|"Lawdy Miss Clawdy"|
|Single by Lloyd Price|
|Format||10-inch 78 rpm & 7-inch 45 rpm records|
|Recorded||March 13, 1952|
|Studio||J&M Recording Studio, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Lloyd Price singles chronology|
"Lawdy Miss Clawdy" is a rhythm and blues song by New Orleans singer/songwriter Lloyd Price that "grandly introduced The New Orleans Sound ".It was first recorded by Price in 1952 with Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew during his first session for Art Rupe and Specialty Records. The song became one of the biggest selling R&B records of 1952 and crossed over to other audiences. "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" inspired many songs and has been recorded by a variety of artists.
Rhythm and blues, commonly abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, one or more saxophones, and sometimes background vocalists. R&B lyrical themes often encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy, as well as triumphs and failures in terms of relationships, economics, and aspirations.
Lloyd Price is an American R&B vocalist, known as "Mr. Personality", after his 1959 million-selling hit, "Personality". His first recording, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", was a hit for Specialty Records in 1952. He continued to release records, but none were as popular until several years later, when he refined the New Orleans beat and achieved a series of national hits. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. He is also the first solo act who is still alive to earn a Billboard Hot 100 number-one single with "Stagger Lee".
New Orleans rhythm and blues is a style of rhythm and blues music that originated in the U.S. city of New Orleans. Most popular from 1948 to 1955, it was a direct precursor to rock and roll and strongly influenced ska. Instrumentation typically includes drums, bass, piano, horns, electric guitar, and vocals. The style is characterized by syncopated "second line" rhythms, a strong backbeat, and soulful vocals. Artists such as Roy Brown, Dave Bartholomew, and Fats Domino are representative of the New Orleans R&B sound.
While still in high school, Lloyd Price was working for New Orleans radio station WBOK.He provided jingles (music for radio advertisements) for various products, including those hawked by disc jockey James "Okey Dokey" Smith. One of Smith's catch phrases was "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", which he used in ad slogans such as "Lawdy Miss Clawdy, eat Mother's Homemade Pies and drink Maxwell House coffee!" Price's accompanying tune proved popular with the radio audience and he developed it into a full-length song.
A disc jockey, more commonly abbreviated as DJ, is a person who plays existing recorded music for a live audience. Most common types of DJs include radio DJ, club DJ who performs at a nightclub or music festival and turntablist who uses record players, usually turntables, to manipulate sounds on phonograph records. Originally, the disc in disc jockey referred to gramophone records, but now DJ is used as an all-encompassing term to describe someone who mixes recorded music from any source, including cassettes, CDs or digital audio files on a CDJ or laptop. The title 'DJ' is commonly used by DJs in front of their real names or adopted pseudonyms or stage names. In recent years it has become common for DJs to be featured as the credited artist on tracks they produced despite having a guest vocalist that performs the entire song: like for example Uptown Funk.
In 1952, Art Rupe, founder of Specialty Records in Los Angeles, came to New Orleans in search of new talent.Local recording studio owner Cosimo Matassa introduced him to Dave Bartholomew, who co-wrote and produced many of Fats Domino's early hit records. Bartholomew invited nineteen-year-old Lloyd Price to audition for Rupe at Matassa's J&M Studio.
Arthur N. "Art" Rupe is an American music industry executive and record producer. He started Specialty Records, noted for its rhythm and blues, blues, gospel and early rock and roll music recordings, in Los Angeles in 1946.
Cosimo Vincent Matassa was an American recording engineer and studio owner, responsible for many R&B and early rock and roll recordings.
The accounts differ on what happened next.According to Rupe, Price spent too much time rehearsing and Rupe threatened to leave if he did not get it together; Rupe then relented and Price turned out an emotional performance of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", prompting Rupe to cancel his return flight and arrange for a recording session. Price remembered that he auditioned the song for Rupe and although he apparently liked it, he left for New York without arranging to record it; however, two months later Price recalled receiving a call "Art Rupe's back in town and he wants to record you".
"Lawdy Miss Clawdy" was recorded March 13, 1952 at Cosimo Matassa's J&M Studios in New Orleans.Producer Dave Bartholomew used his backing band for the session, which consisted of pianist Salvador Doucette, guitarist Ernest McClean, bassist Frank Fields, drummer Earl Palmer, and saxophonists Herbert Hardesty (tenor) and Joe Harris (alto). The first attempts at performing the song were not successful, reportedly because Bartholomew was dissatisfied with Doucette's piano part. When Fats Domino arrived at the studio, he was persuaded by Bartholomew to sit in on the recording. After one run through, Bartholomew announced "OK, that's it" and Matassa started the tape recorder.
Earl Cyril Palmer was an American rock and roll and rhythm-and-blues drummer. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Herbert Hardesty was an American musician who played tenor saxophone and trumpet. He is best known for his association with the New Orleans pianist Fats Domino and the producer Dave Bartholomew, beginning in 1948. He released six 45-rpm records as Herb Hardesty between 1959 and 1962. His first CD of these recordings, together with others made but not issued in 1958, were released worldwide in July 2012 by Ace Records as The Domino Effect.
"Lawdy Miss Clawdy" opens with Fats Domino's "rolling trills ... in a cascading, horn-like procession". Although Domino had recorded several songs using his trade-mark piano triplets style, Price's hit provided it with its greatest exposure up to that time. Domino repeats his intro for the piano solo. Another key element of the song is Earl Palmer's drumming, described as "loping, midtempo shuffle beats with their busy ride cymbal". This is anchored by Palmer's emphasis on the snare of the second and fourth beats of each bar, which led him to be referred to as "the father of the backbeat". In characteristic New Orleans-style, the rest of the backing instrumentation also contributes to the song's rhythmic drive by "providing different elements of rhythm, in several different patterns ... This complex, layered beat might also be compared to African polyrhythms".
