It was a real honor to have pianist Ernest Lane in the studio the other day. Lane was in town playing a couple of gigs with Joe Beard and Steve Grills & the Roadmasters. Lane was in great form over the weekend when he performed with Joe and Steve and for those in the Rochester area you should check him out this Thursday when he plays at the Dinosaur BBQ. You can hear the entire feature (included below) as Ernest talks about his new recording, playing with Robert Nighthawk and Earl Hooker, doing a stint with the Monkees and his childhood pal Ike Turner. In addition we play several tracks from his recent CD's as well as some vintage material.
I met Ernest only briefly several years back when he was in town playing with Ike Turner's band. Prior to that I had talked to him on the phone a couple of times while doing some research on Robert Nighthawk. In 2004 Ernest issued his belated debut, The Blues Is Back!, and I promptly interviewed him on my Bad Dog Blues radio show. Just recently Ernest released Born With The Blues on the Evejim label.
Ernest is in his late seventies now, although you wouldn't now it by looking at him or hearing him play. Ernest has had his own bands throughout the years although he's probably best know for his work with folks like Robert Nighthawk, Earl Hooker and his life long pal Ike Turner. Unfortunately Ernest hasn't gotten in the studio all that often; he cut his first record under his own name for Blues & Rhythm in 1952 (an off shoot of Modern), "What's Wrong Baby" b/w "Little Girl, Little Girl", plus a pair of singles in L.A. in the early sixties, "What Kind Of Love" b/w "Sliced Apples" for M.J.C. and "What's That You Got" b/w "Need My Help" for Sony. Ernest wasn't even aware that the Blues & Rhythm sides were issued but does recall the session which was setup by Ike Turner who was acting as a talnet scout for Modern. As for his session work, Ernest appears on on the July 1949 Robert Nighhawk session and it was either him or Sunnyland Slim on the September 1948 session. The titles include: "Down The Line", "Handsome Lover", "Return Mail Blues", "My Sweet Lovin' Mama", "She Knows How To Love A Man", "Black Angel Blues ( Sweet Black Angel)", "Anna Lee Blues (Anna Lee)", "Return Mail Blues" and "Sugar Papa." Ernest played for a spell with Jimmy Nolen and appears on the following 1959 session for Fidelity: "Swingin' Peter Gunn Pt. 1", Swingin' Peter Gunn Pt. 2" and "Blues After Hours." In 1961 Nolen's band, with Ernest, backed George "Harmonica" Smith on a session for Sotoplay: "Sometimes You Win When You Lose", "Come On Home", "You Can't Undo What's Been Done" and "Rope That Twist." Ernest also recalls playing on the Earl Hooker's 1969 album Sweet Black Angel even though Ike Turner is listed as the pianist. In 1969 he did some studio work with Canned Heat which can be found on The USA Sessions – Classic Recordings from 1969. 1969 was also the year he toured with the Monkees whom he backed as a member of Sam & The Goodtimers. More recently he's appeared on records by Eddie Clearwater and Ike Turner. In the early 1980's he cut a saession for Rooster Records but only one 45 was issued, "Doggin' No More" b/w "Little Girl."
Ernest is a terrific piano player and singer who's looking to be a headliner in his own right. Hopefully with a couple of CD's now out he can get some gigs. If you're reading this and are a club owner of festival promoter, Ernest would make a great addition as he remains at the top of his game, playing in classic style that's rarely heard anymore.
Ernest Lane Feature 9/14/08 (mp3)