Jimmy Castor confesses that, right now, he is feeling elated. And one look at the charts or a few hours listening to nearly every r&b radio station throughout the States will give you the reason why. Currently, Mr. Castor (with his bunch) are hot with their second album for Atlantic, entitled "Butt Of Course" and the single culled from it, "The Bertha Butt Boogie". It seems that Jimmy is one of the busiest guys around — it took us more than a few days to track him down, since he was constantly on the road playing at places as far apart as Toronto, Charleston and Virginia "which kinda messes with you because the climate changes are fantastic and you find you have to carry both summer and winter clothes everywhere!" the man explained.
Prior to his current album, Jimmy's debut for Atlantic was entitled "Mr. Everything Man" and he confesses it did not do quite as well as everyone had anticipated. "The problem, I guess, was that the album was just too diverse and covered too many different kinds of music. But that's what I'm all about — I don't want to stick to just one thing because it stunts my creativity. The strange thing is that the current success has spurred renewed interest in that album and cuts like "Didn't I Blow Your Mind" and "Love's Theme" are getting played. In fact, "Love's Theme" was a big hit down in Trinidad at the latter part of last year and I went down to the Caribbean, which was really nice. Anyway, after "The Everything Man" didn't do as well as we'd hoped, I sat down with John Pruitt (my partner) and decided we should go for something more directly commercial. The thing is, I write when it comes time to record, although just sometimes I may get inspiration on an idea and work on it then and there. Generally though, I just do it when I have to. Well, right now, the world just needs to laugh — so we got some songs which we knew would have that kind of appeal." The initial release from the album was "Bertha Boogie" but Jimmy explains: "The company released it around November and like so many records, it just got lost at Christmas. But it just wouldn't stay buried. You could say it came right out of the concrete! Right now, it's still heavy on the charts so we haven't planned the follow up. But I'm sure that the airplay we're getting on "E-Man Boogie" which is certainly helping to sell the album, will mean that it will be the next 45. I should mention, though, that some of the other cuts like "Potential" are also getting played — maybe we have one or two more hits to come out of the album yet!"
Jimmy has been finding just a little of his time to work on other acts — he produced the Gary Byrd record which came out through R.C.A. last year called "Soul Travelin' ". "The record didn't do as well as it might because the company didn't know where we were coming from — which is basically the reason why I left R.C.A. anyway. But since then, I've gotten with Atlantic and things are just great because the people are really behind me. Now, I want to get more into production and I hope to be doing one side of the next Black Ivory album on Buddah. Plus we've written some tunes for specific acts: I have a song for Ben E. King, one for Blue Magic and one or two we'd like to get to The Spinners." The gentleman is anticipating getting back into the studios later on in the year but whereas in the past he's gone in and done an album in just three days (!), he's now cutting things as and when he can. "Being busy like we are right now, means that it seems best to do it that way".
Naturally, Jimmy is immensely looking forward to his current European jaunt because it'll be the first. "I've had plenty of offers before but they were never really right. Maybe I just wasn't ready but I hope that maybe Europe will be ready for me now, too. When we get back, we'll be spending some time out on the West Coast concentrating to a large extent on television — things like "The Midnight Special" and "Soul Train". Things are all go right now for us but we always seem to get busy when we have a hit record — it's natural. But you know, what I really want out of it all is not the fame. I just want to be able to leave something usual to posterity for when I'm gone — you know, something that people can remember me by!"
On a parting note, Jimmy couldn't really give me any explanation as to why nearly all his hits seem to centre around "pre-history". There's "Troglodyte", "Luther The Anthrapoid" now "Bertha Butt" and "The E-Man". Well, whether it's pre-history or what, Jimmy Castor and his Bunch seem certain to be bring a lot of good and creative music the way of many during the coming years.
About the Writer
David Nathan is the founder and CEO of SoulMusic.com and began his writing career in 1965; beginning in 1967, he was a regular contributor to Blues & Soul magazine in London before relocating to the U.S. in 1975 where he served as U.S. editor for the publication for several decades and began being known as 'The British Ambassador Of Soul.' From 1988 to 2004, he wrote prolifically for Billboard, has penned bios, produced and written liner notes for box sets and reissue CDs for over a thousand projects. He returned to London in 2009 where he has helped create SoulMusic.com Records as a leading reissue label.