BIG JONES, Le Climb, 1963Posted: March 6, 2012
One Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago my friend Franky picked me up with his car and took us to a record convention. I hadn´t been to one of those for a long time and I have to say I was a bit disappointed. It was poorly attended and apparantly only by old men.That had never bothered me before. I went to my first record swap meet in 1980, when I was a fourteen year old rockabilly, accompanied by my dad, who was very patient with me. The event had been recommended by the radio DJ Werner Voss on his weekly show “Werner Voss Rock´n´Roll museum”, that was always aired right after school. That first time I bought some nice 45s like “Heat/Nameless”, two great blasting saxophone instrumentals by the Rockin Rs on Tempus, or a pounding version of “In The Mood” by the Hawk (Jerry Lee Lewis) on the Phillips International label, of some vendors that seemed unbelievably old to me then, but were probably younger than I am today. Back then, before the Internet and Ebay, record conventions were the only place to find rare records. Also, vinyl was still the most popular medium, so a lot of different people, from jazz to schlager fans, went there to find something. This time I had a feeling the whole business was on the way down. Most of the stuff that is being sold is pop and rock vinyl LPs from the 60s to the 80s – the short period the collectors grew up in. No 78s, no electronic music or hip hop vinyl and only few CDs. Even Jazz collectors don´t seem to look for vinyl any more. When I asked for Jazz, a vendor told me: “Ah, I left that box at home!”
We still had a nice sunday morning at the swap meet and both came home with a bunch of cool stuff. From a french seller I bought this mysterious EP. “The Climb” was written by Leiber and Stoller for the Coasters, who first recorded it in 1962. Like a lot of the Coasters stuff it is a slow grinding R&B number with great vocal harmonies. In 1963 Duane Eddy recorded a instrumental version. In 1964 “The Climb” appeared again in “Viva Las Vegas” this time performed by the Forte Four, a gospel quartet led by George McFadden
In France at least eight different versions of “Le Climb” were released. The only information I could find about Big Jones, is from the back of the sleeve: 6.2 ft tall and born in Ohio. “Galaxie” was the biggest hit for “Les guitares du diable” a french instrumental band made up of studio musicians led by jazz guitarist Léo Petit (a.k.a William Stanray). The two other crazy twist songs on this EP are also penned by Stanray, so I guess this was one of his many projects in the early 60s.
So here´s “Le Climb”, a weird little number with bass AND also very high vocals by the mysterious BIG JONES – THE HUMAN DOUBLE BASS!