Mr. Charles Earland at the organ…
Funky16Corners Radio v.35- Soul Organs Vol. 2
Charlie Earland Erector Set – Yes-Suh! (Eldorado)
Brown Brothers of Soul – Cholo (Specialty)
Hank Marr – The Out Crowd (Wingate)
Merl Saunders Quintet – Soul Groovin’ (Galaxy)
Jesse Butler – Messy Jesse (Philips)
Jimmy Brown – Chain of Fools (Abet)
Truman Thomas – Funky Broadway (Veep)
Georgie Fame – El Bandido (Imperial)
Jesse Gresham Plus Three – Bust Out (Jewel)
Dave Lewis – J.A.J. (Panorama)
Butch Cornell’s Trio – Goose Pimples (Ru Jac)
DuKays – Sho Nuff MF (Jerry-O)
Cals – Stand Tall (Loadstone)
Jackie Hairston – Hijack (Atco)
Bill Doggett – 25 Miles (King)
I hope everyone out there on the interwebs had as excellent a weekend as I had.
I got to spend lots of quality time with the fam, took not one but two walks down at the beach, and this morning my man DJ Prestige and I took a little digging expedition which turned out to be very fruitful.
I managed to scratch a couple of long time wants off the list, as well as bagging a grip of tasty 45s, all of which will of course eventually see the light of day herein.
The new edition of Funky16Corners Radio – which you are downloading/listening to presently, is the second volume of soulful Hammond organ sides (though actually something like the fourth or fifth Hammond-centric podcast to appear in this space since the inception of the Funky16Corners thang about a year and a half ago).
Much like Soul Organs Volume One, Volume Two features some of my fave organ 45s, covering soul, soul jazz and even treading ever so lightly across the borders of funk, the vast majority of them hailing from the mid-to-late 60’s.
Things get off to a banging start with one of the all-time great Hammond groove 45s, ‘Yes-Suh!’ by Charlie Earland’s Erector Set. Earland was, of course, one of the late-era masters of the jazz organ (for the whole story head over to my piece over at the Funky16Corners webzine), as well as one of a long line of such masters to hail from the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. Earland started out working in R&B and soul (the organ wasn’t even his first instrument) writing and producing for Jean Wells among others. ‘Yes-Suh!’ – which to the best of my knowledge came out in either 1969 or 1970 – is pure fire, moving along at about 100mph with Earland stopping to shout the title several times. If you can score your own copy (there was once a basement in North Philly with literally hundreds of them) do so, because the flip side, a cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Ma Cherie Amour’ is also excellent.
We head over to East LA for ‘Cholo’ by the Brown Brothers of Soul. Longtime Chicano rock personality Rulie Garcia was the man behind this organ grinder, which sports some tight drums, wailing sax, and of course lots of greasy organ. No matter how you feel about Hammond 45s, it’s worth it just to hear the opening shout of ‘ESSSSSAAYYYYY CHOLOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!’.
To draw a line to Soul Organs Vol 1, we include the flipside of Hank Marr’s brilliant ‘White House Party’, that being the equally groovy ‘The Out Crowd’. One of the finest 45s to see the light of day on Detroit’s Wingate imprint, this ought to be a cornerstone of any serious Hammond aficionado’s crates.
Merl Saunders had a long history as one of San Francisco’s most productive musicians, and is probably best known to the wider public for his work on the periphery of the Grateful Dead universe. However, if you really want to hear the real Merl Saunders, you have to get back to his serious soul jazz days when he was cranking out tasty 45s (and one very rare LP) for the Galaxy label. ‘Soul Groovin’ is my fave of that era, in that like similar sides by Toussaint McCall and Hank Marr, you get to hear Saunders work it out on both organ and electric piano. Very nice indeed.
I can’t tell you much about Jesse Butler, other that I believe he hailed from Memphis, and that he recorded a couple of 45s and an LP for the Philips label, none of which are terribly hard to track down. ‘Messy Jesse’ appeared on both 45 and LP, and as it opens with a neat little break, is my fave of his originals.
