V/ALa Noire Vol. 8, Slick Chicks

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Artikelnummer: 018320 Release Date: Sat, 04 Dec 2021


Well as I sit here on a back porch in Chicago I can hear the “el” train rumble by. Cars honk, and jets rumble above and around me as the world is on the move, constant progress. Back here in the garden, if I block out the noise, things probably don’t look or feel much different from when this house was built in the early 1940’s. World problems then, and music was there to restore us. The States are as confused and divided today as I have ever experienced. On the radio this morning I heard my good friend James Porter spin a dusty classic by Jerry Butler and the Impressions. The song really grabbed me, and moved me so that I had to stand still for a minute and give it a listen. I was moved almost to tears- that is what a good song can do. What I know dear friends of the LaNoire series is that we are linked to our pasts. We are linked to our family members and friends. All of us touched by the reached out hand of that song on the radio. The Blues are not always sad; it’s that music that brings us close to each other on the dance floor. It shows us the way in hard times. The Blues allows us to drink that juice together, fall in love, get happy and forget for a minute our plight or the darkness. So let’s do our thing together on this record full of soul. The producers at Doghouse and Bone and LaNoire once again bring us these very rare 45 records as the original recording masters intended.

We start this one off with a soul groover on the Loma label. “Barefoot Beefus,” by Barry Beefus. Barry is none other than Al Jones. Al cut the rocking classic, “Loretta.” One listen and you can hear the voice.

The Northern soul aficionados have come to love this soul growler from Joe Johnson. “Rattlesnake, Baby, Rattlesnake,” was cut for Galaxy records which was a division of Fantasy records owned by the Weiss brothers. This one is almost a novelty song, but you can’t resist its ability to pull you on to the dance floor.

Sinner Strong, aka, Joyce Harris cut “Don’t knock it” for the Serock label. This harmonic infused call and response shouter was produced by Ed Townsend. Townsend also produced records for Fats Domino and Maxine Brown and the Impressions among others. Serock records was a label owned by Big Al Sears, who is famous for replacing Ben Webster in Duke Ellington’s band. Just as interesting is that Al was a member of Alan Freed’s band during all the Moondog shows. Can we please have a drink with Big Al Sears….

Billy Harner was a blue-eyed white soul singer from Philadelphia, PA. Here he gives us the side, “Don’t want my loving.” Harner cut some sides for Cameo records and then moved to its imprint Kama Sutra in the late 1960’s. He had some success charting in Los Angeles and New York, but fizzled in the rest of the states, so Harner quit music and opened up a barbershop near the area he first started recording.

Our title track is written by Vernon Harrell who shared many writing credits with J.R. Bailey. Bailey was a member of the great Cadillac’s, and together they wrote some sides for the Platters among others. Harrell was known as a great singer as well, as he replaced the Coasters legend Billy Guy who tried his hand at a solo career. Vernon never recorded with the Coasters, he only was part of the live-act…all in all not a bad day’s work…His fantastic side “Slick Chick,” on the Lescay label is from 1962.

Slick Chick is followed up by “Take a trip” by Jimmy Vick and the Victors. Cherry records was almost a one-shot and poof label…but what could have been…This record was recorded at Chime recording studios and features William Lee “Billy” Nichols on guitar. Nichols would later come to be none other than Marvin Gaye’s musical director.

The soul clappers continue as we traverse the sixties era with “Noah” by Grainger Hunt from 64’. Recorded in Fort Worth, Texas this record today is worth a pretty penny and brings much more for one 45 than Mr. Hunt got paid for the session…

We follow that up by the Ike Turner written cut, “I’m Hurting,” by Billy Gales from 1961.

A Louisiana Red shaker is featured on this record on Laurie records out of NYC. Red’s father was horrifically murdered by the disgusting Ku Klux Klan in 1937, and in spite of childhood setbacks, Red went on to cut some tough blues numbers for the Chess and Checker labels after cutting some fine soul.

1970’s slow jam king Barry White makes an appearance here from early on in his career with a Barry White and the Atlantics recording, “Tracy (all I have is you),” from 1962 on the Faro label. It is hard to connect the dots to his later styling, but this early vocal is on time.

Nathaniel Mayer is not a household name. He should be. Here we have him on the cut, “From now on.” This Devora Brown written song was recorded with the Fortune Braves featuring Arthur Wright on guitar, for Fortune records in Detroit, Michigan. Nathaniel Mayer was a rhythm and blues shouting king, and I would put his vocal manner up to James Brown any day of the week. Mr. Mayer sang his last show in Las Vegas in 2008, but after cutting his sides for Fortune in 1966 he disappeared for more than twenty years living in Detroit’s inner city. Almost thirty years later he made an improbable comeback due to some record industry insiders discovering him for the first time. He still tore down the house and got down and dirty until a stroke claimed his life after a series of concert dates. The Fortune record label was run by Jack and Dorothy Devora Brown and featured a spontaneous and downright greasy sound. If you have not heard of Nathaniel Mayer, you will know that voice from now on!

“Get it,” by Jay Dee Bryant was recorded on Enjoy records. Enjoy was run out of Bobby Robinson’s record shop on 125th Street in Harlem. Robinson was a king in the doo-wop era recording the likes of the Mello-moods, the Rainbows, and the Du Droppers. This is a soul ditty from 1967.

The fitting final track on this record is “Help Yourself,” by Little Johnny Taylor. Taylor was influenced by Little Willie John, both of whom started their singing careers in gospel. Little Johnny Taylor was a member of The Clouds of Joy. Blues, soul, and gospel is indeed a recipe to help all of us-we thank you and our producers for once again giving these voices the ability to shout!


01. Barry "Barefoot" Beefus - "Barefoot" Beefus
02. Joe Johnson - Rattlesnake, Baby, Rattlesnake
03. Sinner Strong - Don’t Knock It
04. Billy Harner - Don’t Want My Lovin’
05. Vernon Harrell - Slick Chick
06. Jimmy Vick & The Victors - Take A Trip
07. Grainger Hunt - Noah
08. Billy Gales - I’m Hurting
09. Don Ringo - Long Boot’s Part I & II
10. Louisiana Red - Little Girl, Take Your Time
11. Barry White & The Atlantics - Tracy (All I Have Is You)
12. Nathaniel Mayer with The Fortune Braves - From Now On
13. Jay Dee Bryant - Get It
14. Little Johnnie Taylor - Help Yourself