Special Report: Muddy Waters at the Newport Jazz Festival 1960

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This stands as one of the most transformational performances of all time. It was this concert, a blues segment at 1960 Newport Jazz Festival in Newport Rhode Island, that brought the blues out of smokey basement clubs and into the mainstream. It was recorded on July 3, 1960, exactly 50 years ago today.

As sublime luck would have it, I happened across a pristine copy of this LP, still enrobed in torn, flapping shreds of yellowed shrink wrap, parts of which were intact enough for me to be able to call this LP SEALED. But the timing of this was so right, of course it was going to land here in Jukebox Heart.

This a superb set of live blues. Muddy is backed for the set by James Cotton on harmonica, the great Otis Spann on piano, Pat Hare on rhythm guitar, bassist Andrew Stevenson, and oe of the best blues drummers ever, Francis Clay. The performances are straightahead Delta favored Chicago blues highlighted by an explosive take of “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man”.

The concert was filmed, and although it has deteriorated significantly over time, it’s still good enugh to enjoy seeing the man perform live:

Special Report: Bassett Hand

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This 45 has been in my collection since time immemorial, and until recently, information about it has been totally elusive. The A Side sounds like it could have been used for the theme for a show for teaching language skills to adults; a sexier Sesame Street, what with the ‘Baby, Baby’ interlude and the foot-shufflin’ hip-swingin’ gum-snappin’ pool-shootin’ rhythm. *This* Sesame Street is squarely in the red-light district, and its residents drink & smoke and fuck like bunnies in the backseats of Buicks. And the flipside? Arguably the worst song ever recorded. So the debate began? Lost 45? Or Incredibly Strange Music?

Anyway, the more research I did on this record, the more intriguing it became. All the information I could find was peripheral, but apparently the characters behind Bassett Hand went on to be responsible for music more directly Jukebox Heart-ish. Hence, this Special Report. Oh yeah, here’s that fabulous flip side…

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But exactly who is Bassett Hand? An internet search doesn’t yield much. According to the Global Dog Productions discography for Josie Records, this single was released in 1965, along with one other that same year. This coincides with the timeframe for the information below.

A little more digging yielded an entry into the Spectropop Discussion Group archives:

> Does anyone know what the term BASSETT HAND means on Bang Records
> labels?

The liner notes to Robert Feldman’s career retrospective LP “Roots Of
S.O.B.*, Vol. 2” include this dedication (among several others):

“To Richard Gottehrer & Gerald Goldstein: The 2 “G’s in F.G.G., aka
Niles & Giles Strange aka Bassett Hand, etc., etc., thank you for some
of the best years of my life. The memories and the music will always
be there.”

The collection includes two Bassett Hand tracks, “Happy Organ Shake”
and “Soul Paradise,” (the other 45 on Josie) but offers no writing credits for these or any of its other tracks…

A close look at the record labels above will show the FGG team scores writing credits for both the tracks as well. Further investigation links Bassett Hand to many production credits on the famous 1960’s imprint, Bang Records as well as some intersting surprises. The place to begin is with The Strangeloves.

The Strangeloves were the creation of an American songwriting/production team in the 1960s who were from New York but pretended to be from Australia. Their biggest hits were “I Want Candy,” “Cara-Lin” and “Night Time”.

Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer (FGG Productions) had already scored big hits for other artists, including “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels, when they decided to invent The Strangeloves.

According to the press releases, The Strangeloves were three brothers named Giles, Miles and Niles Strange who had grown up on an Australian sheep farm. The brothers’ faked backstory involved getting rich with the invention of a new form of sheep crossbreeding (the long-haired “Gottehrer” sheep, allegedly registered with the Feldman-Goldstein Company of Australia), allowing them the time and financial freedom to form a band. The story did not exactly capture the public’s imagination, but the music still performed respectably on the charts.

