Blue Flame: a new mix

I put together a new mix for my Dutch compadre Cortez for the fifth anniversary of his fabulous Club Cortez blog.  You can find it there now.

Club Cortez has been around as long as Office Naps.  Cortez’s tastes in music immediately stuck out from the pack then – believe it or not, there just weren’t that many of us around in 2006 – and, moreover, they still do.   That we share eclecticism and certain stylistic sensibilities – a broad appreciation for musical beauty, for one – doesn’t hurt, of course.  Either way, I hope and fully expect us to be rhapsodizing about music and our latest obscure finds five years from now.

Blue Flame, a new mix

Blue Flame, my new mix over at Club Cortez.

When I delivered the mix over to Cortez, I was feeling a bit abstract, describing it to him this way:

A mix for the bittersweet hours.

Here is mystery and melancholy strewn with chunks of ecstatic, post-War energy: Jazz on a rhythm & blues kick, rock ‘n’ roll on a mambo kick, a palpable sense of clubland’s frayed edges. Put the lights out behind you when you leave.

But I’d say that’s about right.  If you enjoy Office Naps (or the Exotica Project or the Lonely Beat), you’ll dig it, anyway.

Get the mix and playlist at Club Cortez, and do check out what he’s got going on over there.   Thanks to Cortez for inviting me aboard and, again, congratulations.

Posted on by Little Danny | Posted in Blues, Exotica/Space-Age, Instrumentals/Surf, Jazz Obscura, Latin, Mixes, R&B/Vocal Groups, Rock 'n' roll, Soul, The Exotica Project, The Lonely Beat | 2 Comments

The desert, part three

Another variation this week on an all-time favorite Office Naps theme.

Its mystery and romance has provoked more than its share of paeans over the ages, but musical impressions of the desert’s expanse and mysterious beauty reached some sort of wiggy American culmination in the tremolo guitars and wide-open echo-chamber spaces of the rock ‘n’ roll instrumental.

More desert-themed instrumentals this week, with a hint of exotica and early psychedelia.

More desert-themed instrumentals this week on Office Naps, with healthy levels of exotica and hints of early psychedelia. Photo credit: flickr user Tom Olliver

Though drawn from different milieus – upstate New York teenagedom, the East Bay black community, the Los Angeles studio world – an unmistakable hint of Middle Eastern exoticism colors all of this week’s selections.  Furthermore, the hypnotic guitar riffs that drive the selections presage (in the case of two of the selections, at least) the ascendency of psychedelic raga-rock by several years.

If Office Naps and the Exotica Project have casually become a survey of some of the archetypal images of American rock ‘n’ roll, this week’s selections reinforce a basic tenet.  Many landscapes, spaces and places worked their way into instrumental rock ‘n’ roll’s motifs.  But few – the sea aside, interestingly – would inspire with such consistent, brilliant weirdness and experimental élan as the desert.

The Vaqueros, Desert Wind (Audition 6102)1.  The Vaqueros, Desert Wind (Audition 6102)
From 1963, the Vaqueros’ “Desert Wind” is one of thousands of American guitar instrumentals released in the pre-British Invasion era.  It’s also one of a much smaller set that really gets everything right.  In the process of summoning the Empty Quarter’s windswept spaces, it also dramatically captures, through sheer intensity and a spidery, Out of Limits mood, the later aesthetic of psychedelia.

No obvious clues present themselves about the Vaqueros or the group’s biography, sadly.  The song’s flipside, the also-excellent though more surf-oriented “Echo,” is again credited to writers Weld, Heath and Corona.  This seems to have been their only release as a group.

Incidentally, “Desert Wind” would also be one of the earliest releases on Audition Records, a cool Rochester label run by local promoter and impresario Al Cecere out of his office in the now-demolished Midtown Plaza.   Cecere’s Audition Records (and Nu Sound Ltd. Records, which succeeded it in name), would, over the next few years, be home to some terrific releases by upstate teen garage bands, including the Heard (“Stop It Baby”), the Humans (“Warning”), the Rogues (“You Better Look Now”), the Wee Four (“Weird”) and Pete Morticelli (“Lost”).

The Fatimas, Sandstorm (Original Sound OS-72)2.  The Fatimas, Sandstorm (Original Sound OS-72)
The Fatimas’ mysterious “Sandstorm” was released in 1967 on Original Sound Records, one of Los Angeles’s hipper indies of the ‘60s.

It should be pointed out that both “Sandstorm” and the single’s flipside, entitled “The Hoochy Coo,” are the same, musically speaking.  It’s just that the “The Hoochy Coo” has the chanted vocals of an overdubbed and otherwise unknown group of female singers – and does not enjoy the benefit of the howling wind sound effects.  (“The Hoochy Coo” is  the less commercial side, too – the vocals are memorable but strange, reminding me of late ‘70s female-led art-punk tracks like Kleenex’s “Hedi’s Head.”)

Either way, nothing suggests that the Fatimas were an actual working group.  The record was in all likelihood a one-off, anonymous studio lark.  But what a studio lark.  The handiwork of session musicians at their most inspired, the relentless beat and exotic production of “Sandstorm” are quite extraordinary, even with the vogue for all things “Oriental” and mystical then reaching a peak in rock ‘n’ roll.

The writer credits here belong to an unlikely threesome – popular Los Angeles disc jockey and comedian Bob Hudson, composer Richard Grove and future album cover artist Joe Petagno.  The basic composition was brought at some point in 1967 to the attention of Art Laboe, Original Sound’s proprietor, with his engineer Paul Buff – a freewheeling studio savant, musician, and surf music producer – creating the final version.

3.  Chuck (Big Guitar) Ernest with the Satellite Band, Blue Oasis (Delcro 45-826A)Chuck (Big Guitar) Ernest with the Satellite Band, Blue Oasis (Delcro 45-826A)
Like the other mystery discs this week, limited information is forthcoming about Chuck “Big Guitar” Ernest.

But Delcro Records warrants at least a few words.  The label was an imprint of the Berkeley-based label Music City, a fascinating independent record operation run by one Ray Dobard off-and-on from the early ‘50s to the mid-‘70s.  Dobard, the comparatively rare African-American record company owner in the post-War years, was in other ways the quintessential independent record hustler.  In addition to his labels, the diversity of his operations – he hosted radio shows and simultaneously ran a record store, recording service and publishing company – afforded him a certain measure of control over the local market for black music, if not some undue carelessness with royalty credits.   Perhaps better than any other single label, his would document the Bay Area’s blues, vocal group, gospel, R&B and soul music.  Dobard had a few minor R&B hits along the way, too, including the Four Deuces’ uptempo “W-P-L-J” in 1955 and guitarist Johnny Heartsman’s ‘57 instrumental “Johnny’s House Party.”

