Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jimmy Castor, 1947-2012

"One of the Butt sisters!" I've been snickering at "Troglodyte"'s lowbrow gag since I was a child. Yet Jimmy Castor, who died yesterday, did much more than provide me with cheap laughs.

My friend BGO chided me in an email exchange for implying that Castor was a mere novelty artist. And sure enough, according to Castor's site "(b)efore even finishing junior high school, Jimmy Castor had written his first million seller for Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers called 'I Promise To Remember'." Castor would have been nine years old at the time. How does that work? I'll count on superior scholars to sort out Castor's career. Besides, I heard the entirety of Castor's 1966 hit "Hey, Leroy, Your Mama's Callin' You" for the first time today.

It's an odd thing to attribute to a novelty song, but "Troglodyte" had an enormous impact on my musical development. The monstrous groove prepared me for the advent of the Ohio Players and the life-changing "Flash Light" five years later. The hip hop samples that followed in the next decade only confirmed my ardor.

One last note- it was "Troglodyte" that first stirred my prepubescent hormones. And what could possibly be more significant than that?

I wrote an piece about Nicholas Payton's Black American Music proposal.

An "elitist music snob" reviewed Nnenna Freelon's concert Saturday at The Folly Theater.

I'd intended to offer a survey of today's new releases but I couldn't get past this.

Ebony Tusks' video for "Everybody Runs" is on point.

Kansas City Click: Whoop whoop! Boondox hit the Beaumont Club tonight.

The Life and Times return to the Riot Room on Wednesday.

I'll made the trek to Lawrence for Doomtree's show at the Granada on Thursday.


bgo said...
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bgo said...

I'm pretty much in the Bobby Watson camp regarding Payton. It's about playing music and growing as an artist and performer. I remember the whole race discussion thing back when I was a kid discovering the music all through the sixties. It helped inform me better about what I was listening to. Ultimately one has to begin to trust one's own ears but have them informed by learning from multiple sources. In other words, I'd rather hear Payton play than tell me what I already know. What he is proposing is nothing new on the table. But before I paint myself further into a corner, as knowledgeable as I am about music, I know little compared to so many who might argue a different perspective than Mr. Payton. I'm delighted a mainstream urban newspaper printed you piece, Bill.

Happy In Bag said...

Thanks, BGO, for your friendship and for sharing a tiny fraction of your knowledge and experience in this forum.

Happy In Bag said...

From my esteemed friend Peter Lubin:

Back when I was just a lowly young rock scribe toiling away writing two columns a week for the New Haven Register, some enterprising publicist at Atlantic Records sweet-talked me into interviewing Jimmy Castor in advance of an appearance he was making in the area. Like you, I had zero awareness of Jimmy or his musical contributions and I'm certain that the interview was, for him, and exercise in patience and forebearance.

Somehow I managed to eke out a story on the guy, despite my utter cluelessness.

But I was amazed, impressed, and flattered when, a few days later, I received a personal letter in the mail from Jimmy thanking me for my time and effort on his behalf. This only happened a very few times over the course of all the stories I ever wrote, so it of course made a big impression on me.

Needless to say, I too was saddened by the news of his passing.