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From the Land of Band Box Records

Billboard Magazine ran mini-biographies from 1959 into the early 1960’s sometimes providing us with interesting tidbits – Each biography was generally tied to a current release on behalf of the artist

Dave “Baby” Cortez: (“Happy Organ”)

Charted Number 1 Hot 100 – Number 13 R&B Charts

Dave "Baby" Cortez | Way Back Attack

Dave Cortez (from “Way Back Attack”)

David Cortez Clowney was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1938 – still living today (May, 2020).  His first instrument was piano – playing for nearly a decade before taking up his trademark instrument the organ.  Cortez was also a singer and was a member of two different Detroit-area groups, “The Five Pearls” and then the “Valentines” and then the “Sheiks” for a very brief time.

The Valentines had recorded previously but disbanded before David could enter the studio with them.

The “Five Pearls” would sign on with Aladdin Records out of Los Angeles and release one single.  In the Fall of 1955 Cortez and the Pearls would cut two singles on Atco Records – with two sides co-written by Cortez.

The Pearls (1) aka Five Pearls aka Howie & The Sapphires (2)

The Five Pearls – Cortez at Piano (“Doo-Wop Groups” Blog Site)

Cortez would stay with the Pearls for nearly two years before joining the Valentines in 1956 followed by a group called The Jestures before going solo with his organ.  Cortez was a very successful artist placing 8 singles on the nation’s Hot 100 charts and several more on the ‘Bubbling Under’ charts.

Cortez worked his way through a series of singles on several labels before landing on Clock Records.  He had been struggling to cut records with vocals before settling in with his organ. Cortez would be the only artist to chart for Clock which cut records from 1954 until the mid 1960’s

Dave’s “Happy Organ” holds the distinction of being the first instrumental to hold the number 1 position on the Billboard charts.  Cortez placed one long play on the Hot 200 charts but released a handful of LP’s.

What is very impressive is the number of artists who recorded David (Cortez) Clowney’s compositions and not generally selecting his instrumentals but vocal tracks.

Dave “Baby” On A Budget

I was taken in by a rather large number of budget LP’s featuring Dave Baby – so curious – I pulled out my go-to book Brian McFadden’s “Rhythm and Blues On Budget LP’s” and got my answer: “Several of the songs on the Crown album were published by Doug Moody.  Doug was the son of Wally Moody who ran Clock Records….”

“The songs Dave (Cortez) recorded for Clock were made available to all of the budget labels including Crown.”

Brian goes on to explain to us that – as was the story so many times with the Budgets, that the Crown record “Dave Baby Cortez and Jerry’s House Rockers” includes only two tracks by Cortez!

But a least Dave Baby had the distinction of being one of the subjects chosen to become a “Fazzio” LP cover!

He took a nearly four-decade break away from recording music but released a record on Norton Records in 2011.  Like so many other recording artists – many of his masters were forever lost in the infamous 2008 Universal Studios fire.  Reading that listing is a depressing exercise and a sad topic for another time.

The Day the Music Burned - The New York Times

The 2008 Universal Fire

Dave Baby Cortez Discography

Dave Cortez recorded for an amazing number of labels finding chart success with many!

45 – Aladdin 3265 – The Five Pearls – Please Let Me Know b/w Real Humdinger – November, 1954

45 – Cat 116 – The Sheiks – Walk That Walk b/w The Kissing Song (Sweetie Lover) – March, 1955

45 – Atco 6057 – The Pearls – Shadows Of Love b/w Yum Yummy – October, 1955

45 – Atco 6066 – Bells Of Love b/w Come On Home – March, 1956

45 – Ember 1010 – The David Clowney Band – Movin’ ‘N’ Groovin’ b/w Soft Lights – November, 1956

45 – M&F – Dave and Bob – Two Old Sparrows b/w Whoa Bessie – February, 1958

Bob is “Big Bog Kornegay” – This was a novelty break in record spinning off “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke and “Good Golly Miss Molly” by Little Richard and a few others

45 – Paris 513 – Dave Clowney And His Band – Shakin’ b/w Hoot Owl – March, 1958

King Curtis played sax on this single

45 – Okeh 7102 – Honey Baby b/w You Gave Me Heebie Jeebies – May, 1958

45 – Clock 1006 – You’re The Girl b/w Eeny Meeny Minie Moe  – December, 1958

45 – Clock 1009 – The Happy Organ Number 1 Hot 100 – Number 5 R&B Charts b/w Love Me As I Love You – May, 1959

45 – Clock 109 – The Happy Organ b/w Tootsie – May, 1959

45 – Clock 1012 – The Whistling Organ Number 61 Hot 100 Charts b/w I’m Happy – May, 1959

