Here's another installment of "What I Did On My Vacation".
Jumpin' Gene Simmons - The Dodo/The Jump Earlier in the week, I mentioned Gene Simmons' hit version of "Haunted House". While I've had that single for several years, his other records have eluded me up to now. I always wondered if they were any good. Well, I managed to snag a few of his Hi singles, plus an earlier one on Checker while away on my trip. And the above seems like a good representative of the bunch, a decent two-sider. Both sides are dance tunes. "The Dodo" was a follow-up to "Haunted House" and made the lower reaches of the national chart in late 1964. The subject matter is light, covering the exploits of the now extinct bird. The flip is probably the pick of the two, save for the cheesy female backing vocals. "The Jump" is just a bit better hip shaker. Overall, not entirely essential but worth a couple of bucks for sure.
Ronnie Savoy - Jungle Love Call I don't know a lot about Ronnie Savoy. He seems to have been from Detroit and started recording in the late 1950's. He kept making records well into the 60's, including having the very first release for the Wingate label in 1965. "Jungle Love Call" dates from around 1960 and there are scant few references to it on the net. It's a pretty good r&b influenced rocker with some nice guitar. The refrain sounds very familiar but I can't quite place it. I don't think that I've heard any other versions of the song (if indeed there are any), so maybe it favors something else. Anyway, it's a good and somewhat unusual find, certainly worth the dollar I paid for it.
Dave "Baby" Cortez - Hot Cakes I'd never even picked up a Dave "Baby" Cortez 45 before now but this one on Chess sort of intrigued me. It doesn't take much for me to give something called "Hot Cakes" a try. And I'm glad that I did. It's not the smoker that I was hoping for but it's still a nice, mid-tempo groover. There's, of course, a heavy dose of organ, plus some ringing guitar and very good drumming. The record is a two-parter and I like the way it's divided into 1st and 2nd serving on the label. Perhaps I can dish out still more Cortez in the future, who knows?
Marvin Holmes & the Uptights - Ride Your Mule This one's a bit of a ringer because I didn't find it on my trip but rather back here, last Sunday at a local, weekend flea market. It was really the only thing of interest I could find but made the jaunt more than worthwhile. "Ride Your Mule" dates from around 1968 and what we have here is another two-parter, this one of the especially funky variety. The label lists it as an instrumental, although Holmes interjects lines throughout both sides. The tune is horn driven but has plenty of guitar and fantastic drumming that's very high in the mix. It's certainly out of the James Brown school of funky soul and highly recommended, if you happen to run across a copy.