CASE ONE: Joe Haywood
Alright folks... welcome to our new site! I hope you are as intrigued as I am by the stories of these unsung heroes of soul. Please join our team as we continue to search for clues that will further our understanding and appreciation of the people who made this great music.
The story so far:
Back in October, Larry Grogan posted this song over at Funky 16 Corners (his 100th post!), and had this to say:
"I know almost nothing about Joe Haywood. I’ve been a-Googling, and checking all of my standard references, and the end result is that I’ve been able to dig up a bunch of “standard” (or sub-standard as the case may be) facts. Among this throbbing chunk of history are the facts that Haywood recorded for a number of labels in the 1960’s, including New Orleans based outfits like White Cliffs and Deesu, nationally distributed indies like Enjoy and Kent, and one other label I’ve never heard of (Front Page) that may or may not be NOLA-based... Though the 45 label lists Marsaint publishing and Tou-Sea productions, the producer (Larry Lucie) is unfamiliar to me. That info along with the Deesu release would suggest to me that it was a New Orleans session, but I may be wrong."
Dan Phillips (of HOTG) weighed in with "... I am pretty sure it is not a New Orleans record, except for its label. As far as I know, Joe Haywood was from Spartanburg, SC and was a drummer as well as a vocalist. At one time he either played or sang (or both) with guitarist Larry Lucie's band. Lucie and the other co-writer on "Sadie Mae", Lucky Dixon, worked out of New York, I believe. Since some of Haywood's other sides were done for Bobby Robinson's Enjoy and Fury labels, based in NYC, and since Marshall Sehorn, who started Deesu with Toussaint, was previously a rep and talent scout for Robinson, I am going hazard a guess that "Sadie Mae" was recorded in New York with Lucie producing and that Sehorn agreed to release on Deesu."
Hmmm... I sez to myself, Joe Haywood... now where do I know that name from? I started flipping through the vinyl, and, sure enough, there he was on this Charly LP from 1982 called Sehorn's Soul Farm, which was a compilation of stuff licensed from Sansu Enterprises, Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn's company. Along with tracks by usual suspects Warren Lee and Willie Harper, is a song called "Let's Make It" by Joe Haywood. The album cover lists its original American release as "White Cliff 248". The song just plain ROCKS... when I spun the record up again (for the first time in like 15 years...) I remembered how much I dug it. It's actually my favorite track on the album! The liner notes, written by the normally informative John Broven, simply said that Haywood was "quickly consigned to oblivion" (!). After some serious vinyl diving, I found us a copy of the original.
WHITE CLIFFS 248
let's make it
Now, I know that "White Cliffs" was a Cosimo Matassa label. How did the song wind up on an album of material that Sansu had the rights to? I believe it has to do with Sehorn's Bobby Robinson connection, once again. FIRE must have licensed material to him, and he in turn farmed it out to the smaller local label... (more on the White Cliffs story in a minute).
So... Bobby Robinson, huh? That started me thinking (usually a dangerous thing)... I dug out my copy of The Fire/Fury Records Story box set (from 1993), and, wouldn't ya know, there's a track on there by Joe Haywood, "Strong Feeling". I put it on. It BLOWS ME AWAY!!! I mean it is like PURE Southern Soul, DEEP stuff, man! (this is the actual moment when I decided to try to dig up every possible shred of vinyl he ever produced.)
FRONT PAGE 1000
The liner notes, written by Robinson himself, said; "Joe Haywood was also from Spartanburg (like Bobby Porter). Joe is a drummer, and he played drums and sang on 'Strong Feeling'. We recorded this around 1969 for the Enjoy label." That may very well be, but the only label it actually exists on is Front Page. I'm guessing from the number of the single, that it is the first release on this label that nobody knows anything about. (1003 was also a Haywood release, see below...).
Anyway, by now I'm in deep search mode. Joe Haywood is on the radar.
On a site called Rockabilly Roots by Joe Bennett (who was the guitarist for the Sparkletones), I found this:
"Joe Dean (Joey) Haywood... was awesome and could sing Sam Cooke songs better than Sam himself. He was backed by a group called The Dobbs which had a couple of beat up saxes, old set of drums, no bass and an elderly lady on piano. I can't remember if they had a guitar. It really didn't make any difference...Joey was the cake and everything else was just the icing. I can still see him up there pushing that little band on and rocking that crowd..."
