Lloyd Price came from what he laughingly called a small family of “eight boys and three girls.” The Prices lived at 323 Butler Street in Kenner, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans.
Lloyd’s daddy Louis was a plumber and longshoreman, and his mama Beatrice ran a small cafe, the Fish ‘n’ Fry, selling fried perch sandwiches three days a week.
She is also noted by Kenner historians as the author of the finest potato salad ever made in the city.
Lloyd, as a seven year old, worked for two hours before school each morning hauling big blocks of ice for a neighborhood businessman named Mr Joe. His pay? .25c per hour.
As a further sidehustle, Lloyd, still a youngster mind you, earned .25c per shift working for a barman named Ike Santana who contracted the boy to do janitorial work at his juke joint.
It was at Mr Ike’s juke joint that young Lloyd first heard Louis Jordan bleating out Caledonia on the jukebox. He was instantly smitten. In a video interview 70 years later the expression on Lloyd Price’s face as he recalls the moment is pure radiance.
“From that moment on I knew what I was going to be doing the rest of my life.”
And what a life it was. Mr Price passed away at 88 years of age in May of this year. He commanded every stage he ever strode upon and earned millions of dollars as one of the biggest stars in the world of rock n roll music. There was a time when he was bigger than Elvis or the The Beatles.
Our grandparents loved Lloyd Price for his signature song, Lawdy Miss Clawdy which Price admitted he partially lifted from legendary Black New Orleans DJ, Okie Dokie Smith who used to bellow the phrase to better sell Maxwell House coffee.
And now Mr Lloyd Price is gone.
Thankfully his family held a fete in his honor yesterday in the Price family hometown of Kenner, just a few miles west of New Orleans. The Rivertown Theater was packed for the event and it was heartening to see dozens of elderly friends and family of Mr Price out for the event.
The highlight of the affair was 20 young schoolgirls, decked out in expensive wedding gowns, dancing and lipsynching to Lloyd’s big hit I’m Gonna Get Married.
Another segment of the show that demanded attention was the performance of Matilda Jones on Clean Up Woman. Betty Wright could not have done a better version herself.
As the reminiscences concluded a second line band sparked up outside the theater and the able-bodied folks danced out way to a nearby church for a repast of fried catfish, salad, neckbones and rice and the finest strawberry poundcake I’ve ever eaten.
Lloyd Price fed his admirers from beyond the grave.