the update project: Case One - Joe Haywood
A Long Overdue update to our very first case!Case One (which was over five years ago now!), I made contact with Joe Haywood's wonderful daughter, Deborah Stewart, down in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Deborah, apparently a dead ringer for her father, has followed in his footsteps and is a singer herself. She is committed to keeping the memory of her beloved Daddy alive, and was kind enough to provide us with these excellent photographs, all of which are used by her permission, and remain her own copyrighted personal property. Hub City Music Makers: One Town's Popular Music Legacy, which was put together in 1996 by Peter Cooper and the Hub City Writer's Project. Home to both Ira Tucker and June Cheeks, you know this town had Soul! Although the book focuses mainly on folks like Hank Garland and The Marshall Tucker Band, there is one chapter that is of special interest to us. Black Slacks, would climb to #17 on the Billboard Hot 100, on its way to becoming a million seller, and propel Joe and the group to the very top, with appearances on Ed Sullivan and American Bandstand. "We were hot for a year," Joe said, "...we couldn't get that second hit." The Dynamic Showmen. As the whole Southern Rock' thing came on in the early seventies, he said, the demand for these R&B bands rapidly diminished (think Phil Walden and Capricorn), especially in light of the fact that the suddenly famous Marshall Tucker Band hailed from Spartanburg. Thanks for the insight, Don!
In the late fifties, Joe met and fell in love with a young lady named Rose Head. When their daughter, Deborah, was born in 1960, he was so proud that he wrote a song for her.
The name of that song was Warm And Tender Love.
Joe Dean started singing it with the Twisters, and it became one of their most requested numbers. Shack told me that one night a local dee-jay named Gene Green came and recorded their whole show, and told them to meet him the next day at the station. This was going to be their big break, they thought, "Everybody was picking out what color tuxedo they were gonna get..." he said. Only when they got there, the door was locked and somebody told them that Green had quit, and taken the tapes to New York! Shortly after that, for a variety of reasons, Joe Haywood left for the Big Town as well...John Broven. I can't say enough about how much I respect and admire this man, and the monumental work he has accomplished. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame last year for his groundbreaking Rhythm & Blues in New Orleans, which was a major influence on yours truly. I am now happily ensconced in the book he refers to as his 'life's work', Record Makers and Breakers: Voices of the Independent Rock 'n' Roll Pioneers, which is just breathtaking in its scope. The fact that John lives out here 'on the island' like I do, has afforded us the opportunity to become friends, and I cherish the chances I get to 'pick his brain' over long luncheons at local pubs. He's the greatest!
John has spent more time interviewing Bobby Robinson than anyone else I can think of, both for 'Record Breakers' and for his in-depth contributions to Juke Blues over the years. When I told him we'd be updating our case on Joe Haywood, he sent me a copy of issue #53, in which he and his partner in crime Dickie Tapp wrote an article about Bobby's Enjoy label in 2003. They asked him about Joe...
Warm And Tender Love
"Bobby recalled that Joe was a drummer/vocalist from Spartanburg, South Carolina (the nearest big town to the rural area where Robinson grew up). Bobby was recommended to go out and see Joe at a club in Far Rockaway, NY... Joe didn't seem to mind Percy Sledge cutting 'Warm And Tender Love'. Bobby says he wrote it in 10 minutes - he badly needed $2500 and just had to come up with a good song. Inspiration came in the middle of the night - and Bobby got up to write down the words! Percy Sledge heard Haywood's version as it started to get airplay and knew it was the song he was looking for as a follow-up to his No. 1 hit 'When A Man Loves A Woman'. Percy called Bobby for permission to record the song, and the rest is history!"
So there you have it, Bobby Robinson claimed to have written the song (in ten minutes) that people in Spartanburg remember Joe performing years before.Jerry Wexler backstage at the Apollo, after Percy hit it big. As we discussed earlier, the BMI database lists someone named Clara Thompson (whom Bobby doesn't mention as being around during those fateful ten minutes) as having co-written the song. Anybody have any idea who that might be?
Joe Dean's soulful original saw two more releases; one on the UK Island label (WI-218) in 1965, "It was probably aimed mainly at the West Indian immigrants in London," John said, and one on Cosimo Matassa's White Cliffs label (237) in 1966, "almost certainly to compete with Percy Sledge's version." For what it's worth, in the Juke Blues article, Bobby Robinson told them he had no idea how it ended up on White Cliffs.
