Who was/is Bill Coday ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
Get Your Lie Straight
More than a few promising young soul singers benefitted from recording with trumpeter/producer Willie Mitchell’s sizzling house band at Royal Recording Studios in Memphis. Bill Coday was one of those lucky gents, and he ended up with a hit as a direct result.
Born William Chew, Jr. on May 10, 1942 in Coldwater, Mississippi, he was in his early teens when he began performing in nightclubs, spending some time singing in Arkansas with guitarist Son Seals’ band. He moved to Chicago in 1961, working as Chicago Willie but making little headway until his 1969 discovery by singer Denise LaSalle. She and then-husband Bill Jones operated their own Crajon label. “We produced quite a few artists, and had a little success with it,” says Denise, who renamed their new find Bill Coday. They shipped him off to Memphis to work with Poppa Willie. Bill’s first two Crajon offerings, the two-part Sixty Minute Teaser and a self-penned You’re Gonna Want Me, went nowhere commercially.
The LaSalle-penned Get Your Lie Straight changed that in a hurry. The steady-surging groove set up by Willie’s rhythm section (guitarist Mabon ‘Teenie’ Hodges, his brothers Leroy on bass and Charles on organ, and drummer Howard Grimes) and Mitchell’s horns simmered, and Coday’s blues-drenched vocal was the perfect focal point. Get Your Lie Straight got big enough to merit being leased to Galaxy Records out in the Bay Area; it ended up perched at #14 R&B in early ’71.
Galaxy also ended up with Coday’s next Mitchell-helmed single, the similarly bluesy When You Find A Fool Bump His Head, which peaked at #48 R&B that summer.“I got busy after 'Trapped By A Thing Called Love' came out, and was no longer able to really do too much work with (Crajon) after that,” says LaSalle. “We started leasing our other acts to other companies.” One more Galaxy single, I Got A Thing, surfaced by Coday before he reverted to Crajon in 1972 for I’m Back To Collect, arranged by Memphis trumpeter Gene ‘Bowlegs’ Miller. This time, Denise licensed the single to the major Epic label, though it failed to chart.
Coday faded out after that, resurfacing much later with a series of CDs for the Ecko imprint. He died June 7, 2008 following a massive stroke.
- Bill Dahl -