At this point, I e-mailed the very knowledgeable and way cool Jason Perlmutter who runs the great Carolina Soul website. He had this to say:
"I do not have much information on Joe Haywood (also known as Joe Dean Haywood). I have spoken with some Spartanburg musicians who remember him and remember playing with him. I am not sure whether he lived in SC when he cut records for national labels, but I suspect that he lived elsewhere, perhaps in New York, and returned home occasionally. Also, didn't he write a song that Percy Sledge popularized? Perhaps "Warm And Tender Loving" or some similar title. I heard that he sold it to Sledge but the money went to alcohol or drugs, and he died young from substance abuse."
WHOA! Percy Sledge?? Wait a minute here...
I went to the BMI songwriter database, and a search for Joe Haywood produced these results:
1. FIRST BREATH OF SPRING
2. HAND N HAND
3. HURRY HURRY HURRY
4. I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO
5. LET ME WHISPER IN YOUR EAR
6. LET'S MAKE IT
7. SADIE MAE
8. SAY YOU WILL
I don't recognize any Percy Sledge tunes, do you?
Back to the vinyl... Warm And Tender Love was the follow-up record to Percy Sledge's gigundo smash hit, When A Man Loves A Woman. It was released in the summer of 1966, and hit #5 on the R&B charts (#17 pop). The song is credited on the label to "Robinson". Now, how about that? ...on to the BMI database: Morgan C. (Bobby) Robinson is listed as the writer or co-writer of 367 songs! The reality, of course, is that he ran his labels in much the same way as Don Robey did down in Texas, paying the real composer a few hundred bucks while retaining the songwriting and publishing credits for himself. (A case in point would be Lee Dorsey's Ya-Ya, on which Robinson is listed as a co-writer... yeah, right.) He is indeed credited with writing Warm And Tender Love, along with someone named Clara Thompson.
Hmmm.... I searched the Fire and Fury label discographies and came up empty handed. When I finally found an Enjoy discography, bingo! There it was.
warm and tender love
Joe's treatment of the song is every bit as good as Sledge's, if not better. As a matter of fact, I like the arrangement here better than on the Atlantic side, which I always kinda felt was a little over-produced. Anyway, as near as I can figure this single was released in late '64 or early '65.
WHITE CLIFFS 237 is a carbon copy of this record, with I Would If I Could (currently posted on the ol' B side) as the flip. Go figure. I guess it was easier (and potentially more profitable) for Robinson to license the records to a southern distributor, in this case Dover Records, than to ship (and promote) his New York singles down south.
SO, what about this rumor that Haywood made all this money from Warm And Tender Love, and killed himself going too far too soon? Well, first of all, as we've seen, he wasn't credited as the songwriter (although I would say that he almost certainly is...), so whatever money Robinson paid him couldn't have lasted that long. Robinson himself said that Strong Feeling was recorded in 1969, possibly a full 5 years after ENJOY 2013 was released. Also, if you notice, he refers to Haywood in the present tense in the 1993 liner notes. Hmmm...
A search of the Social Security Death Index Records show a Joseph Haywood that was born in 1923 and died in June of 1973 in South Carolina. And then there's this - on the Rockabilly Roots site, Joe Bennett goes on to say:
"After coming back to Carolina 6 years ago, I tried to find Joey. No one that I asked knew where he was. It turns out, I just didn't ask the right people. Flipping through the newspaper about a year ago, I saw his picture....in the obituary section. His daughter and I had a meeting. She looks like Joey and sings like him..."
"About a year ago", as he said then, would place his death around 1996.
That's where the case stands today...
Here's a Haywood discography I put together from various sources:
5052 - Ghost Of A Love / Debt Of Love - 1968
2013 - Warm And Tender Love / I Would If I Could - 1964?
2016 - When You Look In The Mirror (You're Looking At The One You Love) / Talk To Me Baby (Put Some Sugar In My Ear) - 1965
490 – I Wanna Love You / Play Me (A Cornbread Song) - 1968
1000 - Strong Feeling / I'm Walkin' - 1969?
1003 - I Cross My Heart / In Your Heart You Know I Love You
237 - Warm And Tender Love/I Would If I Could - 1965?
