing. In 2013 Dickerson located the missing tapes and embraced “Pick a Dream” for the first release on his new record label, SLG Music, a division of Sartoris Literary Group.

Twenty-five years later, Nashville music has caught up with the vision offered by Don McMinn’s “Pick a Dream.” The album that was a heretic in 1989 is now mainstream country music, complete with soulful sax solos.

There's no disguising their trademark harmonies

The Inimitable Sound of the Masqueraders - Refreshed!

LocoBop News - February 6, 2014


As the years slip by, the appreciation of the Masqueraders keeps getting higher. The more people see and hear them, the more they are in awe of their harmonizing skills. Although they never had a huge hit, their unique, classy singing keeps people reverting to their old recordings frequently.

     - Heikki Suosalo, Soul Express
 

LocoBop went to the vaults to compile thirteen timeless tracks by The Masqueraders for this retrospective. The Masqueraders’ genesis goes back fifty years when Robert “Tex” Wrightsil formed a group called The Stairs in his hometown of Dallas, Texas. They recorded one record for Sound Town, a local Dallas label, in 1959.
 

After several line-up changes, their recording career as The Masqueraders began in 1964. After a stint in Detroit, the group has, for the most part, made Memphis, Tennessee their home, where they still (2014) actively perform, write, and record.
 

We can never get too much of the Masqueraders. Their songs, harmonies, arrangements, are forever reassuring, reflective, or rousing, depending on your mood. Above all, they’re refreshing, hence this album’s title.

 

Golden Treasures of Memphis Soul

Sound Town Records Revisited

LocoBop News - January 30, 2014


Homer Banks (1941-2003) was among the cream of the Stax label’s
songwriters during the 1960s and 1970s, contributing to blockbusters by Johnnie Taylor, The Staple Singers, The Soul Children, Luther Ingram, Sam & Dave, and Isaac Hayes, to name a few, as well as non-Stax artists like Rod Stewart, Elvis Costello, Millie Jackson, etc. When Stax folded in the late ‘70s, Banks shifted to the West Coast, became a writer for A&M’s publishing company, and recorded a couple of albums with Carl Hampton for Warner Bros.
 

In the 1980s, Homer returned to Memphis and formed the Two's Company recording company with former Stax colleague, keyboardist Lester Snell, which released albums by J. Blackfoot and Ann Hines. In 1983 Homer Banks, Reginald Jenkins and Chuck Brooks formed Sound Town Records, Inc. and thenceforth churned out a series of great records, written and produced by Banks and Chuck Brooks.
 

Sound Town first signed J. Blackfoot (ex-member of the Soul Children). The production yielded a top twenty album entitled "City Slicker" which included the single "Taxi" - a top five hit on Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 Chart. Banks and Brooks next produced Shirley Brown’s "Intimate Storm" album, which included four singles that made Billboard’s R&B Chart. Randy Brown (no relation to Shirley) joined Sound Town after some success on Casablanca. Shelbra Dean (nee Bennett) is another ex-Soul Children member, who reprises that group’s last and biggest Stax hit “I’ll Be the Other Woman”. The Memphis Queen, Carla Thomas, cut a couple of tracks for the label, one of which is included here.
 

Molly Reeves and her Viper Mad co-conspirators debut

Molly Swings Buddy Bolden's Blues with the Viper Mad Trio

LocoBop News - December 12, 2013


The great American composer and bandleader Edward Kennedy Listen | Buy - Viper Mad Trio“Duke” Ellington was the first to say it outright: “It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing.” And how right he was. The Viper Mad Trio has taken the Duke’s lesson to heart, instilling all their music with tons of swing and plenty more besides, all delivered with sophisticated nuance and musical singularity seldom mastered by such young musicians.

Central to the trio’s stunning exposition of the fundamental elements of trad-jazz swing is guitarist and vocalist Molly Reeves, a wise, old musical soul with a creative vision embodying decades of hipster musical experience despite her youthful, pixyish appearance. Emerging from California's active trad jazz scene, she found herself, along with two other young California trad-jazz alumni, bassist Kellen Garcia and trumpeter/vocalist Ryan Robertson, inexplicably drawn to the spiritual home of trad jazz, New Orleans, where they formed the Viper Mad Trio, taking its name from a composition by another New Orleans jazz giant, clarinet and saxophone player Sidney Bechet.

For material to define their sound, the three young musicians mined the rich repertoire of pre-WWII, small-combo jazz, a body of music often marked by an exuberant and often humorous approach that eventually influenced well-known bandleaders like Cab Calloway and Louis Jordan.

What makes the Viper Mad Trio stand apart from other latter-day purveyors of swing, is an intimate and smoothly integrated sound -- less like a vocalist with a back-up band but more like a classical chamber quartet, with each element -- vocal, guitar, trumpet, and bass -- playing off each other and interweaving in an overall sound. With youthful talent to spare and intense musical passion very much in evidence, the Viper Mad Trio already impresses with its musical mastery and artistic originality, all the while swinging just like seasoned veterans.

 

Better Still After All These Years

Luther Ingram: Refreshed

LocoBop News - November 18, 2013


Luther Ingram remains best remembered for the plaintive 1972 ballad (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right. WrittenListen | Buy - Luther Ingram Refreshed by Homer Banks, Raymond Jackson and Carl Hampton, the song sold over a million copies, reached number one on Billboard magazine's R&B chart, and peaked at number three on the Hot 100 chart. It was later recorded by Rod Stewart, Millie Jackson, and Barbara Mandrell, among others.

Luther was also a gifted songwriter, teaming with Mack Rice to co-write the Staple Singers' classic empowerment anthem "Respect Yourself."

Although Ingram last scored a hit on the Profile label in the 1986 with Baby Don't Go Too Far, his most prolific period was 1970 - 1978 for Koko Records, charting with Let's Steal Away to the Hideaway, I'll Be Your Shelter in Time of Storm, I'm Trying to Sing a Message to You, Always, I'll Just Call You Honey, Do You Love Somebody, and others.

Luther’s talent and the quality of the songs he recorded certainly entitle him to be on anybody’s list of top tier male vocalists from his era. It’s hard to think of anyone better. He tends to be overshadowed, perhaps, because his catalogue output is relatively meager (only four albums from his Koko years). Still, those albums remain classically relevant to connoisseurs of sweet soul music. The 12 tracks selected for this retrospective on Luther’s best years were recorded either at Stax, backed by the Barkays or Isaac Hayes’s band, or in Muscle Shoals with the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.
 

Absolutely Priceless

Di Anne Price: Refreshed

LocoBop News - November 17, 2013


Memphis blues and jazz artist Di Anne Price died of liver cancer, March 13, 2013. She was easily one of the fabled music city’s most beloved performers. Her superb albums Barrel House Queen, Sugar in My Bowl, Love Come and Go, Blue Artistry, The Best Price, 88 Steps to the Blues, Taking the Blues in Stride, and Deja Blu, all showcase her smoky vocals, barrelhouse piano, and her fascination with a variety of blues and jazz styles from 1920s throwback to more contemporary arrangements.

As a little girl, Price would wake up in the middle of the night wanting to play the piano. She’d get dressed, put on gloves if it was cold, wake her mom, and the two would play and sing until morning. Listen | Buy - Di Anne Price - RefreshedThe first songs Price ever learned were blues, and the husky-voiced storyteller never stopped singing them. Price, always credited her mom, and called her fans her babies, never lost her enthusiasm. She told John Taylor of Blues on Stage that the first thing she did in the morning was touch her piano to make sure it was still there. The second thing she did was sit down and practice.

Price told The Memphis Flyer she was happiest when working. “You know, when I’m in a smoke-filled bar, and can smell the Jack Daniels all around, and I’m singing something that’s right just for the moment, that’s working just for that moment, and people are really listening, that’s everything I need.”

Di Anne was the undisputed Barrel House Queen, the 21st century spirit of classic blues divas Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, Stippie Wallace, and Memphis Minnie. A profoundly soulful singer, her expressive voice was etched with pain or brimming with sly humor while she played barrel piano style on two-fisted shuffles, rolling blues, and boogie woogie workouts.
- Jazz Times


Her stride piano balanced jazz with ragtime and blues in a way so old-fashioned it was refreshingly new. If you closed your eyes, you’d think you’d stumbled into a 1940s barrelhouse.
- The Commercial Appeal

She had the kind of voice you’d turn to in the wee, small hours - dark and smoky like your favorite bar, warm and smooth as a glass of good bourbon. It's the voice of romance and desire, of loneliness and loss.
– Bill Ellis

Di Anne got to the heart of a song in a way that appealed to everyone. “When I sing, I'm saying share this story with me.” She shared her music with Her Boyfriends: drummer Tom Lonardo, saxophonist Jim Spake, and bassist Tim Goodwin.
 

The Memphis & Muscle Shoals Years

Tommy Tate: The KOKO Sessions

LocoBop News - November 5, 2013


Florida-born, Jackson, Mississippi-raised vocalist Tommy Tate debuted on Rise Records in 1964, and continued recording one-offListen | Buy - Tommy Tate - The KOKO Sessions singles for Okeh, Verve, Atco, Musicor, ABC-Paramount and Big Ten before joining the Nightingales at Stax in 1970. A couple of years later, the Stax-

distributed label KOKO signed him directly as a solo artist and he had a Top 30 R&B single with "School of Life" in 1972. KOKO’s close relationship with Stax is evident in the production of Tate’s recordings (as well as his label mate’s Luther Ingram), which were usually done in Muscle Shoals.
 

Tommy Tate recorded seventeen tracks for KOKO during seventies, all of which are included here, and all of which he co-wrote. However, KOKO never released an album, nor did they issue more than a handful of singles. During this period, KOKO’s other artist, Luther Ingram broke out in a major way with “(If Loving You is Wong) I Don’t Want to be Right”. The label’s management put all their resources behind Ingram, and asked Tate to put his recording ambitions on hold and concentrate instead on writing hits for Luther.
 

After the demise of Stax and KOKO, Tate recorded for Sundance, Juana, Urgent, and Ichiban, but his real success came from writing songs for artists signed to Malaco Records (Z.Z. Hill, Bobby Blue Bland, Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton, Denise LaSalle, Dorothy Moore, etc.).
 

Tommy Tate’s singing and songwriting career came to an unfortunate and premature end in 2002 when he suffered a debilitating stroke. But he continues to gain new fans as his recordings keep appearing in compilations and new formats.
 

Jazz from midtown Memphis - 2nd Edition

1984: Midtown Jazz Mobile - The Sequel

LocoBop News - October 28, 2013


The Memphis ensemble known as the Midtown Jazz Mobile flourished in the early 1980s and left two glorious albums for posterity to enjoy and appreciate.

Their first album, Fugitive, was recorded in 1982, at Cotton Row Recording in Memphis. The Midtown Jazz Mobile consisted of George Caldwell (piano), Ron McBee (Congas, Percussion), Doug Garrison (Drums), Jim Spake (Soprano, Tenor Saxes), Sylvester Sample (Bass), and Gerard Harris (Guitar).
 

Listen | Buy - Midtown Jazz Mobile - BakatakThe second album, Bakatak, was recorded in 1984, also at Cotton Row in Memphis. The personnel had changed only slightly: Ron McBee did not appear on this session, but Doug Garrison added Percussion to his role; Jim Spake’s saxophones were augmented by Nokie Taylor (Trumpet) and Shof Beavers (Waterphone); and Gerard Harris played keyboards in addition to Guitar.
 

All songs on Fugitive were written by Gerard Harris except for F Region (Jim Spake) and Handicap (D. Cousar). Harris, likewise, penned all but two of the songs on the second album, Bakatak (Life without It – Ben Flint, and Hangs by Wires – Jim Spake).
 

Together, Fugitive and Bakatak are pristine time capsules of the art of Jazz at its in pinnacle in the years between 1982 and 1984.

 

The Party Sound of the Party Town

Classic New Orleans Rock & Roll

LocoBop News - October 15, 2013


From the Sound of New Orleans record label this month, we're excited to showcase covers of 15 classic New Orleans Rock & Roll songs from the '50s and '60. Each song is a top 100 contributor to the history of Rock & Roll, originally recorded in New Orleans, and interpreted here by a younger generation of Crescent City musicians in appreciation of those who led the way.

Phat2sDay’s version of Blue Monday and J.B. Davis’s Walking toListen | Buy - Classic New Orleans Rock & Roll New Orleans were among Fats Domino’s endless list of hits, as are Ain't That Just Like a Woman (G.G. Chinn) and Blue Berry Hill (Bobby Love). Producer Allen Toussaint, a musical innovator extraordinaire, has created musical masterpieces in the Big Easy for decades. His first production (for Minit Records, in 1960), was Ooh Poo Pah Doo by Jesse Hill (ably rendered here by New Orleans vet Tommy Ridgley). Incidentally, Jesse later discovered Barbara George whose debut recording I Know, a mega-hit in 1961, is given a superb barrelhouse send-off here by Carol Fran. Another Toussaint classic was his 1966 production of Lee Dorsey’s Get out My Life Woman (recorded here by Charlie Cuccia).

Chewy Thunderfoot Black powers out Sick & Tired, a song Chris Kenner released in 1955, long before his better known classics like “Land of a Thousand Dances”. J.B. Davis croons St. James Infirmary a traditional favorite revised by the Animals and more recently by the White Stripes and Trombone Shorty. The indie Frisco label’s Danny White owned the summer of 1966 with the plaint Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, which G.G. Shinn revives here true to the original.

Les Getrex & Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. represent Hank Williams here with their version of Jambalaya. Selwyn Cooper’s performance of Mathilda is a fine tribute to Freddie Fender – the Texas Chicano whose music was said to be spiritually from the Louisiana swamps. Warren Ceasar’s Zydeco Snap Band gives us a swampy flavor of Willie Tee’s TEASING YOU and party rocker Charlie Cuccia dusts off Gary U.S. Bonds’ 1961 anthem NEW ORLEANS. Lastly, the great G.G. Shinn brings back to life the 1958 smash HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE by Huey Piano Smith & the Clowns.
 

Maybe Even Better the Second Time Around

1982 Reprise: Midtown Jazz Mobile Returns

LocoBop News - October 8, 2013


The Memphis ensemble known as the Midtown Jazz Mobile flourished in the early 1980s and left two glorious albums for posterity to enjoy and appreciate.

Their first album, Fugitive, was recorded in 1982, at Cotton Row Recording in Memphis. The Midtown Jazz Mobile consisted of George Caldwell (piano), Ron McBee (Congas, Percussion), Doug Garrison (Drums), Jim Spake (Soprano, Tenor Saxes), Sylvester Sample (Bass), and Gerard Harris (Guitar).
 

Listen | Buy - Midtown Jazz MobileThe second album, Bakatak, was recorded in 1984, also at Cotton Row in Memphis. The personnel had changed only slightly: Ron McBee did not appear on this session, but Doug Garrison added Percussion to his role; Jim Spake’s saxophones were augmented by Nokie Taylor (Trumpet) and Shof Beavers (Waterphone); and Gerard Harris played keyboards in addition to Guitar.
 

All songs on Fugitive were written by Gerard Harris except for F Region (Jim Spake) and Handicap (D. Cousar). Harris, likewise, penned all but two of the songs on the second album, Bakatak (Life without It – Ben Flint, and Hangs by Wires – Jim Spake).
 

Together, Fugitive and Bakatak are pristine time capsules of the art of Jazz at its in pinnacle in the years between 1982 and 1984.
 

Ronnie Williams Music: Food for the Heart

It's About Time: Ronnie Williams Releases First Solo Album

LocoBop News - October 8, 2013


Ronnie Williams played his first professional music gig at ageListen | Buy - Ronnie Williams sixteen, backing R&B sax man Johnny London on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. He soon became a regular on the local soul scene, while going on to pursue a music degree at the University of Memphis. Ronnie’s impressive keyboard work drew the attention of artists, producers, and songwriters at Stax Records whenever they happened to hear him at popular night spots around town. It was a natural transition, then, for Ronnie to become a member of the Stax family.
 

At Stax, Ronnie played on, wrote, and/or produced dozens of notable tracks. The list reads like a Who’s Who in Soul – Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, David Porter, Sir Mack Rice, the Bar-Kays, Johnnie Taylor, the Staple Singers, Jonny London & the Rockets, the Rance Allen Group, Ben Cauley, to name just a few.
 

In recent years Ronnie has often performed live as one of the founding members of the Bo-Keys, an all star section of Stax sidemen - Ronnie Williams on Hammond B-3 organ; drummer Willie Hall (the Bar- Kays, the Blues Brothers), guitarist Charles “Skip” Pitts  (Isaac Hayes), garage rock bass prodigy Scott Bomar (Impala, Hustle & Flo,  plus a horn section headed by world renown sax man Jim Spake (Levon Helm, Jerry Lee Lewis, Brenda Lee, etc.).
 

Memphis in Havana

Bobby Manuel teases new solo album with compelling single

LocoBop News - September 6, 2013

Bobby Manuel joined Stax Records in the late 1960s and stayed until the label folded in 1975, after which he and Stax founder Jim Stewart opened Daily Planet studio and began doing independent productions together.

 

At Stax, Manuel was a jack-of-all trades, working as recording engineer, mixer, songwriter, producer, and touring band leader.
 

Listen | Buy - Bobby Manuel - Memphis in HavanaBut first and foremost, Bobby was and is a guitarist. He has recorded with Elvis Presley, Isaac Hayes, Al Green, Albert King, Little Milton, Billy Eckstine, Rufus Thomas, The MGs, Luther Ingram, The Bar-Kays, Leon Russell, John Mayall, Anne Peebles, Mavis Staples, and Eddie Floyd. His producer credits include Shirley Brown and Rick Dees (Bobby produced Rick’s Number One classic, “Disco Duck”).
 

The single, “Memphis in Havana,” is a tantalizing preview of the solo album Bobby is working on for release in early 2014.

Gator Flavored Pop

Swamp Pop 'til You Drop

LocoBop News - July 22, 2013


While Cajun and zydeco usually get the most attention, there’s aSwamp Pop - Listen | Buy special brand of music that evolved along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Louisiana, and southeast Texas (with influences reaching into southern Arkansas and Tennessee) called “swamp pop.”

The genre combines early R&B formats with a mainstream sensibility and a strong blues feeling. But what makes this music unusual is that most swamp pop musicians, and a large part of the music’s audience, are white.

Swamp Pop is the sequel to LocoBop’s Swamp Rock album, releases in 2010 featuring some of the most exciting and authentic interpreters of this genre.

Artists featured here include: Bourbon Street heavyweight Phat2sDay; harmonica virtuoso Tommy Dardar from Houston, Texas; the Pale Prince of Beale Street, Papa Don McMinn; the avatar blues star from Second Life, VonJohin; Memphis guitar blaster Terry Wall and his The Wallbangers; Shreveport, Louisiana natives, The Anderson Brothers; the explosive Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers; the inimitably soulful Memphis All Stars; good time Louisiana party rockers Charlie Cuccia and Bill E. Shaw; the King of Swamp Pop, G.G. Shinn; and Memphian Don Nix whose legend is legend itself.
 

Gulf Coast Blues

The Fran-tastic Carol Fran is Here from the Sound of New Orleans

LocoBop News - June 30, 2013


Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, this highly accomplished pianist and singer’s outstanding talent has paved the way for her prominence in the best Gulf Coast nightclubs, several East Coast recording studios, and, most recently, a series of European music festivals.

Listen | Buy - The Fran-tastic Carol FranIt all began when she won a local talent contest at the age of 15 and hit the road with the likes of 1950s blues pioneer Guitar Slim and 1960s soul icon Joe Tex. Along the way, she had several regional hits before cutting “Crying in the Chapel” in New York City in 1965, a classic that was just about to break nationwide when none other than Elvis Presley stole her thunder by putting out a version of his own.

After relocating to Miami during the 1970s, Fran moved back home to the Gulf Coast and reunited with an old acquaintance, guitarist Clarence Holliman, a driving musical force behind Charles Brown, Dionne Warwick, the original Jazz Crusaders, and more. As a duo, the two performed and recorded to great acclaim throughout the 1990s.

This recording is Fran’s first musical outing since Holliman passed away in 2000. Backed by guitar, bass, and drums, she turns in some intensely upbeat and swinging performances, astounding treatments that highlight a diversity of styles, from nightclub ballads and in-the-groove classic jazz to rollicking blues and hard-rocking R&B.

Check out Hank Williams’ “Cold, Cold Heart” done, according to Fran, “Dinah Washington-style,” the sultry “You Don’t Know Me,” a Fran & Holliman staple, or her fired-up version of the New Orleans R&B classic “Sick and Tired,” to sample some of this soulful lady’s exquisite talent.

We think you’ll be pleased and more than a little surprised by this powerhouse release.
 

New Orleans Funk & Fun

High Spirited Good Times From The Regal Jazz Band & Smitty Dee's Brass Band

LocoBop News - May 16, 2013

What would you get if you beefed up a New Orleans marching band with an extra complement of brass, sat it down, and then wrote up a whole bunch of funky arrangements for it? The Regal Jazz Band masquerading as Smitty Dee’s Brass Band.

Founded by saxophonist Butch Gomez, an alumnus of The Trémé Brass Band, and Dimitri Smith, formerly with the legendary Olympia Brass Band, The Regal Jazz Band is where funk and fun and swinging arrangements meet the traditional jazz repertoire that has been evolving in the Crescent City since the early 20th century.

For a quick lesson in funk and fun, check out the Regal’s take on “Darktown Strutters Ball,” with trombonist Sam Venable on raspy lead vocals, extended trumpet and trombone solos, and band charts that segue from tight, clipped choruses to the interwoven chaos of the classic Dixieland sound.

On “All Saints Day,” the band encounters the longstanding New Orleans tradition of the funeral dirge, using it asListen | Buy - Regal Jazz Band & Smity Dee's Brass Band a jumping-off point for mournful blues soloing before settling into a slinky soul-jazz groove. On “(We All Scream for) Ice Scream,” call-and-response choruses traded over a rapid-fire snare-drum beat introduce staccato horn charts and a snazzy electric-guitar solo that make the tune’s rebounding rhythms the focus of pure musical fun.

Both “Glory, Glory” and Duke Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” feature the multi-part, cascading ensemble playing that marks the best New Orleans brass music, with one horn line sliding under another, while the musicians, in complete control, quite simply rock their souls to musical heaven.

Brass mastery, funkified ensemble arrangements, and highspirited good times – welcome to New Orleans brass band music, Regal Jazz Band style.

 

Remembering J. Blackfoot

J. Blackfoot - Footloose and Free

LocoBop News - May 6, 2013


Listen | Buy - Footloose by J. Footloose'J. Blackfoot' is a nickname John Colbert picked up during his boyhood years in Memphis, Tennessee. He broke into the music business at  age nineteen as lead singer of a new line-up of The Barkays, whose original members had died in the plane crash that also killed Otis Redding.

Isaac Hayes and David Porter (famed for their Sam & Dave productions) then recruited Blackfoot to sing lead in a new vocal group, The Soul Children (who scored 15 R&B hits between 1968 and 1978).
 

After the group split up, Blackfoot began his career as a solo artist, produced by Stax colleagues Homer Banks, Chuck Brooks, and Lester Snell. Success came with the R&B smash 'Taxi´ followed by 'Just One Lifetime.’
 

FOOTLOOSE is an exemplary collection of some of J. Blackfoot's best and final recordings. In Late November, 2011, J. Blackfoot lost a long battle with cancer, and we all lost yet another member of the dwindling band of original southern soul singers.
 

What Could Be Better?

Springtime and a Big Bright
Chi Chi Moon

LocoBop News - May 1, 2013


If you’ve never heard of The Jumpin’ Chi Chis, here’s your chance to fill that void in your life. While we could litter this page with superlatives about this stellar Memphis band, we’ll let others do it for us:

 

Reviews for The Jumpin’ Chi Chis

I laughed, I cried, and I lost most of my body fluids listening to the Jumpin’ Chi Chis. Inspired is too tame a word.

– Philip Grady Smith

 

Here's a brand new slant on what Louis Prima and Sam Butera were doin' back in the day. The Chi-Chis really put the spin on pop jazz with the craziest originals - excellent performances, wonderful solos, and lots of unpredictability.

Dr. Moon

 

Amazing piece of work - Virtuosity, Creativity, Originality, and Hilarity!

