March 22, 2017


Key to the Highway                 
2017-03-22     St. Patty’s Day show                                                                                                                                                                           
Phil Seamen                            1953-1959
Various Brit Blues                  1968-1972
*************************
Please note that this show was intended to air two weeks ago, before rather than after Saint Patrick’s Day, but due to problems with my computer, including its disc writing capabilities, had to be postponed.  In the meantime, we have a new void created by the death of Chuck Berry and I would be remiss in not bringing it up.  No doubt Chuck Berry was THE most influential Rock ‘n’ Roller, but he was also very much a Blues Man.  For almost five decades now I have expressed my opinion that much of what others may not consider the Blues, I do, and back that up with the statement, “After all, Chuck Berry didn’t sing ‘Roll Over Beethoven, dig this Rock ‘n’ Roll’”.  Later this year I shall pay him the musical tribute he deserves, but not now when so many others will likely be doing the same, and when I can put in the time to do it right.
*************************
So, last show we did our annual Mardi Gras show, and already we’re ready to celebrate another hard partying day with our annual St. Patrick’s Day edition.  Now, you might think that the busiest night in the cab driver’s year would be New Year’s Eve, but I found that it was often eclipsed by St. Patty’s Day when it occurred on a weekend as it does next Friday.  With New Year’s Eve, most folks got to where they wanted to be by at least 11pm and nobody wanted to leave before midnight so you had a lull time of about an hour, but on the day when everybody claims to be Irish they get ploughed beginning right after work and fall by the wayside at varying times so the cabbie stays busy all through the evening until the bars close.  Where New Year’s Eve holds an advantage is that there are a lot more parties at people’s homes so the fares generally last later into the morning.
Anyway, it seems like we just concluded our two and a half year study of the British Blues so there isn’t much new stuff to present today, but a couple of times early in the process I wasn’t ready with a blog so I took a look back at the past few shows and played the best of the best for about a dozen of the most recent shows.  That is what we do here for the shows between April 8th 2015 (show 26) and September 23rd 2015 (show 34).  We did 52 shows in the series, so that leaves us with plenty of material to use for the next few years.   enjoy
*************************
But I did acquire a nice 4CD box set since closing the study and we’ll use the choicest tracks from it for half of today’s show.  When the 2015 Jazz marathon was approaching, I tried to showcase some British Jazz and whom I was most interested in was drummer Phil Seamen.  Although he was considered the best European drummer of the 50s and 60s, he seldom was the bandleader on records (I have seen the number two and a half and wonder how the half got there) but his presence as a sideman is where he built his reputation.  The Proper box set Seamen’s Mission has nothing but his work backing up some of the best Jazz ensembles in England and it seems like for each recording there was made room for a drum solo, although oftentimes brief.  I don’t know exactly when I became curious to hear his work, it might have even been as recent as during the Development of the British Blues series, but I do know it was when I discovered he was essentially the idol of Cream’s Ginger Baker.
Fair warning: this might get boring as we mention many British Jazzmen’s names which are likely to be very meaningless to most of you readers, but there is some interesting information contained within.  Seamen came onto the scene as Bebop was influencing British Jazz.  This collection includes some of the recordings Seamen made between 1952 and 1960 and, while it was not 100% in chronological order, that is how I present his music with two exceptions, the first and the last tunes on this airing. 
Born Philip William Seamen in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, on August 28th 1926, he took up the drums at the early age of six and by the time he was eighteen was playing professionally with the Len Reynolds ensemble for a short stay before moving on to the popular Trad Jazz band, Nat Gonella and his Georgians, in 1944.  In 1947, Seamen moved on to the band of Kenny Turner but was back with Gonella in 1948.  Phil believed that the time was well spent with Nat as he became a proficient reader and otherwise perfected his craft.  It was then that Phil claimed to be in one of the earliest British Bebop groups formed out of the Gonella band with altoist Johnny Rogers, tenor man Kenny Graham, and bassist Lennie Bush.  Later, at various times between 1952 and 1958, Phil would perform and record with Graham’s Afro-Cubist projects.  Kenny had connections with London’s West Indian community and therefore featured a strongly rhythmic Jazz sound.  While with the Tommy Sampson Orchestra, whom he joined in 1948, the Bebop quintet he and tenor saxist Danny Moss assembled from its ranks appeared during a portion of the orchestra’s September 1949 radio broadcast. 
After a brief stint with the band of Paul Fenoulhet early in 1950, he went on to a 14 month stay with the Joe Loss Orchestra, at that time the most popular dance band in the U.K.  From there, in April 1951, Phil went on to fellow drummer Jack Parnell’s orchestra and recorded with them in an October 1952 session which will likely be aired as part of our April 26th pre-Jazz marathon show.
Seamen had spent the early portion of 1953 with Jimmy Walker’s five piece band, then a brief time with Bert Ambrose before returning to Parnell in June, so we do get to hear the pair of drummers on the third tune of our show.  Kick Off is from a February 25th 1954 session by the 17-piece ensemble.  Phil would leave Parnell in August 1954 to join the Ronnie Scott Orchestra.  It was in a session on November 24th 1954 with Scott that Seamen’s Mission, our show-opening tune composed by pianist Victor Feldman with plenty of room left for Phil to fill, was laid down.  It is also the title of the 4disc set we use today.
The second track we air is with the Joe Harriott Quartet, Just Goofin’, from March 24th 1955.  Alto saxophonist Harriott headed up the first free-Jazz combo in Europe and Seamen remained a close associate over the years.  When Phil put together his own quintet in January 1956, it was Harriott on alto along with pianist Johnny Weed, guitarist Dave Goldberg and bassist Stan Wasser.  Unfortunately, the group never made it into the studio.
Another musician Seamen was often found in the studio with was Victor Feldman.  Feldman was a child prodigy on the drums, making his pro debut when only seven years old but, particularly when Phil was in the band, he was more likely heard playing vibraphones or piano.  Phil recorded with Feldman’s bands of varying sizes on several dates. Our fourth tune, Maenya, was done with Victor Feldman’s Big Band on September 21st 1955.  Most notable among the fifteen members of the band, along with Feldman and Seamen, are trumpeters Dizzy Reece and Jimmy Deuchar and tenor men Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes.  Feldman was a fixture on the British Jazz scene until he defected to America in September 1955, I guess just after this session, to join the Woody Herman band.  He did return to London for eight weeks in the winter of 1956 when he spent most of his time either finishing contractual obligations to the Tempo label in the studio or gigging in the clubs.
We follow that up with two tunes from an October 11th 1955 Ronnie Scott Orchestra session,  Bang and A Night in Tunisia (Joe Harriott is one of the two altoists in the 16 piece ensemble) as we close out the first set.  These were part of a 4-tune EP and the only time Scott tried to put together a big band, which he disassembled after Seamen and trumpeter Dave Usden came to blows onstage at a Hogmanay  (I believe a Welsh word similar to a Christmas greeting) show in Morecambe.
