Courtney, Lou

Band members               Related acts

- Errol Bennett - percussion (1976)

- Lou Courtney -- vocals, keyboards

- Jerry Friedman -- lead guitar (1976)

- Steve Gadd - drums (1976)

- Glenn Goins -- lead guitar (1976)

- Anthony Jackson -- bass (1976)

- Arthur Jenkins -- percussion (1976)

- Will Lee -- bass (1976)

- Carlos Martin -- percussion (1976)

- Jeff Mironov -- lead guitar (1976)

- Gary Mure -- drums (1976)

- L. Leon Pendarvis -- keyboards (1976)

- Harry Whitaker -- keyboards (1976)




- The Packers





Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Skate Now Shing-a-Ling

Company: Riverside

Catalog: 2000


Year: 1967

Grade (cover/record): G+ / VG

Comments: mono pressing; gatefold sleeve; vinyl has lots of surface scratches and plays with some noise, but no jumps or skips

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 

Price: $30.00


Priding myself as somewhat of a soul aficionado, I'll admit that I didn't know a great deal about Buffalo's Lou Courtney.  I'm probably not alone in that Courtney's probably only remembered by hardcore collectors and Northern Soul fans.   


Courtney's solo career began in 1962 when he was signed by Imperial.  Over the next two years he recorded a pair of obscure 45s:


- 1963's "Come On Home" b/w "The Man With The Cigar" (Imperial catalog number 66006)

- 1964's "Little Old Love Maker" b/w "Professional Lover" (Imperial catalog number 66043)


Disappointed by his lack of success and dropped by Imperial, Courtney turned his attention to producing and writing.  Working with Dennis Lambert he placed material with a number of acts, including Chubby Checker and Mary Wells (who covered his "Ain't It the Truth").  


By 1965 Courtney was ready to try his hand recording again.  A deal with Philips saw the release of a third single "I Watched You Slowly Slip Away" b/w "I'll Cry If I Want To" (Philips catalog number Philips 40287).  Like the two Imperial 45s, this one also vanished without a trace.

Courtney's luck changed the following year when he signed with the New York-based Riverside label.  He quickly enjoyed a pair of pop/R&B hits with the singles "Skate Now" b/w "I Can Always Tell" (Riverside catalog 4588) and "Do the Thing" b/w "The Man Is Lonely" (Riverside catalog number 4589).  


As was standard marketing procedure, Riverside sought to capitalize on Courtney's unexpected successes by releasing a supporting album.  Co-produced by Courtney and Robert Bateman,  the cleverly-titled "Skate Now Shing-a-Ling" repackaged the earlier singles with six new studio sides.  Unlike most mid-1960s support LPs, this one's actually good!  Courtney had a great soul voice that was well suited for easygoing proto-funk numbers such as "I've Got Just the Thing", "The Man Is Lonely" (talk about a great slice of soul) and "Me and You (Doin' the Bogaloo)".  While he seemed more comfortable working in a commercial dance vein, "I Don't Wanna Leave You" and "I Can Always Tell" aptly demonstrated he had the chops to handle deep soul.  Funkiest track here - the bizarro instrumental "Psychedelic Shing-a-Ling".  Highly commercial and radio-friendly, anyone who enjoys the likes of Arthur Conley or Brenton Wood will simply love this album.


"Skate Now Shing-a-Ling

(side 1)

1.) Skate Now - 3:00

2.) I've Got Just the Thing - 2:40

3.) The Man Is Lonely - 3:16

4.) Another'n Like the Other'n - 2:50

5.) Me and You (Doin' the Bogaloo) - 2:55


(side 2)

1.) Do the Thing (Parts 1 & 2) - 4:00

2.) Psychedelic Shing-a-Ling (instrumental) - 2:35

3.) I Need You Now - 2:49

4.) I Can Always Tell - 2:18

5.) I Don't Wanna Leave You - 2:40




Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  I'm In Need of Love

Company: Epic

Catalog: 33011

Year: 1974

Country/State: Buffalo, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: --

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5

Price: $



I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I didn't know anything about Lou Courtney when I stumbled across a copy of his 1974 album "I'm In Need of Love" at a yard sale.  


