Tag Archives: Grambling College Marching Band

The wish list, sort of

After posting here last month that I’d found the record that had been No. 1 on my wish list for 10 years, my friend Jim dropped me a note from across town. We had this exchange on New Year’s Day:

Jim: How cool that you found the Larry Williams & Johnny Watson LP. Glory be. You got the soul, brother. 

Me: Yeah, I finally found that record. What do I do now? Don’t think I’ll quit digging, though. Still a handful of records left on my wish list.

Jim: I would like to see what’s left on your “wish list.” Must be some rather hard-to-find albums. 

So I thought for a while and sent Jim this list toward the end of the evening:

  • “Noah” by the Bob Seger System
  • “Brand New Morning” by Bob Seger
  • “Music from National Football League Films,” Vols. 2, 3 and 4
  • “Merry Soul Christmas — George Conedy at the Hammond Organ”
  • “Shaft” by Bernard Purdie
  • “David (Unreleased LP and More)” by David Ruffin
  • “Lady Lea” or “Excuse Me, I Want to Talk To You” by Lea Roberts
  • Late ’60s/early ’70s Little Richard: “The Explosive Little Richard,” “Every Hour With Little Richard,” “King of Rock and Roll,” “The Second Coming,” “Right Now!” (Though I have seen a couple of these but passed for budget or quality reasons.)
  • Late ’60s/early ’70s Mongo Santamaria: “Soul Bag,” “Workin’ on a Groovy Thing,” “Stone Soul,” “Feelin’ Alright,” “Mongo ’70”
  • Anything by black college marching bands with rock/soul/R&B covers

It didn’t take long before I realized the list was incomplete. Also looking for stuff by the Easybeats … another record by the Foundations … another Lionel Hampton record on Brunswick … and, well, you get the idea. It’s a fairly fluid list. That opens up possibilities for finding records I’m not looking for while digging. Which explains why the last three records I bought were:

  • “Baby Dynamite” by Carolyn Franklin from 1969.
  • “Heart & Soul” by Johnny Adams from 1969.
  • “Candy” soundtrack featuring the Byrds, Steppenwolf and Dave Grusin from 1968.

But back to the list I sent to Jim. Why, for example, am I looking for records from black college marching bands? Because “Tiger Time” by the Grambling University Marching Band is one of the coolest records I ever found, and I wasn’t looking for it. Now I’m looking for more, if they exist at all. Here’s why. Dig this!

“Ode To Billie Joe,” the Grambling University Marching Band, from “Tiger Time,” 1971. Yep, a marching band covering Bobbie Gentry.

Check out my original post about finding this record — a $2 record — to hear some cool soul covers. Dig the scintillating action they’re putting down!



Filed under January 2020, Sounds

Dig the scintillating action!

The record digging on vacation was nothing to write home about. Not sure why, but I’ve never had much luck when digging in Minneapolis.

Except at the fine Hymie’s Vintage Records, that is. It’s in the Longfellow neighborhood southeast of downtown. Hymie’s has thousands of records, carefully yet irreverently inventoried. Proof of that:

hymies bongos

Along with “Make-Out Music” and “Awkward Chris†ian Records.” Sure, there are plenty of conventionally named bins. But you get the idea.

You never know what you’re going to find in these charmingly classified crates.

I looked through the “Sports” records and found a record that made my day. It was the only record I bought Monday — Hymie’s was the third and final digging spot of the day — and a $2 record at that.

Ladies and gentlemen, from 1971, the Grambling College Marching Band doing soul covers!

grambling band lp

The name of the record is “Tiger Time,” on the Mercury label. This image, from Discogs, gives you an idea of what it looks like.

Mine once was “PROPERTY OF WTBU RADIO,” as scrawled all over the cover in thick black Magic Marker. Damn Boston University kids. Mine is a white-label promo copy with a clear sticker with recommended cuts at lower left.

From the liner notes written by Chester Higgins, a senior editor at Jet magazine:

“It is sometimes said that the half-time show — precision marching bands, shapely baton-twirling majorettes, and all the other hoopla — is better than some of the football games that sandwich them. If this observation has a ring of truth, measure it against the colorful Grambling (La.) College Marching Band, a 135-member, white-shoe, white-glove wearing, black-and-gold uniformed, high-stepping, stutter-stepping or ditty-bopping aggregation during any half-time show, dig the scintillating action they’re putting down and then draw your own conclusions.”

In 1971, Mercury took roughly half of the band — 65 members — into the studio and recorded these covers. They are every bit as tasty and upbeat and funky and soulful as you’d hope from one of the great show bands from one of America’s great historically black colleges.

grambling strip

“Ball Of Confusion,” covering the Temptations smash.

grambling girls

“The Love You Save,” covering the Jackson 5 smash.

grambling band 1

“Turn Back The Hands Of Time,” covering the Tyrone Davis smash.

grambling jackie porter jet 12161971xxAnd now something less familiar but no less interesting.

“Same Thing,” covering a tune written and sung by Margie Joseph and released on the Volt label at the time, but never a hit for her.

It’s sung here by Grambling student Jackie Porter. This tremendous version was released by Mercury as a white-label promo for this LP. It’s on eBay if you want it.

All from “Tiger Time,” the Grambling College Marching Band, 1971. It’s out of print.

(The Jackie Porter clipping is from the Dec. 16, 1971, issue of Jet magazine.)

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Filed under September 2015, Sounds