Seamen backed trumpeter Dizzy Reece on almost all of his recordings while he resided in London.  Reece was born in Jamaica in 1931 and got to Europe in 1948, but it wasn’t until 1954 that he made it to London.  We feature Phil with the Dizzy Reece Quintet on Butch, which was cut on May 16th 1955.
While the results of the session on July 6th 1955 came out on the market as by the Joe Harriott Quartet, the ensemble was essentially gigging as Seamen’s quintet except that guitarist Goldberg was not included; Weed was on piano and an American, Major Holley, provided the bass.  We hear the two tracks that were released, Blues Original and My Heart Belongs to Daddy.  We come back to the Dizzy Reece Quintet from July 7th 1956 to close out the set with Scrapple from the Apple.
Sometime in 1956, Seamen married Leonie Franklin, a dancer who was in the show Jazz Wagon that Phil was drumming for.  He was also becoming an asked for studio drummer for hire. Jimmy Deuchar had been one of Parnell’s trumpeters on a 1952 session and, when he got the opportunity to first record his own group in 1953, he brought in Phil and two others from the Parnell Orchestra.  Deuchar still wanted Seamen for his March 29th 1957 studio time and from that session we open our third Seamen set with Opus de Funk.  Just days after this recording date, Deuchar and two others from the sextet joined the German Kurt Edelhagen Orchestra, but during a break from the band Deuchar engaged Seamen in a session that recorded music from the film Pal Joey which featured actors Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak.  The notes are a little unclear but, since the movie didn’t come out until 1958 and the Deuchar session was laid down on March 7th 1958, it is altogether possible that this would be the original music from the soundtrack.
The relations between American and British music unions had been contentious in the past but an agreement allowing one for one exchanges of visiting bands finally was reached and, in January 1957, Scott put together a six piece ensemble made up mostly of his former band mates, including Seamen, but as they were boarding the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth at Southampton, Phil was busted for heroin possession and not allowed to leave the country; Allan Ganley was flown to New York as his replacement.  Seamen’s defense council understated things when he said the drummer “was slightly addicted to drug taking” and Phil was fined eighty pounds.
For a January 3rd 1957 session, Deuchar teamed up with Feldman in a quintet during the eight weeks Victor was on break from the Herman band and from that session we present to you Wail.  Phil spent most of 1957 heading his own group, but also gigged and recorded with Dizzy Reece.  There was also a January session with Kenny Graham’s Afro Cubists and he joined Don Rendell’s band in the summer, but by early 1958 he was back with Dizzy Reece.  For a period of time in 1958, Phil was in the pit orchestra for the West End production of West Side Story, and it was a regular occurrence that when he was not performing he would nod off, which was put up with by conductor Leonard Bernstein because, after being awakened, his timing was spot on.  Until one time when a tapping by the bass man’s bow startled him so much that he jumped off his stool, falling backwards into a large Chinese gong and creating such an audible ruckus that it halted the show.  Phil had the wherewithal to clear his throat and humorously state, “Ladies and gentlemen, dinner is served”, but still he was terminated in short order.
On October 2nd 1958, the Dizzy Reece Quartet (Phil, Dizzy, tenor saxist Tubby Hayes and bass player Lloyd Thompson) laid down four songs for a soundtrack to the movie Nowhere to Go as the film played in the background, and from that we have chosen The Escape and Chase to wind down our third set.  The song features Seamen playing cowbell with a pair of drumsticks as Reece smacks the tom toms with his hands through the first half.
Phil and bassist Kenny Napper are the supporting cast for the pianist\vibraphonist bandleader in the Stan Tracey Trio and we open our fourth Seamen set with Free from a May 22nd 1959 session and Boo Bah recorded four days later.  With only three numbers in our show-closing set, we go all the way back to December 17th 1954 to hear the Victor Feldman Modern Jazz Quartet’s Monsoon.
In mid-1959, Phil joined tenor saxists Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes (Hayes also played flute and vibes) in the Jazz Couriers, replacing Bill Eyden and playing beside pianist Terry Shannon and bassist Kenny Napper.  Despite the group’s tightness and hard swinging, it was short-lived and disbanded on August 30th 1959.  Seamen then signed on with Tubby in his new quartet with Shannon and varying bass players.  There are recordings of both of these ensembles included in the collection but I did not consider them because I had already presented some of them in our April 22nd 2015 pre-Jazz Marathon show.
In 1960, Phil was back with the Joe Harriott Quintet.  Harriott had been working on his freeform Jazz since the late 50s and, as he explained it, “What we are doing has form … the themes are structural, our approach to it is abstract.  We make no use at all of bar lines, and there is no set harmony or use of chords, but there is an interplay of musical form and we do keep a steady form in the rhythm section.”
Phil was backing Georgie Fame in 1962 and played with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated between February and August 1963.  From 1964 to 1968, Seamen often had the opportunity to back visiting artists (including a couple of nights behind Dexter Gordon) in his capacity of house drummer for Ronnie Scott’s nightclub.  He recorded with Carmen McRae in 1964 and was also regularly a part of Dick Morrissey’s Quartet, the Harry South Big Band, Burt Rhodes’ Orchestra, and Tony Lee’s Trio as well as having a residency for his own trio at the Royal Oak pub in 1969.  He also guested in Ginger Baker’s Air Force.
In the 70s, Phil mostly freelanced, including a tour with American trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, while putting his trio into residencies at various London pubs as the situations arose.  Phil Seamen passed away on October 13th 1972
Seriously, since you have read this all the way to the endyou have my apologies.  Almost everything I have typed out is technical crap.  The box set liner notes say Seamen had “a great gift of humour and sharp wit . . . with a larger than life personality” but provide little to back up the statements, and they also say, “There are countless anecdotes still told about Phil Seamen, some comic, some tragic and some apocryphal, most of them a mixture of all three” but fail to repeat any of them.  Surely more could have been included about his drug addiction and alcoholism.  Anyway, it shouldn’t be difficult to enjoy the music presented today.
*************************
Since it is still relatively new, I thought I’d mention that KKUP is now streaming on the internet and, while it is still in a developing stage, we have been putting out the word.  I’m not all of that good with high-tech stuff, but it seems pretty easy to access.  If you go to our website at KKUP.org you will see on the home page a strip of options immediately above the pictures of the musicians the next to the last option being LISTEN ONLINE.  By clicking this, it brings up a choice of desktop or mobile.  I can only speak for the desktop but after maybe a minute I was receiving a crystal clear feed.  As already mentioned, this is still a work in progress and we are currently limited to a finite number of listeners at any one time.  I mention this so you will be aware to turn off the application when you are not actually listening.  (I put the player in my favorites bar for the easiest of access.)  Now we can reach our listeners in Los Gatos and Palo Alto, even my family in Canada.  Let your friends elsewhere know they can now listen to your favorite station, and while they have the home page open they can check out our schedule.
*************************
Seamen’s Mission (Ronnie Scott Orchestra) 
Just Goofin’ (Joe Harriott Quartet)
Kickoff (Jack Parnell and his Orchestra)
Maenya (Victor Feldman Big Band)
Bang (Ronnie Scott Orchestra)
A Night in Tunisia (A Night in Tunisia)
   Phil Seamen   19mins

