About a year ago we were sent a letter by a Mrs Cardwell who had discovered that Ace had put out a track by her husband Harold Cardwell’s old band the Nineteenth Whole. She was letting us know that the members of the band were still active and that our notes could do with a bit of an update. She also wondered if we would be releasing her husband’s sole album made for Eastbound Records. “Smilin’” was something we had thought about releasing, but we had continually stalled because there were only five tracks. We dug out our tapes and made Mrs Cardwell a CD of the LP for her and her husband’s own reference. When the first Hip Pocket CDs came off the production line, we realised this was the neatest solution to our dilemma, particularly as the LP artwork is pretty good.
The 19th Whole were an Indianapolis-based funky jazz outfit who were part of a very vibrant scene. Jazz guitar legend Grant Green had originally hailed from there and he recruited the members of the 19th Whole as his rhythm section for live dates. (Green also discovered the other great Indianapolis jazz outfit Funk Inc at about this time.) The attention that followed their work with Green allowed the Nineteenth Whole to sign with producer Bob Porter for Eastbound, a label he had set up with Detroit independent Westbound Records.
“Smilin’” is a fine organ funk groove fronted by Billy Wooten’s distinctive vibes. The LP was recorded at the Rudy Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey, produced by Porter. They were joined by guitar legend Cornell Dupree and percussionist Buddy Caldwell on the sessions. At around the same time as they recorded the Eastbound album the band also recorded a live album, now a big collector’s item, under the name the Wooden Glass featuring Billy Wooten. This record was recorded at the Indianapolis club that gave the band their Eastbound name: The Nineteenth Whole.
By Dean Rudland