Ivory Lee Semien was born in Louisiana but moved to Houston, TX in his teens. He worked as a drummer / vocalist in the 50s, mainly with the fine steel guitarist Hop Wilson, before starting his own Ivory label around 1960. He signed Wilson and produced several other artists as well as himself, mostly in a down home small band blues style, but also utilising music from the Pelican state such as zydeco and New Orleans R & B. A lot of Semien’s productions are a bit too “early” for me but this one by Elliott Wilson is right in the pocket.
A Lost Soul is a minor chorded blues in the manner of Houston’s greatest star Bobby Bland, with Frank Mitchell’s band doing a very convincing pastiche of Joe Scott’s arrangements. Wilson (any relation to Hop?) has a lighter tone than Bland but is still suitably downbeat in his vocal. I could listen to music of this calibre all day.
Come on / A lost soul ~ IVORY 338 (1962)
Contented / Memoris ~ IVORY 339 (1962)
Note ~ Semien produced a couple more tracks on Elliott Wilson which saw the light of day on a Home Cooking CD in 2007. But neither the slow blues of “Betty” nor the New Orelans flavoured “Sadie Hawkins Day” is a match for the track here. I don’t believe that either of these other songs got a 45 release.
Thanks to Pete Hoogers for the date of this 45.