– Jim Poor

 

Listen | Buy - Jumpin' Chi Chis - Chi Chi MoonThis is the best and most inspired original music to come out of Memphis in years. The Chi-Chi's music is spontaneous, eclectic, effortlessly performed and just down right GREAT!

Every musical style is "fair game" - I assure you that you will hear something you'll love.
-
Pete Vescovo

 

Not since my young days hanging out in the lounges of Vegas of the late ‘50s, have I been moved to grab Momma Linda and do the jump!!!!!

- Walt Woodson

 

The Jumpin' Chi-Chi's have a tongue-in-cheek, lounge-lizard vibe. They’re a wild and fantastic band filled with some of Memphis' best jazz cats.

- William Haygood

 

Travels With The Imperial Show Band  (1965-1969)

Tommy Tate's Formative Years

LocoBop News - April 23, 2013


Listen | Buy - Tommy Tate - The Imperial Show Band Years
Tommy Tate has been called “The greatest soul singer you've never heard of.” An almost cult-like figure in Deep Soul, Southern Soul, and British Northern Soul circles, Tommy started drumming and singing in small clubs in the Jackson, Mississippi area about the time he was 13.

During the 1960s, he recorded singles for ABC-Paramount, Okeh, Verve, Swing, Atco, Big Ten, and Musicor. On many of these recordings, he was backed by fellow Jacksonians, Tim Whitsett & The Imperial Show Band. In 1965, Tommy began performing with Whitsett’s band (along with Dorothy Moore) and by 1966 he’d become their featured vocalist (when Dorothy left the group).

Between 1966 and 1969, Tommy and the Show Band, traveled extensively, performing in New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, The Great Lakes, Boston, and Canada. Although most songs on this album were recorded in Jackson, two tracks, (Little Girl Blue and My Funny Valentine) are rehearsal tapes recorded in Tommy’s hotel room at the Village Inn, Erie Pennsylvania, accompanied by the band’s guitarist Bucky Barrett.

In 1970, as the Viet Nam War peaked, the U.S. Draft Board picked the Imperial Show Band clean. Of the 4 members the Army overlooked, Bucky Barrett joined Roy Orbison; keyboardist Carson Whitsett joined Elliott Randall to tour with Eric Mercury; and Tim Whitsett and Tommy Tate were recruited by Stax Records.

Tommy recorded some 20 tracks for Stax and its distributed label Ko Ko, and wrote many chart songs for Luther Ingram. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, he cut one album for Frederick Knight’s Juana label, two LPs for Tim Whitsett’s Urgent! Records, dozens of sides for the Sundance label, and wrote numerous songs for Malaco artists Bobby Blue Bland, Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton, et al.

Tommy Tate’s singing and songwriting career came to an unfortunate and premature end in 2002 when he suffered a debilitating stroke. But he continues to gain new fans as his recordings keep appearing in compilations and new formats.
 

LocoBop At the White House . . . Sort Of.

President Obama celebrates R&B, blues and Soul

Rolling Stone - April 10, 2013

Barack Obama paid tribute to Memphis soul April 9th with the latest ‘In Performance at the White House.’ Rolling Stone quoted the president saying, ‘These songs get us on the dance floor. They get stuck in our heads. We go back over them again and again. And they've played an important part in our history.’

According to the The Associated Press,Bobby Manuel with the president Obama noted how black and whites blended soul, gospel and R&B to ‘bridge those divides, to create a little harmony with harmony.’ The president mentioned Booker T. Jones and Steve Cropper for their role in forming one of Memphis' first integrated bands. ‘They weren't allowed to go to school together. They weren't always allowed to travel or eat together,’ said Obama. ‘But no one could stop them from playing music together.’
 

‘The sound of Soulsville, U.S.A., a music that, at its core, is about the pain of being alone, the power of human connection and the importance of treating each other right,’ he continued. ‘After all, this is the music that asked us to try a little tenderness. It's the music that put 'Mr. Big Stuff' in his place. And it's the music that challenged us to accept new ways of thinking with four timeless words: 'Can you dig it?'‘

Performers included Sam Moore of the duo Sam and Dave and American Idol Season 11 finalist Joshua Ledet taking on ‘Soul Man,’ and Justin Timberlake and Steve Cropper joining together for a rendition of Otis Redding's ‘(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay.’ Alabama Shakes, Ben Harper, Cyndi Lauper, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples, Queen Latifah, Eddie Floyd, and William Bell also performed, with Latifah serving as host and Booker T. Jones as bandleader. Al Green was set to perform but withdrew at the last minute after suffering a back injury.

Many of the artists, producers, and songwriters associated with LocoBop were also affiliated with Stax Records, including LocoBop founder Tim Whitsett, and partner, producer, artist, and A&R ace, Bobby Manuel (pictured above).


In the photograph above: President Obama; standing to his left and partially obscured: Booker T. Jones of Booker T. & the M.G.s and James Alexander of the Bar-Kays; to their right, on guitar, is Bobby Manuel.

 

Beloved Barrelhouse Story Teller

Di Anne Price Dies in Memphis

LocoBop News - March 15, 2013

Memphis blues and jazz artist Di Anne Price died of liver cancer, Wednesday, March 13.

Di Anne Price was easily one of Memphis’s most beloved performers. She played anywhere and everywhere. Her superb albums Barrel House Queen, Sugar in My Bowl Love Come and Go, Blue Artistry, The Best Price, 88 Steps to the Blues, Taking the Blues in Stride, and Deja Blu, all showcase her smoky vocals, barrelhouse piano, and her fascination with a variety of blues and jazz styles from 1920s throwback to more contemporary arrangements.

When she was a little girl, Price would wake up in the middle of the night and want to play the piano. She’d put on her clothes, including gloves if it was cold, wake her mom, and the two of them would play and sing until morning. The first song Price ever learned was a blues, and the husky-voiced storyteller never stopped singing them.

Price, who always credited her mom, and called her fans her babies, never lost her enthusiasm. In more recent years, she told a writer for Blues on Stage that the first thing she did in the morning was touch her piano to make sure it was still there. The second thing she did was sit down and practice.

In a feature profile, Price told The Memphis Flyer she was happiest when she was working. “You know,” she said. “When I’m in a smoke-filled bar, you can smell the Jack Daniels all around, and I’m singing something that’s right just for the moment, that’s working just for that moment, and people are really listening, that’s everything I need.”

 - The Memphis Flyer 

Di Anne was the undisputed Barrel House Queen, the 21st century spirit of classic blues divas Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, Stippie Wallace, and Memphis Minnie. A profoundly soulful singer, her expressive voice was etched with pain or brimming with sly humor while she played barrel piano style on two-fisted shuffles, rolling blues, and boogie woogie workouts.

- Jazz Times

Her stride piano balanced jazz with ragtime and blues in a way so old-fashioned it was refreshingly new. If you closed your eyes, you’d think you’d stumbled into a 1940s barrelhouse.

- The Commercial Appeal

She had the kind of voice you’d turn to in the wee, small hours - dark and smoky like your favorite bar, warm and smooth as a glass of good bourbon. It's the voice of romance and desire, of loneliness and loss.

– Bill Ellis

Di Anne would get to the heart and meaning of a song in a way that appealed to everyone. “When I play this music, sing these songs, I'm saying ‘share this story with me.” Di Anne shared her approach to music with "Her Boyfriends" - drummer Tom Lonardo, saxophonist Jim Spake, and bassist Tim Goodwin. "Playing with them makes my back tingle. It's like making love," Di Anne said. "When we play, we're telling a story, and no matter where I start, they go with me."

- John Taylor – Blues On Stage 

 

Jack London's Award-Winning Bayou Jazz Band

The 2nd Volume of Jack London's Thunder & Blazes is Here!

LocoBop News - February 25, 2013


The all-white Original Dixieland Jazz Band, emerging from New Orleans to spread the jazz gospel to white audiences throughout the U.S. and England in the early 1920s, is credited with the making theListen | Buy - Thunder & Blazes Vol. II first commercial recording in 1917 of the new American music, called “jazz” and played mostly by black musicians. But with the passing of time, Dixieland has come to occupy a place in jazz history not unlike blue-eyed soul and contemporary Americana. In the mid-1970s, a fertile time following the British Invasion, musicians across the Louisiana Gulf Coast were rediscovering their cultural roots in Cajun, R&B, and brass band music.

The Bayou Jazz Band took full advantage of this creative atmosphere, combining musicians from The 500 Club -- a strip joint then located on Bourbon St. -- with musicians playing across the street at Your Father’s Mustache. The result is not only an album of outstanding musicianship -- jazz played “clean,” tight, and with unrelenting, pulsating momentum -- but also an unavoidable lesson in American music history as tunes from the early 20th century come to life in a style that resembles the contemporary swing-band roots movement.

Kicking things off with “If it Takes Forever (I Will Wait For You),” from the film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Bayou Jazz Band hurtles full-speed ahead with covers of perennial hit-parade music (“Maple Leaf Rag,” and "Saint James Infirmary.”). The Bayou Jazz Band revives these classics with a contemporary feel, featuring prominent banjo accompaniment, sleekly styled arrangements, and flawless instrumental virtuosity.

Make no mistake about it, The Bayou Jazz Band has created a timeless classic here that definitely deserves being reissued, perfectly blending both the spirit of early Americana and oldtime jazz with irresistible, high-spirited playing and unbridled enthusiasm.
 

he was one of the cats

Willie Metcalf's Last Album - A Legend's Legacy

LocoBop News - February 15, 2013


In the 1930s, three-year-old Willie Metcalf found a piano at a Detroit boy’s home and began to teach himself to play. Proving to be a child prodigy, by the mid 1940s, Metcalf was already Listen | Buy - Willie Metcalf - Moodsan adolescent playing professionally in Detroit, New York, and Chicago, with saxophone legends such as Sonny Stitt and Stanley Turrentine. In New Orleans he led his own groups at spots like the Lafitte Blacksmith Shop, Snug Harbor, the Funky Butt, Donna’s, and the Showcase Lounge.

After years as a Jazz musician, educator, and philanthropic entrepreneur, Willie relocated to New Orleans in 1975, where he mentored many future stars (including Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Terrance Blanchard and Donald Harrison) through a program he called the Academy of Black Arts. He taught young local musicians the rules of bebop, said to be the most difficult of all the jazz genres.

In the movie Ray, Metcalf played the old man who taught a young Ray Charles to play piano. It was a perfect last role for the man who mentored, taught and gave spots in his band to a generation of aspiring New Orleans musicians.

Until his death at age 74 in 2004, Metcalf, was more than a pianist and teacher. He was involved—he was on the scene. He could pop up almost anywhere, a briefcase under his arm, new ideas brewing in his mind, a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes. As Metcalf would put it, he was one of the cats.

This album, “Moods”, is a selection of works from great composers: George Gershwin, Miles Davis, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Michael Legrand, Richie Greig, Ellen Max, and Shad A. Rober.
 

A Musician for All Seasons

Sound of New Orleans Records Presents Billy Marter

LocoBop News - January 28, 2013


Billy Marter is a musician for all seasons -- a Mississippi native who came to music relatively late in life and is capable of hearing the beauty in almost any song from any culture, especially when he gets the chance to weave his own version of it. On this outing, while his musical choices range all the way from Willie Nelson and The Beatles to Bach and Mozart, those distances are made that much shorter by this gifted musician’s noticeable lightness of touch, his deep passion for beautiful melody, and by his uncanny ability to always let the pure essence of the music speak for itself.
 

        It was Billy Marter’s sister who in his late teens gave him his first guitar -- a hand-me-down birthday present. While Billy never took any lessons, he learned fast -- almost exclusively by closely observing other guitar players. “I wasn’t really looking to become a professional musician,” he remembers today, “but as soon as I got my hands on that guitar I became totally obsessed with music.” He gained experience playing in blues bands, coffeehouses, and on multiple platforms of the Washington, D.C., Subway system.
 

        Back in Mississippi, the budding guitarist majored in music education with a classical guitar emphasis at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, and then transferred to the University of Southern Mississippi. He was soon winning.
 

       After earning a Master’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University, Billy Marter and his wife and daughter moved to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, where Billy teaches guitar and music appreciation at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, while performing regularly at a number of bars and fine restaurants in the area, spreading his gospel of world music appreciation.
 

The Zydeco Hellraisers

Dwayne Dopsie's New Album is a Zydeco Fireworks Show

LocoBop News - August 7, 2012

Been Good to You” is Dwayne Dopsie’s sixth studio album with his band The Zydeco Hellraisers, and his third outing with one of New Orleans’ premier label owners and producers, Gary Edwards.
 

Dwayne’s accordion solos are more amazing than ever, as are the truly outstanding solo contributions from his guitarist, Shelton Sonnier, and guest artist Tom Fitzpatrick, a mainstay on the New Orleans jazz and R&B scene, on tenor sax.

 

The excitement begins with the opening accordion lines of “You Pretty Little Girl,” a repeated cascade of notes that falls abruptlyListen | Buy - Dwayne Dopsie - Been Good to You through a couple of octaves before returning as an unstoppable uptempo groove interrupted only by a stop-time break before the truncated, title phrase chorus. With an accordion solo that quickly swirls into a brief moment of double-timed, rock’n’roll ecstasy, the opening track could easily be a jukebox hit anywhere in southwest Louisiana.

 

“Every Day I Think of You” begins with a clear echo of B.B. King’s “Every Day I Have the Blues” but quickly turns itself around on a gently rocking shuffle rhythm and a double-stoptime chorus that transforms what might have been a long-suffering blues into an irresistible and soul-drenched affirmation of the simple, daily pleasures of being in love.

 

It’s not long before we set off on a cruise to foreign lands with the Calypso-flavored “I Want to Dance with You,” which somehow performs the seemingly impossible task of marrying a light and breezy Caribbean feel with a hard-driving, Zydeco-rock tempo, making the song’s intention to get your feet moving more than clear. “Come Home to Me, Darling” introduces the broken-hearted shout of a raw, down home blues played to a Cajun waltz tempo, embellished by understated, dreamy sax and highlighted by a pair of sparkling guitar and accordion blues solos.

 

Opening with an a capella tribute to classic R&B harmonies, “Where Did My Baby Go” slides right into a easy-going, contemporary Zydeco groove that chugs happily along before breaking down into a series of roots-reggae vocal utterances that make evident the subtle influence of a stylish reggae upbeat that’s been a major part of the mix all along. “Wonder When You Coming Back Home” brings us back to broken-hearted, blues shouting territory but this time with a solid backbeat, beautifully restrained accordion, guitar, and sax work plus a stunning stop-time vocal chorus interlude taken straight out of the melodically funky Sly and the Family Stone songbook.

 

The genre of swamp blues is another strong influence in southwest Louisiana music and “I Want to Love You” digs into it to great effect, keeping the tempo steady rocking while tossing off guitar and accordion solos that strongly emphasize the tempo’s rhythmic accents, along the way paying tribute to swamp blues great Elmore James, before arriving at a great, accordion swirled crescendo ending. “Sometimes I Never Want to Come Back Home” changes the pace abruptly, busting out with a double-timed, straight-blues rhythm that just won’t quit and sweeps along every thing in its path – including gospel-tinged vocals, an on-fire guitar solo, and a stop-time, frenzied accordion solo -- in the end making for a super-intense, breathtaking, and artful performance. That intensity carries over to the title tune, “I’ve Been Good to You,” which rides the forward leaning momentum with ease, driving hard for home on pure Zydeco fundamentals: an air-tight, galloping rhythm section; old-fashioned “honking” sax solo; sleekly snaking guitar solo; accordion swirls resembling the sound of a Hammond B-3 organ; and a patented, rough-hewn vocal treatment, all of which call to mind none other than the originator and King of Zydeco, Clifton Chenier.

 

“If You Gonna Leave Me” keeps the hard-driving Zydeco beat going and demonstrates the artistry of a veteran Zydeco band that can create a relentless, unified sound but still leave room for individual sax, guitar, and accordion solos inside the larger sound of the band, even as the music weaves its way through a stutter-step interlude and extended stop-time ending. The hard-driving Zydeco rhythm that’s been driving the final set of tracks finally rises to the

surface with “Been Such a Long Time.” Hitting top speed right out of the gate, the double-time Zydeco beat on this one would challenge even the most highly skilled dancers in southwest Louisiana. Supporting a repeated verse and chorus that only re-emphasizes the beat’s breathless, staccato feel, the action breaks only for a no-holds-barred showdown between rubboard and accordion and quick-stop, emphatic, four-beat finale.

 

This album concludes not with an ending but with an invitation, “Come on Down to New Orleans,” encouraging the listener to continue the fun, live and in-person, in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter surrounded by local culinary specialties like crawfish pie, filé gumbo, and pralines. Riding an easy-rocking, hip-swaying beat, the band members are clearly enjoying themselves here -- while the accordion maintains a constant, swirling presence, the sax blows some classic rock’n’roll lines while the electric guitar carves out ornate, crystalline, soul sounds, further enhancing a joyous, celebratory feeling that’s likely to stay with the listener long after the show is over.

Bass Drummer for New Orleans' Treme Brass Band

Lionel Batiste, immortalized in 'Treme,' dies

 Associated Press - July 2, 2012

"Uncle" Lionel Batiste - Treme Brass Band co-founderLionel Batiste, the vocalist, bass drummer and assistant leader of New Orleans' Treme Brass Band, has died. He was 81.

Fans of the HBO series "Treme" may not have known Batiste by name, but they often saw him close up. He was the skinny guy with the big drum in the band, one of the acts regularly featured on the show.

Batiste died July 1st at a hospital just outside New Orleans.

Batiste, known as "Uncle Lionel," had been ill for about a month, said band leader Benny Jones Sr. He said Batiste had been with the band since it was formed in 1995 but had played bass drum since childhood.

Batiste used his drum to stay afloat in the floods after Hurricane Katrina, clarinetist Michael White said.

"The water kept rising," White said. "He couldn't swim. The water was too high for him to walk out. He saved himself by floating out on top of his bass drum."

Batiste's singing voice was "somewhere between blues and old-timeListen | Buy - Treme Brass Band gospel, kind of raspy but with a nice quality to it," White said.

He recalled that in the late 1960s, Batiste wasn't playing but "second-lining" -- dancing and strutting with a decorated umbrella to the band's music -- and acting as grand marshal for parades and jazz funerals.

"He would bring joy and just New Orleans spirit. ... He made people feel good about themselves and about living," White said.

The "Treme 2012" bicentennial poster is a photograph of Batiste and his drum.

"I'm broken-hearted," said actor Wendell Pierce, who played trombonist Antoine Batiste on "Treme." "He's part of a long line of great musicians and great family. I was honored to have his name, the name of the character I played, and know that his legacy will live on," Pierce said.
 

Jeepers! It's Memphis Mayhem!

Hold on Tight . . .
The Jumpin' Chi-Chis Are Here

LocoBop News - June 18, 2012

If you’ve never heard of The Jumpin’ Chi Chis, here’s your chanceListen | Buy - The Jumpin' Chi-Chis - Let's Do Chi Chi to fill that void in your life. While we could litter this page with superlatives about this stellar Memphis band, we’ll let others do it for us:

Reviews for The Jumpin’ Chi Chis

I laughed, I cried, and I lost most of my body fluids listening to the Jumpin’ Chi Chis. Inspired is too tame a word.

– Philip Grady Smith

Here's a brand new slant on what Louis Prima and Sam Butera were doin' back in the day. The Chi-Chis really put the spin on pop jazz with the craziest originals - excellent performances, wonderful solos, and lots of unpredictability.

Dr. Moon

Amazing piece of work - Virtuosity, Creativity, Originality, and Hilarity!

– Jim Poor

This is the best and most inspired original music to come out of Memphis in years. The Chi-Chi's music is spontaneous, eclectic, effortlessly performed and just down right GREAT!

Every musical style is "fair game" for the Chi-Chi's. I assure you that you will hear something you'll love. You'll have to get in line to see them perform in person.

- Pete Vescovo

Not since my young days hanging out in the lounges of Vegas of the late ‘50s, have I been moved to grab Momma Linda and do the jump!!!!!

- Walt Woodson

The Jumpin' Chi-Chi's have a tongue-in-cheek, lounge-lizard vibe. They’re a wild and fantastic band filled with some of Memphis' best jazz cats.

- William Haygood
 

Hear the Twenties Roar

Dixieland from Jack London's Award-Winning Bayou Jazz Band

LocoBop News - June 14, 2012

The all-white Original Dixieland Jazz Band, emerging from New Orleans to spread the jazz gospel to white audiences throughout the U.S. and England in the early 1920s, is credited with the making the Listen | Buy - Jack London's Bayou Jazz Band - Thunder and Blazesfirst commercial recording in 1917 of the new American music, called “jazz” and played mostly by black musicians. But with the passing of time, Dixieland has come to occupy a place in jazz history not unlike blue-eyed soul and contemporary Americana. In the mid-1970s, a fertile time following the British Invasion, musicians across the Louisiana Gulf Coast were rediscovering their cultural roots in Cajun, R&B, and brass band music.

The Bayou Jazz Band took full advantage of this creative atmosphere, combining musicians from The 500 Club -- a strip joint then located on Bourbon St. -- with musicians playing across the street at Your Father’s Mustache. The result is not only an album of outstanding musicianship -- jazz played “clean,” tight, and with unrelenting, pulsating momentum -- but also an unavoidable lesson in American music history as tunes from the early 20th century come to life in a style that resembles the contemporary swing-band roots movement.

Kicking things off with “Thunder and Blazes,” a favorite of traveling circuses during that period, The Bayou Jazz Band hurtles full-speed ahead with covers of hit-parade music (“Oh, Didn’t He Ramble,” and "Doctor Jazz.”). The Bayou Jazz Band revives these classics with a contemporary feel, featuring prominent banjo accompaniment, sleekly styled arrangements, and flawless instrumental virtuosity.

Make no mistake about it, The Bayou Jazz Band has created a timeless classic here that definitely deserves being reissued, perfectly blending both the spirit of early Americana and old-time jazz with irresistible, high-spirited playing and unbridled enthusiasm.
 

Mighty Gospel

Mighty Chariots of Fire - on Fire

LocoBop News - June 11, 2012

The Mighty Chariots of Fire are the embodiment of Gospel music in New Orleans. They bring an exciting combination of styles on this recording. Featuring the deep-rooted Spirituals of Robert Lee and Bishop Joseph Carter Jr.’s approach to the biblical verses with the energy of a great backup group.

Brother Sean Dillon has the special voice that adds another beautiful sound, along with Jerome Young’s inspiring performances.

New Orleans is rightfully famous for great Gospel Singers, for example: Mahalia Jackson. It has been said that a “Mahalia Jackson” can be found any Sunday morning at anyone of many churches in New Orleans!

The Gospel group singing tradition of New Orleans has deep roots, from the famous “Zion Harmonizers” to the exciting “New OrleansListen | Buy - Mighty Chariots of Fire - Remember Me Oh Lord Spiritualettes.” The Mighty Chariots of Fire have been carrying the banner of good Gospel singing since their beginning in 1959. The current leader, Brother William “Pete” Walker, joined the group in 1963. Brother Wydell Spotville’s gifted keyboard arrangements and Brother William Walker’s guitar give this album soul inspiring expressions of musical rejoicing.

The Mighty Chariots of Fire have traveled the globe bringing the “good word” to thousands. This album contains a glimpse of why the group stays in demand, showing some the many exciting facets of one of the foundations of New Orleans Gospel music: The Mighty Chariots of Fire.
 

Jazz Beyond Words

Hot Summer Jazz Collection

LocoBop News - June 5, 2012

Beyond Words – Volume Five – Jazz Instrumentals is the fifth in LocoBop’s series of instrumental music performed by some of the greatest musicians of the respective art forms featured in the series. In this case, the art form is Jazz!