So who was Chuck Ernest?  A local guitarist, he obviously had some imagination and, if nothing else, enough confidence to get him in the door of a recording studio.   My first thought was that virtuosic session player Johnny Heartsman – something of an in-house bandleader for Dobard – might have been involved, but both “Blue Oasis” and its raucous flipside (“Party at Vern’s”) are too raw-sounding and too different, stylistically, to be anything that Heartsman had a hand in.  In reality Chuck Ernest’s backing band – the Satellite Band – was a group of young white and black Bay Area musicians, the “Duarte” listed as songwriter here a credit to their manager Vern Duarte.  According to the notes from Ace Records’ superb Music City Story, the sides were likely recorded by pioneering Oakland producer Bob Geddins and then leased to Dobard for their release on Delcro.  (Many thanks to sharp-eyed reader Boursin in Finland for the information.)

Released around 1960, “Blue Oasis” was also an anomaly coming from a label that largely focused on vocal sides.  Neither a hit, nor among the lost R&B, blues or soul obscurities most cherished by collectors, it is never mentioned in label histories.  No matter, though.  “Blue Oasis” is outstanding tremolo-driven exotica and quite prescient, too, confidently anticipating the faux-Eastern fixations of surf music and, later, psychedelia.

This track can also be found at the Exotica Project.

Posted on by Little Danny | Posted in Exotica/Space-Age, Garage Bands, Instrumentals/Surf, The Exotica Project | 10 Comments

Have guitar will travel

Much has been made of the classic Bo Diddley beat, the now-clichéd shave-and-a-haircut rhythm.  Popularized by Diddley, the beat’s place in rock ‘n’ roll was staked when his eponymous 1955 debut for Checker Records turned into a surprise success.  Affirmed early on in hits by Johnny Otis (“Willie and the Hand Jive”) and Buddy Holly (“Bo Diddley”), the Bo Diddley beat would be enshrined for good with the appropriations of the Rolling Stones and seemingly every other mid-’60s British beat group and American garage band.

Less is made of the sound of Bo Diddley’s guitar playing, though, and the specific raw, pulsating, electric beauty of it.  This is the factor that, for me, lies squarely at the core of Bo Diddley’s eternal appeal.  Before the Velvet Underground or Jimi Hendrix, few other rock ‘n’ roll guitarists – besides, perhaps, Link Wray – were so consistently, deliberately and gleefully moving the weird electric frontier of rock ‘n’ roll forward.

Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley, 1961, guitar hero as gunslinger. An appreciation of the pioneering guitar sound of Bo Diddley this week.

With their raw, trebly fidelity and cavernous echo and tremolo, Bo Diddley’s classic ‘50s and ‘60s recordings for Checker Records, like many of the blues and R&B records of post-War Chicago, crackled with electricity. Some of this was in keeping the studio production standards of the time.  More, simply, had to do with Diddley’s own tastes.

Different ingredients factored into Diddley’s proclivities.  As an artist he was clearly attracted to certain sounds, rhythms and, moreover, the possibilities of electricity.  In interviews he’s acknowledged early violin lessons, freight trains and influence of John Lee Hooker.   As a tinkerer, Diddley understood electronic technology, maintaining his own home studios, wiring his equipment and designing his guitars.

And, so, consequently, much brilliant music came from these predilections.  Bo Diddley’s recordings – percussive expositions of sustain, odd tunings, feedback, distortion and crashing reverb – weren’t necessarily accidents, even if they started out that way.  The instrumental interludes and workouts that lined Bo Diddley’s numerous LPs from the ’50s and ’60s are especially rich.  Guitar solos were treated as rhythmic breaks rather than individual clusters of notes; the break in a song like “Give Me a Break” became an opportunity for strange, percussive, awesome sound.  The hypnotic effects of repeated, overdriven chords and electronic noise were explored in different, otherworldly ways.  Drones and odd harmonics were generated and then incorporated into the logic of a song like “Back to School.”  The first ten seconds of“We’re Gonna Get a Married” highlights some of the most beautiful guitar tone ever.  And so on.

As an appreciation, this week we look at a few prime examples of ‘50s and early ‘60s R&B.  Listen for the guitars.  They’re overdriven, suffused in tremolo, echo and other early analog effects, they’re played with rhythmic gusto, with trance-like repetition favored over melody.  All three selections, to some degree, owe a debt to the experiments of our hero Bo Diddley.

Wilbert Harrison, Happy in Love (Fury 1047 F-1093)1.  Wilbert Harrison, Happy in Love (Fury 1047 F-1093)
Wilbert Harrison was the idiosyncratic vocalist, songwriter, guitarist and pianist best known for 1959’s “Kansas City” and 1969’s “Let’s Work Together.”

Identifying Wilbert Harrison’s orbit in post-War music is somewhat difficult, as he didn’t really follow any of the typical patterns of his R&B contemporaries; if any, his career and, in some small way, style were analogous to Fats Domino’s, though that’s simplifying things, too.  Despite countervailing trends and decades of commercial releases between the early ‘50s and mid-‘70s, Harrison never really reinvented himself or changed his style – his vocals always stayed low-key and curiously hypnotic, his productions charmingly nonchalant.

Wilbert Harrison

Wilbert Harrison in the early '60s. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.

Wilbert Harrison was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1929.  Following service in the Navy, Harrison settled in Miami for a spell in early ‘50s, where he’d pick up some of the Afro-Caribbean beat that later seeped its way into his recordings, and where his debut 45, 1952’s “This Woman of Mine,” would be released by the local label Rockin’ Records.  Harrison decamped to Newark, New Jersey, and a long, steady, consistent schedule of 45 releases would ensue for over twenty years, the best of them recorded between the early ‘50s and the early ‘60s, and these largely for two New York City-based labels – the R&B- and jazz-oriented Savoy Records and its late ‘50s upstart rival, Fury Records.

