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Archibald

When most people think of the song "Stagger Lee," as it's usually spelled, they think of Lloyd Price and his 1958 chart-topping single. Eight years before Price's version, however, a single on Imperial Records (spelled "Stack-a-Lee"), credited to and featuring the pounding piano of Archibald, reached the R&B Top Ten and gave the song its first unified national exposure in a single rendition. If Archibald never followed this up, it wasn't for lack of talent or a lot of years in the business of making music. He was born Leon T. Gross in New Orleans, LA, in 1912 and took up the piano as a child, initially entertaining at parties under the name "Archie Boy," which became Archibald. His major influences included Burnell Santiago, Tuts Washington, and Eileen Dufeau, among his barrelhouse piano predecessors. Gross enjoyed a healthy career into his late thirties, despite the interruption of military service during World War II, happily playing at the bars in New Orleans and earning a living and a lot of local respect.

In 1950, he was signed to Imperial Records, part of the same wave that brought Dave Bartholomew and Fats Domino onto the company's roster, and Archibald made his first recordings in March 1950. During the summer of that year, he enjoyed his only national hit with the single "Stack-a-Lee," produced by Dave Bartholomew. He never saw the national charts again with any of his sides, recording for Imperial until 1952, and his subsequent attempts at making records were undermined by poor health, union disputes, and record-company difficulties. Ironically, though Archibald's early-'50s sides, such as "Ballin' With Archie," "Shake Baby Shake," and "Crescent City Bounce" -- all of which featured Bartholomew's brash trumpet playing, Joe Harris, and Clarence Hall, respectively, on alto- and tenor-sax, and as solid a rock & roll beat as anything on Imperial -- could have found an audience as late as 1958, they were forgotten and mostly overlooked after their initial release; and despite the fact that his playing and sound were clearly an influence on the work of such figures as Huey "Piano" Smith and Dr. John, Archibald wasn't even on the periphery of the rock & roll boom and never participated in recording even as an elder statesman in the manner of his slightly younger contemporary Professor Longhair (who cut whole albums for Paul McCartney's MPL imprint and for Alligator in the 1970s). Archibald never had a comeback, but he enjoyed long residences at such venues as the Poodle Patio Club, the Court of Two Sisters, and the Balloy Club. He died of a heart attack at the age of 60, mostly remembered by R&B scholars for his handful of sides for Imperial, and by his audience in New Orleans. ~ Bruce Eder
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Blowing The Fuse 1950

1. Information Blues

2. Sittin' On It All The Time

3. I Almost Lost My Mind

4. Rag Mop

5. The Fat Man

6. Double Crossing Blues

7. Hoot And Holler Saturday Night

8. Mardi Gras In New Orleans

9. 3 X 7 = 21

11. Pink Champagne

12. Stollin' With Bones

13. Well Oh Well

14. Still In The Dark

16. Come On Let's Boogie

17. Safronia B.

18. Count Every Star

19. Blue Shadows

22. Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere

23. Shotgun Blues

24. Teardrops From My Eyes

25. Boogie Rambler

26. Please Send Me Someone To Love

27. Old Time Shuffle Blues

x

Track List: Crescent City Bounce: From Blues To R&B In New Orleans, CD A

1. Stack-A-Lee Part 1

2. Stack-A-Lee Part 2

3. Shake Baby Shake

4. Ballin' With Archie

5. My Gal

6. Little Miss Muffet

7. Crescent City Bounce

8. She's Scattered Everywhere

9. Early Morning Blues

10. Soon As I Go Home

11. House Party Blues

12. Great Big Eyes (Those Little Reds)

13. Ballin' With Archie (Alt)

14. Living On Borrowed Time

15. Lovesick Soul

16. Second Hand Love

17. Dinah

18. Won't Settle Down

19. Misery

20. A.B.C.'s Part 1

21. A.B.C.'s Part 2

22. How Long Must I Wait

23. Sleep Walking Woman

24. You Can't Be Lucky All The Time

25. Sweet Old Chicago

26. Blood Stains

27. Hush Oh Hush

28. I'm Tired

29. Crazy Fox

x

Track List: I Love To Hear My Baby Call My Name (The Ego Song '45-'52)

2. Annie's Blues

6. Hey Mr. Gatemouth

10. Hey Tom Archia

11. Roscoe's Boogie

12. Ace's Wild

13. Crown Prince Blues

17. Professor Longhair's Boogie

18. Here Comes Smiley

20. Ballin' With Archie

23. Gatemouth Boogie

24. Pee Wee Special

28. Eddie's Blues

29. Muddy Jumps One

x

Track List: Jump Blue-Rockin' The Jukes

1. Jump Children

2. King Kong

3. Hucklebuck With Jimmy

4. Flying Home Part 1

5. Deacon Rides Again

7. Messy Bessy

9. Fine Brown Frame

10. See See Rider

11. He May Be Your Man

12. Yes It's You

13. Daybreak

14. When I'm In My Tea

15. I Got Loaded

16. A Fool In Love

17. Sax Shack Boogie

18. Cleo's Boogie

19. Great Big Eyes

21. Teenage Baby

22. Don't Leave Me Baby

23. Wine Wine Wine

24. Let The Good Times Roll

25. I Need You, I Want You

26. Jumpin' Tonight (Midnight Rockin')

x

Track List: New Orleans Blues (1940-1953)

Disc 1

1. Gamblin' Man Blues

2. Little Woman Blues

4. Walk Your Blues Away

5. Longhair's Blues

7. Living On A Borrowed Time

9. Going Back To Louisiana

10. New Orleans Boogie

11. Don't You Lie To Me

13. Going Back To The Country

14. Jealous Blues

15. Morning Train

16. Brother Bill

18. Please Don't Leave Me

Disc 2

1. Who Drank My Beer?

2. Lonesome Highway

4. Baby Please Don't Go

6. Never Trust A Woman

7. After While

8. Cryin' In The Morning

9. Have Mercy

10. Bad Dog

11. My Baby Left Me

12. Going Back Home

13. Lying Woman

14. Early Morning Blues

15. So Long

16. Hey Little Girl

17. Beggin' At Your Mercy

18. Annie's Blues

Comments

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shopping82
My Goodness, this guy jumps!

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