This is The GO Mechanism: an audio odyssey hosted by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus who will be your captain on this magic sailing ship, taking you on a journey through the essence of your being. G. O. GO! The “G” is for Groove, and in order to keep the groove groovin’, we don’t slow down to back announce records. If you are interested in the trash heard on the show, the track listing is below. The “O” stands for O’Rooney, an intangible force that puts the OO into “Cool.” Every GO Mechanism is assembled employing a classified superlaphonic method that is uniquely engineered to contain Groove and O’Rooney.
This GO Mechanism will initially stream over the Luxuria Music web hustle in the Saturday Night Special time-slot on March 11, then it will unlax as a Luxuria Music podcast for a few weeks; soon after it will be posted on the Mixclouds and here in The Boogaloo Bag.
In the middle of the program there will be a Science Corner, where we discuss a musical entity of some note. Today we will discuss the great Rhythm & Blues songwriter Rudy Toombs. We’ll start there…
Rudolph Toombs was born in Monroe, LA in 1914 and grew up in Philadelphia before moving to Harlem. Before writing songs, he was a tap dancer at many of the local night clubs and theaters. He also appeared in a few films, including one that starred Louis Jordan. By the end of the forties, he was writing songs that were getting cut by such R&B stars as Wynonie Harris.
Toombs had several minor cuts under his belt when Ruth Brown recorded his “Teardrops From My Eyes,” which became a Number One R&B hit for eleven weeks in 1950. His career was on his way from that day forward.
Rudy Toombs’ most famous song is “One Mint Julep.” It was recorded by a vocal group from Washington, D.C. called The Clovers on December 19, 1951. During the spring of the next year it climbed to Number Two on the R&B chart. The song that kept it from being Number One was a song he wrote for Ruth Brown, “5-10-15 Hours.” During the fifties, “One Mint Julep” was rerecorded by Buddy Morrow, The Johnny Otis & the Jayos, and Chet Atkins. In 1962, Ray Charles recorded an instrumental version that was a Number One R&B hit and even went Top Ten pop. The song has since been recorded by around a hundred different artists.
For about a dozen years, Rudy Toombs was a hot songwriter for many great Rhythm & Blues artists including Amos Milburn, Otis Williams & the Charms, Little Willie John, Freddie King, Annie Laurie, Louis Jordan, James Brown, Big Joe Turner and Hank Ballard. Most of his songs were recorded by artists on three of the top R&B labels of the fifties: King (and its affiliates, DeLuxe and Federal), Atlantic and Aladdin, but they also landed on Gotham, OKeh and Savoy.
We would be remiss if we did not note here that the song “I’m Shakin’” was written by Rudy Toombs. It was first recorded by Little Willie John in December 1959 and released the next year. It was then re-released a couple years later with added percussion; both releases were by King Records. About 20 years later, the American music band The Blasters recorded it and had great success with it. Another version, by The Ron Thompson Trio was recorded probably around the same time as The Blasters, and in the last twenty years, the song has been cut more than a dozen times.
Also, Rudy Toombs excelled at writing Rhythm & Booze songs. Dig this list of some of them:
Barfly—The Orioles (1952)
Fatback and Corn Liquor—Louis Jordan (1955)
Half Pint-A-Whiskey—Young John Watson (1954)
I Done Done It—Amos Milburn (Amos Milburn)
Nip Sip—The Clovers (1955)
One Mint Julep—The Clovers (1952)
One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer—Amos Milburn (1953)
One, Two, Three Everybody—Amos Milburn (1954)
During The Science Corner we will hear “Fatback and Corn Liquor” by Louis Jordan, “Miss Mosey,”as sung by the songwriter, and Thurston Harris‘ rockin’ version of “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer.” The talk-over music is Willie Mitchell‘s version of “One Mint Julep.”
In 1962, Rudy Toombs was beaten up on a street in Harlem and it damaged his brain. He died of his injuries soon after.
