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.
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.
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.
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
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 ??
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.
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.