R.I.P. Everything Man
January 16, 2012 6:05 PM   Subscribe

The world just got a little less funky. Jimmy Castor passed away today. You might know him as the doo-wop Junior who replaced Frankie Lymon in The Teenagers. You might know him forYou Might know his hits Troglodyte, Hey, Leroy, or maybe the Bertha Butt Boogie. You might even know his Magic Saxophone.

However you may know him, or even if you never heard of him, I am sure he would like to be remembered soulfully and funkfully,
and with much grooving and booty shaking. Here is a selection of his tunes to get your ass-jowls flapping; by all means feel free to post more.

(with The Juniors)This Girl of Mine (1957)

Say, Leroy (The Creature From The Black Lagoon is Your Father)
Leroy's in the Army

King Kong(1975) (live)


Psyche (It's Just Begun, 1972)
L.T.D. (1972)
E-man Groovin'(1976)
Party People (1979)
posted by louche mustachio (17 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Awww, damn. Jimmy Castor rules. His music was amazing and creative and super funky. RIP
posted by stinkycheese at 6:08 PM on January 16, 2012


He put the 'fun' in 'funky'.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:17 PM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bertha Butt and the Butt sisters, feat. the Troglodytes. I haven't heard this since it was new, but remember it, yes I do.

. <--- Funky period
posted by wallabear at 6:22 PM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by drezdn at 7:43 PM on January 16, 2012

I read that as Jimmy Carter and got all sorts of confused...

Never heard of Jimmy Castor, will have to have a listen.
posted by littlesq at 8:12 PM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Be funked.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:31 PM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Anybody listen to "It's Just Begun" without moving. Not gonna happen.
posted by zoinks at 9:08 PM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by Smart Dalek at 9:55 PM on January 16, 2012

Here's a piece I once wrote about his song "King Kong"; my original publication of this little essay is no loner available online

IT'S MONKEY TIME AGAIN. King Kong has been in the news lately, as a result of a fire at Universal Studios, which destroyed an attraction dedicated to the giant ape. It wasn't too long ago that Kong was a headliner as a result of Peter Jackson's remake of the 1933 film.

Well, if we're going to speak of the beast of Skull Island, I would like to offer up The Jimmy Castor Bunch's "King Kong." This may not be the best song ever to address itself to Skull Island's giant gorilla (to my taste, that would have to be The Groovie Ghoulies' "The King Kong Stomp"), but it's certainly the funkiest.

Harlem-born Jimmy Castor specialized in novel Latin Soul songs -- not the sort of Latin Soul that Jennifer Lopez currently claims to make, but a percussive blend of traditional African-American soul music and the polyrhythmic sounds of Harlem's Puerto Rican population, circa 1966. Castor was primarily a saxophonist, but, inspired by the chart success of Latin rave-ups like Joe Cuba's "Bang Bang" and Ray Barreto's "El Watusi," Castor added cimbales and vibes to his lineup.

But while Joe Cuba and Ray Barreto were authentically Puerto Rican, and their music often sounded like a slightly funkier version of traditional salsa, Jimmy Castor's background was in doo-wop and soul (in fact, had replaced Frankie Lymon as a vocalist for The Teenagers). As a result, his first hit song, "Hey Leroy, Your Mama's Calling You," while based around a distinctly Latin rhythmic section and electric piano figure, nonetheless featured a uniquely African-American chorus (a taunting call of "Go to your mama!") and a soulful saxophone solo. It also included a cackling laugh and a notably goofy sensibility.

That same goofiness would define much of Castor's music. He had a taste for unlikely covers ("Stairway to Heaven" and "Whiter Shade of Pale" come to mind), and his original songs were, well, often downright bizarre. He enjoyed some success, for example, with the cheerfully sexist "Troglodyte (Cave Man)," a cartoonish fantasy of prehistoric seduction, and its sequel "Bertha Big Butt," detailing a Stone Age woman's distinctive dance -- featuring the hypnotic motion of her oversized derrière.

In "King Kong," Jimmy Castor does very little beyond simply retell the story of the gargantuan gorilla. However, he does so over an infectious disco rhythm, and, for unexplained reasons, refers to the monster as "kemo sabe" throughout the song, with a distinctive Jimmy Castor pronunciation: "koma sange"; it is entirely possible that Castor was attempting to recreate the calls of the Skull Island natives. The song opens with a gong -- presumably also inspired by the natives, who gonged to offer their human sacrifice to Kong -- and then Castor lets out with rapid-fire simian whooping noises. Castor narrates his tale, excitably chanting such lines as "From everyone he knew he got respect / whoever failed to give it, he'd correct!" Underneath this, Castor has orchestrated a forceful, chunky funk line, featuring a wah-wah guitar and high-speed Latin drumming.

It's when Castor reaches the song's chorus -- the only sung part of the song -- that he best sums up King Kong: "He didn't dance or party / he spoke at times, but hardly," Castor tells us. "One woman heard his love call / but he was too big and too tall."

It took Peter Jackson three hours to tell exactly that same tale, and it took a fire the better part of a day to destroy it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:41 PM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would've been twelve at the time ...

The day ends up being pretty good, I guess. Danny finally shows up and no more talking about death and oblivion, just laughing and joking and getting high, and listening to the Top 30 Countdown. The Number One song in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Canada Day, July First 1972, is Outa Space by Billy Preston, but the best song is Number Three, Troglodyte by the Jimmy Castor Bunch, about a horny caveman who bashes a girl over the head with his club and drags her into the bush and fucks her. At least that’s what Danny says it's about. He’s still singing it right now, "Gotta get a woman, gotta get a woman, gotta get a woman," in the deepest voice he can do, which still isn't very deep.
posted by philip-random at 12:13 AM on January 17, 2012

posted by lapolla at 12:28 AM on January 17, 2012

posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:33 AM on January 17, 2012

posted by Thorzdad at 4:35 AM on January 17, 2012

Wow, the E-man, how did I miss that news!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:38 AM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

The 70s were a funky time. The Jimmy Castor Bunch... wow, does this bring back the memories. Doing The Bump to the Bertha Butt Boogie at a high school dance until black and blue, and hearing these tunes on the radio while we raced around in our parents' huge 8-cylinder cars.

Bump, bump, bump-a-dump, ba-dump-bump-bump, ba-ba-dump!

posted by kinnakeet at 5:13 AM on January 17, 2012


Peace will come
This world will rest
Once we have

It's Just Begun.
posted by freq at 8:14 AM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Not only was he briefly a Teenager back in the day, dude was also part of the 1958 Teenchord lineup with Frankie's brother Lewis Lymon. Awesome. Apparently, Jimmy and the other Juniors were childhood friends with the Teenagers and Teenchords. Howard Kenny Bobo of the Juniors also went on to sing with the Teenagers in the early 1960s.

Then, in the 80s & 90s, Jimmy became variously a Teenager or a Teenchord as the occasion demanded.

Here's Jimmy and Lewis singing with a 1994 version of the Teenagers, also featuring original Teenager Herman Santiago. The bass singer who does all the intros is former Laddin and famous oldies DJ Bobby Jay.
posted by snottydick at 10:48 AM on January 17, 2012

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