Monday, March 15, 2021

Roy Head "One More Time!"

( Here it is, the first proper career spanning collection on The King of Blue-Eyed Soul (though it's a toss-up between him and Wayne Cochran. They're both Kings). The album kicks off in fourth gear with the original "One More Time" (the better known version was a remake) and nine other sides of his T.N.T. Records output, from 1958 to 1961. These tracks are all rough and raw Rockabilly and Rock'n'Roll with a proto-garage aesthetic. Standouts include an out of the ballpark party stomper, "Live It Up," the wild shuffle of "My Baby's Fine" and the tempo topper, "Night Time Blues." From there, we get into his early flirtations with R'n'B, like Ray Sharpe's "Linda Lu" (a working band had to know this song to survive in Texas at the time), a rockin' raveup of the Muddy Waters staple, "Got My Mojo Workin' ," and Head's hot version of James Brown's hot version of "Night Train," plus the hip-shakin' original, "Get Back,” and "Boogie Down Sunset,” a jet-propelled variation on John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillun' ,” in which he recalls seeing The Hook tearing up The Whisky A-Go-Go to the tune of some fiery fretwork. There's even an early version of his biggest hit, "Treat Her Right,” but in this case, he's "Talkin' 'Bout a Cow,” advising the listener to give that cow extra loving care if you want milk, cream and butter. It'd be right at home on "Green Acres." From there, we flash forward a few years to 1970s Huey Meaux-produced album, "Same People (That You Meet Going Up, You Meet Coming Down), a Funked-up Soul and Blues excursion, presented here in it's entirety (good thing, too, my copy has seen better days), and there's not a dud track to be found. From the stompin' title track to the uncut Funk of "I Was Born a Free Man" and his buddy, Doug Sahm's "She's About a Mover'' to a song that promises "I Don't Want to Make it Too Funky (In The Beginning),'' but reneges on that promise from start to finish. Other highlights include great versions of "Neighbor, Neighbor" and Junior Parker's "Driving Wheel" (another song every Texas Blues and R'n'B band had to learn, if they aimed to live). Roy's voice is in top Soul form here, a far cry from those (admittedly great) T.N.T sides. Moving on down the line, we have "Soul Train,” a name-checking mover (Joe Tex, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Wilson Pickett, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, Bobby "Blue " Bland, Aretha Franklin, Rufus Thomas and The Supremes are all present and accounted for). Roy also turns out three great Bo Diddley covers, a barnstormin' 'Who Do You Love,” awash in heavy brass, the fuzz bass-driven hard R'n'B of "Bring it to Jerome" and a Texas ballroom sendup of "Before You Accuse Me" with some tasty Blues Guitar licks. Then there's The heavy rockin' "Operator,” a tuff version of Lee Dorsey's "Get Out of My Life, Woman,” and the breezy Psych of "Easy Lovin' Girl,” backed by Johnny and Edgar Winter and The Great Believers. All in all, this is a tasteful collection, annotated and produced by Chicago's own Bill Dahl (who also did the liner notes for "Scotty McKay Rocks”) with help from Len Fico in the production department. A dollar from every unit sold goes to the Plano, Texas based Minnie's Food Pantry, which provided (surely an error, here.) "2.1 meals to families in North Texas,” so the buyer gives as well as gets their soul food fix.

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