When “I Want Candy” became a hit single in mid-1965, the producers found themselves in the unfamiliar and uncomfortable position of performing as live artists. This short-lived experience was followed by a road group composed of four of the studio musicians who had actually recorded these songs. The musicians in the initial road group were bass player / vocalist John Shine, guitarist Jack Raczka, drummer Tom Kobus and sax player / vocalist Richie Lauro. This group was replaced in early 1966 by a trio of FGG studio musicians that more closely adhered to the founding concept of the Brothers Strange: guitarist Jack Raczka (Giles Strange), drummer / vocalist Joe Piazza (Miles Strange), and keyboardist / vocalist Ken Jones (Niles Strange).

While on the road in Ohio in 1965 as The Strangeloves, Feldman, Goldstein and Gottehrer came upon a local band known as Ricky Z and the Raiders, led by Rick Derringer (who was Rick Zehringer at the time). Recognizing their raw talent, the producers immediately brought Rick and his band to New York, recorded Rick’s voice over the existing music track from The Strangeloves’ album I Want Candy and released “Hang on Sloopy” as a single under the name The McCoys.

The Strangeloves’ only LP, I Want Candy, was released in 1965 on Bert Berns’ Bang Records, with several of the album songs having been released as singles. Other singles by The Strangeloves have appeared on Swan Records and Sire Records.

Their songs have been covered by The J. Geils Band, The Fleshtones, and (with great pop success) by Bow Wow Wow.

Gottehrer went on to later fame as a record producer of early CBGB’s luminaries such as Richard Hell & The Voidoids, The Fleshtones, and Blondie, as well as being the co-founder of Sire Records along with Seymour Stein. He also worked with Robert Gordon, who was one of many who revitalized rockabilly in the late 1970s.

In his role as a producer and manager, Goldstein also continued to have an effect on the music world. He suggested to the band Nightshift that they team up with Eric Burdon, which became War, and had the Circle Jerks on his Far Our Productions management company and LAX record label.

The following credit appears on every Strangeloves record: “Arranged and Conducted by Bassett Hand.” In fact, there is no such person as “Bassett Hand.”


Some more photos for my collector geek buddies:

Note the Bassett Hand credit:

And a picture of the band from the LP jacket:

Most recognize the yin/yang design of Sire Records from the late 70s and later.
Here is an early Sire Records label design:

Special Report: RIP Eartha Kitt

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RIP Eartha Kitt. January 17, 1927 – December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt epitomized the idea of the sex-kitten chanteuse, rising to fame with a nightclub act centered around her slinky stage presence and her throaty purr of a voice. As much as she enjoyed vamping it up, she also projected the image of an exotic international sophisticate, especially since she sang in several different languages. She brought a definite zest to her torch songs, and favored lyrics that painted her as the Material Girl of her time. Kitt’s persona was so vivid and well-developed that she remained easily identifiable well after her early-’50s heyday, and it also helped her find success as an actress in movies, TV, and theater. Even if many remember her best as one of the actresses to play Catwoman on the ’60s Batman series, Kitt was always a cabaret performer at heart, one whose act translated best in a live setting. After a dramatic rise to fame from a childhood of neglect and poverty, Kitt endured a ten-year blacklisting owing to her sharp criticism of the Vietnam War. She returned to performing in the ’80s and ’90s, both as an actress and as a singer on the nightclub circuit.

Eartha Mae Kitt’s actual origins are somewhat in doubt. It’s likely she was born on January 17, 1927, on a cotton plantation in the small South Carolina town of North. A birth certificate discovered in the late ’90s seemed to corroborate that information, but Kitt was never entirely sure, because she lost contact with both her parents at a very young age. Her white father (sometimes alleged to be one of the plantation owner’s sons) abandoned her when she was very young, and her mother, a black sharecropper, later remarried and sent her to live with neighbors. Kitt’s mother died not long afterwards. Overworked, overlooked, and teased for being biracial, Kitt was finally sent to live with an aunt in Harlem when she was eight. Although she remained at the edge of poverty, things improved somewhat, as she began piano and dance lessons, and also got some singing and acting opportunities through church. Kitt was admitted to New York’s High School for the Performing Arts, but unfortunately, her home life took a turn for the worse, and her aunt threw her out. Kitt was forced to drop out of school and worked a few odd jobs to support herself.