 

When talking about vintage jazz credits, they don’t get much better than those of guitarist Wayne Boyd, who played with organ legend Jimmy McGriff for thirty years. Here Wayne contributes two Listen | Buy - Beyond Words Vol. V - More Jazz Instrumentalsoutstanding tracks from The New Orleans Sessions (Sound of New Orleans/LocoBop). ● Memphis headliners Tony Thomas (piano), Tom Lonardo (drums), and bassist Sam Shoup are The Tony Thomas Trio; they contribute two tracks from their album Progesso. ● Group DeVille - Carson Whitsett (organ), Jack Bruno (drums), Bill Cooley (guitar), and Scott Chambers (bass) – serve up two tracks from their LocoBop album The Bond. Japanese prodigy Makoto Kuriya is a highly successful composer, producer, and recording artist. “Horizon From The Soil” is from his first album, Always Your Friend (LocoBop). ● Former Stax guitarist/engineer/producer/writer Bobby Manuel falls “Under Her Spell”. Legendary Memphis “flute picker” Edwin Hubbard goes Latin with “Tico Tico”. ● Trombonist Eddie Boh Paris belongs to a younger generation of New Orleans jazz musicians, influenced by hometown tradition, as well as modern jazz and bebop. Eddie shows a sophisticated cool on the standard “Undecided” from his eponymous album on Sound of New Orleans/LocoBop. ● Trumpet wizard Mike Vax leads his 17-piece big band on “Zeek’s Blues”. ● Tenor sax man Chucky C. shines on the bluesy track “Funky Mama” from the Sound of New Orleans/LocoBop album From New Orleans to the World. ● Memphis renaissance man Dr. Bill Hurd plays a sweet sax version of “Song Bird”. ● Closing out the album, B-3 organ driver Carson Whitsett switches to piano and conjures up “Carson’s Merry Pranks,” a tricky little piece loaded with time-signature traps.
 

Jazz from the Redwoods

Trumpet Maestro Mike Vax's Big Band Jazz - Live!

LocoBop News - May 28, 2012

Trumpeter Mike Vax leads his 17-piece jazz band in concert atListen | Buy - Mike Vax - Big Band Jazz - Live! Cazadero Music Camp. The setting was a very chilly October evening in 1976 at Cazadero’s ampitheatre, located in the beautiful redwoods of northern California. The concert was recorded live on a Scully two-track recorder as the band (and recording engineers) wore overcoats to ward off the chill.

A native of Oakland, CA, Mike Vax has been a big band leader for nearly four decades. In his early career, he was first trumpet, soloist, and sometime co-leader of the Stan Kenton Orchestra, as well as leader of the Dukes of Dixieland.

Vax currently leads the Mike Vax Big Band, which is made up of some of the finest musicians from the Bay Area. They include alumni of many of the most famous big bands: Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Duke Ellington, Clark Terry, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Cab Calloway, Ray McKinley, and Tex Beneke.

The music performed on this album is all original, composed and arranged by then-current or former members of the band.

Musician on this recording: Mike Vax (trumpet, leader); Jim Schlicht, Bill Main, Dave Candia, Mike Atkinson (trumpet, Flugelhorn); Bill Robinson, Dean Hubbard, Karen Lucas, Jed Rodriguey (trombone); Kim Frizell, Glen Richardsen, Gerry Gilmore, Brian Garrard, Terry Stanfil (saxophone, flute); Si Perkoff (piano); Jeremy Choen (bass), Jim Thorne (drums).

Smooth Gospel

Melodic Assurance from the Bemiss Brothers

LocoBop News - May 28, 2012

When is the contemporary style of gospel music not exclusively contemporary gospel music? Easy. When it’s played expertly by a pair of brothers raised in New Orleans’ profoundly spiritual churchgoing community and applied to a program of selections all considered traditional hymns in the New Orleans canon.
 

Listen | Buy - The Bemiss Brothers - The Moment I BelievedThe Bemiss Brothers, Al and Burnell, come to this mix of church and showmanship by birthright, both having been raised in the church of their father, the Fifth African Baptist Church in New Orleans, led by Reverend Walter Bemiss. The brothers both developed strong musical skills in the church and later absorbed the tenets of pop music.
 

Al has played keyboards behind Johnnie Taylor, Candi Staton, and New Orleans’ own Clarence “Frogman” Henry; he also served as music director for the touring cast of “One Mo’ Time,” a musical revue conceived in New Orleans and based on old-time blues belters and African-American performance styles. Burnell, meanwhile, has contributed his stirring vocal solos to the New Orleans Sound Company, a popular R&B band, as well as to local churches in New Orleans and the surrounding area.
 

In their hands, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” a very old spiritual, is recast as a contemporary ballad that could easily be from a Broadway production, while “(We’ll Understand It Better) Bye and Bye,” set to an easy-loping beat and embellished by a smoking sax solo, could easily close the same show.
 

Other standouts include the uptempo, lively “Blessed Assurance” and “I Bowed on My Knees and Cried,” done as a solemn ballad. But singling out individual numbers does this CD a disservice, because it reveals both deep faith and musical virtuosity informed by a fresh vision on each and every inspired track.

Flute Picking Jazz

Join Edwin Hubbard for Brunch

LocoBop News - April 24, 2012

The late Edwin Hubbard was a nimble musical prodigy whose chosen instrument of expression was the flute.

Hubbard disdained the terms flutist or flautist, preferring to callListen | Buy - Edwin Hubbard & Brunch Bunch - Skyway Sunday himself a "flute picker." He was a flamboyant but beloved Memphis jazz standout whose facility with the sax as well as the flute tagged him as “about the most in-demand musician in his field’. He is heard on iconic recordings by Elvis Presley and Isaac Hayes, among others.

As a musician, Hubbard was an adventurer, said to be the first to bring about a fusion of bluegrass and jazz, and later, what he called the "Afro-Billy sound," a fusion of African, jazz, and bluegrass.

Early in his career, an Indian gave him a clutch of beautiful eagle feathers, saying, “They will give your music strength.” Hubbard dangled them from the end of his flute with a long string and was never again seen without them.

On March 22, 1997, the 61-year-old Hubbard auditioned for the role of conductor of the Germantown (TN) Symphony Orchestra. After conducting Mozart's Requiem (a.k.a. The Funeral Mass), he went to his dressing room, where the concertmaster found him dead from an apparent heart attack.

Accompanied by some of Memphis' finest - Tom Lonardo on drums, Errol Thomas on bass, and Marvell Thomas on keyboards – Edwin Hubbard’s legacy lives on in this album entitled “Skyway Sunday”.

Renaissance Man

The Amazing Dr. Hurd's Jazz Quartet

LocoBop News - April 24, 2012

Bill Hurd is a welcome feature at any Memphis venue catering to jazz fans. His mastery of the alto and tenor saxophone is reminiscent of Coltrane and his virtuosity on soprano and baritone sax is equally impressive.

Hurd has recorded with Kirk Whalum, Isaac Hayes, Maurice White, Greg Curtis, Phil Perry, J. Blackfoot, Wendy Moten, and with fellow legendary Memphis musicians like Floyd Newman, Rod McGaha, Rick Braun, and Lester Snell.

But Bill Hurd’s genius is not limited to music. He is also known as Listen | Buy - Bill Hurd Jazz QuartetDr. William C. Hurd, a practicing Ophthalmologist. In addition to his medical degree, he has an MBA from M.I.T. and a B.S. in engineering from Notre Dame (where he was an All-American captain of the track team and named Notre Dame's 1968 Athlete of the Year). Furthermore, Hurd has patented inventions of medical devices relating to his work as an eye surgeon. His two sons are honors graduates of Notre Dame, and his wife of 42 years is a Tennessee Circuit Court Judge.

Obviously, Bill Hurd has high standards, and those standards extend to choosing the members of his quartet. Tom Lonardo (drums), Sidney Kirk (keyboard), and Erroll Thomas (bass) are all considered among the South’s finest musical talents. And you’ll hear how it all comes together on this performance captured live in Memphis, TN.

Coolbone Swings

Jazz & Brass from the Coolbone Brass Band & Swing Troupe

LocoBop News - April 15, 2012

One of the first of a younger generation of New Orleans brassListen | Buy - Coolbone Brass Band and Swing Troupe bands to recognize the inherent connection between New Orleans secondline funk and contemporary hip hop, The Coolbone Brass Band broke out of the Crescent City scene to tour and collaborate in the mid-‘90s with such well-known musical artists as Wyclef Jean, David Byrne, Busta Rhymes, Ziggy Marley, Lauryn Hill, De La Soul, and Counting Crows.

The core and front line of this innovative ensemble is built around four brothers: leader Steven “Coolbone” Johnson on trombone, Ernest Johnson on trumpet, Darryl Johnson on alto sax, and Ronell “Roo” Johnson on tuba and trombone and tuba, with the four complemented by a first-class rhythm section.

Throughout this recording, the touring band is augmented by licks from one of the most prominent young lions to emerge from the New Orleans scene in many years, trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, and on the final six tracks, pianist Ronald Markham joins the proceedings to create a sit-down, sextet, jazz setting.

The first ten tracks celebrate the roots of New Orleans brass band music, marching through the streets of the city playing everything from hymns and dirges to swinging spirituals and funky dance tunes.

Through a series of eight original compositions – check out “Jazzitize,” “Tromboniana,” “Bird Be Free,” “It All Happened Here,” and more -- Coolbone also recognizes the influence of modern jazz cats like Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, and The jazz Crusaders on the band’s development.

Seamlessly mixing old and new, The Coolbone Swing troupe is a unique and outstanding musical achievement sure to delight jazz fans of every generation.

Rockabilly Revival!

Lips & The Trips Rock Down Rockabilly Road in New Orleans

LocoBop News - April 15, 2012

Asked about her real given name, the lead singer, bassist, and songwriter for local New Orleans rock’n’roll favorites Lips and the Listen | Buy - Lips and the TripsTrips will only say she that she prefers to be known formally as “D. ‘Lips’ Shus,” thus maintaining a sense of character that permeates her sense of fun, musical perspective, and enthusiasm for performing. “When I was a kid I started out lip-synching to records,” she says. But that’s not where she got her nickname -- that came instead from the prominence of certain facial features and a tendency to partake in provocative give-and-take repartée with almost anyone around her.

When she gets down to making music, though, she’s all business as the rip-roaring repertoire of Dance, Babies, Dance attests. Pairing up with another local New Orleans favorite, guitarist and vocalist Johnny J., of Johnny J. and the Hitmen, this version of Lips and the Trips rocks its way through a scintillating program of vintage 1950s rock, R&B, and rockabilly classics.

The party gets started with a bluesy version of Wanda Jackson’s “Tunnel of Love,” transitions to a lively cover of Dale Hawkins slightly naughty “The Thing,” and continues with a soulful rendition of Little Willie John’s “I Need Your Love So Bad.”

The band also scores bull’s-eyes on old-time classics like Lieber and Stollers’ “Riot in Cell Block #9,” Otis Blackwell’s “Rip It Up,” and Jimmy Lloyd’s “Rocket in My Pocket,” before wrapping it all up with an animated duet on “Let’s Rock a While.”

An updated version of early rock’n’roll roots, Lips and the Trips’ “Dance, Babies, Dance,” offers listeners a completely absorbing trip back to the golden era of 45-rpm hit singles and the glory days of roadhouse rockabilly blues.

Unanimous Critical Acclaim!

More Better Jazz From The Tony Thomas Trio

LocoBop News - January 31, 2012


Keyboardist Tony Thomas, bassist John McClure, and drummerListen | Buy - Tony Thomas Trio - In Memphis Live Tom Lonardo have been playing together since 1979. Acclaimed in the Memphis area for their original and highly innovative jazz compositions, the Tony Thomas Trio also garnered a degree of world-wide fame in a previous incarnation: the Dog Police. Their recording and video of the same name was an MTV sensation in the 1980s.

 

The trio, both individually and as a unit, are among the most esteemed musicians and in-demand session players in the south. They’ve performed with Diahann Carroll, Mose Allison, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Wynton Marsalis, Richard “Groove” Holmes, The Memphis Symphony, The New York Pops Orchestra and on literally thousands of commercial music jingles.

 

This album, In Memphis Live, finds the three working together in an easygoing swing setting that compares to classic Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, and Ahmad Jamal.

 

Despite the banner, this is a group effort, with all the players in wonderful sync in their interpretive tributes to Handy’s “St. Louis Blues”, Coltrane’s “Bass Blues”, Erroll Garner’s “Misty”, Miles’s “All Blues”, and Jobim’s “Quiet Nights.”
 

Dreamy Instrumental Collection

Rainy Day Reflections from Jimmy Hodo

LocoBop News - January 11, 2012


Jimmy Hodo - Rainy Day HeartJimmy Hodo returns from self-imposed exile to redefine himself musically. This veteran of Tim Whitsett’s Imperial Show Band and Carson Whitsett’s South, where he specialized in Sax but also played keyboard and percussion and added the occasional vocal, has played numerous traditional studio sessions in Memphis and Jackson. Here he shows he can also stand out as a digital music producer.

Rainy Day Heart is Hodo’s first original offering since “Still a Lot of Love”. Evocative and layered, this instrumental collection is unabashedly moody; the  perfect companion to a glass of wine in front of the fireplace on a rainy day. Crafted from such diverse influences as Tchaikovsky and Pixies, These tracks leave practically no musical stone unturned. The sax solos on “Shades of Love” and “full Circle” are reminiscent of Hodo’s own solo style.

The Rainy Day Heart collection reflects Hodo’s eclectic musical background. From classical piano lessons at age five to rock-n-roll/R&B internship beginning at thirteen, Hodo’s musical perceptions have been molded. His firm belief that music should be rhythmic, melodic and evocative is at full force in these reflective, sensual tracks. So pour that glass of wine and let Rainy Day Heart light your fire!

Drifts Away

Dobie Gray - Dead at 71

LocoBop News - December 6, 2011

Singer, songwriter Dobie Gray died today at age seventy-one.

Dobie Gray was born Leonard Victor Ainsworth on July 26, 1940 inDobie Gray - 1940 - 2011 Simonton, Texas to a family of sharecroppers. He grew up influenced by the gospel music sung in his minister-grandfather’s church and by the country and western music that permeated the Texas countryside.

He moved to Los Angeles, hoping to find success as an actor. He started singing to make ends meet until the acting jobs came in. His first break came from meeting Sonny Bono, who helped guide him through some of the challenges of getting established in Hollywood. He changed his name to Dobie Gray and got a two-and-a-half-year long role in the hit musical ‘Hair’.

His first hit came in 1965 with the song ‘The In Crowd,’ written by his brother Gene. But it was his 1973 hit ‘Drift Away’ that defined his career. ‘Drift Away’ sold millions and was covered by Rod Stewart, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, and Ringo Starr, among others. Uncle Kracker also covered it with Dobie singing harmony in 2003. That version of the song was on the Billboard chart for 28 weeks.

Gray became the first artist to play before integrated audiences in South Africa. Becoming one of the most popular artists in South Africa, he earned eight gold singles, four platinum albums, and made nine concert tours. He also found some success as an actor, appearing in episodes of several TV series while honing his songwriting skills collaborating with Paul Williams.

Ultimately, however, he relocated to Nashville and became a country music artist with some minor success. He also began to concentrate on his songwriting career. His songs were recorded by Don Williams,  Charley Pride, George Jones, Ray Charles, Tammy Wynette, Johnny Mathis, Etta James, Conway Twitty, Brook, Benton, Three Dog Night, Nina Simone, Julio Iglesias, Paul Rogers, Razzie Bailey, B.J. Thomas, and John Denver.

He purchased Quadrafonic Studios, on 18th Avenue in Nashville, where he recorded three albums for MCA Records. Gray sang on the soundtracks of ‘Uptown Saturday Night’, ‘Casey’s Shadow’, ‘The Commitment’, and ‘Out of Sight’, as well as on a number of commercials for major products, such as Procter & Gamble, Chrysler, Ultra Slimfast, Oscar Mayer, Chevrolet, Buick, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Allstate, Budweiser, and MacDonald’s.

Listen | Buy - Dobie Gray - Soul DaysIn 2009, LocoBop released Dobie’s album entitled ‘Soul Days’, produced by Norbert Putnam. The album features Dobie’s take on R&B classics such as “When a Man Loves a Woman”, and “People Get Ready”, as well new material he had written.

Debuted with Stax's Soul Children

J. Blackfoot Dies in Memphis

The Commercial Appeal - November 30, 2011

J. BlackfootThe Memphis Commercial Appeal’s  Bob Mehr reports: Memphis soul singer J. Blackfoot, a member of Stax vocal group the Soul Children and a longtime solo artist, died today at Methodist Germantown Hospital.

Blackfoot had been diagnosed with cancer. He was 65.

“What I remember more than anything about him was his naturalness,” said Stax songwriting legend David Porter, who discovered Blackfoot more than 40 years ago. “When I first heard him, there was naturalness in his phrasing, in his charm, that was unique. He always stayed true to that.”

Though he came to prominence under the guise of J. Blackfoot, he was born John Colbert in Greenville, Mississippi. His family moved to the Bluff City when he was 2 years old and he earned his nickname sobriquet during his childhood days, when he would walk the Memphis sidewalks barefoot.

J. Blackfoot broke into the music business at age nineteen as lead singer of a new line-up of The Barkays, whose original members had died in the plane crash that also killed Otis Redding.

Isaac Hayes and David Porter (famed for their Sam & Dave productions) then recruited Blackfoot to sing lead in a new vocal group, The Soul Children (who scored 15 R&B hits between 1968 and 1978).

After the group split up, Blackfoot began his career as a solo artist, produced by Stax colleagues Homer Banks and Chuck Brooks. Success came with the R&B smash 'Taxi´ followed by 'Just One Lifetime.’

LocoBop has released four of J. Blackfoot’s solo albums: U-Turn, Taxi Physical Attraction, and Soles of My Shoes. A fifth album, entitled Footloose, will be released early in 2012.

Christmas Special

Edwin Hubbard's Christmas Legacy

LocoBop News - November 15, 2011


Here is a set of famously favorite Christmas songs that will please the ears and holiday spirit of any listener, and particularly fans of smooth jazz.

The late Edwin Hubbard disdained the terms flutist or flautist,Listen | Buy - Christmas Songs - Edwin Hubbard & Prana preferring to call himself a "flute picker." He was  a flamboyant but beloved Memphis jazz standout whose facility with the sax as well as the flute tagged him as “about the most in-demand musician in his field’. He is heard on iconic recordings by Elvis Presley and Isaac Hayes, among others. As a musician, he was an adventurer, said to be the first to bring about a fusion of bluegrass and jazz, and later, what he called the "Afro-Billy sound," a fusion of African, jazz, and bluegrass.

Early in his career, an Indian gave him a clutch of beautiful eagle feathers, saying, “They will give your music strength.” Hubbard dangled them from the end of his flute with a long string and was never again seen without them.

On March 22, 1997, the 61-year-old Hubbard auditioned for the role of conductor of the Germantown (TN) Symphony Orchestra. After conducting Mozart's Requiem (a.k.a. The Funeral Mass), he went to his dressing room, where the concertmaster found him  dead from an apparent heart attack.

Accompanied by some of Memphis' finest - Tom Lonardo on drums, Errol Thomas on bass, and Marvell Thomas on keyboards – Edwin Hubbard’s legacy lives on in this album simply entitled “Christmas Songs”.

Christmas Special No. 2

Christmas Joy from the North Polish Symphony

LocoBop News - November 15, 2011


From Mid-November through New Year’s Eve, Tim Whitsett’s Loco Electric Orchestra “don their gay apparel,” top up their mugs of eggnog, and assume their nome de Noel as the North Polish Symphony. It is the time, after all, to go a-Christmas caroling, and The North Polish Symphony is imbued with the joyful spirit of the season.

Listen | Buy - Joy - North Polish Symphony, Tim WhitsettTraditionalists as they are, The North Polish Symphony selected songs for this album that have persistently proven popular and, indeed, have been loved by generations. Songs such as “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “We Three Kings”, “O Holy Night”, “Greensleeves”, “Angels We Have Heard on High”, and “What Child is This” are rendered in Renaissance style, respectfully freshened with a dash of modern instrumentation.

In addition, the NPS reached back through the centuries to brush off two 16th century airs perfect for the season: “Mistletoe Minuet” and “Pavane de Noel”.

And to round out the album in anthemic fashion, two18th century works by Georg Friedrich Handel are arranged in medley form entitled “WeinachtsGemisch” (“Christmas Medley”).

As you deck your halls with Christmas festoonery this year, let the North Polish Symphony provide your essential musical backdrop for holiday cheer.

Halloween Special

Richard Orange is Supernatural

LocoBop News - October 19, 2011

About Richard Orange, the (Memphis, TN) CommercialListen | Buy - Richard Orange - Supernatural Appeal had this to say: “The Memphis music landscape hasn't had an eccentric the likes of Richard Orange since, well, that last British-pop-inspired madman, Alex Chilton. The differences: Orange isn't concerned with being difficult, and he has Beatlemania so bad the John Lennon estate should start paying him royalties.” And Illinois Entertainers editorialized: “… some Fab Four loyalists will want Richard Orange arrested for trespassing.”

 

When Orange cites his influences, he lists David Bowie, XTC, Sting, Eric Clapton, Todd Rundgren, and Claude' Debussey. But first and foremost, he admits, are John Lennon and Paul McCartney. But don’t be misled. Though his voice often raises goose-bumps as a dead-ringer for Paul McCartney, Richard Orange is not a rip-off artist or a “Beatle imitator” of the kind you might see in a cheap casino lounge. He uses The Beatles as a launching pad for inspiration, as did groups such as Badfinger, ELO, and XTC, whose imitations were tributary, not mercenary.

 

Richard’s first album release was "ZUIDER ZEE", in 1975 on CBS/Columbia Records. In the 1980s and ‘90s, he wrote prolifically, getting cuts by Cyndi Lauper and a soundtrack spot in Sylvester Stallone’s film Over the Top. He re-formed Zuider Zee in 2000 and has been writing, recording, and performing in Memphis ever since.

 

Here, LocoBop offers six of his post CBS tracks, all cut in 1978. "Fold Out Girl" and "Long Distance Love" were recorded in Memphis. "Supernatural", “Shoot Out on Mars” (with Carson Whitsett), “There’ll Never be Another Night Like This” (with Amber) and “You Never Even Noticed Me” (also with Amber) were all recorded in Jackson, MS.
 

Blues Guitar Lessons

Papa Don is the Latest LocoBop "Beyond Words" Feature

LocoBop News - October 19, 2011

Memphis Music legend Papa Don McMinn gives us a demonstration of his Mississippi Delta Blues Mastery blended with that of the "Three Kings" (B.B., Albert, and Freddie).
 

Listen | Buy - Papa Don McMinn - Beyond Words Vol. IV Guitar Blues InstrumentalsPapa Don was instrumental in the rebirth of the Home of the Blues: Beale Street in Memphis Tennessee. During the mid-1980s, Papa Don’s band had the "house gig" at Rum Boogie on the corner of Beale and Highway 61. Everyone who was anyone was there, and when the big names came to town to record or perform, there was only one place to go - to see Papa Don McMinn and his Rum Boogie band.
 

Twenty five years later, Papa Don is still creating and perpetuating his special brand of Southern Music, a concoction of Delta and Boogie Blues. Papa Don's current band, Nightrain, is anchored by his sons, Doug on drums and Rome on bass.
 

Don has performed all across the planet, and he’s worked and recorded with the likes of Memphis Slim, John Mayall, Bobby "Blue" Bland, and Albert King, among others. Some of the notables who’ve made cameo appearances with Papa Don's band are Joe Walsh, Gregg Allman, Rufus Thomas, Jon Bonjovi, Billy F Gibbons, and Eddie Floyd.
 

The life work of Placides Adams

The Original Dixieland Hall Jazz Band

LocoBop News - October 10, 2011

Placide A. Adams Jr. was an exemplary and stalwart proponent of traditional New Orleans jazz.

Born Aug 30, 1929 near Algiers, Louisiana, his mother, Dolly Douroux, led a family band, which Adams joined in 1941 when heListen | Buy - Placides Adams & Original New Orleans Jazz Hall Band was 13. Starting off as a drummer, he soon became adept on bass and vocals as well. In the early 1950s, he played and recorded with traditional jazz bands led by Papa Celestine, Louis Cottrell, Paul Barbarin, Kid Howard, and Sweet Emma Barrett. He then toured with early rhythm and blues stars like Clyde McPhatter, Ruth Brown, Roy Brown, B.B. King and Big Joe Turner.

Placide Adams returned to traditional jazz in the 1960s, becoming a founding member of Preservation Hall. He toured Japan, Europe, and Australia with the Original Dixieland Hall Jazz Band.

In 1978, Adams became the fourth leader of a New Orleans institution - The Onward Brass Band (founded in 1886). Often parading with Pete Fountain's Half-Fast Walking Club on Mardi Gras, and appearing at Carnegie Hall with Al Hirt, Adams continued leading the Onward Brass Band right up until his death.