Good Time Boogie
   John Mayall (Jazz/Blues Fusion)
Don’t Turn Me from Your Door
   Savoy Brown (Blue Matter)
Take Your Hands Off Me
   Brunning/Hall Sunflower Blues Band
      (Bullen Street Blues)
Love is Alive
   Joe Cocker (Night Calls)
Natchez Burning
   The Groundhogs (Blues Obituary)
Those About To Die
   Colosseum   34mins
      (Those Who Are About to Die Salute You) 

Butch
Blues Original
My Heart Belongs to Daddy
Scrapple from the Apple
   Phil Seamen   22mins

Waiting on You
   Free (Tons of Sobs)
Little Boy Blue
   Duffy Power & Dick Heckstall-Smith
        (Sky Blues: Rare Radio Sessions)
Twenty Past One
   The Climax Chicago Blues Band
       (The Climax Chicago Blues Band)
When You Got a Good Friend
   The John Dummer Blues Band (Cabal)
L.A. Breakdown
   Nicky Hopkins with the All Stars
        (British Blues Legends)
Andalucian Blues
   Chicken Shack
       (The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions)
The Stomp
   Ten Years After (Ssssh)   22mins

Opus de Funk
Wail
The Escape and Chase
   Phil Seamen   17mins

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
   Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin I)
Got a Tongue in Your Head
   Duster Bennett
       (The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions)
I’m Movin’ On
   Taste (The Best of Taste)
Think It Over / Too Much to Take
   The Keef Hartley Band (Halfbreed)
Don’t Start Me Talkin’
   The Climax Chicago Blues Band
       (The Climax Chicago Blues Band)
We’re Going Wrong
   Jack Bruce (Spirit: Live at the BBC)   25mins

