Ride on Red?
Right On, Red!
By Rev. Billy C. Wirtz
Each week Rev. Billy C. Wirtz tells us about artists, albums, and music that we need to know about.
A hastily scribbled sign advertised “Twelve Super Hits For A Dollar.”
The Chubby Checker record on top looked promising.
My first teachable moment about the music business.
Aside from “South Street” by the Orlons (the first record to use the word “hippies”), eight of the remaining ten were forgettable. I still have the other two.
Years ago, television pitched a different kind of star. Back then, pawn shops were still marginal places where Jack Webb searched for stolen manger scenes (remember that one?) and “Doctor” shows were all the rage. Dr. Kildare and Ben Casey made feminine hearts pound like the intro to “Caravan.”
Vince Edwards, the star of Ben Casey, joined the ranks of singing celebrities with “The Talking Parrot.” It is, hands down, the stupidest song ever made. The other record introduced me to the blues.
“Right on, Red, Right On?”
“Ride On, Red, Ride On,” by Louisiana Red, began with a distorted bass guitar, followed by a lone voice, and the sound of a speeding car in the background:
What a strange record.
It had a good beat, but was a whole lot more intense than “Let’s Limbo Some More” or “South Street.”
He named all these cities in the South and, at the end of the second verse, the music stopped as he sang:
“Took the whole U.S. army, to make one school integrate.”
It sounded like he was saying “Right On,” a phrase that wouldn’t even exist for another couple of years.
I bought “Super Hits” at Kresge’s Five & Dime Store in 1965.
“Ride On,” was, in fact, only one cut on an obscure album called Lowdown Back Porch Blues. I wanted to hear more of whatever this music was, whatever it was called. Unfortunately finding a copy of “Back Porch” proved to be only slightly easier than sitting in on harp with Ji…never mind.
I tried the record stores.
“Out of print.”
It was reissued on a French label in the early eighties. Six months later, they went out of business.
While touring Europe in the nineties, I spied a copy in the collection of a Norwegian DJ,
I offered substantial Kroner.
He laughed and made some remark about my girlfriend’s feet (?).
“Lowdown” surfaced on one of those microscopic lists in Goldmine, the asking price in early three figures.
Typing in “Ride On, Red Ride On” at Google, I am offered a virtual All-You-Can-Eat buffet:
#1) Youtube.com- Hot Damn!! There it is! It’s even on the same label. Courtesy of “Boogalud” from Germany. The video portion features a close-up of platter and turntable spinning ‘round.
Herr Ludo might have been to Oktoberfest beforehand as midway through the song you can hear someone shuffling papers and closing doors in the back ground.
#2) YouTube (again) – “Ride On, Ride On”- Gallagher ?
I have an album by him on Atco with some group called Taste. I’m remembering a song called “Born On The Wrong Side Of Time.” Oh well, this ought to be interesti…Jesus, turn that freakin’guitar down!
Hey, the singing’s not bad at all, reminds me of early Johnny Winter.
Wow, this is intense. Some great harp fills and a blazing rhythm section. There’s an actual story line to the video, beginning with a still of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Unfortunately, the videographer did too good a job of matching early sixties civil rights footage to the lyric line. Hard to watch, dregs up some painful memories.
#3) Rorygallagher.com – What do you know? The actual words to the song,
#4) Allmusic.com – Mecca.
This is the site. Whenever I come across a new artist or group, I check them here. Chances are that even the most obscure Norwegian zither trio will have a listing. Every entry includes a bio, complete discography, recommended albums (Ridin’ In My Fjord), and sample tracks.
For us old-timers, two days of squinting at microfilm and scouring through old copies of Hit Parader can now be accomplished with a click.
The page for Louisiana Red shows a total of thirty albums.
The editors’ pick?
Lowdown Back Porch Blues.
(It’s similar to that thrill my dad got when Consumer Reports gave top ratings to the tires he had just bought).
So now, I’ve learned:
- Lowdown is considered his best album, and is available in several formats:
- CD – For $12.99
- MP3 Download – Amazon ($7.99) or E-Music ($5.19).
-Cassette – From $.99 to 3.99
-Eight track – Norwegian import only
-Vinyl LP – This took some searching, however, I found a copy. The price has gone down, it’s listed in VG shape at groovetunesday.com for $45.
-An original 45 on Roulette—$40.
There are actually several NM (Near Mint) copies of the single floating around. Maybe somebody uncovered a stash of “Twelve Hits For A Dollar.” Which means, along with the few copies of
“Ride On,” there might still be:
Google Search: “Vince Edwards + music.”
Rev. Billy C. Wirtz is a weekly columnist at BluesWax. Each week he finds artists, albums, and music that you should know about. He also plays piano. His radio show, Rev. Billy’s Rhythm Revival, is available in podcast. To hear the latest, go to Rev. Billy C. Wirtz’ page on Facebook and look for the link.
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