Packing my 45’s for The Hook And Sling on Saturday got me thinking how my collection had slowly grown over time and some things that had previously seemed unobtainable had finally been tracked down and captured. Which leads me to today’s post!
The first time I heard “Dap Walk” by Ernie And The Top Notes Inc. I knew I had to find a copy. Being fairly elusive, I didn’t really fancy my chances of owning it…….until a copy came up on Ebay.
One fierce bidding war, a three figured dent in my bank account and over a week worrying whether it would make it intact from the States later and the record was mine!
This (in my humble opinion) is one of those genre defining 45’s. Everything about it is simply brilliant; Louis Kimball’s spoken introduction, the ‘Tighten Up’- esque bass line, the guitars, the horns and what is arguably one of the fiercest drum solos on wax.
The original drummer, John Ross, was replaced at the last minute with Peter “Rooster”, as he was unable to make the final rehearsal before the recording session.
“Dap Walk” took its name from the band’s bass player John “Dap” Peters who had bad feet and struggled to walk properly. As the track was very much bass led, the band chose “Dap Walk” as the title.
Recorded in New Orleans in early 1972, the raw production shows up all the tiny imperfections on the tune, e.g. about thirty seconds in, the microphone picks up the wah wah pedal squeaking.
Originally, bandleader Ernie Vincent secured a recording contract with Malaco Records. After a change of heart he tore up the contract and ran with Albion Ford’s own Fordom Records.
The Band recorded both sides in one session, which only lasted only a couple hours. They were originally scheduled to record “Dap Walk” parts one and two but Ford had second thoughts and asked the band to come up with a new flipside on the spot! They quickly composed “Things Are Better”, which curiously became the side all the radio stations plugged, sending the 45 to number three in the charts. Each track was recorded live and in one take, so you can really see just how tight the band were.
Heavy local radio play generated a lot of interest and they packed clubs whenever they played. Sadly, they seemed to be confined to local fame and never managed to break into the mainstream.
“Things Are Better” was later renamed “Things Could Be Better” and released on Fordom with Raymond Winnfield, a local car mechanic, fronting on vocals. For this cut Albion Ford decided to use Ernie And The Top Notes Inc. as the backing band. They continued to do backing sessions and played behind several notable artists, such as Solomon Burke, Joe Tex, Eddie Bo and Ernie K Doe, to name but a few.
Eventually Ernie And The Top Notes Inc. disbanded in the late 70’s but Ernie Vincent is still performing to this day.