Monday, October 15, 2012


As no less an authority than James (The Hound) Marshall once said on his late, lamented radio show, sometimes you gotta check out those B-sides of 45s to get a little more mileage out of 'em.

Problem is, when you're a 7-year-old kid, you don't know WHAT an A-side or a B-side is.

I have several record fiends in my family, and strangely enough they're all women. My aunt Virginia has a pretty large collection of 45s from the 50s and 60s, my aunt Susan bought more records in the 1970s than anyone, and then there was my Uncle Jerry's first wife, aunt Julia, who came from a FAMILY of record collectors; they ALL had tons of 45s just lying around the house (unsleeved, of course).

Anyway, one day at a family function, aunt Julia told me that her brother Alan wanted to get rid of some of his 45s, and would I want them? After picking myself up off the floor (I was a very dramatic 7-year-old), I said yes. I waited for 2 weeks, then my aunt delivered - there were at least 150 singles (unsleeved, of course) and I just grabbed my little record player and went to town (looking back, I must have been an easy kid to babysit).

One of the records in the stack was on a label I'd never seen before - Par Lo Records. I had no idea who Aaron Neville was, much less the fact that his family is royalty in the New Orleans music kingdom. All I knew was I stuck "Tell It Like It Is" on the turntable - and hated it. I didn't like "slowies" back in those days.

Then I turned it over and played "Why Worry" - and was blown away; so much so that for YEARS I thought this was the A-side of the record. That "blown-away" feeling persists to this day. Over the years I've come to love and appreciate "Tell It Like It Is" as one of the great soul ballads of all time. But I guarantee you, every time I pull my copy out of the files, it's this B-side that the needle hits first.

That 7-year-old kid had pretty good taste.....

....and thank you, aunt Julia.

Aaron Neville - Why Worry (Par Lo 101) - 1966

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