Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Jenkins’

Saturday Singles Nos. 124, 125 & 126

June 1, 2012

Originally posted April 18, 2009

Last week, as I began to look at the records I’ve purchased in April over the years, we got as far as 1989, when I was beginning to pack up after two years of teaching at Minot State University. A year later, in April of 1990, I moved from Minnesota to a Kansas hamlet, where a lady friend waited. I bought no records in April of 1990, and in July of that year, I moved from that small town in Kansas to Columbia, Missouri, to teach once more.

In the spring of 1991, the staff at the student radio station at Stephens College finished cleaning off its shelves. I’d gotten quite a few records in March; my April haul that month was minimal. I brought home some Jake Holmes, some Ides of March, a couple albums by the Sutherland Brothers and the Balkan Rhythm Band’s album The Jazziest Balkan Dance Band Around! I got a Barbra Streisand album at a garage sale and went to one of Columbia’s downtown emporiums to get the new Ryko release – on translucent green vinyl – of Ringo Starr’s first tour in 1989 with his All-Starr Band.

In August of 1991, it was back to Minnesota and to journalism, as I took a job in Eden Prairie, one of the Twin Cities’ southwestern suburbs, and I found an apartment in a northwestern suburb, leaving me with a twenty-mile commute through some of the thickest traffic in the Twin Cities. I liked my job, but I didn’t care for much else that was going on, and – and I find this remarkable – I didn’t buy a record from the end of July 1991, just before I left Columbia, until April of 1992, when I moved to Pleasant Avenue in south Minneapolis, five blocks from Cheapo’s.

In the first days of that April, a garage sale brought me a local gospel album by the Greater Sabathani Baptist Church Mass Choir, and later that week, on my first visit to Cheapo’s, I picked up Bruce Springsteen’s pair of new releases, Lucky Town and Human Touch. As the month wore on, I found Jesse Winchester, Dobie Gray’s Drift Away and Kate and Anna McGarrigle’s Dancer With Bruised Knees. In retrospect, that month’s purchases seem tentative. By the time April danced around again, I’d added more than a hundred and seven LPs to the stacks. (More likely to the growing collection of crates on the floor of my small apartment, as the big shelves themselves were beginning to be filled.)

Looking at the LP log this morning, I see a pattern I’d never noticed before, one for which I have no explanation. In the early 1990s, I bought lots of records during summer, fall and winter, and then – even living so close to Cheapo’s – my purchases tailed off in spring. The only reason I can think of is that, as a reporter whose work was tied closely to goings-on in the schools, spring was a busier season than the others. But April 1993 found me bringing home only three LPs: one by Billy Ocean, one by Sade and one by James Taylor. In April 1994, it was one album each by the Crystals, Boz Scaggs and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. In April 1995, it was one Eric Clapton album and one by Minnie Riperton. In April 1996, the month when I left journalism and began a two-and-a-half-year period of scuffling, I got LPs by Ringo Starr, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Hurricane Smith.

Cheapo’s moved eight blocks further away. My car died. I used my 1965 Schwinn to get around the neighborhood, and I rode Metro buses to get to my long-term temp jobs downtown. And I began to get real serious about buying records, as music seemed like the only thing at the time that was helping me maintain my equilibrium. Eleven LPs in April of 1997, starting with The Best of Delaney & Bonnie and ending with the O’Jays’ Collectors Items. April of 1998 brought me twenty-five LPs: The first was Muddy Waters’ Rolling Stone collection, the last was Cris Williamson’s Blue Rider, and the most interesting was likely Huey “Piano” Smith & His Clowns: The Imperial Sides 1960-61.

In April 1999, during the last spring I was within biking distance of Cheapo’s, I brought home fifty-seven records. The first was Cold Blood’s Thriller! The last was Jim Horn’s Neon Nights. And the most interesting? Probably Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares, the 1987 LP that followed in the path of the Nonesuch Explorer series, delving – for three more albums on vinyl and CD – into the odd, dissonant and compelling choral music of Bulgaria.

