Problems b/w King Curtis – Blue Nocturne


King Curtis


Listen – Blue Nocturne MP3″

Greetings all.
I wish I could say that this post brings with it happy news but I am afraid that it is not so.
I walked into work on Friday, and for the first half of the day, al was as they say, hunky dory.
Shortly after noon, it was no longer so.
A slow and steady parade of people (which would shortly include your truly) were called into the boss’s office and informed (a week before Chanukah, and two weeks before Christmas – we celebrate both in the Grogan house) that we were to be “redeployed”, as of Monday.
I suppose that this is a somewhat softer blow than being told that we would be laid off, but as it turns out (at least from my own point of view) not all that much.
A full 30% of my department was told that we had to pack up and go elsewhere in the organization. I – unlike a few of my coworkers – will still be doing something at least remotely related to my current job (very remotely…it’s not that far off from what I was doing ten years ago). Some of them are being packed off into areas where their existing (and at least until Friday afternoon – valued) skills are by and large useless.
I was relatively lucky. My salary won’t be cut, and the folks I’ll be working with are cool (some of whom I’ve known for almost my entire 22 year run with the company). However – and this is a big however – the kind of autonomy that I’ve experienced for the last 10 or so years will be no more. My access to the interwebs (during working hours) will dwindle to a point where it will be all but non-existent.
The bottom line being, though the Funky16Corners Blog will not cease to be, the frequency with which it is updated with new music and information is going to decrease markedly.
I’ll still be posting – at least once a week, more if I can swing it – but it’s going to be rough going for a while. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this was the only post that I get up this week. My family and I have to get used to the fact that my hours are changing (yet another, unpleasant kick in the ass), and I’ll be training (re-training…no doubt being refitted for 21st century usefulness) all week long.
The sad thing is (completely above and beyond any personal pain) is that this kind of crap is going on all over the country, as the corporate greedheads, propelled by concerns over “stockholder value”* make drastic cuts to their workforce (and in the end the quality of their product, though in my case we’re dealing with the kind of people to whom that kind of thing is utterly meaningless). At least the kind of place I work can’t be shipped overseas and outsourced (I should watch my mouth, there’s probably some eager young up and comer down at corporate working on just such a “solution”). Though in my case, the insult will probably end up stinging worse than the injury.
So, today I bring you another delightful taste of the music we know as soul, and tomorrow I walk through the front door where I work, into a whole new bag as it were. I’ve heard all the clichés about taking lemons and making lemonade (or more appropriately taking chicken shit and making chicken salad – I’d much prefer the lemonade solution), and though my conscious mind is trying to work in that direction, my subconscious keeps poking it with a sharp, pessimistic stick. I’m pretty sure things will work out in the end. If there is in fact a silver lining to this particularly ominous cloud, it is that I’ll probably be trading in an often intolerable level of stress for a decidedly more manageable one. We’ll just have to wait and see how long it takes for the bruises to fade from my ego.
Thankfully the holidays are fast approaching, and I have a three year old at home for whom lighting the menorah and plugging in the Christmas tree hold a great deal of joy (the same kind of joy my wife and I get surrounding both of those symbols with presents for him and his four month old brother). The next few weeks – and all the visits and good cheer within them – should do much to alleviate any bad feelings that I’m having now.
That all said…the tune I bring you today is one that I stockpiled/digitized before I had any idea that anything like this was going to happen. It’s a long, longtime favorite of mine, a tune I discovered over 20 years ago on the flipside of a much better known King Curtis tune (‘Memphis Soul Stew’). The tune in question, ‘Blue Nocturne’ is one I’ve never been able to get a firm handle on. My suspicion (educated guess?) is that is a track from his early days at Atlantic (yeas before he recorded ‘Memphis Soul Stew’) that was pulled from the vaults for b-side use. This of course may be incorrect, but the fact that it doesn’t appear to have been included on any of his Atlantic LPs (and has been compiled with other early work) suggests to me that it is of an earlier vintage.
‘Blue Nocturne’ is an absolutely heartbreaking instrumental ballad, redolent of very late nights and a certain loss of hope. The guitar (I wish I knew who was playing) is perfect, and the organ humming in the background gives it a slightly churchy edge that I dig. Either way, it’s a record that I have long loved, and listening to it (wallowing in it?) several times while writing this has massaged my soul somewhat.
So, in the words of Bob and Ray, write if you get work, and hang by your thumbs. I have lots of cool stuff ready to go, as well as a couple of mixes in the old digital storage bin, so despair not (at least not as much as I am), because though the mighty ship Funky16Corners may be have temporarily run aground, she will soon be righted and sailing the seven seas once again.
Wish me well, and I’ll see you next week.

*Oh, and uh… FUCK a stockholder….

Buy – King Curtis – Didn’t He Play – on

20 Responses to “Problems b/w King Curtis – Blue Nocturne”

  1. red kelly Says:

    nice guys, Larry, huh? Right in the middle of the holidays.

    fuck ’em, is right,

    hang in, man.


  2. Jeff C Says:

    Argh. I hope things turned out okay. I love you. Err… I mean, I love your blog and the music you play. If I could get married, I would hire you to DJ the entire affair. Well, maybe you and a klezmer band. Totally.

    Best of luck.

  3. Mr. Attention Says:

    F^ck corporate America! Sorry for the misfortune. I feel your pain. I was laid off a little over a month ago because of rapid (and unnecessary) expansions, decided by an extremely egotistical and underqualified CEO calling the shots. Over 150 employees were let go before I was, and they weren’t given any severance or notice. Go figure.

    Best of luck to you this Holiday season and many, many thanks for preserving such a fantastic blog. I’m enjoying the bluesy, mellow tones of Mr. King Curtis this morning.

