Mr. Lincoln Kilpatrick
“Listen – The Da-Kars – Shot In the Dark – MP3″
How’s about a nice instrumental to fill up your ears?
I can’t remember when I picked up ‘Shot In the Dark’ by the Da-Kars, but it was a long, long time ago in the prehistoric days of my Hammond crates.
The odd thing is in all those years, I’ve never really come across any information about the group.
So, I did what I always do when trapped under a whole lots of nothing: I took the info on the label, saddled up my camel and rode out into the fiery wastes of the interwebs.
I can’t say that I cracked the case, but I have unearthed a fair amount of connective tissue, perhaps enough to sketch things out a little bit.
First off, the record is a rolling bit of instro-soul, with a nice horn chart, some soulful guitar and a cover of Otis Redding’s ‘Dock of the Bay’ on the flip. My first guess, using only my ears would have been to look toward Memphis.
However, if Memphis was involved at all, it was via inspiration, since ‘Shot In the Dark’ appears to be a record with a New York provenance.
The tune was written and arranged by Bert Keyes, a NY based arranger, composer and keyboard player, and the production is credited to Lincoln Kilpatrick. The name Kilpatrick was vaguely familiar to me, so I set to Googling and discovered that although Kilpatrick was best known as a character actor (he was on the old ‘NYPD’ series*) he also worked in music, producing a number of artists, including his wife Helena Ferguson (one of their collaborations, ‘My Terms’ appears in Funky16Corners Radio v.45). All of his productions, aside from the ones for his wife, ended up on the Josie label, via his own Dakar productions (a hah!!).
That bit of information, and the likelihood that Bert Keyes not only wrote, but is playing on ‘A Shot In the Dark’ leads me to believe that the Da-Kars were in fact the studio group employed by Kilpatrick, borrowing their name from his publishing company, and vanishing back into the woodwork after this single.
If anyone has any other info – especially anything that contradicts my edu-ma-cated guess – please let me know.
I hope you dig the song, and I’ll be back at the end of the week.
In other news – Last night I watched a fantastic radio history documentary called ‘Radio Revolution: The Rise and Fall of the Big 8′. The film’s writer/director Michael McNamara wrote me and asked if I’d be interested in checking it out, and fortunately I relplied in the affirmative.
The film is the story of legendary Windsor, Ontario radio powerhouse CKLW which was for many years a huge force in Detroit radio (the Motor City sitting just across the river from Windsor).
The film brings to life one of the great stories of the Top 40 era, though CKLW was much more than your run of the mill pop radio outlet. Thanks in large part to their trendsetting program director Rosalie Trombley, CKLW featured a healthy dose of black music in their playlist (which should be obvious if you’ve ever picked up one of those CKLW LPs in the field).
Though the music is obviously the most important part of the story, it’s worth the price of admission just for the tales of CKLWs “20/20″ news team.
I’m a huge fan of the classic days of rock radio, and if you are too this film is highly recommended. There are interviews with Mitch Ryder, Brother Wayne Kramer, Dave Marsh, Martha Reeves and Alice Cooper among others.
You can purchase it via the Markham Street Films website.
*Kilpatrick may also be familiar from roles in both ‘Omega Man’ (one of the mail zombies) and ‘Soylent Green’