Jimmy Brown is another guy that I’ve never been able to get much info on. He recorded a couple of 45s and an excellent (and fairly hard to find) album for the Abet label. ‘Chain of Fools’ is appeared on 45, as well as a track on the LP ‘The Jimmy Brown Organ-ization’. He follows the Aretha Franklin arrangement pretty closely, including the swampy lead guitar and the heavy backbeat.
Truman Thomas is another longtime Funky16Corners fave (more here, natch, scroll down). His cover of ‘Funky Broadway’ is a wailer, and includes a nice break about midway through. If you encounter his sides out in the field, grab them when you can as he had a couple of very nice non-LP 45s, and his Veep LP is a classic, including a great cover of Chris Bartley’s ‘The Sweetest Thing This Side of Heaven’. Thomas went on to work as a sideman for a number of performers, including Aretha.
Now, when I said that this mix was going to include some faves, I was serious. Georgie Fame’s ‘El Bandido’ is probably in my all-time Top 5 Hammond 45s. It is a heavy, heavy Mod swinger, with a great horn section, rhythm guitar line and of course some positively burning Hammond from Mr. Fame. If you’re only familiar with his mid-60’s vocal hits, you need to check out his many great Hammond sides on LP and 45.
The next artist is well known to Hammond fiends, but oddly enough is probably not the organist on his records. Jesse Gresham recorded a couple of tasty 45s for Jewel/Paula (including one that sits on the flipside of an oddball issue of Robert Parker’s ‘Barefootin’). ‘Bust Out’ was the a-side of his second 45s and in addition to the organ (doubled I believe by electric piano) there’s some funky chicken-scratch guitar.
Pacific Northwest Hammond master Dave Lewis has been covered here (and over at the webzine) many times. During the 60’s he recorded a grip of smoking 45s and a few Lps for Jerden, Seafair, Panorama and A&M among other labels. Not only did he write and record a bunch of great tunes, but many of them became Pacific Northwest “standards” of a sort, including ‘David’s Mood’ and ‘Little Green Thing’. One of his signature numbers was ‘J.A.J.’, which apparently stood for ‘Jive Ass Jerry’. This was rumored for years to have been a dig at Jerden Records head honcho Jerry Dennon, but I’ve heard that it’s actually aimed at someone else. That aside, it’s a tight little groover, and like all of his stuff, well worth tracking down.
Butch Cornell was one of many journeyman organists, working bars and clubs in and around the East Coast, and managing to record a number of dates as a sideman for Willis Jackson, Boogaloo Joe Jones and Stanley Turrentine among others. His Ru-Jac 45 ‘Goose Pimples’ is the only thing I’ve ever seen under his own name, and it’s a classic example of pure, unadulterated organ combo R&B. The groove is relaxed – though never weak – and the drums and guitar provide a nice bed for Cornell to solo extensively. It’s not hard to imagine a record like this heating up jukeboxes in its day.
I have no idea who’s actually playing on the DuKays ‘Sho Nuff MF’ (I love that title!) as the DuKays were in fact a Chicago vocal group. The assumption is that the grooves are provided by anonymous Chitown sessioners, under the direction of none other than Jerry-O. Whoever’s working the organ is doing a fine job, and the guitarist isn’t a slouch either.
The Cals were a San Francisco group that recorded a couple of 45s for the Loadstone label. Though I’m not 100 percent positive, I believe the atmospheric ‘Stand Tall’ was released on one of their Loadstone 45s under another title. Either way, it’s a great, slightly spooky record with minimalist percussion and heavily reverbed organ.
Jackie Hairston spent time as an organist with none other than Otis Redding, who wrote and produced both sides of his only 45. There’s even a European EP that paired Hairston with Redding’s other protégé, Arthur Conley. The side included here today ‘Hi Jack’ is a slow, intense groover. The flipside, ‘Monkey on My Back’ is another killer.
This edition of Funky16Corners Radio closes out with a very heavy cover of Edwin Starr’s ’25 Miles’ by none other than Bill Doggett. This track (which I ripped from a 45) appears on the rare ‘Honky Tonk Popcorn’ LP, and is blazing, illustrating that well into middle age, Doggett had lost none of his fire.
I hope you dig the mix. I’ll be back later in the week with some more goodness, and I assure you that there are more Hammond mixes in store.