The Savoy sides were first-rate, at times presaging Harrison’s late ‘50s sound, but did little commercially.  Harrison’s stock soared upon his move to Bobby Robinson’s Fury Records in the late ‘50s.  His debut for the label was his version of Lieber and Stoller’s “Kansas City,” which topped the charts in 1959.   Driven by a rock ‘n’ roll rhythm section, the single was an extension of the sound that Harrison had been developing, just sleeker and leaner.

“Kansas City” set the stage for many Harrison 45s that followed in turn.   To a certain extent that includes this selection, 1961’s “Happy in Love,” a Harrison original.  There’s the same loping rhythm and the expressive-but-slightly-detached vocals of Harrison.  Supported by an unknown group, there’s bit of a call-back to the echo- and tremolo-drenched guitars of a prior Harrison high-water mark, too, 1959’s “Don’t Wreck My Life.”   But the dual guitar work here is even more extraordinary, with a droning, ecstatic quality that is like little else from the time, Bo Diddley notwithstanding.   Surprisingly, the 45 has received little attention over the years.

Harrison continued to release 45s steadily into the mid-‘70s, for an array of mostly small independents.  There was some minor chart action, along with a few concessions along the way – 1963’s “Say It Again” featured girl-group-style back-up singers – but Harrison’s style – his vocals, his casual production sensibilities, his laid-back, shuffling rhythms – always prevailed.  A surprise hit came in the form of “Let’s Work Together,” a two-part single that reached the pop charts in 1969 and that was, with characteristic Harrison nonchalance, performed as a one-man band.

Harrison’s recordings tapered off in the mid-‘70s.  He died in 1994 in Spencer, North Carolina.

2.  Art Neville, Arabian Love Call (Specialty 656 5174)Art Neville, Arabian Love Call (Specialty 656 5174)
Born in 1937 into a famous Louisiana musical family, Art Neville’s decades-long career has largely been spent within the world of New Orleans rhythm & blues.  Neville remains active with a number of music-related project to this day, including some newer incarnations of the Meters, but he is perhaps still best known to the general public for his role in the Neville Brothers, an ongoing group formed with his younger brothers Charles, Cyril and Aaron in the late 1970s.

The Neville Brothers would ease comfortably into their role as national ambassadors for New Orleans music, but, earlier on, between the mid-‘50s and the mid-‘70s, Neville was, along with his brothers, situated on the vanguard of New Orleans music, absorbing R&B as it evolved through soul and funk, integrating the Afro-Caribbean tinge and syncopated rhythms of New Orleans, generating vibrant new forms in turn.

Art Neville

Art Neville in the '60s. Image courtesy of Red Kelly's mighty The B Side.

Art, though never as well known as his brother Aaron, can point to his own benchmarks in the national spotlight.   At one end, there was 1954’s “Mardi Gras Mambo.”  Featuring the teenaged Neville’s lead vocal, it was a big hit (and subsequent carnival oldies staple) for his group the Hawketts.  At the other end there was, perhaps most significantly, his handiwork as keyboardist for and founding member of the Meters, whose late ‘60s and early ‘70s hits “Sophisticated Sissy,” “Cissy Strut”, “Look-Ka Py Py” and “Chicken Strut” remain riveting, definitive moments of New Orleans instrumental funk.

Neville’s time between the late ’50s and the late ’60s would see a string of lesser-known New Orleans R&B and soul 45 sides recorded for several different record labels, among them Specialty Records and, later, Instant and Sansu Records.

Which brings us to “Arabian Love Call.”  Art Rupe’s Specialty Records, for whom Neville recorded this track in late 1958, would, along with several other West Coast labels, help get New Orleans R&B to the national market in the rock ‘n’ roll era.  Of the three different 45s that Neville recorded for Specialty, “Ooh-Whee Baby” and “Cha Dooky Do” were small novelty-oriented hits, but the third and best of these 45s, “Arabian Love Call,” represents something else entirely.

Recorded at the storied Cosimo Recording Studios in New Orleans, the session, in addition to Neville on vocals, included first-rate support from Roy Montrell (guitar), Frank Fields (bass), Ed Blackwell (drums), Allen Toussaint (piano) and Alvin “Red” Tyler and Rufus Gore (saxophones).  With its minor key, sly Latin rhythm and stunning, Diddley-esque tremolo guitar work by Roy Montrell, “Arabian Love Call” transcends its lyric, exploring all sorts of weird, resonating modes, its sound, like the best of such experiments, becoming almost psychedelic in the process.

3.  Marvin and Johnny, Ain’t that Right (Modern 45x947)Marvin and Johnny, Ain’t That Right (Modern 45×974)
An excellent ‘50s Los Angeles R&B duo, Marvin and Johnny were influential in the R&B market in their time, anticipating the sound of rock ‘n’ roll without ever enjoying much crossover success.

The singers responsible for Marvin and Johnny’s “Ain’t That Right,” were Marvin Phillips (b. 1928) and Emory Perry (b. 1931).   This was, in fact, not the first line-up of Marvin and Johnny – Marvin Phillips, at the duo’s core, would perform with several different “Johnny” counterparts at various points – but it would be the most prolific and stable of the duo’s incarnations.   (Further confusing matters, Phillips had previously anchored the duo Marvin and Jesse with R&B legend Jesse Belvin.)

Marvin and Johnny

Marvin and Johnny, from a mid-'50s promotional photo. Image courtesy of the great French music blog Roll Call

Transplanted Southwesterners both (Emory Perry was from Texas, Marvin Phillips from Oklahoma), both also played saxophone, working at one point alongside each other for popular Los Angeles R&B bandleader Richard Lewis in the late ‘40s.

Emory Perry officially joined Marvin Phillips after Marvin’s previous “Johnny” (Carl Green, with whom Phillips recorded “Baby Doll” for Specialty Records, a 1953 R&B hit) had left the duo.  Phillips and Perry would go on to chart with both sides of their “Cherry Pie” b/w “Tick Tock” 45 in 1954 for Modern Records, another big Los Angeles-based R&B label, and one of the several sister R&B labels run by the Bihari brothers in the ‘50s.

No further hits ensued for Marvin and Johnny, but they would continue to perform, tour and record and release 45s throughout the next several years.  (Marvin Phillips worked again for a bit with Jesse Belvin during this time, too, and would also record solo as Long Tall Marvin in 1956.)

