GET YOUR BABY!: 10 MORE L.A. R&B 45s FROM SHAKIN’ ALL OVER UNDER SIDEWAYS DOWN DJ JONATHAN TOUBIN!
Now that his Soul Clap Dance Offs are practically L.A. tradition, New York DJ Jonathan Toubin is cracking open yet another choice import with this brand-new west coast installment of his legendary Shakin’ All Over Under Sideways Down night, making its local debut Saturday night at the Monty! This is the hottest of the hot stuff, presented without a second to catch your breath all nite long! To celebrate, Toubin has once again put together another list of L.A. 45s, both to honor our hometown heroes and give newcomers a little peek at what he’s got in his record box. Listen now and then save up all the energy you got for tomorrow—you’ll need it!
Mark and the Escorts “Get Your Baby” (GNP Crescendo, 1965)
In addition to the Premiers and the Blendells, this is one of at least three recorded versions of this distinctively East L.A. killer diller. Do yourself a favor and check leader Mark Guerrero’s amazing website to learn more about the timeless and electrifying 1960s East Side sound. The Escorts ranged from ages 12 to 14 when they started gigging in 1963. By 1965 the teens had enough momentum to play the mythical “West Coast East Side Review” at Shrine Auditorium. They also went into the studio to lay down their own composition “Tuff Stuff” and Randy Thomas and Wayne Edwards’ “Get Your Baby.” Thomas and Edwards were members of the pioneering East Side band the Mixtures who helped define the sound with their brilliant “Rainbow Stomp” in 1962. Within a year of this moment of greatness, Mark and The Escorts had broke up and morphed into Men from S.O.U.N.D.
Robbie Lawrence “Slow Bird” (Donna 1963)
Like “Surfin’ Bird” and a number of other 1963 bird dance songs smack dab in the middle of the craze sparked by The Rivingtons’ earth-shattering “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow,” this one’s also an odd bird. The writing credit goes to B. Rappaport a.k.a. Robert Rappaport, who was a member of the Ran-Dells of “Martian Hop” fame. Since the Ran-Dells were from Wildwood, NJ, once can only assume that Donna/Del-Fi head honcho Bob Keane either licensed the track, or more likely recorded it in Los Angeles. But we can only speculate as there’s no information about this track anywhere.
Mickie Champion “What Good Am I” (Musette, 1965)
This all-time NY Night Train Friday and Saturday night dance floor favorite is so ecstatic and rare that its frequently booted, and it’s so far beyond category that its become a biggie in the R&B and northern soul scenes and everywhere in between. Champion, who was active in Los Angeles until her death a couple of years ago, was a huge name up and down Central Avenue’s burgeoning blues and jazz scenes in the 1940s, married Roy Milton, and waxed some incredible R&B sides in the 1950s. By “What Good Am I,” Champion was already 40 years old and near the spotty end of her recording career—but as you can hear, she was sounding 100% fresh and contemporary and sliding with ease into the soul era. I only wish she cut a few more recordings during this phase.
Big T Tyler “King Kong” (Aladdin)
While you’ve never heard of Big “T” Tyler, anybody into this kind of thing will tell you that “King Kong” is one big bad monster. Big “T” came from Tyler, Texas, to make this record in Los Angeles and the band here is all legendary New Orleans players, part of the long under-explored lineage of Big Easy musicians freshening up El Lay sessions and helping define the sound of post-war pop music. Earl Palmer, often considered the best rock ’n’ roll drummer ever, was already by this point acknowledged throughout the industry for putting his perky rhythm behind a good chunk of the smash hits gushing out of New Orleans throughout the 1950s, as well as the heavy sticks behind the world-changing “Tutti Frutti” and “Lucille” beats. He’s joined by “Twitchy” guitar genius Rene Hall and stellar brothers Plas Johnson on sax and Ray Johnson on piano. This supergroup—this early incarnation of the Wrecking Crew—is an oversized gorilla on a high speed chase behind Big “T”, screaming and shouting and warning the world about King Kong! You’ll also flip over the flip “Sadie Green.”