“Miss Joan and Mr. Sam” is the flip side of The Ronettes’ “Baby, I Love You.” It is an instrumental and does not feature any Ronette whatsoever, although the track is credited to them. It’s really a recording by a group of Los Angeles session musicians, known as The Wrecking Crew, playing post bop jazz; most likely the kind of music they would rather be playing than the pop music they were paid to play. Record producer Phil Spector often placed a “throw-away” instrumental on the B-side of his records in order for the A-side to be emphasized. He didn’t want some DJ to flip a record over and turn a B-side into a hit, which has happened on occasion; Spector wanted to pick the hit. The Boogaloo Bag writers and The GO Mechanism producers do not claim to be Spector experts, but they will posit that the players on this track are either Nino Tempo or Steve Douglas on saxophone (maybe both), Barney Kessel on guitar, Carol Kaye on bass and Hal Blaine on drums. Spector must have asked them to play two minutes of jazz as it fades exactly at the two-minute mark. If a reader has definitive knowledge on this track, please post it in the comments below.
Throughout the sixties drummer Sandy Nelson recorded instrumental records that featured songs that were on the charts at the time, as well as some original songs. Sometimes the cover songs were interesting. Usually, the originals were the best songs on the albums. This version of “Sunshine of Your Love” has been turned into a rockin’ organ groove.
“Sunshine of Your Love” is the first of several, for lack of a better term, “classic rock” songs that have been re-recorded and aired during this show. The others, later in the program, include “I Can’t Quit Her,” a song originally recorded by Al Kooper’s Blood, Sweat & Tears and “I’m Tired,” a song by Savoy Brown. It is often noted that rock artists are fond of cutting R&B and blues songs. These two are examples of just the opposite. This version of “Quit” is by Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band. Washington was an African American serving in the Air Force and stationed in England during the sixties. Washington was an authentic American Soul singer who played to his Mod audience. (The song “Geno” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners is about him. Also, don’t confuse him with Gino Washington, an excellent Detroit-based R&B singer from the same time period.) “I’m Tired” is by Little Milton, the great blues singer/guitarist who made a ton of great records, first for Sun, then Bobbin, Checker, Stax and Malaco. Although the arrangements are not too different from the originals, both songs benefit from strong vocal performances.
The Martini Kings are lead by our friend and bass player Tony Marsico. The band plays heavy, heavy Space Age Bachelor Pad Music, usually with a vibraphonist. For the album Groovin’, Marsico and percussionist Bob Conti are joined by guitarist Doug Macdonald, a veteran jazz cat who has been around the block. “Killer Joe (Reprise)” is the Benny Golson jazz standard with a spoken word bit by Mr. Marsico. We dig it.
Jimmy Takeuchi was a Japanese drummer. During the sixties and seventies he made a series of drum-heavy instrumental records that would feature hits of the day along with his own originals; sort of Japan’s answer to Sandy Nelson. For some reason, many of his albums were called Drum Drum Drum and feature women in bikinis on the cover. The album with his cool version of “Alligator Boogaloo” is no exception…
Every episode of The GO Mechanism features a version of “Caravan,” the Duke Ellington/Juan Tizol composition that must have been recorded by about a thousand different artists (See The Science Corner in GO #3 for more on the song). For this episode we present a version by another great drummer: Bernard “Pretty” Purdy. He has played on as many records as there are versions of “Caravan;” maybe more, as he was one prolific drummer during his prime. His version of “Caravan” is a big fave at The GO Mechanism studios—it’s rockin’ and wailin’ drumming overpowers everything else in the world!
Another song that has been recorded many times—also, another song that may be considered “classic rock”—is “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones. The GO Mechanism presents here a version by the great British R&B/pop group Manfred Mann. Played as an instrumental, this was arranged by Jack Bruce, who also played bass on it.
Over the last several years, there has been a trend toward having bonus tracks on reissues of popular albums. We have some examples in this episode of The GO Mechanism by these artists: Love, Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band and The Velvet Underground. All three are backing tracks sans the original vocals, as The GO Mechanism likes to specialize in instrumentals. The third example, “The Gift,” originally had a story recited by Velvets’ member John Cale. Instead we have the first two and a half pages of the short story The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by the British author Allan Stillitoe. It is read by our in-house narrator Oweinama Biu.