248 - Let's Make It /Hand In Hand - 1966
313 - Sadie Mae / Say You Will - 1966
316 - Play A Cornbread Song For Me & My Baby / I Wanna Love You - 1966
(I'm not too sure about these)
1001 - Let's Walk Together/I Would If I Could
1002 - I Love You Yes I Do/It Takes The Dark To Make You See The Light
As I said, please feel free to jump in here with any information, corrections, or whatever you might have.
You are now officially a Soul Detective.
Way to go guys! As you can see from the 'comments' section, people are joining our team every day!
Detective Dan Phillips filled in some of the blanks in our discography, thank you, and wondered aloud if the A side of DEESU 316 was the same recording as the B side of KENT 490 (it sure seems like they recycled a lot of material they had in the can...) with a slightly altered title. Here's the Kent side:
(play me) a cornbread song
CHECK IT OUT! Like Wilson Pickett meets Dyke & the blazers or something... how about that guitar, man? Right after he says "let the guitar cook, from a collard green book" (great lyrics, or like WHAT?) he says "c'mon George!"... so, detectives, there's another question for us... who's George? What studio did Kent record in? Does the 1968 date seem accurate? That, of course, is in addition to whether or not this is the same song as on DEESU 316. I haven't turned that one up yet... anybody have it? Larry?
Also, our very own vicar of soul, detective REV JPH mentioned that both 'Warm And Tender Love' and "I Wanna Love You' are available on CD on the UK KENT label... he also offered up this tidbit, an unreleased KENT track (that would be the real, US KENT from back in the day...):
Let Me Whisper In Your Ear
This is GREAT STUFF, huh? How did this guy fly under the radar for so long? Unreal... and, anticipating the question from the sharp minds of our crack team of investigators, No, this cut is not a reworked version of the B side of ENJOY 2016.
While we're on to the unreleased KENT material, Barry Fowden put this up on the venerable The Soul Of The Net:
The Last One To Know
"This track appeared on UK Kent's US Kent compilation "Slow 'N' Moody Black And Bluesy". Joe Haywood released a dozen singles, all in the classic soul era, between 1965 and 1968. Out of these, one was on US Kent, in 1968, but this track was not on it, so it was left unreleased until discovered years later by those crazy Brits. And luckily so, coz it could have been a soul classic. Listen to the horn section make its entrance 0:34 seconds into the track, and you'll know this track has got it - soul. As for the vocal, Joe sounds here at his most Sam Cookish.", he said.
SO, there's another question, team... Barry says Joe recorded until '68, Bobby Robinson says '69... Can anyone shed any more light on the FRONT PAGE label? Has anybody seen ANY other releases on there besides our two by Joe?
Keep up the great work, guys... thanks!
First off, let me say that the response here has been absolutely fantastic... better than I ever imagined! Already we've discovered some things together that we may have never found alone! Thank You one and all.
Detectives Cies, Colin Dilnot, and John Ridley teamed up to provide this excellent discography of the other releases on FRONT PAGE:
Victones - "My baby changes"/"I need you so" FP 1001
Jim & Lee - "Adam & Eve"/"I'll never change" FP 1002
Lee Moses - "Time & place"/"I can't take no chances" FP 2301
Victones - "Somebody really loves you (guess who)/"Two sides to love" FP 2302
John also confirmed that FRONT PAGE was a Bobby and Danny Robinson label out of New York, and that the time frame of 1964 to '69 seems correct for Joe's career.
Detective Dan (dat bayou man), had this to say:
"Re: Kent 490, "(Play Me) A Cornbread Song".
Wow. What a cookin' track! I wonder, could it have been done in New Orleans? I say this because of your question about the called-out guitar player, George. His style sounds like that of George Davis, the great NO guitarist. Listen to those stuttering licks and rolling runs and then think about the guitar playing on "Barefootin'" (1966) by Robert Parker, which was George Davis all the way. Just sayin', it's possible, especially if this side is the same as Deesu 316, which dates around 1966. The Kent shows as 1968 in 'The R&B Indies' and on Global Dog. Why would it take two years to get re-issued, though? Anyway, this is the only Haywood cut I've heard so far that sounds likely to have been a NO session... according to the BMI database, the legal title of the song on Kent 490 by Greene/Jones/Thompson/Lucie is "PLAY A CORN BREAD SONG FOR ME", which is near dead-on the Deesu title. So, looks like it was re-titled for Kent, either on purpose or in error. "
Excellent work! I really like the George Davis hypothesis, man. As far as there being a two year lag in the release time, it looks to me like Robinson was offering like ANYTHING he had on Haywood to anybody (witness "I Would If I Could" ending up as a B side on 3 different labels!), and Kent may have picked it up. Rest assured I AM working to get us a copy of DEESU 316 up here so we can check it all out.
