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Tommy Ridgley How Long CD Image

Tommy Ridgley
"How Long"

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The Songs:
 
 1. How Long
 2. Bad Luck
 3. You are The Lady
 4. The Way I Feel About You
 5. About My Past
 6. I Love You Yes I Do  
 7. I'm Gonna Cross That River   
 8. You Mean Everything To Me 
 9. All Wrapped Up In You 
10. I Don't Want Nobody Else
11. Op Poo Pa Do 
 
The Players:
 
Piano: Tommy Ridgley
Guitars: Mem Shannon, Ernie Vincent, Gary Hulette
Saxophones:Ward Smith.
Drums: Wilbur Arnold
Bass: Gary J. Edwards
Strings: Joel Britton
Harp: Harmonica Red
Tamborine: Bennie Grunch
Female background vocals: Jill Jackson, Valerie Johnson, Rose Davis
Male background vocals: Eddie, Donald and Joel Bell
Arrangements: Tommy Ridgley, Gary Edwards, Ward Smith
Photo: Michael Smith
                                                                                                                       
            For four decades Tommy Ridgley's name has been synonymous with excellent New Orleans rhythm and blues.  A dapper, confident and engaging performer, Ridgley has waxed an enviable string of recordings that date back to 1949.  But while the music industry has undergone innumerable stylistic changes during the interim, Ridgley has prospered simply by being himself.
            Born in the Shrewesbury section of Jefferson Parish, (adjacent to New Orleans) Ridgley began singing with the neighborhood church choir.  However, his taste in music had swung towards blues by the time he had joined the U.S. Navy, and he eventually taught himself to play the piano during his enlistment.  After his discharge in 1946, Ridgley entered and won one of the weekly Dew Drop Inn talent shows and has been employed as a professional entertainer ever since.
            Ridgley's first real break occurred three years later when bandleader Dave Bartholomew hired his as his group's male vocalist.  As luck would have it, at approximately the same time Bartholomew also began producing records for Imperial Records.  Naturally, he tapped Ridgley who provided "Shrewesbury Blues"  one of the label's first local successes.
            Ridgley's tenure at Imperial lasted four years and provided several other regional best sellers.  In 1953 he formed his first band, The Untouchables, and switched over to the Atlantic label where he recorded the unforgettable instrumental "Jam Up"
            The late 1950's proved to be good years for Ridgley as he continued to cut excellent records (for Herald) and his band was considered one of the  city's top R & B units.  For several years Ridgley and The Untouchables were installed as the Dew Drop Inn's house band.
            By the time the '60s arrived Ridgley was recording for the fledgling Ric label where he recorded the memorable "Let's Talk It Over", "Is It True?" and "Should I Ever Love Again?".  Unfortunately, Ric was a small label and didn't have the funds to promote an artist beyond New Orleans.  As a result, Ridgley's reputation remained local although several of his contemporaries enjoyed national success with inferior records during this period.
            Although the New Orleans 'Sound" was considered passe by the mid-1960's, surpassed in popularity by the British Beat, Motown and Stax Sound, Ridgley's career thrived while some other New Orleans performers abandoned music altogether.  The next two decades saw a profusion of Ridgley singles on nearly a dozen labels.  These singles served two purposes, as they kept Ridgley busy with plenty of club work and they provided a vehicle for his immense creativity.
            So with more that 70 releases to his credit, one might will ask what's so special about this particular album?  Well, according to Ridgley the answer is quite obvious.
            "This record has more of me in it," he says.  "Not only did I write most of the material, but this is really the first time I had a direct hand in the production end of my recordings."
            "All of my previous albums were collections of old singles.  This is the first time I've built an album up from scratch.  It's something I have wanted to do for a long time."
            While Ridgley admits the album took nearly a year to complete he contends, "It was an easy record to make.  I tried all of the tunes on live audiences before I decided to record them.  I wanted to find out what the public liked and disliked before I went into the studio."
            "This isn't just your basic R&B album, there's some really hip tunes here.  There's something old and something new.  There's something everybody can get into."
 
Jeff Hannusch (author of "I hear You Knockin': The Sound of New Orleans Rhythm and Blues"; co-author of "Blakewell's Guide to Blues Records")


Produced by Gary J. Edwards
©2004 Sound Of New Orleans
PO Box 770616
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 352 1303
Sound Of New Orleans
www.soundofneworleans.com
info@soundofneworleans.com
website: George L. Artigues, 3D
Downloads: Locobop.com

Tommy Ridgley
"How Long"

Listen and Download from Locobop.com

Locobop Logo

or order the CD
SONO 1024
$14.95
*Domestic S&H Included



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