Free
Boo Bah
Monsoon
   Phil Seamen   18mins

March 8, 2017

Key to the Highway                 
2017-03-08  St. Patty’s show                                                                            
Phil Seamen                            1953-1959
Various Brit Blues                  1968-1972
*************************
So, last show we did our annual Mardi Gras show, and already we’re ready to celebrate another hard partying day with our annual St. Patrick’s Day edition.  Now you might think that the busiest night in the cab driver’s year would be New Year’s Eve, but I found that it was often surpassed by St. Patty’s Day when it occurred on a weekend as it does next Friday.  With New Year’s Eve, most folks got to where they wanted to be by at least 11pm and nobody wanted to leave before midnight so you had a lull time of about an hour, but on the day when everybody claims to be Irish they get ploughed beginning right after work and fall by the wayside at varying times so the cabbie stays busy all through the evening until the bars close.  Where New Year’s Eve holds an advantage is that there are a lot more parties at people’s homes so the fares generally last later into the morning.
Anyway, it seems like we just concluded our two and a half year study of the British Blues so there isn’t much new stuff to present today, but a couple of times early in the process I wasn’t ready with a blog so I took a look back at the past few shows and played the best of the best for about a dozen of the most recent shows.  That is what we do here for the shows between April 8th 2015 (show 26) and September 23rd 2015 (show 34).  We did 52 shows in the series, so that leaves us with plenty of material to use for the next few years.   enjoy
*************************
But I did acquire a nice 4CD box set since closing the study and we’ll use the choicest tracks from it for half of today’s show.  When the 2015 Jazz marathon was approaching, I tried to showcase some British Jazz and whom I was most interested in was drummer Phil Seamen.  Although he was considered the best European drummer of the 50s and 60s, he seldom was the bandleader on records (I have seen the number two and a half and wonder how the half got there) but his presence as a sideman is where he built his reputation.  The Proper box set Seamen’s Mission has nothing but his work backing up some of the best Jazz ensembles in England and it seems like for each recording there was made room for a drum solo, although oftentimes brief.  I don’t know exactly when I became curious to hear his work, it might have even been as recent as during the Development of the British Blues series, but I do know it was when I discovered he was essentially the idol of Cream’s Ginger Baker.
Fair warning: this might get boring as we mention many British Jazzmen’s names which are likely to be very meaningless to most of you readers, but there is some interesting information contained within.  Seamen came onto the scene as BeBop was influencing British Jazz.  This collection includes some of the recordings Seamen made between 1952 and 1960 and, while it was not 100% in chronological order, that is how I present his music with two exceptions, the first and the last tunes on this airing.  Philip William Seamen was born in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, on August 28th 1926 and took up drums in his early teens.  He turned pro in 1944 with the Len Reynolds ensemble and soon joined the popular Trad Jazz band of Nat Gonella.  Phil credited Nat for his early development and learning to read music.  In 1947, Seamen moved on to the band of Kenny Turner but was back with Gonella in 1948.  It was then that Phil claimed to be in one of the earliest British BeBop groups formed out of the Gonella band with altoist Johnny Rogers, tenor man Kenny Graham, and bassist Lennie Bush.
Late in 1948, Phil was with the Tommy Sampson Orchestra and, in September 1949, the Orchestra was aired including a segment of a BeBop quintet taken from its ranks.  Seamen joined the band of Paul Fenoulhet early in 1950, then spent April 1950 to April 1951 with Britain’s current most popular dance band, the Joe Loss Orchestra.  Phil went on to fellow drummer Jack Parnell’s orchestra and recorded with them in an October 1952 session which is included in the 4CD set but not today’s show. 
I mentioned that our first number is taken out of the chronological sequence.  It is Seaman’s Mission, recorded in a November 2nd 1954 session (although the date is listed elsewhere in the liner notes as from 1957) with the Ronnie Scott Orchestra.  The tune was written by the pianist Victor Feldman, obviously leaving plenty of room for Phil to fill, and is also the title of the 4disc set
Back to our timeline.  Seamen had spent the early portion of 1953 with Jimmy Walker’s five piece band, then a brief time with Ambrose before returning to Parnell in June.  Our second tune is Kick Off from a February 25th 1954 session including both Parnell and Seamen on drums as part of the 17-piece ensemble.  Phil would leave Parnell in August 1954 to join the Ronnie Scott Orchestra.  Also, beginning in 1953, Phil joined in sessions with trumpeter Kenny Graham and his Afro Cubists.  Kenny had connections with London’s West Indian community and therefore featured a strongly rhythmic Jazz sound.  
The next track we air is with the Joe Harriott Quartet, Just Goofin’, from March 24th 1955.  Alto saxophonist Harriott headed up the first free-Jazz combo in Europe and Seamen remained a close associate over the years.  When Phil put together his own quintet in January 1956, it was Harriott on alto along with pianist Johnny Weed, guitarist Dave Goldberg and bassist Stan Wasser.  Unfortunately, the group never made it into the studio.
Another musician Seamen was often found in the studio with was Victor Feldman.  Feldman was a child prodigy on the drums, making his pro debut when only seven years old but, particularly when Phil was in the band, he was more likely heard playing vibraphones or piano.  As we’ve already mentioned, Victor was with Ronnie Scott when he penned Seamen’s Mission and Phil recorded with his bands of varying sizes on several dates. Our next tune, Maenya, was done with Victor Feldman’s Big Band on September 21st 1955.  Most notable among the fifteen members of the band, along with Feldman and Seamen, are trumpeters Dizzy Reece and Jimmy Deuchar and tenor men Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes.  Feldman was a fixture on the British Jazz scene until he defected to America in September 1955, I guess just after this session, to join the Woody Herman band.  He did return to London for eight weeks in the winter of 1956 when he spent most of his time either in the studio to finish contractual obligations to the Tempo label or gigging in the clubs.
We follow that up with two tunes from an October 11th 1955 Ronnie Scott Orchestra session,  Bang and A Night in Tunisia (Joe Harriott is one of the two altoists in the 16 piece ensemble) as we close out the first set.  These were part of a 4-tune EP and the only time Scott tried to put together a big band, which he disassembled after Seamen and trumpeter Dave Usden came to blows onstage at a Hogmanay  (I believe a Welsh word similar to a Christmas greeting) show in Morecambe.
The relations between American and British music unions had been contentious in the past but an agreement allowing one for one exchanges of visiting bands finally was reached and, in January 1957, Scott put together a six piece ensemble made up mostly of his former band mates, including Seamen, but as they were boarding the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth at Southampton, Phil was busted for heroin possession and not allowed to leave the country; Allan Ganley was flown to New York as his replacement.  Seamen’s defense council understated things when he said the drummer “was slightly addicted to drug taking” and Phil was fined eighty pounds.
