Archive for Jerry LaCroix

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Blood, Sweat & Tears

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , on August 10, 2011 by 30daysout

Well, it’s been a long hot summer and my sister’s bedroom door is unlocked and her room is pretty much unoccupied. She dropped us a line from California and told us she’s going to stay there a while and see how it goes. My dad started to clean out some of her stuff but he just stopped for some reason. I went in my sister’s room and found a big box of her records in the closet.

Today I’m going to play Mirror Image, the 1974 album by Blood, Sweat & Tears. It was made a few years after BST’s “hit” period, in which the band produced a couple of No. 1 albums (including the 1968 Grammy-winning multi-platinum classic Blood Sweat & Tears, which featured three top five singles). Lead singer David Clayton-Thomas, who sang on such BST hits as “Spinning Wheel” and “And When I Die,” left in 1972 after the band split into rock and jazz factions.

Needless to say, by 1974 the band was in commercial decline. Columbia Records president Clive Davis hand picked a new lead singer, Jerry Fisher, who was recording singles in New York with New Design, a subsidiary of Columbia. By the time the band was ready to record Mirror Image, Davis had also invited Jerry LaCroix, a singer/saxophonist who had worked previously with Edgar Winter’s White Trash.

By this time there were a handful of bands featuring the brassy rock that BST pioneered in the late 1960s, and the guys within BST honestly didn’t know if they wanted to be a rock band or a jazz band. Mirror Image best illustrates this conflict – it’s more jazz than rock, and it has its moments.

Perhaps the best of the bunch is “Look Up To The Sky,” co-written by trumpet player Tony Klatka along with LaCroix and his younger brother Julian LaCroix. Fisher and LaCroix trade off on vocals, and the sound is closer to Philly Soul than rock, but it was the album’s best shot for a hit single. The song’s easy melody and tasty horn fills immediately bring to mind Chicago, the horn band that was currently rocking the top of the charts.

“Hold On To Me,” written by trombonist Dave Bargeron, showcases Fisher’s vocal style while “Thinking Of You” features LaCroix’s soulful croon.  “Tell Me That I’m Wrong,” was written by former Motown tape librarian Patricia Cosby. She just happened to be married to Hank Cosby, the great Motown songwriter who wrote hits for Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, and who also produced Mirror Image. Many people say “Tell Me That I’m Wrong” is their favorite, but it loses a few points in my book because its horn section presages disco four years early.

Anyhow, the album wraps with a suite of sorts, “Mirror Image,” with four parts. Obviously inspired by Herbie Hancock, it’s Blood, Sweat & Tears’ jazz side coming out – with a little Jerry LaCroix soul-rock tossed in for good measure. LaCroix would leave after this album and a world tour, he would go on to front another fading rock band, Rare Earth. Julian LaCroix is a good friend of my brother; he says you can hear “Look Up To The Sky” every once in a while on “Late Show with David Letterman” because the house band bassist Will Lee is a big BST fan.

MP3: “Tell Me That I’m Wrong”

MP3: “Look Up To The Sky”

MP3: “Hold On To Me”

MP3: “Thinking Of You”

Blood, Sweat & Tears official website

YouTube: “Look Up To The Sky” from 1974

Benefit in Texas to help soul singer Jerry LaCroix

Posted in News with tags , , , , on August 27, 2010 by 30daysout

A number of the top musicians from Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana will band together this weekend in Beaumont, Texas,  to help Jerry LaCroix, the legendary R&B/rock singer.

Jerry LaCroix

LaCroix, former lead singer for the Fabulous Boogie Kings, Edgar Winter’s White Trash, Rare Earth and Blood, Sweat and Tears, experienced congestive heart failure earlier this year.  The event will raise money for medical bills and expenses LaCroix has accrued from his lengthy hospital stay.