Most of the many mid-’50s Marvin and Johnny sides were representative of Los Angeles’s commercial post-War, pre-rock ‘n’ roll R&B: a mixture of smooth ballads and raucous sax- and guitar-driven uptempo R&B, usually with high-quality session support.  Recorded in 1955, “Ain’t that Right,” like all of this week’s selections, was representative, too, yet also somehow different within the artist’s oeuvre.  The stuttering Bo-Diddley-style riffs are mostly an exercise in percussive sound here, with the strange, sinuous unison guitar-and-vocalization breaks adding an otherworldly dimension to an already unusual approach.  Heady stuff for mid-’50s commercial R&B.

As the sound of rhythm and blues evolved rapidly in the early ’60s, Marvin and Johnny’s own commercial recordings would taper out; both remained in the Los Angeles area for years to come, though largely retired from the music business.

Posted on by Little Danny | Posted in R&B/Vocal Groups, Rock 'n' roll | Leave a comment

Walt Bolen’s Lion Hunt

A great pleasure to hear recently from keyboardist Walt Bolen, who filled me in on the backstory behind his organ-led R&B exotica instrumental “Lion Hunt” (Pick-A-Hit 101, which I first wrote about at this ancient post), as well as some of his own biography.

Walt Bolen, born in 1948, was raised in the San Fernando Valley, California.  His was a musical family, especially on the side of his mother, Alma Bowser Bolen (who was also related to pioneering bop pianist Bud Powell by marriage).

In addition to a Hammond A-105 organ at home, Bolen would grow up playing organ in the church, as well as participating in the San Fernando school system’s music program.   Bolen attended one of the few high schools in the area with a Hammond console, taking classes there under the supervision of Mrs. Thelma Becky, the school’s choir teacher.

“[I was] looking to gain popularity among my school mates and friends. Music was my way of doing that,” Bolen notes.  It was 1966, Bolen’s senior year at San Fernando High School, when he first wrote “Lion Hunt,” which was partly inspired by Les Baxter’s exotica standard “Quiet Village.”

Walt Bolen, 1966

Walt Bolen, age eighteen, 1966. From a newspaper article, image courtesy of Walt Bolen.

In 1966, Bolen and Adolphus Alsbrook – a veteran jazz bassist and arranger introduced to Bolen through his horn player friend Carl Smith – went into Los Angeles’s legendary Gold Star Studios to record.  There, joined by a drummer, and with charts written by Alsbruck, they used the Hammond organ to lay down the basic tracks for “Lion Hunt.”   Saxophone and guitar parts would be added by session players in turn.

Walter Bolen, Lion Hunt (Part Two) (Pick-A-Hit 101-B)In 1967, Los Angeles record producer and impresario Bobby Sanders released the recording on Pick-A-Hit Records, one of several labels he operated at the time.  Somewhat to Bolen’s surprise, the B-side of the single – “Lion Hunt (Part Two),” that is – was the same recording, only with dubbed-in lion sound effects, an idea that was entirely Alsbrook’s.

Walter Bolen, Lion Hunt (Part Two)(Pick-A-Hit 101B)

Bolen remained in the San Fernando area in the ensuing years, teaching music, playing lounge and club gigs, and making some (unreleased) home recordings. In the early ‘70s, Bolen and his friends Willard and Ernestine Stroud formed the Ar-Que recording company, for whom he released a strong 45 – “Breaking Out” b/w “Peace Chant” – in 1972.

Walt Bolen otherwise remained away from commercially released music until more recent years.  Bolen, who now resides in Antelope Valley, California, remains active in music to this day, returning to his roots and playing organ for his church.  He’s also released a CD of his own inspirational material – The Casting of Pearls – which is available at or through his facebook page.  Please do check out more of Walt Bolen.

Many thanks to Walt Bolen for contacting me, and for the great conversation and great music.

Posted on by Little Danny | Posted in Exotica/Space-Age, Jazz Obscura, Latin, R&B/Vocal Groups, The Exotica Project, Updates | 2 Comments

The sea, part two

This week, a second part to one of my all-time favorite posts.  As before, tremolo guitar, dreamy tempos and loads of echo chamber drama carry the day.  There’s something of a desert island mini-theme this time around, too, though the moody tones here are far more ominous than idyllic, more Lord of the Flies than Gilligan’s Island.

Three strange desert island miniatures this week on Office Naps

Three strange desert island miniatures this week on Office Naps

All three of these selections can also be found at the Exotica Project.

The Sound Breakers, Marooned (Radiant 1502)1. The Sound Breakers, Marooned (Radiant 1502)
A Los Angeles studio group production, the significant names here are Lincoln Mayorga and Ed Cobb, the song’s co-writers.

Cobb and Mayorga’s musical partnership originated with the Four Preps, a Los Angeles teen-pop vocal group who had some national hits (“26 Miles (Santa Catalina),” “Down By the Station,” and “Big Man”) in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s.  Cobb co-founded the group in 1956, with the Mayorga, a musically-trained friend from Hollywood High School, hired as arranger and pianist.

Cobb and Mayorga were still actively involved in the Four Preps when, barely into their ‘20s, they began independently producing, writing and arranging for various side-projects, notably the Piltdown Men and the Link-Eddy Combo.  These were studio-only affairs that brought some modest success in the instrumental rock ‘n’ roll market.   (The Piltdown Men had six 45s in total; their “Brontosaurus Stomp” went to number 75 on the pop charts in 1960.  The Link-Eddy Combo had three, with “Mr. Big C.” getting to number 28 on the R&B charts in 1961.)

The Sound Breakers were another Cobb-Mayorga studio-only endeavor.   Released in the summer of 1961 by the small Los Angeles label Radiant Records, the sublime “Marooned” was the sole 45 conceived under the moniker, and seems to be essentially unknown.   It is also by far the most interesting of the Cobb-Mayorga instrumental sides.  With its psychedelic sheen, Mayorga’s interests in composition probably go some way towards explaining the unusualness and otherworldliness of “Marooned,” which sounds like nothing else on earth.

The Cobb and Mayorga partnership bore fruit again in the spring of 1962 with Ketty Lester’s “Love Letters.”   Despite the single’s massive success, Cobb and Mayorga would henceforth work largely independently of each other.

Cobb’s behind-the-scenes career would blossom in the mid-‘60s with some notable songwriting successes, among them “Every Little Bit Hurts” and “I’ll Always Love You” for Brenda Holloway, “Dirty Water” and “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White” for the Standells and “Heartbeat” and “Tainted Love” for Gloria Jones (with “Tainted Love” a bigger hit again in 1981 for Soft Cell).  He also helped produce and engineer records for, among others, the Standells, the Lettermen, the Zoo, the Chocolate Watch Band and the E-Types.   Ed Cobb passed away in 1999.