Seamen backed trumpeter Dizzy Reece on almost all of his recordings while he resided in London.  Reece was born in Jamaica in 1931 and got to Europe in 1948, but it wasn’t until 1954 that he made it to London.  We feature Phil with his quintet on Butch, which was cut on May 16th 1955.
While the results of the session on July 6th 1955 came out on the market as by the Joe Harriott Quartet, the ensemble was essentially gigging as Seamen’s quintet except that guitarist Goldberg was not included; Weed was on piano and an American, Major Holley, provided the bass.  We hear the two tracks that were released, Blues Original and My Heart Belongs to Daddy.  We come back to the Dizzy Reece Quintet from July 7th 1956 to close out the set with Scrapple from the Apple.
It was while with Parnell that Seamen met a dancer named Leonie, whom he would marry in 1956.  He was also becoming an asked for studio drummer for hire. Jimmy Deuchar had been one of Parnell’s trumpeters on a 1952 session and, when he got the opportunity to first record his own group in 1953, he brought in Phil and two others from the Parnell Orchestra.  Deuchar still wanted Seamen for his March 29th 1957 studio time and from that session we open our third Seamen set with Opus de Funk.  Just days after this recording date, Deuchar and two others from the sextet joined the German Kurt Edelhagen Orchestra, but during a break from the band Deuchar engaged Seamen in a session that recorded music from the film Pal Joey which featured actors Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak.  The notes are a little unclear but since the movie didn’t come out until 1958 and the Deuchar session was laid down on March 7th 1958 it is altogether possible that this would be the music from the soundtrack.
For a January 3rd 1957 session, Deuchar teamed up with Feldman in a quintet during the eight weeks Victor was on break from the Herman band and from that session we present to you Wail.  Phil spent most of 1957 heading his own group, but also gigged and recorded with Dizzy Reece.  There was also a January session with Kenny Graham’s Afro Cubists and he joined Don Rendell’s band in the summer, but by early 1958 he was back with Dizzy.  For a period of time in 1958, Phil was in the pit orchestra for the West End production of West Side Story, and it was a regular occurrence that when he was not performing he would nod off, which was put up with by conductor Leonard Bernstein because, after being awakened, his timing was spot on.  Until one time when a tapping by the bass man’s bow startled him so much that he jumped off his stool, falling backwards into a large Chinese gong and creating such an audible ruckus that it halted the show.  Phil had the wherewithal to clear his throat and humorously state, “Ladies and gentlemen,  dinner is served”, but still he was terminated in short order.
On October 2nd 1958, the Dizzy Reece Quartet (Phil, Dizzy, tenor saxist Tubby Hayes and bass player Lloyd Thompson) laid down four songs for a soundtrack to the movie Nowhere to Go with the film playing in the background, and from that we have chosen The Escape and Chase to wind down our third set.  The song features Seamen playing cowbell with a pair of drumsticks as Reece smacks the tom toms with his hands through the first half.
Phil and bassist Kenny Napper are the supporting cast for the pianist\vibraphonist bandleader in the Stan Tracey Trio and we open our fourth Seamen set with Free from a May 22nd 1959 session and Boo Bah recorded four days later.  With only three numbers in our show-closing set, we go all the way back to December 17th 1954 to hear the Victor Feldman Modern Jazz Quartet’s Monsoon.
In mid-1959, Phil joined tenor saxists Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes (Hayes also played flute and vibes) in the Jazz Couriers, replacing Bill Eyden and playing beside pianist Terry Shannon and bassist Kenny Napper.  Despite the group’s tightness and hard swinging, it was short-lived and disbanded on August 30th 1959.  Seamen then signed on with Tubby in his new quartet with Shannon and varying bass players.  There are recordings of both of these ensembles included in the collection but I did not consider them because I had already presented them in our April 22nd 2015 pre-Jazz Marathon show.
In 1960, Phil was back with the Joe Harriott Quintet.  Harriott had been working on his freeform Jazz since the late 50s and, as he explained it, “What we are doing has form … the themes are structural, our approach to it is abstract.  We make no use at all of bar lines, and there is no set harmony or use of chords, but there is an interplay of musical form and we do keep a steady form in the rhythm section.”
Phil was backing Georgie Fame in 1962 and played with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated between February and August 1963.  From 1964 to 1968, Seamen often had the opportunity to back visiting artists in his capacity of house drummer for Ronnie Scott’s nightclub.  He was also regularly a part of Dick Morrissey’s Quartet, the Harry South Big Band, Burt Rhodes’ Orchestra, and Tony Lee’s Trio as well as having a residency for his own trio at the Royal Oak pub in 1969.  He also guested in Ginger Baker’s Air Force.
In the 70s, Phil mostly freelanced, including a tour with American trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, while putting his trio into residencies at various London pubs as the situations arose.  Phil Seamen passed away on October 13th 1972
Seriously, since you have read this all the way to the end you have my apologies.  Almost everything I have typed out is technical crap.  The box set liner notes say Seamen had “a great gift of humour and sharp wit . . . with a larger than life personality” but provide little to back up the statements, and they also say, “There are countless anecdotes still told about Phil Seamen, some comic, some tragic and some apocryphal, most of them a mixture of all three” but fail to repeat any of them.  Anyway, it shouldn’t be difficult to enjoy the music presented today.
*************************
Since it is still relatively new, I thought I’d mention that KKUP is now streaming on the internet and, while it is still in a developing stage, we have been putting out the word.  I’m not all of that good with high-tech stuff, but it seems pretty easy to access.  If you go to our website at KKUP.org you will see on the home page a strip of options immediately above the pictures of the musicians the next to the last option being LISTEN ONLINE.  By clicking this, it brings up a choice of desktop or mobile.  I can only speak for the desktop but after maybe a minute I was receiving a crystal clear feed.  As already mentioned, this is still a work in progress and we are currently limited to a finite number of listeners at any one time.  I mention this so you will be aware to turn off the application when you are not actually listening.  (I put the player in my favorites bar for the easiest of access.)  Now we can reach our listeners in Los Gatos and Palo Alto, even my family in Canada.  Let your friends elsewhere know they can now listen to your favorite station, and while they have the home page open they can check out our schedule.
*************************
Seamen’s Mission (Ronnie Scott Orchestra)
Just Goofin’ (Joe Harriott Quartet)
Kickoff (Jack Parnell and his Orchestra)
Maenya (Victor Feldman Big Band)
Bang (Ronnie Scott Orchestra)
A Night in Tunisia (A Night in Tunisia)
   Phil Seamen   19mins
 
