5.18.2008

Cigarettes




Lonnie Duvall Cigarettes b/w Street Walker 45 (Hip, 1966)

There are very few records I buy twice. I figure, no matter how beat a record is, once I have it, the search is over...but there are few that beg to be bought again. "My Girl" by Clyde McCullough & the Silks is one of them. A perfect song, recorded in the early 60s and smack dab between classic dowop and an early R&B ballad, "My Girl" stayed on my turntable for months, even though the only copy I had was beat to hell. Walked into what has become my favorite record store and asked the owner if he had a copy. He said he did, we talked about the song, it being somewhat obscure, and he asked me for $20 which I happily paid him. I figured my first copy cost me 50 cents and this one was flawless so why not. That was about five years ago.

About 15 years back, I found a copy of Lonnie Duvall's "Cigarettes" at the Ye Olde Record Store in Diamond Springs, California. All 45s were one dollar so I would buy stacks based on nothing but song title or band name or the way a label looked. There were three hooks for this Duvall single. First was the song title "Street Walker." Could it be about a prostitute? The flipside was called "Cigarettes" so maybe so. Second hook was the label name - Hip. Third hook was that the record label states that it is distributed by ATCO. I had just finished reading Peter Guralnick's Sweet Soul Music, his history of Stax Records, Muscle Shoals, and other Memphis area soul entities. From Guralnick, I knew that Stax was also distributed by ATCO, so I figured that there might be a connection and so Lonnie Duvall could be some wicked soulman. Well, I was right on Hip being a Stax imprint and wrong about Duvall being a R&B singer. "Street Walker" could or could not be about a prostitute, but even if it wasn't the song was a good poppy garage tune with a nice brooding organ. But what made the hooks pay off was the "plug side," the song "Cigarettes."

"Cigarettes" starts off with a match striking a match book, flame ignites, and cigarette is lit. The first bass note is struck and hangs there for a second before it coolly walks on. A solid drum beat is topped by a distant, wheezing organ, and a killer guitar. And then there are the vocals - dramatic , defeated, yet so fucking cool. During the break, another match is struck and then the plea. Such a great fucking song!

After hearing it the first time, I got on the interweb and searched for information and found nothing. I also looked for another copy because the dollar copy I had was two parts music, one part surface noise. Played it for a friend and he found one in a week, but not I, not I. About once a year a copy would turn up at auction and end at $40 or it would be listed for the same or more on some sale site. Last week, I stumbled across one for $10. Though I had no idea what the condition was, I bought it. It came and here it is, nice and clean.

As for who Lonnie Duvall was, I do not know. Because Hip was related to Stax, I assume he was from Memphis or thereabouts. He released one other single on Hip, something called "Your Mother and Daddy Are Right." The b-side of that one is "Cigarettes." Every copy of this single that I've seen with my eyes or listed on line are promo copies, so who knows if this ever got proper release.


Comments:
amazing tune, thanks!
 
Picked up a copy of this at a recent record show. Got it real cheap too.

Anyway, I also have a single by a band called the Lancers on the 3J label, where Lonnie Duvall is listed as the songwriter on both sides. Don't know a thing about the Lancers, other than I'm pretty sure the single pre-dates the Hip release by a bit.
 
Sounds like Al Jackson on drums, and perhaps the other members of Booker T. & The MGs are there as well. Another astonishing, totally unknown record excavated thanks to your efforts. Thanks!

By the way, I can't quite make out the matrix number in the label picture, but if it's "HIP-11715", that would in fact point to early December 1966, not 1968.
 
Hi Scott,
Both sides really rock, Thanks !
Byron
 
Smokin' tune, Scott. One of the best you've posted so far. What a find. The question is: who will be the first to slot this on a soundtrack?
 
"Cigarettes" was tipped to make the Hot 100 in Billboard for April
8th, 1967 whch would give us an
approximate release date of March '67.

BMI have a file for him under the name LONNIE FILMORE DUVALL -
there are only three songs listed for him - "Cigarettes" and "Street Walker" from the single but what about the third one

INFINITY
BMI Work #725449
Songwriter/Composer Current Affiliation CAE/IPI #
DUNBAR AYNSLEY T BMI 77075950
DUVALL LONNIE NA 40539796
NEAL JESSE LEE BMI 65999414
PERRY STEVE BMI 141754877
ROSS LEE BMI 26761972

The title track of one of Journey's
albums. Same guy ??

Davie
 
silky as fuck.
 
I knew Lonnie Duvall. We are both from Greenville, Mississippi. He was an incredible talent, and was basically robbed of what should have been a successful career, by unscrupulous people at Stax, or their sub-entities. He had many other songs. Several you would recognize because they were stolen from him. One became a #1 hit for Charlie Rich. Not too long after that, Lonnie took his own life. I was in high school, Lonnie was a few years older, but he recorded some amazing tracks with Donny and Jerry Brown, also from Greenville, in a band called The Candy Shoestring. I could go on and on, but just let me leave this with you: Lonnie Duvall is a story that won't get told, and that is very sad. Thank you for your dead-on review of Cigarettes. I have the single as well. His former wife, Linda, told me he had written the most soulful and beautiful song she had ever heard, right before he died. It was called "God Let the Waters Meet" I hope they did meet for Lonnie. We'll never hear that song.
 
Like Jim, I remember Lonnie from the old days in Greenville, MS. Shortly after he got the deal with STAX/Hip, he put together a "touring band" made up of local guys -- the lineup was, I think, bass, guitar, drums, Hammond B3 organ (with the obligatory Leslie cabinet) sax and trumpet. That's what I remember - although that was 40 years ago, so things are a bit fuzzy.