But, in addition to the Onward Brass Band, Adams remained leader of the Original Dixieland Hall Jazz Band. From 1991 until he died in 2003, he was a fixture with the band at the popular Hilton Hotel jazz-themed brunches.
 

The spiritual roots of New Orleans

The Sound of New Orleans Gospel

LocoBop News - October 10, 2011

This is a very special compilation.

Chased away by Katrina’s floodwaters, Sound of New Orleans owner and producer Gary Edwards quickly sought refuge in Houston.

Before long, however, he began missing his hometown. At the same time, he came to realize that many of the churches where Sound of New Orleans gospel groups performed had sustained significant damage.

So, he took it upon himself to create this compilation of his own favorite tracks taken from the dozen or so gospel CDs he’d recorded over the years, partly to provide himself with solace and partly to help fund church rebuilding.

From the opening deep rumble of The Zion Harmonizers’ a cappellaListen | Buy - Gospel Favorites - Sound of New Orleans harmony on “Ezekiel” to the closing track, a rousing version of “This Little Light of Mine” by New Orleans street performers David & Roselyn, this compilation surveys the breadth of New Orleans gospel music in all its glorious diversity and singular excellence.

While the contemporary gospel sound is well-represented, this collection’s emphasis is mainly on traditional favorites (“Old Rugged Cross,” “Amazing Grace,” Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Wade in the Water’), with performances equally divided between a cappella harmonies and rousing full-instrumental arrangements.

Every number is a standout, and with each new track comes the realization of yet another perspective capable of illuminating the life of the spirit as only music can.
 

Big show on the dance floor

Disco! Disco! Disco!

LocoBop News - October 7, 2011

Disco Loco Volume Two is the second release in LocoBop’s series of dance tracks circa 1977 – 1982 covering the flamboyant disco era of Saturday Night Fever fame.

The Bar-Kays 40-year career produced 27 albums (5 gold and 1 platinum), 37 singles (28 in the Top Ten) and membership in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. J. Blackfoot scored Soul/R&B hits before and after the disco period (solo and with the Soul Children). “U- Turn (Dance Mix)” was cut at the height of Disco’s popularity.

Listen | Buy - Disco Loco Vol. IIThe Masqueraders
’ “Love Anonymous”, along with “The Right Track” by Randy Brown and Eddie Floyd covering his own classic “Knock on Wood” in Trance-Disco fashion are other prime examples of Memphis soul acts who cashed in on the disco fad without harming their R&B credentials. Carson Whitsett’s “Shoot Out on Mars” is a frenetic, melodic electro disco instrumental flush with sequencers and synthesizers. Amber, two girls and a guy coupling the racial make up of Tony Orlando & Dawn with the smooth vocal harmonies of Abba, graced disco charts in Europe on the London label with “Love Attack”. “Hello Monte Carlo” is from the late
Scott Mateer, a top mid- South DJ of the period.

Memphis femme fatale Fawn sings about “Night Work”, a track co-produced by Winston Stewart (The Bar- Kays). Richard Orange is another Memphis icon whose “There’ll Never Be Another Night Like This” made noise in Europe on the DJM label. Memphians Bobby Manuel & Rick Christian pair on “Lonely for Your Love”. Mississippi disco diva Ruth Wentland wraps this album with “I’ll Pay Any Price.”
 

Country cooking at LocoBop

More Gems from LocoBop's Country Vault

LocoBop News - October 7, 2011

Loco Country Volume Three is the third release in LocoBop’s series of great country songs performed by great singers. There are many gems here, a couple from the category of “The Best Songs You’ve Never Heard,” because they were unreleased – until now.

BARRANCO, BARRETT & CROCKETT start us off in classic cross-over style with “Wrapped Up in You”. Rodeo announcer COTTON YANCEY serves up a humorous tale of “Near Mrs.” Eddie Rabbitt’s touring band, THE HARE TRIGGER BAND, sings John Paul Daniels’ “Blue Moon” with inimitable tight harmony.

Songwriter GARY GENTRY penned hits for Johnny Cash, TimListen | Buy - Loco Country Vol. III McGraw, Ray Charles, and George Jones. Here, Gary proclaims “I’m Gonna Live”. FERN KINNEY proves the pop/disco star has a magic country music touch on “Better Than This,” followed by IVORY JOE HUNTER’s timeless classic “I Almost Lost My Mind”. The man who glides from Blues to Country with perfect ease, PAPA DON McMINN, sings “Suspicious Heart” from his album of the same name.

Hank Williams’ rueful anthem “Cold Cold Heart” is sung just the way he meant it to be by New Orleans favorite CAROL FRAN. We then get an encore from IVORY JOE delivering another classic (“Walking the Floor Over You) before Louisiana’s BOBBIE CUPIT pleads “Satisfy Me” in a wonderfully traditional style, reminiscent of late night jukebox spins at a country highway roadhouse.
 

Homage to the big brass

Meet Trumpeter Brice Miller & The Mahogany Brass Band

LocoBop News - October 3, 2011

A revolution in New Orleans music occurred in the 1980s as the Listen | Buy - The Mahogany Brass BandDirty Dozen Brass Band emerged from playing neighborhood clubs and backstreet parades to garner national and international attention. The Dirty Dozen, formed by a collection of like-minded young musicians, revived the concept of the New Orleans neighborhood brass band, but with a freedom to re-interpret classic numbers, incorporate new compositions, and absorb diverse influences.

The Dirty Dozen’s success encouraged a whole new generation of young New Orleanians to embrace the brass band format and traditional repertoire as means of expressing a wholly modern sensibility. The Mahogany Brass Band, under the leadership of trumpeter Brice Miller, is one of the most creative, lively, and accomplished of this new, younger generation.

Opening and closing with a pair of gospel numbers (a medley with The Gospel Dedicators on the one hand, and “Bye and Bye” on the other), the band takes on selections that include classic jazz (“Baby Face,” “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home?”), Dirty Dozen tributes (“Blackbird Special,” “Night Train”), and traditional brass band repertoire (“I Scream, You Scream”).

They also offer superbly rendered dirges (“Amazing Grace,” “St. James Infirmary”), re-imagined classics (“St. Louis Blues” with a Latin beat), and a tribute to the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian tradition (“Indians Jumping on Fire”).

With masterful musicianship and infectious enthusiasm, the Mahogany Brass Band is helping to write a brand new chapter in the annals of New Orleans brass band music.

Jam-Packed Soul Party

Big Collection of 30 Hot Southern Soul Tracks

LocoBop News - September 26, 2011


Luther Ingram, The Bar-Kays, Eddie Floyd, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Shirley Brown, Tommy Tate, The Green Brothers, and R.B. Hudmon were all part of the scene at StaxListen | Buy - 30 Southern Soul Picks Records in Memphis. J. Blackfoot and Shelbra Dean were also at Stax as members of The Soul Children. Another Stax vet, Randy Brown, was a member of The Newcomers at that time. Rufus Thomas wrote the only instrumental on this album, “Philly Dog,” which was recorded live in Italy by the Memphis All Star Band, led by Carla’s brother Marvell Thomas, and featuring Stax session leader, guitarist Bobby Manuel.

Similar in name, the Memphis All Stars come from a slightly younger generation of soulsters, though leader Greg Reding was in Black Oak Arkansas, a band once signed to Stax. Keena Green, daughter of The Green Brothers’ Bobby Green, recorded with her two sisters as Sweet Obsession, scoring five chart singles. Ivory Joe Hunter sold millions of records in a career dating to 1945, but always remained current, as his track from ‘73 proves. Beale Street Queen Ruby Wilson notched ten acclaimed albums, and acted in films such as Cookie's Fortune, The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Chamber, The Client, and The Firm. The Masqueraders, still active after 50 years, show off their famously tight harmonies, while Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Jerry Butler (“The Ice Man”) contributes two of his classics to this set. Dobie Gray turns in a solid soul performance worthy of the man who gave us “Drift Away”.

Three New Orleans stars complete the album’s cast: Veda Love resurrects the soul standard “Standing on Shaky Ground;” Charles Jacobs shows us why he’s a capacity draw night after night on Bourbon Street; Chewy Thunderfoot Black (once bandleader for ZZ Hill and Buddy Ace) displays a hard-driving soulmanship.
 

Blue Ribbon Blues

Thirty Essential Tracks for Blues Aficionados

LocoBop News - September 23, 2011


Rufus Thomas
, Tommy Tate, and Eddie Floyd made their mark as soul singers; here they reveal genuine blues credentials. Ivory Joe Hunter sold millions of records as a crossover crooner, butListen | Buy - 30 Blues Picks shows off his early blues roots.
Fred Sanders’s Club Handy Band, a long-time Beale Street attraction, influenced virtually all Memphis musicians coming of age in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Award-winning bluesman Bobby Rush still plays to sell-out crowds as his career passes the half century mark. Blues Hall of Famer Percy Mayfield wrote “Hit The Road Jack” for Ray Charles.
 

Eddie Cotton is a rising, dynamic young bluesman in the tradition of Little Milton, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters. Di Anne Price’s stride piano is so old-fashioned it's refreshingly new. Close your eyes and you’re in a 1940s barrelhouse.
 

Charles Jacobs proves why he’s a French Quarter draw for blues aficionados, while up river, the Memphis All Stars indisputably earn their name. And the Memphis Queen, Carla Thomas authenticates her blues credentials with “Little Red Rooster.” Beale Street headliner Papa Don McMinn shows his mastery of Delta roots. The Crescent City’s Selwyn Cooper & The Hurricane Blues Band, dare we say, blow us away with their performance. West along the Gulf Coast to Houston, harmonica maestro Tommy Dardar laments how rain doesn’t help the blues. Gulf Coast favorite Carol Fran gives the blues a barrelhouse spin, and Mississippi’s Carson Whitsett channels Ray Charles on the organ. The iconic Albert King puts his “Finger on the Trigger,” while Louisiana’s Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers offer prime swamp blues. Tara Darnell closes with an absolutely stunning version of “Ain’t No Sunshine”.
 

Rare But Real

Discover Mississippi Doo-Wop with The Vels, The Caprees, and The Carvettes

LocoBop News - September 20, 2011


If Sidney Caldwell, Terry Lee Evans, Marion Knight, and Al Sanders lived in New York or Philly in 1961, they would undoubtedly have hit the big time as one of the best doo-wop groups ever. Instead, there Listen | Buy - Mississippi Doo-Wopwere few recording opportunities for The Vels in Jackson, Mississippi. Their sole record came about when 17- year-old Tim Whitsett convinced a local jeweler /  label owner to let him take The Vels into the studio. Backed by Whitsett’s band, The Vels cut two originals for Trebco Records, “Mysterious Teenage” and “Please Be Mine”. Recorded in a single-car garage with a single track tape recorder, the record has become a doo-wop favorite over the past 50 years.
 

The Carvettes were students at Jim Hill High School in Jackson. Al Goodman, Charles Haynes, Albert Brown, Tommy Harden, and Walter Catchings were managed by Jobie Martin, a DJ who gave them a 15-minute segment on his WOKJ program every Saturday morning. The radio exposure led to a contract with Copa Records (1962). The label’s only other artist was Sam Baker. The ‘A’ Side of the Carvettes’ single was "A Lovers Prayer". Sam Baker’s single was “So Long” with the Carvettes featured prominently as backup singers. Of the Carvettes, only Al Goodman pursued a music career, first with The Moments and later co-founding Ray, Goodman, & Brown.
 

Another group of Jackson teenagers caught Jobie Martin’s ear in 1962. The Caprees were Maurice Tony Gray, Willie “Butch” Johnson, Robert “Earl” Johnson and Charles “Chuck” Guy. Jobie linked them with Bob McRee, owner of the same studio that hosted The Vels’ session. McRee called in Tim Whitsett to provide the backing band for “If I Should Lose You” and “Where There’s a Will”. Released on McRee’s Buccaneer label, the disc had regional success. Later, the group traveled to Detroit and was signed to Golden World by producer Don Davis. Changing their name to The Holidays, their debut single (“I’ll Love You Forever”) was a hit. Coincidentally, Don later joined Stax Records in Memphis, and hired Tim Whitsett to run the music publishing division East/Memphis Music, proving that it is indeed a small world.
 

Love = Harmony

The Masqueraders Join with the Mad Lads and Ten-63 The Browns in the Harmonies of Love

LocoBop News - September 20, 2011


This LocoBop collection of love songs features the tight vocal harmonies of three great Memphis vocal groups: The Masqueraders, The Mad Lads, and The Browns.
 

The Masqueradersgenesis goes back fifty years when RobertListen | Buy - Love Harmony “Tex” Wrightsil formed a group called The Stairs in his hometown, Dallas, Texas. They recorded for a local label in 1959 but didn’t find recording success until 1964. After a stint in Detroit, the group has, for the most part, made Memphis, Tennessee their home, where they still (2011) actively perform, write, and record.
 

The Mad Lads' doo wop harmonies were more akin to Philadelphia than their native Memphis. Featuring the high, innocent tenor of John Gary Williams, the group was still in high school when they signed to Stax in late 1964. Their three songs in this collection come from their first new album in 40 years, Love Songs for Lovers. The album turned out to be a bittersweet milestone as key member and group co-founder William Brown suffered a career-ending stroke soon after the session wrapped up at Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios in Memphis.
 

Ten-63 The Browns: William Brown had also just finished recording an album with his two younger brothers, Randy and Bertram. Though Facing The Music was to be the start of many Brown Brothers collaborations, the album was the only time the brothers recorded together as a group. Randy Brown was lead singer of The Newcomers, signed to Volt Records, before a solo career that produced several chart singles. Bertram, the youngest Brown, was also in The Newcomers, before finding chart success as lead singer with Kwick.
 

Melodious Funk is What it is

The Tony Thomas Trio -  Jazz That  Jumps Out and Grabs You

LocoBop News - August 11, 2011

Keyboardist Tony Thomas, bassist Sam Shoup, and

drummer Tom Lonardo have been playing together

around Memphis since 1979. Widely acclaimed for theirListen | Buy - Tony Thomas Trio - Progreso

original and highly innovative jazz compositions, the Tony Thomas Trio also garnered a degree of worldwide fame in a previous incarnation: the Dog Police. Their recording and video of the same name was an MTV sensation in the 1980s.

 

The trio, both individually and as a unit, are among

the most esteemed musicians and in-demand

session players in the south. They’ve performed with

Diahann Carroll, Mose Allison, The Duke Ellington

Orchestra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Wynton

Marsalis, Richard “Groove” Holmes, The Memphis

Symphony, The New York Pops Orchestra (for which

bassist Sam Shoup is a staff arranger), and on

literally thousands of commercial music jingles.

 

Their newest album together, Progreso, their second

all-original jazz release, finds the three working in an

easygoing swing setting that compares to classic Bill

Evans, Thelonious Monk, and Ahmad Jamal.

 

Despite the banner, this is a group effort, with all the

players contributing compositions that range from the

film noir atmospherics of “Melodious Funk” to the

New Orleans-flavored groove of “Slide-L.”

 

Who Let the Dogs Loose (Again)?

The Dog Police Are Back!

LocoBop News - August 11, 2011

Listen | Buy - Dog Police - Dog PoliceThis is the digital reissue of the eponymous, cult classic album by the Memphis-based '80s band Dog Police. The band won MTV's "Basement Tapes" competition in 1985, and their video "Dog Police" scored 400,000 hits on YouTube. The video sensation led to a sitcom television pilot called "Dog Police” starring Adam Sandler & Jeremy Piven.

 

The core members of the band dressed up as dogs and played a skewed new wave pop music reminiscent of Frank Zappa, Mothers of Invention, and Weird Al Yankovic. In Fact, tickled by the group’s silliness, Weird Al Yankovic, featured them on his MTV music video show.

 

One critic summed up public reaction to the song "Dog Police" thus: Some people loved it. Some reacted to it by simply screaming for three minutes. Still others forgot it existed until months later, when the chorus suddenly lodged itself in their heads while they were mowing the lawn, after which it proceeded to loop morning, noon, and night for many days straight.

 

This release contains all ten of the album's original tracks, plus three previously unreleased songs.

 

Dog Police, was formed in 1985 by keyboardist Tony Thomas, bassist Sam Shoup, and drummer Tom Lonardo, who, as the Tony Thomas Trio, have been among the musical elite of Memphis since 1979.
 

The Sweet Sound of Peace

Carson Whitsett is At Peace

LocoBop News - August 11, 2011

Carson Whitsett was in the top echelon of B3Listen | Buy - Carson Whitsett - At Peace organ players; he played piano beautifully, and was a songwriting-melody machine. Other than perhaps Rap and Heavy Metal, there isn't any form of American Popular music he didn't contribute to as a producer, arranger, songwriter, or session musician.

 

In one role or another, he worked with many of the late 20th century’s most notable artists: Paul Simon, Carson Whitsett - 1986Bobby "Blue" Bland, Conway Twitty, Wilson Pickett, Jerry Butler, Janis Ian, B.B. King, Connie Francis, The Staple Singers, Barbara Mandrell, Eddie Floyd, Lorrie Morgan, Solomon Burke, Joe Cocker, Tony Joe White, Patti Page, Emmylou Harris, Eric Clapton, Etta James, Michael McDonald, Mark Knopfler, Waylon Jennings, and Kathy Mattea, to name a few.

 

Carson and I were just 18 months apart, so I couldn’t imagine what life would be without him when he died in 2007. As it turns out, I feel he’s still close by, ready

with a quip, a pun, or a song for any occasion.


Growing up, Carson’s melodic piano improvisations floated through our house. There was something Joplin-esque about them, even Norman Rockwellian:

nostalgic, sentimental, jaunty, and wistful; That’s why this collection, called "At Peace", means so much to me. It sounds just like home, a time magically recaptured when I listen to this album. My son summed it up this way: We are lucky and blessed that we can have Carson here with us anytime we want, just by pushing play.

 

- Tim Whitsett
 

Jimmy McGriff's Jazz Guitar Maestro

Wayne Boyd's New Orleans Jazz-Soul Sessions

LocoBop News - July 29, 2011

When you’re talking about vintage soul-jazz credits, they don’t get much better than those of high-powered guitarist Wayne Boyd, featured sideman to Hammond B-3 master Jimmy McGriff for nearly three decades.

One of the true pioneers of the soul-jazz Hammond B-3Listen | Buy - Wayne Boyd - The New Orleans Sessions sound, McGriff’s long career has been distinguished by his bluesy approach and his penchant for transforming R&B and popular hits into soul-jazz masterpieces, two characteristics Wayne Boyd also favors on his solo debut outing.

And he’s got top-notch musical talent accompanying him, including drummer Herlin Riley, a New Orleans native and long-time member of Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and Richard Knox, a New Orleans keyboard wizard and mainstay of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s 1990s funk unit.

Following a bluesy warm-up, the trio burns through a quartet of Top Ten melodies, including “People Get Ready,” “Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself Again,” “Easy” (on which Boyd provides smooth-as-silk vocals), and “Chain of Fools,” during which the band improvises right up to the fiery edge of out-and-out, screaming R&B. A series of standards and originals follows (check out especially “US Funk & G” with its hip-shaking dance-floor rhythm), and the outing is capped off by pair of original compositions honoring Hank Crawford, the Ray Charles altoist and music director with whom McGriff and Boyd cut a pair of mid-1990s albums.

Throughout, the guitarist and leader demonstrates a nimble but aggressive attack on the amplified strings of his full-bodied guitar, leading the way with full authority and making this an unusually hot and inspired example of classic soul-jazz improvisation.

The Sixth Ward's New Generation

High Steppers' Brash Approach to Brass Band Music

LocoBop News - July 29, 2011

One of the best things about the younger generation of New Orleans brass bands is their ability to unleash fresh energy, and inject fresh repertoire, while simultaneously respecting a musical tradition that is more than a century old.

The High Steppers Brass Band lets you know early on where they’re coming from with “Sixth Ward Jam,” a nine-and-a-half minute medley that could have been recorded at any of a dozen New Orleans street parties or hole-in-wall local clubs, where city residents celebrate that funky Crescent City brass band sound.

The remainder of selections on this highly energized recording all come from the classic New Orleans brass Listen | Buy - High Steppers Brass Band - New Orleansband repertoire, but sample very different eras. The lovely and tragic “Just a Closer walk with Thee,” for example, is among the earliest dirges played by New Orleans brass bands, while “Oop-Pop-Pa-Da,” a bebop tune by Dizzy Gillespie, was included on Voodoo, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s debut for Columbia Records in the early 1980s.

Similarly, “When My Dreamboat Comes Home,” “Bourbon St. Parade,” and “Paul Barabrin’s Second Line” have been brass-band staples since the 1950s traditional New Orleans jazz revival, while the opening track, “Do Wah Diddy,” and “Go to the Mardi Gras,” a Professor Longhair contribution, are of a more recent vintage. The High Steppers also bring their youthful energy to “Butter Beans,” favored by a new generation of brass band musicians for its humorous, down-home lyrics.

Here’s a new injection of inspiration in a tried-and-true musical tradition, holding to the past while bringing it full-bore into the present, in true New Orleans style.

A Half-Century of the Gospel Spirit

"Strong Rhythms and Heart-felt Harmonies"

LocoBop News - July 23, 2011

The New Orleans Spiritualettes were formed in 1956, in the midst of a New Orleans gospel movement that eventually produced a dozen or more musical ensembles. Founded by Mississippi transplant Ruby Ray, who remains the group’s leader, The New Orleans Spiritualettes have continued to rely since that time on strong rhythms and heart-felt harmonies that recall a backwoods choir as much as a more-refined, city-based ensemble.

The Spiritualettes’ sound is further distinguished by a tightly rehearsed instrumental combo considered an Listen | Buy - New Orleans Spiritualettes - I Believeintegral part of the group, imparting echoes of the early Staple Singers to the Spiritualettes’ fervent and heavenly harmonies. The standouts abound on this hard-rocking program as the Spiritualettes also pride themselves on truly distinctive and original arrangements of the tried-and-true, old-time repertoire.

One real highlight is the Spiritualettes sanctified, hard-driving take on “Ninety-Nine-and-a- Half (Just Won’t Do)” which falls midway on the scale of spirit possession between the 1956 gospel hit by gospel great Dorothy Love Coates and a later, secularized re-working by  soul icon Wilson Pickett. By contrast, the venerable “Down by the Riverside” gets an easy-going, upbeat treatment, and “I Don’t Know Why (I Have to Cry Sometimes)” is rendered almost in the manner of a doo-wop ballad.

Inspiration and originality help explain the New Orleans Spiritualettes' longevity, but so does a passionate commitment that fills every selection with God’s spirit. As leader Ruby Coates says, “We love singing, and we love being Christians … You know, sometimes you can get a message through with sermon, and sometimes you can get one over with a song.”

Listen to any cut on this superb CD, and we know you’ll get the message!

Mr. Boogieman

Franco's Barrel House Boogie - French Quarter Style

LocoBop News - July 23, 2011

There’s a good reason Steve Franco adopted the stage name “Mr. Boogieman” – because whenever he sits down at the ivories, no matter the tune or the tempo he’s playing, he always proves that he can stone-cold boogie!

What do we mean by “boogie”? In the rock’n’roll era, we’re talking about the high-stepping, rhythm-pounding riffs of Johnnie Johnson, the keyboard man behind the inimitable Chuck Berry (and so it makes perfect sense that Mr. Boogieman closes this program of 15 smokin’ hot selections with a lickety-split version of the Chuck Berry classic, “Johnny B. Goode”).

But Steve Franco also demonstrates he can apply the Mr. Boogieman method to a wide range of music, from the swinging “Route 66” to a classic Beatles medley, from Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train” to Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.”

The first half of this recording features The Boogieman all by himself, rampaging over an electronic keyboard instrument with a resonant, gently chiming tone. Along the way, he tears through “Watermelon Man,” gently caresses another jazz standard, “How High the Moon,” and brings it all back home in funky fashion with his own “Moslo Blues.”

On “New Orleans Boogie,” a transitional cut, he duets with Crescent City keyboard whiz Davell Crawford -- grandson of James “Sugar Boy” Crawford, the 1950sListen | Buy - Steve Franco - New Orleans Boogie R&B artist who was the first to record the well-known “Iko Iko” as “Jockomo.” The final four tracks showcase The Boogieman on vocals and keyboard backed by bass and drums on tunes that include Cannonball Adderley’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” and his own “Slomo Blues.”

