Eddie Bo 1930-2009: Three Faces of Check Your Bucket

Example

The OG Bo-Sound issue

Example

The UK pressing on Action

Example

The Jamaican pressing on Grimm Ben

Listen – Eddie Bo – Check Your Bucket Pt1 – MP3″

Listen – Eddie Bo – Check Your Bucket Pt2 – MP3″

Greetings all.

We continue our week long tribute to the genius of the late, great Eddie Bo by dropping one of his more popular sides, which ironically has never been featured here before*.
‘Check Your Bucket’ was Bo’s 1970 follow up to 1969s ‘Hook and Sling’ which was a Top 10 R&B hit. The record is not only fine and dandy on a purely musical level, but is a great example of post-hit momentum, and how the charts don’t always tell the whole story.
As dynamic as ‘Hook and Sling’ was – understandably a hit – when the sweet funky strains of ‘Check Your Bucket’ first make contact with your ears, you can’t help but wonder why this particular record didn’t take Bo even further into the public consciousness.
The tune has a strong, driving bass and drums combo with dueling rhythm guitars, subdued horns and a fantastic vocal by Bo. The female backing vocals provide great interplay with Bo (check when the fall in with ‘Satisfaction!’) like a reverse of his own backing contributions to records like the Explosions ‘Hip Drop’. It’s a dancers record if ever there was one.
Bo released the record in 1970, and as far as I’ve been able to discover it didn’t make a dent in the charts. What ‘Check Your Bucket’ did have going in its favor was national distribution, and what I can only guess was the kind of ‘underground’ success that can follow serious word of mouth, perhaps via popularity in the dance clubs. Not only did ‘Check Your Bucket’ get released in the UK (on the Trojan records subsidiary Action**) but there was also a Jamaican pressing on the incredibly cool looking (and very obscure) Grimm Ben label***. It is posible that the record gained some popularity in the islands due to the Action pressing and its connections to the Trojan label. The b-side of the Grimm Ben 45 is a reggae cover of ‘Snoopy vs the Red Baron’.
Though several Bo and Bo-related sides had local New Orleans pressings and then stepped up to national labels (like ‘Lover and a Friend’ and Chuck Carbo’s ‘Can I Be Your Squeeze’) I can think of only one other instance of one of his sides getting released locally and then again overseas, that being the Curley Moore and the Kool Ones disc which was issued in the UK on Pye. Even though its popularity wasn’t registering “officially” via the charts, ‘Check Your Bucket’ was in demand.
When I first considered this situation I thought that this may have had something to do with the popularity of ‘Hook and Sling’, in the sense that people liked that record, saw it as successful so they figured they’d bank on Eddie Bo one more time. The flaws in this argument are as follows. The UK pressing of ‘Check Your Bucket’ wasn’t released until almost two full years after the Bo Sound issue, and the Jamaican version appears to be, uh..how do they say “unofficial”. Also, ‘Check Your Bucket’ does not appear to have been the immediate follow-up to ‘Hook and Sling’ (that was ‘If It’s Good To You It’s Good For You’ on Scram***).
Unless one of you good folks has the answer, it shall remain for all intents and purposes a mystery.
It’s a sweet one though.
I’ll be back tomorrow with one of Eddie’s heavier funk sides.

Peace

Larry

* ‘Check Your Bucket’ was one of the old ‘Eddie Bo Jam of the Month’ features back in the days of the Funky16Corners web zine

**The Action label had an interesting history, mainly reissuing US funk and soul 45s for the UK market, including sides by Betty Harris, Bobby Marchan, Clifford Curry, OV Wright and others.

***Which will be featured here tomorrow, followed on Wednesday with a new edition of Funky16Corners Radio devoted to the soul sounds of Eddie Bo

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16 Responses to “Eddie Bo 1930-2009: Three Faces of Check Your Bucket”

  1. Duncan Walls Says:

    Please use the Beaucoups of Bocage should you wish! This is the greatest tribute the man could get online, I’m sure!

  2. James Reitano Says:

    ‘Grimm Ben’ label…beautiful!!!

