Friday, December 24, 2010

Ray Sharpe – Monkey’s Uncle (Jamie) 1959

Amplify’d from www.imshakin.com

Ray Sharpe – Monkey’s Uncle (Jamie) 1959

Author: michael selman
kenny and the kasuals

Ray Sharpe was born in Ft. Worth, Texas, where he was exposed to a large number of musical influences that were running through Ft. Worth and Dallas at the time. It was this vast range of genres that gave Sharpe a wide spectrum to pull his sound from. Characterized by the famed producer Major Bill Smith as “The greatest white-sounding black dude ever,” Sharpe influenced a wave of young musicians that followed him. Sharpe first recorded at Artie Glenn’s studio in Ft. Worth. Glenn had previously written “Crying in the Chapel,” which was his claim to fame.

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23 Dec 2010,
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Ray Sharpe – Monkey’s Uncle (Jamie) 1959


Author: michael selman


kenny and the kasuals


Ray Sharpe was born in Ft. Worth, Texas, where he was exposed to a large number of musical influences that were running through Ft. Worth and Dallas at the time. It was this vast range of genres that gave Sharpe a wide spectrum to pull his sound from. Characterized by the famed producer Major Bill Smith as “The greatest white-sounding black dude ever,” Sharpe influenced a wave of young musicians that followed him. Sharpe first recorded at Artie Glenn’s studio in Ft. Worth. Glenn had previously written “Crying in the Chapel,” which was his claim to fame.



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Sharpe got his big break in Phoenix, Arizona in 1958 when Lee Hazelwood discovered his first single, “That’s the Way I Feel” / Oh, My Baby’s Gone”. This single was first picked up by a subsidiary of the DOT label, Hamilton Records. Although it did not turn the heads of many listeners, it did however keep Hazelwood’s interests in the red. Subsequently DOT dropped Sharpe which is when he was picked up by the Jamie label. It was around this time Duane Eddy had been putting out hit after hit for Jamie.
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With Eddy and Al Casey as his session players and a solid backing by Hazelwood, Sharpe seemed destined for a hit. The Single “Linda Lu” / “Monkey’s Uncle” were both written by Sharpe and put him on the map. “Linda Lu” would reach the Billboard top 100, climbing as high as #46. The song would later go on to be covered by a slew of popular groups including The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, and regional acts like The Coachmen and the Traits.
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The flip to this 1959 single, “Monkey’s Uncles”, with its Chuck Berry teen dancer intro and jerry Lee Lewis piano backbone is the real mover in my opinion. It was in the same year that Sharpe appeared on American Bandstand. In 1966 he recorded with King Curtis and the then unknown Jimi Hendrix for Atco Records.
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Sharpe was never able to reclaim the acclaimed status of “Linda Lu”; however he did record a few more really good tracks for Jamie and other labels over the years. I personally love his single “T.A. Blues”, not surprisingly a Hazlewood original. The song relays the days of the angst ridden teenager, forced to study for tests all week while holding on to the joy of the Friday school bell.
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