Thursday, October 21, 2010

feel it: "Blues '67" - Huey 'Piano' Smith & the Clowns (White Cliffs)

Amplify’d from darcysfeelit.blogspot.com
Feel It


A bluesbird over....

There was a record fair in town last weekend. It’s in a great venue - the new foyer/cafe bit of the good old Bristol Colston Hall. I went to one earlier in the year but from memory didn’t buy anything.
In truth I’m a bit ambivalent about record fairs, especially in the UK. For one thing I like a bargain, and I know they are going to be few and far between at fairs where savvy sellers are manning the stalls. Also I know I will be lucky to find much soul (especially of the 45 variety with the big hole in the middle), although as it’s a fair I sort of expect to find some, so I end up doubly disappointed when I don’t.
So it was I was in two minds whether to go, but Mrs Darce said “you know you want to really and I’ll drive you down and pick you up”! I couldn’t turn that offer down!
As I got out of the car I said I would be anything between 45 minutes and 2 hours (you see – low expectations). It turned out I was 3 hours )and I could have been a lot longer if I had decided to take up residence at the reggae man’s stall).
The first hour did live down to my expectations. Lots of looking with nothing to get the heart racing. It’s funny, if I had been looking at the exact same records at a car boot sale I would have been perfectly happy because there would have been that air of mystery and expectation. But, because I knew the guys selling these records undoubtedly knew what they had, the thrill of the chase was sort of missing.
I was just starting to think about retiring for an early lunch and calling Mrs Darce when I pulled out a Jackie Wilson single – a late 60s UK MCA re-issue of the The Who Who Song in company sleeve and in nice condition. Nothing to shout about but a nice record for a £1 nevertheless. That spurred me on, so I climbed the stairs and decided on a quick spin around all the stalls to see what else there was. Plenty of albums, plenty of rock, a fair smattering of jazz...... and a stall dedicated to 45s including boxes marked “Soul”, "Northern", “Motown/Gordy”, “James Brown/Marva etc”, “R&B”, and “Swamp”, and a portable Numark turntable there to play whatever took your fancy. Now I was excited. And that is where I happily spent the next couple of hours.
There were no dollar bin records on offer - £5 and up predominantly – so I didn’t come away with many records, but the few I bought I am mighty pleased with and intend to feature them all on Feel It in the next few weeks. Had a good chat with the dealer too (but didn’t get his name). He hasn’t got a shop and can’t be doing with the internet or ebay. It seems he only does record fairs and does as many in the US as the UK – he said he would be in Texas in the next couple of weeks, so that is presumably for the Austin Record Convention.
The record I’m featuring today I nearly didn’t buy. The White Cliffs label had immediately caught my interest as I was vaguely aware it was a NOLA label, but I didn’t know that Huey ‘Piano’ Smith had released anything on that label. I played it and it sounded OK but I think the fact that the lyrics were not much more than a shopping list of dances and it was a part 1/part 2 made it not so much of a must have in comparison to the other records I had already pulled out, and there was the small dent in the wallet to think of too. So, whilst deep down my instinct told me I should buy it, I initially decided not to. The dealer then said of the handful of records I was considering buying this was the one I really should buy – and with a slight reduction in price that was enough for me to change my mind.
I think I made the right choice, and I thank the dealer for making my mind up. Now I’ve played it a few times I really love it, it has an irresistible lope, and Part 1, which features Brenda Brandon’s vocals – she really testifies at the end - is different enough to Part 2 where James Rivers gets to blow.
I can find virtually no references to this 45 on internet searches. The track is featured on an old Charly released Huey Smith compilation CD, but the 45 itself doesn’t seem to appear on any sales lists and I think it really is quite rare.
The White Cliffs label was part of Cosimo Matassa’s Dover group of labels, which also included Frisco, Deesu, Nola, Eight-Ball, and Tailgate. Coming from the UK it’s strange to see the names Dover and White Cliffs emanating from New Orleans.
Around the time this 45 was released (1967!) Huey Smith was trying to restart his recording career and had also been performing as The Pitter Pats and also released records as The Hueys and Shindig Smith & The Soulshakers.
I’m betting ana-b will like this one.
and.... Part 2 (mp3)


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1 comment:

darcy said...

A small point: I know (now) that Darcy is primarily a girl's name in the US but I am a Mr not a Mrs.

Darcy is play on my initials DRC.

Glad you liked the post.

Darcy