Ike Turner – Right On

Ike Turner – Right On from the UA 45

I had something planned for today, but in light of recent events, namely the death of Ike Turner, I’d thought I’d pay tribute to one of the original Kings of Rhythm. I’m gonna shed some light on a not so popular side from 1972 on United Artists Records called “Right On”.

Izear Luster Turner, Jr was born in 1931 in Clarksdale, MS. Segregation was running rampant in those days, and his father was beaten to death by an angry mob of white men. This, no doubt would leave a bitter taste (how could it not) and psychological scars which would most definitely shape this talented piano man/ guitar player’s demeanor later on in life. Of course the cocaine use didn’t really help, but that will come in to play later. Ike learned early on to play the piano from a hero of his, Pinetop Perkins, and later graduated to a radio show, a high school band, and eventually the Kings of Rhythm. Their tune “Rocket 88” on Sun Records, labeled by some as the very first Rock & Roll record, although it was credited to Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats, would show some early promise of his song writing and showmanship. During his time in Memphis, he would go on and record with artists like Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson II, and Little Walter, among others. Moving his crew to St. Louis, he keep on sessioning and releasing records on labels such as RPM, Federal, and Flair, recording under various names. Soon there after came his meeting and eventually marriage to Anna May Bullock, aka Tina Turner. Ike Turner would go onto help shape her image and career, and the Ike and Tina Turner Revue was born. With the chitlin’ circuit touring, constant notoriety, and the attention it brought with it, came the dark side of Ike Turner. Eventually becoming addicted to cocaine, the wife beating, psychological abuse and drug use would really be what Turner was known for, rather than the music he made. When Phil Spector came calling to record Tina, a deal was struck so Ike would not be allowed in the studio in exchange for full credit on the records. That was definitely to his advantage monetarily, as “River Deep-Mountain High” is a classic that has stood the test of time. When Ike and Tina were slated to open for the Rolling Stones, he made a genius move to make his music a little easier for the predominantly white audiences he would encounter, adding covers such as “Come Together” and “Proud Mary” into the Revue. “Proud Mary” would go on to win a Grammy in 1971. His constant drug use and abuse would come to a halt as Tina Turner would walk out and file for divorce in 1975. Turner would never really recover, and would fall deeper into the darkness. He had many brushes with the law on drug related charges, and the recording studio, Bolic, he founded in 1970 in Los Angeles would go on to burn down in the early 1980’s. Furthering his woes would be the release of the Tina Turner bio, which put his years of abuse out in public for all to see. He would be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Tina in 1991, unfortunately he could not be there, as he was in prison at the time. Turner did make a comeback, playing more Blues inspired tunes with a reincarnated Kings of Rhythm, and got nominated for a Grammy and won a WC Handy award. Up until his death he’d been involved in music, working with artists of today such as producer Danger Mouse and the Gorillaz, as well as the Black Keys. He’s been sampled numerous times, most notably by Salt and Pepa, as well as the Jurrassic 5 and Main Source.

I have always dug the coolness, of Ike Turner, despite the wife beating, drug use, and overall craziness his persona was. I got into A Black Man’s Soul, and people, if you do not have that record, I urge you strongly to get a copy. What I have for you today is from Turner in 1972. “Right On” is a Blues inspired story that Turner would use to showcase his creole story telling style, as well as his sporadic, unpredictable guitar playing he’d been known for. It was recorded in it’s entirety in Bolic Studios, with Ike playing all the instruments. It’s from the full length Blues Roots, where Turner would return to the musical roots of his existence. Ike offers up his wisdom on everything from heavy girls, the dark, cold weather, race relations, sex, and everything he thought was Right On. This side shuffles along, with Turner’s baritone voice, some decent harmonies, and the wailing of who ever else was partying in the studio. It may not be the best Ike Turner side, but it does prove he indeed was Right On.

“I believe I was ahead of my time.” – Ike Turner

RIP

Keep Diggin’

4 responses to “Ike Turner – Right On

  1. Pingback: SoulTrackin’ - Rest In Peace, Ike, Rest In Peace… | NetInfoWeb 2.0: Soul, R&B, Jazz and Blues on the 'Net·

  2. I’d have to agree with you on Black mans soul………….that album gets more play than almost antything else in my collection………….

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