A chance meeting with a dancer led Kitt to audition for Katherine Dunham’s dance school at age 16. She won a scholarship, and went on tour with the school company all over Europe and the Americas. When the company stopped in Paris, Kitt got the chance to fill in for a singer who was too ill to perform. She was spotted by a nightclub owner who signed her on as a vocalist, and she stayed in Paris to work the cabaret circuit. There she was discovered by the legendary director Orson Welles, who called her ‘the most exciting woman alive’ and, in 1950, cast her as Helen of Troy in his stage production Time Runs, an adaptation of Faust. Kitt returned to the United States and immediately found bookings on the New York nightclub scene, including lengthy runs at the Blue Angel and the Village Vanguard. She was also tapped for the Broadway revue New Faces of 1952, and her numbers — especially ‘Monotonous’ — easily stole the show; they also led to a recording contract with RCA Victor.

Kitt recorded her debut album, RCA Victor Presents Eartha Kitt, in 1953, and it was a major hit, climbing into the Top Five on the LP charts. She scored a minor success with ‘Uska Dara (A Turkish Tale),’ and had a breakout Top Ten hit that August with the French-language ‘C’est Si Bon (It’s So Good),’ which became her signature song. Her second album, That Bad Eartha, was released before the year’s end, and also reached the Top Five; it featured much of her core repertoire, with songs like ‘I Want to Be Evil,’ ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy,’ and ‘Under the Bridges of Paris.’ Kitt scored a holiday hit at the end of 1953 with the breathy, over-the-top ‘Santa Baby,’ which proved to be the biggest single of her career. It also marked the peak of her popularity; audiences who couldn’t get enough of her act in 1953 were growing accustomed to her style, and she was a less dominant presence in 1954, though she did enjoy limited success with ‘Somebody Bad Stole de Wedding Bell (Who’s Got de Ding Dong)’ and the R&B-flavored ‘(If I Love Ya, Then I Need Ya) I Wantcha Around.’ She also returned to Broadway in the drama Mrs. Patterson, which earned her a Tony nomination, and made her film debut in the movie adaptation of New Faces.

Kitt’s third LP, Down to Eartha, appeared in 1955 to a more muted response than her first two. She was still a top draw on the nightclub circuit, however, and found increasing success as an actress. In 1957, she starred in the Broadway show Shinbone Alley and appeared alongside Sidney Poitier in the film The Mark of the Hawk; the following year, she co-starred in two more films, the W.C. Handy biopic St. Louis Blues (with Nat King Cole) and Anna Lucasta (with Sammy Davis, Jr.). In 1959, Kitt left RCA and joined her producer David Kapp’s new Kapp label; many of her recordings there were updated versions of her past successes. In 1960, she began a five-year marriage to real estate developer Bill McDonald, which produced a daughter, Kitt McDonald. Kitt continued to record sporadically over the ’60s, including the 1965 live set Eartha Kitt in Person at the Plaza, a fan favorite. In 1967, she replaced Julie Newmar as the sultry villain Catwoman on the Batman TV series, which remains her best-known role as an actress.

It was not to last, however. In 1968, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson invited Kitt to a celebrity women’s luncheon at the White House to offer her views on inner-city youth. Taking the event seriously, not as a publicity stunt, Kitt pointedly criticized the Vietnam War and its impact on poor minorities. An infuriated Johnson put out the word that Kitt’s rudeness had reduced the First Lady to tears, and Kitt found herself essentially blacklisted across the country — afraid of incurring the government’s wrath, venues simply refused to book her. It was later revealed that Kitt was made the subject of a secret federal investigation; her house was bugged and she was tailed by Secret Service agents. When the FBI failed to find evidence that Kitt was a subversive, the CIA compiled a highly speculative dossier that attempted to portray her as a nymphomaniac. Unable to find work in America, Kitt moved to Europe, where she would spend most of the following decade. In 1974, she courted controversy once again by touring South Africa; although she performed for white-only audiences, her show was racially integrated, and she raised money for black schools by selling autographs.