Larry Bright “Way Down Home” / “Bloodhound” (Tide, 1962)
In one of the most wildest runs in L.A. history, the infinitely under-rated Larry Bright cut a hair-raising stack of wax for some the west coast’s top labels—Del Fi, Tide, Original Sound, Rendezvous, etc. And both sides of this holy obscurity are up there with the best of ‘em. Bright came to California from Corpus Christie, hit the jackpot with his first record “Mojo Workout,” and spent the next decade sporadically knocking ‘em dead on record and on stage but never could scale his mountain of legal battles, personal problems, and bad luck. Everyone from the Kingsmen to Bill Cosby recorded “Mojo Workout” and Downliners Sect did “Bloodhound.”
Ace Holder “Wabba Suzy-Q” (Vanessa, 1962)
Like his collaborator Gus Jenkins, Alabama born-and-bred harp destroyer Ace Holder is just one of many postwar blues artists who, instead of Chicago or Detroit or St. Louis, added their deep southern blues flavor to the rich caldillo of post-war Los Angeles music. “Wabba Suzy-Q” collides contemporary post-twist dance craze madness into wailing downhome blues vocal and harmonica with electrifying results. Holder only recorded a handful of 45s before quitting music in 1966 to raise a family.
Bob Chance “Yo No Tengo Dinero” (Alwin, 1966)
When you find a curious record like this one, playing detective is a lot of tedious work and often reveals little to nothing. But in this case, the artist has his own website with a wealth of interesting biographical details. Bob Chance waxed his first singles at age 14 as the leader of Atlantic Records vocal group the Raiders, was in the late 60s psychedelic band Jubal’s Children, recorded the 1980 outsider cult classic LP It’s Broken and currently plays live and records with his own trio. While I couldn’t find any information about this super-rare oddball Spanish-language psychedelic bolero, its been a biggie on my dancefloors for its gargantuan sound, dramatic dynamics, cool Farfisa, and universal subject matter.
The Allisons “Surfer Street” (Tip, 1963)
Cut in 1963 at Gold Star Studios with Darlene Love on the lead vocals, this epic platter contains a Jolly Green Giant sound and a heavy re-arrangement of Don and Dewey’s Specialty Records classic “Big Boy Pete.” And maybe other members of the Blossoms were also harmonizing? And the Wrecking Crew laying down the backing tracks? Probably! And what the heck … Maybe you’re even hearing a Jack Nitzsche arrangement? If you know something, say something … This strange and beautiful gem hasn’t only been making the New York Night Train glow for many years, but is also a staple for top disc jocks like Intoxica Radio’s Howie Pyro and Sock Hop Austin’s Andrew McCalla. The A-Side, a cover of “Money,” is also worth a turn …
The Surgeons “Don’t Tell Me” (Cee-Jam, 1963)
The flip of the Electras’ “You Know” on the stellar Los Angles Cee-Jam imprint is from an artist so mysterious that even vocal groups expert Marv Goldberg is uncertain. Like the Electras, who sprouted directly out of the Valiants/Untouchables and the 1950s Los Angeles high school vocal group lineage, the Surgeons sound like a soul group that came out of doo wop. Manuel Chavez of the Jaguars gets the writing credit here and I think its probable that you hear him singing lead. Yet another unknown platter with powerful a huge voice leaping from its grooves.
BLUNDERTOWN PRESENTS SHAKIN’ ALL OVER UNDER SIDEWAYS DOWN WITH DJ JONATHAN TOUBIN ON SAT., FEB. 25, AT THE MONTY, 1222 W. 7TH ST., DOWNTOWN. 10 PM / $5 / 21+. MORE INFO HERE! VISIT DJ JONATHAN TOUBIN AT NEWYORKNIGHTTRAIN.COM.