No tags :(

Share it




Back the heady days of 1947 rock ‘n’ roll exploded into existence with a release by Roy Brown on DeLuxe Records.

Over the next two years the record label was home to some of the new genre’s best and most prolific artists but, struggling for money, the owners entered into a deal with Syd Nathan of King Records who quickly revealed his true intentions had little to do with aiding the Braun Brothers who owned DeLuxe, but rather Nathan wanted to take over the label, or at least abscond with their artists for himself.

When the dust cleared Nathan got the label and Roy Brown, one of the biggest stars in rock since his debut, while the Brauns spirited away the rest of the roster and started a new company, Regal, which enjoyed two years of hits before folding last month.

During that time Brown’s records have been virtually the entire output of the once diverse DeLuxe label… until now when we come across a new artist making his bid for rock notoriety.

If for no other reason than to break up the monotony of reviewing just one artist in their employ we’d be glad to herald the arrival of Fats Noel, but considering the juicy content of his debut, we’d be happy to take a look at it no matter how many artists DeLuxe still had in their clutches.


This Is All She Say!
If you were recording under the name “Fats” in the early 1950’s you were bound to be lost in the shadow of another Fat Man by the name of Domino.

But “Fats” Noel sounded better than Orville Noel, his real name, and so unless he lost weight and became Slim Noel he had little choice in the matter.

But Noel, regardless of the nickname, didn’t have to worry about this for long because his career on record consisted of three singles over two years on two labels – and there’s a chance his career ended because his life did as well – and as a result there’s not all that much known about him. He was a saxophonist, bandleader and singer who seemed to have a jazz background by the sound of it, but clearly was at home in something much dirtier like rock ‘n’ roll.

Whether he was recruited to DeLuxe Records based on his stage repertoire, or whether he simply sensed which way the musical winds were blowing at that time, Noel gave them something designed to turn heads with Ride Daddy, Ride, a record that wasn’t content with just laying down plenty of fast grooves, but backed that up with a ribald story to boot.

For some reason the company didn’t seem to have much faith in the record, releasing it in the traditionally dead weeks of December – too late to put under the Christmas tree for any parents seeking a last minute gift to help jump start their children’s sex-ed lessons, and too early for kids to use their Christmas loot to raid the record store for those singles they keep hidden away under the counter.

But in the years since, despite the name remaining just as unfamiliar as it was at the time, this has at least gotten Noel some belated attention for his attempts at rock ‘n’ roll degeneracy.


Ride All Night, Ride All Day
Well, give them credit for this much… Fats Noel and company were so keyed up to be recording that they came careening into view before the tapes even started rolling – or at least that’s the impression you get from the record where they’re already blowing away on the horns at full speed as the needle drops.

Sure, it was an editing decision, maybe an editing mistake at that to cut it so close to the first note, but in a perverse sort of way it does tip you off to the kind of record you’re in for… one that is being fueled on equal parts enthusiasm and adrenaline.

Does that mean that skill isn’t playing an equal role in their performance?

Not exactly, they all seem to be able to play well enough, but from the sounds of things it’s clear that their talents are being overwhelmed by their energy as the song races forward as if shot from a cannon and only picks up steam from there.

Of course when you’re singing about sex in such blunt fashion as Ride Daddy Ride maybe it’s understandable that a bunch of men with healthy libidos stuck in a studio with nary a female in sight to start itching for the real thing instead of words on a lead sheet, but my goodness, if this is indicative of the pace of their lovemaking the girl won’t even finish undressing before they’re finished!

The lyrics are as crude as you’d expect, though not exactly offensive outside of a strict Catholic boarding school, as aside from the frequent use of the verb in the title, the rest of the “story” is mere variations on a theme, making it far less titillating than they probably think.

Yes, you’d have to be pretty dense and inexperienced with the opposite sex to mistake this kind of riding for cruising down the boulevard in a new Buick, or taking the horse around the paddock one afternoon, but then again when he changes the verb to “push” and then later “shove” you DO start to wonder what kind of kinky sex he’s describing.

Therein lies the problem. It’s a one-note performance which requires the audience to be as hard up for action as the band seems to be and thus turned on by the mere implication of something dirty going on in the scene he lays out.

The fact that Noel has a high reedy voice surely doesn’t help, especially with this accelerated pace, and considering his response to the overeager girl is to “run and hide” it’s a little hard to feel any kinship with someone who seems to want to avoid the bedroom altogether instead of celebrate his good fortune.

The record is somewhat fun in spite of that, but that enjoyment is found mostly in the gleeful attitude of the band itself rather than any X-rated activities they’re describing, surely a let-down for those of you looking to records seven decades old to help you get your rocks off.


I Got To Run And Hide
Considering how thin DeLuxe’s roster has been until Nathan settled their court case with the Braun Brothers and began adding acts to the label this fall, you’d think they’d want their distributors to know they had more to offer than just Roy Brown, yet there’s no sign of this record being promoted at all.

As a result with no recording history of his own to whet people’s appetite for this single, and presumably with no name recognition from his live appearances to draw from in order to build interest, there’s not much chance many people were even aware of its existence at the time… and thus no reason for any uptight community to ban it for salaciousness.

But like any piece of work that appears taboo, especially in the context of its era, there’s bound to be some belated attention paid it that outweighs its quality in the long run. So it is with Ride, Daddy, Ride, certainly a decent attempt at a rousing rocker with some nice enough playing by Noel (when he stops hollering that is), while the rest of the band – Bill Spooner on piano, Alfred Mathews on bass and drummer John Tucker – all show impressive stamina by never slacking off despite the breakneck speed.

Notice though that what we credit them for isn’t what has caused the record to draw continued interest in the years since.

It’s not just that the content seems tame by current standards, it’s that even by 1951’s repressive standards the point has been made by the title alone and by the end of the first stanza you’ve heard everything there is to raise an eyebrow or lower your drawers so there’s no need to get too worked up over it.

Then again, maybe this is just a lesson most of us learned way back in high school, if not a year or two earlier, which is it’s always those WITHOUT much experience with sex who seem to treat the mere mention of it as something to be impressed by.


(Visit the Artist page of Fats Noel for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)