Kitt finally returned to the U.S. for good in 1978 as a cast member of the Broadway show Timbuktu, an all-black adaptation of Kismet. The audience greeted her with a standing ovation, and she went on to earn a second Tony nomination; President Carter even welcomed her back personally. Her career in America rehabilitated, Kitt returned to the cabaret/supper club circuit, and also revived her film career starting in the late ’80s, appearing in comedies like Erik the Viking, Ernest Scared Stupid, and Eddie Murphy’s Boomerang. She recorded a series of albums for the ITM label during the ’90s, and earned a Grammy nomination (Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance) for 1994’s cocktail-lounge set Back in Business on DRG. She also continued her acting career, and toward the end of the ’90s she moved into voice-over work as well, appearing in the animated series The Wild Thornberrys and the Disney film The Emperor’s New Groove. In 2000, she received a third Tony nomination for her work in the musical drama The Wild Party.

Special Report: Normoton Records

I discovered Normoton Records when I picked up a used copy of the Landesvatter CD “Lax”. I was taken by the stark lines of the visuals, so I popped it into the deck at Twisted Village. The economy of tone was captivating, and soon the disc was accompanying me home,

As I always do, I looked up the band and label on myspace and follwed the links to the labels home site, normoton.de, and I assembled this sampler mix from the copyright-free tracks available for download.

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Here’s the playlist:

Ultimately, after a brief exchange of emails, the label declined an opportunity to be interviewed.
The label offers a large selection and a wide variety of styles in the IDM/electronica vein, and everything is of high quality.

A State of Flux Archive now on Jukebox Heart

The archive containing release downloads and other material for the A State Of Flux label has been migrated to Jukebox Heart. Click on the “A State of Flux Label Archive” tab above to view the archive.

The archive is a work in progress, and eventually all available releases will be posted. Currently, about half of the releases are available for download. If you are a fan of 80’s industrial noise and culture, you should visit the archive and get busy downloading the ZIP files.

Here is a list of what you will find:

ASOF00: Various Artists – Channel 14
ASOF04: XCOMM Mail-art communique. (poster)
ASOF06: Le Momo – Withdrawing From The Species
ASOF07: The Gossamer Years – The Dynamics of Static
ASOF08: Various Artists – Acquisition/Conversion
ASOF09: Concert Presentation: Etant Donnes (poster)
ASOF10: US Steel Cello Ensemble – In A State of Flux
ASOF11: Concert Presentation: Monochrome Bleu (poster)
ASOF12: Due Process – In A State of Flux
ASOF14: Monochrome Bleu – Eyes On Monochrome Bleu
ASOF15: Architectural Metaphor – The Julia Set (live)
ASOF16: Various Artists – Music From Matthias
ASOF17: Mystery Hearsay – radio Performance
ASOF18: John Hudak – Last Horseman
ASOF19: Deutsches Kulturgut – Zukunft 1 & 2
FLUX21: This Window – Thank You Saint Jude
FLUX22: Concert Presentation: Zoviet France (poster)
FLUX23: Blackhumour – in performance
FLUX24: Small Cruel Party – Resin, Partched, Chthonic
FLUX25: Schloss Tegal – Musick from Madness
FLUX26: Illusion of Safety – The False Mirror (7″)
FLUX27: Concert Presentation: Trauma (poster)

So, go check out the archive and learn about this obscure independent label…

Jukebox Heart Special Report: Themes!

It’s time to revisit portions of the Jukebox Heart sibling-site, , paulcollegio.net – my personal website. I’m not doing any major redesign, but a few issues are being worked. One of them is the site’s homepage theme music. I love it, but it’s time to change. I’ve been auditioning a number of tracks and have it narrowed down to three. Here is where you come in. You’re going to help me pick a theme for the site. This process will take a little bit of your time – three easy steps! – but you can do it in the background, with lots of other stuff you’d ordinarily do anyway. Plus it’s an excuse to procrastinate and listen to some music. Who doesn’t love that?
Step 1: Go to my site and listen to the theme music. It should start automatically. It’s an early 90’s ambient/experimental techno thing called “Henka” by a UK group named Tournesol, and it is from their wonderful “Kokotsu” album. If you like what you hear, the vinyl can be had for as little as GBP 5 from discogs.com, while the CD is available domestically starting at US$8, also from discogs.com.


