Lil Lavair and the Fabulous Jades – I’ll Be So Happy

Egon | Sep. 30, 2009 | Picks |

Listen: ““I’ll Be So Happy”

When I first went to reissue Lil Lavair and the Fabulous Jade’s funk masterpiece “Cold Heat,” I was forced to grab my master from a CD-R that the DJ Keb Darge had given me in lieu of a copy of his compilation on which the song was to be featured (the comp he was working on – one of his Deep Funk issues for BBE Records – never saw the light of day). I’d only ever heard the group’s A-side, “I’ll Be So Happy,” once, at Keb’s Deep Funk night in London. He played it to me as a favor: “I never really liked this song, the vocals were too Mexican,” he growled. Or something like that.

I remember the way that those Northern Soul boys complained when our reissue hit the stores. They couldn’t believe I’d forsaken the reason they want-listed this rare slice of So-Cal soul in the first place! “But I don’t have the damn record, just the license,” I feebly argued. “And none of the band members have a copy either!”

A year or so after our reissue came out, and after our anthology of the same name followed up my Funky 16 Corners compilation, I received a call from “Polka” Leonard Wojtowicz, the owner of the Lennan label and the man from whom I licensed “Cold Heat” in the first place. “I’m moving to Texas,” he told me. “And I’ve found some of my records at my house. Come get them, they’re yours if you want them.”

A few hours later and my girl and I were standing in the Upland, California home that Leonard had built forty years prior, looking at stacks of 45s (mostly Polka) and LPs (ditto) and, there amongst the Ukrainian school boy cum polka jamboree band issues, was a small stack of Lennan 45s. The Chocolate Light Bulbs. Flames Ltd. And Lil Lavair and the Fabulous Jades “I’ll Be So Happy/Cold Heat.”

That was one hell of an evening. Leonard even gave my girl a heart shaped box of chocolates and gave me a polka 45 pressed and issued in my hometown of Seymour, Connecticut. Man, I miss that dude. Last time I tried to find him in Texas and I got no where.

9 Responses to “Lil Lavair and the Fabulous Jades – I’ll Be So Happy”

  1. Nick Wojtowicz says:

    I’m Leonard’s son.

  2. DJ Kri-Baby says:

    Great story, great tune! Thank you for sharing, including the Wojtowicz fam.

  3. AXLSD says:

    I have the original 45, got it from my uncle who was a member of the group.

  4. Rob Gomez says:

    My Dad was the manager of The Jades. I remember when they would practice in out backyard during the summer. All the neighbors would be surrounding our yard just listening to the music. I still wish I had a copy of the 45.

  5. […] – Easy Thangs 11 // QUANTIC FT SPAKY WILSON – Don’t joke with a hungry man 12 // LIL LAVAIRE & THE FABULOUS JADES – Cold Heart 13 // CALENDER – Comin’ On Strong – Calender 14 // GEORGE […]

  6. ralph payan says:

    My friend Jess Macias and I started the fabulous jades. I played lead and rhythm guitar on the songs which I helped write . David Wood wrote the words for “I’ll be so happy” I also managed the band from the beginning until just before we broke up. Since then we have lost original members: Jimmy Conners,Jess Macis (bass)
    David Wood(tenor sax) and most recently Al Aguila (tenor sax)on 7/12/16.We miss you because the “JADES” ARE FAMILY! We were #1
    The Jades ruled Berdoo Peace!

  7. Alyssa Lopez says:

    And Ronny Moreno was the original drummer. – his granddaughter.

  8. Alyssa Lopez says:

    Ronnie Moreno * spell check

  9. ralph payan says:

    Ronnie was a great drummer. he was with us until he got drafted. hated to see him go. i met him a while back. it was great seeing him i hope all is well with him and his family

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