If you’ve found your way here, no doubt you are a fan of Paul Black and The Flip Kings.
I have written about him many times. In fact, if you do a Google search for Paul Black and The Flip Kings, Google uses a picture of Paul and the band that I uploaded from the booklet of a Z104 CD compilation called “The Beat Of The City II LIVE!”. See upper right.
If you click on that pic it takes you to an images search and many of the pics are from the various post I have written, and my Vinyl Community videos. See the end of this post for links to my older Paul Black and The Flip King posts.
So largely the reason I am writing this post today is that I noticed that the Paul Black and The Flip Kings Facebook page has been taken down. I went there recently with the intention of getting a link to a YouTube video that was linked there and to my surprise it was no longer accessible. There was a lot of good stuff there, links and photos and some good conversations… alas it is gone. Not sure who ran it, or why it got pulled.
So, I decided to collect everything Paul Black and The Flip Kings into this one post. Sort of an Ultimate Collection. I’m always looking for more, so if you have something not listed here, please contact me. That is how I learned of a few of these releases, so always hoping there is more! Some of the items in this post are not listed on Discogs, so you might find some gems.
This is going to be a long post, and if there are any additional releases found along the way I will addend this post to include them. Sort of a living document.
Okay, here we go…
— Paul Black and The Flip Kings Studio Albums —
How How (1985)
Vinyl Only, released in 1985, recorded and mixed by Steve Marker and Butch Vig at Smart Studios in Madison Wisconsin. Yes, THAT Butch Vig.
One of my 2 copies is pictured above signed by the whole band. Track list:
(Got To) Roockabye My Baby
Ghost Town Gal
Is Everything Alright
Wee Wee Hours
I Cross My Heart
The Red Rooster
Rock My Blues Away
Don’t Make Me Get Up (1991)
This cassette only release I picked up at The Big Bull Falls Blues and Jazz Fest in Wausau Wisconsin in 1992 and I’m glad I did. It seems to be very hard to come by, and… it’s fantastic!
Recorded at Randy’s Recording in Cottage Grove Wisconsin, this is Bone Boy release 001.
Hand written (or at least looks hand written) name and side numbers. Here is a copy of the J-Card.
The Hard Way
Jackpot Junior’s Last Joyride
Ramblin’ On My Mind
Working With My Baby
Paulie’s Little Nightmare
Open Up The Back Door
Stay A While
Double Dealing Joker
Never Can Tell
Drop Of A Hat
Ruffled Up Wardrobe
King Dollar (1996)
Don’t remember where I picked this up, but in my opinion, it is the quintessential, must have Paul Black and the recording. This is it. I still get chills listening to “Dead Shrimp Blues”.
Didn’t even realize until I took this pic that I have a promo copy.
Recorded at House Of Blues Studios, Memphis TN this album was Paul’s masterpiece. Unfortunately, the House of Blues label folded soon afterwards. Still, this is an enduring slice of the sound of Paul Black and The Flip Kings at their very best.
The Last Time
Murder My Baby
(Makes Her Point) The Hard Way
Cross Eyed Baby
Dead Shrimp Blues
Paulie’s Little Nightmare
Live At The Harmony (2007)
Recorded live at the Harmony Bar and Grill over 2 nights in Madison Wisconsin in 2005. This CD has a couple sung by long time harmonica player Jerry Alexander, and of course some smokin’ slide guitar courtesy of Paul Black. This one isn’t listed on Discogs (I should fix that) and I called B-Side Records in Madison Wisconsin to secure my copy.
Murder My Baby
Had My Fun (Jerry vocals)
V-8 Ford (Jerry vocals)
Raining In My Heart (Jerry vocals)
This is the last full length release from Paul Black and The Flip Kings that I am aware of.
So, I love when people reach out to me about any of my posts, in particular the Paul Black posts. That is how I learned about some of these releases that I had never seen or heard of before. Recently I had a reader reach out (thanks Dan L. !) and mentioned a bit about Jerry Alexander. Jerry played harmonica (and sang) with Paul Black and The Flip Kings. Jerry is on “How How” and “Live At The Harmony” and you can check him out wailing on his harmonica in some of the YouTube clips below. At any rate, I was directed to Jerry’s website
Check it out and go buy his CD “Radiator”. He plays all the instruments and it is a solid set of music. Favorite track is “Switchyard”. Tell him The Aural Retentive sent you! Full details on Jerry’s CD in an upcoming post which I will link here.
So… why am I talking about Jerry here? It’s because he pointed me to ANOTHER release I didn’t know about. Now don’t get too excited, this release is definitely for the crazy Paul Black fan (like me) and it is not songs. It is Paul Black’s music however. Let me explain.
Paul Black – Whiskey, Cigarettes & Gumbo (2013)
This is a collection of samples, not songs. This collection from Sony is designed for the ACID software package where you can build your own music/songs from samples and loops and this collection is all Paul Black playing hundreds of guitar snippets. There are like 600. Again, don’t get too excited. Here is a sample sample.
