Norton

1st Dave 'Baby' Cortez LP in 40 years on Norton, Cover Photo

Dave Baby Cortez Album cover photo Jacob Blickenstaff Greasy Rock n' Roll connoisseurs Billy Miller and Miriam Linna of Norton Records will be releasing a new LP by R&B instrumental organ great Dave 'Baby' Cortez this month, his first since 1972's 'Soul Vibration' album. Effectively retired from showbiz for 40 years, Miriam Linna had tracked down Dave through his son David Clowney, a professional football player who recently played for the N.Y. Jets. With the help of veteran soul saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood and production Mick Collins (The Dirtbombs, The Gories), D.B.C is set to release a back-to-the-gritty-basics organ album that I am really excited to spin on the turntable.

Photo by Jacob Blickenstaff, design by Pat Broderick. LP and CD available from Norton Records on 11/22.

Bonus: Here's a photo we shot in the stairwell of the recording studio, NY-HED, that I liked a lot.

dave baby cortez portrait

West Village Social Registry - Satanic Ed. with Nick Tosches

Around the corner from the Waverly Inn and the Spotted Pig, a who's who of rock n' roll miscreants assembled at the Jefferson Market Library on 6th Avenue for the first notable social gathering of the Fall Season.  In a room high above the former courtroom where Mae West was tried and convicted for obscenity, Nick Tosches washed down Parliaments with extra-dry Japanese beer, received guests from the erotic dancing trade and checked over his notes. He was at the library to read from his new book, 'Save The Last Dance For Satan' published by Kicks Books.

Kicks is an exciting new publishing venture by industry vet Miriam Linna, co-founder of Norton Records, former Strand employee and president of the Flamin' Groovies International Fan Club. Protegé sisters Charly and Gigi Himmel assisted Mrs. Linna with preparations for the evening and sold a limited edition perfume, 'TOSCHES', along with copies of the new book. (MSRP $12.95). Frank Collerius and Marie Henson of the Jefferson Market Library were exemplary hosts.

Other notable notables in attendance included Louise Murray (of the Jaynettes), her husband Donald Murray (of the Jesters), Lenny Kaye, Andy Shernoff and Scott Kempner (of the Dictators), Michael Downey (of Figures of Light), Eric Davidson (of the New Bomb Turks) and Countess LuAnn de Lesseps (or a she-male who wandered in from 7th ave, this reporter could not make a definitive call.)

The event was filled to capacity as Mr. Tosches waited for the right energy to build in the darkened library before he was to speak, on high, from the catwalk overhead. The crowd began to chant 'TAW-SHUS, TAW-SHUS' and as I banged along on a bookcase next to me a man turned to me, glaring, and snapped, "Hey Buddy! This ain't a pub, this is a LIBRARY!"

Complete gallery HERE.

Andre Williams in Nortonville

Andre Williams emerged from the cave-like stockroom/office of Billy and Miriam's Brooklyn loft - aka Nortonville - and gave me a sweet hug hello. A few minutes later in the hallway outside he came out with a wardrobe question, asking if his silk thermal underwear was causing his suit slacks to bunch. Without a pause he unbuttoned his pants, pulled down the thermals to show me matter-of-factly his boxer briefs and we both agreed non-nonchalantly that maybe the photo would be better without all the static electricity. But Andre Williams is a man with electricity to spare. His contributions to rhythm and blues, soul, and rock 'n roll are unique. His trademark sound is the smooth, poetic spoken raps about Cadillac driving hustlers, underage girlfriends and greasy soul food related dances. He was a restless operator then and he still is today.

The portrait below is the first in a series of stripped down and direct B&W portraiture I'd like to do of significant innovators in the history of record making. This is a digital proof shot prior to loading up a few rolls in a recently acquired Hasselblad 500c/m. The film is at the lab but I thought I'd put this post together anyway.

It was really great to spend the day with the very nice and insanely knowledgeable Billy and Miriam of Norton records whose Prospect Park loft is both a warehouse of Norton goodies and a candy store of music artifacts and ephemera (not the least of which was a pair of show posters in the bathroom depicting a Siamese twin gospel duo.)

Andre and Miriam going over some lyrics, post-sandwiches.

After the portrait session we did some impromptu promo shots of Andre with his new book, Sweets, and his new Sweets-inspired perfume, Bait and Switch which you can see (and buy) at the Norton website

Later in the day I was able to tag along to a recording session at N.Y.HED studios where Andre was to lay down vocal tracks for a Nolan Strong tribute in the works. Andre was the consummate professional and it was a trip to be in the room with a man who on top of his songwriting and performing credits had produced records with the Contours, Bobby Bland, Alvin Cash and the Crawlers and Ike Turner.

Please enjoy the shots from the studio. Matt Verta-Ray was running the deck.

This week I am going to spend a few days in Detroit and will hopefully get to meet a few interesting people there too.