C P Love
Carrollton Pierre Love was born in New Orleans on 1 May 1945, and raised in the city on it’s jazz and R & B roots. He was playing with pro bands by the time he was 16, joining and occasionally fronting groups such as the Rhythm Masters and the Invaders, when he was known as Little Love. He first cut for Earl King and Elijah Walker’s King Walk label in the 60s, with the deep You Call The Shots” being his first great performance. This cut featured his high clear baritone over a dead slow NOLA rhythm, pumping piano and big horns.
In the early 70s he was one of the Crescent City artists who joined Wardell Quezergue’s conveyor belt to Malaco in the wake of the phenomenal successes of Jean Knight and King Floyd. And it is not a big exaggeration to say that his Chimneyville 45 I Found All These Things outshone all the other tracks cut in Jackson in the early 70s. This really is the crème de la crème of deep soul - Wardell’s lush strings and Jerry Puckett’s tasteful guitar fills are a perfect backdrop for Love’s voice on this dead slow ballad. And his beautifully modulated tones are quite simply superb as indeed they are on the fine flip.
Acknowledged as one of Malaco’s best ever 45s by aficionados it did nothing on the street and Love never came back to the studio. Several other songs he cut at this session emerged on a Japanese double album in the late 70s all of which were strong soul, including another quality ballad So Glad You’re Gone which really should have been the follow-up to “Things”. Love the N’Awlins pronunciation of “Hoit” for hurt”!
Funk fans go for his only Stone 45 “Freddie’s Walking” which in truth is a good song well recorded, but it took until 1985 for him to record again and this was to be his last masterpiece till now. The delicate tasteful ballad Spiritual Love is clearly an 80s recording but traditional enough in style to please old school fans like me. And it’s appearance here will be gratefully received I’m sure as the 45 is now hideously rare.
CP returned on wax in a more traditional New Orleans setting as the featured singer with Hiram Armstrong’s NOLA Jazz Band, as well as cutting a solo set of covers in the 80s for Southland. These tracks showcased his regular performances in the French Quarter and were no doubt sold to the tourists who thronged there. Rather better though were the cuts on a 12” single on his own label and a CD released by Carlo Ditta on his Orleans imprint. These were mostly cut during a spell on the West Coast and were a good mixture of modern dancers and covers of classic material. The lively “Falling” was probably the pick of the 12” and the funky midpaced “Stubborn Girl” and “True Blue” were among the best of the new cuts on the CD. But my personal favourite of all these later recordings were the self-penned sunshine island sound of “To The Good Music” with its lovely reggae lilt and his impassioned rendition of Otis’ “My Lover’s Prayer”.
Judging by his MySpace page (see below) CP is still going strong with his fine voice still carrying its old authority – long may he continue!
You call the shots / Plenty of room for more ~ KING WALK 569 (1967)
I found all these things / Never been in love before ~ CHIMNEYVILLE 438 (1971)
Freddie’s walking / Ernie’s groove ~ STONE 201 (1973)
Spiritual love / Music (help me make it) ~ MOON WIND 001 (1985)
Falling / Second line home / Findin’ the magic / Steal your heart ~ CP LOVE 12” 516
Plenty of room for more / Trick bag ~ GRAPEVINE 2000 UK 127 (2002)
Moods of New Orleans ~ POLKA DOT LP (1982) (with HIRAM ARMSTRONG & HIS NOLA JAZZ BAND)
An album of rhythm & blues ~ SOUTHLAND LP 25 (1987)
CP Love ~ ORLEANS CD 190 (1990)
Note ~ CP’s My Space entry can be found here
UPDATE ~ Earlybird has written to me reminding me of the unissued CP Love tracks on the Japanese LP "Malaco Best Collection". The tracks are:- Coming Down With Another Heartache, So Glad You're Gone, You Make Me Feel Like A Man In Love, If The Lord Made Anything Better Than Love, Every Man's Dream. They are very well worth seeking out.
FURTHER UPDATE ~ Tim Whitsett reports that his father recorded C P for his Rim label but nothing seems to have been issued.
Thanks to Earlybird for the reminder and to Tim Whitsett for extra info.