Demand it on Vinyl: Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection, 4CD set in stores 7/19

VIA PRESS RELEASE | When you think of historic Chicago blues and R&B labels, Chess, Vee-Jay, Brunswick, and Delmark probably first come to mind. However, the city’s famous Black music scene spawned many indie labels, and Bea & Baby Records ranks among the very best of them. Founded by the ever-colorful Chicago entrepreneur Narvel “Cadillac Baby” Eatmon, Bea & Baby Records — along with its subsidiaries and subsidiary labels Key, Keyhole, Miss and Ronald — put out an impressive selection of blues, gospel, doo-wop, soul, hip-hop, and comedy releases between 1959-1989.

Now, a comprehensive retrospective, Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection, is set for release July 19, 2019 by Chicago-based blues label Earwig Music Company. The project has long been a labor of love for Earwig owner Michael Robert Frank. Frank first met Cadillac Baby in the early ’70s and when they met up again in the late ’80s, Cadillac Baby wanted to get back into music after being away from the business for over 15 years. Despite ailing health, he was still “feisty and cantankerous, and still hustling,” according to Frank. “He was buying and selling used hubcaps, a few used tires, candy and sundries, and an occasional 45 record.” The two decided to co-produce a rising 17-year-old hip-hop singer, Richard Davenport (who went by the name 3D). Sadly, both Cadillac Baby and Davenport died as the project was about to launch; however, 3D’s two tunes will now be released on this collection.

Earwig ended up purchasing Cadillac Baby’s labels from his widow because Frank was “concerned the Bea & Baby’s varied catalog and Cadillac Baby’s history might be lost or merely a footnote in music history.” On his journey to uncover and share Cadillac Baby’s captivating story and musical legacy, Frank says that he “started thinking about a box set of the entire label’s music catalog, not just the blues recordings” was the right way to go.

Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection reveals that this small label featured big-time blues performers as well as up and coming R&B and gospel artists. Boogie-woogie piano wizard Sunnyland Slim, harmonica master James Cotton, and slide-guitar wizard Earl Hooker are all represented; you’ll also find Hound Dog Taylor’s first single, “Baby Is Coming Home”/“Take Five,” as well as “Please Give Me A Chance” and “I Still Love You,” two suavely crooned tunes from R&B legend Andre Williams that were released on the rare Ronald label; and several previously unissued tracks by the fabled acoustic blues duo Sleepy John Estes & Hammie Nixon.

This compilation also spotlights a number of well-regarded but lesser known blues musicians, such as Detroit Junior, Little Mack (a.k.a. Little Mac and St. Louis Mac) Simmons, Homesick James, Eddie Boyd, L.C. McKinley, and Bobby Saxton (the singer of Bea & Baby’s biggest hit, “Trying To Make A Living”), all who’ll be familiar to blues aficionados and welcome discoveries to others. You may recognize Andrew “Blue Blood” McMahon as Howlin’ Wolf’s longtime bassist, but this retrospective shares four of his hard-to-find Bea & Baby sides.

Arelean Brown, whose ’70s funky novelty tunes “Impeach Me Baby” and “I’m A Streaker Baby” brought her notoriety, also gets showcased here with two early soulful songs (“I Love My Man” and “Hello Baby”) and T. Valentine, who developed a cult following through his off-kilter blues releases on Norton Records, is represented by his first single, “Little Lu-Lu Frog/Teen-Age Jump.”

Then there are the acts so obscure that even super blues fans might not be aware of them. Faith Taylor & the Sweet Teens contribute a pair of lovely doo-wop songs, but little was heard about the 11-year-old (as she is billed) after she hit her teens. Hailing from the Miss label are a two-part instrumental 45, “Joe’s House Rent Party,” by veteran Chicago organist Tall Paul Hankinsand the silky vocal ensemble Kirk Taylor and the Velvets (not the Underground kind). A couple of tracks are so mysterious that they are credited to “Unknown Blues Band and Vocalist” and “Unknown Actors.” They were on the tape reel with the rediscovered session of Sleepy John Estes and Hammy Nixon.

Bea & Baby Records’ broad musical scope is exemplified on the fourth CD, which ranges from 3D’s two hip-hop songs to the closing tracks — ten gospel numbers performed by Eddie Dean & the Biblical Aires, The Gloryaires, The Norfolk Singers, The Pilgrim Harmonizers, and Rev. Samuel Patterson. And in between are some comedy bits! Cadillac Baby, like many of his fellow indie label owners, had a broad taste in popular music and entertainment.

Perhaps this anthology’s most unique tracks are the ones by Cadillac Baby himself, definitely a one-of-a-kind character. He shows up a half-dozen times over the four CDs, sharing his wisdom on topics like spiritual records, how he got into the music business, and his own legend. An entrepreneur on Chicago’s notorious South Side, he owned a variety of businesses. Prominent among his ventures was Cadillac Baby’s Show Lounge, a major blues club from the mid ’50s into the ’60s. Ever the showman, he was known to drive a Cadillac on stage in this club. He also owned a popular neighborhood candy store, which served as his record label’s base of operations.

Accompanying Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection’s glorious set of music is a 128-page book filled with featuring lots of archival documents and photos. Living Blues Magazine co-founder and Blues Hall of Famer Jim O’Neal has contributed the historical liner notes, while the gospel notes are done by gospel music historian and editor of the Journal of Gospel Music Robert Marovich. Blues expert Bill Dahl handled the track notes and Michael Robert Frank penned the producer’s notes.

With the release date finally arriving, Frank has paused to reflect. “I have been contemplating the different eras Cadillac Baby and I came up in. I realize the similar mission we shared. We were all enamored and moved by blues and soul/R&B music and musicians, and we all migrated to Chicago to immerse ourselves in the music business.”

TRACKLIST
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
13 House 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

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