Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Scratchy 45s

by Pete Wingfield

I wrote and recorded "Scratchy 45s" in 1976, as a tribute to the New Orleans R&B that I loved then, and still do. The idea was to cram in as many crafty musical and lyrical allusions as possible, while still ending up with a proper original song! I’m sure fellow BWF-ers, being true cognoscenti, will have no trouble spotting them all. Yeah, I know the tempo is a bit too fast and the groove is hardly authentic, but hey, give me a break - it was 33 years ago, I was still kinda green behind the ears, and we were recording in the cool of the Cotswolds in Oxfordshire, not some steamy Louisiana backwater. At least my heart was in the right place. One thing though - had I known then about Bobby Marchan’s reputation as a female impersonator, I maybe wouldn’t have chosen to rhyme “Marchan” with “he’s my man”!

The track actually came out as a single (in the US only), but sank without trace – one of a number of failed attempts to follow up my hit "Eighteen With A Bullet." However, I have it on good authority (Mac Rebennack himself) that the record was heard and relished by some of the musicians that inspired it – I guess they appreciated any glimmer of recognition at a time when the New Orleans music scene was in the doldrums and the city no longer a recording hub. So this Mardi Gras time, wherever you are in the world, why not raise a glass to the timeless, unquenchable spirit of the Crescent City, and as the song says, ‘to the glory that is gone’…

Thanks to Ted for allowing me in as guest host on his esteemed blog, one year on from 2008’s “Super Fat Tuesday Mix”.

Pete Wingfield
Feb 2009


"Scratchy 45s" mp3
by Pete Wingfield, 1976.
available on Eighteen with a Bullet: The Island Recordings


Similar symptoms to the Rockin' Pneumonia - in fact, some doctors find it hard to tell them apart. It'll make you feel so.... unnecessary!

"Tu-Ber-Cu-Lucas And The Sinus Blues" mp3
by Huey 'Piano' Smith and the Clowns, 1959.
available on Having a Good Time

Typically idiosyncratic Fess workout, cut in '58 for Joe Ruffino's Ron label.

"Cuttin' Out" mp3
by Professor Longhair, 1958.
available on Fess: The Professor Longhair Anthology

I couldn't resist including both sides of this primeval classic, from 1960 on the original orange Minit label.

"Ooh Poo Pah Doo pt 1" mp3
by Jessie Hill, 1960.
available on Finger Poppin' & Stompin' Feet

"Ooh Poo Pah Doo pt 2" mp3
by Jessie Hill, 1960.
available on Finger Poppin' & Stompin' Feet

I don't have "Barefootin'" on 45, so this lesser follow-up will have to do!

"Everybody's Hip-Huggin'" mp3
by Robert Parker, 1967.
available on The Wardell Quezerque Sessions

Not the original pressing sadly, but still on Imperial in their "Golden Series".

"It Will Stand" mp3
by The Showmen, 1961.
available on It Will Stand

Licensed from Imperial of course, and on the UK London-American label, repository of all things exciting for British baby-boomer R&B fans. This wonderfully languid groove, Fats and Dave Bartholemew's take on a song by Bobby Charles, was on the 'B' side of "Tell Me That You Love Me", from 1960. Haven't I heard those horn riffs before somewhere?

"Before I Grow Too Old" mp3
by Fats Domino, 1960.
available on Walking to New Orleans

An original pressing of the late Ernest Kador's smash from 1961, with Benny Spellman doing the responses. I learnt that piano solo by heart!

"Mother-In-Law" mp3
by Ernie K-Doe, 1961.
available on Here Come the Girls!

From 1961, the only big hit from Harold Battiste's organization AFO (All For One), his ill-fated attempt at establishing a Musicians' Cooperative. What - socialism, yet?

"I Know" mp3
by Barbara George, 1961.
available on I Know

From '66, on the Mojo label, specialist R&B offshoot of UK Polydor - licensed from Atlantic.

"Thank You John" mp3
by Willie Tee, 1966.
available on Teasin' You

Meters keyboard man in early crooner mode, song written by the ubiquitous Toussaint under his 'Naomi Neville' nom-de-plume. Never a national hit, but still by all accounts a local favorite.

"All These Things" mp3
by Art Neville, 1962.
available on The Very Best of Aaron & Art Neville

A charming, little known and punningly entitled 1968 revisit to "Java"-style MOR territory for the ever-saintlier éminence grise of New Orleans music.

"Hands Christianderson" mp3
by Allen Toussaint, 1968.
available on What Is Success: The Scepter & Bell Recordings

The wartime Navy gunner, undefeated lightweight boxer, body and fender repairman, father of 11 and prolific hitmaker with his first national breakout, for Bobby Robinson's Fury label. Again, on Sue in the UK - in '65, a full four years after its US release. No, for once that's not Toussaint on piano - it's one Marcel Richardson.

"Ya Ya" mp3
by Lee Dorsey, 1961.
available on Holy Cow!: The Very Best of Lee Dorsey

Some definitive New Orleans funk from 1970 on Josie, licensed to CBS / Direction in the UK.

"Look-Ka Py Py" mp3
by The Meters, 1970.
available on Look-Ka Py Py

top photo:
Nicholas Hill's Juke Box, Brooklyn New York, 2008
© Ted Barron


Anonymous said...

The surprises never end at BWF!

JSG said...

A bevy? A smorgasbord? Whatever -- awesome.

Duncanmusic said...

Great surprise to see Pete Wingfield's name here. I like the Scratchy 45 tune. Wish I'd have seen it back when it was out...I'm surprised I didn't...I had nearly everything Island on promo I could find and I found a lot! Last time I heard Pete's name I SAW him playing keyboards with the Everly Brothers on their EB 84 tour with Larrie London, Albert Lee, Phillip Donnelly and Don & Phil. It was my first time seeing them and I made sure I saw them every tour they did thereafter...where are they now? I guess retired to Kentucky except for one hometown festival a year. Pete, are you still in touch? Hopw many of those reunion tours did you do? Would I have seen you again after that glorious concert in Chattauqua, NY in that enclosed wooden outdoor ampitheatre...you had to have been there...it was like being inside a huge finely tuned guitar.

The Hound said...

the original of the Showman's It Will Stand was on Minit..hate to nit pick but thought I'd correct the mistake, nice sounds....

Johnny Vandal said...

Great post--- thanks for all the music! Have a great Fat Tuesday!

Mr. Natural said...

Just thought I'd stop in and tell you how much I enjoy your blog. IT'S GREAT!

Anonymous said...

Unbelievably good selection! Scratchy 45s is great fun - 18 With A Bullet was the only song of Pete Wingfield's I knew. Thanks. W.

mandrew said...

excellent selecitons

Aaron said...

Whoa, what a great post! I'm so glad that I found it, a year later and with working links too! I just came from Mardi Gras and the Saints just won the Superbowl. I'm pretty much floating in the air while snow is falling from the sky in NYC!

Thank you Peter and Boogie Woogie Flu.