One of the hardest-working R&B stars to come out of the New Orleans area during the Oldies era would have to be Lloyd Price, who even today – after more than fifty years of performing – still has a few irons in the fire.
Growing up in nearby Kenner, young Lloyd’s education in the music of New Orleans included everything from singing in his church choir to hanging around the jukebox in his mother’s small restaurant. While still in his teens, he joined with his brother Leo to form a local musical group that eventually began to draw wider attention, and led to a 1952 recording session — one of historical significance.
With a moonlighting Fats Domino handling the piano, Lloyd sang what would become one of the all-time classics of New Orleans R&B music — “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” It made the young singer a star, and when he followed up with several other good songs, including “Tell Me Pretty Baby,” and “Ain’t It a Shame,” he appeared to be on his way to a long career.
Unfortunately the Korean War – and the draft – was next for Lloyd, and when he finally got back to music in 1954 he found that the ever-fickle public had moved on to singers like Little Richard and others. But Lloyd began rebuilding his career and making recordings, first for his own newly-formed company and later through a tie-in with ABC-Paramount.
By 1958, he’d generated a huge number-one hit with “Stagger Lee,” an updated version of the old song “Stack-A-Lee,” made more appealing to mainstream audiences. As the years passed, Price continued to veer toward a more pop-oriented sound and he sold a lot of records with songs such as “I’m Gonna Get Married,” and one of his biggest, “Personality.”
He also continued to follow his business sense, re-forming his own recording company and finding success not only with his own music but also by promoting newcomer Wilson Pickett. But trouble was right around the corner. Price’s longtime business partner Harold Logan met a violent death, and music began to seem less important.
Over the last couple of decades Price has still found the time to sing once in a while, but has become more and more involved in business investments and opportunities. For one thing, he’s very involved in a specialty food company that might have its roots in a childhood spent at his momma’s restaurant. In any case, he’s still workin’ hard.