“Listen – TV & the Tribesmen – Trip City USA MP3″ “Listen – Jean King – The In Crowd MP3″
I hope everyone is digging the Hammond Funk mix from Monday.
This week has been a mixed affair. My wife and sons are away for the week, visiting with her parents (who live a considerable distance away), and it’s a serious bummer. No matter how much I crab about how little I’m sleeping, to paraphrase the great William Bell, you don’t miss your family until they’ve gone somewhere else.
They’ll be back on Friday, but it’s a drag not having them around.
However, as part of my new campaign to take lemons and make lemonade, I’ve taken advantage of their absence and locked myself in the record room for the week, creating a bunch of new Funky16Corners Radio mixes for the coming months. This kind of work is time consuming, and right now I’ve got nothing but time, so I’m consuming it.
I won’t let the cat out of the bag just yet, but I will say that there are a couple of “themed” mixes in the can, as well as a few loose conglomerations of funky tunes (all of the highest possible quality, as I know you wouldn’t expect any less).
The mixes have proven quite popular, and I enjoy putting them together, so they’ll keep happening as long as I have records to mix (which should be a very, very long time).
Anyway, today’s selection is as close to a mystery record as I’ve posted in this space. I certainly have records in my crates which I haven’t been able to track down even the slightest bit of information on, but the difference between what I’ve been able to find about TV and the Tribesmen and those records is piddling.
They were clearly a Huey P. Meaux-controlled group, as he produced their HBR LP and took writing credit for every song on the record (other than those that were clearly covers). I have little doubt that the “Tribesmen” name is a reference to Meaux’s Tribe label, home to Barbara Lynn and of course the Sir Douglas Quintet (though I should say I haven’t been able to find any evidence that TV & the Tribesmen ever had any records released on any label other than HBR).
Strangely enough, I can’t find any evidence that they had a single on HBR (or any other US label). Even more strangely, a single of their version of Robert Parker’s ‘Barefootin’’ was released in the UK on the Pye label. Go figure.
The album – which I’m guessing, judging by the other records listed on the jacket is of a 1966 vintage – is actually pretty good. Filled with gritty – sometimes funky – soul, the band is tight and the singer (TV, I’ll assume) is excellent. This is just conjecture, but they sound like an actual “band”, i.e. they don’t sound like they just got slapped together in the studio for the purposes of creating this record. I’ve seen one reference to them having backed other Meaux produced artists, so it’s likely they were a local Houston band who worked for Huey on the side, and eventually got the chance to record their own record.
Sadly, the album has no pictures of the group, nor any personnel information.
Either way, ‘Trip City USA’ is a cooker, with a tight horn section, combo organ and a cool lead vocal. If anyone has any more info on the band, whether they ever recorded anything else, or what became of them after their time with Meaux, I’d love to hear from you.
On a related note, I while I was picking out 45s last month, I grabbed another side on the HBR label, and I figured since I had so little info on TV & the Tribesmen, I ought to lay a little something else on you.
Jean King – who was one of the legendary Blossoms, who provided backing on so many Phil Spector productions, AND appeared on Shindig, AND recorded ‘Son-In-Law’ an “answer” record to Ernie K Doe’s ‘Mother-In-Law’ – recorded an LP and a few 45s for the HBR label. Her version of Dobie Gray’s ‘The In Crowd’ is a pretty groovy little number. It may lack the out-on-the-floor majesty of the original, but considering how many times this song was covered (often horribly) King comes out looking pretty good – riding a wave located somewhere between Dobie Gray and Ramsey Lewis.
I think you’ll dig it.
NOTE: Wow! Mystery solved in a few short hours. Reader John Funke writes with the following info on TV & the Tribesmen:
>>I always enjoy viewing your website . Great design, plenty of information and the all important label shots. The latest blog entry concerns the mystery surrounding the identity of TV and the Tribesmen. TV is actually Joe Medwick, journeyman soulsinger and composer of many of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s classic songs. These tunes,( “I Pity the Fool”, “Cry, Cry, Cry”, “Call on Me”, many others) were sold outright to Don Robey and are credited to the nom de disque of Deadric Malone. Medwick also cut singles for Duke, Monument and other labels. I have a single he did under the name of Joe Melvin “My friends in show business” on -Damn I forget the label (I’ll find it when I get home)- that is a Huey Meaux production. There is a CD ” Joe Medwick-I’m an After Hour Man (The Crazy Cajun recordings)” put out by Edsel that includes a number of tracks from the HBR album. The detailed liner notes do a good job of telling Medwick’s story. I hope this information was helpful. Keep on with the keepin’ on.
John Funke <<