Throughout, Mr. Boogieman demonstrates the range of boogie woogie piano and asserts the kind of creative inspiration that makes you want to boogie all night long.

Old-Time New Orleans Gospel

Heavenly Stars - Classic Gospel

LocoBop News - July 23, 2011

The Heavenly Stars, an old-school ensemble of four vocalists with back-up band, have long been international ambassadors of New Orleans-style gospel music, performing an historic repertoire whose roots reach back to slave spirituals and featuring unadorned arrangements built around classic, four-part, male harmony.

The group’s “old-time religion” has brought great joy to audiences around the globe, from Japan, where the group was featured in a Japanese TV special, to Europe and the Scandinavian countries, where The Heavenly Stars headlined a “Spirit of Louisiana” tour through the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, and Sweden.

The secret behind The Heavenly Stars success is simplicity – performing gospel favorites as sincerely as possible without unnecessary showmanship orListen | Buy - Heavenly Stars - Oh Happy Day pyrotechnics. Once in a while, the group will add a slightly jazzy element, such as the chorded guitar intro to “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In” or the forceful piano accompaniment to “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” but more often The Heavenly Stars opt for the kind of understated elegance that characterizes “Oh, Happy Day,” with its extended guitar/drum intro giving way to softly articulated lyrics.

The group’s reliance on classic harmony is its greatest strength and can be heard to optimum advantage on classics like “Amazing Grace,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and especially the gorgeous, a cappella “I’m So Glad.” Equally stunning is the group’s arrangement for “Roll, Jordan, Roll,” with a bass lead vocal honoring the 1962 hit version by The Skylarks.

Simplicity, harmony, sincerity, and understated grace – for The Heavenly Stars, that equals a heavenly combination.

French Quarter Street Singers

David & Roselyn's Gumbo Ya Ya

LocoBop News - July 23, 2011

David & Roselyn are “street singers” who can still be found occasionally plying their trade on select corners in New Orleans’ French Quarter – but these are no ordinary street musicians. David Leonard and Roselyn Lionhart met as members of the Air Force Band, have raised a family, and supported themselves for more than 40 years as traveling folk musicians.

The duo has been featured in both Charles Kuralt’s America (G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1995) and the Smithsonian Institutions’ River of Song, a four-part documentary tracing diverse musical styles the length of the Mississippi River.

Both are extremely accomplished musicians. David provides rhythm guitar and gruff, baritone vocals, while Listen | Buy - David & Roselyn - Gumbo Ya YaRoselyn fills in with mandolin and a vocal style reminiscent of the old-time blues “belters.” To this fundamental sound, they add David’s wailing harmonica and occasional trumpet solos, Roselyn’s love of the percussive African thumb piano, and back-up singing whenever possible.

On Gumbo Ya-Ya, the duo offers finely crafted folk renditions of favorite songs appropriate for kids as well as the kid in every adult, including “Froggy Went A-Courtin’,” “She’ll Be Comin’ Around the Mountain,” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” along with much loved, all-purpose tunes like “He’s Got the Whole World (in His Hands),” “This Land is Your Land,” and “(What a) Wonderful World.” Also included are light-hearted versions of Fats Domino’s “Hey, Josephine” and the blues favorite “Wang Dang Doodle.”

No matter what they play, David & Roselyn mix a fun-loving, high-spirited attitude with solid folk musicianship, assuring a good time will be had by audiences everywhere.

Memphis Big Band Leader and Attorney

R.I.P. “Sy” Rosenberg

LocoBop News - July 23, 2011

Seymour S. “Sy” Rosenberg died Saturday, July 23, 2011, at his home after a long illness. He practiced law for over 50 years and his passion for music and entertaining spanned his entire lifetime. Listen | Buy - Sy Rosenburg - Big BandRosenberg was a fixture on the Memphis music scene for more than 50 years - as a musician, impresario, producer, publisher, manager, and music business attorney. His clients were as diverse as the rich musical heritage of Memphis itself - from Charlie Rich to Rufus Thomas. In his later years he was an integral part of the Memphis Jazz Orchestra and released two albums on LocoBop (Sy Rosenberg Big Band Vols. I & II) conducting his own orchestra.

A World of Fable

Loco Electric Orchestra debuts

LocoBop News - July 18, 2011

The Loco Electric Orchestra is the latest pipe dream of Tim Whitsett, whose very first single (on Imperial Listen | Buy - Loco Electric Orchestra - World of FableRecords when he was sixteen) was, in fact, entitled “Pipe Dreams.” That first release led to a decade’s worth of other recordings in a variety of genres (R&B, Pop, Instrumental) for assorted labels such as Epic, Ace, Sue, Rim, Musicor, Island, and Capitol.

Whitsett retired as a performing artist at the ripe age of 26 to take charge of East Memphis Music Corp., the music publishing division of Stax Records.

Subsequently, he moved to London to manage Chrysalis Music Ltd., partnered with Ten Years After vet Chick Churchill in a publishing / production venture, and served an executive role at Chappell Music Ltd.

Back in the States, Whitsett penned three music business textbooks and a novel, dabbled in record production, and was associated with Malaco Music Group for eleven years.

The Loco Electric Orchestra might easily have been called the Loco Eclectic Orchestra, since its musical output flits between styles at Whitsett’s whim. While the tracks on this album unmistakably come from the same “place”, the center of gravity shifts from song to song, revealing a diversification you’d expect from someone who has worked with song catalogs ranging from Otis Redding, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Chuck Berry, and Bobby Blue Bland to Gilbert & Sullivan, David Bowie, Jethro Tull, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and George Gershwin.

Eddie Rabbit's Touring Band

Hare Trigger Band on their own

LocoBop News - July 18, 2011

The HARE TRIGGER BAND was Eddie Rabbitt's touring band. Influenced by their southern roots, Hare Trigger was a melting pot of R&B, pop, and country. In addition to backing Eddie Rabbitt, the band opened shows for Garth Brooks, Kenny Rodgers, The Judds, Reba McEntyre, Alan Jackson, and Michael Johnson.

HARE TRIGGER’s line-up consists of Jimmy Hyde (drums, vocals), Don Barrett (bass, vocals), Gene Sisk (keyboards, vocals), Lee Garner (guitars), Ned DavisListen | Buy - Hare Trigger - Hare Tigger Band (steel guitar, vocals), and John Paul Daniel (guitars, vocals). Individually, Hare Trigger members have played with artists such as Kitty Wells, Paul Davis, Dorothy Moore, Fern Kinney, Z.Z. Hill, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ace Cannon, Charlie Rich, Jimmy Griffin, and Stax Records Founder Jim Stewart.

Songs recorded in California for this album were principally written by John Paul Daniel, whose credits include cuts by Pam Tillis, Bryan White, Clay Walker, Prairie Oyster, The Bama Band, Debra Dejean, The Breaks, 84 King Street, Jimmy Griffin, Ballie and the Boys, and a track in Robert Altman's film "Cookie's Fortune".

Spotlight on Memphis Rock

BatRacers like Big Cash

LocoBop News - July 18, 2011

Memphis musicians, whether born in the midsouth or transplanted from the bigger cities, carry with them a unique and powerful presence that can be felt on any Memphis recording.

Listen | Buy - BatRacers - Big CashMichael Enright and Bill Rennie hooked up and created The BatRacers. By adding Michael's brother Jimmy on keyboards and Robbie Payne on percussion, they created a totally unique and original sound.

The BatRacers are fresh, tight, technically sound and lyrically visual, (sometimes tongue in cheek). They knock your feet out from under you with the combination of Classic Rock and Memphis blood that runs through their music.

The tracks on Big Cash are truly tight and challenging, all of them performed with that underlying Memphis pulse. This is Memphis Music as it should be, with all its heart and fire intact.

Carnaval and Mardi Gras come together

The Afro-Brazilian Fantasy of Curtis Pierre's Casa Samba

LocoBop News - July 5, 2011

The formation of Casa Samba, which is based on the model of Brazilian samba schools, marks the realization of New Orleans native Curtis Pierre’s lifelongListen | Buy - Afro-Brazilian Fantasy - Casa Samba commitment to the study, performance, and teaching of Brazilian rhythms, many of which share sources that also influenced music in the Caribbean, Haiti, Cuba, and New Orleans.

And Afro-Brazilian Fantasy presents a wide-ranging showcase of authentic Brazilian rhythmic diversity along with a demonstration of Brazilian and African rhythms that have shaped New Orleans’ musical culture and heritage.

Fans of world music in general and lovers of complex drumming rhythms in particular will revel in both the authenticity and creativity of these vividly recorded performances, which present an overflowing variety of classic Afro-Brazilian sounds and creative compositions that highlight the Brazilian connection to New Orleans’ musical heritage.

Afro-Brazilian Fantasy is the real deal, a mesmerizing and truly inspiring mix of new and ancient rhythms rendered with both astounding clarity and a deep understanding of genuine Afro-Brazilian musical culture.

New Orleans Street Band Series Continues

Algiers Brass Band struts its stuff

LocoBop News - June 21, 2011

The Algiers Brass Band is a true New Orleans neighborhood brass band, based in a section of the city called Algiers, which is located directly across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter.

Their album, Lord, Lord, Lord, shows the band off to its best advantage by mixing a variety of selections representing jazz, blues, and gospel, including casual-style vocals that evoke the full depth and passion of the classic brass-band style.

Listen | Buy - Algiers Brass BandThe band’s characteristic ragged-but-right sound also provides classic settings for gospel numbers, like “Lord, Lord, Lord,” “Lay My Burden Down,” and “Just a Little While to Stay Here,” and shines especially bright on some of the oldest tunes associated with New Orleans jazz, like “Panama,” “Whooping Blues,” and “Hindustan.”

Throughout, the Algiers Brass Band gives their all to rock your socks off, which means tossing in a modern-day hit from The Meters, like “Hey Pocky Way,” or the down-and-dirty “Down Home Blues,” fits right into their agenda: to let you know the New Orleans brass-band is not only alive and well, but still kickin’!

Sound of New Orleans

Summer releases coming from the Big Easy in June

LocoBop News - May 31, 2011

Three great albums from Gary Edwards's Sound of New Orleans label kick off our summer on June 14. You'll get an injection of Louisiana Swamp Blues from Selwyn Cooper and his Hurricane Blues Band. Plus, there's some southern fried gumbo funk from Veda Love's album entitled Make Me Yours Tonight. And then we remember the great Sherman Washington, who died in  March, with a superb gospel album from the Zion Harmonizers called Thank You Lord. (See below for our tribute to Sherman, which we published last month.)

Last original member of the Zion Harmonizers

R.I.P. Sherman Eddie Washington

LocoBop News - April 12, 2011

Sherman Eddie Washington, Jr. died in New Orleans March 14, 2011 at the age of 85. The leader of the Zion Harmonizers was born December 13, 1925 in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

In 1939, Washington formed the gospel group with other young men from his neighborhood in Zion City, a small Sherman Washington of the Zion Harmonizerscommunity in New Orleans. The Zion Harmonizers received numerous accolades and recognitions as they toured throughout the United States and Europe, including Italy, Belgium, Holland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Portugal. They first recorded for the Avant label in 1956 and went on to record albums for Gotham Records, Booker Records, Flying Fish Records, Pontchartrain Records, Mardi Gras Records, C & G Music, and Sound of New Orleans.

Sherman Washington, Jr. was the last original member of the Zion Harmonizers and had been singing for 71 years.

Last year, Sound of New Orleans and LocoBopHear clips of "Never Alone" - Zion Harmonizers released the Zion Harmonizers’ first digital album, “Never Alone.” In June of this year, a second Zion Harmonizers’ digital album, “Thank You Lord,” is slated for release.

Watch the Zion Harmonizers perform "I'll Fly Away".

Remembering Al Green (of the Green Brothers)

R.I.P. Aaron Alexander Green

LocoBop News - April 4, 2011

Al Green of The Green Brothers passed away March 5. Al suffered a heart attack in Florida, while on his way to Al Green of the Green Brothershis brother Bobby’s home in Detroit. They planned to work on new songs for an album to be cut May.

The Green Brothers were the last act signed to Stax Records before its demise in 1975. By the time their first single was released that April, Stax product distribution was virtually non-existent and the record quickly died. And given Stax’s financial woes, their second recording was never completed.

Disheartened, Bobby and Al decided to give up the Green Brothers. Bobby worked for Detroit’s fire department for the next twenty-seven years. Al moved to Florida.

 In January 2008, former Stax producer Bobby Manuel chanced upon an original cassette of home demos that Bobby and Al Green had recorded some thirty-three years earlier. Manuel told Green about his rediscovery of the cassette, asserting that the Green Brothers had never gotten their due. He concluded by saying, “Bobby, let’s finish this.”

Convinced that it was worth a shot, Bobby Green persuaded Al to come to Detroit where they managed to re-capture their old magic after a couple of weeks rehearsing.

Bobby Manuel assembled the finest rhythm and horn players in Memphis. The album, called “Soulsville,” was completed in a week; most of the vocals were cut “live,” the way Stax conducted sessions in the sixties. Bobby Manuel said, “It was like the Otis days.”

Al’s death unfortunately nipped the resurrection of the Green Brothers’ career in the bud. However, BobbyHear clips of "Soulsville" -  The Green Brothers Green and Bobby Manuel feel Al would want them to continue what they started. Green and Manuel are considering replacements for Al. They’re determined to record that second Green Brothers album, convinced they will have Al’s blessing.

Watch the Green Brothers performing at Porretta Soul Festival in Italy, July 2010.

Mick Martin is the Revelator!

LocoBop News - March 1, 2011

As a child in Appalachia Mick Martin grew up listening to the mountain music that was a natural part if his surroundings, which is evident in his unique sound and guitar picking style - it's true "Country Blues". During the 1920’s and 30’s Mick’s mother (Mildred) was a singer. Her sister (Dorothy) played the harmonica and the third sister (Annie) a guitar player and singer. "The Daneker Sisters" had played on the radio and opened for medicine shows when they came to town. Other close relatives who lived in the deep and rolling hills of Appalachia played the fiddle and banjo while calling square dances. Mick's aunt (Annie), who is 90 years old, still sings "Old Southern Gospel" music as she did in church more than 80 years ago. As a young adult Mick toured the country playing music and performing as both a solo act and with a band. He also has a passion for teaching and taught acoustic guitar for several years at one of the first vintage instrument music stores in the country.

On his new album titled "Revelator" - Mick Martin has reworked old blues and jazz songs by the likes of Son House, Mississippi John Hurt and Blind Willie McTell. Musicians of this kind are quite a rare breed today. They played with true emotion and played because they loved to. They had no ulterior motives, no hopes of glory and fame7 they played the blues.

It takes someone special, someone that has lived a particular type of life - to relate to this type of attitude and rewrite music of this kind while maintaining its integrity. Mick Martin has done just that.

When asked in an interview why he chose to make an album of classic blues songs, Mick replied “to reveal some hidden gems, to present classic blues and folk songs in a new and different way.”

From birth, to childhood, through his travels as a young adult and time spent playing music, Mick has lived the life of a true blues musician. He is a rare specimen that provides us with a glimpse into a time where music was about something more than money, corporate sponsorships, fame and all the other distractions that are a part of today’s industry. Mick resides in Chapel Hill, NC.

The Creole Zydeco Snap Band's Album from SONO is a Crowd Pleaser

LocoBop News - February 28, 2011

Zydeco veteran Warren Ceaser came to this debut recording by way of high recommendations from the crème de la crème of Zydeco royalty. After touring in the 1970s with the likes of Isaac Hayes and Luther Ingram, Ceaser returned home to southwest Louisiana and began playing trumpet behind the great Clifton Chenier, a blues influenced Zydeco pioneer and undisputed first King of Zydeco.

After Chenier’s death in the late 1980s, the Zydeco crown passed to Alton Rubin, a/k/a Rockin’ Dopsie (pronounced “doopsie”). And it was Rockin’ Dopsie who told Sound of New Orleans owner and producer Gary Edwards – searching for some overlooked Zydeco talent to record – to go hear Warren Ceasar. Not long after, Edwards and Ceaser went into the studio to produce this milestone Zydeco outing.

Warren Ceaser, like Clifton Chenier and Rockin’ Dopsie before him, stays close to the origins of Zydeco music – French Cajun music mixed with R&B-influenced dance floor rhythms - but he brings his own fresh ingredients as well, like sweet soul music, driving rhythms, and even a loping reggae beat. He also tosses in a little soul jazz and some old-fashioned R&B, making for quite a diverse repertoire.

Check out, for example, the closing “Cherry Pie,” which segues into versions of both “Blue Moon” and “You Send Me.” Or the pair of Zydeco reggae tracks, “Down by the Bayou” and “Teasin’ You,” the latter a ‘60s national hit on Atlantic for New Orleans by soulman Willie Tee. And don’t forget the stutter-step rhythm of “Zydeco Rap” or the classic waltz-around-the-dance floor rendition of “Valse de Grand Basile.”

In every case, though, this is Zydeco stripped to its bare musical essence: intense, rollicking, and tons of fun!

Late New Orleans Legend Tommy Ridgley's Last Album Released

LocoBop News - February 25, 2011

Tommy Ridgley was a real New Orleans legend, having remained active as a popular lead singer and bandleader for almost 50 years following his 1949 Imperial Records debut.

With a style based on the genre of jump blues that preceded the emergence of rhythm & blues in the early 1950s, he was well-suited to pleasing audiences in New Orleans and throughout the Gulf South as a bandleader, R&B stylist, and serious blues belter.

And uniquely among New Orleans R&B legends, Tommy Ridgley remained upbeat and enthusiastic throughout the entirety of his life, cutting what some critics regard as his very best recordings in the 1990s before his passing on August 11, 1999.

How Long? is a unique achievement in that recorded legacy, because Tommy Ridgley was involved in each and every creative aspect, from start to finish.

“This is the first time I’ve built an album up from scratch,” Ridgley told New Orleans music historian Jeff Hannusch. “Not only did I write most of the material, but this is really the first time I had a direct hand in the production.”

This is a stone-cold classic of certified R&B roots, a rocking masterpiece complete with upbeat blues and plaintive ballads, bursting horn charts and swaying vocal choruses, pounding rhythms and intimate lyrics, plus razor-sharp solos from both sax and guitar.

The result is a classic recording that fully embodies that glorious era of the late 1940s and early 1950s when almost all of modern popular music was just being born.

 

Memphis Blues Legend Fred Sanders Dies

Memphis - January 15, 2011

Reported By Robert 'Nighthawk' Tooms

After a long and arduous fight against lung cancer, Fred Sanders, Jr. passed away Saturday, January 15, just days after suffering a stroke. He was 71-years-old.

Fred was a fixture on Beale Street, a blues icon who had come up through the years playing at some of the area's best known and most venerated Blues clubs. He  never mentioned his illness, acting as if everything was just fine, as he  trouped off to to play in Beale Street's famous W.C. Handy Park every day, despite the ravages of chemotherapy. This is the park where so many aspiring Blues performers got their start, including a young Riley B. King who arrived from Mississippi in the late 1940′s.

Fred Sanders was a stellar Blues guitar player, but at times during his career, his skill also augmented the likes of Duke Ellington’s Orchestra, Count Basie's Band, Buddy Rich's Orchestra, and Johnnie Taylor's band.

LocoBop has to-date released two tracks by Fred Sanders with his Club Handy Band. They are included on Blues Man's Ball Vol. I, and were recorded by producer Bobby Manuel in the 1990s. Two additional tracks from the same session will be included on Blues Man's Ball Vol. IV, which is set for release later this year.
 

Di Anne Price & Her Boyfriends at Huey's Midtown 

Memphis Flyer - December, 2010

By Chris Herrington

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed Greenville, Mississippi, blues piano player and singer Eden Brent —who has subsequently garnered multiple nominations forHear clips from Di Anne's latest LocoBop release next spring's Blues Music Awards — for a Flyer feature. With no prompting, Brent gushed over the talents of Di Anne Price, a Memphis singer and musician whose own work is essentially in the same vein as Brent's, albeit far less celebrated.

"Let me tell you something, that woman is my hero," Brent said. "I adore her. A friend in Memphis gave me her CD, and then I went to see her live, and I became mad about her. In the whole world — forget about Memphis — there aren't many piano players who can outplay her."

I agree. Because Price plays so frequently but records so sparingly, she tends to be taken for granted. She might be the most soulful, most pleasurable musician in Memphis, regardless of stature or genre. You can catch Di Anne Price regularly at several local venues, including Itta Bena and Mollie Fontaine Lounge. She'll be joined by her ace backing band Sunday, December 26th, at Huey's Midtown, playing from 4 to 7 p.m.

Note: This summer, LocoBop released a 15-track collection of songs by Di Anne and her Boyfriends, entitled Barrel House Queen.

December Releases

The Mad Lads, Papa Don McMinn, Les Getrex, and Swamp Rock compilation set for December 8.

LocoBop News - December 6, 2010

Headlining LocoBop's December album releases is Love Songs for Lovers by The Mad Lads.

One of the few vocal groups on the Stax roster during the '60s, the Mad Lads' doo wop-influenced harmonies The Mad Lads - Love Songs for Loverswere more akin to what you might find in Philadelphia soul acts than those of their native Memphis. Featuring the high, innocent tenor of John Gary Williams, the group was still in high school when they were signed to Stax in late 1964. In the mid-'60s, they enjoyed solid R&B hits with "Don't Have to Shop Around," "I Want Someone," and "I Want a Girl," although they never would cross over to the pop audience.

Williams and fellow Mad Lad William Brown were drafted in 1966, and their recording career was suspended while they were in Viet Nam (although the group continued to perform live with replacements).

After their discharge, the Mad Lads’ subsequent efforts were more in the Stax soul/funk formula, and not as memorable as their more atypical mid-'60s singles. They did return to the R&B Top Thirty in 1968 with "Whatever Hurts You."

The Mad Lads’ last Stax/Volt single was released in 1972; their last album came out in 1973.

Love Songs for Lovers is the Mad Lads’ first new album in almost forty years. On it, you’ll hear the Mad Lads at their vocal best. Time has enhanced their talent rather than diminished it and LocoBop is proud to be associated with the release. It is, however, a bittersweet milestone as key member and group co-founder William Brown suffered a career-ending stroke soon after the sessions wrapped up at Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios in Memphis.


Papa Don McMinn's seventh LocoBop album is slated for December release on the 8th.

Papa Don McMinn - Suspicious HeartDubbed “The Pale Prince of Beale Street,” Papa Don’s special brand of Southern Music is a concoction of Delta and Boogie Blues. But on this album, Suspicious Heart, Papa Don reaches deep into his roots, revealing that he’s right at home in traditional Country Music as well.

The album was produced by Don Nix, noted for his work with, among others, George Harrison, Albert King, J.J. Cale, Delaney & Bonnie, John Mayall, Jeff Beck, Freddie King, and Leon Russell.

Papa Don has performed all across the planet, and he’s worked and recorded with Memphis Slim, John Mayall, Bobby "Blue" Bland, and Albert King, to name a few. Some of the notables who’ve made cameo appearances with Papa Don's band are Joe Walsh, Gregg Allman, Rufus Thomas, Jon Bonjovi, Billy F Gibbons, and Eddie Floyd.


Another great artist from the Sound of New Orleans label whose first digital album debuts this month is Les Getrex.

Les is one of New Orleans' undiscovered musical treasures. A product of the culturally profuse 6th Ward, Les has backed up many of the Crescent City’s mostLes Getrex Sings the Classics profound heavyweights, from Johnny Adams and Lee Dorsey to Ernie K-Doe, Walter “Wolfman" Washington, Barbara George and Marva Wright. He spent eight years in the guitar chair of the mighty Fats Domino orchestra and another five with the late Rockin’ Dopsie & his Zydeco Twisters.

On Les Getrex Sings the Classics, the versatile guitarist and powerfully persuasive singer weighs in with a set of blues, R&B and country standards. The songs range from Les’s terrific reading of the ancient Mardi Gras Indian anthem ‘Indian Red’ to Kermit Ruffin’s great 21st-century lament, ‘I Can’t Take My Baby Nowhere,’ complete with trumpet commentary from the composer and some salacious lyrical changes by Getrex himself.

