David Rockingham Trio – Soulful Chant



Listen – Soulful Chant MP3″

Greetings and salutations.

Friday – at long last – is upon us, and with it comes the promise of the weekend. Those two precious days we bust our asses all week to get a hold on are here, the summer is slipping away and once again (this should come as no surprise) I am beyond tired.

It was my turn to get up and feed Sean last night, and unfortunately, his bottle did not sit well and he was soon spewing gas and howling like a bear in a steel trap. I took him back out into the living room and rocked him until it was time to “get up” for work. Don’t get me wrong. I love to spend time with the little fella. I just wish that he could be convinced that allowing Mommy and Daddy to sleep every now and then is in the interest of the entire Grogan family enterprise.

On the sunny side of things, when I got up to feed him PBS was broadcasting an hour long biography of Larry Harlow, aka ‘El Judio Maravilloso’, one of the movers and shakers in 60’s boogaloo and 70’s salsa. Harlow, a Brooklyn-born Jew (hence the nickname) became a prominent Latin bandleader, recording several landmark LP’s for the Fania label with Orchestra Harlow, and was also one of the leading lights of the Fania All Stars. Some of his late 60’s 45s for Fania are outstanding examples of Latin Soul, and should be grabbed when encountered in the wild. Rest assured that I will be blogging something by him in the near future. If you get a chance to see the documentary do so, as it contains some amazing live footage of Cuban and Puerto Rican/Nuyorican artists, including clips from the early 70’s Yankee Stadium concert by the Fania All Stars which included a guest spot by Manu Dibango performing ‘Soul Makossa’ with the band.

Earlier in the evening there was an episode of the series Voces that dealt with Latino music culture from the South Bronx (I don’t know if any PBS stations outside of the New York area broadcast any of these shows), which included some amazing footage of Latino b-boys during the early days of hip hop. Very cool.

Anyhoo, today’s selection is neither Latino, nor hip hop, but I think you’ll dig it anyway. Back in the early days of my Hammond obsession, I was picking up organ instrumental sides wherever I could get my hands on them. I forget where I first encountered the sounds of the David Rockingham Trio, but I’m certainly happy I did. I’m sorry to say that I can’t tell you much about Rockingham, which is surprising because the Rockingham Trio actually had a Top 40 hit in 1963 with the tune ‘Dawn’ on the Josie label.

They recorded a total of three 45s for Josie (some of which were also released on the Dee Dee label), and at least one other 45 for an independent label – “Pig Foots Pts 1&2” – that I’ve never been able to put my hands on. A few months ago I was doing one of my Hammond-related Ebay searches when I happened upon a French EP by the David Rockingham Trio, with a picture sleeve. While the sleeve didn’t have any pictures of the band (drat!) it did feature a nice picture of a marquee in what appears to be either Reno or Las Vegas, Nevada, advertising a performance by the group (see above). I already had the songs, but I had to have me that picture sleeve. Fortunately it came in at a reasonable price, and before long it jetted into my mailbox all the way from France, redolent of snails, gauloises and New Wave Cinema.

Anyway, while the Trio recorded some nice, greazzzyyy Hammond sides, the hottest, greasiest, snapping-est, twisting-est side of all is today’s selection, the aptly titled ‘Soulful Chant’. Now, when I rate a Hammond 45 (on my personal, ever changing, “I’ll know it when I hear it” scale) I listen for a record that sounds like the group was in overdrive, pinning the meters in the studio, sweating all over their instruments and preferably with a glint of wild abandon in their eyes. ‘Soulful Chant’ is just such a record. From the first snare hit the record takes off in high gear, with the guitar and drums pumping along as Rockingham solos over the top (literally and figuratively). Before long he launches into the organists equivalent of hyperspace, sounding as if he’s rolled up his sleeves and is running his elbows up and down the keyboard. There’s certainly an early-60’s “do the twist” tempo buried in there somewhere, but it sounds as if the Rockingham Trio saw that for what it was, decided to leave it to the Chubby Checkers of the world and shoot off in another direction entirely.

It’s just the kind of invigorating side that I need this morning.

God bless them for it….


13 Responses to “David Rockingham Trio – Soulful Chant”

  1. LoRezSky Says:

    cookin’. thx

  2. Deezy Says:

    That’s some killer stank right there.

    Good song.

  3. Tim B. Says:

    Smokin’ track! The picture sleeve is nice as well…

  4. Dan Says:

    Nice one, Larry! And, of course, amazing picture sleeve.

  5. Bob Lulling Says:

    The picture you show, (album cover I presume) is of Diamond Jim’s Supper Club, in Mendota, MN, just outside of St. Paul. I’ve been there many times but never did get to see the Dave Rockingham Trio. I was attracted to your site while trying to find a copy of “Dawn” to download. I have the 45, but it’s been played too much and is in relatively poor condition for transferring to digital. I loved the song & didn’t really know he recorded others. I bought mine in ’63 when it was on the charts. It was recorded in Josie Studios in Minneapolis. I enjoyed visiting your interesting site! Thanks for the memories (Wow! That sounds like a good name for a song! Quote; Steve Allen – 1960)

  6. Orlando Duenas Says:

    I too am looking for a recording of Dawn. Any ideas?

  7. Gary Says:

    I know it’s been a year but I have a copy of Dawn (45) and would be willing to send an mpg of it by request. I didn’t know anyone else had ever heard it.

  8. mack Says:

    hi Gary, I saw your comments on the song Dawn and I too have been looking for a copt of the song . i Play drums and remember playing that great tune many years ago. Would love to have a copy . mack

  9. John T Says:

    I have had my copy of “Dawn” since it was on the charts too. We had a rock band in H.S. in 65/66 and the tune was our opening and closing theme. Great song!! I would love to find a mp3 file of it. Send me one if you have it, PLEASE! Thanks!

  10. chris b Says:

    I have two copies of Dawn/That’s All (B-side with vocal by Raymond Pettis)on Dee Dee, number 1000 – Was this their first release, and did Josie buy the master from Dee Dee?

  11. funky16corners Says:

    I suspect that Dee Dee was the label of origin, with licensing to Josie. I have one 45 on Dee Dee that wasn’t released on Josie, but sounds like it’s from the same era.

  12. John Trudeau Says:

    At LAST!

    “Dawn” has been released on CD (2008)!

    Thank you to ACE!

    It’s on a release (get this) titled:
    The Golden Age Of American Popular Music, The Jazz Hits From The Hot 100 – 1958 – 1966. Whew!

    Go get it! I have it in my hands! 28 tunes! They’re all good! Enjoy!


  13. Peter Hassett Says:

    I’m 68 years old, and I, too, loved “Dawn” when it hit in the ’60’s. However, I was somewhat surprised to read back then (in Downbeat magazine) that the Trio was actually composed of jazz super-talents Jimmie Smith on the Hammond B-3 and Kenny Burrell on guitar. The drummer I don’t recall, but the story was that these guys were under contract to some record company, and could not perform for another company, so they would periodically spend a day in a studio and emerge with a decent paycheck, no one the wiser. They never expected anything to go anywhere, and when “Dawn” connected as a single, the company actually had to find a decent organ/guitar trio to go on tour to promote the records!

    FWIW, I’m only aware of one other instance of recording under a pseudonym (though I bet it’s done more often than we’d expect). Stan Getz had an LP in the late ’50’s playing with a group featuring a pianist named “Nature Boy”. It almost had to be Nat King Cole (who was a fine piano jazzer).


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