You find the damnedest things on Facebook. I have several friends who post obscure 45s they find on YouTube, and the other morning one of them put up a record by the Sister and Brothers called “The Jed Clampett.” It’s a funk record that churns relentlessly for five minutes and gives a clavinet junkie all he can handle.
Based on the record’s label, we know that it was recorded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Thanks to DJ Prestige at Flea Market Funk and Dan Phillips at Home of the Groove, we know who the Sister and Brothers were—Geraldine Richards, billed as Sister Geri, was the lead singer; the other musicians would eventually rack up a fair number of session credits in Miami, backing the likes of the Bee Gees and various acts on the TK label. As the Sister and Brothers, however, they seem to have recorded only three singles between 1968 and 1970 before dispersing. (Here’s another song from that six-pack: “Yeah You Right.”)
My Facebook friend wisecracked that “The Jed Clampett” featured Beverly Hillbillies star Irene Ryan on wooden fish. This caused me to immediately flash on Irene Ryan’s actual recording career. In 1972, her performance of “No Time at All,” from the original Broadway soundtrack of the musical Pippin, was released as a single. For a time during my radio career, I had a copy of it hanging on the wall of my office, not because it was so strange that Ryan, an actress with credits going back to 1935, might have made a record—she had sung in a 1944 movie called Hot Rhythm, after all. No, I kept the record because it was released on Motown, and billed to Irene “Granny” Ryan. The collision between the Sound of Young America and The Beverly Hillbillies was too odd not to celebrate.
The next thing I’d like to know is why the Sister and Brothers titled their record “The Jed Clampett.” (There’s a definition of the phrase at Urban Dictionary, but don’t go there.)
Recommended Reading: Memories of KAAY’s legendary Beaker Street program at Radio Geek Heaven. Also worth a look for some amongst the readership, at the same place: “You May Have Worked in Twin Cities Radio If . . .” The site also has a vast collection of Canadian and Upper Midwest airchecks. (H/t to Dan Kelley of Classic Rock FM and Okemos Brewing Company, which despite the name is actually an online classic-rock radio station. Truly the best of both worlds.)