Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Norfolk Sound!!!!!!!!


Peanut Country Records was just one of the many labels formed by Bronx transplant and all around music guru Frank Guida. Creator of the Norfolk Sound, owner of Frankies Birdland and Frankie’s Got It Record Shops in Norfolk, Virginia, this man is the most famous record producer/ song writer/ record shop owner you never heard of. Founding an incredible more than 20 record labels, that were diverse in sound, it’s evident in musical history that many artists and producers borrowed from Guida to add to their own thing they had going on. From George Martin to Bruce Springsteen to Gary US Bonds, everyone loved the Norfolk Sound. He has a ton of songwriting credits, the most famous being “If You Want To Be Happy”, which I can remember blaring from a Philadelphia station on the oldies nights with Jerry Blavet my Father used to listen to. Guida was producing from 1955 to the late 1980’s, and has been a permenant fixture in the Eastern Virginia hotbed of music. He was known for using all local musicians and the sound of his recordings still stands out today. It’s said that Motown ripped off his sound, whether it’s true or not I do not know. I do know that the Guida way changed Rock and Roll for sure, putting out artists like Bonds, Daddy G, Jimmy Soul, and the Church Street Five. His most well know record labels were Legrand, S.P.Q.R., Romulus, and Peanut Country, which this side is on.

“Let’s Dance Some Mo’ ” is a really great upbeat side. It’s obviously a James Brown knock off, with an unknown musician giving a James-esque call and response and saying things like: “It’s so nice, we gotta do it twice!”. Let’s go a little deeper, is it really a knock off? Guida has claimed Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag was a direct rip off of the Norfolk Sound, so could it be the Godfather was another to borrow from the greatest unknown record producer in history? That went to the grave with Guida in May of this past year. What I do dig about this side is that the organ, guitar, and drums really smoke all together on this cut. It’s sides like this that make me shout: WE NEED THIS TYPE OF MUSIC TODAY! This record is from the heart, and oozes the blood, sweat, and tears of true Funk musicians. A nugget from FMF!

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