Fifty-seven records in one April. I don’t know if that’s a record for an entire month. I imagine we’ll find out as we go through the log month-by-month. I do know that come the next April, in early 2000, I was no longer in the workforce, I was seven miles further from Cheapo’s (though there were used record stores near where I lived, just none nearly as good), and, having gone online and digital, I was thinking a lot about CDs.

I bought two records in April 2000: the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing (to replace a damaged copy I’d had for years) and an anthology titled Guys With Soul Are The Greatest. In April 2001, I bought a sealed copy of Bruce Springsteen’s Live In New York City. And in 2002, I brought home an anthology of blues artists who recorded for Atlantic Records in the 1950 and 1960s.

By this time, the Texas Gal and I were in the ’burbs, planning our retreat to St. Cloud, and the majority of my record-shopping was done online. In April 2003, I got Eric Burdon Declares “War” and Johnny Jenkins’ marvelous Ton Ton Macoute!, some of which is laid on instrumental tracks that were intended for a Duane Allman solo album. By the time we got to St. Cloud, even online purchases were infrequent, and most of my vinyl hunting came at the occasional garage sale. April 2004 brought me two Steve Forbert LPs at a garage sale, and April 2007 brought me Shawn Phillips’ Collaboration (such a quiet album that I’ve never found a worthwhile vinyl copy although I’ve purchased maybe ten of them) and Jeannie C. Riley’s Harper Valley P.T.A. And last April, in a store I’d not seen before, tucked into a strip mall behind Red Lobster, I found R.B. Greaves and Very Extremely Dangerous by Muscle Shoals guitar stalwart Eddie Hinton.

Given such a mishmash of possibilities, I’ve decided to share three songs this morning. So, from vinyl ranging from near-pristine to well-used, here are your Saturday Singles:

“Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” by R.B. Greaves from R.B. Greaves [1969]

“Karlov’s Gankino” by the Balkan Rhythm Band from The Jazziest Balkan Dance Band Around! [1983]

“Down Along The Cove” by Johnny Jenkins (with Duane Allman et al.) from Ton Ton Macoute! [1970]

A Bit Of A Viral Delay

November 30, 2011

Originally posted January 16, 2009

Well, the Texas Gal pulled three records from the mystery box last evening – actually, she pulled five, and I’ve selected the three that looked in the best shape – and it looks like an interesting mix: some classic country, some 1950s (I think) easy listening and a dose of late 1980s anger from Austin, Texas. But I won’t be researching and posting them today.

In fact, I have a sense that I’ve not going to do much of anything today.

The flu/sore throat virus that’s been pestering the Texas Gal since, oh, last weekend decided during the night that it was restless. Being of expansionist tendencies, it moved to new territory and has settled in my muscles and throat. Beyond one absolutely essential errand, I think that once I finish this necessarily brief post, I’ll be doing very little today. Luckily, I have music – and some recorded television – to ease me through the day.

But as I’m always reluctant to leave this space without some little token or two, here are a few suitable tunes for a day like this:

“Sick and Tired” – Johnny Jenkins from Ton Ton Macoute! (1970)

“I’m My Own Doctor” by Debbie Dovale, Roulette 4543 (1964)
(Thanks to Caesar Tjalbo!)

“Call the Doctor” by J. J. Cale from Natually (1971)

“Country Doctor” by Bruce Hornsby from Hot House (1995)

’Til tomorrow, I hope!

A Slinky Trip Along Back Roads

April 29, 2011

Originally posted July 30, 2007

One of the maddening joys of collecting music, I imagine, is being a completist: aiming to acquire every piece of music produced by a certain musician or band. It’s an interesting idea, but unless the musician in question was a hermit and is long dead, it seems as if it would be impossible.

