|Smiley Lewis||Here Comes Smiley||Beef Ball Baby|
|Dud Bascomb||Somebody's Knocking||Dud and Paul Bascomb 1945-1947|
|The Four Blues||The Blues Can Jump||Vocal Groups: Classic Doo Wop|
|Cousin Joe||It's Dangerous To Be A Husband||Cousin Joe Vol. 2 1946-1947|
|Cousin Joe||Phoney Woman Blues||Cousin Joe Vol. 2 1946-1947|
|Roy Brown||Special Lesson No. 1||Good Rockin' Brown|
|Roy Brown||Miss Fanny Brown||Good Rockin' Brown|
|Roy Brown||Whose Hat Is That||Good Rockin' Brown|
|Kirby Walker||When My Love Comes Tumbling Down||78|
|Al Stomp Russell Trio||Down The Road A Piece||78|
|Paul Gayten||Hey Little Girl||Creole Gal|
|Paul Gayten||Peter Blue And Jasper Too||Creole Gal|
|Paul Gayten||Your Hands Ain't Clean||Creole Gal|
|Dave Bartholomew||Mr. Fool||Dave Bartholomew 1947-50|
|Dave Bartholomew||Girt Town Blues||Dave Bartholomew 1947-50|
|Dave Bartholomew||Country Boy||Dave Bartholomew 1947-50|
|Chubby "Hip Shakin'" Newsome||Chubby's Confession||Beef Ball Baby|
|Chubby "Hip Shakin'" Newsome||Back-Bitin' Woman||Beef Ball Baby|
|Little Miss Cornshucks||Cornshucks' Blues||Little Miss Cornshucks 1947-1951|
|Annie Laurie||Annie's Blues||Jump 'N' Shout|
|Erline Harris||Jump and Shout||Jump 'N' Shout|
|King Perry||Goin'To California Blues||King Perry 1945-1949|
|Eddie Gorman||Telephone Blues||Beef Ball Baby|
|Pee Wee Hughes||Santa Fe||Jook Joint Blues|
|Pee Wee Hughes||Country Boy||Down Home Blue Classics 1943-1953|
|Fats Pichon||(I'm Gonna Move) To The Outskirts Of Town||Deep South Boogie|
|Sherman Williams||Dusk Tide||Sherman Williams 1947-1951|
|Roy Brown||Hard Luck Blues||Good Rockin' Brown|
|Roy Brown||Love Don't Nobody||Good Rockin' Brown|
|Roy Brown||Boogie At Midnight||Good Rockin' Brown|
This series of shows revolves around three independent labels that issued some fine blues and R&B sides, among other music, in the 1940's and 50's. The labels are linked by the Braun brothers who first ran De Luxe, then formed the Regal imprint with Fred Mendelsohn, and Mendelsohn in turn formed the Herald label after Regal ended operations. In addition Mendelsohn was involved with De Luxe for a short time after it was picked up by King Records. De Luxe and Regal not surprisingly shared some of the same artists, in fact Regal picked up exactly where DeLuxe had left off on their numbering, at 3229. While Regal recorded several more down home blues artists, De Luxe's blues oriented recordings fall mainly into the R&B mold.
On this first show we start with recordings from the De Luxe vaults. In John Broven's Record Makers and Breakers he provides this snapshot of the label: “De Luxe Records was a pioneering label formed in 1944 by the Braun brothers, David and Jules, out of Linden, New Jersey, and it released everything from race music, gospel, and jazz to pop and polka. The biggest artist was Roy Brown, whose breakthrough hit, “Good Rocking Tonight” (No. 13 race in 1948), was covered lucratively by Wynonie Harris for King (No. 1 race); New Orleanians Paul Gayten and Annie Laurie were other good-selling 1940s acts. Before long, cash flow problems forced the Brauns into the arms of the wily Nathan, and after a troubled liaison, a bitter legal battle ensued. With the ubiquitous Jack Pearl leading the charge, Syd Nathan acquired full control of the De Luxe assets in 1951.” Many of the De Luxe masters were issued on King singles and albums. In the early 1950's, Syd Nathan revived the label with new releases as a subsidiary of King.
Tony Rounce noted that De Luxe "adopted a pan-American approach to building their catalog. Many of their early successes were recorded in New York City – a stone's throw from Linden – but by 1946 they were recording in many other locations, including Los Angeles and Charlotte, North Carolina. In February 1947 they went south to New Orleans for the first time…" Today's show will spotlight recordings made for De Luxe when the Braun brothers ran the label, and the show bounces through the catalog non-chronologically.