45 – RCA Victor 4242 EP – Dave Baby Cortez – Track “The Happy Organ” from this EP Charted Number 118 Bubbling Under Charts – May, 1959

45 – Clock 1014 – Piano Shuffle Number 103 Bubbling Under Charts b/w It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie – September, 1959

45 – Clock 1016 – Dave’s Special Number 109 Bubbling Under Charts b/w Whispers – December, 1959

45 – Clock 1020 – Deep In The Heart Of Texas Number 105 Bubbling Under Charts b/w You’re Just Right – February, 1960

45 – Clock 1024 – Cat Nip b/w Talk Is Cheap – May, 1960

45 – Clock 1031 – Hurricane b/w The Shift – October, 1960

45 – Clock EP 4039 – Dave Baby Cortez And His Happy Organ – 1961

45 – Clock 1034 – Summertime b/w Walking With You – February, 1961

45 – Clock 71824 – Tootsie b/w Second Chance – May, 1961

45 – Clock 1036 – Tootsie b/w Second Chance – May, 1961

45 – Clock 71851 – The Happy Organ b/w Piano Shuffle – August, 1961

45 – Winley 259 – Jammin Part 1 b/w Jammin Part 2 – 1962

45 – Julia 452 – Rinky-Dink b/w Getting Right – 1962

45 – Winley 267 – Scotty Part One Number 128 Bubbling Under Chart – b/w Scotty Part Two – 1962

45 – Chess 1829 – Rinky Dink Number 10 Hot 100 – Number 9 R&B Charts b/w Getting Right – June, 1962

45 – Chess 1834 – Happy Weekend Number 67 Hot 100 b/w Fiddle Sticks – September, 1962

45 – Emit 301 – Fiesta Number 96 Hot 100 b/w Hey-Hey-Hey – September, 1962

45 – Chess 1842 – Tweedle Dee b/w Gift Of Love – November, 1962

45 – Chess 1850 – Hot Cakes! 1st Serving Number 91 Hot 100 b/w Hot Cakes! 2nd Serving – March, 1963

45 – Chess 1861 – Organ Shout Number 76 Hot 100 b/w Precious You – July, 1963

45 – Chess 1874 – Happy Feet b/w Gettin’ To The Point – October, 1963

45 – Argo 5462 – I’m Gonna Stay b/w Let It Be You – February, 1964

45 – VIM 518 – Let Me Come Home b/w You’re Just Right – February, 1964

45 – OKeh 7208 – Popping Popcorn Number 132 Bubbling Under Chart b/w The Question (Do You Love Me) – November, 1964

45 – Roulette 4628 – Tweetie Pie Number 135 Bubbling Under Charts b/w Things Ain’t What They Used To Be – October, 1965

45 – Roulette 4679 – Count Down Number 91 Hot 100 Chart b/w Summertime – May, 1966

45 – Roulette 4693 – Sticks and Stones b/w Do Any Dance – July, 1966

45 – Roulette 4717 – Belly Rub Part 1 b/w Belly Rub Part 2 – December, 1966

45 – Roulette 4759 – Hula Hoop (Shoop Shoop) b/w Come Back (To Lonely Me) – October, 1967

45 – Roulette 4783 – Hot Chocolate b/w Soul Groovin’ – December, 1967

45 – Speed 1014 – Dave Cortez with the Moon People – Happy Soul (With A Hook) b/w Fishin’ With Sid – March, 1969

45 – T Neck 907 – I Know Who You Been Socking It To b/w I Turned You On – August, 1969

45 – T Neck 925 – Inflation b/w Feels Like The World – October, 1970

45 – Sound Pak 1001 & We The People – (Do It) The Funky Dance b/w There’s A New Man – June, 1971

45 – Sound Pak 1003 – Twang Taang b/w I Picked A Winner – August, 1971

45 All Platinum – Unaddressed Letter – 1972

45 – All Platinum 2339 – Funky Robot Part One b/w Funky Robot Part 2 – 1972

45 – All Platinum 2342 – Unaddressed Letter b/w Funky Robot Part 1 – January, 1973

45 – All Platinum 2345 – Hell Street Junction (vocal) b/w Hell Street (instrumental) – February, 1973

45 – All Platinum 2343 – Someone Has Taken Your Place Number 45 RB Chart b/w Born Funky – April, 1973

