(Below) Paul Griffin, Chuck Rainey and
Bernard Purdie with a couple of NYC ne’er do wells….
Mr. Dave Lewis
“Listen – The Soul Finders – Dead End Street MP3″ “Listen – Dave Lewis – Searchin’ MP3″
As alluded to earlier in the week, I was not initially sure whether or not I was going to post once or twice more this week (those that stop here on the reg know this is generally a Mon – Wed – Fri thang). Now I know (the answer being once). However, in an effort to retain some kind of footing in the quantity sweepstakes, I’ve decided to post on Thursday (that’ll keep’em off their feet!) and drop not one but TWO tracks (heh heh heh…).
Sly, n’est c’pas???
This way, tomorrow, when I’m in bed, with my foot up on the pillows, paperback in hand I need not feel quite the full measure of guilt for not delivering a full weeks worth of good gravy (or at least not spread out over a full week…).
That said, I’ve been sitting on a couple of very groovy Hammond sides for a few weeks, waiting for the right moment to let them drop. My initial intention being to post them on separate days, spread apart so that no one got an uncomfortable case of premature Hammond saturation, and I got the full mileage out of my digital encoding efforts. However the evenst of the last two weeks have left me at times completely unable to post, so certainly a double dose of the good stuff can’t hurt (or can it????).
Anyway… the first track is one that came to me some years ago, quite by accident. This is not to say that as I was waiting for a bus, the LP fell from the sky into my lap, but rather I picked it up expecting to hear something else entirely, and was pleasantly surprised at the contents.
Back in the early days of my Eddie Bo fixation, was I was a-prowl on E-bay on dark and stormy night, I happened upon a mysterious LP by a group called the ‘Soul Finders’ (the same name used by Bo’s group at one time). It was Canadian LP, and as far as I could tell the seller was not trying to pass it off as Bo-related product. It was going for much, so I figured I’d grab it on the outside chance that it had something to do with Bo.
Well, it didn’t (no big surprise there).
What it did contain, was some vocal tracks, some instrumentals, many of which had the air of studio slickery about them, this despite the fact that the players on the LP were a pretty hot bunch, including Valerie Simpson on vocals, Chuck Rainey on bass, Pretty Purdie on drums, Eric Gale on guitar and Paul Griffin on organ.
My initial disappointment – coupled with the shame of my amateur-level record rube-ery – caused me to shelve the LP for a long, long time.
Years later, I saw a mention somewhere (if memory serves it was Northern Soul related) that there might in fact be a hot tune on the album (entitled ‘Sweet Soul Music’). I eventually dug it out, and what I discovered was a smoking Hammond version of Lou Rawls ‘Dead End Street’. Rawls had a big ht with the vocal version of the tune in 1967, right in the middle of his long and fruitful collaboration with David Axelrod. I had first heard the tune done as an instrumental by another Axelrod protégé, organist Henry Cain.
The Soul Finders version is a fine one indeed, with Griffin – a NYC studio pro and veteran of more than a few exploito type records in the 60’s – wailing on the organ.
There’s also another LP by this group (‘Soul Man’) but I haven’t heard it. As far as I can tell neither one fetches much coin, so keep your eyes peeled.
The second track is another one that kind of took me by surprise. Iconsider myself to be something of a connoisseur of the Hammond wrangling of Mr. Dave Lewis, and grab his wax wherever it turns up. Well, a few months ago (right around when I posted his track ‘Mmm Mmm Mmm’) during a routine internet dig, I happened upon a mint copy of one of his Picadilly 45s (none of which had previously graced my crates) for the low, low buy-it-now sum of $5.00. Naturally I let my fingers do the walking, and in a few short weeks this record was nestled in my mailbox. As soon as I whooped it onto the old GP3, it was immediately apparent that what I had in my hands was a little stick of dynamite, and that the Gods had apparently been smiling on me that day.
I should say that although this record turned out to be a monster, I held no such hopes as I purchased it. Sure Dave Lewis was one of the greats..sure ‘Searchin’ was an amazing song by two of the greatest American tunesmiths ever (they being Leiber & Stoller)…BUT (and this was a big but…) I’ve been burned many times by lazy interpretations of classic R&B tunes by journeyman organists. The completist in me had no trouble dropping five bucks to get my hands on the 45, but I wasn’t expecting much.
Well, that’ll teach me, because let me tell you brothers and sisters, Mr. Lewis and friends were on fire the night they put this particular biscuit into the oven. From the slightly loose beginning, right on through to the overdriven, party-rockin’ Hammond solo in the middle of the song, this cover version is anything but lazy, suggesting that inspirado was in the house that night (this does sound as if it were recorded live), and had taken full possession of dave’s fingers.
This is the kind of 45 that was custom built for jukebox use, engineered to get the ladies to take their shoes off and shake it on the dance floor.
So, get these little smokies onto your MP3 dee-vice, and cut a rug this weekend.
I’ll see you all on Monday.
Oh,by the way, in case you though I was going to let an amazing election like the one we just had go by unnoticed, I’ll ake but a moment of your time to say,
The demise of Rick Santorum, Tom Kean Jr. and George Allen, all in the same day was almost too much for the heart. And then Rumsfeld!??!?
In the words of C. Montgomery Burns, Exxxxxxcelllent….