  3. Mister Cenzo Says:

    Brilliant my brother, but where in the Baxter Building did that Grimm Ben label come from???? Did Mr. Fantastic have a career as a funk drummer? And the wig shop stamp? One more small sign that there’s real beauty in this world (so to speak).

  4. funky16corners Says:

    I yearn for the days when wigs and records could be purchased in the same place.

  5. Mister Cenzo Says:

    Well we can agree that the lack thereof is yet another sign of our country being in the shitter (the fact that”shitter” is in the iPhone spellcheck is not). Where’s the Fantastic 4 when you need them…

  6. Mister Cenzo Says:

    Sorry I meant The Fantastically Bald 4

  7. EDDIE BO, 1930-2009 - The Public Interest : WTVC Newschannel9.com Says:

    [...] can download some of those revolutionary songs here, here, here, here, and especially [...]

  8. Peter Dalton Says:

    I thought you might like some info about the Grimm Ben label. The few 45s that I’m aware of on this Jamaican imprint were released in the late 1970s/early 1980s, and are in the non-digital ‘dancehall’ phase of reggae. The biggest hit in the reggae world was ‘Entertainment’ by Triston Palma (sometimes spelt Tristan Palmer), which employed the then very popular ‘Heavenless’ rhythm. This was was produced by the DJ (Jamaican rapper) Jah Thomas, as were the same singer’s ‘Sad News’ and Anthony Johnson’s ‘She Afi Come Me. ‘ At least one other producer had his work released on the label, however: Alvin Ranglin, with (Ranking) Toyan’s ‘Mad Mad.’ There might well have been other releases, but I’ve never come across them – perhaps another of your readers can help on this.

  9. funky16corners Says:

    Peter
    Thanks for the info. I’ve never been able to find another record on that label.
    L

  10. bama Says:

    I sure loved the wig imprint.

  11. Brian Harris Says:

    My copy of “Check Yu Bucket” has the same stamp from Monicas.

  12. funky16corners Says:

    Brian
    You’re the only other person I’ve ever heard of with a copy of that pressing, and how weird is it that it has that stamp too (I think it’s a Toronto address??).
    I got mine on E-bay years ago. Maybe they’re from the same source.
    L

  13. Early Modern Notes » Saying farewell to Eddie Bo: get funked up now Says:

    [...] the Chain Gang Disco Party Eddie Bo in Soulville If it’s Good to You, it’s Good for You Three Faces of Check Your Bucket. (If you’re going to listen to one record to find out what I’m on about, make it this [...]

  14. Eddie Bo RIP | NetInfoWeb: Music & More... Says:

    [...] to some excellent tributes from here:Eddie Bo In SoulvilleIf Its Good For You, Its Good For YouThree Faces Of Check Your BucketEddie & His Heavy FriendsPass Out The Hatchets One Last TimeEddie Bo 1930-2009Eddie Bo Let It [...]

  15. KingCake Says:

    I’m putting together a memorial collection of Eddie Bo material for my blog and I keep listening to Danny White’s Natural Soul Brother and Ernie and the Top Notes Dap Walk and they just reek of Eddie Bo – what do you think?

    By the way big thanks to you and Funky 16 Corners for the info to even attempt this – here is hat I’ve got so far:

    Check Mr Popeye
    Solid Foundation
    Stone Graveyard
    Now Lets Popeye
    Fence of Love
    Lover and a Friend
    Hook and Sling
    The Thang
    Check Your Bucket
    Pass The Hatchets
    Hip Drop
    I Got a Whole Lot of Reason
    Roll Call
    Garden of Four Trees
    Can I Be Your Squeeze
    Check Your Bucket (long version)

  16. KingCake Says:

    Did some more research on my own and those 2 tunes aren’t Eddie connected, the just sound like they are. Eddie’s girl friend and their little girl were my neighbors for a year or so a couple years prior to Katrina; I used to see him and sit on the porch talking all the time. I even went to the opening of his little club at Banks and Tulane. He was one hell of a nice guy and he’s going to be sadly missed down here. We don’t have too many of our funk and r & b pioneers left; seems every time I turn around another one is gone.

    Re the above compilation: I’ve got a fair bit of the older stuff too but it doesn’t really fit together with this on a listening point of view. It kind of needs to be approached separately.

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