Aki Aleong is an interesting cat. He was a character actor in movies and TV shows during the fifties and sixties, and also made records, as an artist, songwriter and producer. He may have had an ownership stake in Pan World Records, too. In 1959 he co-wrote and produced one of the Greatest Records Of All Time, “Shombalor” by Sheriff and the Ravels. In 1963 he released an album of surf music called Come Surf With Me, from whence comes our selection, “Earthquake.” We don’t have the LP, but we were able to obtain “Earthquake” on an Australian 45.
The Birds were arguably one of the greatest British beat bands of all time. The band’s power equalled that of The Who. Unfortunately, the group only released four singles during its short life. In 1999, a compilation of all the singles, plus some unreleased tracks and demos, was released in Europe. Called The Collector’s Guide to Rare British Birds, it is where we were able to obtain one of two versions of “Run, Run, Run,” a song by The Who! Today, The Birds are mostly remembered as the first band of a fellow named Ronnie Wood.
When it was recorded (January 1966) and released, Batman and Robin was considered a cheesy exploitation album by The Sensational Guitars of Dan & Dale. Over the last twenty years or so it has become an object of legend after it was revealed that the musicians who made it include members of The Sun Ra Arkestra and The Blues Project. How did these two diverse entities come together? The producer was Tom Wilson, who had worked with both. It must have meant very little to the musicians who recorded it as those involved don’t seem to discuss it much. Al Kooper, who was a member of The Blues Project at the time, doesn’t even mention it in any of his memoirs. However, there are some boss sounds on the album, as the listener can witness with one listen to “Robin’s Theme.”
“Hot Butter ’n All Part 2” is the backing track to “Part 1” by the great, but largely unheard-of, Lou Courtney. He was a journeyman soul artist/songwriter/producer who we will feature in a future Science Corner, but for now, suffice it to say that he was involved with the careers of Jerry Lee Lewis, Freddie & the Dreamers, Bonnie Raitt and The Fifth Dimension. When we feature him in The Science Corner we will hear “Part 1.”
To close this episode of The GO Mechanism, we present one of the Greatest Records Of All Time, Eddie Kirk’s “The Grunt.” This is raw, screaming-and-banging-on-shit at it’s best. Eddie Kirkland was born in Jamaica and grew up in Alabama. After serving in the Army during World War II, he lived in Detroit, where he became a second guitarist for John Lee Hooker; Kirkland plays on many of Hooker’s recordings made in the early fifties. Under his own name—either as Eddie Kirkland or Eddie Kirk—he cut tracks for a host of record companies, including RPM, King, Fortune and Lu Pine.
During sessions recorded on December 8, 1961 and March 9, 1962, he cut enough material with King Curtis and his band that it was released on an album called It’s the Blues Man. Up to that point, only a handfull of singles were issued by him—most of them are now impossible to find. Although he cut eight tracks for Lu Pine (circa 1959/60), only a single was issued; the other tracks came out on a compilation during the late seventies or early eighties. In the early sixties, Kirkland somehow made his way to Macon, Georgia, where he hooked up with Otis Redding and became the guitarist for Redding’s touring band. This brought him to the attention of Stax records, who recorded two singles that were issued on the subsidiary Volt label.
In 1968, Kirkland was back in Detroit, where he cut “The Grunt,” a remarkable accomplishment in audio history. The excited girls you hear screeching during the record are his young daughters—Betty Ann, Jo Ann and Geraldine Kirkland.
During the seventies, Kirkland took to wearing a turban and he recorded for several independent labels. On February 27, 2011, Eddie Kirkland died when the car he was driving was hit by a Greyhound bus as he was trying to make a u-turn somewhere in Florida.
The graphic image used in the poster for this episode’s GO Mechanism is by our friend David Allan. A British cat, we first met him in the Hollywood punk rock scene of the late seventies. He was a photographer and graphic designer for Slash Magazine and he designed album covers. He moved to New York City in 1980 and we were able to reconnect with him when the Boogaloo Bag writers moved to Brooklyn in the nineties. When he moved to Spain a few years ago, we were able to obtain some of his paintings, including the one used here, called Red Rotator. It is viewable anyway you look at it. Dig more of his work here.
