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Friday, August 12, 2011


This is a record that I never thought I would feature here, but I keep hundreds (actually at this point probably thousands but who's counting) of 45's "on deck" for possible placement. What sparked me to post it, you may ask? Here I am, on tour again far from home where my MP3 player (a cozy, necessary evil if there ever was one, and always set on shuffle play) popped this one on and just the sheer urgency of Rockin' Robin's voice truly stopped me in my tracks. The other side of the record may be more famous- it's the first Pacific Northwest cover of Richard Berry's "Louie Louie"- but THIS side is THE ONE for this listener. Ray Charles original (one of my all time favorite recordings) is tough to match, and frankly, they don't come close to capturing the slinky Latin vibe of Brother Ray (and honestly, who could?) but what we have here is something different and, arguably, just as vital. This record was also the first release on the legendary Etiquette label.

The band (Seattle's Wailers, not to be confused with Kingston's reggae giants of the same name) come close to inventing garage soul in their sloppy but charming (ragged and right) instrumental backing, but this Rockin' Robin character just whips up a FRENZY with his incredibly yearning, aching and soulful vocal.

Sadly, New York native Roberts recorded a mere six sides before leaving music to concentrate on a career in science- he relocated to San Francisco in 1967 where he met a tragic end in a car crash the following year.

from 1961...



DrunkenHobo said...

Fantastic, more R'N'R please

Autumn said...

One of the best things to come outta Tacoma. Thanks for posting this!