Monday, March 26, 2007

King Curtis & The Kingpins - This Is Soul (Atco 6562)

This Is Soul

Hey y'all... a couple of weeks ago I put up a cool record by King Curtis called 8th Wonder. Well, I'm not sure if you've been following the comments on that post, but they developed into a very lively discussion. As if in some audioblogger's dream, British researcher and all-around King Curtis expert Roy Simonds weighed in with some interesting facts, and clarified a few things for us.

First off, he said that King Curtis was indeed a guitar player as well as a reed man, and was the guitarist on the 1962 Enjoy release Hot Potato by a group called the Rinkydinks. Oddly enough, that tune would be used as the initial theme song for a newly syndicated TV show called Soul Train in 1971. Ever the entrepreneur, Bobby Robinson changed 'Rinkydinks' to 'Ramrods' and re-released the song as Soul Train (Rampage 1000) in 1972. It would spend five weeks on the Billboard R&B chart that summer, climbing as high as #41... not bad for a ten year old recording!

Mr. Simonds goes on to say that it was none other than King Curtis himself who played the guitar on Blue Nocturne, answering the nagging question posed by Larry Grogan last December. Roy was kind enough to send me a copy of his exhaustive Curtis discography, a labor of love compiled over the past thirty-odd years, which details every known session that the King ever played on. A truly amazing document, it chronicles his career in painstaking detail. Today's selection is a case in point:

The only other song recorded at the December 5, 1967 American Studio session that produced 8th Wonder, This Is Soul is somewhat of a Curtis rarity, as its only release was as this B side of (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay in early 1968. Top ten hit Memphis Soul Stew was still riding the charts when this session was held and, in the same kind of spoken word rap in which he delivered his famous 'recipe', Curtis details his 'Definition of Soul':

"...if this music makes you feel like you want to dance, or if it makes you feel like you want to cry, that music has Soul."

I'm right there with that, man!

According to Simonds' notes, that's Spooner Oldham on piano along with the usual American crew of Bobby Emmons on the organ, Reggie Young and Bobby Womack on guitars, Gene Chrisman on the drums and Tommy Cogbill on bass. Cogbill is also listed as a co-producer with Tom Dowd (which in a way is kind of odd in itself, as 8th Wonder was produced by Arif Mardin). Anyway, I think it's just a great record, and I wanted to share it with you.

Also, in that last post I mentioned the Sam Moore solo album that King Curtis was producing when he was killed. For whatever reasons, Atlantic didn't release it at the time, and the tapes gathered dust in a vault somewhere for over thirty years. It was finally released as Plenty Good Lovin' in 2002 by an outfit called 2K Sounds, and I just picked up a copy. Let me tell ya something, with King Curtis producing and blowing 'dat horn and both Aretha Franklin and Donny Hathaway on keyboards, the record just COOKS! Get yourself a copy.

Thanks again, Roy!


Blogger Red Kelly said...

Yeah, listen, it's me...

You already know that I'm like 'Mr. Hyperlink', and all of that, but in the course of doing these American posts recently, I've found that there is virtually NO INFORMATION out there about Tommy Cogbill. No pictures, no biography, nothing. That's a crime.

I know that he died in like 1972 (very pre-internet), but when you think of all the great music he had a hand in, I feel like we owe it to him to kind of get his story out there. If anybody can point me in the direction of some more info on Tommy, I'd be much obliged...

Thanks! -red

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Red. Thanks for putting the period on the sentence for me about the Hot Potato/Soul Train situation. I happened to see a piece of "Soul Train" footage on YouTube where I heard the song and was just floored! I always thought that the MFSB cut was the first, but then again, I am only 38... Do you have "Cook-Out"? If not, stop by my page and pick up a copy for yourself... it's the least I can do since you were so helpful and all. Keep on fighting the good fight.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

...the site Vincent is referring to, of course, is the scrumptious Fufu Stew, and you should make sure you get over there and pick up your own copy of Cook-Out, another fantastic Memphis spoken-word B side...

thanks, man!

3:18 PM  
Blogger Larry Grogan said...

Check with this guy about Cogbill.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Fosterakahunter said...

Hey, man, I review all the three of your music blog pages, and they are excellent sources for music and info. Keep up the OUTstanding work. Peace, brother.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

Well thank you, my man...

but, remember there are actually four pages now...

(it seemed like a good idea at the time...)

I REALLY DO appreciate the feedback, Foster, thanks again!

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for another wonderful post. I have the Sam Moore "lost" CD from 2002, and like it very much, although mine is published by Swing Cafe (maybe because it is made in the EU?). I agree it's well worth buying.
PS. Red, I agree Tommy Cogbill deserves more. Peter Guralnick's "Sweet Soul Music" has a photo of him with Elvis, says he played on nearly all the Golwax sessions, and describes his funeral (which sounds more like 1982 than 1972). Jerry Wexler's bio (Rhythm & The Blues) also has a few mentions. Hope this helps.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

Thanks, Lyle...

Yes, you're right about the date, Allen over at Soulful Music (the link Larry Grogan kindly left us above) Got back to me yesterday:

"Hi Red -- I do have one really good web link -- an appreciation of Tommy by Nashville session bassist Michael Rhodes..."

Check it out, it's great... and lists Cogbill's passing as 1982 (My bad)... there's even a photo of Tommy and THE bass. Allen's going to try and do some further digging, and so will I.

Thanks for the input, man, and keep it comin'... he was a very cool guy!

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, has a list of credits for him that is truly amazing. It includes Dusty in Memphis, among other things. And it says he died in Nashville Feb. 2, 1983; perhaps you can find an obituary from then.
Keep up the good work.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi There
I have a single by Donnie, Fonnie & Lavorn called "It's A Sweet Love" (Trump PRO-6066 promo) which is produced by Tommy Cogbill. I've never been able to find any information about this, apart from the brief biographical stuff on the web.

The only references to the record I've ever found are a couple of copies on sales lists.
Do any of you know about this mystery disc?

There's a sound file up on the UK-based soul source website (

Regards & keep up the good work!

Funky Si, York

4:04 PM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...


5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the singer, Donnie Harley-Hayes, who you hear on the song, "It's a Sweet Love".

It's nice to see that there is interest in our records. If you would like to know more about the group, you can e-mail me at

1:59 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Consider this detail as to Moore's importance at the time: Donny Hathaway and Aretha Franklin playing keys on his records, but neither of them singing. How ballsy is THAT!

2:51 PM  

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