If I had to venture a guess, I'd say Marshall Sehorn had something to do with it... but before we open up that can of worms, let's check out Joe's other Enjoy single:
When You Look In The Mirror (You're Looking At The One I Love)
It's easy to see why people compared Haywood to Sam Cooke, huh? What a great singer he was! Deborah told me that she and her father used to harmonize on this one. Released in 1965, once again the writer is listed as Bobby Robinson. When John Broven asked Robinson about Larry Lucie, the man credited as directing the 'orchestra' on this one, he told him Larry was "...a light-skinned guy from downtown New York - a strange character who liked to work from written arrangements." This would be Joe's final Enjoy release, and at this point, the plot thickens. Wilbert Harrison, and bringing him to Bobby Robinson. Bobby told John Broven in Record Makers and Breakers, however, that he found Wilbert himself in 'Jersey'. Be that as it may, Sehorn was instrumental in bringing top earners Bobby Marchan, Lee Dorsey and Gladys Knight & the Pips into the fold, and I always kind of assumed that he had something to do with the signing of Joe Haywood as well. Now, I'm not so sure.
Ever the dealmaker, Sehorn had brokered an agreement with ABC-Paramount that was going to save Robinson's Fire and Fury empire from crumbling into bankruptcy. When that deal was torpedoed by Robinson's not-so-silent partner, Fats Lewis, Sehorn apparently saw the handwriting on the wall and moved on. By mid-1963, he had become National Sales Manager of something called Arnold Records. By the end of the the year, however, he had his own label, SEA-HORN, with none other than Wilbert Harrison 'bubbling under' the Hot 100. If you look closely, you'll see that the single above is distributed by 'Dart Record Sales', which was apparently owned by Ewart Abner, then head of Vee-Jay Records.
In early 1964, 'Seahorn' made the move to Chicago, and brought Wilbert Harrison, Lee Dorsey and Maurice Williams along with him, signing on as 'Regional Vice-President' with Abner's Constellation label. Strangely, however, there does not appear to have been any releases by 'his' artists on the label [ed. note - according to Ace detective Dan Phillips, there actually were releases by Lee Dorsey and Wilbert Harrison on the label - see the 'comments']. After Abner was caught up in the Vee-Jay bankruptcy (notice a pattern here?) in 1965, Sehorn hooked up with Larry Uttal at Bell, who agreed to distribute a new label that he and his partner Allen Toussaint had formed (an idea which was reportedly pitched to Toussaint backstage at The Apollo after a Lee Dorsey performance), Sansu. According to our man Broven in 'Record Makers', as the dust cleared in Harlem, "...amongst the wreckage, the Fire and Fury masters were picked up by an emergent Bell Records in 1965, probably for the proverbial song." The stage was set. Deesu, initially as an outlet for old favorites Wilbert Harrison and Maurice Williams. With Dover looking to expand on the heels of Robert Parker's international sensation, Barefootin', Cosimo was on the lookout for artists for his White Cliffs imprint, which consisted primarily of material leased from other sources. As Broven alluded to earlier, with Percy Sledge breaking into the top five R&B that July for Atlantic with Warm and Tender Love, it's not much of a stretch to imagine both Sehorn and Uttal agreeing to an unauthorized (by Bobby Robinson, anyway) reissue of Joe Haywood's original version on White Cliffs. What happened next has long been a matter of contention between Soul Detectives everywhere...
Hand In Hand
When Cosimo wanted a follow-up single on Haywood for White Cliffs (of Dover, get it?), did Sehorn bring Joe down to New Orleans to cut one, or use some New York material he already had 'in the can'? One thing you notice right away is that Joe and Larry Lucie share the songwriting credits both on this sweet side and the truly amazing flip (as discussed earlier) Let's Make It, which certainly seems to prove that our man Joe Dean had the chops to have written his earlier Enjoy material. The fact that Robinson's 'light skinned guy' Lucie is also listed as the arranger, lends credence to the idea that these sides were cut in New York... which would seem to indicate that the 'M.Sehorn & A. Toussaint for Tou-Sea Productions' credit was not entirely accurate, which certainly seems possible - but, let's hold that thought a moment.
