Chuck Colbert came from around Lafayette, LA and, like Earl “Duke” Jenkins, recorded for Lloyd Raynaud in the 60s who leased product out to Bee Records of Reading PA. A lot of Colbert’s music was rock ‘n’ roll or cover based which suited Bee’s more usual style of release but which can’t have helped his career down in the Pelican State very much.
Colbert worked with that very interesting musician J J Caillier as a keyboard player and backup singer in the early 60s, but went on tour with Solomon Burke as an opening act in 1963 and on his return to Louisiana went solo with Raynaud as his manager.
He got together his own band, the Untouchables, whom he used for his recordings at Cosimo’s New Orelans Studios. They comprised Dalton Francis (guitar), Leroy Etienne (drums), Carl Boudreaux (bass), Courtney Jean-Louis (trumpet), Gilbert Sam (tenor sax) and Richard Roy (baritone sax). The four tracks laid down made up his first two 45s for Bee, but they were all much more garage sounding than soul.
Much better were the tracks laid down by Colbert and the Soul Seekers in 1967 at Carol Rachou’s La Louisianne studios in his home town. This resulted in the funky “Oof” appearing on Bee, and this is now a highly regarded piece of dance music, with the flip the excellent Don’t Cry Baby. This has long been a personal favourite track thanks to Chuck’s emotive high tenor voice, the great background vocals and the charming piano accompaniment, so typical of Louisiana music. Love that rap as well.
By the end of the 60s Colbert was on the West Coast hustling a living as a musician, even auditioning for the singer’s job with Tower Of Power which went to Lenny Williams of course. In the 70s he returned to Lafayette, hooking up again with his old friend J J Caillier and recording a 45 for J J’s eponymous label. “Stay” is another track that has gained the approval of the dancers, but the flip A Fool Such As Me is another winner for me. This fine ballad shows Chuck at his very best preaching mode, in front of a classic arpeggio led southern soul band with restrained horns.
Colbert’s final 45 from the Golden Age featured another pair of covers in “Hitchhike” and I Stand Accused for Crowley’s Master-Trak. This latter was very much in the Isaac Hayes style which had had such an impact a couple of years previously. Enjoying that version a great deal means that I like Colbert’s a lot as well. Especially the vibrant, if occasionally out of tune horn section.
Since the millennium Chuck Colbert has enjoyed considerable success in the new southern soul market with a couple of CDs on Mardi Gras records and his own Genesis label but sadly the synthesised backing means that they are pretty much beyond the boundaries of this website, despite his vocals still being very much to my taste. Good luck to him in his career.
It’s a raid / Quit your crying ~ BEE 1823 (1963)
Land of 1000 dances / Money ~ BEE 1824 (1963)
Don’t cry baby / Oof (do anything you want) ~ BEE 10828/9 (1967)
Stay / A fool such as me ~ CAILLIER 102 (1975)
I stand accused / Hitchhike ~ MASTER-TRAK 3033 (1983)
You lied to me ~ MARDI GRAS 1049 (2000)
I don’t do that ~ GENESIS (2002)
Note - You can find several of Chuck Colbert's Bee tracks on the X-Bat double CD "The Bee Records Story 1957 - 74". But be aware that the only soul tracks are those by Colbert and Earl "Duke" Jenkins. Also Colbert's best track "Don't Cry Baby" isn't on the CD.