Tuesday, December 13, 2005

born on the 13th

Happy Birthday, Oxbow!

Smokey Hogg - Born On The 13th (1952)

Despite his date of birth, my brother is a lucky so-and-so. Unlike poor old Smokey in this song. When he has soup for dinner, he can't even find a spoon - "nothin' but a fork!".

"Born On The 13th" and the other tracks in this post all come from a criminally cheap compilation CD I picked up a few years ago and have treasured ever since. There seemed to be loads of them at the time, 74 minute label showcases that you could pick up for 2-3 quid - the William Bell track I posted a while back came from a Stax one, and these tracks come from a Specialty records compilation.

Specialty was the label run by Art Rupee (born Arthur Goldberg in 1917). In his youth, Art listened to music sung at a local black Baptist church and fell in love with the music's rich sense of tradition. The Specialty catalogue features classsic rock'n'roll, rural blues, gospel, rhythm & blues from artists like Little Richard and The Soul Stirrers (who featured a young Sam Cooke). And this intensley terrifying and claustrophobic John Lee Hooker song!

John Lee Hooker - Black Cat Blues (1949)

Listen to the sax solo on this Percy Mayfield track - absolutely filthy!

Percy Mayfield - Please Believe Me (1957)

I used to listen to this album a lot when I was at university. I did lots of tapes that were labelled 'Classic Pop' with various tracks from my dad's old singles, old rock'n'roll, soul, doo-wop, whatever. It used to clear a lot of the crap out of my ears.

The Hollywood Flames - Tabarin (1951)

More often than not, these 'Classic Pop' tapes would wind up in our mate Richard's car - he was always ferrying us about to pretty much anywhere we needed to go. My main memories associated with The Hollywood Flames track is of singing along with Alb in the back of the car, trying to do the parts (failing) and trying to figure out what the hell a 'Tabarin' was.

A bit of Googling came up with this random thread about a nightclub called 'Bal Tabarin' based in San Francisco in the 1930s-40s. Fancy that!

Visit - Specialty Records page
Buy - The Specialty Story 5 CD Box Set (make a nice Xmas pressie for someone...)
Buy - It's Spelt Specialty: A Sampler Of Specialty Specials

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