Although there does not seem to be much information out there about Larry Lucie, who passed away in 2009 at 101 years of age (!), the list of Jazz greats that he played guitar with is just incredible. Two names that jump out at you right away are Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong, which would certainly seem to indicate that Lucie was no stranger to the Crescent City, and may have been happy to make the trip down there with Joe. Although neither side really has that readily identifiable 'New Orleans' sound, they do have this certain something that makes you wonder. I've been talking to our good friend (and very first contributor to Case One here back in 2006, thank you) Dan Phillips about that something being the fact that an uncredited Wardell Quezergue may have written the horn charts. That got him thinking (always a dangerous thing) and he came back to me with this; "Wardell definitely did at least some production and arranging for Tou-Sea Productions. I have a Willie Harper single on Tou-Sea (133), 'A Certain Girl' / 'I Don't Need You Anymore' that shows 'Produced by Big Q for Tou-Sea Productions' and 'Arranged by D. C. Wardell' (I'm pretty sure the DC stands for 'Dollars & Cents')..." There ya go! The Tou-Sea release appears to be from roughly the same period (late 1966/early 1967), so Quezergue's involvement is a very real possibility.
In this trade ad from February of 1967, you can see that Dover had high hopes for Sehorn's Deesu imprint, proclaiming the label's newest release, Willie West's Greatest Love as the logical successor to smash hits Barefootin' and Tell It Like It Is. It wasn't. Be that as it may, I think it shows that Joe Haywood's move from White Cliffs to Deesu was definitely seen as a step up, and that they were willing to promote him further. All of which brings us to the record that started all of this in the first place, Deesu 313.
With Larry Lucie now credited as the arranger and producer, it may well be that these sides were cut back in New York, as previously postulated. In addition to Haywood, there are some new names sharing the composer's credit... according to the BMI Database, L. Winifred was actually Lucie (in disguise), L. King was a woman named Lenore King, whose three other BMI Work Titles were all co-written with Lucie (possibly a significant other?), and L.J. Dixon is an apparently dyslexic reference to John 'Lucky' Dixon. Although he collaborated with Otis Blackwell, about the only thing I can find on the web about him is this undated Google Profile he apparently posted himself:
Kind of breaks your heart, doesn't it? Lucky, if you're still out there please get in touch. We'd love to speak with you! So... Tin Pan Alley, huh? More evidence for the New York origin of these tracks. But hold on a minute, dear detective, and please take another listen to Sadie Mae, paying close attention to the guitarist, who might just be the missing link that ties all of this together.
DEESU 316 A
Play A Cornbread Song For Me and My Baby
Here, courtesy of Home of the Groove, is the original Deesu release of Joe's next single. If you recall, this was the one that got us talking about the possible involvement of that guitar player in the first place, one George Davis. Part and parcel of the whole Dover Records package, that's George on Barefootin' (which was released on Wardell Quezergue's NOLA label), and he not only co-wrote Tell It Like It Is (with Lee Diamond), he was a co-owner of the label it was issued on (with Alvin 'Red' Tyler), Parlo. It certainly would appear likely that he would have been involved in the Deesu sessions as well. Ironically, it was the very success of Parlo that helped to bring the over-extended Dover empire crashing down, awash in unpaid bills and broken promises. Once again, it seems, Sehorn was there to pick up the pieces.
Deesu 316 would be the last release on the label emblazoned with 'Dist. by Dover Records'. Deesu 317 (Willie West's Baby, Baby I Love You) had no distributor listed at all, and gave a Tremé address for the label. I'm not sure if Sehorn made the break with Dover before or after the IRS showed up at Cosimo's door, but ultimately it doesn't matter. He came out smelling like a rose, as they say, and was one of the few people to survive the imminent collapse of the whole New Orleans music scene, due in large part, of course, to Allen Toussaint, Lee Dorsey and his continued distribution agreement with Larry Uttal at Amy/Mala/Bell.
