You may know his recordings as Nolan, N.F. Porter or Frederick II, but he'd rather you call him Nolan Porter! Such is the confusion caused by the original vinyl releases of Nolan Porter's music on the Lizard, Vulture and ABC labels. With his entire 1970-1973 catalog augmented by many rare and/or unreleased tracks, Nolan Porter wants to set the record straight!
Nolan Porter's first album "No Apologies" was issued on producer Gabriel Mekler's Lizard label in late June 1970, and its 13 bonus tracks cover recordings between 1970 and 2004. "No Apologies" features excellent performances of songs by Steve Cropper and Booker T. Jones ("Iron Out The Rough Spots"), Randy Newman ("Let's Burn Down The Cornfield"), Leno Francen ("Gwendolyn"), and David Blue ("The Fifth One"). Just as strong as these tracks were Nolan's originals "What Would You Do If I Did That To You" (covered by Steppenwolf on their "Monster" LP), "Travelin' Song," "Don't Make Me Color My Black Face Blue," "Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum" and "Somebody's Cryin'."
The backing band for half of the album's tracks consisted of former members of Frank Zappa's Mothers Of Invention: Jimmy Carl Black (drums), Roy Estrada (bass) and Lowell George (guitar). Sax/conga player Tony Elisalda and three seasoned backing vocalists later known as The Blackberries (former Raelettes vocalist Clydie King, former Ikettes member Venetta Fields and Sherlie Matthews) joined producer/keyboardist Gabriel Mekler for the first three recording sessions for the album. When Jimmy Carl Black left to form his group Geronimo Black, he got drummer Richie Hayward and keyboardist Bill Payne to replace him. A short time after writing the song "Somebody's Gone" specifically for Nolan, Lowell George left with Hayward and Payne to form what would become Little Feat. The final track on the album, "Somebody's Cryin'," featured keyboardist Clarence McDonald, bassist William Allen, drummer Sanford Konikoff, guitarist David T. Walker along with Elisalda and the backing vocalists.
Nolan Porter's first single (billed as Nolan) was a cover version of Van Morrison's "Crazy Love," which appears in its original mono single mix. It did not originally appear on "No Apologies." Porter co-wrote and sang "Funky L.A." with drummer Paul Humphrey And The Cool Aid Chemists, and it became a minor hit. The mono single and the stereo album mix are included. Nolan also recorded "Groovin' (Out On Life)" as Frederick II on Gabriel Mekler's Vulture label and earned a small R&B hit. Its B-side was "Gwendolyn," and the single mixes of both sides of that record are featured here.
The next single issued as Nolan was "I Like What You Give," a minor R&B and pop hit in 1971 that was covered by the likes of Josť Feliciano and mid-'70s Frank Zappa vocalist Napoleon Murphy Brock. Its flipside was a live version of "Somebody's Cryin'" recorded at The Troubadour in L.A. on June 15, 1970. This collection has both of these extremely rare versions.
Adding to the confusion, Nolan Porter's next single was released as N.F. Porter: "Keep On Keeping On." It was yet another minor R&B and pop hit, but it became a Northern Soul classic in England.
The continuation of Nolan's recording career can be found on the notes for his second album "Nolan" (also available at CD Baby). Nolan recorded "Street Scene" in 1980 along with other tracks to generate interest in his current material. The other tracks from those sessions are available on "Nolan."
Moving ahead to 2004, Nolan Porter and his future wife Candy Zappa recorded "Alive" and "Lying Down" as part of Zappa "Cosmik Debris" author Greg Russo's album "Neonfire" (also available at CD Baby). Nolan and Candy continue to record and perform live in California, and more recordings will follow!
CONCLUSION AND POSTSCRIPT:
Gabriel Mekler passed away in September 1977, leaving the entire Lizard/Vulture catalog unguarded. This has led to numerous unauthorized and/or unlicensed releases of Nolan Porter's material. With the Porterville Records releases of his entire output, those funny releases come to an end. The REAL DEAL is here and it sounds better than ever!
Remastered by Greg Russo. Special thanks to Mark Wheaton for tape transfers.
Here's the track listing:
- Iron Out The Rough Spots
- Let's Burn Down The Cornfield
- What Would You Do If I Did That To You
- The Fifth One
- Travelin' Song
- Somebody's Gone (Mix #1)
- Don't Make Me Color My Black Face Blue
- Somebody's Cryin'
- Funky L.A. (Mono Single Mix)
- Crazy Love (Mono Single Mix)
- What Would You Do If I Did That You Do (Mono Single Mix)
- Groovin' (Out On Life) (Mono Single Mix)
- Gwendolyn (Mono Single Mix)
- I Like What You Give (Mono Single Mix)
- Somebody's Cryin' (Live) (Mono Single Mix)
- Keep On Keeping On (Mono Single Mix)
- Don't Make Me Color My Black Face Blue (Mono Single Mix)
- Funky L.A. (Stereo LP Mix)
- Street Scene
- Lying Down (Radio Edit)