Monday, August 7, 2017
Alvin Robinson - The Complete 'Shine'
A repost by request:
This one here is an ongoing labor of love, much like Eldridge Holmes or Charles Brimmer. Ongoing in the sense that I would love to see competently remastered versions of ALL of these songs because in many cases the only copy of a given song that I have ever found is of decidedly poor quality. That said, I DO get to claim the triumph of assembling ALL 34 tracks that 'Shine' ever recorded, something that I don't believe has ever been accomplished by anyone, anywhere!
b. 1937, d. 24 January 1989 in New Orleans. Robinson was a session guitarist and a vocalist whose first recordings were made with Dave Bartholomew at Imperial in 1961-62. Those first recordings (tracks 1-12) are pretty heavily Ray Charles influenced but the songs are all quite good and 'Shine's' voice is special. One can only hope that at some point those 12 songs and the four unissued tracks from Imperial will finally be remastered and reissued. Unfortunately for Robinson the early 60's were at the tail end of Lou Chudd's personal interest in the record business and thus his association with Bartholomew. With little-to-no promotion, those sides were pretty much limited to local jukeboxes.
In 1963-64, Robinson went to New York with the Joe Jones band as singer and guitar player and there scored a minor hit in 1964 with a recording of a Chris Kenner song, ‘Something You Got’ backed by 'Searchin'. The single was released on Tiger Records, a short-lived outlet owned by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who then took Robinson to their next venture, Red Bird. His first release there, ‘Down Home Girl’, was an inspired amalgamation of New York pop and Crescent City R&B, the flip side cover of "Fever" is just as strong. Later covered by the Rolling Stones, Robinson’s single was one of the best to appear on that label. It was followed by a reshaped version of ‘Let The Good Times Roll’, and 'I'm Gonna Put Some Hurt on You, but the artist was unable to find another success. All 8 tracks (13-20) from this period were still actually recorded in New Orleans with the regular cats from J & M.
Robinson recorded one single in New York for Joe Jones' short-lived label in 1966, and another for Atco in 1967. (21-24) He then returned home for a bit until he joined the west coast move in 1969, hooking up with the A.F.O. guys in Los Angeles. During this period he reconnected with old pal Mac Rebennack and was one of several expatriate New Orleans musicians who played on Dr. John’s debut 'Gris Gris' (which was recorded with studio time left over from a Sonny and Cher album!). Robinson also recorded the 10 killer tracks while with AFO in L.A. (only 4 of them were actually released) that fill out the remainder of this collection. (25-34)
Shine was a fairly regular member of Dr. John's band through the 70's, playing again on his New Orleans ‘tribute’ album, Gumbo, and most often in his working band. He returned to New Orleans for good in 1985 and died in 1989. He is well loved and remembered in our music community (Mac was quoted as saying that 'Shine' was a real singer, as opposed to himself, whom he considers to be 'faking it'.), and it is long past time that all these tracks see proper compilation and remastering.