Round Robin serenades the kids
“Listen – Round Robin – The Vulture – MP3″
I hope the middle of the week finds you well, and that you’ve been digging on all those high quality New Orleans sounds in Monday’s podcast.
Today’s selection is a record by another one of those soul artists who has always kind of existed on the periphery – at least for me – showing up in digs, on sale lists and the like, but never carrying enough information (along with the name) to place the artist into context.
That artist is Round Robin.
I’ve been seeing his records for years (as Round Robin, Round Robin & the Parleys and Round Robin Monopoly), but only picked one up in the last few months (how, I ask you could I pass on a soul record called ‘The Vulture’???).
It was only a short while after that, as I was reading Domenic Priore’s ‘Riot On the Sunset Strip’ that I read anything at all about the man (though, no matter how I’ve tried, I haven’t been able to discover what his last name was).
Round Robin was a Los Angeles-based singer who got his start in the early 60’s with the regional hit ‘Do the Slauson’, and was for a time (thanks to a lot of exposure on the Lloyd Thaxton TV show*) something of a West Coast, dance-craze Chubby Checker. In fact, so popular was ‘The Slauson’ that he devoted sides of his first three 45s to the ‘Slauson’ (a street in LA) songs, ‘Slauson Shuffle Time’, ‘Slauson Party’ and ‘Do the Slauson’*.
He recorded more than a dozen 45s between 1963 and 1975, running the gamut from R&B/twist party, through soul, garage and funk.
‘The Vulture’ was one side of his only Capitol 45 (he also recorded for Domain, Mothers, Truth and a few other labels). The record has a deceptively slow, spoken opening before Round Robin drops in with a loud, overwrought and vaguely out of tune shout of ‘The Vulture’ and the tune hits a solid four on the floor dancers beat, with just enough vibes and baritone sax in the background to draw in the Northern Soulies in the room. All this in addition to the fact that the record was produced by the mighty David Axelrod.
I haven’t seen anything to indicate what happened to Round Robin, so if any of you out there have the scoop, please drop me a line.
*LLoyd Thaxton was a major LA-based TV and radio personality, whose dance party show was syndicated for a time in the 60s. Round Robin apparently released a couple of albums for Thaxton, so the chances are that there are in fact even more ‘Slauson’ tunes. Interestingly enough, Bob & Earl reportedly looked to ‘Slauson Shuffle Time’ for inspiration when they whipped up the mighty ‘Harlem Shuffle’
PS Don’t forget to get your Memorial Day Weekend off to a solid start at the latest edition of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions, this Friday May 23rd at the World Famous Asbury Lanes.