Hello all. Right now, I've got three 45s to tell you about. All three of them have been making many welcome returns to my turntable because all three of them are really that great! Hope you agree. But if you don't, well, you have the right to be wrong. Let's get to it, shall we?
The Jolly Jax: "Pony Shuffle"/"Things Are Tough" (Airmaster)
Here's yet another record I couldn't find any information on. A Google search for the name of the group and title of the record only list its appearance on a few comps and/or radio programs. Given the label's address is listed as Philadelphia, I'll assume that's where this group was from. I also notice that the songwriting credit for both songs are Hill, Hill, Hill. That makes me assume either that the group were brothers or that only the songwriters were brothers. In either case, both sides of this just roll right along with a rocking groove with some jumpin' guitar and piano. "Pony Shuffle" is, of course another dance tune that kind of reminds me of similar-sounding Chubby Checker dance records, but with a little more of an edge. ("You're gallopin' good!" the singer says repeatedly). "Things Are Tough" follows in the same Chubby Checker vein, but with a touch of The Coasters added. It's a song about not having a job, not being able to pay the rent and that kind of thing. But the main attitude of both of these songs is explained in the first line from "Pony Shuffle:" "You're gonna have a whole lot of fun."
Rodge Martin: Lovin' Machine (Bragg)
This is a recent (as of this week) find and boy what a killer it is! Sadly, we have a feeling of wondering what could have been had fate not dealt this artist a tragic blow. What we know is this: Rodge Martin was born in 1940. He began his singing career as part of the Jimmy Church Revue. "Lovin' Machine" was his first solo single and it was a regional hit in the South. He only recorded two more 45s (one for Dot, another for a different label) and was in the process of getting another record deal when he died of a heart attack at age 27. I'm told that a DVD series of the show "The !!! Beat" available from Bear Family has footage of Martin doing this song. I'd love to see it one of these days. But let's not dwell on sadness. Let's instead get set to start groovin' to this full-on soul stomper chock with Martin's raw vocals and a swingin' beat that just won't quit. Most importantly, let us all be grateful that he at least left behind this powerful tune.
The Five Royals: "I Like It Like That" (Smash)
Judging from their listing in my Goldmine book of 45s, this is the same group better known as The Five Royales, who gave the world some of the greatest doo wop of all time. What I can't confirm is if this is a remake of a song they cut in 1954 for Apollo. (No, this is NOT the Chris Kenner song of the same title, so I hope there's no confusion.) Whatever the case, this comes from 1964 and it finds the group in James Brown's orbit. The credits on the record proudly proclaim this to be"A James Brown Production" and this was during a brief period when Brown was on the Smash label. So that explains the unmistakable sounds of JB's horn section as The Royals get to groovin' at a breakneck pace for 1:54 minutes. The record starts with a "Heyyyay" after which the band kicks in and the Royals get to singin' and shoutin'. I find this to be a great soul stomper anyway you cut it.
So, there you go. Three cool records for you to feast your ears on and hopefully get you through the middle of the week. Let the diggin' commence! And don't forget to leave some comments.