Monday, December 18, 2006

Little Royal!

Little Royal & The Swingmasters - Razor Blade

"Little" Royal Torrance had a sound that was probably too derivative to ever elevate him from the B-list of soul artists, particularly considering that his vocals were very similar to those of James Brown. Despite this limitation, Royal recorded fairly frequently in the '60s and '70s for labels including Carnival, Excello and Tri-Us, a Starday-King label. For the latter label Royal cut his most well-known material with the "Crazy Cajun," Huey P. Meaux, as producer. Today's selection was the instrumental B-side of his 1972 Tri-Us single "Jealous" (a reworking of Garland Green's smash 1970 hit "Jealous Kinda Fellow" that gave Royal a rare taste of chart success) and has become a breakbeat favorite. "Razor Blade" has a pretty good melody, but what really sells the record is the wicked bass solo and the scratchin' guitar solo that follows it. It's solid get-down, and a lot of fun. Although "Jealous" was the hit, "Razor Blade" made enough noise for a funky 45 follow-up, "Switch Blade," which is also popular among the rare funk flock. Little Royal's Tri-Us recordings are worth checking out, as they are fine pieces of what Southern soul in its final hour.

It should also be noted that "Razor Blade" has a fraternal twin in Sebastian's Brown Dog 45 "Living in Depression," for which it is the backing track.


bc said...

man, so that's where that bassline comes from! many thanks for the hit.

Live_preditor said...

I am trying to contact a member of the Little Royal & His Swing Masters band. I think my father may have been a member of the band in 1968. A gentleman by the name of Dan Platt Jr. I will not know until I speak to a member of the band. If anyone can assist me with this, please contact me at
Thanx Leeann Platt

angela said...

I am trying to contact Little Royal, its been so many years and I was going thru some of my things and found a letter and postcards he sent me along with some of his records...jealous and groovin,,,Please if anyone knows how to contact him please email me @

Queen Sha said...

J. Burnett Jackson is on the bass. My cousin, Marvin Shears, is on drums. Stanley Little on guitar, my cousin Andrew Sims was band leader. I know that there is A facebook group, with other band members taking credit for those songs, calling Andrew, Andrea, says he lives in D.C. my cousin is DEAD. I grew up in the studio with these guys rehearsing writing and recording some songs, mainly the 'Jeealous' album in Roanoke alabama