Monday, April 21, 2014


That label did it again. Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban posted a Specialty Records 45 in their "Vocal Group 45 of the Week" series, "Aw Aw Baby" by the Holidays. It just wet my appetite. You know what came next. In my tortoise paced effort to hear everything that Specialty Records ever released, I took it as a cue to do a random search for something else to go with it, and I'm glad I did. I ran into Tony Harris's "Chicken, Baby, Chicken", which was released on Ebb but recorded at Cosimo Studio, where a shitload of Specialty sides were recorded. It does sound like textbook Specialty, which is to say rockin' stompin' good in the way that early rock 'n' roll was when it wasn't rockabilly. The other side of the coin, if you will. And it's got Earl Palmer on drums and Lee Allen on sax, so, yeah, if you know those two names, you're not reading this, you're already clicking.

I had to look for some sort of bio on Harris (pictured above), and the fact that Harris's entire solo discography consists of five 45s meant there wasn't much out there. But, let's hear it for the fiends, I found a lengthy two part bio by Opal Nations, a name as unfamiliar to me as Tony Harris. Nations, as it turns out, did a short stint with Alexis Korner in the mid-sixties, and judging by his web site, in the elite of fiends. A long, long bio of Harris, when there's practically nothing else online; that's a ticket to the top tier. Really, the bio was written in 1996, so you can guess what his researching was like. Hat's off to Opal Nations, and all the other fiends. They're the ones that have really kept things greased all along, before the internet and since. 

The Holidays - Aw-Aw Baby mp3 at Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban
Tony Harris - Chicken, Baby, Chicken mp3 at Go Retro
The Story of Tony Harris, Part One at Opal Nations pdf
The Story of Tony Harris, Part Two at Opal Nations pdf
Opal Nations Home Page Don't let looks fool you.

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