Welcome to the notes for The GO Mechanism Number Ten. The GO Mechanism is an audio odyssey of boss beats and reet rhythms that endeavors to compel the listener to tap one’s foot as the mind expands. The program is hosted by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus, a fellow who has been around several musical scenes. The “G” is for Groove, and in order to keep the groove grooving, we don’t stop to smell the roses or back announce records. A complete track listing is found here in the Boogaloo Bag. The “O” is for O’Rooney—an intangible, supernatural power that puts the oo into cool. O’Rooney is spread on thick in each GO Mechanism—listen and you will learn. The GO Mechanism originates on the Luxuria Music website as part of its Saturday Night Special series. This one will have its first run on August 20.
Halfway through the GO Mechanism there will be a Science Corner, where a momentous musical matter will be discussed and three pertinent songs will be played. In this GO we will feature the work of the great drummer Cozy Cole.
Cozy Cole came to prominence during the big band era. He was born William Randolph Cole in in East Orange, New Jersey in 1909. He worked with such early jazz practitioners as Jelly Roll Morton, Benny Carter and Blanche Calloway. He recorded with Teddy Wilson, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Earl Hines, Coleman Hawkins, Lionel Hampton and many other swing era stars.
In 1938, Cole joined the Cab Calloway Orchestra. It already had some of the greatest jazz musicians of the time. For example, in 1940, the Calloway orchestra included Mario Bauza, Dizzy Gillespie, Tyree Glenn, Quentin Jackson, Chu Berry, Walter “Foots” Thomas, Hilton Jefferson, Bennie Payne, Danny Barker and Milt Hinton, to name just a few.
One of the selections heard in The Science Corner is “Crescendo in Drums,” a Cozy Cole feature recorded by the Cab Calloway Orchestra. At the beginning, Calloway is heard urging Cole on until the horn section kicks in.
Cole remained with Calloway until around 1942 when musical director Raymond Scott hired Cole for the CBS Radio network studio orchestra—one of the first to be integrated. During the early fifties, Cole worked with Louis Armstrong & His All Stars. In 1954, Cole and Gene Krupa founded a drum school and it stayed in business until Krupa died in 1973.
In 1958, Cozy Cole struck gold. He recorded a song called “Topsy” and had a big hit with it. “Topsy” was a swing number, initially recorded by Count Basie & His Orchestra during the thirties. Cole took the melody of the song, chopped and channeled it—much the way a Cholo takes an old Chevy and customizes it—and added serious drum activity. Cole recorded two arrangements, calling them “Part 1” and “Part 2.” “Topsy Part 2” became a Number One R&B hit (for six weeks) and it went to the Number Three position on the Pop charts. This was unusual for a twenty-year-old song that was mostly a drum solo.
Applying the old adage, “if they liked it once, they’ll love it the second time,” Cole tried to follow-up his hit with songs like “Turvy,” “Topsy Turvy” and a few versions of “Caravan.” Although they are cool records, none of them were hits. The first selection heard in The Science Corner is “Play Cozy Play,” a post “Topsy” recording that was released by King Records around 1960.
Cole continued to work pretty steadily into the seventies and died of cancer in January 1981 at the age of 71. The GO Mechanism and The Science Corner salute you, Cozy Cole, for your fine music. More of his recordings will be heard on future GO Mechanisms.
Further: The storied session drummer Hal Blaine recorded a tribute to Cozy Cole when he cut “Topsy 65.” It is heard every week on our pal Dennis Diken’s radio show on the WFMU Rock and Soul interwebs stream.
Leo Parker is a GO Mechanism favorite. He started as an alto saxophonist but switched to baritone when he joined the Billy Eckstine Orchestra around 1944. The Bebop movement in jazz was just beginning and Parker was part of it, but needed to remain on the baritone saxophone in order to differentiate himself from that other Parker, Charlie. Leo Parker played a solo on a Charles Thompson record called “Mad Lad,” that became so popular that Parker became nick-named Mad Lad. After cutting two albums for Blue Note Records in 1961, Parker died the next year of a heart attack. He was 36.