I'm also going to try to put up the other side of the Kent single soon, but hey, today's Easter Sunday, so I gotta get goin'...
Thanks again for all the posts and 'linkage' as well (Colin even put a way cool scan of the A side of DEESU 313 up...), this is truly becoming the joint venture I hoped it would!
This just in:
DEESU 313 B
say you will
Detective Colin sent us an mp3 of the B side of Sadie Mae from 1966. Thank You very much, it's awesome. (Note the publishing company; "Marsaint Music").
Detective Grogan checked in with: "I just grabbed a copy of the Kent issue of 'Cornbread...' and it has a 1968 radio station stamp on it. I agree with Dan that it sounds like a NOLA session."
There ya go.
KENT 490 A
I wanna love you
As promised, here is the A side of Joe's Kent single. I'm loving the guitar on here... think it's George Davis? If you notice, the publishing company here is listed as "Marsaint Music" as well... perhaps that should have been the tip-off. I mean, it makes sense that the Deesu sides would be published by Sehorn and Toussaint (Marsaint obviously being one of their many enterprises with the funny names), but not the Kent ones... that is unless the material on KENT 490 was indeed recorded earlier in New Orleans, and leased by the Biharis for their label.
[I don't know if you noticed this, guys, but the very first comment on this site (while it was still under construction) was from Allen Toussaint's friend, Paul Siegel... well, Paul, we're pressing you into service. If there's anyone who could shed some light on all this, it would be Allen. Any chance you could ask him a few questions?]
Anyway, both of the tracks we put up here today are just great, I'm loving Joe's sweet soul ballad side... hope you are too!
(It's like 2 hours later)
Hold on a minute here... I just realized something. With all of this talk about Cornbread and all that, the OTHER side of the two singles is the same as well. Just like the White Cliffs/Enjoy versions of Warm and Tender Love/I Would if I Could being identical, if you check it out, DEESU 316 lists I Wanna Love You as the other side, the same as KENT 490. WELL, WELL!
Although there's no conclusive way to tell until we actually hear it, I'm guessing that Kent leased both sides of a New Orleans (Toussaint?) produced single from 2 years earlier and released it with better distribution.
I heard back from Jason Perlmutter, the Carolina Soul man, and he had this to add:
"The Dobbs who Joe Bennett mentions as backing up Haywood were around Spartanburg for quite a while, and they have one or two 45s on the Najma label from the late '60s. I own one, and it is excellent:
NAJMA MS-1210 - B. Hill With The Fabulous Dobbs "Wait For Me/ The Mess" (B-side as J. Young With The Fabulous Dobbs)
I'm assuming they're also the band on this follow-up release which I've never heard:
NAJMA 604 - J Young/B Hill It's Got Soul/ One Girl"
You can hear three of these sides (among many others) by listening to Jason's excellent radio show about Carolina Soul from WXYC in Chapel Hill.
I decided to e-mail Joe Bennett and ask him if he had any other info on Haywood. He wrote back to tell me that the obituary he read was in the Spartanburg Journal-Herald, but that he wasn't sure of the year. A quick search of their archives came up blank, but I'm still working on it... Bennett also said that Joe worked for the Yellow Cab Company in Spartanburg for years. I'm going to try to contact them as well.
In the meantime, I finally found us a copy of this:
FURY 5052 A
ghost of love
This was the last record ever released by Bobby Robinson on the FURY label. As close as I can figure, that would make it from late 1968 or early 1969. Once again, it's just incredible! Joe's voice is at its most soulful, not to mention the two guitars... I love it.
FURY 5052 B
debt of love
The B side is the rocker (as seems to be the pattern with these Haywood releases), and features some soulful horn charts that make it sound almost like a Memphis record. The song was written by someone named "Sterling McGee" and both sides of the record list him as the "musical director".
