Lou Donaldson: Well, you won’t believe it…I hate to leak out this information [CHUCKLES] because I’m gonna put it in my book. But anyway, I had a meeting with Al Lion and Frank Wolf. And I told them, I said, “Look, [HOLDS UP HANDS] I’m not recording any more music with any junkies. The junkies got to go. I’m going to pick the musicians, I’m going to pick the band, and we’re going to make this record.” So I picked this guy, Herman Foster, who played piano. He was blind. He was singing in a church. But I had been playing jam sessions with him up at Carneys, and I liked him. And I picked Dave Bailey, drummer. Dave was a liquor salesman, but I had played some stuff with him and I liked him. And I got Ray Barretto on the congas. And the bass player I had was Peck Morrison who lived with me. I was living in a housing project at that time up in Throggs Neck in the Bronx, and he got in, and he was my neighbor, so he played the bass. And we made this record and it was a hit. I couldn’t believe it. It’s just a cross between blues and bebop. It’s in between there somewhere. Naturally most of my stuff is what we would call on the soul side. Because of all the experience I had with my father and church music, spiritual music, which I heard, you know, all my life. And I just interject some of that into my playing, and that’s what it is. That record was a big hit. Frank Wolf told me it’s the first record that Blue Note got on the jukebox from New York to California. That’s a good tune. It’s got a good groove, good groove.
In this excerpt from the podcast, Donaldson talks about how that 1958 Blue Note recording came together.