Les hits a lot of musical stops along the way, swinging stone country tunes like ‘Tennessee Waltz’ and Hank Williams’' ‘Jambalaya’; pumping up a pair of pop chestnuts with his lounge-favorite arrangement on ‘Misty’ and a hot 2nd-line romp on ‘When My Dreamboat Comes Home’; paying devout homage to personal favorites like Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland (‘Farther On Up the Road’) and Otis Redding (‘Mr. Pitiful’); digging deeper into blues with John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom‘ and ‘I Found A Love’ by the Falcons; striking another bawdy note with the irrepressible Chick Willis version of ‘Stoop Down Mama’; and shining on three outstanding selections from the Ray Charles mid-1950s Atlantic Records catalog: ‘A Fool For You,’ ‘Hallelujah I Love Her So”’ and ‘Mary Ann.’

Getrex is in splendid form throughout, ably abetted by an all-star cast of Crescent City characters anchored by bassists Alonzo Johnson and Vitas Paukstatis and drummers Dwayne Nelson and Ken Thomas. Raymond Fletcher (organ), Bob Andrews and Nick Farkas (piano) and Keith Vinet take care of the keyboards; Earl "Skip" Thompson is on percussions; and the stellar horn section of trumpeter Tracy Griffin and saxophonists Tom Fitzpatrick and Jerry Jumonville is joined by Ruffins and trombonist Corey Henry for the final cut, along with drumming legend, Shannon Powell.

Thousands of music-seeking tourists have heard Les Getrex and his band play these numbers night after night on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. This fine recording, produced under the careful hand of Gary Edwards at his sumptuous Sound of New Orleans studios, amounts to a perfect showcase for the distinctive sound of Les Getrex.


LocoBop closes out 2010 with a compilation we're really excited about.

Swamp Rock is the first album in LocoBop’s new series featuring some of the most dynamic and authentic interpreters of this genre. So exactly what is this genre called "swamp rock?"

While Cajun and Zydeco usually get the most attention, there’s a special brand of music that evolved along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Louisiana, and southeast Texas (with influences reaching into southern Arkansas and Tennessee) called “swamp rock” or “swamp pop.”

The genre combines early R&B formats with a mainstream sensibility and a strong blues feeling. But what makes this music unusual is that most swamp pop musicians, and a large part of the music’s audience, are white.

Some of the more prominent swamp rock/pop artists who have crossed over into the mainstream are Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tony Joe White, The Band, Ry Cooder, and J.J. Cale.

Swampers we've selected for this our first volume include: Bourbon Street heavyweight Phat2sDay; harmonica virtuoso Tommy Dardar from Houston, Texas; The Pale Prince of Beale Street, otherwise known as Papa Don McMinn; Von Johin, the avatar blues star from Second Life; Memphis guitarist Terry Wall and The Wallbangers; Shreveport natives, The Anderson Brothers; the explosive Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers; the inimitably soulful Memphis All Stars; Good time Louisiana party rockers Charlie Cuccia and Bill E. Shaw; the acclaimed King of Swamp Pop, G.G. Shinn; New Orleans street singers David & Roselyn; and the man from Memphis, whose legend is itself legend, Don Nix.
 

The Mad Lads Coming in December

LocoBop News - November 3, 2010

As first announced last year, LocoBop will be releasing an album by The Mad Lads, produced by one of the group's founding members, John Gary Williams. After some delays, we're pleased to confirm the album, entitled Love Songs for Lovers is scheduled for release in December.

The Mad Lads were one of the first successful vocal groups signed to Stax Records in the 1960s. Appearing on the Volt label, their hits included "Don't Have To Shop Around", "I Want a Girl", "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Whatever Hurts You," and "I Want Someone."

 
Von Johin Available in Both Stereo and Mono!

Second Life's Blues Star Avatar Debuts Album: Von the Revelator

LocoBop News - October 1, 2010

After much ado and even much more delay, the long awaited “Von the Revelator” album from Von Johin is available.  

Listen | Buy - Von the Revelator - Von JohinBack in 2008, there was a great deal of fuss when Von Johin was signed as a Second Life avatar to a real-life record label ironically called Reality Entertainment. But after all the news died down, Von Johin found himself facing some real life distractions that caused a series of delays in completing the album. Once finished, however, a lot of time passed without a release date being set. Von’s increasingly busy real life and Second Life activities made him wonder if he and Reality were ever going to be able to get together to schedule the album for release. Unsure what to do, Johin asked Reality’s CEO if the company would just let him go another direction. Reality graciously agreed to let Von move on with no fuss.  

By sheer coincidence, that same weekend, Von’s real life avatar was catching up with an old friend, Tim Whitsett. Tim told Von that he’d launched a blues-centric label, called LocoBop. Von had never seen LocoBop’s site, but one look was all it took for him to realize that this is where his new album belonged.  

LocoBop is home to blues greats like Rufus Thomas, Luther Ingram, Jerry Butler, Eddie Floyd, and a host of other great blues acts. Von Johin’s album fit with LocoBop like a foot in an old brown shoe. Von was now in the company of some of his blues heroes, and having his music accepted there was very validating.  

It all happened pretty quickly this time. Von Johin joined the label, sent the masters to LocoBop, and Tim took care of the music publishing and album artwork in one fell swoop.  

In addition to joining LocoBop’s artist roster, Von Johin’sVon Johin - the blues star avatar from Second Life real life avatar Mike Lawson will also be a songwriter for Whitsett Brothers Music BMI, thus completing the business arrangements and leaving Von to do what he does best: sing his blues to friends around the world who tune in almost nightly to hear him live in Second Life. 

In tribute to the era of recordings when mono ruled and stereo was the new thing, both mono and stereo versions of the album are available for download. Von the Revelator will also be available soon in CD through Amazon.com. 

Von Johin extends his many thanks to Warren and Phil at Reality for first signing him and getting him to record his music to begin with, because none of this would have likely started without them asking him to do that. He never planned to come into Second Life and do anything other than maybe one show a week for fun. But, it all kind of exploded from there. With his new home at LocoBop, Von hopes to find subsequent recordings coming out quickly as he works to try to rise to the level of the people with whom he now shares a spot on the roster.

 
New Fall Compilations:

Beyond Words Series Continues with Blues and Jazz Instrumentals

LocoBop News - October 1, 2010

Listen | Buy - Beyond Words Vol. III - Jazz InstrumentalsBeyond Words – Volume Two – Blues Instrumentals, and  Volume Three – Jazz Instrumentals are the second and third releases in LocoBop’s series of instrumental music performed by some of the greatest musicians of their respective art forms.

Both compilations spotlight musicians from New Listen | Buy - Beyond Words Vol. II - Blues Instrumentals Orleans, Mississippi, Memphis, and Nashville, including: Young blues gun Eddie Cotton - one of today's most exciting blues guitarists; Wayne Boyd, who played guitar behind the great Jimmy McGriff for 30 years, The Memphis All Stars, The Uptown Allstars, B-3 organ maestro Carson Whitsett, Group DeVille, Selwyn Cooper & the Hurricane Blues Band, Tenor Sax standout Chucky C., Steve "Mr. Boogieman" Franco,  Japanese keyboard prodigy Makota Kuriya, Papa Don McMinn (a.k.a. 'The Pale Prince of Beale' Street), the late Ivory Joe Hunter, and the Pride of Bourbon Street, trombonist Eddie Boh Paris.

September treats from Sound of New Orleans:

Tara Darnell and J.B. Davis

LocoBop News - September 23, 2010

The first two of four September Sound of New Orleans albums were released via LocoBop today: Let It Shine by Tara Darnell and Walking to New Orleans by J.B. Davis.

Dynamic and forceful only begin to describe Tara's Listen | Buy - Tara Darnell - Let It Shine gospel-forged style, and proving she’s no shrinking violet, this thrilling vocalist has chosen to open her debut recording with a composition all her own, “Let It Shine,” professing her faith and commitment in a full-blown, no-holds-barred gospel arrangement.

More-intimate settings on a half-dozen jazz standards follow (“God Bless the Child,” “All of Me,” “Do You  Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?” and “Summertime” among the standouts), before transitioning to funk-drive back-up on a couple of R&B sizzlers (“The Thrill Is Gone” and “Ain’t No Sunshine”).

The program closes with the singer’s self-penned tribute to her daughter, “I’ll Be Here for You (Tierra’s Song)”, and a stunning solo and piano rendition of “Amazing Grace,” before exiting with a rocking “Gospel Medley” of old-time spirituals that both recalls the great Mahalia Jackson, the original gospel queen of New Orleans, and reaffirms Tara Darnell’s roots in church-based music and spirit-driven musical inspiration.

It’s a perfect ending to a stunning, sizzling, and spiritually infused debut performance.


Listen | Buy - J.B. Davis - Walking to New OrleansJ.B. Davis, a veteran New Orleans performer, was born and raised along the Gulf Coast in Mobile, Alabama, and Moss Point, Mississippi, where the emphasis is on a musical approach that matches the soft, gentle breezes blowing off Gulf Coast waters.

Reworking a dozen tunes familiar to hardcore blues and R&B fans, Davis gives each one its own soul-satisfying treatment, showcasing his smooth-as-silk vocals with understated-but-clearly-rocking band arrangements.

It’s no accident, therefore, that this self-taught singer and keyboard player would use a gently swaying Fats Domino hit, “Walking to New Orleans,” as his title tune. And to vary the pace, that he would turn just as easily to the fast shuffle rhythm and B.B. King single-string guitar lines that accompany “Every Day I Have the Blues,” or the mambo-blues beat and fuzz-toned guitar lead that make the Ray Charles hit “Unchain My Heart” an unmistakable standout.

But all this doesn’t mean he can’t turn up the temperature when he so desires. Check out the smoldering back-up to the opening track, “Little Red Rooster,” with its blistering slide-guitar riffs and solo. Or listen to the way he turns familiar blues like “St. James Infirmary” and “House of the Rising Sun” into dramatic and near-romantic ballads.

No matter what he sings, J.B. Davis has a unique take on the blues and classic R&B that’s sure to have you kickin’ back in sweet relaxation and pure musical enjoyment.

 

Von the Revelator Coming September 28th!

Von Johin - the Avatar Blues Star from Second Life - Signs with LocoBop

LocoBop News - September 9, 2010

Musician and vocalist Von Johin hails from Nashville, TN and grew up in the southern USA playing juke joints all across the Chitlin’ Circuit. An ardent follower of the greats from the world of blues music, Von Johin delivers his powerful shows every week all around Second Life.  

In Second Life, Von Johin is all about the roots of his musical love, American blues, rural country folk, bluegrass and more. On occasion he’ll swing into something covered by Jerry Garcia, or some groovy other psychedelic material that inspires him as he goes. Shows are not set-listed, and one song can flow into the next.

The show starts on top of the hour and the first hour usually flies by without a break in-between the songs. Lots of energy, lots of fun, that’s what you can expect at a Von Johin concert! 

Raised playing blues and bluegrass, an interesting combination if there ever was one, Von sorted out early on that the biggest difference in the two genres was the tempo and the swing. He fuses together these two major influences in his life, sometimes delivering a “blues-grass” type of thang that folks seem to like when he does it.

Von’s real life avatar has recorded and performed with members of Hot Tuna/Jefferson Airplane, Joe Louis walker, Jerry Garcia band, Fleetwood Mac, he was mentored in music by the late, great Merl Saunders. Playing with Merl found him performing with Narada Michael Walden, Rob Wassermann, Vince Welnick, Melvin Seales, Bill Kreutzmann, plus enjoying many an introduction when also opening shows by the one and only Wavy Gravy. 

With his trusty Gibson j200, Von Johin broadcasts each show live from his Blue Note Studio on the outskirts of Nashville, playing almost nightly.

Click the headline to this article to find out more about Von Johin and how he and LocoBop joined forces. 

Not a Second Life resident, but you still want to catch the show? You can listen using iTunes by telling it to open up this link  http://www.vonjohin.com:8888 on something like iTunes or Winamp, etc. You can’t click that link and listen from the web page, though.

And to see a clip from one of Von's Second Life concerts on YouTube, click here and here.

Aptly Titled "Almighty Gospel" Launches New LocoBop Series

LocoBop News - August 5, 2010

Almighty Gospel Volume One is the first release in LocoBop’s series showcasing southern gospel at its best.

Listen | Buy - Almighty Gospel Vol. IThe album opens with the Memphis All Stars giving the full Memphis treatment to traditional favorite “Jesus on the Mainline”. This is punctuated with “Go Tell It On The Mountain” by the Soulful Heavenly Stars from New Orleans. Also from the Crescent City, the Mighty Chariots of Fire put their rousing stamp on “Wade in the Water”. Memphis fixture Jackie Johnson next belts out her version of “Revive Us Again”, recorded live in France.

Don Bryant gave up his career as a rising artist on the Memphis soul scene in the 1960s to concentrate on writing songs for others on the Hi label. Among his hits: “Can’t Stand the Rain”, recorded by his wife Ann Peebles. From Don’s own gospel album, It’s All in the Word, we feature the songs “Highest Praise” with the Saints of Carnegie and “My God” featuring Larry Dodson of the Bar-Kays.

“If You Believe” is powerful testimony rendered by Detroit’s Green Brothers. And the ‘world famous’ Zion Harmonizers of New Orleans offer heartfelt assurance that you are “Never Alone” with the Lord. The catchy “I Am” is superbly performed by Rev. C.E. Hodges, perhaps better known as Charles Hodges, whose signature organ sound is heard on all of Al Green’s hits.

In their typically inspired style, those ladies from New Orleans known as the Voices of Distinction ask the sobering question:”What You Gonna Do?” The always classy Bemiss Brothers reach right to the heart with a wonderful performance of “The Moment I Believed”. From former Sweet Obsession member, Keena Green - daughter of Bobby Green (the Green Brothers) – brings the congregation to their feet with “Worldly Christian”.

Rooster: New Orleans Bluesman "Born in Mississippi"

LocoBop News - August 1, 2010

As Curtis Wheeler, a/k/a Rooster, explains on the title cut of this classic blues outing, “I was born in Mississippi, raised down in New Orleans; I ate red beans and rice, made love to a Cajun queen.” So how would you describe the music he makes? Mississippi Delta electric blues meets Big Easy soul and musicianship.

The result is a brand of stone-cold originality that makesListen | Buy - Rooster - Born in Mississippi even the blandest-sounding blues arrangement sit up and bark at the moon. Check out the single live cut on the program here, “Cell Phone Blues,” recorded at The Bubba Mac Shack on New Jersey’s south shore. The format is traditional electric blues, but the musicianship, as evidenced by extended blues solos, is more than a cut or two above average, making the track a real stand-out. But so is the next track, “I’m a Stranger in Your Town,” a fairly simple blues lyric backed by a hyper-shuffle rhythm and some complex, hard driving horn charts.

And never mind that the last three tracks are straight-out Nashville country blues, complete with pedal-steel guitar and falsetto yodeling. The Rooster method will never catch you napping -- a showman first and foremost, Rooster’s fresh take on the blues genre begins just where other blues bands leave off.

Summer Hitwave Continues with Barrel House, Swamp Pop, and New Orleans Soul:

Di Anne Price, G.G. Shinn, and Chewy Thunderfoot Black

LocoBop News - July 22, 2010

Listen | Buy - Di Anne Price - Barrel House QueenMemphis pianist-vocalist Di Anne Price is the undisputed Barrel House Queen, the living spirit of classic blues divas Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, Stippie Wallace, and Memphis Minnie. A profoundly soulful singer, her expressive voice is etched with pain or brimming with sly humor while tickling the ivories barrel piano style on two-fisted shuffles, rolling blues, and boogie woogie workouts.

- Jazz Times

Di Anne’s stride piano balances jazz with ragtime and blues in a way that's so old-fashioned it's refreshingly new. Close your eyes, and it’s like stumbling into a 1940s barrelhouse.

- The Commercial Appeal

She has the kind of voice you turn to in the wee, small hours - dark and smoky like your favorite bar, warm and smooth as a glass of good bourbon. It's the voice of romance and desire, of loneliness and loss.

– Bill Ellis

Di Anne gets to the heart and meaning of a song that appeals to everyone. “When I play this music, sing these songs, I'm saying ‘share this story with me. I want real drums, real bass, and I want it to be my voice that people hear, not something created in a studio.”

Di Anne’s approach to music is shared with "Her Boyfriends" - drummer Tom Lonardo, saxophonist Jim Spake, and bassist Tim Goodwin. "Playing with them makes my back tingle. It's like making love," Di Anne says. "When we play, we're telling a story, and no matter where I start, they go with me."

- John Taylor – Blues On Stage

While Cajun and zydeco usually gets the most attention, there’s a special brand of music that evolved along the Gulf Coast of southeast Texas and on the prairies of southwestern Louisiana called “swamp pop” and it remains a favorite genre for legions of regional music fans, not to mention music lovers all around the world.

What makes “swamp pop” work? Authenticity. Really good “swamp pop” makes you an instant believer in the ability of white musicians to express their own kind of soulfulness. For example? Janis Joplin, raised in Port Arthur on the Texas Gulf Coast, not far from the Louisiana state line.

Simply put, swamp pop combines early R&B formats with a mainstream sensibility and a strong blues feeling. But what makes this music unusual is that most swamp pop musicians, and a large part of the music’s audience, are white, which makes “swamp pop” and “blue-eyed soul” something like kissin’ cousins.

G.G. Shinn is one those southeast Louisiana musiciansListen | Buy - G.G. Shinn - You Can Never Keep a Good Man Down famous among fans of “swamp pop” but mostly unheard of by the majority of music fans. Lead vocalist on the landmark 1965 recording debut of The Fabulous Boogie Kings, who have since become a fixture on the “swamp pop” scene, G.G.’s dramatic and accomplished “blue-eyed soul” stylings will make an instant believer of anyone who loves early rock’n’roll, big-band R&B arrangements, and hard-driving blues.

You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down is filled with more than its fair share of hip- swiveling rockers, boogie-on-down shuffles, and plaintive, heart-breaking ballads. As a showcase for the range of G.G.’s talent, one listen will have you convinced, along with Boogie Kings leader Ned Theall, that “G.G. Shinn will long be remembered as one of the finest entertainers southeast Louisiana has ever produced.”

 

Talk about an “old school” education.

Listen | Buy - Chewy Thunderfoot BlackBefore heading out on his own in the mid-1990s, Chewy “Thunderfoot” Black was the drummer and musical director for nearly decade behind Buddy Ace, the “Silver Fox” of the blues. Prior to that, the versatile R&B artist had toured extensively with such icons of soul as Joe Tex, Johnny Adams, Tommy Ridgely, Earl King, and Malaco Records star, Z.Z. Hill.

But simply calling Chewy “old school” hardly begins to describe the finesse, grit, and deep feeling the versatile and accomplished vocalist, drummer, and bandleader brings to this hard-rocking and impassioned collection of inspired hit covers.

The selections range across the emotional spectrum, from Johnnie Taylor’s soulful “Who’s Making Love?” to Sam Cooke’s joyous “Bring It on Home to Me” to Kris Kristofferson’s tender “Help Me Make It Through the Night.”

And, making use of a select group of top New Orleans R&B musicians, Chewy has crafted some classic “old school” arrangements for this recording that highlight the hard-driving sound of a full-complement road band.

Check out, for example, the big-band drive of Chris Kenner’s classic “Sick and Tired,” with its horn section and smoking tenor solo by R&B master Jerry Jumonville. Or dig the electric guitar riffs that cascade over the opening verse of Dobie Gray’s Caribbean-laced “Drift Away.”

In the mood for some road-tested, get-down party music? Then check out Chewy “Thunderfoot” Black and his hard-driving vocal soulmanship.

More From Memphis:

Memphis All Stars: Riding the Blues Train

LocoBop News - July 17, 2010

Every track on Blues Train by The Memphis All-Stars is reminiscent of the great Motown groups like the Isley Listen | Buy - Memphis All Stars - Blues TrainBrothers and Four Tops with an extra spicy ingredient: that kicking soulful character that emanated from their home town’s own Stax Records during the same era.

This music will simmer in your blood, overflow into your mind, body, and soul, and make you smile from the inside out!

Greg Reding (keyboards, guitar, and vocals) was a session player for Stax and toured with Albert King in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. From 1973 to 1979, Greg was lead guitarist and keyboardist for Black Oak Arkansas. He then worked with Stephen Stills before returning to Memphis where he formed The Memphis All-Stars in 1983.

Robert Clayborne (keyboards and vocals) has backed such greats as Denise LaSalle, Tyrone Davis, Rufus Thomas, Yolanda Adams, Al Green, and others. Henry "Sly Diesel” Clayborne (bass, keyboards, and vocals) has played with Fred Sample, Little Milton, The Coasters, and The Drifters to name a few. Walter White (drums and vocals) started playing professionally at the age of 18 with Gospel greats such as the Rev. Clay Evans. Switching to R&B, he played with the Bar-Kays among others before joining the Memphis All-Stars.

Soul Legend Don Bryant Puts His Stamp on Southern Gospel

LocoBop News - July 15, 2010

Don Bryant’s success writing hits for artists at Hi Records overshadowed his status as one of the best soul singers of the 1960s. Born into a Memphis family of 10 children in 1942, Bryant caught the attention of Willie Mitchell singing in a doo wop group. Through Mitchell, Bryant’s original song "Is There Someone Else on Your Mind" was cut by the Five Royales, and he signed to Hi Records, releasing his first single in 1964.

Listen | Buy - Don Bryant - It's All In The WordDon discovered his real niche as a songwriter in 1972 when Mitchell assigned him to work with new signee Ann Peebles. Bryant’s and Peebles’s creative and personal chemistry blossomed into marriage two years later. It also resulted in many of Peebles' signature songs (e.g., "I Can't Stand the Rain”) and created a demand for Don’s material from other Hi stars like Al Green, Syl Johnson, O.V. Wright, and Otis Clay. Meantime, his own recording career flagged and when Hi's heyday ended, Bryant and Peebles both took a hiatus from the music industry, during which time Don found himself drawn to the church.

While his songs are still heard everywhere, Bryant has become committed to the spiritual life. In 2000, he teamed with Ann’s long time keyboardist/producer Paul Brown to cut It’s All in the Word. The album highlights Don’s anointed talent as a gospel singer/songwriter and presents 15 tracks of awesome, powerful testimony. From the passionate soul stirring melody of Rest Well, to the Mountain moving, Holy Ghost adlibs on He’s Alright, every note on this recording was seasoned with a sanctified soul-drenched spirit.

And by the way, Don is joined on this album by his wife Ann Peebles, and many old friends, like Tamiko Jones and Larry Dodson of the Bar-Kays.

More Summer Heat:

The Creole Zydeco Farmers, The Melody Clouds, and Charles Jacobs

LocoBop News - July 8, 2010

Listen | Buy - Creole Zydeco Farmers - My Bigfoot WomanDesigned to re-create the ambiance and pacing of a live Zydeco set at a rural dance hall, the set list for My Big-Foot Woman by the Creole Zydeco Farmers contains mostly originals -- heart-pumping dance romps mixed with soulful zydeco blues and graceful country waltzes -- along with a few familiar favorites, like the uptempo “C.C. Rider,” a two-step “Hound Dog,” and even a zydeco take on the 1970s hit “Disco Lady.”


The Melody Clouds were founded in 1965 by the lateListen | Buy - Melody Clouds - Great Day Leo Jackson, Sr. as a family-based endeavor and continue today with four members of the Jackson family remaining central to the group’s muscular, groove-driven sound. To sample The Melody Clouds’ riveting musical style, check out “Lord, You Brought Me Through,” with its stop-rhythm beats in the chorus, twinned keyboard-and-fuzz-toned-guitar rolling rhythm, combined with old-school gospel quartet harmonies.


Listen | Buy - Charles Jacobs - Bourbon Street BluesIt takes a rare gift to install yourself in the competitive environs of New Orleans’ famed Bourbon Street and consistently draw capacity audiences night after night, even when other clubs are standing empty. And it’s a rarer gift even than that to have achieved this reputation with only a stripped-down quartet that plays nothing but straight electric blues. In New Orleans. On Bourbon Street. Growing up in Mississippi, Charles Jacobs absorbed all the hardcore blues influences he could lay his ears on, from Lightnin’ Hopkins and Howlin’ Wolf to B.B. King and T-Bone Walker, Ray Charles and Brook Benton to Johnny Taylor and James Brown. This album leaves no doubt that Charles Jacobs has become one of the greatest living Blues Masters.
 