Mayorga worked throughout the ‘60s as a keyboardist on dozens of Los Angeles rock, pop and jazz sessions.  In the late ‘60s, he would help to develop and run Sheffield Labs, a direct-to-disc studio and audiophile label. To this day Lincoln Mayorga remains active with Sheffield Labs as well as with its sister label, TownHall Records.

The Shelltones, Blue Castaway (Band Box No. 355)2. The Shelltones, Blue Castaway (Band Box No. 355)
The most overtly surf-oriented of this week’s selections, the Shelltones’ “Blue Castaway” was released in early 1964 on Denver’s fascinating Band Box Records.

Band Box Records warrants some attention, if only because it’s the most tangible part of the story.   Founded by Romanian immigrant Vicky Morosan around 1957, Band Box Records was both a label and a recording studio.  A cooler, quirkier independent operation in Colorado rock ‘n’ roll history would be tough to name.   Certainly it was the most prolific.  The label’s decade-long discography includes some excellent rock ‘n’ roll and R&B releases (Jimmy DeKnight, the Monarchs, Little Joey Farr, Jackie Lowell, the Lidos, the Four Chevelles, the Manderins, Freddie & the Hitch-Hikers, Orlie & the Saints, Lee Chandler & the Blue Rhythms, Sonny Russell and Ronny Kae), though many of the label’s dozens of barely-known country, jazz and pop releases are also outstanding.

Less, unfortunately, can be stated conclusively about the Shelltones themselves.   A Denver-based group, the Shelltones would likely have participated in the vibrant teen rock ‘n’ roll scene that extended north to Boulder and Fort Collins and south to Colorado Springs in the early and mid-‘60s.

The eerie “Blue Castaway,” written by Cary Theil, the group’s bassist, would be the Shelltones’ only commercial release.   The perfect vessel for the cavernous production qualities of Band Box’s south Broadway studios, “Blue Castaway” takes the tremolo-driven atmospherics of the Islanders’ “Enchanted Sea” and the Safaris’ “Lonely Surf Guitar” and, to a certain degree, the Viscounts’ “Harlem Nocturne” to some new, lonelier place.

Flipside “Mark’s Blues,” another instrumental, features the hot fretwork of guitarist Mark Bretz.  After the Shelltones, Bretz would play keyboards with Denver-area garage band the Wild Ones in the mid-‘60s before joining, as guitarist, a late incarnation of Boulder’s nationally-known rock ‘n’ rollers the Astronauts in 1967.  Bretz would remain with the Astronauts through their name change to SunshineWard before settling in Denver for a career as a music teacher.

The Wailers, Driftwood (Golden Crest CR375)3. The Wailers, Driftwood (Golden Crest CR375)
The best-known name this week, the Wailers are often mentioned in the same breath as the Sonics, the Kingsmen and Paul Revere & the Raiders, Pacific Northwest groups who first blasted out wild rock ‘n’ roll and R&B in the early ‘60s twilight before the British Invasion.

A popular and locally influential live act in their time, the Wailers are somewhat underrated these days.   Formed in Tacoma, Washington in 1958 by several high school classmates, the Wailers attracted a local teenaged following and would find early, if somewhat unexpected, success with their “Tall Cool One,” a bare-bones sax-and-keyboard R&B instrumental.  The 45 became a national hit in mid-1959, helping to define the raucous aesthetic of early Pacific Northwest rock ‘n’ roll.

The Wailers, circa 1959.  From left to right are Rich Dangel, Mike Burk, Mark Marush, Kent Morrill and John Greek.

The Wailers, circa 1959. From left to right are Rich Dangel, Mike Burk, Mark Marush, Kent Morrill and John Greek. Image courtesy of music historian John Broven's fantastic website.

With their early line-up established – Mike Burk (drums), Rich Dangel (lead guitar), John Greek (guitar, trumpet, bass), Mark Marush (tenor sax) and Kent Morrill (piano and vocals) – the Wailers recorded a debut album.  At a time when full-lengths were still a fairly unusual proposition for regional rock ‘n’ roll combos, 1959’s The Fabulous Wailers, recorded for New York-based Golden Crest Records, was also an unusually original set of pre-surf guitar instrumentals.

Among standout originals like “High Wall,” “Shanghaied” and “Beat Guitar,” The Fabulous Wailers also included this overlooked exotic jewel.  The haunting, hypnotic tone poem “Driftwood” was released as a 45 by Golden Crest around 1960 (as seen above, with fab group photo label) and reissued, with a plain label design, in 1964.

A succession of Wailers 45s followed in the next seven or eight years, as did several more albums.  The Wailer’s 1961 version of “Louie Louie,” which predated the Kingsmen’s version, featured local singer Rockin’ Robin Roberts.  It was also the inaugural 45 release for Etiquette Records, a pioneering band-run label founded by Wailers Kent Morrill, Rockin’ Robin Roberts and Buck Ormsby (who joined the group around 1960).  The Etiquette Records years would be the Wailers’ best known, the group creatively peaking around 1965 with the caveman punk of “Hang Up” and the churning, wall-of-sound rock of “Out of Our Tree.”

Etiquette Records closed its doors around 1968.  The Wailers would remain popular in the region, but their later albums, including 1966’s Outburst! For United Artists and 1968’s psychedelic Walk Thru The People for Bell Records, while solid, would see diminishing returns.   Like labelmates and kindred spirits the Sonics, the Wailers were forged in an earlier era of rock ‘n’ roll.  Somewhat out of step with prevailing trends, exhausted by line-up changes and bad management decisions, The Wailers called it quits in 1969.

[Thanks to Peter Blecha’s great 2009 “Etiquette Rules!” essay for the label history.]

Posted on by Little Danny | Posted in Exotica/Space-Age, Instrumentals/Surf, The Exotica Project | 4 Comments

It’s your voodoo working

This week Office Naps surveys some R&B favorites from the early ‘60s.

There’s no tight conceptual theme, though these selections share some sensibilities.  They mine the arrangements and robust, minor-key melodies of compositions like “Fever,” “St. James Infirmary” or “Summertime.”   They’re pop-friendly but they’re highly stylized blues, too, infused with feeling without invoking all the usual 12-bar clichés.   They’re tinged with subtle, underlying Latin rhythms and an air of melancholy, even exoticism.

