Jonathan Toubin returns to L.A. this Saturday to DJ one of his superlative Soul Clap and Dance Offs, in which you the dance-crazy people go even crazier than ever in front of an esteemed panel of judges in hopes of winning actual public adoration and cash prizes, too! Since last visiting L.A. RECORD, Toubin has raised up a monster of a YouTube channel that delivers a new-to-you 45 every day, and here he picks out ten of the best with L.A. connections. Get acquainted here and get wild on Saturday night at the Regent!" /> L.A. Record

RIDE ON!: 10 MORE L.A. 45s FROM SOUL CLAP DJ JONATHAN TOUBIN

February 25th, 2016 | Interviews

Rare record raconteur Jonathan Toubin returns to L.A. this Saturday to DJ one of his superlative Soul Clap and Dance Offs, in which you the dance-crazy people go even crazier than ever in front of an esteemed panel of judges in hopes of winning actual public adoration and cash prizes, too! Since last visiting L.A. RECORD, Toubin has raised up a monster of a YouTube channel that delivers a new-to-you 45 every day, and here he picks out ten of the best with L.A. connections. Get acquainted here and get wild on Saturday night at the Regent!

Harold Jackson and the Jackson Brothers “The Freedom Riders”
“FREEDOM TRAIN LEAVING ON TRACK 1961 and 1962 …” Listening to a random stack of postwar soul, blues, and R&B is like reading the daily paper, particularly and disproportionately the gossip and advice columns. But all the sections are there: news, editorial, business, sports, comics … and this one’s a civil rights-era news report on the Freedom Riders, time-capsuled straight from the long hot summer of 1961 to the short hot winter of 2016. Like a number of exquisite platters coming out of Los Angeles around in the 1950s and 1960s, it’s a Kent Harris production. Harris was the prolific, daring, and witty producer/songwriter/vocalist/genius behind the scenes on so many memorable eccentric classics—leading Boogaloo and his Gallant Crew, writing the Coasters’ “Shoppin’ For Clothes” and Bo Diddley’s “Cops and Robbers,” producing The Duals’ “Stick Shift” and Hank Jacobs’ “Monkey Hips and Rice.” All stone cold classics that—like this one—you gotta check out. RIDE ON with that tight forward groove …

Sarah James and the Soul Babies “Takin’ Care of Business” (Faro, 1967)
This supercharged soul whippit comes from Eddie Davis’ legendary Faro Records which, along with the rest of the Rampart Records umbrella, are responsible for the most unique and exciting music of the 1960s: East L.A. brown-eyed soul and Chicano rock! Chick Carlton and Delbert Franklin of the Atlantics, Majestics, and other Eastside royalty get the writing credit here. EastLAreview.com says that Sarah James was a popular 1960s LA singer/pianist who regularly gigged at Eddie Davis’ Night Club in Hollywood. Listen to that mighty mighty wind blowing from her lungs and feel her power! Soul sister! What happened to Sarah James? Barry White can be heard on congas and the Soul Babies, featuring members of The Sa-Shays, aren’t the band but rather the backup singers … Hold it in and exhale …

Johnny Watson “I Say, I Love You” (King, 1964)
One of the all-time top tracks by one of the all-time top musicians! This hand-clappin’ scorcher is an exclamation mark at the end of my favorite phase of his recording career—his very rockin’ dance party rhythm and blues era right before he moved into his soul and later funk periods. Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s early 1960s return to his original label King/Federal also reunited him with the man who helped Watson secure his first recording contract in the early 1950s—the immortal producer/bandleader Johnny Otis. The collaboration resulted in some of the most slammin’ music you’ll ever hear …

Sugar and Sweet “Hands Out of My Pocket” (Foremost, 1963)
Once you get past the corny screwball intro, you’ll be rewarded with one of the hugest-sounding indie soul records there is. And as Robert Townsend said in Hollywood Shuffle, “You don’t throw away a cadillac because it has a dent in it.” That mighty rhythm section is nothing to sneeze at—and this thing moves!—but the star of this show is the Hammond B3 splashing around and eventually levitating! You can thank Cal Harris for the gargantuan sound. Harris is a Los Angeleno who interned at Western and Gold Star on Beach Boys sessions etc before moving on up to becoming one of Motown’s biggest producers. (Should we thank him for Lionel Richie’s mega-huge 1983 LP ”Can’t Slow Down” as well?). Another juicy tidbit: the songwriter here Ernest Nelson is an alias for Earl Nelson of Bob and Earl …

Little Joe Hinton “The Whip Twist” (Kent, 1962)
Little Joe Hinton, not to be confused with Backbeat Records’ also-golden-throated Joe Hinton of “Funny How Time Slips Away” fame, was recently determined to be the pseudonym for Los Angeles institution Jay Lewis. The masterful Atlanta-born blues growler’s heavy gravel-throated growl is juxtaposed against this light dance song about dancing! And with surprisingly stellar results! The dance is the miscegenation of the Whip and the Twist: put ‘em together and do THE WHIP TWIST …

