Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jimy Rogers And The Mauds (Part 3)

I didn't know Jimy Rogers and The Mauds the first time around ... I was too young to ever get the chance to see them ... but I certainly remember hearing their music on the radio here in Chicago.  

Their first local hit was a cover of the Sam and Dave song "Hold On - I'm Comin'" ... which WLS Radio immediately made them record new lyrics for in order to gain airplay.  The radio station apparently felt that the lyrics were "too suggestive", something I've NEVER understood ... then OR now!!!  Lyrically, it was all about reaching out to help a friend through any unexpected curve life happened to throw at them ... a statement as simple as "I'm here for you, buddy".  To think that "I'm comin'" was a sexual reference makes me wonder who had the dirtier minds ... the disc jockeys and program directors or the musicians?!?!?  (For the record, the Sam and Dave version never charted on WLS either.)  

However, once the band modified the lyrics (to "Hold On, don'tcha worry") the record peaked at #15 on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey ... and charted at #11 on WCFL (who played the UN-edited version, most likely just to spite the competition.)

I asked Clark Weber, Program Director at WLS at the time, how he viewed this incident then ... and now, with the benefit of nearly 50 years of hindsight ...  

Morning kk; 
I well recall the record and the controversy. The situation was compounded by the fact that Bill Traut was a friend of mine. There were two situations in play. Hard R&B was just beginning to cross over into the pop field ... however the Sam & Dave frantic shouting combined with the song title resulted in many pop stations staying away from the song. Plus there was so much great music to choose from, so why take a chance. While the lyrics suggested a friend helping another friend, the perception of the white listening audience was that the song had a strong sexual connotation. I recall that our sister station WABC didn't play it either. WCFL did play the heck out of the Mauds, not so much because they heard a "hit" but because we didn't play it. The sales were anemic and they finally dropped it from their playlist.  
A side story concerning Sam & Dave:  I believe it was Sam who shot his wife during an argument.  She survived ... however Dave never forgave him for that act and never spoke to him again. During their act they would enter the stage from different ends, sing and react on stage driving their audiences to a frenzy, then depart the stage from each end and never spoke to each other for the rest of their professional lives.   
-- Clark Weber  

The Mauds' second big chart hit here in Chicago came a couple of years later ... it was "Soul Drippin'", probably the song they're best known for nationally.  (It peaked at #12 on WLS ... and climbed as high as #55 in Cash Box.  Incredibly, it stalled at #85 ... a full thirty points lower ... in Billboard!)   

It's a GREAT piece of rock and roll soul, supplemented by the then unknown horn section of Chicago (who were still calling themselves CTA at the time ... in fact, THEIR first album hadn't been released yet!)

When Jimy Rogers reformed The Mauds in 2000, he put together a crackerjack line-up of musicians ... and they put on an incredible show.  They continued to record (both new material and old soul classics, including a new "live" version of "Hold On, I'm Comin'".)  I was fortunate to have seen them several times during their brief "second coming".  (Truth be told, gigs were getting hard to come by ... and paying as many as a dozen musicians and singers for each performance really limited both live opportunities and any sort of meaningful compensation.)  Jimy also sat in a number of times with the "Chicago Gold" show put together by Jim Pilster of The Cryan' Shames, which would often feature "guest vocalists" on stage with The Shames as their back-up band.  It was not at all uncommon to catch Jimy Rogers of The Mauds, Jimy Sohns of The Shadows Of Knight, Ronnie Rice of The New Colony Six and Dennis Tufano of The Buckinghams all sharing the same stage, performing their best known Chicagoland '60's hits, right alongside those created by The Cryan' Shames. 

Jimy got mad at me one time when I made a comment about his weight in a Forgotten Hits column.  (I have looked for the actual exchange but haven't been able to locate it.) 

Those of us who knew him knew he was a small, thin, but very healthy, well-conditioned performer with one of the most powerful voices to ever grace a stage.  When I said something to the effect of Rogers weighing about 95 pounds soaking wet, he took me to task for it, explaining that he worked VERY hard to maintain his weight and condition and took this very seriously.  (As someone who's probably gained a hundred pounds since high school, I can't relate!  lol)  I apologized in print as I didn't mean it in ANY way, shape or form to be construed as a negative comment, but rather a compliment to his rock-solid, petite self. 

That's why it was SUCH a shock to find out that he had passed away.  Not only did he appear to be in tip-top physical shape, but NOBODY even knew he was sick ... not even his closest friends and relatives ... not his bandmates in Blue Road ... NOBODY.  It came COMPLETELY out of left field and shocked us all.  (In hindsight I cannot help but wonder if that's why my comment bothered him as much as it did ... he was already sick and having a hard time keeping on any weight ... but none of us knew.) 

Jimy was a simple man and a very nice and approachable man.  In the liner notes for The Mauds' CD "Soul Attitude", Bob Stroud writes, "Let's face it, you've either got it or you don't.  Jimy Rogers had it ... and he knew it.  So did everyone who saw him and The Mauds perform." 

Shortly before he passed, Jimy Rogers gave me a couple of tracks by The Mauds that had never been released ... material recorded in 1968 and 1969.  Quent Lang, the sax player for the revamped band with whom I've remained close to and in contact with since the end, told me "Jimy wanted you to have these."  I've never shared them before ... but feel that this would finally be the time to do so as part of our tribute to Jimy Rogers.  Keep in mind these are from that heady 1968 - 1969 period where extended jams were the soup de jour ... quite honestly, there's nothing commercial about either of these tracks ... and I don't feel they accurately represent the sound of The Mauds at all.  They were R&B all the way ... Jimy was never more at home than he was singing a gut-wrenching scorcher ... which makes these heavy, rare, unreleased tracks all that much more unique.  Enjoy.  (kk)


It's still hard to believe that Jimy is gone. I think of him often.  Being a part of the Mauds (2000 - 2007) was quite a ride. One studio CD, one live CD, several appearances at the House of Blues, Park West, even two sold -out shows at Ravinia ... you can't get much better than that.  
Jimy deserved all the recognition he received. He was one of the kindest and most sincere individuals I have ever worked with. Yes , he was extremely shy off stage, but once the show began he transformed himself into a human dynamo ... dancing, singing, and always delivering.  
God bless Jimy ! Otis Redding would have been proud.  Quent Lang
saxophonist / flute

And here's a GREAT shot from musician Dave Zane ... Jimy and Dave live on stage ... where they both truly belong!