There’s also a poignancy here.  These selections capture the pivotal moment (years, actually) in the early ‘60s when R&B, as a commercial force, was being irrevocably superseded by an ascendant, and rapidly maturing, soul music.  Ray Charles and Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson and Atlantic Records and Stax Records were already changing the game.  It wasn’t the end of R&B – which, either way, became a blanket term for pop-oriented commercially-produced black music.   But these transitional years were a sort of final, and irrevocable, shift for the R&B form.

Rhythm and blues had come a long way by the early ‘60s.  These three productions have a moody, churning power; stylistically distant from the R&B’s roots, they represent the best of the form’s final, most sophisticated commercial bloom.

Charles Sheffield, It’s Your Voodoo Working (Excello 45-2200)1. Charles Sheffield, It’s Your Voodoo Working (Excello 45-2200)
Born in Beaumont, Texas, Charles Sheffield cut the superb “It’s Your Voodoo Working” in 1961.  It would come amidst a sporadic eight-year-long run of 45s for this mysterious R&B vocalist.

Sheffield’s 45s, recorded for a handful of excellent Southern labels, together form an interesting primer on the Gulf Coast strain of R&B and blues.  As “Mad Dog Sheffield,” his first 45 (“Mad Dog” b/w “Clear My Night of Misery”) was a fairly straight-ahead blues shouter for the pioneering Louisiana label Goldband Records in 1957.  After this debut came Sheffield’s two 1958 singles (“Never No More” b/w “Is It Because I Love You” and “I’ve Gotta Love” b/w “Shoo Shoo Chicken”), much in the same vein, on Rocko Records, one of several labels run by the Crowley-based J.D. Miller, another key Louisiana studio and label operator.

Two more releases on Nashville’s Excello Records, including both this selection and its follow-up (“I Would Be a Sinner” b/w “The Kangaroo”), followed in 1961.

Charles Sheffield, circa 1962

The elusive Charles Sheffield. Newspaper photo, circa 1962

Sheffield’s three final 45s, all released in the mid-‘60s, were recorded as “Prince Charles.”  There was a swampy blues 45 for Huey Meaux’s Teardrop Records (“Come On Home” b/w “Only You”) and a second 45 for Meaux’s Jetstream label (the slightly more modern “Sick” b/w  “Get Down On Your Knees And Pray”).  And there’s the slinky “Baby Call Home” b/w “I Must Be #1,” released by NRC, an Atlanta record label.

Of Sheffield’s releases – which were commercially fruitless – “It’s Your Voodoo Working,” cut at J.D. Miller’s Crowley studios in 1961, is the highpoint.   This track is relatively sophisticated fare for Excello Records, one of the great post-War blues labels, though this track still maintains the Afro-Latin underpinnings and dark atmosphere that characterize Excello’s finest Louisiana sides.

Sheffield seems to have become finally disenchanted with recording music at some point in the ‘60s, a state of affairs that, in retrospect, was probably hastened by his dealings with some of the region’s most notorious music business hustlers.  Otherwise, Sheffield seems to have disappeared without a trace; I’d love to know more of what happened to him.

Thanks to Dan Phillip, who wrote of Charles Sheffield, and this 45 in particular, at Home of the Groove several years back.

2. Marv Johnson, With All That’s In Me (UA 423)Marv Johnson, With All That’s In Me (UA 423)
The great R&B vocalist and songwriter Marv Johnson was born in Detroit in 1938.  His early musical profile reads like that of many a young R&B singer from the time: a musically gifted youngster, he was raised on gospel music and secular R&B and pop material, sang with local vocal groups in his teens and debuted, at the age of twenty, with the obligatory obscure local single, 1958’s “My Baby-O” b/w “Once Upon A Time.”

Johnson was spotted in 1959 by fledgling producer, songwriter and future Motown mogul Berry Gordy, and “Come to Me,” Johnson’s ensuing 45, was, notably, the inaugural release on Gordy’s Tamla Records.

If “Come to Me” was the first Motown record, the seed from which the empire grew, at the time it was a more propitious beginning for Johnson, as the song’s commercial potential got the attention of the major label United Artists, who immediately stepped in and signed away Johnson, licensing and nationally releasing the 45 in turn, and with immediately successful returns.

The young Marv Johnson

The young Marv Johnson. Image courtesy of Yesterday's Gold.

Johnson enjoyed further success at United Artists, early on scoring with pop and R&B hits like 1959’s “You Got What It Takes,” 1960’s “I Love the Way You Love,” “(You’ve Got to) Move Two Mountains” and “Happy Days” and 1961’s “Merry-Go-Round.”    Television and tour appearances ensued for Johnson, and United Artists kept him on a prolific schedule of releases – including two full-length albums – over the next five years.

Johnson released the electrifying “With All That’s In Me” in February, 1962.  Penned by Detroit songwriters and musicians (and Motown associates) Clarence Paul, Andre Williams and Joe Hunter, it was neither a hit, nor typical of Johnson’s sterling-but-pop-oriented catalog, its piano vamps, titanic drum fill and Johnson’s commanding vocal giving the song a fearsome potency.

Indeed, like many of his cohort, Johnson’s smoother style, developed in the late ‘50s, would put him increasingly at odds with prevailing trends.   As the Motown sound and contemporary soul sounds exploded, Johnson’s sales figures for the somewhat stodgy United Artists would dwindle.

In 1965, Johnson returned to the Motown stable (even during his tenure at United Artists, Johnson co-wrote songs with Berry Gordy), recording three promising 45s with an updated sound that, however, did not seem to receive the complete support of the Motown promotional machine.  1968’s “I’ll Pick a Rose For My Rose,” on Motown’s Gordy imprint, would be Johnson’s last commercial release for the label.

Nonetheless, Johnson remained in the industry into the ‘70s, penning songs and working behind-the-scenes in Motown sales and promotion.  Though Johnson continued to perform live nearly until his 1993 death (following a stroke), his last Motown recordings would, with the exception of some recordings produced by UK Motown fanatic Ian Levine in the late ‘80s, represent his last releases, period.

Please refer to Pete Lewis’s 1992 interview for more on the fantastic Marv Johnson.