Brice Coefield “Cha Cha Twist” (Madison, 1960)
In the pilot for Martin Scorsese’s “Vinyl,” his protagonist, record man Bobby Cannavale finds blues guitar purist Lester Grimes and convinces him to record commercial pop under the name Little Jimmy Little. In the studio, surrounded by comically square white backup singers, Grimes belts out “Cha Cha Twist” as an illustration of the music industry’s unhip cornball crass commercialism. The song’s real-life singer Brice Coefield was no bluesman but came from another authentic black American subculture—doo wop, and specifically the enigmatic and gloriously tangled web of Los Angeles vocal groups that wound up leaving a huge print on contemporary music. In 1960, music business legends Herb Alpert (pre-trumpet) and Lou Adler borrowed Coefield from the Untouchables to get in on the first wave of the twist craze. Their recording of Hank Ballard’s “Cha Cha Twist” flopped. Like many other great dance songs, the lyrics aren’t much. Its unpretentiously a song about dancing. (A show about nothing!) But it goes way beyond its twisting purpose and is a one-of-a-kind standout track from the fascinating period where a strange and beautiful edge of doo wop overlapped a corner of the emerging soul music genre. Listen to the unique Latin-tinged minimal groove, the sophisticated passion of the lead vocal, the spooky background singers, the effective dynamics, and the reverb-washed elements that congeal and intensify the pure emotion as “Cha Cha Twist” sails on. Like so many great tracks you can thank the Detroit Cobras for bringing this gem to everybody’s attention …

The Original Jaguars “Making Love Girl” (Val-Vo, 196X):
“We’re makin’ love, girl!” The obscure wax here is unique enough to warrant a sub-genre of its own: raw sexy conga and flute-dominated lo-fi Chicano post-doo wop tropical garage-a-loo … Valerio “Val” Poliuto and Manuel Chavez published this under a combination of their names “Man-Val.” Poliuto was the tenor and Chavez was the baritone in local 1950s teen doo-wop stars The Jaguars. So the Original Jaguars are, as their name implies, original Jaguars. The Jaguars weren’t only one of the first racially integrated vocal groups upon forming in 1954, but they also came out of Fremont High which was one of the first integrated high schools in the U.S. The members of the band reflected the diversity of their school—black, white, and brown, and each of the four originally hailing from a different state. It’s mindboggling to imagine the Penguins, Dootones, Medallions, Meadowlarks and Calvanes were also at Fremont at the same time! Now that what I call a cool school…

The Majestics “(I Love Her So Much) It Hurts Me” (Linda, 1965):
This group isn’t the Detroit Majestics of “Treat Me Like You Want to Be Treated” on my Norton Souvenirs of the Soul Clap comp or the Atlanta Majestics of “Sittin’ Seaside Safari… Sippin’ Suds”. They’re not even one of the two East L.A. Majestics with records out before “(I Love Her So Much) It Hurts Me” came along. The A-side ballad “Girl of My Dreams” was a very minor L.A. and Pittsburgh hit, but “(I Love Her So Much) It Hurts Me” took its time working its way into our consciousness before becoming huge in the Northern soul scene and bootlegged many times … and you can see why! It’s very shiny and strung-up with a strong beat! I don’t typically go for that, but this time the gloss and schmaltzy strings is offset by an irresistible rhythm and unique Spanish-inflected vocal harmony. Look out because this one’ll continue to grow on ya …

American Four “Luci Baines” (Selma, 1964)
This one is about as far from pure soul song as any on this list … but my goal here definitely isn’t purity and it kinda sorta fits as its a ripoff of early soul smash “Twist and Shout.” Plus, Los Angelenos, we gotta sneak this in because its Arthur Lee’s first record! Before establishing one of the coolest and most important bands of all time, the Love man had a brief career as a Los Angeles studio system songwriter. He penned a couple of surf exploitation songs (about skiing!), an early Jimi Hendrix session (backing Rosa Lee Brooks on his “My Diary”), a minor local hit for East L.A. teen idol Little Ray (“I’ve Been Tryin”), and a couple of LP cuts for killer Chicano dance band Ronnie and the Pomona Casuals (the title track and “Slow Jerk” on the canonical Everybody Jerk LP). And somewhere in the middle of all of this, he assembled The American Four, with future Love guitarist Johnny Echols and original bassist John Fleckenstein, to record this single for Del-Fi subsidiary Selma Records—an ode to President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s daughter Luci Baines Johnson. Now that’s a familiar voice! Feel the power of Love being conceived …

Frank Lucas and the Emperors “Chico the Player” (Graham, 1963)
This raw lo-fi dance floor destroyer is the rarest on the list and thus most of its details are obscured by the smog of time. The young producer Henry Graham and the arranger Miles Grayson both went on separately to become two of the big players across a vast landscape of Los Angeles soul recording … Also I regret to inform you that famous American gangster Frank Lucas most likely isn’t the singer here … What more do you need to know? Come dancing already …

JONATHAN TOUBIN’S SOUL CLAP AND DANCE OFF WITH SPECIAL LIVE PERFORMANCE BY THE CREATION FACTORY ON SAT., FEB. 27, AT THE REGENT, 446 S. MAIN, DOWNTOWN. 10:30 PM / $9-$12.50 / 18+. GET TICKETS HERE! JONATHAN TOUBIN’S SOUVENIRS OF THE SOUL CLAP COMPILATIONS ARR AVAILABLE FROM NORTON RECORDS. VISIT JONATHAN TOUBIN AT NEWYORKNIGHTTRAIN.COM.