Listen – Chicken Lickin’ – MP3 Listen - Ain’t No Color To Soul – MP3
Here’s hoping that the first few days of the New Year have been relatively free of disaster for you and yours.
Things around here have been – with the marked exception of having to return to work yesterday – leaning toward hunky dory. There are lots of cool tunes in the Funky16Corners on deck circle, and a couple of installments of Funky16Corners Radio in the can, so I don’t have to do any frantic scrambling I the foreseeable future.
Today’s selection(s) is yet another example of a gem from the Funky16Corners crates that carries with it little in the way of background info.
I first encountered the unique name and music of Mr. Okie Duke a couple of years ago when a friendly cat from the EU (who’s identity has been lost in the sands of time) sent me a CD of Hammond grooves, many of which were new to me. Among these tracks was a tune by a certain Okie Duke, entitled ‘Chicken Lickin’’. I had never heard of Duke, but I dug his song, so it was – like so many others – filed away in the dusty recesses of my memory to be referenced while digging (on the internet, or in the real world).
So, a couple of months ago, while strolling the boulevards of E-Bay, doing a variety of searches for Hammond organ funk and soul, I rattled my brain, and the name Okie Duke fell out and I tracked down one of his 45s.
When I got it home and gave it a spin on the ole GP3 I discovered that although the tunes on the 45 were not without their charm, neither side contained the kind of madness that I heard in ‘Chicken Lickin’’.
So – as I often do – I kept looking.
A few weeks later, engaging in the same kind of searches I happened upon a copy of ‘Chicken Lickin’, and, as it was available at a very agreeable price, I bought it.
So – the requisite waiting period passes by and my Okie Duke 45 dropped through the mailslot, and I’m happy to say that ‘Chicken Lickin’’ was every bit as good as I remembered it, and it’s flip, ‘Ain’t No Color To Soul’ was also a cooker.
So (again…) I start rooting around on the interweb, looking for some background information on Okie, and ended up in a wide variety of dead ends. It turns out that – as it is with many funky 45 artists – there is little or no information out there. The few facts that I was able to gather as follows…
Okie Duke – singer and organist – recorded an LP (‘The Songs and Singing of Okie Duke’) and a 45 (the one you’re listening to today) for the Ovation label sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s. In 1972 he recorded another 45 for his own ODP label, ‘Variety’ b/w ‘The Lehigh Valley’. The title of that b-side, and a few other clues lead me to believe that Okie was (and still may be) operating out of the Bethelehem, Pennsylvania area. Other than that (and one reference to his being a wild performer) there’s not much else I can tell you (except that maybe when you Google his name, you discover that very few people know how to spell “okie doke”).
Aside from the fact that the Ovation 45 is very funky, pretty funny (at least the Chicken side) and has a certain popularity with funk and soul DJs (at least in Europe). ‘Chicken Lickin’’ sounds like an outtake from a party at the insane asylum, with Okie providing a wide range of sound affects and working the Hammond with gusto. It’s definitely the kind of disc that’ll liven up your next ripple and potato chip party.
The flip, ‘Ain’t No Color To Soul’ is just as funky – if a little less manic.
I’m not sure if either of these tunes has been comped, but I suspect if you look hard enough you’d probably be able to grab your own copy off this one at a reasonable price. And of anyone has any more info on Okie Duke, please let us know.