Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Church Street Five - A Night With Daddy Gdotdotdotdot
artworkIt's about damn time! No, this is not a surf release, but Frank Guida's studio band backed most of his artists and defined the Norfolk sound. The name Daddy "G" has been credited to Gene Barge and Frank Guida, but is actually it is a tribute to evangelist Bishop "Daddy" Grace, who's fiery sermons inspired the sound Frank Guida wanted to capture to back Gary Anderson (aka Gary US Bonds). His studio band, named after the Church Street address of Daddy "G"'s church, located at the corner of Church Street and Princess Ann Roads in Norfolk, Virginia. Guida's impeccable studio band was led by Earl Swanson - sax, with Gene Barge - sax, Leonard Barks - trombone, Emmett "Nabs" Shields and later Melvin Glover - drums, and Ron "Junior" Farley - double bass, plus Willie Burnell - piano, and occasionally augmented by Wayne Beckner or Eric Sauls - guitar. Less Swanson, this was the Church Street Five. A long string of high spirited "churchy" instrumentals that drew heavily on the feel and sounds of New Orleans' Mardi Gras followed, but no commercial success, except behind the Legrand Records Artists, US Bonds, Tommy Facenda, Jimmy Soul, and others. This is essential listening for any instro fan, especially of R&B instros. This is filled with fire. Aside from the fire in the music, it also displays much of the same "hot, dirty sound" that Guida created by recording "in the red" with the compressors pumping and the kick drum way out front, all to recreate that immediate loud and driven sound of the revival. This was a landmark change in production values, clearing the way for the "in the red" demo style of 30 years later. All of these sessions date from between 1960 and 1965. Some see the light of day here for the first time. Incidentally, I once did a "Louie Louie" weekend with Stretch Riedle (Shockwaves, Sub-Mersions) on WNOR in Norfolk. As the program director was going over local pronunciations, he clarified the name of the city. He said, "it's not 'nor-folk,' it should sound like 'no-fuck.'" As a bonus, "Sing A Song Children" with Daddy "G" singing lead vocal against the Legrand chorus and the Church Street Five. The drums are really cool, and a different voice from Gary US Bonds and Jimmy Soul against the Legrand house band sound seems both strange and magnetic.
Picks: A Night With Daddy "G" (part 1), A Night With Daddy "G" (part 2), Norfolk Country USA (Country), Fallen Arches, I'll Be Home Next Year, Everybody's Happy, Ten Two and Four, Church Street Walk, Back Slop, It's A Dream Groove, When I'm With You, Look Alive, Hey Now, D. C. Shuffle, Frankie's Serenade, Everybody Do The Ska, Daddy "G" Rides Again, Ba-Pa-Da, Church Street Battle, Monkey USA, Tiger Rock (Part 2), Back Slap, Take Me To Virginia Beach

Track by Track Review


A Night With Daddy "G" (part 1) dotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Part one of "A Night With Daddy 'G'" is essentially the backtrack to US Bond's "Quarter To Three." If you dig the revivalist infectiousness of the vocal, then you'll dig Church Street Five' instrumental madness the most.

A Night With Daddy "G" (part 2) dotdotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Part two of the Church Street Five's "A Night With Daddy 'G'" is completely different. Much more New Orleans like, much more hopped up, and much groovier. The softened false ending gives you pause to catch your breath, but the gospel hand clapping and pumped drums come back to rock your world.

Norfolk Country USA (Country) dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Daddy "G" and the Church Street Five do a groovin' and nasty romp through the well seasoned clubs on the other side of the track. This must have been inspired by countless nights of after hours jams. It's very cool, and the horns simply ooze soul.

Fallen Arches dotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Daddy "G" and the Church Street Five cut another US Bonds backtrack kinda tune, with the chorus and all. Wailing gospel voices, marching bands freedom, and too much fun. What a spirited wail! This was also the inspiration for Gary US Bonds' "Trip To The Moon."

I'll Be Home Next Year dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

"I'll Be Home Next Year" makes you wanna go right out and find Daddy "G" so you can groove to his sermon. Daddy "G" and the Church Street Five roll with the soul just dripping off of every note. They couldn't have had much more fun cutting this.

Everybody's Happy dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Daddy "G" and the Church Street Five do happy track that captures happy hour perfectly, right down to the laughter and clinking beer bottles. Definite party music.

