Monday, September 27, 2010

James & Bobby Purify - I Don't Want To Have To Wait (Bell 685)

I Don't Want To Have To Wait

Papa Don Schroeder is the real deal. As I said over on Soul Detective, he was the one who reached out and lifted Lattimore Brown out of the gutter, and brought him home to spend Christmas with his family when he didn't have anywhere else to turn. Papa Don was the one who rallied his friends and fellow members of the congregation at Olive Baptist Church to work together to find him some affordable housing and help him furnish it. When it looked like Lattimore had cancer, it was Papa Don who got him an appointment with the best oncologist in town.

A Cancer Survivor himself, Don Schroeder spends most of every day in excruciating pain from an inoperable back condition, yet his seemingly boundless drive and energy keep him interested and involved in one project after another. It is an honor to know him, and count him among my friends.

In addition to all of that, Papa Don was also one hell of a producer. As we've discussed in the past, his work with James & Bobby Purify and Oscar Toney, Jr. put Chips Moman's American Sound Studio on the map.

After Shake A Tail Feather spent the summer of love high on the charts (#15 R&B, #25 Pop), the pressure was on from Larry Uttal at Bell to come up with an album. Schroeder told me he hated the idea of having to go back in the studio while a record was hot and cut a bunch of 'throwaway' tracks just to fill out an LP (which is what he had pretty much been forced to do with I'm Your Puppet). These sessions at American were different, however, and would produce two more smash hits that were pulled from the album, I Take What I Want and Let Love Come Between Us.

This great number we have here (the flip of 'Let Love Come Between Us'), was Papa Don's favorite cut from those sessions. Here's what he had to say about it:

"I never understood why more people didn't pick up on that track, it's really one of the best ones we did with James & Bobby. You know we cut all those hits with just the original four guys {Reggie Young, Tommy Cogbill, Gene Chrisman and Bobby Emmons}, and with the Memphis Horns of course. I always did the horns in Memphis with Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love. Anyway, let me tell you a funny story about this song. I flew to New York with the multi-track tape for the album in the box that Moman gave me. In those days I always wore cut-off shorts, no matter what the weather, so I get to New York and it is just pouring down snow, I mean it's like a blizzard out there, so now here I am in my shorts with my London Fog raincoat and hat and the cab lets me off in front of my hotel, which is right across from the Stage Delicatessen. I'm a big fan of Lox and Bagels, so I go inside and grab one, and as I come out onto the street the tape comes rolling out of the box like a tire, unwinding down Seventh Avenue in the snow as I'm frantically trying to stop it and wind it back up. This is the whole 'Shake A Tail Feather' album. Oh my God, I ruined the record! If Moman had only put a piece of scotch tape on there or something... anyway, I go back into the Stage and ask a waiter for a hand towel and I have to sit there and dry off the tape inch by inch and roll it back up while the whole place is watching me..."

"Now, the funny thing is I cut at American in both cities
{actually, the studio was located in the basement of The American Hotel on Eighth Avenue - ed.}, but the studio wouldn't open up for some time, so I'm waiting there in a doorway for the string players to show up in my shorts and London Fog outfit, and the hookers passed me by a couple of times before accusing me of being a cop, but anyway, I finally get into the studio and get the tape on the machine, and the only damage that was done was a little nick out of the edge on the outside track of the first song, which turned out to be the horns for 'I Don't Want To Have To Wait'. If you listen closely, you can hear a little blip there in the horn parts - there was nothing I could do about it... but, hey, it could have been a lot worse!"

Wild, huh? I asked Don if he knew anything about the songwriter, Don Colver, but he said he couldn't remember.

This incredible song was also cut twice more in Memphis, both times with Charles Chalmers producing. The first of these was on Barbara and the Browns, which was released on Cadet in 1966, followed by a version on Detroit's Revilot label by someone named Terry Felton in 1968 (both of which can be heard over at Deep Soul Heaven). As it turns out, a friend of Charlie's named Mike Durff emailed me recently and told me he was going to visit with him in Branson, Missouri, where he has a studio. Mike asked him about the three versions of this song for us.

Charlie said that the Barbara & the Browns version was cut at the Sam Phillips' Recording Service on Madison Avenue in Memphis, and picked up by his friend Max Cooperstein at Chess. He said that he wrote the horn charts for the James & Bobby record, but that Chips wouldn't let him cut them at American, so he put the horns on at Sam Phillips' as well. Chalmers said he has no recollection of the Terry Felton record, and the only thing he remembered about the songwriter (the correct spelling of his last name apparently being 'Culver') was that he used to play at a Memphis club named 'Vapors'.

Thank You Mike and Charlie, and Special Thanks to Papa Don for everything!


Blogger Red Kelly said...

On a sad note, I just learned today that the original Bobby Purify, Robert Dickey, passed away on December 29, 2011. May God Rest His Soul.

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Chris Juried said...


7:43 PM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

These are absolutely fantastic, Chris - THANKS!!

8:07 PM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

And now I am sad to report that James Purify has passed on from Covid 19 on January 22, 2021 - Rest In Peace Soul Man!

8:38 AM  

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