Thursday, August 31, 2006

Peppermint Harris

Peppermint Harris was born Harrison D. Nelson in Texarcana, TX, on 1925. Pep, as his friends called him, beat the odds and had a string of national hits the late 40s and early 50s.

It was a common practice for record company agents to travel from the music capitals of New York and Los Angeles to Houston to record talent on portable equipment. Pep was captured on disc this way in 1949. By that time Pep had as mentor Lightnin' Hopkins who accompanied him to Houston. Bob Shad's Sittin' in With label was the vehicle that supplied Harris' early work to the masses - especially his first major hit, "Raining in My Heart", in 1950. These weren't exactly formal sessions - legend has it one took place in a Houston bordello! Nor was Shad too cognizant of Pep's surname - when he couldn't recall it, he simply renamed our man Harris.

Harris moved over to Eddie Mesner's Aladdin Records in 1951, cutting far tighter sides for the firm in Los Angeles (often with the ubiquitous Maxwell Davis serving as bandleader and saxist). After "I Got Loaded" lit up the charts in 1951, Harris indulged in one booze ode after another: "Have Another Drink and Talk to Me", "Right Back On It", "Three Sheets in the Wind". But try as they might, the bottle let Harris down as a lyrical launching pad after that.

Later, Harris worked various day jobs around Houston, including one at a record pressing plant, before moving to Sacramento, CA, and then to New Jersey to be with his daughter. He died in 1999. MP3: Ain't No Business We Can Do


Post a Comment

<< Home