Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Life - Snake Bite






This was originally posted on 8/26/08 but I'm re-posting this little number because i had a very cool comment left and because this post is so old would most likely would not be seen by many, but one of the members of "The Life' left a very informative comment. So while maybe i'll bitch about no one leaving comments (see previous post) events like this make it worth my while, knowing that members of long forgotten bands are out there and approve of the devil trying to keep their memory alive is very cool. So please if you didn't check this tune out the first time around please do so now and leave some more comments!!!

I couldn't find anything about this kooky little garage number here except that it is from 1967 or 1968? But that might not even be correct because this sounds earlier unless these guys were just stuck in time.... Every time i searched all i came up with was "records" of people losing their life from snakebite! And not the good kind of records but those lame ass ones cops put in folders and then box up and go on your permanent RECORD...

So enjoy this little odd garage type number on HI records and recorded in Memphis in 1967? and written by Walt Stewart.

Here is the additional info given by Bill of "The Life"

Dick,
Great to come across "Snakebite" on your blog. Here's a bit more info about "The Life". We recorded this in about '67, along with about five other songs by Walt. "Snakebite" was a "pick-hit" in a handful of cities in the South, but faded from play in a few months. "The Life" was the recording name for our group, otherwise known as the "Hungry I". We were a seven piece (keyboard, bass, 2 guitars, 2 trumpets & drums) group that did a lot of traveling across the south in the late 60's, based in Auburn, AL, where most of us were students at the university. Walt Stewart was lead singer & guitarist, and did a good bit of song writing. Marvin Taylor was lead guitarist, Stacy Goss and Mike Stough-trumpets & vocals, Bill Stubblefield on keyboards & vocals, Ed (Sunshine) Roberts on drums & vocals and Bill Baggett (me) on bass.
Can't recall how the opportunity to record in Memphis came about, but we were all pretty hyped about finally getting what we considered to be, our share of sunlight. Although the group was a good combination of talent and personalities, we finally split up after a couple of years and everyone went in different directions. A web search today indicates that most have stayed in music and have done very well for themselves, although a couple of us eventually headed in a different professional direction. The visual arts turned out to be my calling.
I've got a great photo of the group that was a publicity shot made around the time of the recording, but don't know how to enter it on the blog.
Keep up the good work. I appreciate your ear for the choices you consistently shed a bit of light on.
Bill
February 28, 2009 11:18 AM


Bill if your still out there many thanks! and email me that photo so i can add it to this post!
DD

Check the comments for a link the more info!!!

The Life - Snake Bite

26 comments:

Linkthebutler said...

hi devil, please be so kindly and add my Link to your page http://linkthebutler.blogspot.com/

thanx in advance

zille

dk said...

Welcome back! Are your technical issues resolved?

Devil Dick said...

No dk, I'm down to my last few things i had set up in my draft vault... If you look at the download date of the song file you will see i originally downloaded this song up back in Feb and never got around to posting it....

But i did go through my divshare account yesterday and found a few things i downloaded and forgot i did so i do actually have a few more things than i had originally thought...

hang in there, jjb is working on solving the PC problems.

Cheers!
dd

Euphonic said...

Willie Mitchell's "Soul Serenade" was two catalogue numbers later and was a hit beginning in March '68, so it's a safe bet that this is from very late '67/very early '68.

Devil Dick said...

Many thanks Euphonic!

Anonymous said...

Dick,
Great to come across "Snakebite" on your blog. Here's a bit more info about "The Life". We recorded this in about '67, along with about five other songs by Walt. "Snakebite" was a "pick-hit" in a handful of cities in the South, but faded from play in a few months. "The Life" was the recording name for our group, otherwise known as the "Hungry I". We were a seven piece (keyboard, bass, 2 guitars, 2 trumpets & drums) group that did a lot of traveling across the south in the late 60's, based in Auburn, AL, where most of us were students at the university. Walt Stewart was lead singer & guitarist, and did a good bit of song writing. Marvin Taylor was lead guitarist, Stacy Goss and Mike Stough-trumpets & vocals, Bill Stubblefield on keyboards & vocals, Ed (Sunshine) Roberts on drums & vocals and Bill Baggett (me) on bass.
Can't recall how the opportunity to record in Memphis came about, but we were all pretty hyped about finally getting what we considered to be, our share of sunlight. Although the group was a good combination of talent and personalities, we finally split up after a couple of years and everyone went in different directions. A web search today indicates that most have stayed in music and have done very well for themselves, although a couple of us eventually headed in a different professional direction. The visual arts turned out to be my calling.
I've got a great photo of the group that was a publicity shot made around the time of the recording, but don't know how to enter it on the blog.
Keep up the good work. I appreciate your ear for the choices you consistently shed a bit of light on.
Bill

Vincent the Soul Chef said...