Apparently, however, Sehorn believed in Joe Dean's last Deesu release enough to shop the master around to another label, Joe Bihari's Kent Records which was, according to our man Broven, "...one of the last labels to focus on the stores and jukeboxes in the black enclaves." Detective Dan sent along a scan of his promo copy of the Kent release of the slightly retitled (Play Me) A Cornbread Song, hand-dated as being received in early June of 1968. Despite the push from Bihari, this re-issue fell on deaf ears as well. In 1990, the UK's Ace Records became part of a three-way deal that purchased the entire Modern/Flair/Rpm/Kent catalogue from the Bihari brothers... which would (eventually) lead to this email from Ace's Dean Rudland "I have just been reading your Joe Haywood blog and it is a fine thing... Just to let you know that the four tracks owned by Kent were recorded in 1967 at Cosimo Matassa's studio in New Orleans - this is information from the tape box. I think the Deesu single was released December 1967 and then picked up nationally by Kent about 6 months later... the tape box is devoid of any further information, other than confirmation that the session was supervised by 'Seehorn'."
So, there you have it, definite confirmation that Joe Dean Haywood (and Larry Lucie, for that matter) recorded at Cosimo's Studio on Governor Nicholls Street in late 1967. Thanks, Dean! Based on that little factoid, I'd say we were right about George Davis (and very possibly Wardell as well) being involved in all the White Cliffs/Deesu material (although I've come to believe that George's guitar work on Sadie Mae may have been overdubbed after the fact...). Here's another hypothesis for y'all - you know that part in 'Cornbread' when Joe says "Earl, make a move now, you're the only one who can do it..."? What if he was name-checking the sax player on the session... I'm thinking Earl Turbinton. Ya think? I can't believe we hadn't come up with that as a possibility before. Oh well. Now all we have to do is figure out who ol' Jimmy was...
As discussed earlier, by 1969, Joe Haywood was back in New York working with Bobby Robinson's new Musical Director, Sterling Magee. Once again, Deborah remembers harmonizing with her father as a child on Ghost Of Love, yet another song which Robinson claims to have written... business as usual, I guess. This 45 was long thought to be Bobby's final release on Fury, until we dug the previously unheard Fury 5053 (Johnny Jones - No Love As Sweet As Ours b/w Stand By Me) out of the basement of the Happy House in 2008.
Whatever Bobby Robinson's relationship was with Joe Haywood, whatever complicated sway he may have held over him, one thing is certain - Bobby knew what an incredible talent he was. In 1970, when Robinson decided to create a new record company, he wanted Haywood to have the inaugural release on the label, resulting in one of the best records either of them ever made.
FRONT PAGE 1000 A
(Yes, I know we already had this one up here six years ago, but it's just so awesome, I knew you wouldn't mind.) As detective Shambling says on his excellent Joe Haywood page; "Haywood cut so many fine sides it’s hard to pick out just a few but if you want to find an example of a classic New York deep track, look no further than the sensational Strong Feeling - one of Joe's very best performances on top of some outstanding playing by Cornell Dupree, Pretty Purdie et al. 'Southern' soul at its very best. Bobby Robinson's 45 label describes this as 'The Sound Of Earthy Soul'and you wouldn't argue with that. He goes on to say 'This record spotlites Joe Haywood in a strong soulful rendition of a Touching New Song'. Sounds just about right as well..."
Bobby was apparently planning on really making a go of things, and soon had Joe booked into the Apollo. Check out this awesome photograph Deborah sent us of Joe on stage up there on 125th Street around this time. She remembers making the trip to New York to see her father perform... "That band that he is with at the Apollo was with him when we went to see him up there in 1969 (I was 9 yrs old) and Bobby Robinson offered daddy $1,000 to start me out there (I guess so he could do the same thing to me). But Joe Dean Haywood said NO!" This was also the period when Henry Henderson recalled being sent to Harlem to pick Joe up and bring him out to Long Island for a gig... "In those days, Leo Price was booking all those acts that came through the Apollo into other clubs in the area he had an interest in. For a time, he had The Highway Inn in Uniondale, and he was the one that put me together with a bass playing bandleader named Sylvester West, and it was our band that backed Joe up. He was a fantastic singer!" Henry said he still sees some of the guys from those days, and he'll ask if they can remember anything else about Joe for us. Thanks!
FRONT PAGE 1003 A
In Your Heart You Know I Love You
Here's another positively infectious Deep Soul number from this period, composed by the same guy who wrote Strong Feeling, Delmar Donnell. I can't seem to find out much about him, other than the fact that he was an integral part of the Harlem music scene, who made the move into Hip-Hop in the eighties like Bobby did, with his Street Beat and Street Jam labels. There is a 2003 Street Beat release by Delmar on iTunes, I Feel Your Pain. I'm going to try and locate him. In any event, by the time Joe and the boys get to the Gospel-tinged background vocals towards the end here, you can't help but sign on and go along for the ride. This is what Soul music is all about!