Good Time Boogie
   John Mayall (Jazz/Blues Fusion)
Don’t Turn Me from Your Door
   Savoy Brown (Blue Matter)
Take Your Hands Off Me
   Brunning/Hall Sunflower Blues Band
      (Bullen Street Blues)
Love is Alive
   Joe Cocker (Night Calls)
Natchez Burning
   The Groundhogs (Blues Obituary)
Those About To Die
   Colosseum   34mins
      (Those Who Are About to Die Salute You) 
Butch
Blues Original
My Heart Belongs to Daddy
Scrapple from the Apple
   Phil Seamen   22mins
Waiting on You
   Free (Tons of Sobs)
Little Boy Blue
   Duffy Power & Dick Heckstall-Smith
        (Sky Blues: Rare Radio Sessions)
Twenty Past One
   The Climax Chicago Blues Band
       (The Climax Chicago Blues Band)
When You Got a Good Friend
   The John Dummer Blues Band (Cabal)
L.A. Breakdown
   Nicky Hopkins with the All Stars
        (British Blues Legends)
Andalucian Blues
   Chicken Shack
       (The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions)
The Stomp
   Ten Years After (Ssssh)   22mins
Opus de Funk
Wail
The Escape and Chase
   Phil Seamen   17mins
Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
   Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin I)
Got a Tongue in Your Head
   Duster Bennett
       (The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions)
I’m Movin’ On
   Taste (The Best of Taste)
Think It Over / Too Much to Take
   The Keef Hartley Band (Halfbreed)
Don’t Start Me Talkin’
   The Climax Chicago Blues Band
       (The Climax Chicago Blues Band)
We’re Going Wrong
   Jack Bruce (Spirit: Live at the BBC)   25mins
Free
Boo Bah
Monsoon
   Phil Seamen   18mins

