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
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title: Skate Now Shing-a-Ling
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
GEMM catalog ID:
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.
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
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
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
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: I'm In Need of Love
Country/State: Buffalo, New York
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
GEMM catalog ID: 5
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
Need of Love" track listing:
Common Broken Heart
Oh, and thank you Mrs. Estelle Craig of Cincinnati, Ohio....
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title: Buffalo Smoke
Company: RCA Victor
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: includes original lyric inner sleeve
GEMM catalog ID: 5207
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:
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
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.
LOU COURTNEY/MR. C. & FUNCK JUNCTION
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.
40287 I WATCHED AND SLOWLY YOU SLIPPED AWAY / l Cry If I Want To (1965)
4588 SKATE NOW / I Can Always Tell (1966)
4589 DO THE THING / The Man Is Lonely (1966)
2000 SKATE NOW SHING A LING (LP) (1967)
Popside 4591 YOU AIN¡¯T READY / I've Got Just The Thing (1967)
4594 HEY JOYCE / I'm Mad About You (1967)
4596 IF THE SHOE FITS / It's Love Now (1968)
10632 DO THE HORSE / Rubber Neckin' ( Chicka Checkin')
10631 PLEASE STAY / You Can Give Your Love To Me (1968)
I BELIEVE IN LOVE ( unissued )
121 TRYIN' TO FIND MY WOMAN / Let Me Turn You On (1969)
Gurdy 101 HOT BUTTER¡¯N¡¯ALL ( Pt. 1 ) / ( Pt. 2 ¨C Mr. C & Funck
100 WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO / Beware (1973)
( also released as Epic 11062 and Quality 2080 )
KE 33011 I'M IN NEED OF LOVE (LP) (1974)
11088 I DON'T NEED NOBODY ELSE / Why (1974)
50046 THE BEST THING A MAN CAN DO FOR HIS WOMAN / I¯m Serious About Lovin
You ( 1974 )
50070 SOMEBODY NEW IS LOVIN¡¯ ON YOU / Just To Let Him Break
Your Heart ( 1975 )