Step 2: I’ve reposted my “Themes” podcast, which originally published on 30 August 2007. I’m publishing it again, so you can hear all of the themes that have been a part of the www.paulcollegio.net website since its inception. I think you’ll enjoy it, but it may also help you in the next step, below the following track listing.

Jukebox Heart 002: Themes, Volume 1
43.6 MB | 47:40

This week’s Jukebox Heart podcast compiles all of the themes I’ve used on the PaulCollegio.net website from the launch date through the present. The themes have always been of a downtempo ambient nature, so the podcast has a swathing, kind of subtle groove going on. The track list is below.

1. Project5 – Demo Remix
2. Tyco – Dream as Memory (Hear You Soon)
3. Akufen – Skidoos (My Way)
4. Duet Emmo – Heart of Hearts (Or So It Seems)
5. Sybarite – Invisible Magnetic Missive (7″)
6. Languis – Countryside (Unithematic)
7. Technicolor – Labor (2088)
8. Tournesol – Henka (Kokotsu)


Step 3: Listen to each of the following three cuts. I have deliberately omitted their identifying information for now, because I want your reaction to the music, and not to any other ancillary information. I’ll post the artists and titles tomorrow.

Track 1:

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Track 2:

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Track 3:

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When you’ve finished listening to theme music on the website, the podcast and these three individual tracks, please vote for the track you think is the best selection for the next theme of www.paulcollegio.net

Thanks for your participation!

If you are not subscribing to Jukebox Heart yet, you should! Until then, you may download this podcast here.

Jukebox Heart Special Report: A Visit with Victor…

Every record collector has their magic moments when the holy grail appears, and one of those magic moments happened this weekend. Actually two. And both were provided by my long time drug dealer fellow collector, Victor Pearlin. Victor Pearlin is *the man*. He’s been a serious, hardcore doo wop/blues/r&b collector since I was just a kid in Junior High first stumbling into this music in a serious way. Victor is one of the nicest guys you wanna meet, and every time we have a transaction, he lets me drop by his house to pick up my stuff. I love hanging out with him, even if only briefly. He’s the most knowledgeable person I know, regarding this particular set of musical genres, and I always come away with some great stories and new understanding about this music. He’s just great.

Anyway, the first is a replacement copy of Babs Gonzales’ Hair Dressen Women. I once owned a copy of this that I’d had since I was a young kid. We’re talking like kindergarten. But when I made my last move into the house I live in now, the record mysteriously vanished. I have no idea who would be interested in it. But it literally vanished without a trace. It’s a hard record to come by on 78. Click on the image below to hear it.

Gonzales was quite a figure in his day, being among the first to popularize scat and vocalese – jazz vocal techniques where the voice generated wordless nonsensical sounds to function as musical notes alongside traditional instruments. When the bop fad was fading out, he became quite a cult figure and hipster, resulting in some very entertaining records – see also his “Bebop Santa Clause” track in my Christmas On The Rocks jukebox page.


The second moment was his revelation that he had a record for sale from the highly elusive Club 51 imprint. Club 51 was a tiny R&B label in Chicago, operated out of the back room of Chicago’s noted Savoy Record Mart. Over the two years of its existence, Club 51 released only 8 records, all in very small quantities, and all prized by collectors. Relic Records in its Golden Groups series released an incomplete anthology of the label in the 1970s, only focusing on the doo wop tracks and excluding all the blues and jazz output of the label. But guess who has a deal worked with a British imprint to anthologize the entire label output, and who is using his pristine collection as the source material? You guessed it, our man Victor. Watch for an announcement of the CD release in this space sometime in October. Yes, I’m very excited. Anyway, I’ve dreamed about owning one of these incredibly rare and legendary records for decades. Click on the images below to hear the two tracks from the record. Info about the label and this specific record are below. This is a rare treat; these records *never* show up.

