Friday, November 11, 2011

the starrs

Singing Bones proprietor Ana-B wonders:

PHANTOM 200

Crying Over You

"I've got a seriously mysterious record that's been driving me nuts for over two years. A really great record. No listing for the label, no info on the group anywhere, not even a BMI listing for the b-side song, which is credited to Ike Turner, or the publishing company itself. Three other folks more savvy than I have looked into it and we can't find anything.

"The only other copy I've seen showed up on Ebay about six months ago. I contacted the seller to see if he knew anything, turned out he was a very knowledgeable dealer out of Oakland. He was like, 'I don't know anything, first time I've ever seen it, thought I'd put it up as an unknown and see what it does'... the record went for over $200, which about gave me and the seller a joint heart attack!"

SHOCK 200

I'm Hurting

"The best guess so far is that it might be Billy Gayles (post-Ike Turner?). It does sound something like Gayles' 'I'm Hurting' (also credited to Turner) on the Shock label, a record on which some people say Turner plays piano, not guitar. If this record was done around the same time, that would date it as '61 or '62, which sounds dead-on to me."

We both agreed that the Starrs 45 sounds like a New Orleans record (the flip is a cover of Ain't Got No Home), and talked about the fact that George Jackson supposedly cut his first 45 with Ike Turner down in the Crescent City around the same time that Mac Rebennack places him down there in those free and easy pre-Jim Garrison days... do you think it's possible that Ike brought Billy to Cosimo's back then to try and cash in on some of that Sugar Town chart magic?

Hmmmm.... thanks for this one Ana, your record collection continues to amaze and delight us all!

update:

OK folks, Ana did a little more digging...

"I now have slightly more info on the Starrs record than when I was last in touch... Around the same time I posted this 45 on my blog, a collection called That Kat Sure Could Play was released (very nice, btw). It purports to include every Ike Turner related cut issued between 1952 and 1957, and the Starrs 45 is included.

"However, it's the only 45 in the collection on which no information is given. Fred Rathwell, who wrote the liner notes, calls it a 'discographical blank', and opines that the singer might be Jackie Brenston (not an opinion I agree with).

"A short while after that, a friend who'd seen my blog post contacted me to say he'd traced the run-out code some months before... and hadn't he told me that it was pressed at the Monarch plant in California sometime in December 1960? Well, no, he hadn't.

"Anyway, that info has since been re-checked and is in fact correct. Which not only means that the 45 falls outside the time period supposedly covered by 'That Kat Sure Could Play', but also places it fairly close in time to the Billy Gayles 45 on Shock..."

...detectives?

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