Dave Baby Cortez Long Play Discography

LP – RCA Victor 2099 – The Happy Organ – 1959

LP – Clock 331 – Dave Baby Cortez – “Dave Baby Cortez” – 1960

LP – Clock 60647 – Dave Baby Cortez and His Happy Organ – 1961

LP – Chess 1473 – Rinky Dink Number 107 – September, 1962

LP – Coronet 201 – The Whistling Organ – 1962

LP – Coronet 223 – Playing His Great Hit Rinky Dink – 1963

LP – Design 163 – The Happy Organ – 1963

LP – Crown 357 – Dave Baby Cortez and Jerry’s House Rockers – 1964

LP – Roulette 25298 – Organ Shindig – May, 1965

LP – Roulette 25315 – Tweetie Pie – 1966

LP – Roulette 25328 – In Orbit – 1966

LP – Premier 9027 – Jimmy Smith/Dave Baby Cortez – Starring Jimmy Smith Also Starring Dave Baby Cortez – 1967

LP – T-Neck 3005 – The Isley Brothers Way – 1970

LP – All Platinum 3011 – Soul Vibration – 1972

LP – Hi-Life 59 – Dave Baby Cortez – Year Unknown

Cortez Compositions Recorded by Other Musicians

45 – Herald 478 – The Turbans – I’m Nobody’s – May, 1956

45 – Baton 232 – Anne Cole – Each Day b/w In the Chapel – October, 1956

45 – DeLuxe 6099 – Herb Zane – Let Me In Your Heart – December, 1956

45 – Ember 1002 – Gloria Lynn – Affection b/w Cool Daddy – 1956

45 – Royal Roost – Eddie Cooley and the Dimples – Hey You! – April, 1957

45 – Winley 218 – The Jesters – So Strange b/w Love No One But You – July, 1957

45 – Herald 506 – Big Bob Kornegay – Stay With Me Baby b/w Humdinger – August, 1957

45 – RCA Victor EP 4107 – The Twin Tones – Before You Go – 1957

45 – Atlantic 1171 – The Jaye Sisters – Pitter Patter Boom Boom – January, 1958

45 – Mercury 71288 – Bobby Lewis – Yay, Yay, I Feel So Gay – April, 1958

45 – Felsted 8524 – Anna English – Baby Come Home – August, 1958

45 – ABC-Paramount 9951 – Joey Nichol and the Rock-A-Fellas – Ashamed – August, 1958

45 – Gone 5048 – The Isley Brothers – The Drag – December, 1958

David’s association with The Isley Brothers here obviously led to his signing on with their T-Neck label later on

45 – King 5140 – Titus Turner – Tears Of Joy – June, 1958

'58 Bluesy R&B Doowop TITUS TURNER/Grp Tears Of Joy Fill My Eyes M- HEAR NOW

45 – Mercury 71390  – The Del Vikings – How Could You – December, 1958

45 – Madison 105 – The Perri’s – Jerrilee – 1958

45 – RCA Victor EP 4273 – Bobby Brookes – Little Girl (Is It True) – 1958

45 – Decca 30948 – The Flamingos – Jerri-Lee – July, 1959

45 – DeLuxe 6181 – Otis Williams And His Charms – Pretty Little Things Called Girls – 1959

45 – Jaro 77003 – Big Bob (Kornegay) – Your Line Was Busy b/w What Am I – 1959

45 – Bell 111 – The Gay Blades – The Happy Organ – 1959

45 – Clock 1028 – Jan and the Radiants – It Is True (I Still Believe In You) – September, 1960

45 – Clock 1029 – Bruce Morrow – Slop Around the Clock – 1960

This is “Cousin Brucie” famous East Coast DJ

45 – Guaranteed 218 – Laurie Davis – Don’cha Shop Around – January, 1961

45 – Herald 568 – Joanie Taylor and the Tabs – You Lied b/w Dapper Dan – December, 1961

45 – Ember 1085 – Judy Clay – Do You Think That’s Right – June, 1962

Judy Clay on Discogs

45 – Hit 26 – The Boots Purcell Combo – Rinky Dink – August, 1962

45 – Porwin 1003 – Paul Winley and the Blazers – Jambo – 1963

45 – Chess 1887 – Maurice & The Radiants – I Gotta Dance To Keep My Baby – March, 1964

Maurice Eugene McAlister – Was also in the duo “Maurice and Mac” – who was also a “Radiant”

45 – Liberty 55729 – Sounds Incorporated – Rinky Dink – August, 1964

45 – Jin 186 – Clint West and the Fabulous Kings – Happy Weekend – 1964

45 – Ascot 2176 – Jack Gold and His Orchestra – The Happy Organ – April, 1965

45 – Fellatio 103 – The Five Chancells – Love No One But You – 1965

(Not listed by David co-wrote this track)

45 – V-Tone 1003 – Billy Harner – I’ve Got To Check You Out – 1966

Was known as “The Human Perculator” – His backing group was “The Expressions”

45 – Columbia 44452 Mongo Santamaria – Sugar Cane Hombre b/w Bonita – February, 1968

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