February 22, 2017


Key to the Highway 
2017-02-22       Mardi Gras                                                          

Buckwheat Zydeco
John Mooney
Huey “Piano” Smith and the Clowns
*************************
Next Tuesday is Mardi Gras and, each year, it is my pleasure to dedicate an entire show to the music of Louisiana and today’s is this year’s edition.  “Play an Accordion, Go to Jail” is a common bumper sticker in the Bay Area, but our main artist should definitely prove an allowable exception to that rule.  It might even make my cousin wish he hadn’t given up the instrument in his youth.  Hopefully, he will hear today’s show since he avails himself of KKUP’s streaming to his remote location in the suburbs of Vancouver, Canada.
Stanley Dural, Jr. was born November 14th 1947 in Lafayette, Louisiana, but became known popularly as Buckwheat Zydeco, so nicknamed in his youth because his braided hair created an apparent likeness to the Little Rascals character. 
A quote from The New York Times might help explain why the accordionist and his band, Ils Sont Partis Band, were among only a few Zydeco bands to achieve mainstream popularity: “Stanley ‘Buckwheat’ Dural leads one of the best bands in America.  A down-home and high-powered celebration, meaty and muscular with a fine-tuned sense of dynamics … propulsive rhythms, incendiary performances.”  NPR’s Weekend Edition referred to him as "the go-to guy for Zydeco music.”
Stanley Dural Sr. was an accordion player but Jr.’s first choice was the organ, and it was on this instrument, in the late 50s, among the artists he backed were Joe Tex and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.  It was not until 1971 that he founded his own group, the 15-piece funk and soul group Buckwheat and the Hitchhikers, with whom he achieved local success for the single It’s Hard to Get.
In 1976, Buckwheat joined Clifton Chenier’s Red Hot Louisiana Band, still playing organ, and right away he saw the effect they had on the audience: “Everywhere, people young and old just loved Zydeco music.  I had so much fun playing that first night with Clifton.  We played four hours and I wasn’t ready to quit.”  Chenier is the only artist I can think of who gained as much name recognition in the Zydeco field as Buckwheat Zydeco, albeit a generation or two earlier. 
Inspired by his time spent with Clifton, Dural took up the accordion in 1978 and the next year released One For the Road with his band named Buckwheat Zydeco, the first of three albums for the Blues Unlimited label.  After a short time with the Black Top label, Stanley moved on to Rounder Records and received Grammy nominations for both of their releases, the 1983 album Turning Point and 1985’s Waiting for My Ya Ya.  Another switch, this time to Island Records for a five record deal, making them the first Zydeco group ever signed to a major label, brought about another Grammy nomination for their initial album, On a Night Like This.  The band could also be seen in the 1987 movie The Big Easy.
1988 would find Buckwheat’s ensemble touring with Eric Clapton as well as the guitarist’s twelve night gig at the Royal Albert Hall in London.  Buckwheat was now a highly sought out commodity, performing on tours and sometimes in the studio with such artists as diverse as Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Dwight Yoakam and David Hidalgo, Paul Simon, Ry Cooder, and U2, even the Boston Pops, as well as providing music used in movies including the Bob Dylan bio-pic I’m Not There.  The group also made several television appearances including on The Late Show with David Letterman, CNN, The Today Show, MTV, NBC News, CBS Morning News and many others.  They were also invited to play the final episode of The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon.  Buckwheat also acquired an Emmy for his music in the CBS TV movie, Pistol Pete: The Life and Times of Pete Maravich.
In addition to a number of appearances at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the most noteworthy of his many Festival performances were the Newport Folk Festival and the Montreux Jazz Festival.  Buckwheat performed at inaugural balls for both of President Bill Clinton’s terms and also in the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta to a worldwide audience of three billion.  Amid his heavy touring schedule, Buckwheat started Tomorrow Recordings and released Trouble, the first of his four albums for the label between 1997 and 2005.
About his 2009 Grammy nominated album for Alligator Records, Sonicboomers.com noted, “The CD is a vastly entertaining and appealingly diverse package. Bandleader Dural remains an ever-engaging vocalist and a whiz on any keyboard he touches. So, for Buckwheat Zydeco fans, Lay Your Burden Down finds the maestro and his group near the top of their form. For listeners with less interest in the ol' accordion get-down, the collection supplies enough interesting wrinkles to get the good times rolling."  Guest performers on the album included Steve Berlin of Los Lobos (who also produced the release), Sonny Landreth, Warren Haynes, Trombone Shorty, and J.J. Grey.
The career of Buckwheat Zydeco lasted from 1971 to 2016 but was brought to a conclusion with his passing from lung cancer on September 24th 2016 at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in the town of his birth, Lafayette, Louisiana, but his music lives on.   Enjoy
*************************
John Mooney was born on April 3rd 1955 in East Orange, New Jersey but at an early aged his family moved to Rochester, New York.  One of his neighbors was Blues legend Son House and John was taught the basics of both the guitar and the power of the musical genre.  Mooney would later back House on his mid-70s performances in the twilight of his career.
In 1976 Mooney relocated to New Orleans where he quickly signed on with Blind Pig, releasing his first album, Comin’ Your Way, in 1977.  His next album was Late Last Night for Bullseye Blues, which hit the shelves 1990.  The backing musicians are Jon Cleary on keyboards, David Ransom on bass and Kenneth Blevins on drums.  It is from this disc that we air Mooney’s first set.
John veered away from his acoustic style when he formed Bluesiana I 1983 with drummer Kerry Brown and bassist Glenn Fukunaga to meld the music of the Delta with the rhythms of New Orleans.  The band is well represented today from the live album, Travelin’ On, recorded in Breminale, Germany in 1991 by the Bay Area’s own Blue Rock’it label.
These two albums were put together early in John’s recording career and were instrumental as a foundation for an enduring run of entries on record store shelves.   Enjoy
*************************
Huey “Piano” Smith became known through a handful of R&B hits he had with his band, the Clowns, but he was also behind the scenes of several more of the Crescent City’s classics.  He became a highly desired sideman in a city known as a Mecca for talented and innovative piano players.