In February 1947 the Brauns headed south to New Orleans for the first time cutting sessions sessions by veteran singer/pianist "Fats" Pinchon and the Cajun band of Luderin Darbone. They were aided by local singer/pianist Paul Gayten, who they later signed as an artist in his own right, and placed in charge of thier local R&B A&R activity. Gayten, a seminal figure in New Orleans rhythm & blues, led a varied career in the music business as a bandleader, producer, label owner, and one-time overseer of the West Coast operation of Chess Records. A nephew of blues-piano legend Little Brother Montgomery, Gayten once led one of the top bands of New Orleans, but he gave up the performing life in 1956 to turn his attention to production and eventually to his own California-based Pzazz label. Gayten wrote Larry Darnell's 1949 classic "For You My Love" and recorded a few Top Ten hits of his own for De Luxe and Regal (1947-1950), some of them with vocalist Annie Laurie.
De Luxe's biggest New Orleans success was Roy Brown. Born in the Crescent City, Brown grew up all over the place: Eunice, LA (where he sang in church and worked in the sugarcane fields); Houston, TX; and finally Los Angeles by age 17. His seminal 1947 DeLuxe Records waxing of "Good Rockin' Tonight" was immediately ridden to the peak of the R&B charts by shouter Wynonie Harris and subsequently covered by Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many more early rock icons. Roy Brown didn't have to wait long to dominate the R&B lists himself. He scored 15 hits from mid-1948 to late 1951 for DeLuxe.
Other notable New Orleans artists include Dave Bartholomew and Smiley Lewis. Bartholomew was a bandleader, trumpet player, songwriter, producer, arranger, talent scout, businessman, and more. Bartholomew is most famous for having discovered and produced Fats Domino, with whom he produced and wrote songs for through the Fifties and beyond. But he’s worked with a who’s-who of New Orleans R&B figures: Smiley Lewis, Lloyd Price, Shirley & Lee, Earl King, Roy Brown, Huey "Piano" Smith, Chris Kenner, Robert Parker, Frankie Ford, James Booker, Jewel King, James "Sugar Boy" Crawford, Tommy Ridgley and more. In the late 40s, he formed his own band, which became one of the most popular and accomplished in the city. Between 1947 and the early 60’s Bartholomew recorded prolifically under his own name mostly for Imperial but also for Deluxe, Aladdin, Specialty, King and Jax. His records featured the cream of New Orleans musicians.
Music historian Tony Russell wrote that Smiley "Lewis was the unluckiest man in New Orleans. He hit on a formula for slow-rocking, small-band numbers like 'The Bells Are Ringing' and 'I Hear You Knocking' only to have Fats Domino come up behind him with similar music more ingratiatingly delivered. Lewis was practically drowned in Domino's backwash. Lewis formed a trio with the drummer Herman Seals and painist Tuts Washington. The trio was invited by David Braun to record a session with his De Luxe Records in 1947, which produced Lewis's debut record, "Here Comes Smiley" with the single "Turn On Your Volume" a local jukebox hit. Despite the hit, DeLuxe let Smiley sign on with Imperial to great success.
Cousin Joe had success in New York before returning to his hometown of New Orleans were DeLuxe found him. Growing up in New Orleans, Cousin Joe began singing in church before crossing over to the blues. Guitar and ukulele were his first axes. He eventually prioritized the piano instead, playing Crescent City clubs and riverboats. He moved to New York in 1942, gaining entry into the city's thriving jazz scene (where he played with Dizzy Gillespie, Sidney Bechet, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, and a host of other luminaries). He recorded for King, Gotham, Philo (in 1945), Savoy, and Decca along the way, doing well on the latter logo with "Box Car Shorty and Peter Blue" in 1947. After returning to New Orleans in 1948, he recorded for De Luxe and cut a two-part "ABC's" for Imperial in 1954 as Smilin' Joe under Dave Bartholomew's supervision. But by then, his recording career had faded.
Among the fine lesser knowns, we feature fine sides by The Four Blues, Kirby Walker, Al Stomp Russell, Chubby "Hip Shakin"' Newsome and Erline Harris. The Four Blues formed circa 1939-1940 and started recording for Decca in 1940. In 1945 they signed on with DeLuxe and after made sides sides for Apollo in the late 40's. Kirby Walker, was a vocalist/pianist who was based in New York City. In 1946 he made two records with Leonard Feather's group for De Luxe. In 1949 he manned his own piano and cut two more singles for Columbia with his own group. Pianist Al Stomp Russell recorded for several labels in the 40's such as Coast, Excelsior, 20th Century, Sapphire, Queen, Apollo, King and three records for De Luxe in 1947. Chubby Newsome was originally from Detroit but found recognition in New Orleans where she was a regular performer in the late 1940's. She was discovered by Paul Gayten at the famous Dew Drop Inn. She was soon signed to the De Luxe label where she recorded her signature tune "Hip Shakin' Mama", and also "He May Be Your Man" with Gayten's band. Newsome signed with Regal in 1949 cutting several sessions for the label in the early 50's. Erline Harris signed with De Luxe Records in February 1949 and recorded several singles for the record label with some sides appearing later on Regal.