A Google on him didn't bring up much, just a reference to a UK Ace release in the Roots and Rhythm Newsletter... only, when I go to the ACE site, it turns out his name is spelled 'Magee', and he has 3 tunes on their Arock & Sylvia Soul Story CD.
Now that I have the correct spelling, I find him listed in the BMI repertoire database as having written 18 songs. (Oddly enough, though, 'Debt of Love' is not listed.)
Now it starts to get interesting... it seems that Sterling played at the Apollo backing up people like Etta James and James Brown, but eventually took to the streets. He was a fixture on 125th St., playing electric guitar while he worked a snare drum/cymbal contraption that he rigged up with his feet. The neighborhood knew him as "Mr. Satan", the devil-man. He was eventually joined by a young white harmonica player named Adam Gussow, and they played together as Satan and Adam. They were picked up by Bo Diddley as an opening act, and toured the world. U2 even featured them in Rattle and Hum. They would go on to release 3 CDs of their own. Adam wrote a book about all this called Mr. Satan's Apprentice.
Here's the really amazing part... The part that makes you believe in the interconnectedness of all things; Our very own ace detective Colin Dilnot ran a post all about the book on his In Dangerous Rhythm blog on March 19th. He followed it up with a piece about Sterling's Tangerine singles that were on that ACE CD... all unbeknownst to yours truly. Then FURY 5052 came in the mail, and opened up this whole can of worms... you can't make this stuff up, folks!
Sterling now lives in a nursing home in his native St. Petersburg, Florida. Adam performed with him at a benefit just this past February. There's a great article about him in the local paper. He's also been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
Now, how about that?
Here's another interesting "can of worms" just opened up by new team member Soul Pope:
He pointed out that "I Wanna Love You", the A side of KENT 490, which was co-written by Kenny Ballard, also appeared as the B side of his single TOY 105. If you look at the scan of the A side I posted here, you'll note that both Lucky Dixon and Larry Lucie are on board as they are on most of Haywood's records. Does anyone have any more info on TOY? Was it a Bobby Robinson label? How about Ballard, is he still around? For that matter, what about Dixon and Lucie? The most current info I could find on Larry Lucie was a picture of him in the Contrarian Quarterly on the occasion of his 97th birthday in 2004!
Thanks Pope! We'll keep on diggin'!
Well, folks, it's been some day!
First of all, I was listening to "Cornbread", you know the B side of KENT 490 (it's been heavy in the rotation lately... does it crank or what?), and there's another clue in there that might help us with the session info... Right before Joe calls out George, the guitarist, he says "Put a little gravy on the bass, now... go on Jimmy, make 'em feel good now, go ahead!" SO, the bass player's named Jimmy. Any ideas?
Here's another unbelievable proto-funk groove from 1965:
ENJOY 2016 B
talk to me baby (put some sugar in my ear)
Joe's vocals here might be the best we've heard yet (Little Wille John City!)... the guitar, as it usually does on these B side rockers, just blows me away, y'all! Also, check out dem drums... Robinson (who "wrote" this one) said he was a drummer, remember? Think it's Joe?
NOW... it's been quite a day.
I called down to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal and spoke to the News Librarian, a wonderful lady named Annette Haynie. As it turns out, Annette used to go see The Sparkletones and remembers Joe Bennett very well.
I told her our story... told her about how great Joe Haywood was. We talked for a while about "Hub City" music... how the absolutely PRIMAL Julius Cheeks was born in Spartanburg, and how soul music would never even have existed without him, etcetera.
Annette's on board (she even visited our site!), but she was having trouble searching the paper's archives, which weren't the greatest back then. She suggested that I contact the Spartanburg Public Library. On their website I found a link to the paper's obituary archives and found this:
HAYWOOD, JOE DEAN
37, Spartanburg, 11-16-96 B4
It must be him, I thought... only the age is wrong. If he was 37 in 1996, that would mean he was 5 years old when he made his first record. No dice.
I called Annette back with the date of the obituary, and she started searching through the microfilm (God bless this woman!). A few hours later i got this e-mail:
"Found the obit! He was 57. If you have a fax machine, I can fax the obit to you and then put it in the mail."
57! The age was a typo, after all of that... SO, here it is detectives, Joe Haywood's obituary:
Check out the Gospel background information... incredible. This poor guy was better known for driving a cab than for these great records we've all been listening to...
May he rest in peace.
