Music Is A Mission

To content | To menu | To search

Don Gardner - The Story Of (CD/2LP, Tramp Records, 2014)

Next week we'll publish on Paris DJs a podcast of covers from 1964, including a Don Gardner take on Ray Charles' 'What I Say'… Well it seems cool cats think alike 'cos Tramp Records have just released a compilation of Don Gardner works in their 'The Story Of' series! It's so great to discover an artist from the past, and before even starting to dig for his rare 45s & LPs of the 60s & the 70s, there's a cool Tramp Records anthology already cooked with extensive liner notes and photograph… Don Gardner is an American Rhythm & Blues drummer & vocalist born in Philadelphia in the early 30s. His first bands in the 50s included Jimmy Smith, then replaced by Richard 'Groove' Holmes. When Holmes left, he was replaced by Dee Dee Ford, with whom Don Gardner would record his biggest hit 'I Need Your Lovin', along with many other releases between 1962 and 1965. This compilation covers a period between 1963 and 1970, with a big spotlight on the 1966 LP 'Live In Sweden' (5 tracks). Every tune grooves like crazy, quite unstoppable. You're gonna need the dynamic sounds of Don Gardner in your record collection…

Don Gardner - The Story Of
Don Gardner - The Story Of
(CD/LP), Tramp Records TR-9035, 2014-09-09

Tracklisting :
01. Don Gardner And Dee Dee Ford - People Sho' Act Funny (02:36) 1963
02. Don Gardner - I Really Love You (02:10) 1963
03. Don Gardner - I'm In Such Misery (02:11) 1964
04. Don Gardner - Dog Eat Dog (02:23) 1965
05. Don Gardner Accomp. By Don Gardner's Orch. - Let's Party (02:43) 1965-66
06. Don Gardner - My Baby Likes To Boogaloo (02:52) 1966
07. Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford - Excedrin (02:44) 1966 from 'In Sweden' LP
08. Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford - Bonanza (03:00) 1966 from 'In Sweden' LP
09. Don Gardner Quintet feat. Dee Dee Ford - Watermelon Man (05:45) 1965 from 'Rhythm & Blues Dance Party' LP
10. Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford - Shiny Stockings (03:25) 1966 from 'In Sweden' LP
11. Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford - Take Five (02:43) 1966 from 'In Sweden' LP
12. Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford - Twistin' The Night Away (03:30) 1966 from 'In Sweden' LP
13. Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford - Last Night (02:53) 1966 from 'In Sweden' LP
14. Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford - What'd I Say (04:51) 1966 from 'In Sweden' LP
15. Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford - Heat Wave (02:24) 1965
16. Don Gardner Quintet feat. Dee Dee Ford - I Don't Need You Anymore (02:37) 1965 from 'Rhythm & Blues Dance Party' LP
17. Don Gardner - I'm A Practical Guy (02:37) 1968
18. Don Gardner - Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy (02:15) 1969
19. Don Gardner - There Ain't Gonna Be No Loving (02:16) 1969
20. Don Gardner - Cheatin' Kind (01:56) 1969
21. Don Gardner - Is This Really Love (02:13) 1970
22. Don Gardner - Tighten Up Your Love Bone (02:44) 1970

Links :
Buy on Bandcamp or Juno
Tramp Records : official | bandcamp | discogs | juno | parisdjs | youtube

Press Release :
While every rare groove DJ/collector is familiar with the name Don Gardner, the average music buyer probably isn't. Some of you may remember one particular song though: "I Need Your Lovin'" from 1962. Performed by Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford, it climbed up to #4 on the Billboard charts and even made the pop top twenty. But that ain't all. What was about to follow might not have had enough penetration power to jump on the charts again, but every single song Don Gardner recorded in that decade had pure class.

Actually, Don first went to school for cooking, baking and restaurant management first. He had plans to follow a culinary career but fortunately for us, he was destined to be followed by music throughout his life. Born in Philadelphia in 1931, Don Gardner started singing in church. While still a teenager, he used to sneak into clubs, sing and go back out as he couldn't stay in them because he was too young. Finally, he made his recording debut at the age of 19. In the early 1950s Don founded his first band, The Three Bachelors, which later became The Sonotones. It consisted of Jimmy Smith on organ (yes, THE Jimmy Smith), Albert Cass on sax, Thornel Schwartz on guitar and Don on drums. In fact, Don started out playing Cocktail Drums first, but because Jimmy switched from piano to organ and was getting so loud he was forced to start playing 'real' drums. After four releases under The Sonotones name, Smith left the group and was replaced by Richard 'Groove' Holmes. When 'Groove' left, Don hooked up with a female partner with whom he would strike a vocal spark, Dee Dee Ford.

The duo signed with Bobby Robinson's Fire label and hit it big with the aforementioned "I Need Your Lovin'". Two more singles and an album followed before they departed from Fire in 1964. In the same year the band headed for Sweden. They stayed for almost two years, cutting two 'live' albums there before they went back to the US where Dee Dee and Don went seperate ways. While Dee Dee faded from sight, Don carried on as a solo artist releasing 45s for several different labels.

In 1970, Don had a plan in mind to leave the music business behind him. He got into construction work and helped remodeling Curtis Mayfield's house. Since the mid 1980s he got involved with the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz of which he is president to this day.


Stay informed of all things Paris DJs and beyond thanks to our Twitter news

Comments are closed

You might also like

Brownout - Iron Leg

Premiere : Brownout - Iron Leg (Mickey & The Soul Generation cover)

Austin-based Level One Sound run by our esteemed collegue Adrian Quesada has been the home to many great recordings, from The Funk Ark, Brownout, David Garza, Deer Tick, Natalia Clavier, The Echocentrics, The Electric Peanut Butter Co., Third Root, Money Chicha, etc. - A full fledged...
The Frightnrs - Nothing More To Say

The Frightnrs - Nothing More To Say (CD/LP, Daptone, 2016)

An instant classic, this fantastic reggae-rocksteady album strives directly for legendary status. It's the first album from The Frightnrs, a Brooklyn band signed on the Daptone label, but it'll also be the last one, alas. Dan Klein, the singer with the magical tone, died from ALS last june. Produced...