Saturday, May 05, 2007

Bill, Denise, Willie, Hi, Crajon & Galaxy

Bill Coday - Get Your Lie Straight

Today's selection has a story with a lot of famous names involved, hence the title above. Soul singer Denise LaSalle (born Denise Craig) and her then-husband Bill Jones had a relatively short-lived recording and production concern in Chicago called Crajon (CRA from LaSalle's maiden name and JON for Jones), from which they were able to garner some national action with Bill Coday (featured today) and the Sequins ("Hey Romeo") while LaSalle herself had a string of hits on Westbound, most notably with "Trapped By a Thing Called Love" (the flip of which, "Keep It Coming," appears on the newest episode of the podcast). Although Crajon was based in Chicago, LaSalle opted to have Willie Mitchell and the Hi musicians work their magic on her own recordings and most of the Crajon stuff. LaSalle has interviewed that the choice to go to Memphis was spurred by Al Perkins' hits with Mitchell at the helm ("Yes My Goodness Yes"), because she surmised that if Willie Mitchell could get hits out of an artist of limited vocal talent like Perkins, then he could do magic with her!

Willie Mitchell's magic certainly worked when Bill Coday recorded "Get Your Lie Straight" in 1971. The driving groove and Coday's bluesy vocal really sells the song, which in parts is clearly derivative of Johnnie Taylor's 1970 hit "Love Bones." The record had an initial release on Crajon before Galaxy picked it up for national distribution and carried it into the R&B charts. LaSalle, Mitchell and Galaxy would hit again with Coday with "If You Find a Fool Bump His Head," but eventually Coday's hits dried up. LaSalle herself would have a few more hits on Westbound before divorcing Jones, moving to Memphis and moving on to Malaco, where her X-rated soul blues reading of "Down Home Blues" would make her a label mainstay in the '80s and other "grown folks" records like "Lick It Before You Stick It" would keep her busy in the soul blues circuit. At present, LaSalle has returned to her gospel roots, although she has a MySpace page that features soul blues material. Coday himself would revitalize his career in the soul-blues realm and is still doing his thing.

1 comment:

Preston said...

Thanks for destroying my work day! How do you expect me to get anything done when I've got all your knowledge to catch up on?

I appreciate the props on the Memphis Sound.

The Coday and LaSalle team is alive and well. They're both living in Jackson, TN where LaSalle has a club and Coday runs a record label.
Their early tunes that you mention are still hot plays on historic radio station WDIA's All Blues Saturday!
Keep checkin' in with the Memphis Sound, I've got some crazy shit cued up.