3.  Bobby King, Thanks Mr. Postman (Federal 45-12473)Bobby King, Thanks Mr. Postman (Federal 45-12473)
Not to be confused with several other R&B artists of the same name, Chicagoan Bobby King was a blues guitarist and vocalist who had a good local following and the greater respect of fellow guitarists, if not the added misfortune of living in a city full of such.

Born near Little Rock, Arkansas in the early ‘40s, King made his way to Chicago in 1959.  King, by all accounts a gifted guitarist, early on seems to have sought and found work as a supporting musician.  He played live behind R&B heavyweights like Hank Ballard and Bobby Bland, and contributed his spiky guitar licks to sessions for Lee Shot Williams, Jesse Anderson, Lonnie Johnson, Freddy King, Sonny Thompson and others in Syd Nathan’s King-Deluxe-Federal Records group at their peak in the first half of the ‘60s.

Bobby King, mid-'70s

Bobby King, playing live in Chicago in the mid-'70s. Image courtesy of the Recorded Live at Queen Bee cover.

King himself would also record a handful of 45s for the Federal Records in the early ‘60s.  They’re decent, capturing a capable singer who doesn’t move much beyond the trappings of Chicago blues.

1962’s “Thanks Mr. Postman” is the great exception to that.  A very loose answer to the Marvelettes’ “Please Mr. Postman,” the selection stands out as a marvelously moody, atmospheric anomaly, hinting only obliquely at the blues, not excepting King’s stinging guitar solo.

A good, if funkier, blues outing – “Froggy Bottom” for Weis Records , a Stax affiliate – would appear in the late ‘60s, and would be the terminus of King’s commercially-produced singles.   In the mid-‘70s, the French record label MCM released a live album by King – Recorded Live at Queen Bee – that captured him plowing through blues standards like “Stormy Monday Blues” and “Hoochie Coochie Man” in a local lounge in 1975.

After recovering from a stroke, King returned to playing for several years with the 21st Century Rhythm & Blues Band (who also recorded a live date, the obscure Elsewhere on the North Side).  Tragically, a second stroke incapacitated King, and he passed on in Chicago in 1983, barely in his early forties.

Posted on by Little Danny | Posted in R&B/Vocal Groups, Soul | 5 Comments

The bop that got left behind

It’s easy to forget how obscure, how underground bebop remained after its first flower in New York City in the ‘40s, and how rarely, even a decade later, it was recorded (and to a lesser degree, played) beyond New York City and hubs like Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Detroit.

Bebop was never a wildly profitable enterprise.  Its momentum in mid-century America was predicated on small, tight-knit clusters of like-minded musicians and the support of open-minded clubs and audiences.  Professional recording studios and nationally-distributed record labels that released the music were critical, too, and further helped to provide jazz modernists with exposure as well as a supply of session and ensemble gigs.

As with any innovative, abstracted strain of art, literature or music, bebop found the most traction in the largest cities.  Listeners sympathetic to bebop were more likely to exist in major metropolitan areas; a willing audience attracted more musicians, who, in turn, facilitated the infrastructure – the clubs, studios, labels, record and music shops – necessary for further sustaining and promoting the form.

Such factors tended to work against the fledgling networks of jazz musicians in other cities.  Even a large industrial city like a Pittsburgh, Seattle or St. Louis continually had their jazz talent siphoned off.  Prospects – money, audiences, opportunities – were brighter elsewhere. Still, despite local audiences’ indifference and limited avenues to broader recognition, always there were the fanatics smitten with bebop, who, even if unable, unwilling, or uninterested in relocating to pursue their craft, somehow kept the torch alive for the music in the post-War years, and sometimes in the most impractical places.

Mouse Bonati, Back (Patio MJ-1)1.  Mouse Bonati, Back (Patio MJ-1)
Ed. note: Updated November 14, 2011.

Post-War jazz in New Orleans

The most popular jazz in post-War New Orleans was ostensibly a revivalist affair – Pete Fountain and the Dukes of Dixieland sold millions of records with their Dixieland and traditional jazz retreads.  While concurrently proving itself one of the nation’s great, vital R&B powerhouses, New Orleans’s glory years at the leading edge of jazz were decades gone by the time of bebop’s ascendance in the ‘40s.

Despite the city’s general apathy about this new, modern permutation of jazz (a generalization fairly leveled at any city not among Great Migration destination points), New Orleans did have its bop devotees, many of whom were convening in the late ‘40s and ‘50s to jam at French Quarter nightclubs and strip joints.  Places like Louis Prima’s 500 Club, the Gunga Den and the Sho’Bar employed these young enthusiasts as pit musicians, and served as primary loci for the after-hours sessions where the form took root in the city.  Some of these young musicians would shortly light out for points north (Bill Evans, Vern Fournier, Mundell Lowe) and west (Joe Pass, Brew Moore, Frank Strazerri, Ed Blackwell, Earl Palmer).  Others, like Ellis Marsalis, Al Belletto, Bill Huntington and Mike Serpas stuck around New Orleans for longer, or for good.

Amongst the latter, saxophonist Joseph “Mouse” Bonati would be one of the earliest and most visible champions of bop.  Little, unfortunately, in the way of New Orleans bebop was recorded in its time, but Mouse Bonati figures prominently in discussions about modern jazz in New Orleans.

Joseph “Mouse” Bonati

Born in Buffalo, New York, in 1930, Joseph “Mouse” Bonati was the youngest of five musically- and artistically-inclined brothers and sisters: Ralph, Roy, Anne and Al.  His father died when Joe was six months old; Joe’s eldest brother Ralph, fourteen years old at the time, would in particular help out with his upbringing.  (Incidentally, there are two different family stories about the “Mouse” sobriquet.   One has it that it was coined by an artist friend of the family who, while drawing a family portrait, made special note of the youngest Bonati’s appearance.   The second version was that it was born, as a vision, during one of Mouse’s own drug-induced reveries.)

The young Joe, evincing the family’s musical and artistic talents, played the violin, receiving the standard classical-oriented musical education of the era.  In the late ’40s, barely out of his teens, playing saxophone and enamored of both jazz and – like so many other young musicians – of Charlie Parker, Mouse Bonati moved to New Orleans.