There are folders of samples called stuff like Chunky And Funky, Blues Rock In A, Tremlo Slide in C, Strat Fingerpicking in A and Acoustic Slide, and a host of sub folders breaking those down. It’s a huge collection, and a great representation of his sound, but, in 3 to 4 second bits. There are 2 vocal bits that they captured as well. Paul’s voice is as distinct as his guitar.
If you are trying to find a copy of this it seems to have 2 different names. Paul Black – Blues Guitar OR Paul Black – Whisky, Cigarettes & Gumbo. The names seem interchangeable or it is labelled with both. Very confusing.
A huge thanks to Jerry Alexander who not only pointed out this release, but told me I could use 2 pictures from his site that have Paul Black in them. I think you may get a kick out of the mustachioed Paul.
The Jerry Alexander Band:
Paul Black and Jerry Alexander:
Thanks Jerry !
Now on to albums that have a song or two from Paul Black and The Flip Kings. These are releases that have cuts not just pulled from previously released albums.
— Paul Black and The Flip Kings Appearances —
On: Z104 Presents… The Beat Of The City – II LIVE! (1987)
This was put out by Z104 radio station in Madison Wisconsin and tracks were recorded in 1987. Paul Black and The Flip Kings have 2 tracks.
“Money” and “Red Rooster”. These are worth the price of the whole CD if you can find it.
Also available in cassette for you analog folks!
On Blues Down Deep: Songs Of Janis Joplin (1997)
This is on the House Of Blues label and features the song “Down On Me” credited to Paul Black. This is actually a great collection with some other notable blues greats.
On Madison Musical Legends (1997)
This CD has the track “Paulie’s Little Nightmare”. This one he recorded for the “Don’t Make Me Get Up” tape, but this is not that version. It’s a new version.
This CD may not be easy to find either, but the song is great and worth the effort to find it. I found mine at the Waunakee Public Library. They were selling off old CD’s prior to moving to a new location and I stumbled upon this. SCORE!
On The Mad Scene (1986)
This one is was recorded at Smart Studios and engineered by Butch Vig. I believe it only exists on vinyl. Paul Black and The Flip Kings perform “Love Reprieve”.
This one also has Madison greats Honor Among Thieves, so it’s a must if you can find it.
Those are all the commercial releases that I am aware of at this time, May 2020.
However, if you are willing to venture onto YouTube and check out some videos, which you can download and convert to audio (supposedly) you may find some gems to fill out your collection. Here is a list of the videos that I have been able to dig up. There are varying levels of audio quality, as you might expect, but worth the dig. There are a lot of videos that are just cuts from “King Dollar” and are not unique. I skip those. What I have listed is unique cuts only.
— Paul Black and The Flip Kings YouTube —
Recorded on the “Madtown Music Show” 101.5 WIBA FM, 12-28-97
These are 3 tracks recorded in the WIBA studio, so the sound is great. “Dead Shrimp Blues”, “Factory Girl” and “Murder My Baby”. Note, the “Factory Girl” video uses some pictures that they got from my site. The first time I watched it I was like, “that looks exactly like my ticket… wait it is!” The picture of the “Don’t Make Me Get Up” tape is a shot of it sitting on my laptop. They also used my shot of the back of the “Live At The Harmony” CD back cover.
Recorded live in the Spring of 2000 in Madison,WI
This is the song “The Last Time”
Recorded live at the Harmony Bar, Spring 2000. Madison,WI
Note: This in NOT from “Live From The Harmony Bar CD”
There are 2 songs. “Shake Your Money Maker” and “Crossroads”
Paul Black & Steve Cohen
The song is “Billy The Kid” with Paul on vocal and guitar and Steve Cohen on harmonica.
Flip Kings with Paul Black & Jerry Alexander – March 20, 2005
Harmony Bar, March 20 2005. This was filmed during the 2 nights that “Live From The Harmony” was created from, but this is not the cut they used for the CD. The CD cut of “Raining In My Heart” just over 4 minutes and this one is 7+. More Paul soloing. This is Jerry singing.
Paul Black and The Flip Kings New Year ’91
This was recorded at Club De Wash. It’s an Albert Collins track called “Baby What’s Wrong With You”. The harmonica is blazing (Jerry Alexander I think, can someone confirm?) and I love that at the end when he gets back onstage you can see Paul and the “Flip Kings” drum head and Paul’s foot tapping Chuck Taylor shoes. There is a cut partway through the song, but barely noticable.
Paul Black and The Flip Kings New Year ’90
This one has a lot of crowd and videographer noise but is a great cut. I believe it is the song “Feels So Good” by Foghat?! That’s what a quick lyrics search found for me. Anyone know if it was done prior to Foghat. I mean, I like me some Foghat, but I find this a little hard to believe, but it IS on the internet, so…
Lastly we have a batch of 6 videos.