Club 51, which existed from 1955 to 1957, was one of the myriad mom and pop labels that briefly made their appearance in Chicago during in the post-World War II efflorescence of independent label recording activity. The label grew out of the various enthusiasms of local entrepreneur Jimmie Davis and his wife Lillian. Club 51 operated as part of the Davises’ Savoy Record Mart at 527 East 63rd Street.

All of the information about the recording sessions resulting in all of the sides released by Club 51 has long since disappeared, if there was ever any real record of it at all. Hence, the only historical data about these records is the records themselves and anecdotal information collected from informal interviews conducted with surviving artists over the last 40 years.

Personnel on this record was: Rudy Greene (vocal) with The “Four” Buddies: Ularsee Manor, Jimmy Hawkins, Irving Hunter, William Bryant, Dickie Umbra (voc on You Mean Everything To me only); accompanied by Eddie Chamblee Combo.

Some time in early 1955, Jimmie Davis brought into Universal Studios the blues man Rudy Greene, R&B singer Bobbie James, and the Five Buddies. Jimmie Davis told Dick Reicheg that he used Eddie Chamblee’s group on this session. Ularsee Manor confirms that Chamblee was on tenor sax and adds that Prince Cooper was the pianist: “Cooper was like the house band.”

Edwin Leon Chamblee was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 24, 1920. He attended Wendell Phillips High in Chicago, where he was a classmate of Ruth Jones (better known to posterity as Dinah Washington). From 1941 to early 1946 he worked as musician in Army bands. Returning to Chicago, he began an association with the Miracle label. Initially he appeared as a sideman on sessions with Dick Davis and Sonny Thompson, but after the tremendous success of Thompson’s “Long Gone” (a two-sided blues instrumental featuring Chamblee’s solo on Part II), he began recording for Miracle Records as a leader, scoring a hit with “Back Street” in 1949. He stayed with Miracle until it folded in 1950, then cut two more sessions for its successor label, Premium. In 1952, Chamblee did one session for Coral (a Decca subsidiary), then began an association with the United label that lasted until the end of 1954. While at United, he backed the extremely popular Four Blazes in the studio, accompanied the vocal group The Five Cs, and cut three sessions of what was picturesquely billed as “The Rockin’ and Walkin’ Rhythm of Eddie Chamblee.”

After his work for Club 51, he went on the road with Lionel Hampton’s big band in 1955-1956. In 1957 and 1958 he worked with singer Dinah Washington (he was briefly Dinah’s fifth husband; the relationship came to a end when she made her point in a quarrel by smashing his saxophone against a barroom wall). He recorded two jazz LPs in Chicago for EmArcy in 1957 and 1958, on Dinah Washington’s recommendation (she was a Mercury artist); he also accompanied her on many of her own sessions. After splitting with Dinah Washington, he enjoyed a run of several months at McKie’s Disc Jockey Lounge in 1958. Subsequently Chamblee moved to New York, where he led a series of jazz combos. He made an LP for Prestige with an organ trio (1964) and a reunion album with other Lionel Hampton alumni for the French label Black & White (1976). In the mid to late 1980s he led a quartet that played the Saturday afternoon “jazz brunch” at Sweet Basil in New York City. He died May 1, 1999 in a New York nursing home.

Rudolph Spencer Greene (often spelled “Green”) was a blues guitarist and singer who had first recorded for the Bullet label in Nashville in 1947, and then done two sessions as a leader for Chance Records in 1952 – 1953. He also made as a sideman appearance behind singer Bobby Prince for RCA Victor in 1953. Greene was a disciple of T. Bone Walker–one of the two photos we have seen of him shows him playing the guitar behind his head, a stunt for which his idol was well known–and many of the fine guitar solos in his recorded work show that fluid approach. Greene was continuously employed in the Chicago area clubs during 1954 and the first half of 1955. As late as January 1955 he was still being billed as a Chance recording star, while performing at Club 34 (3417 Roosevelt Road). After a couple of weeks at the Crown Propeller Lounge, he returned to Club 34, which declared in early April that he was “back from a recording tour.” The tour hadn’t taken him any farther than Universal Recording, but no matter.