Someone mentioned that The Lancers recorded one of Lonnie's songs. They were also a Greenville band -- I don't believe that their recording ever went anywhere.

Actually, the Greenville -- Greenwood, Mississippi area (The Delta) had lots of music in the late "60's and early "70's. In that 45 mile stretch of Highway 82 and north a bit up Highway 61 (yeah, that highway 61) were The Gants, BB King, Ike Turner and Joe Frank Corolla (remember Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds?) Johnny and Edgar Winter also lived for a time in Leland, about 5 miles from Greenville, but this was several years before they were known as musicians.

All in all, however, a pretty interesting place musically.

Andy
 
My good friend for over fifty years, Andy fails to mention that he himself was and is an accomplished musician, who played in several groups in the Delta. And then there was Bud Cockrell, who played with Donnie and Jerry Brown in their early teens, who were later in "The Candy Shoestring" with Lonnie Duvall. Bud went on to be in "It's A Beautiful Day" with his now late wife, Patti Santos, and then that, Bud was with Pablo Cruise. After Pablo, he did an album with his wife, called "The Cockrell Santos Band" with Airto, Flora Purim and Jaco Pastorius, so this was an awesome record, but went nowhere. I lost track of Bud after that. AsAndy said, there was MUCH music in that part of the world. Still is.
 
The drummer on the Lonnie Duvall Memphis early recordings was Jimmy Berry. Jimmy was the first drummer I can remember that played with the Candy Shoestring band from Greenville Mississippi and later was recording at American Sound Studios and Allied Recording in Memphis.I would like to know what happened to Jimmy.
 
Jimmy Veal I would think after all these years you would know how to spell Donnie.I was looking for Joe Frank and ran across your post.It's very accurate cause I was there as you know.Lonnie tried to tell me that journey took some of his music ,but I thought he had lost his mind due to what ever substance he could abuse.It,s great to have been part of this delta music scene.We recorded at the first Ardent studio in Memphis with Lonnie but the producer was crooked so I heard, and that's probably where some of his music went.Oh!By the way they honored me with a stone on Walnut Street in Greenville,Ms.It mentions us opening for a lot of major acts ,but ran out of room.I did of course mention Jerry and Boogie and the Candy Shoestring.I had better log off,there is so much more to tell.If you are coming to Greenville,let me know and I can make arrangements for us to play.
 
I agree with all of you who remember Lonnie as a misunderstood talent. My mother kept Lonnie and Linda's child, Kim, when she was just a small toddler. Lonnie had a brother,Johnny who was nothing at all like Lonnie. I also remember the Candy Shoestring and went to several gigs with them. At that time Jerry Brown played lead, Donnie Brown played bass, Johnny Avent plated keyboard and Ronnie Sinkey played drums. They practiced at the old Orbit Longe on Nelson Street, right across from Doe's Eat Place, when they became too much for Mrs. Brown at Brown's Delish Shoppe! All were very good musicians and great guys. Thanks for what memories that I can still muster up! If any of you remember this, Johnny almost burned his electric organ up one night with lighter fluid when he tried a stage gimmick while playing Jimi Hendrix's Fire!
 
I just read your blogs about Lonnie Duvall and wanted to add a few things.

I also am from Greenville and went to high school with Lonnie. I was very close friends with Lonnie and his former wife Linda, and continue to be best friends with Linda. In fact, I was the witness at their wedding, which occurred in Arkansas. I used to spend much time at their place, which was on Cedar Street, I think, but I could be wrong about the name of the street.

I don't know exactly when, but one time after Lonnie signed with Stax/Hip, he and Linda met with Otis Redding because Lonnie was scheduled to record a song with him. But, right before the event was to occur, Otis Redding was killed in the plane crash. I'll never forget this turn of events in Lonnie's life. I believe this was when things seemed to begin to disintegrate in his life.

His former wife Linda just spent a week visiting me, and we discussed these blogs. During our visit she did tell that Lonnie had later remarried, and he and his new wife had a son named Chris. Beyond that I do not know anything else.

My question is: who would receive any royalties, I would think his daughter Kim would be interested to know this. Maybe, she and Chris together should investigate this further. It could be that it's a mute point.
 
Hi everyone. I've been scanning the internet lately to find information about my dad. I never knew him. Thanks for what you've posted about Lonnie's life. I wasn't a part of it for many reasons..not the least of which was his death. Anyway, I would love to talk with anyone who knew him personally. Mostly I want to fill in the gaps in my mind about who he was and what we may have in common...at least for starters.

Thanks!
Chris Duvall
 
The band behind Lonnie was Booker T and the MGs. I was there when he recorded the songs. There were several tapes of excellent songs that his manager--Natalie Rosenberg--had in her possession that were recorded at STAX Studio or the subsidiary; however, I have no idea where they are now. It is a shame that they were not copywritten or produced for playing. I certainly would have thought he HAD copy-written them all. It is possible that his manager was to have copy-written them and did not. There were several that were ready for release in 68 or 69. One..."God Let The Waters Meet" was phenominal and "right on" with the race situation at just the right time. I, too, have heard many of Lonnie's songs that were sung by someone else. WHY? We will never know....unscruptulous folks? He was friends with Otis Redding; Booker T and the MGs; Issac Hayes; and others whose names I can not recall. I do remember sitting in Issac Hayes long, touring car, complete with television, bar, bed, curtains, etc. with Lonnie when he came to Greenville. Lonnie was an extraordinary talent whose songs never came to fruition due to dishonesty the music industry, and bad luck. We never understood why they were never published, as he had many that were incredible and already on tape for pressing. Sincerely, Linda--Lonnie's first wife
 
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