45 Friday: LOU COURTNEY- Hot Butter N All (Part 1)

45-Friday_4

The search for info on Lou’s Buffalo background goes on unabated, but unrequited- so far.

Lots of information on his recording career and record releases is available but nothing had been known about his early life in Buffalo.

Teasing little bits of information have turned up. Someone sent me some links to news articles and each contains another piece of the puzzle. I’ll share some of the pieces with you- maybe it will lead somewhere somehow.

We know Lou was born Louis Pegues in 1944 to Louis R. and Georgia L. Pegues. A news clipping from 1946 shows the birth of a sister, and a family address of 84 Walnut.

A 1960 Courier-Express article from reveals the divorce of Lou’s parents and a new family address of 311 Madison Street.

Another Courier-Express article reveals Lou graduated from Hutchinson-Central Technical School (Hutch-Tech) in June 1962, where he studied Building Design and Construction. My guess is he probably sang with schoolmates there in an informal (pop) group, if not in a school group.

The 1966 Pittsburgh Courier has a photo of Lorraine Ellison as ‘Mercury Record’s New Singing Star’, with a dapper Mr. Courtney – described as her Recording Director – showing her some music charts. A trade publication article from 1966 discusses the signing of Walter Davis by ‘Mercury Records executive Lou Courtney’.

Most recently, a 2012 notice sadly announces the death of Timothy Terell Edwin Pegues in New York City, survived by his father Lou (now ‘Louis Pegues, Jr.’), mother Yvette Moore and two brothers. From that I assume Lou has been living in NYC.

Let’s look back to 1970 when Lou cut an amazing slice of Funk. “Hot Butter ‘N’ All” came out on a one-shot (actually two-shot) label as Hurdy Gurdy #101. It did nothing as far as sales due to its indie-label status but it has subsequently attained high status among Funk and Soul fans.

“Hot Butter ‘N’ All – Part 1” was credited to just Lou Courtney and it’s an amazing slice of hard Funk. Full of explosive energy, with hard drums and blaring horns, Lou puts it over the top with some James Brown-like screams.

The flipside, “Hot Butter ‘N’ All – Part 2”, is an instrumental version. Credited to Mr. C & Funck Junction, it’s the better-known side today because it’s perfect for mixing and sampling. Everything seems slightly ramped-up on this side which is hard to do because the Part 1 vocal version starts on a 9.5 out of 10! It seems to be mixed hotter and has some overdubbed instruments.

Proving that a good track should never go wasted, “Part 2” turns up again on the apparent only other release on Hurdy-Gurdy: “Life Is Free” by Donald Height. Height previously recorded for the Shout label, among others, but here he is uniquely also credited as ‘The Singing Preacher’. Hurdy Gurdy #C-100 uses the exact same backing track as “Hot Butter ‘N’ All – Part 2” but adds entirely new lyrics. Less is known about this tiny label than even is known about the early life of Lou Courtney so we’ll have to be content with this much – for now.

Enjoy the Funk!

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