Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Question One: Toussaint in 1953?


OK -

Detective Tim G. of New Orleans wrote me with this thorny dilemma:

"Great blog! I just happened across it while trying to research a 1953-ish B-side of my father's creation that Allen Toussaint did the A-side for. The record, sadly, was lost years ago, and my dad (who's about to turn 80) has been pining to hear it again since I was little.

I'm an Internet search maven, and *nothing* has turned up through traditional channels, and judging from your own blog, few people even realize Toussaint pressed recordings (on the "Mallory" label, my father says) prior to the 1960's.

This is a long shot, but is there any chance you have access to resources that we mere mortals don't? I'm trying to do this research in my spare time, and only have these specifics to go by:

Year: circa 1952-1953
A-Side: Toussaint ( et al ) "All These Things (You Do That Make You Mine)" [title not precise]
B-Side: The Four Sharps "Seeing is Believing"
Publisher: Mallory
Format: 45 RPM

I've found plenty of "Four Sharps", none of whom seem to resemble the group in question, and I've found virtually zero leads on any "Mallory" publishing (except a modern-day one in Nashville).

Allen Toussaint himself recently told a friend of my father's that he recalls the album in question, so I should probably follow up on that angle and see if "anybody knows anybody with a copy" etc. But, for now, since I see only dead ends before me, it made sense to drop you a line.

Clues, please? :-)"

To which I (rather arrogantly) replied:

"Tim -

That certainly opens a can of worms!

Allen Toussaint is currently 69 years old, which would put his birthday in January of 1938. In 1952, he would have been 14. I only point this out, as the dates you're looking for seem to be off by about a decade... maybe that will help.

As far as I know, "All These Things" was first released on INSTANT 3246 - ART NEVILLE - All These Things / Come Back Love in 1962.

At that time, Toussaint was using the 'pen-name' of "Naomi Neville", which was his mother's maiden name.

The original publishing was held by a company called "Tune-Kel" that was set up by Instant/Minit label owner Joe Banashak... according to BMI, it is now owned by 'Screen Gems-EMI Music Inc.'

All These Things was a big regional hit, and was covered by a whole bunch of folks in the area, becoming an obligatory number at any club date, as 'the slow-dance'.

I DID, however find this listing on BMI:

CAE/IPI #: 19268377
(205) 234-2173

BOURG, LA 70343-362

Maybe that's the lead you need, brother!

Good Luck!"

Well, Tim got back to me and:

"Hi Red,

And many, many thanks for the info you provided. The net result was my father called and spoke with Mel Mallory (Jr.) about the pressing in hopes of further leads turning up. Let's hope a copy survives somewhere!

After confirming with my father, I can assure you that 1953 is the correct year. He recalls Toussaint already being a known entity, even if he was only 14. Furthermore, the Korean War interceded, marking Dad's memory indelibly of the occasion. What's more, my mother recalls clearly that he had the album in hand when they married just a few years later.

Check the Wikipedia page for Snooks Eaglin, and you will note that the two artists comprised the group The Flamingoes, which Toussaint began in 1952 (at age 13). I've yet to discover whether the A-side recording would've been under this monicker (but that would make sense), nor whether Snooks might've participated at all.

Just think: Such a recording would be precious to any collector now! My father has been lamenting for years its loss, and I'm beginning to understand why now."

There you have it, detectives. Anybody ever hear of the New Orleans version of The Four Sharps? Is it possible that Toussaint may have recorded much earlier than previously thought (currently, I believe the legendary 1958 album The Wild Sounds Of New Orleans by Tousan is considered his initial appearance on vinyl)?

Let's help Tim's dad find out!


Detective Cies (the Just Moving On king) had this to say:

"No Mallory label in the R&B Indies. But on the Meladee label out of New Orleans there is a Four Sharps 45 with the title 'Seein's Believing' Meladee 109. The flip is 'I've told every little star'. Meladee 107 is also by the Four Sharps. Only one side title known, 'Crazy mixed up heart'...

No mention of Toussaint in the Meladee discography or a song title that's close to 'All Those Things You Do That Make You Mine'. The Meladee label owners were Lou & Mel Mallory."

To which Tim (who brought all this up in the first place) replied:

"Well, according to my father, it appears we're making progress! He asks whether there's any possibility of finding this particular record [Meladee 109]...

Note the following reference...

Songwriter/Composer Current Affiliation CAE/IPI #


... my father's name is misspelled (should be 'Garrett'). However, this provides at least a clue. Obviously this comes from the BMI Repertoire Database, and shows no dates or flip side material, but I figured you'd know better than I what to do with it.

I sure do appreciate your assistance throughout."

Any leads on finding a copy of these 45s guys?


Alright... an anonymous benefactor has pointed out the fact that Night Train issued a Best Of Meladee compilation a few years back:

I just ordered us a copy, and we'll see if the liner notes shed any light here. You know sometimes it seems like no matter what dark corner of Louisiana music we might find ourselves in here on SD, Aaron Fuchs (the owner of Tuff City Records) has been there first... contact information for the company was left in the 'comments' below. If you decide to get in touch with them, Tim, please let us know what you find out!

Thanks Mr. Anonymous, it's all good!


Hey everybody, I've been meaning to update things here on Question One for awhile. Like I told you, I sent for a copy of the Meladee CD... guess what? There ARE no liner notes.



Needless to say, Tim's Dad's song was not on there either.

Oh well.

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Blogger Cies said...

No Mallory label in the R&B Indies. But on the Meladee label out of New Orleans there is a Four Sharps 45 with the title "Seein's Believing" Meladee 109. The flip is "I've told every little star". Meladee 107 is also by the Four Sharps. Only one side title known, "Crazy mixed up heart".
No mention of Toussaint in the Meladee discography or a song title that's close to "All Those Things You Do That Make You Mine".
The Meladee label owners were Lou & Mel Mallory.

October 2, 2007 at 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NY reissue label Night Train (part of Tuff City) released a Meladee compilation (http://www.amazon.com/Best-Meladee-Records-Various-Artists/dp/B000001JF4). I'd contact them and see where they are licensing the Meladee material from.

Tuff City Music Group
250 West 49th Street, Suite 705
New York, NY 10019
(212) 586-0899
Fax: (212) 586-1081
General Information: steve@tuffcity.com
Licensing: jeff@tuffcity.com

November 10, 2007 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Mike Hurtt may be able to shed some light on this. I'll forward to him. Chubba.

March 22, 2008 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger dorkinglad said...

Hello Red

I think that 1952 might be around two years early for the Four Sharps' Meladee 108.

The reason is that Meladee 106 'What's It All About / Handwriting on the Wall'by Little Leo was released in 1954

Toussaint would thus have been 15/16 years of age and by that age he was working as a session musician including for Fats Domino. It may well be that he was present on a number of Meladee sessions including those for the Four sharps.

kind regards

April 1, 2010 at 10:49 AM  

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