The Aristocrats Photos

Egon | Aug. 22, 2003 | Photographs |












THE ARISTOCRATS ORGANIZATION FEAT. MS. Linda BLAKELY

The Aristocrats “Don’t Go,” a relatively recent discovery in the deep funk circle, has confounded researchers since NYC-based collector Jeff Silverman bought the only known copy of the record from dealer David Forman’s auction list in the late 90s for a pittance. Since then, the battle scarred piece of wax has changed hands only twice, and currently resides in the collection of notorious record-hawk Ian Wright’s expansive library. It is thanks, in part, to his compiling the record on BBE’s “Sister Funk,” that every wet-behind-the-ears funk junkie want lists this gorgeous slice of soul. Against reason, of course. In fact, archvists based in the record’s city of origin – Louisville, Kentucky – insist that the record doesn’t exist.

But exist it does, one of two vinyl discs credited to The Aristocrats on the prolific Rondo label, an imprint owned by Louisville entrepreneurs Ray Allen and Hardy Martin. Distributed locally by car salesman turned producer Mel Yarmuth, whose whereabouts are as obfuscated as his records, The Aristocrats recorded tales have waited patiently to be told.

No one recalls why – or when – the Organization recorded their four sides, but some information can be gleaned from circumstance. All four sides were recorded during the same session, in Fultz Studio. Rogers remembers the session occurring in the mid 70s, a notion backed by Bridges, who played bass at the session before he graduated high school in 1974. Blakely, born in 1955, would have been in her late teens, and would have recently swept the Louisville Defenders’ Exposition Beauty Contest. It is assumed the Yarmuth released “Don’t Go” as a follow up to The Aristocrats “Be My Lady,” which was somewhat of a local smash.