Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Leo's Five - Hold It

Here's a record that I'd neither seen nor heard of until moving to southern Illinois a couple of years ago. But boy, is it ever plentiful here! Bet I've seen about a dozen copies floating around since and always for cheap. One local junk shop had seven copies of this last summer. I even snagged a couple of extras to give to friends.

Leo's Five were a jazz styled combo out of the St. Louis area. Indeed, the L-G label was owned and operated by Leo Gooden out of his nightclub in East St. Louis, IL. Leo had at least one single on the label featuring his vocal stylings. I don't think he lent anything more than a name to Leo's Five though. I'm not sure of the membership on "Hold It" but the songwriting is credited to Don James, the band's Hammond B3 player.

"Hold It" is an uptempo instrumental that kicks off with interplay between James' organ and a horn section. Then, an Ike Turner-esque guitar comes in and takes over the lead, with the Hammond B3 backing. James then takes his turn at lead and wails! Some great tension is generated as the horns join back in and the organ leads them all back to the opening refrain. It's soul jazz at its finest, a really swingin' affair.

As close as I can pinpoint, "Hold It" was a 1964 release. Leo's Five made other recordings but for whatever reason this record seems to be the only one that's an easy find around here. But whoo, how lucky for me that this is the one.


Larry Grogan said...

I'm a real Hammond nut, and I'm always looking for new stuff. Let me know if you want to sell one of your extras (or know where to get another copy).

Todd Lucas said...

Larry, this record is pretty easy to find around here. I'll try and nab one for you.

Brian Marshall said...

Hey, Todd,

One thing about "Hold It" is that both the James Brown band and Link Ray (under the name Ray Vernon) have recorded versions of this song. Just thought you'd like to know.

Todd Lucas said...

Very interesting Brian. Any idea who gets songwriting credit on those? It makes me wonder if Don James didn't just arrange the version by Leo's Five.

Brian Marshall said...

The credit for "Hold It" on the Ray Vernon (Link Wray) 45 goes to Scott & Butler. I'm not sure about the James Brown band 45. I'll have to dig up my copy which will probably be a while.

rose said...

I know its been a while since anyone commented on this post,but my grandfather is Don James. The organist for Leo's Five. I never met him, and am just now learning about his history at the age of 27.

31HLeslie said...

Leo Gooden had 2 labels, L-G and Coun-Tree. Most frequent guitarist was Albert King, who at that time was a bulldozer operator living in nearby Lovejoy, IL and playing part time. Albert even had a single out, "C.O.D./Wor'some Baby" -- awesome!, w/ Don James on organ
and probably 'almost famous' Kenny Rice on drums.

31HLeslie said...

Scott & (Billy) Butler were members of Bill Doggett's combo. They played on "Honky Tonk" and umpteen lesser hits of Bill Doggett. ~ The James Brown Band version is credited to Herb Hardesty, a sax player, as I recall. I've been a fan of "Hold It" since the '60s, but only heard the (Herb Hardesty) version 'til
last year when I came upon this site.