Doug Quattlebaum- Softee Man Blues
"Doug Quattlebaum has spent most of his life outside the music business, and those times that he was in were spent mainly singing gospel. Born in South Carolina in 1927, he came to Philadelphia in the early 1940s. In 1953, he cut three sides for Gotham records; two of them appeared on a Gotham 78, but the third was only rediscovered years later by Bruce Bastin and released on LP: it's the best of the three (FOOLIN' ME). In 1961 Pete Welding recorded Quattlebaum again, after hearing that he was still around - singing and playing for potential Mr. Softee ice cream customers on the streets of Philly, Doug's employment at the time. Scheduled for issue on a Testament album, the sides remained unissued until the release of this CD. A few months later, Quattlebaum recorded for Bluesville, but to my knowledge that LP was never reissued on OBC as were most Bluesvilles and is difficult to come by.
Quattlebaum's years singing gospel are reflected in this CD in that about half the tracks are gospel pieces. Among the best are HE MAY NOT COME WHEN YOU WANT HIM, Sam Cooke's TOUCH THE HEM OF HIS GARMENT, and the gorgeous COME OVER HERE. IT'S NOBODY'S FAULT BUT MINE is an 8-bar gospel tune, while COME BACK, BABY sounds like a gospel song but is actually a blues. Doug inflects just about everything he sings with gospel mannerism, and his voice is melodic and strong. He often invaded the repertory of other blues/r&b/pop artists, and here sings stuff made famous by Brook Benton (KIDDIO), Charles Brown (DRIFTING BLUES), and Ray Charles (COME BACK BABY). A couple of tracks are short guitar instrumentals, though they are not that impressive. Quattlebaum played in the country blues format, accompanying himself on guitar, a style that urban Philadelphia probably didn't appreciate. But his singing and guitar playing are excellent, and his material quite varied despite the gospel influence. Country blues and gospel fans should enjoy this CD."
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