A note caught my eye at a forum where I drop in now and then. I’d posted Boo Hewerdine’s Baptist Hospital there, and one of my fellow forumites left a note “to all the Richard Thompson completists out there,” noting that Thompson played on a few tracks on the album. Certainly, in these Internet days, it’s far easier to be a completist if one wishes to be: There is more information more readily available than there used to be, and the music itself is more easily found, as well. So if one wishes to find the entire musical output of, say, Richard Thompson, one has a chance – however slender – of doing so.

I suppose it depends on one’s definition of completist. I have a lot of Beatles’ vinyl. In fact, I think I have almost everything that was released on Capitol/Apple, rare B-sides and all. I haven’t looked since I thought about it a few weeks ago, but it may be that of all the albums released from 1964 on – original releases and later compilations – the only thing I am missing is Reel Music, the compilation of music used in their films. If that’s the case, I probably should wander over to Ebay one of these days and find it. But I am certain that I have all of the songs on that compilation, so it’s not like it’s a matter of anything new escaping me. (I’m more interested these days in gathering the CD issues of the Beatles’ work in its British configuration, and I have five CDs to go on that little project. Now, if I were in the mood for a real collecting challenge, I’d aspire to collecting the British configuration albums on vinyl!)

As much as I like the Beatles, I’m not interested in acquiring every little thing they put on tape during their years together and during the odd times they were in each others’ company in the years after their break-up. (And I do like the Beatles very much; it was their music, for the most part, that brought me to loving pop music, and they remain one of my four or five favorite groups/artists of all time.) Given the sheer amount of stuff recorded during those years, acquiring all of it would be nigh impossible and, to my mind, not very rewarding.

Another artist whose fans would have a difficult time acquiring a complete collection would be Duane Allman. I said earlier that if the musician in question were long dead, it would make the acquisition of a complete collection easier. Well, in Duane’s case, that’s not necessarily so. Yes, he’s been dead for almost thirty-six years. But during his brief career as a member of the Allman Brothers Band and, especially, as a sideman, he was so prolific and so, well, casual about adding his talents to projects that from this distance, it would seem nigh impossible to get a complete collection of Duane Allman.

The website Duane Allman Resources is a good place to go to grasp the problem. Notes for many of the albums listed in the chronology at the site give differing accounts as to what tracks Allman played on. And given Allman’s well-known propensity for showing up at sessions and adding his talent to the mix without worrying about credit or even compensation, it would be utterly impossible, one would think, to track down every piece of tape to which he added his extraordinary talent.

After all, there would always be one more session to find, one more recording to seek, kind of like the legendary thirtieth song written by blues legend Robert Johnson or – more in my vein – the rumored tapes of sessions by The Band with Sonny Boy Williamson II. Now, I’m not here to rain on anyone’s parade; I wish completists well. I’m just happy to listen to the music that’s readily available, some of which itself can be difficult to find.

An album that falls into that category is one that features Duane Allman on four of its nine original tracks as well as on two bonus tracks included on the CD issue, now evidently out-of-print. Johnny Jenkins’ Ton Ton Macoute!, originally released in 1970, was issued on CD in 1997, according to All-Music Guide, but seems to no longer be available new anywhere (three copies were available used at Amazon this morning, starting at $60).

And that’s too bad. Ton Ton Macoute! is a tasty serving of southern stew, a slinky trip along the back roads. Several of the tracks, as I indicated above, have Duane Allman playing on them; they were originally intended to be part of an Allman solo album, but when the Allman Brothers Band took off, the backing tracks were handed to Jenkins, who made the songs his own. A few of the other members of the Allman Brothers Band – Jaimoe, Berry Oakley and Butch Trucks – added their talents to Jenkins’ sessions, as did Capricorn stalwarts Pete Carr, Eddie Hinton and Johnny Sandlin.