Wow! Somebody other than Al Green or Willie Mitchell on Hi. I'll definitely give this one a spin. Thanks as always.

and don't be too discouraged by the lack of comments. I don't get too many myself, but I say that's less potential spam that I have to deal with.

Peace and blessings

ana-b said...

very cool song...

thanx..

ana..

bill said...

Good to see some feedback, even noticed a Japanese website where The Life/Snakebite are mentioned--appear to have been distributed by Warner Bros Records.
Bill

velcro said...

thats great!
i played this cut one night while djing and a number of people asked what it was and all i knew was what you posted on your blog

bill said...

http://thehungryi-bill.blogspot.com/

This is the link to the photo of "The Life" in 1967.
DD, could you post the flip side of "Snakebite", can't recall.... was it "Door to Summer" or "Seventh Son"?

Thanks

Anonymous said...

dd,
Here is a change in the web address sent to you yesterday..
Couldn't get the photo of "the Life" to copy into an email to you, so I've created a blog re "the Life", with a tad more info about the group, including a photo (I've used your jpeg of the Hi label/Snake Bite on the blog).
http://thelife-thehungryi.blogspot.com/
thanks
Bill

Anonymous said...

dd,
Here is a change in the link sent to you yesterday..
Couldn't get the photo of "the Life" to copy into an email to you, so I've created a blog re "the Life", with a tad more info about the group, including a photo (I've used your jpeg of the Hi label/Snake Bite on the blog, too).
http://thelife-thehungryi.blogspot.com/
thanks for the opp
Bill

Devil Dick said...

Hey Bill!
Many thanks for the share!

The flip i have is "One O'clock noon time"

I will try and get that post in a week or so. All neext week and weekend i will out of town and playing with my own band down in Texas way at SXSW!

Cheers!
dd

George E. (Sunshine) Roberts said...

I thought I would jump in and add a few comments. I was the drummer in The Hungy I (a.k.a. The Life) in the 1967-68 time frame (I'm the one in the white hat in the band photo). As I recall it, the Hi sessions that produced Snake Bite were in the summer of 67. The producer was Hi Records co-owner Ray Harris [url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20031127/ai_n12733290]Ray Harris[/url].

Although the band was mainly a "blue-eyed" soul band, Ray wanted to do something more along the lines of "psychedelic" since that was what was getting airplay at the time. I remember him cueing up a new release and asking if we could do something like it on one of our takes for Snake Bite. He played the Vanilla Fudge's "You keep Me Hanging On" for us. It had just come out and we tried to play "heavy" on the next few takes, but nothing worth keeping came out so Ray reverted us back to a somewhat more Rockabilly style (which was his background) with a fuzz guitar to make it more contemporary.

I also recall meeting Willie Mitchell who was doing his own nightly sessions in the studio after we finished each day. Perhaps his sessions included "Soul Seranade" but I never heard him there so I can't really say. But I do remember that "Soul Seranade" came out a few months later. Willie was somewhat reserved with us, after all we were a bunch of young white guys trying to sound black, and he was already an established atrist.

I left the band later that year and joined The James Gang [url=http://southerngaragebands.com/JamesGang.html]James Gang[/url] with Hungry I's lead guitarist, Marvin Taylor. Note: this is not the James Gang with Joe Walsh from Ohio, rather it was the James Gang from Alabama with Wilbur Walton on vocals. They were quite popular in the South East at the time.

Many years later (1974) I was touring with K&K Super Cirkus [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasenetz-Katz_Singing_Orchestral_Circus]Super Cirkus[/url] and we played two nights in Auburn. I mentioned my past association with the Hungry I and was surprised to find the club owner was a fan and said it was the best band to ever come out of Auburn.