Huey was born on Robertson Street in New Orleans on January 26th 1934 where, early on, he listened to an uncle play piano.  He took music lessons but also learned much from his sister and listened to Charles Brown, Ivory Joe Hunter, Ray Charles, and Hank Williams on the jukeboxes, but it was a piano player he often heard in his neighborhood, Professor Longhair, who had the most profound effect on his own style.  Entering a talent contest with a friend under the pseudonym Slick and Dark, they performed a tune the two penned, Robertson Street Boogie.
When he was fourteen he put together the Honeyjumpers, a group loosely inspired by the music of Louis Jordan.  A year later, in 1950, Huey teamed up with guitarist Eddie Jones, better known as Guitar Slim, and drummer Willie Nettles.  Eddie Jones and his Playboys recorded for Imperial in May of 1951 and Smith also backed Jones’ 1952 session for Bullet.  Huey’s first recordings he was credited for were in a session for Savoy split with guitarist Earl King in 1953.  Slim’s first sessions for Specialty had Lloyd Lambert’s band backing him which featured Ray Charles on piano, although one of my sources says it was Lawrence Cotton and not Ray Charles who played piano for Lambert.  Johnny Vincent had Jones continue with the Lambert band for his touring so Huey teamed up with Earl King as vocalist.  Smith preferred to be bandleader and not lead singer. 
In 1955 Huey was a part of the sessions that created Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti and Smiley lewis’ I Hear You Knockin’.  Johnny Vincent had left Specialty to set up Ace Records and he convinced Earl and Huey to come record for him.  They laid down Those Lonely, Lonely Nights and the tune, credited to Earl King, became the label’s first hit; Huey was upset when the platter listed the piano as by “Fats”.  It started King on his solo career, but in mid-1956 Huey came out with his own release, Everybody’s Whalin’ with Little Liza Jane on the B-side.  Huey provided Ace’s first national hit in August 1957 with Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu, reaching #9 on the R&B charts and #52 on Billboard’s Hot 100.  As Smith recalled, “I was trying to pick up on some catchy lines.  Chuck Berry had this line, ‘I got rockin’ pneumonia sittin’ down at a rhythm revue’ and Roy Brown had a line about ‘young man rhythm’.I started thinking about opposite lines like ‘kissin’ a girl that’s too tall’.  So we came up with Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu right there in the studio.”
One of the stops on Huey’s tour backing up Shirley and Lee was at the Royal Theatre in Baltimore where vocalist Bobby Marchan was the opening act.  Smith had backed Marchan on his successful Ace release, Chickee Wah Wah, and the two decided backstage to form Huey Smith and his Clowns.  After Free, Single and Disengaged b\w Just a Lonely Clown failed to chart, their 45 Don’t You Just Know It b\w High Blood Pressure reached #9 in the spring of 1958.  The song’s title came to mind when the band’s tour bus driver whose response to practically everything was “Don’t you just know it.”  While the record was achieving such a good market, the group was rushed into the studio to put together Havin’ a Good Time (also the title of the CD  that provided the music for this set) with the flip side We Love Birdland, but it achieved only local success. 
Vincent had again drawn Smith’s ire when he had him record We Like Mambo as the flip side of Eddie Bo’s My Love is Strong (one source says it was I’m So Tired) and ultimately credited both sides to Bo, but the last straw was in 1958 when he took Huey’s Sea Cruise track, sped it up a little and replaced the vocal with Frankie Ford, essentially stealing another hit from the piano man.  Huey had another hit for Ace with December 1958’s release of Don’t You Know Yockomo b\w Well I’ll Be John Brown (#56 in the Hot 100), then left for Imperial in 1959.
The musical tastes of times had changed and Huey was struggling at Imperial when, in 1962, Vincent released The Popeye, a tune Smith had recorded while with Ace, and its success caused Imperial to drop Huey so he returned to Ace until the label folded in 1964.  Huey went on to form his own label, releasing a disc under the name Shindig Smith and the Shakes, and he went on make a few recordings of little note through the end of the 60s, instead depending on his gardening business to make his living.  In 1970, Huey had a session for Cotillion with hopes of an album but only a single was put out.  In 1981, Huey decided to retire from music in Baton Rouge, with the exception of appearances in the 1979 and 1981 with Bobby Marchan, became a Jehovah’s Witness and set about studying the Bible while running his gardening business.   Enjoy
*************************
Since it is still relatively new, I thought I’d mention that KKUP is now streaming on the internet and, while it is still in a developing stage, we have been putting out the word.  I’m not all of that good with high-tech stuff, but it seems pretty easy to access.  If you go to our website at KKUP.org you will see on the home page a strip of options immediately above the pictures of the musicians the next to the last option being LISTEN ONLINE.  By clicking this, it brings up a choice of desktop or mobile.  I can only speak for the desktop but after maybe a minute I was receiving a crystal clear feed.  As already mentioned, this is still a work in progress and we are currently limited to a finite number of listeners at any one time.  I mention this so you will be aware to turn off the application when you are not actually listening.  (I put the player in my favorites bar for the easiest of access.)  Now we can reach our listeners in Los Gatos and Palo Alto, even my family in Canada.  Let your friends elsewhere know they can now listen to your favorite station, and while they have the home page open they can check out our schedule.
*************************
Soul Serenade
What You Gonna Do?
Walking to New Orleans
Hard to Stop
   Buckwheat Zydeco

Country Gal
Baby Please Don’t Go
It Don’t Matter
Coma Mama
Late on in the Evening
Country Boy
   John Mooney

Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu
      (part one)
Don’t You Just Know It
Little Chickee Wah-Wah
Lil Liza Jane
Well I’ll Be John Brown
Everybody’s Whalin’
Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu
      (part two)
High Blood Pressure
Don’t You Know Yockamo
   Huey “Piano” Smith and the Clowns   21mins

I’m Gonna Love You Anyway
It Must Be Magic
Buck’s Going Downtown
Buck’s Going Uptown
Rock, Boogie, Shout
You Lookin’ for Me?
   Buckwheat Zydeco

Mean Mistreater
Maybe Baby
Standing Around Crying
Junco Partner
Ain’t Gonna Marry
Shortnin’ Bread
   John Mooney

Out on the Town
Put It in the Pocket
   Buckwheat Zydeco