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In Keb Darge’s own words:
“I've done many a compilation in my day, mostly based around the tunes I played at my long running Deep Funk nights in Madame Jo Jo's. That night is no longer on the go, possibly due to a growing lack of interest on my part, (sorry). In the last few years the "Lost & Found" nights at the club have been my real passion, and indeed Little Edith's and Andy Smith's passion too.
What a marvelous era this is for good music. We may still have pure shite like "dub step" pulling in large numbers of sheep, but an equal number of youngsters are being attracted to retro, or at least retro sounding music. People tell me it is because the youth are fed up with computerized music, or men with drug problems angrily shouting at them over a dull repetitive beat, but I know lots of teenagers who have bypassed this muck all together. Must be the internet that is helping kill off the demand for empty music. You no longer need to go to a retro club night, or indeed search out rare records to be exposed to good music, the internet is full of the stuff. My fifteen year old daughter is a Marc Bolan fan who while researching the poor fellow's influences discovered Chuck Berry, Sun records, etc, etc.
I don't really know or understand why so many are at last getting into the good stuff, but they are, and it is wonderful for the likes of me.
Onto the tunes
Texan Dale McBride first recorded "Prissy Missy" in 1960, then about five years later he recorded a far inferior version for Teardrop records which is nowhere near as rare as this one. For god's sake don't spend any money on that copy. This however is now in my all time top ten. It is one of the few records that turns the heads of my old northern soul "we can only listen to black music" friends. Thanks to Barney Koumis for letting me prize it out of his collection.
In 1959 Darrell Rhodes took this Slim Willet tune previously recorded for Texas's Winston label by Fonda Wallace and turned it into the menacing piece of teenage angst that is "Lou Lou". This and "Four O'clock Baby" which he co wrote with Slim are two of the strongest strollers to be played on the rockin scene. He also recorded "Runnin and Chasin" another above average stroller for the label later that year.
Staying in 1959 the Jiants were all at high school together in Indiana when they recorded the timeless bopper "Tornado". The "Claudra" label had a few other rockers out prior to this, but nothing near as memorable.
In 1956 Mel Dorsey recorded "I ain't gonna take it no more" for Oregon's "Orbit Sound" a pretty good rocker that flopped at the time of release as with most of these tunes. In 1959 he tried again with "Little Lil", again a flop, but wind the clock forward fifty years and you have a rockabilly anthem that will pack any dancefloor.
Back to Texas for the Moonlighter's first of two great rockers recorded in 1958 for the tiny "Tara" label. I stuck the other,"Broken Heart" on "Lost & Found" volume one. "Rock-A-Bayou Baby" was re-released in 1963 on the "Bellaire" label, but some clever twat chose to re-master it, and ruined the sound.
All I know about Stormy Gayle is that she recorded this super rare monster in Birmingham Alabama, but don't exactly know when. That doesn't matter though, it just sounds so good, and always will.
I do however know that Ron Thompson recorded "Switchblade" in 1959 for the Minneapolis based "Soma" label. A more successful label than most on here. It ran from the mid fifties to the mid sixties, and was responsible for many a great rockin tune, and a pile of sixties garage including one that got played on the northern soul scene.
Another label that enjoyed a small measure of success was the Hollywood based "Crest" label. Kent Harris recorded a couple of novelty rockers as Boogaloo and his Gallant Crew for the label. This 1955 outing is by far the best. A note of interest for the northern soul crowd, Kent later married and managed Ty Karim of "Lighten Up Baby", "You Just Don't Know", "You Really Made It Good To Me", etc, fame.
In 1960 the Valentines stuck the storming instrumental "That's it Man" on the flip of a straight Doo Wop tune. It's got all the ingredients of a great funk tune, but was too far ahead of it's time.
Up to 1963 now, and Arizona based Brother Zee recorded this frat/R&B answer to the Trashmen's "Surfin Bird", which was in turn a Surf answer to the Rivington's "pa pa oh mow mow". Sadly this version remains relatively unknown. We'll soon put that right then.
Kai Ray (Richard A Caire), from Minneapolis the home of the a-fore mentioned Trashmen put "I want some of that" out originally as "Jungle Talk" on the flip of "Trashman's Blues" the record that our "Surfin Bird" heroes took their name from. A big tune for Pittsburgh's radio legend Mad Mike Metrovich, and one considered the father of sixties garage.
In 1959 the Carnations recorded a decent "tittyshaker" called "Casual" for the "Fraternity" label. However in 1961 they recorded "Scorpion" for the much smaller "Tilt" label as an answer to the Champ's "Tequila", and created one of the greatest "tittyshakers" of all time. Also on the label is a great boppin instrumental called "Tomahawk" by Teddy and the Roughriders. I'll have to stick that on a future compilation.
In 1964 the Reekers walked into the Washington based Edgewood studios to record their first tune. They wanted a record to promote at any gigs they might get, but could not afford the hefty $20 fee for a two track recording so "Don't Call Me Flyface" was recorded in one track mono for a more manageable $10 fee. The tune named after the Dick Tracy villain goes to prove you don't need any of today's multi-track, multi-take guff to make a masterpiece.
As with Stormy Gaye, I know nothing about Johnny Byrd Parker or his Zirkons except that "Oongawa" was recorded in L.A. in I guess the early sixties.
"Goo Goo Muck" has had a few covers, most notably by the Cramps. It was originally recorded in Bakersfield California by Ronnie Cook and the Gaylads in 1962 for the teeny tiny Audan label.
Tarantula Ghoul (Suzanne Waldron), hosted a local TV show in Portland, Oregon from 1957 to 1959 called "House of Horror". "King Kong" and the flip "Graveyard Rock" were released to promote her show.
Would you believe Glen Campbell could be behind a great wild rockin tune?? Well the Gee Cee's take their name from his. He did record a few straight country tunes for "Crest" records around the same time. Therefore I tend to think that it was the influence of his old Champs partner Jerry Cole who founded the group with him. Jerry went on to arrange and organize so many weird and wonderful tunes after the 1961 release of "Buzzsaw", and Glen?? Well he sort of became Glen Campbell.
Sonny West was the man who wrote "Oh Boy" and "Rave On" both big hits for Buddy Holly's Crickets. Sadly though his own recording of "Rock-Ola Ruby" and "Sweet Rockin Baby" failed miserably. Never mind, it got picked up by the rockabilly crowd years later and is now one of the holy grails of the collecting world. He has been since found and appeared before thousands of devoted fans.
Carl Cherry on the other hand has disappeared. He was involved with the underworld and had his name changed by the nice people at Federal Witness Protection. "The Itch" was recorded in 1959 again as a record to hand out at live shows. He did manage the first half of a tour with Eddie Cochran, but got sacked before the second half.
We finish in 1958 with Kenny Smith and "I'm So Lonesome", though by the sound of the guitar work you would think it was from a mid sixties spaghetti western. I thought I'd leave you with a haunting tune, just to get you hooked. I do hope you enjoy this music as much as I have.”
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