Highlights of the album include Jenkins’ sly takes on Bob Dylan’s “Down Along The Cove” and Muddy Waters’ “Rolling Stone,” both of which were included on the Duane Allman anthologies. But the best track has to be Jenkins’ slithery performance on Dr. John’s “I Walk On Gilded Splinters,” which Jenkins and crew turn into a voodoo-nasty excursion deeper into the swamp than many people dare to wander.

According to the above cited chronology, Duane Allman plays on those three tracks as well as on “Voodoo In You” from the original album, and on the bonus tracks “I Don’t Want No Woman” and “My Love Will Never Die.”

My thanks to the blog Discos Ocultos, where I found the CD rip.

Johnny Jenkins – Ton Ton Macoute! [1970]

I Walk On Gilded Splinters
Leaving Trunk
Blind Bats And Swamp Rats
Rollin’ Stone
Sick And Tired
Down Along The Cove
Bad News
Voodoo In You
I Don’t Want No Woman (bonus)
My Love Will Never Die (bonus)

Some information
A visitor asked Friday: “Are you willing to share info on what program you use to clean up the pops and clicks from the LPs? [Your] transfers are exceptionally clean, and don’t have any of the ‘whooshing’ sound that comes from a lot of noise reduction processes.”

Actually, I don’t use any noise reduction program at all. Early on, in January and maybe February, I used the noise reduction utility in Audacity, the program I use to rip LPs, but I didn’t like what the noise reduction did to the overall quality of the rip: It seemed to make it a little tinny and echoey. So I quit using it.

I would guess that over the course of the blog, a little more than half of the album posts have been rips from vinyl taken from my collection. Other album posts have been rips from CDs in my collection that have now – from what I can tell – gone out of print. And there have been several shares of albums that I’ve found at other blogs, albums that are out of print, as far as I can tell. Some of those have been ripped from vinyl, according to the individuals who posted them at blogs or forums; others were ripped from CD. When I know the provenance of a rip, I try to say so in my post.

The fact that some of my shares are ripped from (out of print) CD’s is one reason the album shares here are clean. Another is that when I rip an LP, I am very picky. I mentioned the other week that I had been ripping a Jim Horn LP and abandoned it after too many scratches became too audible. I don’t mind a share with a few pops and scratches; many of the LPs I share are, after all, between thirty-five and forty-five years old. But I am picky, and the bulk of my record collection is in pretty good shape. So the rips I do post will generally be pretty clean, and the word “from vinyl” will be in the post line. [Those post lines – detailing the size of the download, the bitrate and the origin – have not been included in the archive.]

I should note here my policy on material found elsewhere. I will share music found on other blogs. I will not use other blogs’ uploads. The links to uploaded music you find here are my links. To share music found elsewhere is, to my mind, a good thing, expanding the awareness of music that can be fairly obscure. To copy and paste another blogger’s link is, to my mind, lazy at best and certainly dishonest. So any link to an upload here is one that I have created. Similarly, any written content posted here is my own – with the exception of quotations from another source, which will always be cited.

A Baker’s Dozen from 1970

April 18, 2011

Originally posted April 11, 2007

I’ve been dithering back and forth for a few days, trying to decide what year to feature in today’s Baker’s Dozen. I spent some time sorting out the tunes from various years on the RealPlayer (in the process realizing that I might need to beef up the number of tunes for some of the years prior to the British Invasion and for the 1980s) trying to decide.

I was thinking about 1969 and about 1970 but I couldn’t make up my mind. Finally, as the Texas Gal was pulling on her coat to leave for work this morning, I gave her the choice between those two years and 1966. Without hesitation, she chose 1970. So I looked at my list of love songs that I sometimes use as a starting point. Two were from 1970: “It Don’t Matter To Me” by Bread and “Long, Long Time” by Linda Ronstadt.

Without telling her which songs they were, I asked her to choose between Love Song No. 1, Love Song No. 2 or a random start. And she chose a random start.

