‘Daddy’ Kae Williams Sr.
“Listen – Daddy Kae & Yvonne – Eleven Commandments of Woman – MP3″
The weather in NJ is again (however briefly) on the upswing, with the sun shining after a couple of days of torrential wind and rain.
I had to take a day off from work today, though most of it was spent taking care of important family business. As luck would have it, I managed to squeeze in a couple of hours of “me” time in the afternoon and completely unexpectedly ended up doing a little digging.
I say unexpectedly because although I planned to hit a ‘music’ store that I hadn’t been to in a while, I had no idea that they had started to stock vinyl again. Nothing major mind you, but just enough to keep me busy for an hour.
The strange thing is that this is a store that has been around in one for or another for well over 30 years. Back in the day it used to inhabit a small storefront with the front 8% of the store devoted to records, and the back 20% (behind a curtain no less) set aside for what became euphemistically known as “smoking supplies” or pre-euphemism as a head shop. This was in fact the first head shop I ever saw, filled with ornate glass bongs and a display case filled with pipes, screens, roach clips and a wide variety of rolling papers.
A few years later, this store bought out the neighboring buildings and underwent a huge expansion becoming not just a record store, but bringing in a huge stock of musical instruments.
When a music store more to my personal tastes opened up – the first store never having been my number one “go to” location anyway – I ended up patronizing this store less and less, eventually staying away long enough that I was shocked when I came back and discovered that they had rolled back their expansion, eventually moving to a much smaller location across the street.
Though I’m not privy to the individual economic situation of the business owners, I do know that this move coincided with what amounted to a major gentrification/upscaling of the shopping district where the store was located.
I found myself wanting to spend part of my extremely rare free afternoon going to this store because even though I expected no vinyl, they did stock a very wide and interesting selection on CD, including jazz, country, world music and independent rock (as well as video), so at the very least I’d find something new and interesting to listen to, after which I’d drag my iPod and current book to the nearest overpriced coffee house and kill an hour or so until I had to go pick up the fam.
That I walked through the back door of this store and found bins of LPs (all priced around $2.00), and inside those bins a pretty nice selection of rock and pop records (as well as a ton of crap, but that’s pretty much the deal anywhere used records are dispensed) was a very pleasant surprise, and perhaps a bit of what I’ve heard referred to as “record karma”.
That said, I walked out of the store with a dozen albums, a CD and a DVD (reissue of the old ‘Krazy Kat’ cartoons, very cool) and a bounce in my step.
The 45 I bring you today is a disc I picked up off of a set sale list a while back, based solely on the label. I’ve always been a big fan of Philly soul, and if there’s one label from that town that I always grab it’s the minor (yet occasionally major) imprint, Fairmount.
Named for the city’s Fairmount Park , the label’s brief discography (stretching over only a few years) includes a number of winners (Gene Waiters, Bonnie and Lee, Lonnie Youngblood), as well as early or uncharacteristic records by the likes of King Coleman, Shirley Vaughn and Frankie Beverly. All this and the fact that the later releases on Fairmount are pressed with one of my all-time favorite label designs (see above).
So when a Fairmount side by an artist that I knew nothing about popped up at a bargain price I picked it up right away. When it popped through the mail slot and onto the turntable it was immediately evident that ‘Eleven Commandments of Woman’ by Daddy Kae & Yvonne was an “answer record” to Prince Buster’s minor 1967 hit* ‘The Ten Commandments’, one of the earlier Jamaican records to make it onto the US charts.
When I scanned the label, none of the available information rang a bell, but then again that’s why Google is our friend. A brief search therein proved fruitful.
Daddy Kae was in fact Kae Williams Sr., a pioneering Philadelphia disc jockey working over the years at both WHAT and WDAS. Williams was also a talent scout who played a part in the careers of both Solomon Burke and Don Gardner among others**.
Another group he worked with was the Sensations, which included in its ranks a vocalist named Yvonne Baker (as in Daddy Kae & Yvonne).
How Daddy Kae Williams went from mentoring performers to becoming one himself I do not know, though there were certainly plenty of other examples of air personalities finding their way into the studio to make records of their own.
‘Eleven Commandments of Woman’ is composed of a recitation thereof by Yvonne (with commentary from Daddy Kae) over a soulful backing (which appears on the b-side of the record as the instrumental ‘Shug’. As novelty cash-ins go, it’s a winner.
I hope you dig it.
If you haven’t dropped by The Right Side of Funky to check out my guest mix, do so.
I’ll see you later in the week.
*Top 40 in a few markets, Top 100 in others
**Williams apparently helped out a young promotion man (as well as musician, producer and co-owner of the legendary Harthon label) named Weldon McDougal, who’s plug sticker just happens to be affixed to the label above.