Thursday, June 03, 2010
Jango Song Of The Day-Bob & Earl
Album:Dick Bartley Presents Collector's Essentials: On The Radio, Vol. 6
I suspect that most folks are familiar with The Rolling Stones cover of Harlem Shuffle. But the 1963 original wasn't that big a hit at the time though it's considered a soul classic now. And it launched a dance craze just like The Jerk. In 1957, Bob & Earl were Bobby Byrd AKA Bobby Day and Earl Nelson. Both were member of The Hollywood Flames. While Byrd was scoring a hit as Bobby Day with Rockin' Robin, he was also recording with Nelson as Bob & Earl for Chess with little success. Byrd went back to being a solo artist and Nelson got together with Bobby Relf. He was known in Los Angeles as Bobby Valentino of Valentino and The Lovers and he had been in several other groups. The pianist, arranger and bass singer of that group was Barry White. Yup, that Barry White. Nelson & Relf wrote Harlem Shuffle. White and his partner Gene Page arranged it. It reached #44 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was on a small label and could have been a bigger hit with better distribution but it was a big hit in England when it was released there in 1969. There are alternate versions of Bob & Earl's Harlem Shuffle on various artists comps but the original version is on this Dick Bartley comp from Varese. When you buy oldies comps, don't just look for "Original Artists". Look for "Original Versions". The Dick Bartley comps have the original versions of all the hits. I guess you have to read the fine print. Earl Nelson recorded as Jackie Lee and had a hit with The Duck in 1965. Bob & Earl reunited when Harlem Shuffle became a hit in England in 1969. Bobby Relf died in 2007 and Earl Nelson died in 2008. Here's a video for the soul classic Harlem Shuffle by Bob & Earl.