Friday, 12 September 2014

Return of radio show about the Flamingos (Matt the Cat's Juke in the Back)

This is another post which involves recycling, prompted by seeing that Matt the Cat's radio show on the Flamingos is currently available once more on the Rock-it Radio website and can be downloaded for free while it's there. 

It's the first of three programmes, and Matt promises all the Decca recordings in a later episode. Go to the Rock-it Radio Archives Page here, and scroll down to show #5021 to download or stream. Shows are only online for a few weeks before they are displaced, so it may have gone or a later episode may be up, depending on when you read this. But there are always good things to listen to on the Rock-it website anyway, and you can support them by buying vintage radio broadcasts here.

If you have explored further than the most recent posts in this blog, you will know that it was originally set up to archive posts from a doo wop messageboard, and that a favourite subject of those messages was the Flamingos' recording of Golden Teardrops. This was recorded in 1953 for the small Chicago label Chance, before the group went to Parrot Records then found success at Chess Records.

There were no hits until they went to Chess, but the sides for Chance are among my faves, with jazzy, bluesy backing to enhance your listening pleasure. While nothing matches Golden Teardrops, there are plentiful delights among the other sides. You get a peerless harmony group plus a band made up of musos who can swing plenty good, sounding both loose and tight, with lots of subtle details which repay repeated listening. There are sites which concentrate on the band rather than the vocal groups they backed.

The first Matt the Cat programme features all the Flamingos' Chance work, A and B sides plus their version of September Song, unreleased at the time. If you haven't heard the group beyond  I Only Have Eyes For You, before, this programme may be a revelation. Matt provides a summary of their early career in between records.

And as Matt says, for more about the Flamingos Unca Marvy's site, here, is highly recommended.  And why not check out Marv's book about the Ink Spots, here? (Once again I must say to Marv that I've bought a copy and can only apologise for not having read it.)

The Ink Spots also feature, believe it or not, in the eary life of Freddie "Parrotface" Davies. You can buy his autobiography, which (ahem) I happen to have cowritten, by visiting my other blog dedicated to bigging it up, here. But the story is essentially as follows. Freddie was brought up in Salford but in 1947 at the age of ten he spent a month in London in the company of his inspirational grandfather, the comedian Jack Herbert. The Ink Spots were meant to be at the Casino (now the Prince Edward Theatre), but when Freddie and his grandmother attended a matinee they saw instead ... Jewel and Warriss. Not exactly an obvious substitute. Freddie had to wait over sixty years before an explanation (kindly supplied by Marv) was forthcoming.

To find out what that was - well, to echo Marv's words to me, buy the d*mn book.

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