  4. Jason Stone Says:

    I’m sorry to hear about the changes you’re going to be going through at work. Indeed, the bean-counters and the stockholders will always sock it to the worker bees at the end of the day, but you are very fortunate in that they didn’t lay you off, which is usually par for the course when the holidays roll around. I, along with many, will miss the regular F16 posts, but we will be more than ready to devour them when they come along! Good luck!

  5. Todd Lucas Says:

    Agree with what has already been said. I’ve sort of marveled at your ability to stay at it and put up three new entries almost every week. Your posts are always loaded with info, to boot. Whatever you find the time to do in the future, I’ll be checking it out.

    Hang in there,


  6. rocco sole Says:

    Don’t sweat it. Your once a week will be better than most people’s dailies. Stay with it,

  7. Matt Says:

    Larry, I don’t know you, but I love your blog. It has given me hours of pleasure. Your writing tells me that you are a gifted and spirited man with a lot of soul, so I am sure you will cope with this. Keep on keeping on.

    Best from Germany,

  8. vincent Says:

    I totally feel your pain, not to mention that stockholders can take a flying leap. They can tend to make folks like us miserable.
    I’m not 100% certain but if you check the eMusic website and search for a King Curtis compilation called “King Of The Sax”, they write a review in which they mention King playing a few guitar chops in his early days. Surprisingly enough, this compilation contains the Rinky Dinks classic “Hot Potato”. They even went as far as to paste both sides together pretty well. The only reason that that song may be on the comp is because King played the guitar parts?!!? If you can verify this information I’m sure that it would come as a pleasant surprise to us all. “Blue Nocturne is a great record, isn’t it? I will wait with baited breath for the next post. Keep your head up.

  9. Dinesh Allirajah Says:

    Larry, as someone who visits regularly but has never left any comments, I thought this was a good moment to give a shout of appreciation and solidarity from Liverpool, UK. Funky 16 Corners provides some great tools of resistance against the politics of despair to the rest of us so I know there’s no danger of you letting the b@stards grind you down.

  10. Ryan Says:

    Larry, while I can’t honestly say that I feel your pain (I’m still navigating the tombs of post-graduate education), one of my huge fears about entering the workforce is the situation you described.
    I sincerely hope things work out for you and that the new situation isn’t as completely fucked as it seems. For what it’s worth, F16C is a huge part of my day-to-day life, and–as rocco sole mentioned–your once a week will be better than most everyone else’s every day.
    You do some amazing things here. Thank you.

  11. Art(uro) Says:

    Hang tough, Larry. This site’s mere existence illustrates the perseverance of the human spirit. So, now we’ll have to wait a bit longer for each new post? No big deal. Fans of F16C have been living a privileged life thanks to you. Happy holidays to you and your family. Art(uro)

  12. Angel Says:

    Hi Larry. One in a week will be enough. Hope changes will not cause you and your family so much troubles. Muchas gracias for your blog.

  13. Lyle Says:

    Sorry to hear about the bad news. This is a good time to say I really appreciate your blog and you have taught us a lot this past year. It inspired me to vote yours as the best blog (or at least best music blog) but sadly I guess they have already narrowed the field down to finalists. Hang in there, and athans again.

  14. johnny soul Says:

    There was a guy from the UK called Roy Simonds who used to publish and disrtibute a photo-copy fanzine called BOSS totally devoted to King Curtis and his recordings. He also wrote liner notes on KC re releases in the UK. Guys would write in from Sweden saying they heard KC’s sax on the b-side of some forgotten 60’S singer and they would debate the possibilities of it being KC. Guys would make pilgrimages to NYC just to go thru the logbooks of Atlantic records looking for sightings of KC. tHESE GUYS WERE HARD CORE. I have a few issues. I wrote him recently and it came back RTS but I found his work address and sent him a Xmas card this year. If anyone makes contact with this guy and asks him a question on KC he can tell you how much he got paid for the session, what he had for breakfast AND how much he tipped. Hard core, I tell you.

  15. EB Says:

    Raw deal!

    Hey, you may not be feeling much in the way of pride and dignity right now, but I, for one, will give you kudos for just rolling with the punches for now. You’ll put up with it for the sake of your family, which will never get the credit it deserves.

    Thanks for all the pleasure and info this blog has brought to me over the last coupla yrs, and I look forward to more, on whatever terms you’re able to deliver.

  16. roy simonds Says:

    Thanks for the hat tip, Johnny Soul: was just browsing the web when I came across this reference. Now, I dont know how many King Curtis fans are on this chain, but I’ve been compiling/updating a session discography on KC since 1975 or so…..and if any of you would like a copy as a Word doc, just drop me an email to me at home ( and I’ll gladly forward it to you. As for “Blue Nocturne” — it was not an old track — it was cut at one of the Memphis sessions, and it is KC playing guitar. If you can find an LP or CD called “Didnt He Play” you will also find the try out of the same tune that KC did in Herb Abramson’s NY studios before the Memphis sessions….

  17. The Kingpins - In the Pocket « Funky16Corners Says:

    […] he precious little recording time I have set aside. We last visited with the King a while back with a look at one of my fave soul instros, ‘Blue Nocturne’, and even further back at his heavy, heavy take on the Zep’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’. I wouldn’t […]

  18. Mike Says:

    I *think* that might be Cornell Dupree on lead guitar.

  19. Mike Says:

    Actually, I’ll defer to Roy on this one. Cornell Dupree did a cut of this track on his Teasin’ album, that’s all.

  20. The Grand Scheme of Things « Funky16Corners Says:

    […] days off to deal with the intrusion of real life into my little bubble of blog. Nothing tragic – not like last year anyway – but something that requires some serious consideration, a little bit of reflection and a lot of […]

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