Finally, I'm so glad to find this blog. I don't have many recordings or photos from my early years and certainly never expected to find mention of The Hungry I-The Life anywhere.

Devil Dick said...

wow! this just keeps getting better! So glad me finding this 45 and posting it has caused all this feedback from the band! I'm glad you guys found this little section of the internet universe and dig what I am doing in trying to turn folks on to great and obscure music from the past!
Cheers!
dd

bill said...

George, thanks for the superb post--and providing some details about our session(s) at Hi in Memphis. Like you, I don't know that my "tales" of our session(s) were ever taken seriously---same reaction as when I told my kids that when I was about 17, Hank Williams Jr (then 15) wanted to join our combo called the "Sunsets" in Nashville, and we told him he wasn't good enough! What a trip!

Too, I've really enjoyed checking out the links that you and Marvin have sent. Pretty impressive to see you both still playing in full form.

Stacy--it looks like we're just a couple of old gits, with no sites to flaunt our good looks !
Bill

Devil Dick said...

keep 'em coming guys!!!

George E. (Sunshine) Roberts said...

I can add one more tidbit about Snake Bite (the tune). According to Walt, the term referred to a certain technique performed on elderly men by their partner to help them "perform" when they were not quite "up to it" (so to speak). Walt was especially pleased that his "inside joke" was getting airplay and had slipped past the guardians of taste.

Now that I'm 62 I might have to start thinking about explaining that technique to my wife.
:-)

George . . . er I mean Sunshine

Devil Dick said...

looks like i lost the last comment...

Please re-comment!!!!!!!!

dd

Anonymous said...

Great post! I wish you could follow up to this topic...

Frances

Anonymous said...



Devil,

What a great tune. Thanks for sharing info on this hidden gem. I searched the web to find out more about it - I've never heard the song before today, when I received box of tapes I purchased containing tapes from various Memphis studios, I came across the original Hi Records master reel for this song with original engineers notes and such. It sounds great, much better than the 45, and deserves a proper reissue. I would love to get in contact with all the proper parties involved to make something happen. All the best, - David

Devil Dick said...

david, i hope that happens!!! keep me posted! dd

Anonymous said...

DD,
As always, thanks for keeping in touch. Glad to know some of the old Hi Records master reels are getting some attention--especially re Walt Stewart's, "Snake-Bite". Would love to hear Snake-Bite's master on some modern audio equipment. I'll pass along Dave's message to former members of "The Life" (AKA, "The Hungry I").
Bill

Anonymous said...

DD & Bill,
Good to see a response here, even though I commented on an older post. Good to know this isn't one of those abandoned blogs that stops being moderated after a couple of years. I'll need to check it out more often!

In regards to the master, it may take me a bit of time to get around to it since I have a ton of these reels left to go through still, but I can post a short sample of the tape here so you can get a good assessment of the quality - you can really tell there's a ton of detail and bass in the track that never made it onto the lacquer.
Keep in mind, it will be a quick & dirty kind of thing. I don't have a full-track mono head, so taking it into a studio better equipped for the job will provide the best results. With that said, the major labels have been getting decent results by playing their mono tapes on 2 track heads for years now, so it won't sound bad by any means. :)
Appreciate your responses. Will keep you all updated. I think the track deserves to be featured in a compilation of some sort, it would be a good way to showcase it and make it available to the public once again. We live in such a great era where all these hidden gems, all these regional soul and garage cuts can be appreciated on a wider, national level, even globally. Gotta love technology.

All the best,
- David

Anonymous said...

DD, & Bill.

David here again, I apologize for the delay. I provided a 50 second sample of the master reel to demonstrate the quality of the original recording compared to the 45. The file is a mono 32/96 WAV, taken using the "left channel" of a 2 track head, as this was a full-track mono master tape. The left channel sounded best to me, although best results would be obtained by using the proper mono pickup for a well done digital transfer, which I intend to have done in the future if possible.

The link to the WAV file is as follows:

http://db.tt/ryem1hkN

Thanks again, looking forward to hearing more from you.
All the best,

- David