Jimmy “Preacher” Ellis
Listen/Download – Jimmy Preacher Ellis & the Odd Fellows – Put Your Hoe to My Row – MP3
Welcome to another week here at the blog where the corners (and the sounds) are always funky.
Keeping with that spirit – as promised – we’re going to get things started with something particularly funk-tastic, from Jimmie Preacher Ellis.
Yet another in a long line of artists who were essentially bluesmen, but who took time to drop funk and soul wax along the way, Jimmie (Jimmy) Preacher Ellis was – as stated clearly at the beginning of the record, an ‘Arkansas soul brother’.
Ellis was born in 1935 in Foreman Arkansas, and like so many of his contemporaries got his start working it out in the choir loft, before temptation called him away for more secular pursuits. He took up the guitar in the late 50s and started a harmony group called the Centuries.
The Centuries recorded a single for the LA-based Dootone label in 1962, with Ellis leaving the group to go solo two years later.
During the 60s Ellis recorded a number of singles for labels like Jewel, Space, Kris and Romark. I don’t know how he ended up on the west coast label Round (also home to B.W. Souls and Faye Ross), but info on the label would suggest that the tunes on the 45 may have been recorded for Kris (also LA-based) and licensed to/released by Round.
I originally bought this 45 to get the song on the other side, the funkadelic styled ‘I Gotta See My Baby’. However, when the record fell through the mail slot, and I had the opportunity to hear both sides, I decided to offer up the song I bring you today, ‘Put Your Hoe To My Row’. I’m guessing the record is from 1968 or 1969.
Opening with a bass line that calls to mind King Curtis’ ‘Memphis Soul Stew’, the horns come in, followed by Ellis’s guitar chopping all the way through. Things never get too complicated, but they surely are funky and the production on the record is big, bold and right for the dance floor.
Ellis is still around and performing these days.
I hope you dig the record and I’ll be back on Wednesday with something cool.
PS The Asbury Park 45 Sessions returns this Friday 8/14 with the usual crew of heavy hitters, this time out joined by special guest Pat James Longo. If you’re in the area fall by and dig the sounds.