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Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records - The Definitive Collection (Earwig Music Company)

Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records - Definitive Collection.jpg
1 October 2019

Enigmatic journeyman of hustle, Narvel “Cadillac Baby” Eatmon, was proprietor to one of Chicago’s first black-owned and operated independent record labels, Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records. The label and its subsidiaries —*Key, Keyhole, Miss, and Ronald* – released a plethora of golden audio nuggets in the form of blues and soul, gospel and doo-wop, even Christmas tunes and a late 80s sidestep into early hip hop. Chicago was ablaze with assorted musical talent during the label’s 30-year tenure from 1959-1989.

From a blues standpoint alone, the four-disc anthology reads, better yet, plays like an encyclopedic “Who’s Who” list – Hound Dog Taylor, Sunnyland Slim, Earl Hooker, Sleepy John Estes, and, God rest his soul, Detroit legend, Andre Williams. It’s always a treat to be sonically blessed by the aforementioned, but it’s the unsung artists that really shine through on this Definitive Collection. So unsung in fact, on more than a couple tracks the band’s identity isn’t even known! The collection is both an auditory smorgasbord as well as a Chicago music history lesson commandeered by the ever-interesting Cadillac driving Eatmon who shows up at several points along the way to tell a joke or two or wax poetic on the Cadillac Baby legend, or lack thereof.

Earwig Music’s Michael Robert Frank first met Eatmon in the 1970s and then again in the late 80s when Cadillac Baby’s health was in decline. After a nearly 20 year hiatus Eatmon’s itch to get back into the record game had to be scratched, according to Frank, “he was buying and selling used hubcaps, a few used tires, candy and sundries, and an occasional 45 record”. The two paired up to co-produce a rising 17-year-old rapper by the name, 3D. Both Cadillac Baby and 3D died before the project was released making this box set is the first time 3D’s two sides will be available to the public, rightfully so in my modest opinion.

Frank was ultimately able to purchase Bea & Baby and all of its subsidiaries to ensure its proper place in the annals of Chicago’s musical history, something Cadillac Baby was eternally fearful of. After laboriously scouring and cleaning up the masters this epic 4 cd collection also boasts a 128-page book of pictures and archives as well as liner notes by Living BluesJim O’Neal and The Journal of Gospel Music’s Robert Marovich.

The music is the ultimate prize here. Spanning jazzy, jump blues and spatial oddities, quintessential gospel numbers, Chicago-style blues, and sultry early r&b. The comedic skits and tireless braggadocio by Cadillac Baby are refreshing but at times drag on. Highlights other than those previously mentioned include sides by Eddie Boyd and The Daylighters, Homesick James, Detroit Junior, Little Mac (St. Louis Mack, etc.), and the last ten gospel numbers on disc 4 may just get your black heart into heaven.

This Definitive Collection of Bea & Baby’s delicacies is a must-own for anyone with an insatiable appetite for Chicago’s illustrious independent music scene in its infancy. Respect due and justly granted to Michael Robert Frank and Earwig Music’s labor of love – a tangible necessity for any real blues and soul music connoisseur.

Track List:

CD-1
1 Welcome To Cadillac Baby’s Show Lounge – Cadillac Baby
2 I’m Commin’ Home – Eddie Boyd
3 Thank You Baby – Eddie Boyd
4 Nit Wit – L.C. McKinley
5 Sharpest Man In Town – L.C. McKinley
6 Mad House Jump – The Daylighters
7 You’re Breaking My Heart – The Daylighters
8 I Need Him To Love Me – 11 Year Old Faith Taylor & The Sweet Teens
9 I Love You Darling – 11 Year Old Faith Taylor & The Sweet Teens
10 Trying To Make A Living – Bobby Saxton
11 Dynamite – Earl Hooker
12 The Legend Of Cadillac Baby – Cadillac Baby
13 Blue Monday Blues – Eddie Boyd
14 The Blues Is Here To Stay – Eddie Boyd
15 Come Home! – Eddie Boyd
16 You Got To Reap! – Eddie Boyd
17 Times Are Getting Tougher – Little Mac
18 Don’t Come Back – Little Mac
19 Little Lu-Lu Frog – T. Valentine
20 Teen-Age Jump – T. Valentine
21 How Detroit Junior Got Famous – Cadillac Baby
22 Money Tree – Detroit Junior
23 So Unhappy – Detroit Junior
24 Come On Home – Eddie Boyd & The Daylighters
25 Reap What You Sow – Eddie Boyd & The Daylighters