LocoBop & Sound of New Orleans Artists Featured at Italian Music Festivals This Month

LocoBop News - July 5, 2010

The Coolbone Brass Band, one of the Big Easy's more venerable brass bands, takes center stage at the 10th annual Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy this month. (the Sound of New Orleans act will have its first digital album released via LocoBop two weeks from now). The Umbria Jazz Festival, which brings many of the world's hottest jazz performers to Perugia each year, runs July 9th through July 18th.

Fours days after Umbria, The Porretta Soul Festival will Listen | Buy - The Green Brothers - Soulsvillefeature LocoBop's dynamic Detroit duo The Green Brothers (Al & Bobby) at its 22nd annual salute to soul music. Appearing with them will be their producer, LocoBop's Memphis A&R Chief and ex-Stax guitar maestro, Bobby Manuel. The festival kicks off July 22nd at Rufus Thomas Park in Porretta Terme (Bologna), Italy and runs through July 25th.

Hot July Forecast by Eclectic Trio of  Releases from Sound of New Orleans

LocoBop News - July 1, 2010

Listen | Buy - Phat2sDay - Ambassador from N'AwlinsDoug Daniels, a New Orleans showman of the first order who goes by the name of Phat2sday, is an eclectic artist who writes some great original tunes celebrating the eccentric life of The Big Easy, and mixes second-line rhythms with an easy going hip-hop overlay.

And it certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s got some of the Crescent City’s finest funk musicians playing behind him, or that he’s got the hip-hop brass band Coolbone guesting on a couple of tracks. Combined with Phat2sday’s great gift for narrative, there’s not a track on this totally entertaining CD that’s not fun AND funky.


Chucky C and Clearly Blue offer expertly playedListen | Buy - Chucky C & Clearly Blue - From New Orleans to the World ensemble arrangements with smokin’ solos and locked-in back-up grooves, the kind of flawless funk that goes perfectly with a smoke filled room, beautiful women dressed to the nines, and a full glass of top-shelf libation sitting in front of you.

That's no less than you'd expect from a man whose credits include Percy Mayfield, O.V. Wright, and Syl Johnson; Edie Brickell, Maria Muldaur, and Bo Diddley; Irma Thomas, Marva Wright, Marcia Ball, Tracy Nelson, and Aaron Neville.

And the résumés of his band members in Clearly Blue are equally impressive (including gigs with Gatemouth Brown, The Neville Brothers, Boz Scaggs, Percy Sledge, Allen Toussaint, and Buddy Miles, to name a few).


The world famous Zion Harmonizers of New Orleans deliver 15 classic examples of the art of male-quartet Listen | Buy - Zion Harmonizers - Never Aloneharmonizing in the joyful praising of the Lord on thier album entitled "Never Alone". Recorded in 1982 and 1990, this is joyful praising that can take many forms, from old-style jubilee singing to down-home Baptist shouts to contemporary R&B-style crooning.

Check out, for instance, two extreme examples: the gorgeous a cappella treatment of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” a pure blend of jubilee, shout, and doo-wop styles expounded within a stately, deliberate rhythm; or the high-powered, backwoods treatment of “Tied Up (in Jesus),” with hand-clapping, organ swirls, and clipped-chord rhythm-guitar driving the quartet at what seems like an impossible speed.

Three New Summer Compilations

LocoBop News - June 25, 2010

Fans tell us it's high time for new releases from three of LocoBop's more popular compilation series. We agree, and here they are, chock full of great tracks from outstanding artists.

Soul Rangers Vol. III contains 12 tracks from icons like Jerry Butler, Eddie Floyd, Rufus & Carla Thomas, J. Listen | Buy - Soul Rangers Vol. IIIBlackfoot, Luther Ingram, The Masqueraders, Dobie Gray, and Tommy Tate, plus the fantastic Memphis All Stars, our hot Detroit duo The Green Brothers, as well as two favorites from New Orleans: Charles Jacobs and Chewy Thunderfoot Black.


For soul loving romantics (all of us, for sure), Soul Romantix Vol. II gets you in the mood with Ruby Wilson, Listen | Buy - Soul Romantix Vol. IIShirley Brown, Luther Ingram, The Masqueraders, "The Ice Man" Jerry Butler, Randy Brown, Tara Darnell, Les Getrex, Dobie Gray, J. Blackfoot, and R.B. Hudmon.


And then there are the divas, the Divine Soul Divas Vol. II, in fact: Carla Thomas, Shirley Brown, Jackie Johnson, Brenda Patterson, Amber, Tara Darnell, Carol Fran, Veda Love, Ruby Wilson, and Di Anne Price! One listen to this album will convince you (if you didn't already know) that these particular divas are very divine indeed.

Mixing it up . . . Blues, Gospel, and Cajun!

LocoBop News - June 17, 2010

Blues Man’s Ball Volume Three is the third release in Listen | Buy Blues Man's Ball Vol. IIILocoBop’s series showcasing southern blues at its best, and we’ve got to say this is the strongest compilation yet! Every track is a must-have for blues aficionados.

Featured artists include Albert King, Eddie Cotton, Carla Thomas (her live version of "Little Red Rooster" is a killer), Barrel House pianists/Blues singers Di Anne Price (from Memphis) and Carol Fran (New Orleans), Bourbon Street Blues guitarist Charles Jacobs, Selwyn Cooper & His Hurricane Blues Band, Houston's harmonica maestro Tommy Dardar, Beale Street Delta Boogie-Blues master Papa Don McMinn, B-3 whiz Carson Whitsett, Zydeco Hellraiser Dwayne Dopsie, and the inimitable Memphis All Stars.

From Sound of New Orleans comes TheListen | Buy - Voices of Distinction - What You Gonna Do? Voices of Distinction. Organized in December 2001, the group’s musical expertise speaks of many more years’ experience, due in part to Audrey Ferguson’s previous experience with one of the Crescent City’s top female gospel groups, the New Orleans Spiritualettes. But The Voices of Distinction bring a fresh sound to the gospel canon, paring away unnecessary musical elements to achieve an unusually clear sense of simplicity and spiritual directness.

Listen | Buy - Kermit Venable & Beau Bassin Cajun Band

Cajun music in southwestern Louisiana traces its lineage back centuries to the migrations of French-speaking people from modern day Nova Scotia in the mid-18th century. That living history and the Cajun culture’s unique identity gives the music a special flavor, with ancient elements that frame modern sounds in a deeply moving but freshly interpreted way.

Nowhere is this more true than on this recording by Beau Bassin Cajun Band. Cajun veteran accordionist and vocalist Kermit Venable leads the band through 18 stellar tracks performed by some of the area’s top Cajun musicians. The album, from Sound of New Orleans, was produced by Jonno Frishberg, a classically trained violinist who has become a died-in-the-wool devoté of authentic Cajun sounds.

We've Got Lots of Brass - and Love

LocoBop News - June 10, 2010

Listen | Buy - Best of the Brass Bands

We indulge ourselves this month with a celebration of New Orleans Brass Band music featuring seven of the most renown bands from the Big Easy.

The neighborhood based, small-scale brass band is a special fixture of New Orleans music, with roots that reach back to the 19th century and branches that continue to sprout new leaves well into the 21st century.

Best of the Brass Bands showcases the famed Trémé Brass Band, The Original Dixieland Hall Jazz Band, Coolbone Brass Band, Mahogany Brass Band, The Highsteppers Brass Band, The Smitty Dee/Regal Brass Band, and The Algiers Brass Band.

Also coming from the Crescent City is Bobby Love, who started out in one of New Orleans’ hottest 1970s bands: Deacon John & The Electric Soul Train, a widely recognized major influence on The Meters.

For years, Bobby further honed his skills and reputation as an L.A. session player and leader of Johnnie Taylor's band. He was lured back to New Orleans after refuge from Katrina by an offer to lead French Quarter's long-time headliner, The Market Café Jazz Band. This is a delightful 15 track set, highly representative of New Orleans's best musicians today. But there are two do-not-miss tracks, which are must-haves: A unique version of Gershwin's classic "Summertime" and a Bill Witherish original entitled "NOLA My Home".

June Kick Off:

Carson Whitsett and Papa Don McMinn - Plus Charlie Cuccia and Eddie Boh Paris from Sound of New Orleans

LocoBop News - May 22, 2010

The first week of June starts a heavy summer release schedule from LocoBop and Sound of New Orleans.

First out of the chute, from LocoBop, are Carson Whitsett and Papa Don McMinn.

Listen | Buy - Carson Whitsett - OrganicCarson Whitsett's album, appropriately named Organic, shows off his mastery of the B-3 organ and piano in that gumbo genre of blended Jazz / Soul / R&B / Funk in the traditions of Booker T. & The M.G.s, Jimmy Smith, Ramsey Lewis, Thelonious Monk et al.


Delta Boogie Blues Man Papa Don McMinn releases his 6th album on LocoBop - The Blues Ain't a Color. This is a must have for Papa Don fans - and for all fans of powerful guitar blues, for that matter.

Listen | Buy - Eddie Boh Paris & Funky 7 Brass BandEddie Boh Paris is certainly one of highest acclaimed trombonists of his generation. Eddie's Album, featuring his Funky 7 Brass Band, is chock full of New Orleans flavored jazz, R&B, blues, and brass band favorites, played by today's top-ranked New Orleans musicians.

Sound of New Orleans also brings us the one andListen | Buy - Charlie Cuccia only Charlie Cuccia. The unmistakable Louisiana bon temps party sound compels you to dance as Charlie romps through his self-titled album of Rock & Roll standards..

The Trémé Brass Band - Latest Treat from Sound of New Orleans

LocoBop News - April 22, 2010

Listen | Buy - Treme Brass BandThe Trémé Brass Band are the real life, everyday soundtrack for Trémé, one of the oldest black neighborhoods in the country and the setting for the acclaimed, eponymous HBO series starring John Goodman. Located just north of New Orleans’ French Quarter, Trémé is a real haven for brass-band music.

The band is Anchored by snare drummer BennyJones, the band’s leader, and bass drummer “Uncle”Lionel Batiste - the sharpest looking septuagenarian you’ll ever meet. Jones and Batiste were both founding members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band thirty years ago, but neither wanted to tour full-time, so they formed a stay-at-home band that has become a kind of “finishing school” for an entire generation of up and coming New Orleans brass band musicians.

And on any given night in a backstreet barroom, a Trémé Brass Band set can take you almost anywhere with classic brass-band repertoire, like “I Found a New Baby,” “Joe Avery’s Blues,” or the hilarious “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead (You Rascal, You).” With extended jams and virtuoso solos, they can swing the pants off audience favorites, like “Wonderful World” or a spirited “Darktown Strutters Ball” and “When the Saints/Mama Don’t Allow” medley.

The album, entitled 'I Got A Big Fat Woman', is classic, funky New Orleans brass-band music, recorded live in the studio, and just one listen will easily demonstrate why the National Endowment for the Arts has named the Trémé Brass Band as a national treasure and National Heritage Fellows.

LocoBop CDs Now Available from Amazon

LocoBop News - March 22, 2010

Amazon.com is making LocoBop's entire catalogue available in CD format for those who prefer physical copies of their music. (We do get a number of enquiries for CDs.) Please note that there is a bit of lag time between the date we make digital downloads available and the date Amazon.com is able to make them available as CDs.

Free Download from The Sound of New Orleans Records

LocoBop News - January 22, 2010

The New Orleans Saints will be making their first ever  Super Bowl appearance this year. Naturally, the "Who Dat" fans in the Crescent City are all ahoo. In celebration of this historic event, the Sound of New Orleans label is offering a free download of "I Believe: Saints Go All the Way."

To get your free MP3, click here to go to the Sound of New Orleans website, and then click the download link.

Sound of New Orleans is here!

LocoBop News - November 22, 2009

The first two album releases from LocoBop's deal with the Sound of New Orleans label are coming in early December. First artists out of the gate are Cluster Lee and the Powerhouse Blues Band with "Sweet Home New Orleans" and Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers with "Up In Flames."

Cluster Lee is an act in the New Orleans blues tradition; Dwayne Dopsie (son of the late Rockin' Dopsie) is a blazing Zydeco accordionist. Both albums are scheduled for release December 6.

Carla Thomas and Eddie Floyd headline November releases

LocoBop News - October 22, 2009

Southern Soul icons Carla Thomas  (the Memphis Queen) and Eddie Floyd lead LocoBop's November slate of album releases.

Carla Thomas - Live in EuropeCarla's album was recorded live at a 2000-year-old Roman amphitheatre in Viennes, France during her 2003 European tour. Her backing band, The Memphis All Star Band, led by guitarist Bobby Manuel, features Carla's brother Marvell Thomas on organ and her sister Vanesse as one of the back-up vocals. Other musicians include Steve Potts (drums), Jimmy Kinard (bass), Jim Spake (sax), Jackie Thomas (trombone), Scott Thompson (trumpet) and Paul Taylor (piano). Opening acts (included on the album) are Memphis gospel-turned-soul dynamo Jackie Johnson and Ellis Hooks, a dynamite soul showman originally from Alabama.

The album POWER captures Eddie Floyd in peakEddie Floyd - Power form  vocally. With the exception of the opening track (a live version of “Raise Your Hand”), POWER was recorded in Jackson, Mississippi (1979) after the demise of Stax.

But Eddie was surrounded by Stax vets Carson Whitsett (organ and keys), Michael Toles (guitar), Ray Griffin (bass), James Robertson (drums), and the Memphis Horns (Andrew Love and Wayne Jackson). Backing vocals, besides Eddie himself, included Valerie and Cheryl from Amber and Jewel Bass. “The Beat Song” (b/w “London”) was released in Europe by Arista in 1980. All other tracks are being released here for the first time (Eddie did record an earlier version of “I’ll Always Have Faith In You” for Stax).

New York Times salutes Memphis Soul - The Bo-Keys and City Champs

New York Times - July 16, 2009

Memphis soul might be the most meticulously recreated genre, at this moment, in all of pop’s history. Its vibe is so desirable and so possible.

And so some of the musicians at the Southern-soul triple-bill on Wednesday night at Southpaw, in Brooklyn, went at their task like good-time scientists. The Sweet Divines, a girl group from Brooklyn, topped the bill.

The night’s first act was the City Champs, from Memphis, an instrumental trio — guitar (Joe Restivo), keyboards (Al Gamble) and drums (George Sluppick) — playing the night’s broadest references, branching out into jazz yet keeping the heavy, nuanced funk, never too fast, as their backbone.

But the high point of the evening came from the middle act, and especially by musicians from the time and place being heavily referenced. The Bo-Keys, an eight-piece band, are Memphis’s current answer to the Bar-Kays, the Stax record label’s house band in the 1960s and ’70s. (They were in town to take part in the Ponderosa Stomp festival, at Lincoln Center through the weekend.) The band’s boss is the bassist Scott Bomar, but it boasts the trumpeter and singer Ben Cauley, an original member of the Bar-Kays and the only survivor of the plane crash that killed Otis Redding. The band’s visual and aural centerpiece, though, is the gravel-voiced guitarist Charles Skip Pitts, who played the music’s stinging, wrangling leads and chicken-scratched through a wah-wah pedal.

The band’s set was a marvel of discipline and dirt, keeping its dance grooves close to the ground, never overplaying or letting solos spiral beyond their tight spaces. In addition to Memphis soul standards like “Soul Finger” the band played “Theme From Shaft,” for which Mr. Pitts originated the guitar part. (Maybe you can hear it in your head: wicka-wicka.) If you remember that sound as something good but limited, watching him play it was something else. Carefully using harmonics, changing up the rhythm of his strumming, violently sliding his hand up the guitar neck, he created a whole percussive and melodic universe out of wicka-wicka. It was the sound of origin and ownership.

Green Brothers' Soulsville released - with liner notes by Rob Bowman

LocoBop News - May 22, 2009

The  long-awaited debut album by The GreenThe Green Brothers Brothers hits the streets May 29th. Grammy-award winning author Rob Bowman's liner notes tell the incredible story of how this album came together, a saga that began in 1974. As for the album itself, Rob says:

It is uncanny how much all involved in these sessions were able to organically encapsulate the spirit of those bygone days without sounding for a minute like they are trying to sound retro or revive anything. Until I heard the CD, I would never have believed that it was possible in 2009 to make a record like this, even in Memphis, Tennessee.

Listen to clips from the album and read Rob Bowman's compelling story of the Green Brothers.

April Updates

Jerry Butler, Dobie Gray, and Ruby Wilson

LocoBop News - April 22, 2009

Coming in May, three albums produced by multi-Grammy award winning producer Norbert Putnam: Brand New Me by Jerry Butler; Soul Days by Dobie Gray; and A Song for You by Ruby Wilson.

Jerry Butler - "The Ice Man"Jerry Butler has recorded more than 50 albums in a career spanning four decades; his voice is one of the most instantly recognizable in all of music. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer reprises ten of his greatest hits on Brand New Me – but none of the tracks are generic “re-records” or “sound-alikes.” Indeed, they are worthy, new versions of the originals, every bit as enjoyable, and "the Ice Man" is as warmly soulful as ever.

Dobie Gray’s first Top 20 hit was the 1965 breakoutDobie Gray recording of "The 'In' Crowd," which he followed with another Motown-style bounce hit, "See You at the Go-Go"; But Dobie is best remembered for his 1973 Top 5 hit, "Drift Away." The follow up, "Loving Arms,” solidified his career as a versatile artist at home in R&B, Pop, and Country. He has also flourished as a songwriter, penning hits for Don Williams, Charley Pride, George Jones, and John Denver, among others. The album Soul Days offers Dobie’s take on R&B classics such as “When a Man Loves a Woman”, and “People Get Ready”, as well new material written by Gray and others.

Ruby Wilson with B.B. KingRuby Wilson is the undisputed Queen of Beale Street, a Memphis legend whose powerful, emotional, voice has been applauded worldwide. Prior to a stroke earlier this year, she was the headliner at B.B. King's, the epicenter of nightclub entertainment in the Mid-South. Ruby recorded over 10 albums and performed with B.B. King, Ray Charles, Robert Goulet, The Four Tops, Jerry Butler, Willie Nelson, and Isaac Hayes. She was also an accomplished actress, with roles in Black Snake Moan, Cookie's Fortune, The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Chamber, The Client, and The Firm. (Watch her live performance with the Climax Jazz Band in Japan.) Producer Norbert Putnam masterfully showcases Ruby at her best on A Song For You – a collection of classic standards superbly rendered.

Eddie Floyd, Ivory Joe Hunter, Papa Don McMinn

Eddie Floyd’s Sweet Soul. contains 15 knockoutEddie Floyd performances, including soul classics like "Soul Man,” Funky Broadway" and "Sweet Soul Music," plus Eddie’s own versions of hits he wrote for others, such as "Ninety Nine and One Half" (Wilson Pickett), “634-5789” (Wilson Pickett), and "The Breakdown" (Rufus Thomas). Another treat included on this set is Eddie's solo remake of "You're So Fine," the song that launched his career in 1959 when he was a member of The Falcons. In addition, Eddie gives us updated versions of some of his own trademark hits, including “Knock On Wood”, “Never Found a Girl”, “Bring It On Home”, and “California Girl”.

Ivory Joe HunterIvory Joe Hunter’s lifelong love of country music manifested itself in the late 1960s and early ‘70s as he became a frequent guest on the Grand Ole Opry. The album Live At The Grand Ole Opry was recorded during appearances at The Opry’s Ryman Auditorium in 1971 and 1972. This 15-track collection demonstrates Hunter’s mastery of his craft as a singer, songwriter, and musician.

Papa Don McMinn is a Memphis Music legend. HePapa Don McMinn was instrumental in the rebirth of the Home of the Blues: Beale Street in Memphis Tennessee. During the mid-1980s, Papa Don’s band had the "house gig" at Rum Boogie on the corner of Beale and Highway 61. LocoBop released two Papa Don albums in April (Black Guitar Blues and Live On Beale Street) in addition to our 2008 release of Home Blues. In May, LocoBop debuts a fourth album from Papa Don. Boogie Man, was produced by Willie Pevear under the auspices of executive producers Norbert Putnam and Tom Peters.

Frederick Knight, Keisa Brown

Frederick KnightLocoBop’s relationship with Frederick Knight goes back to 1972 when LocoBop founder and managing partner Tim Whitsett signed Frederick to Stax Records. The first fruit of that deal produced Frederick’s iconic hit “I’ve Been Lonely For So Long.” Frederick’s career as an artist, producer, songwriter, and label owner has since generated numerous notable records, particularly one of the most representative hits of the disco era, “Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward. We’ll be releasing Frederick’s album Knight Time in May.

Also coming in May, I’ll Carry You by Keisa Brown,Keisa Brown produced by Frederick Knight. Before Keisa died of an extended illness in 2006, she was headlining concerts throughout the USA and Europe and working as a back-up singer with superstars Gladys Knight, Neil Diamond, Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle, Boyz II Men, and Brandy.

The Green Brothers, Keena Green, and Divine Soul Divas

The Green BrothersThe Green Brothers (Al and Bobby) were the last act signed to Stax Records in 1975, which meant their only release for the label never got out of the starting gate when the company went into receivership. The two Detroit brothers nevertheless kept singing and writing, activities that ultimately led to a reunion with Stax producer and LocoBop's man in Memphis Bobby Manuel. The brothers cut a brand new album, Soulsville, with Bobby at Ardent Studios. Backing was provided by a stellar group of veteran musicians from Stax and Hi Records.

The Green Brothers added a bonus track to theKeena Green album, “I Don’t Want To Be A Worldly Christian” by Bobby Green’s daughter, Keena Green. With a cross/blend of soul, gospel, blues, pop, and country, Keena’s vocal power and performance is spine tingling. Before going solo, Keena (with her two sisters) saw success as a member of Epic recording group Sweet Obsession.

Divine Soul Divas Vol. IDivine Soul Divas is a compilation album release that features another track by Keena Green – “Friend.” Among those joining Keena on this album are Soul Sweetheart Carla Thomas, and Shirley Brown (both of whom contribute two tracks to the compilation).

Johnny Barranco

Johnny Barranco is featured in an April release fromJohnny Barranco LocoBop, Father Time by Barranco, Barrett, and Crocker. It’s Johnny Barranco’s voice you hear on ubiquitous jingles like “Be All That You Can Be” (U.S. Army) and “You Deserve A Break Today” (McDonalds). Deep Praises is a solo album from Johnny that shows off his spiritual side.

Solomon Burke, J. Blackfoot headline this year’s Porretta Soul Festival

LocoBop News - March 21, 2009

The Porretta Soul Festival has just confirmed Solomon Burke’s appearance at this summer’s 21st annual salute to soul music. The festival kicks off July 23 at Rufus Thomas Park in Porretta Terme (Bologna), Italy and runs through July 26.

The Porretta Soul Soul Festival, a Tribute to Otis Redding, has become the most prestigious European event entirely dedicated to rhythm & blues and soul music, and particularly to the Memphis Sound. Previous featured artists included Rufus Thomas, Sam Moore (Sam & Dave), Booker T. & The MGs, The Memphis Horns, Percy Sledge, Irma Thomas, Mavis Staples, Millie Jackson, The Bar Kays, Ann Peebles, Otis Clay, Isaac Hayes, Wilson Pickett, Lavern Baker, James Carr, Eddie Hinton, Dan Penn, and Billy Preston.

Also appearing this year are two artists with LocoBop connections: J. Blackfoot and Vaneese Thomas. Former Soul Children member J. Blackfoot has two albums available from LocoBop, with two more scheduled for release this spring. Vaneese Thomas is the daughter of Stax legend Rufus Thomas and sister of soul sensation Carla Thomas, both of whom have recordings available from LocoBop.

Other artists in this year’s line-up: Percy & Spencer Wiggins, Oscar Toney Jr, Toni Green, Jesse Dee, The Diplomat of Solid Sound with the Diplomettes, Bobby Johnson, CIV Soul Band, and The Austin DeLone All Star Band with Sweet Nectar.

For more information, contact Graziano Uliani, email: porettasoul@libero.it; telephone: 39053422021. The website is http://www.porrettasoul.it/.

J. Blackfoot, LocoBop Digital Sound Box

J. Blackfoot

The Mad Lads - plus
Barranco, Barrett, & Crocker

LocoBop News - February 18, 2009

Just confirmed, LocoBop will be digitally releasing an album by The Mad Lads, produced by one of the group's founding members, John Gary Williams. The Mad Lads were one of the first successful vocal groups signed to Stax Records in the 1960s. Appearing on the Volt label, their hits included "Don't Have To Shop Around", "I Want a Girl", "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Whatever Hurts You," and "I Want Someone."

