Mudcat Café message #1333847 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #75651   Message #1333847
Posted By: PoppaGator
20-Nov-04 - 03:48 PM
Thread Name: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
Subject: RE: Dylan: Rock Legend, Maybe Folk Legend?
Little-known doo-wop trivia: a very young Ernie K-Doe (later famous for his novelty hit "Mother-In-Law) was a member of the Flamingos for a short time in the 50s, and his picture is on the cover of the album which includes "One Have Eyes..." Is that him singing on the record? Maybe even singing the lead? I don't know, and don't know how to find out.

His mother brought him to Chicago when he was a teenager; he auditioned for Harvey Fuqua and cut a few sides before returning home to New Orleans and starting to record under his own name. Working primarily with producer Allen Toussaint, he cut a *lot* of records, most of them released only locally and/or within the R&B "race record" market; mainstream America (i.e., white people outside south Louisiana) never heard any of his stuff except for that one big hit.

The late great Ernie K-Doe was a popular local stage act who put on a hell of a show, comparable to James Brown's. He had the most irrepressible ego imaginable, and his constant self-promotion always included a litany of his many (local) hits. Only during the last year or two of his life did he begin claiming credit for the lead vocal on "Only Have Eyes." I have my doubts; that voice just doesn't sound like him -- although it's possible: K-Doe had an amazing range, he managed to sound quite different on different cuts, and we don't know what he might have sounded like at a very young age. However, it it were true that he was lead vocalist on that Flamingos record, I think he would have been claiming credit for it from an earlier date, much louder and more often. However, since I've seen his photo on the album cover, I'm willing to believe he might at least be one of the backup singers on the record.

I got to know Ernie and his wife Antoinette a few years ago, hanging out at their Mother-In-Law Lounge on Claiborne Avenue. He performed all his old hits every weekend, and after a while let me join in and sign some harmonies with him. Once I got to join him onstage at a benefit concert at another, much larger, venue. (See 2d photo down on this page.) Sadly, less than two weeks later, years of alcohol abuse caught up to him; he fell into a coma and passed away on July 5, 2001, due to kidney and liver failure. Rest in peace, Ernie.