The TSU Tornadoes – Getting the Corners

The TSU Tornadoes – Getting the Corners from the Atlantic Records 45

Todays post will be kinda short and sweet, but I do have some really BIG news to announce before I get into today’s featured side. If you know me, you know I’m a Daptone Records fan. I love what the label stands for, and I applaud them for their work ethic and making music for music’s sake. I was thrilled to death to get to meet Sharon Jones after he Apollo Theater gig in NYC in October, and I’m just as excited to make this announcement today. The Budos Band will be playing live at the World Famous Asbury Lanes on Friday December 21st. It will be a full band gig (13 members), who will bring their brand of Afro Soul from the streets of Shaolin, (that’s Staten Island) to Asbury Park. Yours truly and Larry from Funky 16 Corners will be manning the decks in between sets, spinning Raw and Funky Soul all night. There may be a guest selector or two as well, so you’ll have to drop by the Lanes that night to check it out. The night will be called The 4th and Kingsley Soul Club, and will kick off a series of nights at the Lanes who focus on Funk and Soul bands. It’s one thing for me to spin this music, but I want to bring the bands that are keeping this tradition alive and kicking today, and what a great way to do it with one of the most exciting Soul bands on the circuit. A huge shout out to Dan from the Budos who worked close with me to make this show happen. Big ups my brother, we need to have a few beers at the Lanes for sure. So without me going on and on about it, I’ll drop today’s selection, albeit it short and sweet, The TSU Tornadoes with “Getting the Corners” from 1968 on Atlantic Records.

Coming straight out of Houston Texas and Texas State University, the TSU Tornadoes were the House band for Skipper Lee Frasier’s record label Ovide. I’ve featured some Ovide artists on previous mixes (Bobo Mr. Soul), and as a whole this record label really put out some funky ass sides to say the least. This band would go on to back many of them, as well as vocal group Archie Bell and the Drells biggest hit “Tighten Up”. Composed of Cal Thomas (guitar/vocals), Will Thomas (guitar/vocals), Peter Newman (bass), Darryll Busby (saxophone), Clarence “Creeper” Harper (trumpet), and Nelson Mills (horns), the TSU Tornadoes (named after their school where they were students, and their favorite car the Oldmosbile Toronado) would slowly gain a reputation on campus and in Houston as a tight unit. As well as doing gigs on their own, the band would often be the backing band (which was popular with many bands during this time) to national acts that would be in town to play in the Houston area. They backed artists like Jackie Wilson, Barbara Acklin, Etta James, and others. It was their backing of Archie Bell and the Drells that really got them their notoriety, opening the doors for them to switch to Altantic from Ovide to release this very record. With the releases they were able to do a bit of touring throughout the United States, but as it always seems, the popularity of the Tornadoes would start to fade. They released two records on Volt which would not raise many eyebrows, and put them back on Ovide, which would close it’s doors in 1971. The band eventually split up into two different groups, recording and touring respectively. Not being able to reach a happy medium with Lee and publishing, the band would be out of the picture for the next ten years or so, when they would reunite and rerecord Tighten Up.

This tune is their take on The Funky 4 Corners dance craze that was sweeping the nation at the time. Yes, it is definitely close to the Tighten Up too, horn breakdown and all, but there is something about this record that really gets me. The drums on it keep making me pick the needle and going back to them. This is the way music should be recorded: RAW and heavy, accent on the heavy. The TSU Tornadoes were on to something, and I’m definitely a fan. In fact, you may hear this very record at the Budos show, who knows? I’ll be back with a digging report from this weekend, as well as a new podcast in The Fat Owl Mix on Monday.

Keep Diggin’!

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9 responses to “The TSU Tornadoes – Getting the Corners

  1. yeah i hope to have a good crowd. they put on a great show so it’s really a show not to be missed, especially since the Dap Kings are back from tour and some of the Budos guys are in both bands. GOOD TIMES i tell ya……

  2. Dude, I ma SUPER psyched for this! Let the selecting begin!
    RE The TSU Tornados, I have a 45 on Phil LA of Soul by the African Echoes, which is supposedly these guys under another name. Anyone know for sure??

  3. This one’s a favorite. Somehow, I’ve found three copies of it in the past few months. If you don’t have it, their “The Goose” on Atlantic is almost as good.

  4. I have a question. I’m new to this, so I’m sorry if I sound stupid. Did Archie Bell and the Drells redo this song as “Tighten Up”? They sound a lot alike

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