FRONT PAGE 1003 B
I Cross My Heart (and Hope to Die)
The flip, naturally, lists Robinson as the composer, and whether or not that's the case, his skill as a producer is certainly on display here. Just a great song, it puts you in mind of some of Sam Baker's Sound Stage 7 material, with those uptown horn lines just crankin' it out. I seriously love the stripped clean sound of Joe's vocals on both sides of this 45... 'earthy soul' indeed! It's hard to believe that none of these Front Page records even dented the charts, but I guess the times they were a-changing.
When Don Cornelius made the move into national syndication with Soul Train in October of 1971, he chose a cut Bobby had produced on King Curtis (under the name of The Rinky Dinks) for Enjoy back in 1963, Hot Potato, as the show's first theme song. Whether or not Robinson was privy to that decision, I don't know, but with that kind of opportunity knocking, it wasn't long before he set up yet another label, Rampage, and issued the same track (retitled as 'Soultrain'), credited this time to The Ramrods. It would just miss the R&B top forty in the Summer of 1972. This was the closest Robinson had come to a hit record in years, and his decision to follow it up with a Joe Haywood release demonstrates, once again, how good he must have thought he was.
RAMPAGE 1001 B
I Would If I Could
His choice of this nine year old cut that was originally issued on Enjoy (and had actually been the flip on all three releases of Warm and Tender Love) seems a bit odd but, hey, it had worked before, I guess! For the top side, Bobby chose a song he had written and produced on Willie Hightower for Fury in 1967, Let's Walk Together. Joe's version (as we discussed six years ago) is better. Way better.
RAMPAGE 1002 B
I Love You Yes I Do
Haywood's next release for the label (which comes to us courtesy of one of our top contributors, Peter Hoogers), would be this excellent take on the other side of that same Willie Hightower Fury 45. Once again (no offense, Willie), I think it blows the earlier one away. Along with its phenomenal A side, It Takes The Dark To See The Light, this is one of Joe Dean's best singles. Released in 1972, it would also represent his final recording. One has to ask why? As gumshoe Shambling put it; "Joe’s impassioned style of singing was getting out of fashion, and the sort of southern arrangements that he sounded so comfortable in were also becoming passé."
But, what of these persistent rumors of drug use and heroin addiction? This idea that Haywood signed away his copyrights for a quick fix? According to Deborah; "Back in those days, yes, he did get on drugs, and instead of Bobby trying to get him some help, he used that fact to his advantage, paid him a little of nothing and moved on..." Shack told me that every once in a while, when Joe would 'get in trouble' up in New York, his mother would go pick him up and bring him back home to Spartanburg... As we said earlier, however, I think it was 'business as usual' for Bobby Robinson to take credit for a composition whenever he felt like it, and that we wouldn't even be talking about it if Atlantic and Percy Sledge hadn't turned Joe's song into such an enduring classic, earning Robinson beaucoup bucks in the process. After years of struggling to make ends meet, Deborah said, her father became a 'wino', yet was still able to hold down his job as a driver with the Yellow Deluxe Cab Company for many years.
In the early nineties, Bobby Robinson came down to Spartanburg and met with Joe Dean in a local hotel room. Haywood emerged visibly shaken. "He's waiting for me to die," he told his daughter, "so he can release more of my music and get paid." In October of 1994, Joe and his beloved mother were involved in a terrible car accident, and she died of injuries sustained in the wreck. Joe was never the same. He collapsed and died on his best friend's porch on November 14, 1996. The cause of death was listed as Pulmonary Heart Failure... otherwise known as a broken heart.
Deborah Stewart's love for her Dad burns as Warm and Tender as ever.
"Thank God for you and all of the Detectives and all the Fans across the World that have shown such great interest and support for the life, death and legacy of my father, Joe Dean Haywood. I'm sure, if Daddy was here, he would be crying tears of joy to know that someone has finally recognized that it was him that touched the hearts and lives of so many people... God Bless each and every one of you, and that's from the very pit of my heart!"
Thank You, Deborah, for everything. Your father's music will live on forever!