A few years ago, LaCroix moved to the Hemphill area to help care for his ailing mother and began experiencing health problems of his own.  “I haven’t been in the best of health since last year. I was getting weaker and weaker and in a matter of days, I couldn’t stand up,” LaCroix said in an interview with the Beaumont Enterprise. “I fell down twice trying to walk with a walker and the second time, I hit my head pretty hard.”

The benefit is Sunday, at the Beaumont Crockett Street entertainment district and it will feature appearances by Wayne Toups, Jivin’ Gene Bourgeois, G.G. Shinn, Scott McGill, Charles Mann, T.K. Hulin, Ken Marvel, Gerry Mouton, Willie T. and others.

If you can’t make it to Beaumont but still want to help out, contact Don Ball at (409) 548-4444.

MP3: “Try A Little Tenderness” (live at the Bamboo Club) by the Fabulous Boogie Kings w/Jerry LaCroix

MP3: “I Can’t Turn You Loose” (live) by Edgar Winter’s White Trash

Jerry LaCroix official website

Rick Campbell’s blog in the Houston Chronicle

Jerry La Croix page on the Ponderosa Stomp website

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Edgar Winter’s White Trash

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , on June 14, 2010 by 30daysout

Giving our big sister’s record collection a break for a few weeks, while we pull some out of my own stack.  Today we take a listen to one of my favorite live albums of all time, 1972’s Roadwork by Edgar Winter’s White Trash.  Winter is a stellar musician who grew up in Southeast Texas and with his brother Johnny left behind some scorching hot records in the late 1960s-early 1970s.  Johnny of course was the most popular as the 1960s waned – he became a guitar god with his incendiary performance at the Woodstock festival.  Little brother Edgar played sax and piano with Johnny at Woodstock, and he sang a couple of songs.

On the basis of that performance Epic Records signed Edgar to a recording contract and he put together White Trash, a soulful Southern roadhouse group made up of good ole boys from Texas and Louisiana.  When I was a kid I in the mid 1960s I had a paper route in Groves, Texas, and one of my stops was a place called the Black Kat Klub.  Many afternoons I could hear Johnny and Edgar’s band on the second floor above the club, every once in a while I’d see them while they were hanging out in back of the club.

Edgar cut one solo album, Entrance (1970) with brother Johnny’s band and a second, Edgar Winter’s White Trash (1971) with the hard-working roadhouse gang White Trash.  The guy who shared lead vocals (and played sax) was Jerry LaCroix, a Louisiana native who grew up in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area of Texas and who made a name for himself as one of the lead singers of the classic roadhouse band The Fabulous Boogie Kings.  LaCroix would co-write with Winter six of the 10 songs on the White Trash album and the two planned to go to Europe and burn Winter’s record company advance locating the “best musicians in the world.”

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Walkin’ To New Orleans: Cajun Swamp Rock

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2009 by 30daysout

Doug Kershaw

We’re taking a trip from Texas to New Orleans and plan to get there in time for Mardi Gras.  Along the way, we’re revisiting some of the interesting characters we’ve met in past years.  Today we’re in the dark swamps along the Atchafalaya River, but the story begins back in Texas.

I remember this scene as clearly as yesterday: I’m in a small garage apartment and two music legends are sitting in my living room.  Jivin’ Gene Bourgeois and Johnnie Allan, both South Louisiana music legends, are doing some publicity for a music show in Port Arthur and they decided to “take it” to the reporter.  Where he lives.

I had met Allan – who was a high school principal in Lafayette, Louisiana, at the time – at a South Louisiana music legends show the year before.   We drove to the show with Jivin’ Gene, who was a neighbor and old friend.  Allan was, and still is, one of the most tireless proponents of the South Louisiana music sound.  That sound was a tasty blend of rock and roll, R&B and a bit of rockabilly made spicy with some Cajun seasoning.  A British guy started calling it “Swamp Pop” in the 1970s but I always hated that term – “Swamp Rock” is more appropriate.  Because, as we used to say in Port Arthur, that shit rocks.

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