Friday, March 24, 2006

It's a Mystery!

Mystery Tune - Does anyone have any ideas re: title and/or artist?

Jimmy Armstrong - Mystery

I started collecting tapes of old R&B airchecks (recordings of radio broadcasts with DJ patter, commercials, etc.) about six years ago and they are a lot of fun to listen to. Not only are they awesome because of the awesome DJ patter (running before, during and in between songs) and vintage commercials, but for the music. R&B was very regional in scope, and a great many songs were popular in certain cities (particularly where they were recorded) but didn't make major waves on a national level. These airchecks invariably put me on the hunt for a song that's played that I hadn't heard of before. Generally I succeed in finding the song, but there's one that has eluded me. Maybe you can help.

The "mystery tune" presented here came from an aircheck of Paul "Fat Daddy" Johnson on Baltimore's WSID. It's an up-tempo, doo wop-turning-into-soul thing with a very strong gospel sound. There are portions of the song where Fat Daddy says something but he's low in the mix and talking very quickly, so I don't know if he's naming the artist and/or the song or just reacting to the music (as most DJs of that era did). It sounds like the background singers are saying "welcome me," but at times it also sounds like they're saying "run to me" or "work for me." I've tried searching all over the place for songs called "Welcome Me" but have found nothing. I originally thought it might be Bunker Hill singing, but research on his recordings has negated that theory. I have the feeling, however, that some of you soul fans that check out this blog just might have some ideas; I invite you to give me any info or even theories you may have about this song. I will certainly give the person who cracks the code a shout-out here on the blog and will recognize him or her on the next episode of the podcast. I really really really want to find out about this record so I can try to get it! Thanks in advance for your help.

WLAC's famous disc jockey John R once said "the only thing wrong with that record is it's too short" (yes, I cribbed that line for Episode 4 of the podcast, applying it to Hoagy Lands' "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand"). Today's second selection, keeping with the "mystery tune" theme, falls within that category. "Mystery" clocks in at just under 1:50 and Armstrong's raspy vocal delivers the anguish of lost love over a hurtling Northern Soul groove.

1 comment:

I. M. Spartacus said...

Mystery Solved!!!

The mystery song is called "Welcome Me" and it's by the Scott Brothers (that's what the DJ at the top of the song is saying).

It's on Comet Records.

- Brian Phillips