CD-2
1 My Baby Is Coming Home – Hound Dog Taylor
2 Take Five – Hound Dog Taylor
3 You Mistreated Me – St. Louis Mac
4 Broken Heart – St. Louis Mac
5 It’s So Hard – Phil Sampson
6 Sampson – Singing Sam featuring Phil Sampson
7 My Story – Singing Sam
8 Calvins Reserve – Singing Sam
9 Worried About My Baby – Sunnyland Slim
10 Drinkin’ And Clownin’ – Sunnyland Slim
11 All The Way – Eddie Boyd
12 Where You Belong – Eddie Boyd
13 Cadillac Baby Gets Into The Record Business – Cadillac Baby
14 Please Baby – Lee Jackson
15 Juanita – Lee Jackson
16 Please Give Me A Chance – Andre Williams
17 I Still Love You – Andre Williams
18 I’m Your Fool – Little Mac
19 Let Hootenanny Blues (Out Of Jail) – Little Mac
20 One More Mile – James Cotton
21 There Must Be A Panic On – James Cotton
22 Your Love – Kirk Taylor and The Velvets
23 This World – Kirk Taylor and The Velvets
24 Joe’s House Rent Party Part 1 – Tall Paul Hankins & The Hudson Bros.
25 Joe’s House Rent Party Part 2 – Tall Paul Hankins & The Hudson Bros.
26 It’s You I’m Going To Miss – Willie Hudson / Tall Paul Hankins on organ
27 Red Lips – Willie Hudson

CD-3
1 The Christmas Song – Lee Jackson/The Cadillac Baby Specials
2 Santa Came Home Drunk – Clyde Lasley/The Cadillac Baby Specials
3 One More Chance – The Chances/Darla-Moira-Sharonne
4 It Takes More Than Love Alone – The Chances/Darla-Moira-Sharonne
5 Mother-In-Law Blues – Little Mack & The Hipps
6 Woman, Help Me – Little Mack & The Hipps
7 The Sky Is Crying – Little Mack Simmons
8 I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man – Little Mack Simmons
9 Trouble No More – Little Mack Simmons
10 I’m Tore Down – Little Mack Simmons
11 I Love My Man – Arelean Brown
12 Hello Baby – Arelean Brown
13House Rock – Sunnyland Slim
14 She Got That Jive – Sunnyland Slim
15 Little Girl – Sunnyland Slim
16 Too Late To Pray – Sunnyland Slim
17 I Done You Wrong – Sunnyland Slim
18 My Baby’s Gone – Homesick James
19 My Kind Of Woman – Homesick James
20 Homesick Sunnyland Special – Homesick James
21 Lost In the Jungle – Andrew “Blue Blood” McMahon
22 Special Agent – Andrew “Blue Blood” McMahon
23 Worried All the Time – Andrew “Blue Blood” McMahon
24 Potato Diggin’ Man – Andrew “Blue Blood” McMahon

CD-4
1 Somebody Changed the Lock – Willie Williams
2 38 Woman Blues – Willie Williams
3 Raise Your Window Baby – Unknown Blues Band and Vocalist
4 Jump This Morning – Unknown Blues Band and Vocalist
5 7402 – 3D
6 Here We Go Chi-town – 3D
7 Just in Case That You Got a Case – POSSIBLY Clyde Lasley
8 I Bet I Don’t Die Tired – Unknown Actors
9 The Preacher, a Deacon and a Razor – Unknown Actors
10 Cadillac Baby Passed So Fast – Sleepy John Estes & Hammie Nixon
11 Worry My Mind – Sleepy John Estes & Hammie Nixon
12 Spirit Don’t Leave Me – Sleepy John Estes & Hammie Nixon
13 Lay My Burdon Down – Sleepy John Estes & Hammie Nixon
14 I Did A Lot Of Spiritual Records – Cadillac Baby
15 Search Me Lord -The Gloryaires
16 Now Lord Don’t Drive Me Away – The Gloryaires
17 Holy Place – Eddie Dean & The Biblical Aires
18 God Has Prepared – Eddie Dean & The Biblical Aires
19 He’s A God – The Norfolk Singers
20 Testimonial – The Norfolk Singers
21 Witness There Too – The Pilgrim Harmonizers
22 Over The Hill – The Pilgrim Harmonizers
23 Climbing High Mountains – Rev. Samuel Patterson
24 Judgment Day – Rev. Samuel Patterson
25 Blues Is My Soul – Cadillac Baby

(Also published at American Blues Scene 10/3/19)