"Lawdy Miss Clawdy" follows an eight-bar blues progression and has been notated in 12/8 time in the key of A♭. The song's melody is derived from Fats Domino's 1950 hit "The Fat Man", which he explained "came from an ol' blues tune called "Junkers Blues". Price's song also features most of the same backing musicians as Domino's song.
Price's vocals have been described as "heartbroken wails","expressive, wailing", and "gritty". His lyrics deal with teenage angst over a relationship. A previous take of the song opens:
Oh now lawdy lawdy lawdy Miss Clawdy, girl who can your lover be
Well please don't excite me baby, no it can't be me
On the take that was released, Price confusingly uses a line from a later verse, "girl you sho' look good to me", but it stuck.
Specialty Records released "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" in April 1952 and on May 17, 1952 it entered Billboard's R&B chart, staying there a total of 26 weeks.The song reached number one, where it spent seven weeks. According to Art Rupe, the single sold nearly one million copies and record distributors reported that it was selling well outside of the usual R&B market, but it did not appear in Billboard's pop charts. "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" was also one of the top records for 1952 and the 1950s decade.
"Lawdy Miss Clawdy" became "R&B Record of the Year" for 1952 in both Billboard and Cashbox magazines; it also earned Price Cashbox's "Best New R&B Singer of 1952" designation.In 1995, it was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll". Authors Dawson and Propes discussed "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" among the first rock and roll songs.
"Lawdy Miss Clawdy" "set the pattern for the rock and roll years in New Orleans"and its success led many to try to emulate it; one author suggests "for a time, every new R&B song coming out of New Orleans sounded suspiciously like "Lawdy Miss Clawdy". In 1953, singer Tommy Ridgley, a friend of Price's who nearly recorded "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" first, recorded a follow-up tune "Oh, Lawdy, My Baby". In 1958, Larry Williams, who had been Lloyd Price's valet, reworked the song to become "Dizzy Miss Lizzy".
Price's song has also been identified as "one of the first rhythm and blues records to attract the attention of white Southern teenagers, among them Elvis Presley, who cut his own version four years later"and "becom[ing] a repertoire staple of local country bands". A variety of artists have recorded "Lawdy Miss Clawdy".
Antoine "Fats" Domino Jr. was an American pianist and singer-songwriter. One of the pioneers of rock and roll music, Domino sold more than 65 million records. Between 1955 and 1960, he had eleven Top 10 hits. His humility and shyness may be one reason his contribution to the genre has been overlooked.
Willie Hall, best known by his nickname Drive 'Em Down, was a New Orleans blues and boogie woogie piano player. He never recorded, but has had a great influence on blues and rock and roll.
David Louis Bartholomew was an American musician, bandleader, composer, arranger, and record producer. He was prominent in the music of New Orleans throughout the second half of the 20th century. Originally a trumpeter, he was active in many musical genres, including rhythm and blues, big band, swing music, rock and roll, New Orleans jazz, and Dixieland. In his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he was cited as a key figure in the transition from jump blues and swing to R&B and as "one of the Crescent City's greatest musicians and a true pioneer in the rock and roll revolution."
"Blue Monday" is a song originally written by Dave Bartholomew, first recorded in 1953 by Smiley Lewis and issued as a single, in January 1954, on Imperial Records. The single, with a slow-rocking beat, features an instrumental electric guitar solo by Lewis.
"I Hear You Knocking" is a rhythm and blues song written by Dave Bartholomew. New Orleans rhythm and blues singer Smiley Lewis first recorded the song in 1955. The lyrics tell of the return of a former lover who is rebuffed.
"The Fat Man" is a song by American rhythm and blues recording artist Fats Domino. It was written by Domino and Dave Bartholomew, and recorded on December 10, 1949. It is often cited as one of the first rock and roll records.
"Walking to New Orleans" is a 1960 song by Bobby Charles, written for and recorded by Fats Domino.
"The Things That I Used to Do" is a 12-bar blues song written by Guitar Slim. He recorded it in New Orleans, where the young Ray Charles arranged and produced the session. Specialty Records released the song as a single in 1953 and became a bestseller the following year. Specialty founder Art Rupe believed that the appeal would be limited to the Southern U.S. rural audience. However, urban rhythm and blues radio stations in the North began airing the song and built it into a national hit. As a result, Guitar Slim became in great demand as a performer and played at venues such as the Apollo Theater in New York City.
Junker Blues is a piano blues song first recorded in 1940 by Champion Jack Dupree. It formed the basis of several later songs including the 1949 "The Fat Man" by Fats Domino and the 1952 "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" by Lloyd Price. The song is about a drug user's conflict with life and the law, makes references to cocaine, "needles", "reefers", and life in the penitentiary, and contains admonishments against the use of hard drugs.
John Leon Gross, who performed and recorded as Archibald, was an American rhythm and blues pianist and singer who had a hit in 1950 with "Stack-A-Lee", a version of "Stagger Lee".
Ernest J. McLean was an American rhythm and blues and jazz guitarist.
Frank Nomer Fields was an American double bass player who was involved in many R&B, rock and roll and jazz recordings made in New Orleans.
"Be My Guest" is a song written by Fats Domino, John Marascalco and Tommy Boyce. Arranged and produced by Dave Bartholomew and recorded by Domino on September 26, 1959, it was released as a single by Imperial Records the following month and reached number 8 on the Billboard pop chart, number 2 on the R&B chart, and number 11 on the UK singles chart.