Ignored Obscured Restored
The earliest history of Rock and Roll covers the period when Alan Freed coined the term for the R&B records he was playing for teenagers in Cleveland on WJW radio. And one of the most important R&B groups of that era was the “5” Royales. The group was led by songwriter/guitarist Lowman “Pete” Pauling, who penned songs that would remain important for many decades, including:
Think – also recorded by James Brown and Mick Jagger
Dedicated to the One I Love – Shirelles and Mamas and Papas
Tell the Truth – Ray Charles and Ike & Tina Turner
But besides being a great songwriter, Loman was a terrific early electric guitar player. I wanted to select a song that would highlight his playing, so I’ve chosen one of the group’s lesser known records, “Say It.”
“Say It” follows a predictable R&B formula, with piano triplets leading the way. But its fuzzed out licks probably influenced more than a few ‘60s garage band guitarists. Check out the insane riffs that open and end “Say It!”
Another, more popular “5” Royales track that features Lowman’s Les Paul is “The Slummer the Slum.”
Lowman’s guitar stabs are the prototype for Steve Cropper’s approach on Booker T & the MGs’ “Green Onions.” Then at about 40 seconds, Lowman rips off a wild solo and does it again at around 1:35.
If you haven’t had exposure to Pauling beyond this post, please read the excellent article by Lisa O’donnell from his hometown Winston-Salem Journal.
Enjoy… until next week.