Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blind Man - LA Carnival

You know I have to keep it switched up over here at, "We Are The City." I don't want you thinking that we just listen to Hip-Hop over here. So for this post I'm throwing it back to the 70's with this classic track by the band L.A. Carnival.

" It all started with the Les Smith Soul Band. They were a group of young kids, they might have been in their second or third year of high school. I was well into my twenties, and gigging six nights a week in a jazz trio. I was well into funk and R&B. I had a name for my self, and I worked hard. So I didn't make it easy for Leslie. He kept bugging me and bugging me to go check out his band. After about a month or two, I went to see them rehearse.

What a sight! They had so many horn players, I thought they might have been a marching band! But there was something there. Even though they were a bit green, I saw that Rick Chudacoff, their bassist, and Ron Cooley, their guitarist, had potential. Leslie, who could sing in a beautiful falsetto, and his rougher-voiced counterpart Arno Lucas, really had me going. I agreed to take over as drummer for the band. Pretty soon I took over as bandleader. I helped turn those guys into a funk band. I wrote songs, arranged the horn section. When Leslie got drafted, I renamed the band L.A. Carnival.

The songs you hear on this record translate exactly the way I thought I didn't have much tenderness in me. There wasn't a lot of room for it in my life at that time. I was pretty hard edged. There was a lot of racism in Omaha. Being bi-racial, I got it on both sides. I wasn't accepted by blacks or by whites. I was writing songs about my own position and perspective. Being on both sides of the fence, and being pissed on by both sides! I tried to write about it the best I could.

The group was of "one color," as we sang in our song. Ron, Rick and our trumpet player, Gino, were white. Leslie, Arno, and our saxophone section, were black. That's what we were trying to do, live what we sang about. And the rawness and intensity! I gotta admit to you, it's almost a little embarrassing, listening to this thirty years later. Now I'm older, and I probably don't wear that attitude-even though I'm the same person deep inside-so readily. I've changed a bit. I've certainly mellowed considerably.

We were the funk band in Omaha. There is no question about it. That band laid it down, and I tell you, the cats that were coming up listening to that band - to what they would want to do if they could be in that band-were numerous. We wore our band-badge like a shield of armor. We were proud of it. Everybody knew who the bad cats were. We were like a train, with a really bad attitude, going down the track, knocking off everybody that got in the way. "

Lester Abrams - Band Leader/Arranger/Songwriter/Drummer

From the Cover Notes of the Stones Throw Records Release
L.A. Carnival
Color b/w Blindman
Jukebox 45 No. 24
Available @ , ,

Here is an interesting Mini-documentary from Egon and the results of his search for Lester Abrams.

L.A. Carnival - Minidocumentary -

Written by DJ Kase One for "We Are The City"