After The GO Mechanism initially airs on the Luxuria Musics—this one on Saturday, March 11— it will be available as a podcast for a few weeks. Look for the Saturday Night Special dated 3/12/2023. 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!
All the tracks played in GO Mechanism Number Fifteen:
- Earl Bostic—Lester Leaps In (King)
- Sonny Rollins Quintet featuring Thelonious Monk—The Way You Look Tonight (from LP Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins; Prestige)
- The Ronettes (The Wrecking Crew)—Miss Joan and Mr. Sam (Philles)
- Sandy Nelson—Sunshine of Your Love (from LP Rebirth of the Beat; Imperial)
- Martini Kings and Doug MacDonald—Killer Joe (reprise) (from album Groovin!!!; Swingomatic)
- Jimmy Takeuchi & His Exciters—Alligator Boogaloo (from LP Drum Drum Drum; Toshiba; Japan)
- Love—A House Is Not a Motel (backing track) (from album Forever Changes: Collector’s Edition; Rhino/Elektra)
- Toño Quirazco—Soul Makossa (Orfeon; Mexico)
- Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band—I Can’t Quit Her (Pye; UK)
- Tito Puente—Ti Mon Bo (RCA Victor)
- —“The Owl” by Edward Thomas, recited by Dylan Thomas
- Pretty Purdie—Caravan (Date)
- The Sheldons—The Cat (Dot)
- Hank Ballard—Do It Zulu Style (King)
- Babatunde Olatunji—Dye Ko Dide (from LP High Life; Columbia)
- Afrosound—Banana Ticoco (Discos Fuentes; Colombia)
- Manfred Mann—(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (from LP The Soul of Mann; His Master’s Voice; UK)
- Booker T & the M.G.’s—Outrage (Stax)
- Sharp Hawks—Tsuite oide [ Follow Me ] (from EP 遠い渚; King; Japan)
- Little Milton—I’m Tired (Checker)
- Son Rompe Pera—Tortuga Del Arenal (from album Batuca; Aya; Europe)
- Della Reese—Compared to What (Avco Embassy)
- —science corner—
- Louis Jordan—Fat Back and Corn Liquor (Aladdin)
- Willie Mitchell—One Mint Julep (Hi)
- Rudy Toombs with the Johnny Moore and the Blazers—Miss Mosey (Blaze)
- Thurston Harris—One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer (Aladdin)
- Andres Batista—Campanela Gitana (from EP Ritmo Flamecno; Regal/EMI; Spain)
- Lord Kitchner—Dr. Kitch (Jump Up; UK)
- Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band—Clear Spot (instrumental-edit) (from LP Clear Spot; Reprise)
- Chicos Del Barrio—Cumbia de Los Pajaritos (from album Colors Music Presents: Cumbia)
- Aki Aleon and the Nobles—Earthquake (Festival; Australia)
- Steve Allen—Ma-Mah Limbo (Dot)
- Velvet Underground—The Gift (instrumental) (from album White Light/White Heat: Super Deluxe; Verve)
- Spoken: first two and a half pages of Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, a novel by Allan Sillitoe, read by Oweinama Biu (GO Mechanism exclusive)
- The Birds—Run, Run, Run (alternate version from album The Collector’s Guide to Rare British Birds; Deram; UK)
- Quintet Plus—Grits ’n Grease (SVR)
- The Time Zone—Space Walker (White Whale)
- The Sensational Guitars of Dan and Dale—Robin’s Theme (from album Batman and Robin; Tipton)
- The Golden Cups—Hiwa-Mata-Noboru (Capitol; Japan)
- Mr. C & Funck Junction—Hot Butter ’n All Part 2 (Hurdy-Gurdy)
- Ernie Fields—Teen Flip (Rendezvous)
- Mike Pedicine Quintet—St. James Infirmary (Apollo)
- Curtis Mayfield—Freddie’s Dead (Boogaloo Edit) (Curtom)
- Eddie Kirk—The Grunt (Fortune)
None of these records are for sale.
The Owl by Edward Thomas, recited by Dylan Thomas
The first two and a half pages of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Allan Sillitoe, read by Owienima Biu