In New Orleans, Mouse would meet Ronda Adler through mutual friend Larry Borenstein (founder of Preservation Hall).  Adler – a young jazz enthusiast who’d worked previously as a cigarette girl at the storied Birdland jazz club – was then en route to Mexico from New York City, but stayed on in New Orleans, eventually marrying Mouse, with daughter Gina born in 1957 and son Chris in 1959.   With Ronda working at the Court of Two Sisters, Mouse, continuing to hone his Bird-influenced style, would pursue the musical life in the colorful clubs of New Orleans.   A multi-instrumentalist – he also played piano, flute and clarinet – Bonati would become a well-known presence in the New Orleans jazz community.

Mouse Bonati’s New Orleans sides – all released by the tiny Patio Records – represent some of the earliest bebop recorded in the city.  Recorded in a single sitting in 1957, the Patio sessions yielded four tracks under Mouse’s aegis.  Supported by compadres Benny Clement (trumpet), Jimmy Johnson (bass), Chick Power (tenor saxophone), Edward Frank (piano) and Earl Palmer (drums), these recordings would be released sequentially on two 45s – “Back” backed with “One Blind Mouse” (Patio MJ-1) followed by “Mouse’s House” backed with “What a Difference a Day Made” (Patio MJ-2).  They show the altoist in full Charlie Parker mode.

That same year would also see the release of the lone LP on Patio Records, an album of New Orleans bebop entitled New Sounds From New Orleans.  Put together by friend and fellow musician Jack Martin, the album was divided between the Jack Martin Octet’s “Jazz Suite de Camera” on one side (which features Bonati playing in a supporting role) and Mouse Bonati’s music – his four 45 recordings, along with a strange multi-tracked tape experiment entitled “Improvisations” – on the other.

As the ‘50s wore on, recorded music began to displace the musicians working in the Bourbon Street clubs.   Local gigs became harder to find, and, like many musicians and artists, Mouse’s own life and personal relationships were getting more complicated. Around 1960, not long after these recordings were made, Mouse relocated to Las Vegas, and the ensuing years would form something of the next chapter in his life as a working musician.  Though no further commercial recordings would be released in this time, the relative security of resort gigs – the lifeblood of many jazz musicians in those years – kept Mouse active as a professional musician.

Mouse’s residencies as a jazz soloist and section musician would take him from Lake Tahoe in mid-‘60s (at Harrod’s Resort) to the Bahamas in the late ‘60s (at Paradise Island), then back to Lake Tahoe around 1970.  His longest-term residency would follow upon settling in Las Vegas, where he lived from 1972 onwards, with a steady residency at the Lido show at Caesar’s, along with jazz gigs at venues like the Tropicana Ballroom and Dusty’s Playland.

Mouse Bonati was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx in the early ‘80s, sadly making playing impossible in his final years.  His a life spent in the jazz world, devoted to music. Joseph “Mouse” Bonati passed away in 1983.

Jerry Berry Quintet, A Tribute to Miles (Soma 1117x45)2.  Jerry Berry Quintet, A Tribute to Miles (Soma 1117×45)
The Soma Records story and discography are well-known to fans and collectors. From early rockabilly to mid-‘60s garage band sounds, Amos Heilicher’s Minneapolis-based Soma Records chronicled young rock ‘n’ roll of the Upper Midwest better than any other label operation.

Based, presumably, in the Upper Midwest, Jerry Berry is clearly no rock ‘n’ roller, but it’s still surprising that there are so few details to be unearthed about him.  “A Tribute to Miles” was released in July of 1959, to my ears a sort of impression, and a well-done one, of cool, definitive mid-tempo Davis recordings like “All Blues” or “Bag’s Groove.”

“A Tribute to Miles” and its flipside (a fine uptempo version of “Love for Sale”) would be the first of two Jerry Berry 45s released in quick succession.  The second – the Quintet’s jazz readings of Joe Liggins’s “Pink Champagne” and Gene Krupa and Roy Eldridge’s “Drum Boogie” – reveal no further clues, either, unfortunately.

Clyde Dickerson And The Tear Drops, Cool Week-End (Kinzua Kl 102 B)3.  Clyde Dickerson And The Tear Drops, Cool Week-End (Kinzua Kl 102 B)
Born in Bristol, Tennesse, saxophonist Clyde Dickerson’s home base eventually became Washington D.C., where he was known for many years as “Watergate.” (Dickerson’s day job was as doorman at the infamous Watergate Hotel.)

In early ‘60s, though, Dickerson was playing in and around western New York.  There his “Cool Week-End” was recorded in 1964 and released on the custom-pressed label Kinzua.  This is rough, raw stuff, with sour notes resounding during the piano solo.  It is again clearly fired by the brisk tempos and melodies of early bebop – the unison passages could have been lifted from an early Dexter Gordon or Kenny Dorham 78.   (Its flipside, an atmospheric version of Jesse Belvin’s R&B ballad “Guess Who,” is posted at the great That’s All Rite Mama.)   “Cool Week-End” is also quite the contrast to the prior, and only other, Kinzua Records release, Red Arrow and the Braves’ “The Last Days of the Kinzua” and its flipside “Redskin Rumble,” two sides of wild, oddball rock ‘n’ roll.

Dickerson seems to have been something of the journeyman musician and arranger around the resort towns and metropolitan areas of western New York.  In addition to his own records, his somewhat unexpected co-writer credits include both sides of the aforementioned Red Arrow and the Braves 45.  He appears, too, to have worked occasionally with the Buffalo-based group the Jesters, and possibly contributed some saxophone work on their hip 1962 instrumental “Alexander Graham Bull.”  (Jesters’ drummer Tony DiMaria is given co-credit for “Cool Week-End,” implying another connection.)

At some point in the ‘60s, however, Dickerson would settle in Washington D.C., leading groups on at least three different D.C.-area soul 45s in the early ‘70s – “Love Bandit” and “Black and Beautiful” (both on Jonetta Records) along with “There’s No Justice for the Young” (on Soultown Records).

Dickerson seems to have remained more active as a performer, however, with regular appearances with D.C.-area jazz and R&B A-listers, including Byron Morris, the Mangione brothers, David Ruffin and Rick James.  Clyde Dickerson passed away from stroke-related complications in 2003.

Posted on by Little Danny | Posted in Jazz Obscura | 10 Comments

I owe it all to the 45rpm record

Office Naps is officially five years old.

Office Naps is five years old

Office Naps is five years old this week. Thanks to foxgrrl's flickr stream for the photo.

Thank you, dear reader, for all of your support, stories and positive feedback over the years!

Posted on by Little Danny | Posted in Miscellaneous Flotsam, Personal natter | 8 Comments