Paul Black and The Flip Kings Club De Wash Blues Jam 1989
— Paul Black and The Flip Kings Miscellaneous —
Here are a few items that fall under the Misc. category.
First of all, I realized that there are very few images of show posters or ticket stubs of Paul Black & The Flip Kings. This may very well be a consequence of the local venues that he played and their using cover charges over tickets. Also, I was only able to see him live a couple times. So my personal collection of stubs is light.
Th first time I saw him was at a local venue called R + R Station in Madison Wisconsin opening for Buddy Guy. Talk about a great show. We were about halfway back in the crowd and it was incredible. It was a kind of spur of the moment as shows with my friend Dalton often were.
Paul Black & The Flip Kings / Buddy Guy R + R Station Madison WI 2-1-1992
The next occasion I was able to get to see Paul Black & The Flip Kings was in Wausau WI and the Big Bull Falls Blues and Jazz Fest. See Personal Recordings section below. That show was in a giant tent and we were on blankets and just chilling. That is the show where I picked up the “Don’t Make Me Get Up” tape.
The third time was back at the R + R Station. This time, knowing what kind of show I was in for, Dalton and I showed up early and staked a claim near the front of the stage. It was of course great. Sadly, there is no mention of Paul or The Flip Kings on the ticket. I debated whether or not to show the stub here because of that, but a picture of a stub sent to me later by a reader (along with some info) made me decide to show it. Paul Black and The Flip Kings opened that night I swear it. I have the show on tape. See below.
Another stub for a show that Paul Black and The Flip Kings played but got no billing on the ticket was sent to me by Jeff and Christina (thanks guys!) for a Stevie Ray Vaughn show here in Madison at the Madison Civic Center Oscar Mayer Theater on December 8 1985. Though no mention on the ticket, if you check out the Soul To Soul Tour Wiki, Paul Black and The Flip Kings are listed as opening act. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_to_Soul_Tour#Tour_dates
Another item that I can offer up here was pointed out to me by John Tubbs, a former Flip King! He kindly sent me an article about Jerry Alexander (see above) and a pickup band that he formed called The Groove Dogs. Now I had never heard of them before, but look at the list of members.
He also mentioned that there were tracks from The Groove Dogs to check out on Ben Sidran’s site. Now, be warned the tracks are currently down, but I reached out to Mr. Sidran and he gave permission to use 2 pics from his site and that he was working on getting The Groove Dog tracks back up in the coming months. Thank you Mr. Sidran! Here is a link to the specific Groove Dogs page, but while you are there check out his whole site.
Here are the photos and links:
http://bensidran.com/photo/1998-8-30-orton-11. That’s Paul on the left and Clyde Stubblefield on the right.
http://bensidran.com/photo/1998-8-30-orton-3. Paul in the hat.
If anyone has anything they think may make good additions to Paul Black & The Flip Kings MISC please send them my way. Contact form at bottom of post. Love hearing from other fans!
Lastly, there is one other source of Paul Black and The Flip Kings music that is hiding out there in hushed pockets of the internet and the personal collections of fans. Bootleg tapes. I have no doubt that there are tapes of Paul Black and The Flip Kings recorded at The Crystal Corner, Club De Wash and other favorite haunts of the band back in the day. I personally have 2 that I recorded myself back in the day when I dragged my bag of equipment to shows.
— Paul Black and The Flip Kings Personal Recordings —
Paul Black and The Flip Kings Big Bull Falls Blues and Jazz Fest 8-26-92
The sound on this one is super bass heavy. I was sitting in the tent and the bass was thumping hard and drown out the rest a bit. However, it was an excellent show and a great memory of the fest. He was the reason I went all the way to Wausau!
This was during my heavy bootleg period and I created my own moniker. Aural Retentive Tapes – The Finest In Home Taping – Dubs – Compilations – Bootlegs. I was a legend in my own mind. Well, maybe enthusiast? Hey… J-Cards are important. You feel me.
Paul Black and The Flip Kings R + R Station Madison WI 1-23-93
This one was recorded at the now gone R + R Station in Madison and we were very close to the stage and the sound is good. This was a great show. You can hear Dalton talk a bit on this one, which makes it even cooler. This was the 3rd time I saw the band and unfortunately the last. I never was able to get to another show though Paul still played the area for a while, then came King Dollar. As is evidenced by the “Live At The Harmony” Paul still played shows in the 2000’s, but I never got to see him play again.
There is no more Paul Black and The Flip Kings that I am aware of, but like I said, I have been pointed to a couple things by readers who tipped me to stuff I didn’t have.
Therefore, I am again asking that if you have info on Paul, shows recorded, or knowledge of any appearances on CD’s or releases I don’t know about…
please contact me!
As promised at the top, here are links to some more in depth on some of the releases as I wrote about them individually.