Turns out that Courtney's professional musical career extended back to the early 1960s 


"I'm In Need of Love" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Common Broken Heart
2.) Since I First Laid Eyes On You
3.) What Do You Want Me To Do
4.) The Best Thing A Man Can Ever Do For His Woman
5.) I Will If You Will

(side 2)
1.) Somebody New Is Lovin On You
2.) I'm Serious About Lovin You
3.) I Don't Need Nobody Else
4.) Just To Let Him Break Your Heart
5.) I'm In Need Of Love


If you’ll allow me to quote the great and learned Herschel Krustovsky... Hey! Hey! Hey! That’s right, kids. It’s Friday. You and I and every other poor slob that has to work for a living have reached the end of the week. We sit here, pressed against the starting gate like horses all hopped up on speed, ready to break out and go careening all over the weekend, spilling beer everywhere we go until we crash back into Monday like a derailed commuter train.. Unless you’re one of those cats that goes home on Friday and curls up on the couch with a pint of ice cream and the TV remote. That’s cool too. No matter how you slice it, it ain’t work. In that spirit, I bring you a funk 45 that much like the previous entry (see McCall, Toussaint) is a banger of the first order. My crates at home are filled with all kinds of quality funk and soul. Truth be told, not every 45 is a killer. Most of them are good (dare I say great), but to be honest, though many of them create a funky vibe, or deliver a memorable hook, few are packed with enough energy to peel back your toupee and spill your cocktail at the same time. “Hey Joyce” by Lou Courtney is such a record. Not unlike his later masterpiece ‘Hot Butter’n’All’, ‘Hey Joyce’ is a record that sounds like it was engineered for absolute, maximum impact, between the ears, on the dancefloor and in that special, magical otherworld where record collectors gather for the kind of figurative pissing contest where “who’s got the “heavier” crates” is the game of the day. It is a quantifiably powerful record in ever way, from its opening (and middle-ing) drum breaks, the chants of “Hey Joyce you’re my choice!” to Lou Courtney’s soul-solid screams, to the background singers “sockitome”s. The ka-razy thing, is that this funk masterwork was crafted in the year nineteen-sixty and seven, making it something of a benchmark record (not that it was in any was the “first” funk 45, but that among early funk 45s it is so solid as to be able to compete with anything from funk’s prime era). As I said, the cut opens with a drum break, before slowing down a little to let the horns, bass and guitar drop in briefly, before it all screeches to a halt so that Lou and his tinkytonk piano can open the proceedings with the “Hey Joyce” chant. Lou opens the verse with a “HAH!” and spins his tale of desire/lust until the femme back up singers join him in the chorus, while he screams like a guy who just caught his wang-dang-doodle in his zipper. When the tune gets to the middle, and everything drops out to give the drummer some, it’s a really abrupt transition (sounds like a tape splice), which makes it all the cooler, giving it a slightly Frankenstein-ian edge, like they’d just harvested a really tasty drum break and couldn’t help but stitching onto their monster. The background singers come out of the break with the aforementioned ‘Sockitome’s, then Lou jumps in with a one of those sexy grunts from the “James Brown Blueprints of Funk” primer, following it up with a request that the object of his desire work it on out to the Broadway. While it may seem to some that the description above is one great big spaghetti heap of blazing hyperbole, one need only click on the link and listen to the song to know that I’m a man of my word. As the kids say, ‘Hey Joyce’ is the shiz-nizzle...or whatever it is they say. It’s important to know that Lou Courtney built himself up a pretty substantial pile of tasty 45s in the late 60’s, including the stuff that preceded ‘Hey Joyce’ on Riverside (a label not often cited for it’s great soul sides), and the stuff that followed it on Verve, Hurdy Gurdy and Buddah, as well as his more sophisticated sounds on Rags and Epic. If you’re lucky enough to find a copy of his Riverside LP ‘Skate Now/Shingaling’ grab it, as it’s a killer. As far as finding your own copy of this gem, prepare to crack open your piggy banks, as it’s on the pricey side. Thanks to it’s inclusion as a sample on DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist's ‘Brainfreeze’ mix, thousands of beatheads who never knew who Lou Courtney, Eddie Bo or Tony Alvon & The Belairs were, suddenly had to have their 45s, driving the prices high, and the availability low.
Oh, and thank you Mrs. Estelle Craig of Cincinnati, Ohio....


Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Buffalo Smoke

Company: RCA Victor

Catalog: APL1-1696


Year: 1976

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: includes original lyric inner sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5207

Price: $30.00



I'll readily admit that I don't know if this was a Lou Courtney solo LP, or an album by Courtney's group Buffalo Smoke.  The front cover made it look like a Courtney solo venture, but the backside liner notes refered to Buffalo Smoke as a group.  Does it matter?  Nope, since this is a killer album.  