(I know the image isn't the greatest, I'll replace it with the hard copy when I get it in the mail.)
My next step here will be to attempt to contact his daughter, I guess.
A HUGE thank you goes out to our newest detective, Annette.
Sir Shambling from across the great pond has sent us one of his very cool home-made CDs of Joe Haywood's work (isn't he just the best?). On the basis of that, we can finally put to rest the whole DEESU 316/KENT 490 conundrum - yes, it is the same recordings reissued two years later.
Speaking of KENT 490, good ol' detective Larry Grogan has put up a MUCH cleaner rip of 'Cornbread' (along with a neat Mighty Marvelows cut) over at the Funky 16.
Here's a track I hadn't heard yet, taken from the Shambling CD (along with the excellent scan provided by Peter Hoogers earlier):
RAMPAGE 1002 B
It Takes The Dark To Make You See The Light
Rampage was yet another of Bobby Robinson's convoluted family of small labels. I'm not sure if there were ever any other releases besides the two by Joe on this imprint. Anyway, another great song, right? Dig the distortion on the guitar, the fat bass, the sweet piano, the horn arrangements... word. Joe's soulful vocal is joined on the chorus by an unknown singer providing great Sam & Dave-ish harmonies. This one should've been a hit, man!
Dan: "There were at least two more Rampage releases besides Haywood's:
#1000 - The Ramrods - "Soultrain (Pts 1 & 2)"
-wonder if this is a cover of the Curley Moore single, written by Earl King?. And
#1003 - The Ramrods - "Soul Express (Pts 1 & 2)"
Does anybody have a date on the Rampage stuff? "
Anybody actually own these records? I'd love to hear them!
Well folks, it took a while but I finally came up with one of the other RAMPAGE sides. Courtesy of Colin (who else?), comes this positively SMOKIN' proto-funk groove by The Ramrods:
Soul Express Pt 1
Is this GREAT or what? I have no clue who The Ramrods were, but this stuff just cooks, huh? More evidence from the New York Soul scene of the late 60s and early 70s.
I love it.
Well, The Ramrods record sure opened up a can of worms!
New detective Harry wrote to inform us that the first Ramrods release on RAMPAGE (Soultrain, pts 1&2) was the same recording as a 1963 release by a group called "The Rinkydinks" (imagine?) on ENJOY (Hot Potato, pts 1&2). You can check this out for yourself by going to the "R" page on the rejuvenated FUNK45.com site and playing the real audio links...
Somebody on their site says that The Rinkydinks were a Canadian band, but I think our own detective Dan is probably right about them being a New York group put together by King Curtis (who had the first ever release on ENJOY with "Soul Twist") in 1962. In any event, The Ramrods playing on Soul Express sound like a whole different outfit. I bet this was a big local record in NY at the time... I mean it had to pre-date Express, the 1975 number one hit by the Brooklyn based B.T. Express, not to mention one of my personal faves, (It's Not The Express) It's The J.B.'s Monaurail from later that year (don't forget that Soul Brother #1 lived in New York himself until the late 60s!).
Here is the man with the answers to so many of the poignant questions we pose here at Soul Detective. Yes, none other than Bobby Robinson is reportedly still around and operating "Bobby's Happy House" on 125th Street up in Harlem just as he has since 1946! Although he must now be close to 90 (and looks for all the world like a Sioux elder), I'm hoping he'd be willing to talk to us.
In my conversation with Henry Henderson, the Long Island soul legend I met at the Little Buster Tribute last month, I asked him about Joe Haywood. He told me that in his capacity as the leader of the house band at the Highway Inn, he had to drive up to Harlem to pick up Joe for a gig at the club in 1970... that's the latest date we have on Joe as a performer so far, and indicates he was actually living in New York at the time. As I said earlier up in the J. Hines case, Henry is a great guy and an excellent singer in his own right, in addition to being a veritable font of information... I hope to talk with him again soon.
Here's the A side of Joe's second release for RAMPAGE, which would place it in between the two Ramrods records:
RAMPAGE 1001 A
Let's Walk Together
I wouldn't be surprised if this "deep soul" track had been on Goldwax or Fame or Back Beat or something, you know? Yet here it is produced by Bobby Robinson in New York... the label lists the arranger as Billy Nichols. Think this is the same guy who had the big disco hit Give Your Body Up To The Music in the late 70s?