Ten Two and Four dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Under the name King Coney and the Hot Dogs, they released this Jimmy Smith style groover. It's much less emotionally charged than the Church Street Five material.

Church Street Walk dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

This Daddy "G" and the Church Street Five track is a slower tune with Gene Barge's raw sax played harshly against a moderate standard backtrack. Very nice, but not up to their usual par.

Back Slop dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Under the name "Baby" Earl and the Trini-Dads, they cut this updating of their earlier "Back Slap" single. It's more a jammin' hand clappin' groove, and except for Gene Barge's unmistakable sax and the big kick drum, it lacks some of the fire of the classic Church Street Five tracks.

It's A Dream Groove dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

In a Bill Dogget mood with a riff morphed from "Down By The Riverside" and a damped guitar chop, Daddy "G" and the Church Street Five cut a swingin' groove here. It's quite smooth and infectious. The riff and mix are from or the inspiration for US Bonds' "Gettin' A Groove."

When I'm With You dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

A moody organ and sax number in the style of Jimmy Smith / Wes Montgomery in a dark bar room. Daddy "G" and the Church Street Five create an inspired groove, an up tempo R&B jam.

Look Alive dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Restrained guitar and a Northwest style instro arrangement, augmented with a horn section dual lead. Daddy "G" and the Church Street Five do a fine job laying down the backtrack to a frat rug cutter.

Hey Now dotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Daddy "G" and the Church Street Five cut yet another hot US Bonds style track, with a rippin' Gene Barge solo, and the chorus wailing like their the audience at the dive of choice where these cats played. Remarkably fun.

D. C. Shuffle dotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Daddy "G" and the Church Street Five play a mid tempo shuffling salute to the center of politics and depravity. Its arrangement is right out of the US Bonds stable, with all the great kick drums, booming bass, hand claps, and distant chorus you could ask for. Excellent.

Frankie's Serenade dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

In a change of heart, a piano and guitar lead this track. The guitar is right round and smooth, more a rock instro style than a soul sounding guitar. The rest of the track is pure Daddy "G" and the Church Street Five, with great sax, and all that Norfolk spirit.

Everybody Do The Ska dotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

The other side of the "Baby" Earl and the Trini-Dads single was this merger between the Norfolk sound and the then-new Caribbean ska. It's a most unusual mix. Lot's of spirit and spunk.

Daddy "G" Rides Again dotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Daddy "G" and the Church Street Five cut this variation on the US Bonds sound as a sorta theme song. It really doesn't represent their best moments well, but the great big kick drum and wailing sax certainly please the ears. Lots of squonking and honking, and the drums sound like their not really quite worked out yet, because their immediate and sound like the beats are made up on the spot. Quite cool.

Ba-Pa-Da dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

King Coney and the Hot Dogs cut this slight morphing of Perez Prado's "Patricia" with all of the edge they could add. The new title comes from the classically undisciplined Legrand chorus singing "Ba-Pa-Da" through out. Way fun.

Church Street Battle dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

"Church Street Battle" is a rompin' US Bonds style instro, with Earl Swanson, Gene Barge and Leonard Barks competing for baddest horn player honors. Daddy "G" and the Church Street Five do a totally inspired jam here, with infectious ripping horn work.

Monkey USA dotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Daddy "G" and the Church Street Five cash in on the Major Lance "Monkey Time" craze by reconstructing "New Orleans" and "Quarter To Three" into a single mad groove with a cosmic sense of joy. This is a huge and mighty raw tune, with more fun than any single recording should have. Mighty hard to sit still while this monster plays. The chorus is wailing "Monkey Monkey US-A" while the kick drum pumps out the beat. Way way cool!

Tiger Rock (Part 2) dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Tommy Facenda's "High School USA" was so successful as Legrand's first release, that Frank Guida decided to go again with something different. It was to be Earl Swanson Plus Six's "Tiger Rock (Part 2)." It's a New Orleans jazz based tune with no end of innocent fun.

Back Slap dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

The South Street Six's original slow R&B groove "Back Slap" shows an early pre-Legrand sound instro style, much more traditional of the riff based low end grooves of the fifties. Still, it's immediate and real.

Take Me To Virginia Beach dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Daddy "G" rocks the house with Bill Deal and the Rondells on this moderately groovin' R&B jam. Quite tasty. The lick is loosely like "Down By The Riverside."