Signed by RCA Victor, 1976's self-produced "Buffalo Smoke" found Courtney striving to find a way to meld old school soul with the public's demand for disco and dance material.  Surprisingly, unlike most of his contemporaries Courtney managed to actually pull it off on about half of the album.  Credited with penning all seven tracks, propelled by some killer fuzz guitar, 'Call the Police' and it's instrumental counterpart '911' exemplified a perfect blend of rock and disco moves. Side one tracks like 'Danger (Watch Your Step)' (Courtney's vocals displaying a Sly Stone-styled sneer) and 'Love Is a Joker' were also enjoyable, but not quite as impressive. Strange to say, but one of the weakest tracks was also the most old school-styled number - the side two opener 'Amen for Good Music'.  The other weak links were the needless funk formula piece 'Don't Stop the Box' and 'To the Bone' (recalling Al Green at his funkiest).  Oddest track was the closer 'Come To Me' which bore an uncanny resemblance to Marvin Gaye.  Still, a 50% batting average isn't bad ...  RCA also tapped the LP for a single: 'Call the Police' b/w '911' (RCA Victor catalog number JB-10644 ).


"Buffalo Smoke" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Call the Police   (Lou Courtney) - 3:41

2.) 911 (instrumental)   (Lou Courtney) - 6:45

2.) Danger (Watch Your Step)   (L. Leon Pendarvis - Willis) - 3:50

3.) Love Is a Joker   (Lou Courtney) - 4:06


(side 2)

1.) Amen for Good Music   (Lou Courtney) - 6:43

2.) Don't Stop the Box   (Lou Courtney) - 3:10

3.) To the Bone   (Lou Courtney) - 4:45

4.) Come Top Me   (Lou Courtney) - 3:31




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Do The Thing/The Man Is Lonely (Riverside)
Do The Thing has a mid-60s Soul dance swing to it. Obviously, it’s about a new dance craze, The Thing. I especially like the middle with female back-up singers doing the chorus and the following call and response. The Man Is Lonely is more of the same with a more deliberate rhythm and more of those female singers.

Hot Butter N All – Part 1 & 2 (Hurdy –Gurdy)
I’ve been waiting a long time to find this 45 and a trip to the East Coast for New Year’s was finally able to quench my thirst. Hot Butter N All is a power Funk tune if there ever was one. A quick drum roll leads into some blaring horns before the singing comes in about putting the popcorn on a sexy woman at a club over a bouncing rhythm. The flipside is even better because it’s an instrumental version of the song, although I think the horns are a little out of tune.


Phillips 40287 I WATCHED AND SLOWLY YOU SLIPPED AWAY / l Cry If I Want To (1965)

Riverside 4588 SKATE NOW / I Can Always Tell (1966)

Riverside 4589 DO THE THING / The Man Is Lonely (1966)

Riverside 2000 SKATE NOW SHING A LING (LP) (1967)

Popside 4591 YOU AIN¡¯T READY / I've Got Just The Thing (1967)

Popside 4594 HEY JOYCE / I'm Mad About You (1967)

Popside 4596 IF THE SHOE FITS / It's Love Now (1968)

Verve 10632 DO THE HORSE / Rubber Neckin' ( Chicka Checkin')

Verve 10631 PLEASE STAY / You Can Give Your Love To Me (1968)

Verve I BELIEVE IN LOVE ( unissued )

Buddah 121 TRYIN' TO FIND MY WOMAN / Let Me Turn You On (1969)


Hurdy Gurdy 101 HOT BUTTER¡¯N¡¯ALL ( Pt. 1 ) / ( Pt. 2 ¨C Mr. C & Funck Junction )

Rags 100 WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO / Beware (1973)
( also released as Epic 11062 and Quality 2080 )

Epic KE 33011 I'M IN NEED OF LOVE (LP) (1974)

Epic 11088 I DON'T NEED NOBODY ELSE / Why (1974)

Epic 50046 THE BEST THING A MAN CAN DO FOR HIS WOMAN / I¯m Serious About Lovin You ( 1974 )

Epic 50070 SOMEBODY NEW IS LOVIN¡¯ ON YOU / Just To Let Him Break
Your Heart ( 1975 )