By ‘Bob The Record Guy’ Paxon
This week is a followup to last week’s short article on the single by Kathy Keppen as “Lynn Terry”, and previous articles on the Buena Vistas and Kathy Lynn & The Playboys.
This was an evolving series of ‘bands’ – really musical groupings involving the core group of Kathy Keppen and her husband Nick Ameno under many names. Sometimes they used assumed names, especially after their 1966 move to Detroit. It seems that as time went on there were less band members and more studio musicians until at some point there recognizable sound of Detroit session men has completely taken over the recordings. And by the time of today’s featured single – 1968 – that process was complete.
1968 saw the release of their first for the new Marquee label, MQ-443, Here Come Da Judge b/w Big Red. Marquee Records is described at Discogs as a “minor late-1960’s Detroit R&B label believed to be formed out of the partnership of disc jockey Tom Shannon, Carl Cisco and Nicholas Ameno”. Shannon and Cisco had been managers of Kathy Lynn & The Playboys/ The Buena Vistas (which by 1968 meant basically just Keppen and Ameno).
Here Come Da Judge begins with that phrase, one popularized at the time by comedian Pigmeat Markham, and used on TV’s popular ‘Laugh In ‘ show. It’s claimed that the backing track was actually ‘borrowed’ from a single by another Detroit band, Tino and the Revlons, on their Cameo Parkway song Ya Ya (itself a version of the Lee Dorsey classic). Supposedly the vocal track was removed from the Tino record and then Soul singer and sometimes produced Richard Popcorn Wiley overdubbed his spoken interjections. Listening to them back to back this does seem to be the case. One question is – who actually played on the Tino record?
For what it’s worth, the label writing credits on the Buena Vistas record are: Here Come Da Judge (Nick Ameno & Ron Sherae) and Big Red (Nick Ameno, Kathleen Keppen and Jim Fazzolari).
In the case of their earlier Buena Vistas records from 1966 it sounds to me like Kathy Keppen and Nick Ameno (and maybe their band members) play on them. In the case of these 1968 ones, not so much. I’d suspect they don’t play on these at all.
But I can’t explain why they were given writing credit then. Both tracks are simply ‘riffs’ that required little composition, only arranging. And one of them is apparently a previous recording! If a producer intended to put out a record using their band name but played by session musicians it seems to me he would only use his own name as wrier, and not give away ‘a piece of the pie’ this way – unless those other people helped create the record.
Anyway, there you have it- another mystery only partially solved.