Hey everybody, it's been a while, huh?
Interesting news; I've been contacted by a guy named Kevin Moore who is the 'activity director' at the nursing home where Sterling Magee lives down in Florida (as you may recall, Sterling was the writer and musical director on FURY 5052). Here's what he had to say:
"I am very much involved in his recovery and "rebirth" to the blues that was so much a part of his life. I mentioned to Sterling the cuts that you shared and the information about him and Mr Haywood... I went to your site and downloaded the other Joe Haywood tunes for Sterling to hear... He was thrilled! Had me play them 3-4 times over!! He remembers Joe well.. Played with him on numerous occasions. I do believe that Sterling was on a few of those records (the Robinson ones) but he is not sure which. Been a while since then..."
Is this internet thing cool or what?
Here's a GREAT tune by Mr. Magee from 'back in the day' (which comes to us courtesy of good ol' detective Colin Dilnot):
Oh She Was Pretty
This record hails from 1966, when Sterling was working with the great Jesse Stone (you know, the Harlem via Kansas City arranger who wrote the charts for Chick Webb and Louis Jordan before revolutionizing R&B as the house arranger at Atlantic Records...). Stone co-wrote this funky mover & groover with Magee. Check out that bass, man! Listening to this record, you can hear many of the same elements as in the Haywood cuts... that elusive 'New York Sound'?
"Sterling recorded 2 45's for Tangerine - this one backed with 'Get In My Arms Little Girl' and TRC 975 'I Still Believe In You'/ 'Tighten Up'. The only other 45 I know by him is Sylvia 45 Keep On backed by the original version of 'Get In My Arms Little Girl'.
There are an excellent set of notes on Sterling Magee in the Ace Records The Arock & Sylvia Soul Story by Ady Croasdell. They tell the story of the above 45's which were all recorded in New York at the Al Sear's studio in the mid-60's and also provide some brief autobiographical details on Sterling as well as telling the story of his transformation into Satan. The Tangerine tracks were leased to them because of Al Sear's involvement in A&R in LA at the time."
Our latest detective Kevin Moore:
"Mark your calendar, as far as we know right now, "Satan and Adam" will be playing at Terra Blues June 1st in the Village in NYC. We are also planning on stopping by Bobby Robinson's record shop while there...
I spoke with Bobby a few months ago, deaf as a doorpost, but was able to hear some... He remembers Sterling very well and related some stories about him. He still mans the store with his family. Amazing man - 90/91 now...
When I get some time I'll send you some more info about Sterling, in the meantime, I have included some links below that will give you a good starting point:
Adam Gussow updated the Wikidpedia site, and the My Space site was done by me. Take a look!"
Thank you, Kevin (and Colin)... ain't life grand?
Hey, y'all! Check this out:
New detective jukebox mafia recently discovered our site, and left this in the comments:
"... I am totally blown away by "(play me) a cordbread song"! After multiple listenings it sounds to me like Joe is saying: "Earl, make a move now. You're the only one that can do it." Around 43 seconds in, right at the first sax break. I don't know who Earl would have been, but maybe someone else here might?"
Good lookin' out there JB! If you listen, Joe does indeed namecheck 'Earl' right after the sax solo begins... it seems possible that he's not referring to the sax player at all, but possibly the drummer, who would be the one to 'make a move'. Now, drummers named Earl, hmmm...
That's right, I'm thinking Earl Palmer, possibly the greatest session stick man of all time. SO, to recap the clues Joe gave us in 'Cornbread' as to who's playing behind him:
"Let the guitar cook from a collard green book, c'mon George!"
- which Dan Phillips thinks might be the great George Davis.
"Put a little gravy on the bass, now... go on Jimmy, make 'em feel good now!"
- nobody's taken a guess on who that might be.
"Earl, make a move now. You're the only one that can do it!"
- which may refer to the saxophone player, or, like I said, the world's greatest drummer.
It would be really cool if we could figure this out, as it might finally shed some light on whether or not Haywood ever actually recorded in New Orleans. He is still being included on various compilations as if he did (witness Confessing - Deep Soul from New Orleans) because of his Deesu and White Cliffs sides. The fact that, as we've talked about before, Marsaint is listed as the publisher on some of those tunes further strengthens the NOLA hypothesis.
Anyway, thanks for the input, JB. We'll see what happens.