February 1, 2017

soul / funk vocal ~ New Orleans 1969

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Edward Ross, aka "Little Buck", started out originally as a singer/member of Huey "Piano" Smith's Clowns in the late 50s.
As a solo artist, Little Buck recorded and released only four 45s from 1960 to '69 including this Seven B label 45. Really a perfect soul side and a brilliant vocal performance.
(*Note this is not R&B singer/guitarist Little Buck Sinegal, who has a 45 on the La Louisanne label).

The New Orleans based Seven B label released about forty two 45s from 1965 through the early 70s. The story on this song, and Little Buck himself, is tough to be completely clear on. The music/backing track was written by New Orleans soul-funk musician/composer/producer, Eddie Bo (Edwin Bocage).
First recorded/pressed in 1968 as a duet on the Seven B label, Eddie Bo & Inez Cheatham's - 'Lover And A Friend' was produced by Seven B label owner, Joe Banashek at Cosimo Matassa's studios in the French quarter of New Orleans. Eddie Bo composed and arranged the song using drummer, Bobby Williams, Louis Clark on guitar, and Paul Boudreaux on bass.

A year later, Little Buck sang over the existing, 'Lover And A Friend' backing track with different lyrics written by Huey Smith and Brenda Brandon. In 1969 it was pressed and released again on Seven B as, 'Little Boy Blue'.
The flip side is, 'Whisper My Name'.

Aside from his four solo 45 pressings, in 1968 Little Buck recorded another great two-side soul vocal on Joe Banashak's Instant label. Recorded with Huey Smith's group The Hueys, 'You Ain't No Hippie / Coo Coo Over You' displays Little Buck's distinct soul/funk style of singing on both sides. Huey Smith's co-writer and common law wife, Brenda Brandon, sings backup on 'Coo Coo Over You' along with one of Huey's on and off backup singers, Pearl Edwards* (*unconfirmed, researched deductive guess - could also be Gloria Franklin, who Huey used on other sessions at this time...).

The flip side: 'You Ain't No Hippie' I like just a bit better for it's uptempo, slightly frantic pace and timely topic. For 1968, a bit of a throwback sound and production perhaps, it almost sounds like an early 60s R&B dance record, to my ears anyhow. Little Buck calls out all the "Hippie" imposters...Though not sure if being bald makes anyone unqualified to be a Hippie!
Whoever he is, wherever he is, I love Little Buck's singing.

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