Thursday, August 21, 2008

Aug 21st

I've been trying to step up my research lately and have been pretty stoked on several recent finds. Make sure to stop back by in the next couple of weeks for the results of my hunting, there should be some nice treats. But for now, let's get busy....

The story of a "Bad Girl"...

The Fabulous Denos - Bad Girl

The story starts in Georgia with James Walker, Bobby Dixon, Allan Pace, Hezekiah Sheffield and Rickey Andrews. Fascinated with the up and coming R&B sound, they formed a group called "The Fabulous Dinos" in '59 and played the party and club circuit in Atlanta for a couple of years. They eventually put out the 45, "Instant Love" for the Atlanta-based Saber label in 1961. After a few years, the band re-located to Macon, GA and wound up being signed to the King label (where they also changed the spelling to "Denos"). Robert Fears (aka Bobby Dixon, aka Bobby Lee Fears, who later would become one of the founding members of the Ohio Players), along with Lee Moses, co-wrote wrote the titanic wailer,"Bad Girl."

The Lee Moses story has recently become one of the more mysterious legends in soul music. As far as research shows, the earliest he can be traced is his co-writing of "Bad Girl." After that, his move from Atlanta to NYC in the late '60s is the next known trace. He stayed in New York through the '70s, playing guitar for several Johnny Brantley productions for labels such as Dynamo, Front Page, and the New Jersey-based Maple (all of which, he recorded his own solo 45s for, as well). His first 2 solo releases, were put out on the Lee John label (appropriately named after Lee Moses and John Brantley). After Lee John, Moses signed to Musicor, where he would record most of his highly sought after 45s. The closest he would ever come to a hit record, was his song, "Time and a Place", which was recorded for the Front Page label. He released an LP (of the same name) on the Maple label, which was a collection of all of his 45s recorded up to that point. He went on to record a few more 45s, then do some guitar work on the Hannibal (a fellow Georgian) LP, "Truth". On "Truth", Hannibal opens with "I Got that Will", which Lee also recorded himself. The Moses version still remains a funk 45 classic to this day (and I still need a copy!!).

The Chevells - Another Tear Must Fall

This is another one of those records with little-to-no history. I can't find squat on the girls, but I'll assume it is a Detroit record (and label) due to the producers, Roy Corwin and Tommy Moers. They both were producers and had ties to radio in Detroit throughout the 60s. Moers also had some mild success producing for rockabilly tunes, most noteworthy would be first sessions for Johnny Powers, who Moers then hooked up with a deal at Sun records. This is the one girl group record I own that really turns collectors' heads. I still can't believe they didn't put on the Rhino comp!!

Screaming Jay Hawkins - Poor Folks

Screaming Jay Hawkins. The name says it all. Very few folks haven't heard his 1956 classic, "I put a spell on you" or seen his role in the Jim Jarmusch
film, "Mystery Train." In "Poor Folks", Jay screams at the class structure in America, raising point to the struggles of the lower-class in contrast to certain eases of rich life. Who'dda thunk that Jay, father to 57 (or possibly more) children and kook extraodinaire, could make a socio-political song and make it sound so damn good. Crazy, literally.

The Blendtones -

The Slide
Come on Home

The Blendtones, like so many groups of the time, were formed at their highschool in Des Moines, Iowa. Originally called the Little George and the Del-Rays, the band played the local scene until they signed (and changed names) to Success records. They only put out 2 45s, the other being "Lovers", which peaked at 3rd on the LA charts in '63. The height of their career was a small West coast tour and the chance to open for Ike and Tina in their hometown. All 4 sides recorded by the Blendtones were written by George Davis, who along with brother Gilbert and bandmate Ronnie Brewer (seen here in pic), have been inducted in to the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame. In all honesty, I actually prefer the B-side "Come on Home" over the "The Slide", although both songs are truly top notch. Big thank you to the honorable Reverend Magnus for hipping me to this one.


Agent45 said...

Prior to that move to NYC, Lee Moses was the leader of a group called the Showstoppers, who were the house band at the Royal Peacock on Auburn Avenue for a while. There, they played behind all of the nationally touring acts who were booked there. While he lived in New York, he came back to Atlanta often and worked very closely with Hermon Hitson, Freddie Terrell, Hannibal and others. He eventually returned to Atlanta, where he stayed until his death.

second line social said...

thanks for the added info Brian! Is the Showstoppers the Moses was in the same as the "Nothing but a house party" Showstoppers?

mike said...

The mp3 links appear to be dead. Any chance you can repost them? Particularly the Fabulous Denos version of 'Bad Girl'?

second line social said...

thanks for the heads up. they should all be up and running now.