In an earlier GO Mechanism, The Science Corner addressed some big band musicians who tried to transition into the sixties. Here we have a fine attempt by Woody Herman. With its super groovy beat, it is more likely that “Sting Ray” is a reference to the sports car made by Chevrolet than the fish.
Los Belking’s was a Peruvian instrumental rock band that, while its members were still in high school, won a talent contest that netted the group a recording contract toward the end of 1966. The first single was a hit, as was the second and the band was on its way. Los Belking’s underwent several personnel changes over the years but lasted into the seventies. “Setima Petrulla” is a 45 from 1968.
GO Mechanism Number Ten is blessed with two Sun Ra tracks. The first one, “Rocket Number Nine,” has found favor among rock groups; NRBQ and Yo Lo Tengo are among the bands who have covered it. The Ra version has many stops and starts and quiet spots, so the GO Mechanism producers spiced it up, mostly with Peter Orlovsky’s recitation of his poem, “A Rainbow.” The second Ra song, at the end of the GO, is “Nuclear War,” which is not for the squeamish.
We tried, but could not find any information regarding Juanucho Lopez at all. The mambo-tinged “El Twist” is a fabulous dance record that only slightly resembles the Hank Ballard song of a similar title. No matter, “El Twist” will get your juices flowing!
Ursala Walker is a jazz singer who got her start on a local Detroit TV show for children. She worked with the Australian jazz vibraphonist Jack Brokensha during the sixties and seventies and continues her singing career to this day, performing mostly in her hometown of Detroit. “Javelin Beat” was recorded for a short promotional film that showcased American Motors’ muscle car, and, for some reason, was issued as a single; probably a give-away to American Motors dealers.
Howard Blake is a British composer mostly known for his film scores. In 1966, he made a couple of hammond organ albums from whence “James Bond Theme” comes.
The bed music for Oweinama Biu’s recitation of Brian Bilston’s “America Is a Gun” was composed by Jeff Herles, a fellow that the GO Mechanism host used to play softball with in Brooklyn. it is performed here by pianist Helen Sung and was part of a program of Herles’ music that was organized by his brother Chris after Jeff passed away in 2006.
Oswald “Baba” Brooks is a Jamaican trumpet player who played jazz during the fifties, but in the sixties and seventies he played on several ska and rocksteady records—including some by The Skatalites, Stranger Cole, Derrick Morgan and Alton Ellis, as well as a bunch under his own name. “Guns Fever” was a hit for him in 1965. We believe he is still alive and, we hope, still making music.
Speaking of Jamaican music—The GO Mechanism producers are quite fond of pointing out that just about any song can be enhanced by singing it to a reggae beat. In this GO we have three songs performed in this manner: Tomorrow’s Children with “Bang Bang,” a hit for Cher; Slade’s glam anthem “Mama We’re All Crazy Now” as performed by Denzel Dennis; and The Mighty Diamonds’ mighty re-working of “Gypsy Woman” by The Impressions. This seems to be a recurring theme in the GO World.
The Marquees were a doo wop/R&B vocal group from Los Angeles and should not be confused with The Marquees from Washington, D.C. that included Marvin Gaye. Although the song, “Christmas in the Congo,” may be considered of seasonal interest, great songs are always interesting, no matter the subject matter.
Chet Atkins was internationally known as a fellow who could play guitar. For many years, he was a Nashville session musician who played on just about every RCA Victor record made in that city. Also, he produced most of them. Plus, he made over a hundred records under his own name. His records were primarily countrified instrumental versions of pop or C&W hits, but he also recorded jazz and rock’n’roll. The title here, “Boo Boo Stick Beat,” was recorded for an album called Chet Atkins’ Teensville and released as a single. Despite it flip title, it’s rather experimental for the time it was recorded (1959). Chet Atkins is one of those musical artists whose artistry was very deep and it will take a lifetime to delve into it.