And I think we came up with a pretty good set of songs for the year, which is truly one of my favorite years for music, as it was the first full calendar year when I was listening consistently to pop and rock. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my first two album purchases with my own money – as opposed to gifts – were the Beatles’ Let It Be and the double album with the silver cover that was labeled simply Chicago and has since come to be called Chicago II.

By the end of the year, the collection had grown to include albums by the Bee Gees, by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and The Band as well several more LPs by the Beatles. I also spent a lot of time listening to Top 40 radio; looking at a list of the year’s major single releases in Norm N. Nite’s Rock On Almanac is like looking at a roster of old friends.

So here are thirteen old friends:

“Arizona” by Mark Lindsay from Arizona

“Please Call Home” by the Allman Brothers Band from Idlewild South

“Heavy Church” by Three Dog Night from Naturally

“The Mob” by the Meters from Look-Ka Py Py

“Blue Boy” by Joni Mitchell from Ladies of the Canyon

“Built for Comfort” by Howlin’ Wolf from The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions

“New Morning” by Bob Dylan from New Morning

“Casey Jones” by the Grateful Dead from Workingman’s Dead

“Sunny Skies” by James Taylor from Sweet Baby James

“Down Along The Cove” by Johnny Jenkins from Ton-Ton Macoute!

“Let It Be” by Aretha Franklin from This Girl’s in Love With You

“Do You Remember The Sun” by It’s A Beautiful Day from Marrying Maiden

“Upon The Earth” by Illustration from Illustration

A few notes about this Baker’s Dozen:

Mark Lindsay, as you might know, had been the frontman for Paul Revere and the Raiders, which had thirteen Top 40 hits – four in the Top Ten – during the 1960s. I’ve always thought that “Arizona” was one of the last gasps in the Top 40 of the hippie sensibility with its references to San Francisco, rainbow shades, posting posters and Indian braids. And “Arizona” was a perfect self-adopted name, in an era when hippie children called themselves Sunshine and Harmony and Wavy Gravy and Heloise and Abelard.

I’ve thought for years that “Please Call Home,” a Gregg Allman original, was nearly the perfect blues song, and it’s still surprising, almost forty years after the fact, to realize that when it came out, the Allman Brothers Band had been together for only a year or so (although all of its members had been woodshedding in other bands for years).

The Meters, as All-Music Guide says, “defined New Orleans funk, not only on their own recordings, but also as the backing band for numerous artists,” including Allen Toussaint, Paul McCartney and Robert Palmer. Look-Ka Py Py was the second album by the group headed by Art Neville.

Howlin’ Wolf’s “Built For Comfort” comes from the sessions recorded in London in 1970. The Wolf, who was not healthy, brought along his long-time guitarist Hubert Sumlin. Joining them in the studio were such British luminaries as Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones. Former Stones pianist Ian Stewart pitched in, and a dummer credited only as “Richie” but better known as Ringo Starr came by for a track or two. Blues purists don’t care much for the resulting album, but I think it’s fine. Highlights include Clapton quietly asking the Wolf to demonstrate to the players how he wants the opening to “The Red Rooster” to go, and a rousing version of Big Joe Williams’ classic “Highway 49.”

“Down Along The Cove” was originally intended to be part of a Duane Allman solo album that never came to fruition after the creation of the Allman Brothers Band. The backing tracks already in the can were presented to Jenkins for Ton-Ton Macoute. That’s Duane on guitar here, and fellow Allman Brothers Butch Trucks, Jaimoe and Berry Oakley also worked on the sessions.

The boys from Muscle Shoals provide the backing for Aretha on This Girl’s In Love With You, and the saxophone solo comes from King Curtis.

Illustration was a horn-rock band fronted by Bill Ledster, and “Upon The Earth” was the opening cut from the group’s self-titled debut on the Janus label. (The group also released Man Made in 1974 on Good Noise.) According to the website of band member John Ranger, the group was formed at the Fontain Bleu in St. Jean, Quebec in 1969. You can listen to both of Illustration’s albums – and a few other things – at Ranger’s website.