The Mad Lads

Also just added to LocoBop's release schedule for early March: Barranco, Barrett, & Crocker, a.k.a. BBC. Between the four members of BBC (there are two Barrancos in the group), the credits and contributions to hit records and national TV jingles over the past 30 years would fill a phone book. Although the four musicians originally hail from Jackson, Mississippi, this album (Father Time) marks their first venture into the studio together. The result is a solid collection of Rock & Roll as it was always meant to be: joyous, fun, and spontaneous - yet crammed with memorable lyrics and hooks.

Sound of New Orleans

Bringing Louisiana Music To The World

LocoBop News - January 18, 2009

Laissez le bon temps roule! What a way to start the year! Gary Edwards, founder of Sound of New Orleans Record Company, is making his label's entire catalog available digitally for the first time - and LocoBop is excited to be part of the process.

Edwards founded SONO in 1972. Since then he has carefully assembled a roster of artists representing the cream of traditional New Orleans and Louisiana genres, from Brass Bands, Zydeco, Bourbon Street Jazz and Blues, R&B, Gospel, Cajun Music, Mardi Gras Bands, and Louisiana Swamp Music.

In Coming weeks and months, we will indeed be rolling out the good times with digital versions of Gary's New Orleans catalog, plus new releases from his exemplary label. Meanwhile, read more details here, including names of artists on the Sound of New Orleans roster.

New Bar-Kays Album Coming in January

LocoBop News - December 22, 2008

House Party by the Bar-Kays headlines LocoBop's first batch of releases slated for the New Year. Other highlighted albums coming in January include: Power by Eddie Floyd, Masqueraders In Love by The Masqueraders, Highway Cowboy by Cotton Yancey, Blue Artistry by Di Anne Price, Facing The Music by Ten-63: The Browns, Black Guitar Blues by Papa Don McMinn & Nightrain, and Soul Rangers Vol. I -- the first in our series of iconic Southern soulsters. Volume One includes tracks by Luther Ingram, Eddie Floyd, The Bar-Kays, The Masqueraders, R.B. Hudmon, Rufus Thomas, Ivory Joe Hunter, Randy Brown, J. Blackfoot, and Homer Banks.

LocoBop Artists Support for
Nicole Marquez

LocoBop News - November 22, 2008

Jackson, MS (WLBT) - Saturday wraps up the weeklong fundraising events benefitting Jackson dancer Nicole Marquez.

Marquez fell six floors off her New York apartment building in August and survived. She is now undergoing treatment at Methodist Rehabilitation Center. A series of fundraisers have been held to help the Marquez family with medical bills.

Saturday's events kicked off at Hal and Mal's in downtown Jackson. Children performed to the educational DVD "You Gotta Move," which Marquez helped produce. A Blues and Rock show will take center stage at 8:00 p.m.

"I've been in Jackson my entire life and I've never seen a line up like tonight's," said Nicole's mother Susan Marquez. "It's an all volunteer line up, which is amazing. Bobby Rush, they just unveiled a blues maker with his name on it, he's going to be here. And Eddie Cotton! I think he's the next BB King."

October Acquisitions:

The Jumpin' Chi-Chis and...
Di Anne Price

LocoBop News - October 31, 2008

If you’ve never heard of The Jumpin’ Chi-Chis or Di Anne Price, it’s our mission to fill that void in your life. While we could litter this page with superlatives about these stellar Memphis acts, we’ll let others do it for us:

Reviews for The Jumpin’ Chi-Chis

I laughed, I cried, and I lost most of my body fluids listening to the Jumpin’ Chi-Chis. Inspired is too tame a word.

– Philip Grady Smith

Here's a brand new slant on what Louis Prima and Sam Butera were doin' back in the day. The Chi-Chis really put the spin on pop jazz with the craziest originals - excellent performances, wonderful solos, and lots of unpredictability.

– Dr. Moon

Amazing piece of work - Virtuosity, Creativity, Originality, and Hilarity!

 – Jim Poor

This is the best and most inspired original music to come out of Memphis in years. The Chi-Chi's music is spontaneous, eclectic, effortlessly performed and just down right GREAT! Every musical style is "fair game" for the Chi-Chi's. I assure you that you will hear something you'll love.

Be prepared to recharge your sense of humor, smile, and enjoy tremendous talent that is seriously, second to none. When in Memphis, catch the Chi-Chi's live... it is totally worth the wait in line to get in to see them perform.

- Pete Vescovo

Not since my young days hanging out in the lounges of Vegas of the late ‘50s, have I been moved to grab Momma Linda and do the jump!!!!!

- Walt Woodson

The Jumpin' Chi-Chi's have a tongue-in-cheek, lounge-lizard vibe. They’re a wild and fantastic band filled with some of Memphis ' best jazz cats.

- William Haygood

Reviews for Di Anne Price

If you say they don't make 'em like they used to, then you haven't heard blues pianist and singer Di Anne Price, who plays the most convincing stride piano around. She balances jazz with ragtime and blues in a way that's so old-fashioned it's refreshingly new. Close your eyes, and it’s like stumbling into a 1940s barrelhouse.

Price sings-with a hearty cool, but it's her piano playing that captures your full attention. You'll find tons of New Orleans in her ivory interpretations as well as sophisticated blues from the great Memphis Slim. And Price has the range and confidence to go from calypso to a Big Bill Broonzy country blues to a hokum double entendre number.

- The Commercial Appeal

Memphis pianist-vocalist Di Anne Price channels the spirit of classic blues divas Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, Stippie Wallace, and Memphis Minnie. A profoundly soulful singer, Price’s expressive voice is etched with pain or brimming with sly humor while tickling the ivories barrel piano style on two-fisted shuffles, rolling blues, and boogie woogie workouts.

- Jazz Times

If there's a finer interpretive singer than Price anywhere else on the planet right now, please let me know.

- Chris Herrington, The Memphis Flyer

Di Anne Price doesn't sing a song so much as seize it, finding something new in a decades-old lyric and making the song wholly her own.

She has the kind of voice you turn to in the wee, small hours - dark and smoky like your favorite bar, warm and smooth as a glass of good bourbon. It's the voice of romance and desire, of loneliness and loss.

Her voice oozes with pathos, growls with anger, moans in anguish, tingles with raw sexuality, and bristles with resilience and confidence. It tells a story you've heard before - maybe a story you've even lived - in a manner that is distinctly Di Anne's. That she turns such personal emotional exorcisms into something so moving and beautiful is the mark of pure genius.

- Bill Ellis

September Acquisitions:

Eddie Cotton comes to LocoBop

LocoBop News - September 30, 2008

Live at the Alamo Theatre marks Eddie Cotton’s triumphant arrival on the blues scene. It is not everyday that blues fans can celebrate the discovery of a young player hailing from a traditional background. 

Eddie Cotton found inspiration in traditional blues masters like Little Milton, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters as well as soul singers like O.V. Wright, Little Willie John and Otis Redding. 

Hot on the heels of his 1999 Grammy Award nominated album, “Welcome to Little Milton,” producer Greg Preston was quick to realize Eddie’s tremendous potential and embraced this project with his usual professionalism and drive. The historic Alamo Theater on Farish Street in downtown Jackson, MS where so many blues luminaries have performed over the years; was the perfect venue for Eddie’s recording debut. Eddie Cotton’s impassioned, soulful vocals and fluid, biting guitar combined with his youthful enthusiasm and powerful stage presence stormed the Alamo and took no prisoners. Preston teamed up again with ace engineer Kent Bruce to superbly capture the energy and excitement of that memorable night. 

Eddie shines on creative arrangements and interpretations of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Shake For Me,” Hound Dog Taylor’s “She’s Gone” and the scorching closer, Little Milton’s “Walkin’ The Backstreets And Cryin’.” His originals include the Gospel drenched “Don’t Give Up On A Love Affair,” the mournful “You’re The Girl,” as well as the soul blues “Why Must I Cry.” 

Live at the Alamo Theater is a fitting debut to what will likely become a long and distinguished career. With his passion, exuberance and overflowing talent, Eddie Cotton promises to carry the blues tradition well into the 21st century. 

– Alain Recaborde & Jeff Wiener, Blues Access contributors.

August Acquisitions and Activity:

Cotton Yancey, All The King's Men, The Green Brothers, Bill Beaty, and Michael Porter

LocoBop News - August 31, 2008

Two albums from traveling cowboy rodeo announcer Cotton Yancey headline this month's acquisitions. "The Last of the Zane Grey Cowboys," produced by the late Carson Whitsett, features Cotton singing great songs by a who's who of Country music songwriters, backed by some of Nashville's most in-demand musicians. The second album is a compelling listen when driving those lonesome Western highways. "Cowboy Highway" is a collection of 15 stories and poems written and told in tribute to Cowboys and their sport.

Cotton has performed with Chicago, the Oakridge Boys, George Strait, Asleep At the Wheel, Lynard Skynard, and the Charlie Daniels band among others. His musical career carried over into rodeo. He's been announcing rodeo since 1988 with the J Bar J Rodeo Company and Cricket Valley. Cotton also narrates rodeo on the Outdoor Channel with Andy Stewart, and was the voice of the Annual Buckeye Stampede Pro Rodeo.

The Green Brothers were the last act signed to Stax Records in 1975, which meant their only release for the label never got out of the starting gate when the company went into receivership. The two Detroit brothers nevertheless kept singing and writing, activities that ultimately led to a reunion with Stax producer and LocoBop's man in Memphis Bobby Manuel. The brothers went into Ardent Studios in Memphis this month to cut a brand new album with Bobby for LocoBop. Backing was provided by a stellar group of veteran musicians from Stax and Hi Records, and the as-yet untitled result left all involved feeling as if the glory days of Memphis soul had returned at last.

Meanwhile, LocoBop's man in Houston, Danny Jones acquired a cooking Rock album for us: "Take This World" by four-piece rock group All The King's Men. Danny also brings us two Christian artists: Michael Porter and Bill Beaty. The latter's album is entitled "Stand Up For God;" Michael's album is called "Only a Pure Heart."

July Acquisitions:

Charles Hodges, Tommy Dardar, Willie Brown, Homer Banks, and Shelbra Dean Bennett

LocoBop News - July 30, 2008

The world is inescapably familiar with the signature sound of Al Green's many hits . Soul music aficionados will also know the names of the musicians who created that sound: Al Jackson Jr. and Howard Grimes (drums), Mabon 'Tennie' Hodges (guitar), Leroy Hodges (bass), and Charles Hodges (organ). This famed Hi Records studio band played on 26 gold and platinum albums by Green, Ann Peebles, Otis Clay and other Hi artists. And it is this same band (with the exception of Steve Potts on drums) that power Charles Hodges (now the Reverend C. E. Hodges) and his Voices of Victory on LocoBop's first gospel release, "Take It To The Altar."

Tommy Dardar comes to LocoBop from Houston, Texas where he is the undisputed  master of  the blues harmonica. His soulfully spicy blend of Texas / Louisiana Gulf Coast music conjures up New Orleans voodoo rhythms, raucous Cajun dance halls, and smoky juke joints on Saturday nights.

Other July acquisitions include tracks by Willie Brown, Shelbra Bennett, and Homer Banks. Shelbra and LocoBop  artist J. Blackfoot. comprised half of the Stax hit making quartet, The Soul Children.

One of the most beloved Memphis music figures was Homer Banks, who died in 2003. Homer was, to quote London's Guardian newspaper: "one of the unsung heroes behind Stax Records, the Memphis label responsible for much of the finest southern soul music of the 1960s and 70s. Many of the songs Banks co-wrote have become contemporary classics, none more so than If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want To Be Right)."  Although Homer recorded as an artist for Minit Records very early in his career, he turned his back on performing to concentrate his talents on writing songs - despite many tempting offers to become an artist again. LocoBop, therefore, is fortunate to acquire these rare tracks featuring Homer as vocalist.

June Acquisitions:

Bobby Rush, Terry Wall, and "Papa" Don McMinn

LocoBop News - June 30, 2008

The inimitable Bobby Rush has come aboard LocoBop, bringing along ten albums (that's 10 albums!) for immediate release. But that's just the start, because the "Bad, Bad" boy of blues, whose career spans fifty years, has tons of never-released tracks in his vault, all of which he and LocoBop will make available in months to come.

Two other LocoBop acquisitions this month bring with them enviable guitar, vocal, and songwriting skills that have built each of them legions of fans, starting in their Memphis area base, and spreading across the USA,  Canada, and into Europe where they frequently tour.

"Papa" Don McMinn helped in the rebirth of Beale Street, "The Home of the Blues," in Memphis Tennessee. For years he was a fixture at the world famous Rum Boogie Cafe, where his special brand of "Southern" music (a concoction of Delta Blues and Boogie Blues) was a magnet draw for locals and tourists from around the world. "Papa" Don's band, Nightrain, is anchored by his two sons, Doug on drums and Rome on bass.

Terry Wall was already a Memphis music vet when he formed his band, The Wallbangers, in 1996. He's sometimes compared to Delbert McClinton, but more often he's simply incomparable, because he's such a uniquely gifted guitarist and vocalist - not to mention the quality of his songwriting.  Terry co-produced and co-wrote many of the songs featured on Don Nix's "I Don't Want No Trouble," album, which we released earlier this year. Fittingly, Don Nix produced both of the albums Terry is releasing via LocoBop in July.

May Acquisition Update # 2:

Eddie Floyd and The Browns

LocoBop News - May 28 2008

Another album from Eddie Floyd was added to the LocoBop catalog today, joining the four-track trance mix of "Knock On Wood" (just released) and the already scheduled album entitled "Power."

Called "Spotlight On Eddie Floyd," the latest album contains Eddie's knockout performances of soul classics "Funky Broadway" and "Sweet Soul Music," plus his own versions of hits he wrote for others, such as "Ninety Nine and One Half" (Wilson Pickett) and "The Breakdown" (Rufus Thomas). Another treat included on this set is Eddie's solo remake of "You're So Fine," the song that launched his career in 1959 when he was a member of The Falcons.

LocoBop is also privileged to add a rare recording to our catalog: The Browns (brothers William, Randy, and Bertram) recorded the appropriately named "Rare" album shortly before a stroke ended William's singing career. It was the only time the brothers recorded together as a group. William had scored hits in the '60s as a member of The Mad Lads. In the 1970s, Randy followed William to the Stax label as lead singer of The Newcomers, later going solo. Bertram, with William, has been a sought-after background singer and arranger. Individually or together, the brothers are heard singing background on albums by Jerry Butler, Al Green, Johnny Winter, and  Isaac Hayes, to name a few. William was also a first-call engineer at Stax; his fingerprints are on the Grammy- and Academy Award winning album "Shaft" by Isaac Hayes.

May Acquisition Update # 1:

The Masqueraders and more Luther Ingram

LocoBop News - May 8 2008

LocoBop is excited to announce the acquisition of digital distribution rights to five albums by The Masqueraders. Included among the 50-plus tracks are the original hits scored by this great vocal group. Now in their fifth decade, The Masqueraders are still going strong and will soon depart for a tour of China.

We're also happy to announce the addition to our catalog of a fourth album by the incomparable Luther Ingram, entitled Pity For The Lonely.

April Acquisition Update # 3:

James Carr, Ollie Nightingale

LocoBop News - April 22 2008

A new album by Ollie Nightingale has been picked up for release via LocoBop later this year. The album was not quite finished at the time of the singer's untimely death in 1997. Memphis producer Bobby Manuel is in the process of completing the overdubs and mixing.
Additionally, LocoBop is licensing several tracks by the late James Carr. Details soon.

April Acquisition Update # 2:

Albert King, Brenda Patterson, Fern Kinney, The Club Handy Band, and more Rufus Thomas

LocoBop News - April 20 2008

LocoBop has just acquired digital distribution rights to tracks by Albert King, Fern Kinney, Brenda Patterson, and Fred Sanders with the legendary Club Handy Band - plus - another Rufus Thomas album - The Sun Sessions.

April Acquisitions by LocoBop

J. Blackfoot, Shirley Brown

LocoBop News - April  17, 2008

While we're waiting to update this column with details of our February and March acquisitions (see below), LocoBop is mighty pleased to announce three new additions to our catalog: two albums by J. Blackfoot and one album by Shirley Brown. Details soon.

New LocoBop Acquisitions in February and March

LocoBop News - April 14 2008

Details on each of the following acquisitions will be added to this page during the coming weeks.

Ivory Joe Hunter, Rufus Thomas, Jimmy Griffin, Percy Mayfield, The Barkays, Rick Christian, Gary Gentry, The Sy Rosenberg Big Band, The Green Brothers, The Duck Band (formerly Rick Dees's 'Cast of Idiots'), 'Only The Strong Survive' - the audio soundtrack of D.A. Pennebaker's documentary (featuring Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Ann Peebles, and others). Check back soon for the nitty and the gritty.

Makoto Kuriya - Always Our Friend

LocoBop News - January 20, 2008

Born in Kobe, Japan, Celebrated Jazz Pianist, Film Music Composer, Conductor, and Producer Makoto Kuriya spent most of the 1980s in the U.S., where he studied linguistics at West Virginia University, music at The University of Pittsburgh, and developed his chops as a jazz pianist and composer, touring with the likes of Grammy-winning trumpeter Chuck Mangione.

Makoto returned to Japan in 1990 and quickly established a reputation for crafting innovative music that appeals to a wide range of audiences. Drawing on an insatiable curiosity for all things musical, he often fuses  jazz, classical, electronic, MIDI, dance, Latin and other world influences with traditional Japanese instruments and music.

He has recorded a dozen albums in diverse genres, including the platinum-selling soundtrack of his score for the award-winning film 'New Genesis Evangelion.' Makoto has won acclaim  as well for other film and television scores in addition to earning worldwide accolades and awards as a concert performer, classical composer,  and director-producer. Simultaneously, he has forged a career as one of Japan's most successful Pop producers, working with chart topping acts such as Ken Hirai, and is in demand as a producer for club dance  tracks.

LocoBop is proud to release Makoto Kuriya's very first album, 'Always Your Friend,' which was recorded in The USA shortly before he returned to Japan in 1990.

Three Luther Ingram Albums Coming from LocoBop

LocoBop News - January 7, 2008

Three albums of classic seventies soul recordings by Luther Ingram were added to the LocoBop roster today in a licensing deal with Randall Stewart of Klondike Enterprises.

While Ingram remains best remembered for the piercing 1972 ballad "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right," he was also a gifted songwriter, teaming with Mack Rice to co-write the Staple Singers' classic empowerment anthem "Respect Yourself."

Although Ingram (who died of heart failure in 2007) began recording with Ike Turner in the 1960s, and last scored a hit on the Profile label in the 1980s, his most prolific period was 1970 - 1975 for Koko Records, distributed by Stax.

The albums coming from LocoBop contain all of Ingram's Koko output. In addition to his signature tune, the LocoBop tracks include all of Luther's chart records, such as "Let's Steal Away to the Hideaway," "I'll Be Your Shelter in Time of Storm,"  "I'm Trying to Sing a Message to You," "Always," "I'll Just Call You Honey," etc.

Eddie Floyd Rings in British New Year With Sir Paul McCartney

LocoBop News - January 7, 2008 - Posted by TheStaxman

I've said it before, and I'll say it once more: Eddie Floyd is the hardest working man in show business. On New Year's Eve, he, Sir Paul McCartney, Duffy, and Kylie Minogue  performed on BBC-2  for Jools Holland's 15th annual Hootenanny. Eddie closed the show! He rang in the New Year with "Knock on Wood."

He's in Scotland now (and later England) with Geno Washington and Pauline Black in a show called 'This Is Soul.' In June, he'll be with Poncho Sanchez in L.A. for The Playboy Jazz Festival, and this summer he will, once again, be fronting The Blues Brothers Band. They'll be overseas and in Chicago for a charity benefit held by our country's Queen Oprah.

Last year, I posted that Eddie, Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, and Sanchez recorded "Wood" and "Raise Your Hand," which was the title track of Sanchez's 2007 Concord Release. He has also just finished recording his own album for Concord featuring Cropper on guitar!

Posted by The Staxman -  thestaxman@yahoo.com

Here are Eddie's upcoming gigs:

January 2008
18th -- St. Davids Hall, Cardiff, Wales
19th -- The Town Hall, Cheltenham, England
22nd -- The Fairfield Hall, Croydon, England
23rd -- The Jam House, Birmingham, England
24th -- The Civic Theatre, Darlington, England
26th -- The Theatre Royal, Norwich, England
30th -- The Music Hall, Aberdeen, Scotland

February 2008
1st -- The Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, Scotland
3rd -- Butlins, Skegness, England
5th -- The Hexagon, Reading, Endland
6th -- The Orchard, Dartford, England
7th -- The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe, England
8th -- The Pavilion, Rhyl, Wales
9th -- The Central Theatre, Chatham, England
10th -- The Garrick, Litchfield, England
15th -- The Camberley Theatre, Camberley, England
16th -- The Dome, Morecambe, England
17th -- The Embassy Centre, Skegness, England
18th -- The Towngate Theatre, Basildon, England
19th -- The Royal & Derngate, Northampton, England 

February 20 (Return to US)
22nd -- Alabama Music Hall of Fame Induction in Montgomery, AL

February 25 (Return to United Kingdom)
28th -- The Millfield Theatre, Edmonton, England
29th -- The Civic Hall, Grays, England

March 2008
1st -- The Broadway, Catford, England
2nd -- The Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, England 
4th -- The Palace Theatre, Newark, England
6th -- Forum 28, Barrow-in-Furness, England
7th -- The Music Hall, Shrewsbury, England 
8th -- The Prince of Wales Centre, Cannock, England
9th -- Potters Leisure Resort, Hopton-on-Sea, England

May15 to May 31 2008
Tour - 10 days in Amsterdam, Holland

June 14 to June 15 2008
Playboy Jazz Festival with Poncho Sanchez, in Los Angeles

June 28 to July 15 2008
Tour with Blues Brothers Band – Scandinavia and Italy

July 28 2008
Blues Brothers Band - Aspen, CO., Oprah Winfrey Charity

OTM Records Signs Digital Distribution Deal With LocoBop

LocoBop News - January 4, 2008

Former Stax Records writer/producer Henderson Thigpen has chosen LocoBop to distribute and exploit product from his label, OTM Records, in digital formats.

Thigpen's first success was as co-writer of Shirley Brown's massive debut hit "Woman to Woman."

OTM Records has a roster of Memphis-area artists. First releases issued through LocoBop include tracks by two neo-soul singers, Fawn and Tracey, and three southern rap acts: Chilly Macke, Blade & Big Vino, and Devious.

Soul Joe's  "Mud Ducks" Now On LocoBop

LocoBop News - December  21, 2007

Legendary producer/guitarist Bobby Manuel is re-issuing his cult rap favorite "Mud Ducks" by Soul Joe a.k.a Yan-C through a deal concluded today with LocoBop.

In addition to his global smash production of "Disco Duck" by Rick Dees, Manuel was a staff producer, first-call session guitarist, and  engineer for Stax Records. He was also a long-time member of The Isaac Hayes' Movement.

In the post-Stax years, Manuel has been an independent studio owner and producer (he co-produced a number of tracks with Stax founder Jim Stewart, for instance), and CEO of High Stacks Records in Memphis.

Don Nix Confirms Album Release with LocoBop

LocoBop News - December 10, 2007

Iconic Memphis producer/artist/writer Don Nix today firmed a licensing deal for LocoBop to reissue his most recent album: I Don't Want No Trouble.

Nix was a baritone saxophonist and founding member of the Mar-Keys, along with Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn (later members of Booker T. & The MGs) and Wayne Jackson (The Memphis Horns). The band recorded "Last Night", a million-selling instrumental that launched the fledgling Stax label in 1961.

Besides recording as a solo artist for Stax, Elektra, and Leon Russell's Shelter label, Nix flourished as a writer and producer for Delaney & Bonnie, Albert King, Freddie King, J.J. Cale, Lonnie Mack, and Furry Lewis, among others, and he was a member of the legendary Alabama State Troopers.

Nix's career has included close working relationships with George Harrison, Jeff Beck, Brian May, The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Eric Clapton, and John Mayall.

Many of Don's Southern-Fried songs have become blues-rock classics - "Black Cat Moan" (John Mayall), "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" (Albert King), "Going Down" (Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Lee Hooker) and "Living on the Highway" (Freddie King).

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