Here’s the complete track listing for The GO Mechanism Number Ten:
- Earl Bostic—Lester Leaps In (King) GO Theme
- Leo Parker—Lion’s Roar (from LP Let Me Tell You ‘Bout It; Blue Note)
- Sun Ra—Rocket Number Nine Takes Off for the Planet Venus (from LP Early Albums Collection; Enlightenment; UK)
- Charles Mingus—Oh Lord Don’t Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me (from LP Oh Yeah; Atlantic)
- Orquesta Joe Cain—Mambo A’ Go-Go (Mainstream)
- Oscar Brown, Jr.—The Snake (Columbia)
- Woody Herman—Sting Ray (Columbia)
- The Woggles—Bullfrog (from LP Tempo Tantrum; Wicked Cool)
- John Coltrane—Soft Lights and Sweet Music (from LP Traneing In; Prestige)
- Los Belkin’s—Setima Patrulla (Virrey; Panama)
- Earl Bostic—Summertime (King)
- Juanucho Lopez and his Orchestra; vocal: Mon Rivera—El Twist (Spanoramic)
- Ursala Walker—The Javelin Beat (American Motors)
- The Four Shells—Hot Dog (Volt)
- Bo Diddley—Gunslinger (Checker)
- Howard Blake—James Bond Theme (from LP Hammond in Percussion; Columbia/EMI; UK)
- Tomorrow’s Children—Bang Bang (from LP Trojan 60s Box Set; Trojan; UK)
- Cool Benny (Velarde)—Wobble-Cha (Virgo)
- Bill Smith Combo—Loco (Chess)
- The Martini Kings—Summer Samba (from LP Weekend in Las Vegas; Swingomatic)
- Tito Puente—Miramar (RCA Victor)
- Cozy Cole—Play Cozy Play (King)*
- Cab Callaway & His Orchestra featuring Cozy Cole—Crescendo in Drums (Vocalion)*
- Cozy Cole’ Big Seven—Caravan Part Two (Grand Award)*
- Science Corner bed music: Chris Bailey on drums*
- Quincy Jones Orchestra with Roland Kirk—Charade (Mercury. )
- Helen Sung, piano—Stuttgarter Tonstück (from LP Stars, Skies, Stones, Stories, Streets, Shells & Seas: The Music of Jeff Herles (1959-2006)
- Baba Brooks—Gun Fever (Treasure Isle; Jamaica)
- Pedro Laza y sus Pelayeros—La Negra Caliente (from LP Cumbias y Gaitas Famosas 2; Discos Fuentes; Colombia)
- The Marquees—Christmas in the Congo (Warner Bros.)
- Charlie Parker—Tico Tico (Mercury)
- The Soul Society—Afro-Desia (Dot)
- Chet Atkins—Boo Boo Stick Beat (RCA Victor)
- Freddie McCoy—Summer in the City (Prestige)
- Denzel Dennis—Mama We’re All Crazy Now (Pama Supreme; UK)
- Lonnie Smith—Move Your Hand Part I (Blue Note)
- Los Rockin’ Devils—Soy Feliz (Orfeon; Mexico)
- ウルトラQ 主題曲 (from LP ウルトラマン大集合 主題歌集; Apollon; Japan)
- Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings—When I Come Home (Daptone)
- Mighty Diamonds—Gypsy Woman (Gibbs; Jamaica)
- Curtis Mayfield—Freddie’s Dead (Boogaloo edit) (Curtom)
- Sun Ra–Nuclear War (Y; UK)
* denotes Science Corner selection.
Spoken, read by author, unless noted:
- A Rainbow—Peter Orlovsky
- She Walks in Beauty—Peter Orr
- America Is a Gun—by Brian Bilston, read by Oweinama Biu
After The GO Mechanism initially airs on the Luxuria Musics—this one on Saturday, August 20— it will be available as a podcast for a few weeks. Look for the Saturday Night Special dated 8/21/2022. Once it falls off the Lux Mu podcast hustle, it will be posted on the Mixclouds as well as here in the Boogaloo Bag.
Luxuria Music is a swingin’ thing that deserves your support. Visit it often. Listen to the many cool shows. If you dig the scene, contribute monetarily. Keep Lux Mu alive!