ΔY FUNK COLLECTION #12

 

ΔY Funk Collection #12 adopts the theme of Collection #9. Again, the central theme in all the tracks is LOVE. To be more precise, LOVE in all it forms and shapes: from missing it, to the fear of losing it, to celebrating it. Don’t let the happy sounds fool you, some of these tracks have quite deep meanings. This ΔY Funk Collection is a bit longer than the usual 20-25 minutes. But oh well, more dancing & romancing for you!

 

Tracklist:

Womack & Womack – Missin’ Persons Bureau (Frankie Knuckles Paradise Ballroom Mix) (1989)

In line with Collection #9 we start off with a Womack. This time instead of Bobby, it’s his younger brother Cecil performing together with his wife Linda Cooke (later named Linda Womack). Music was running deep into the vains of the Womacks, a poor family from the Cleveland slums. Next to Bobby, Cecil had three other brothers: Harry, Curtis and Friendly Jr. As Bobby mentioned in an interview with the Rolling Stone magazine: “The neighborhood was so ghetto that we didn’t bother the rats and they didn’t bother us”. But this poor family had big dreams, their mother told the five brothers they could “sing their way out of the ghetto“. That’s exactly what happened, the brothers started singing in a gospel group, in which they later involved Sam Cooke. This group was called The Valentinos.

If you have been paying attention, the name Cooke rings a bell. Linda is namely the daughter of Sam, so you could really say the marriage between Cecil & Linda is a musical one. Womack & Womack was formed in 1983 and the group scored some hits with most notably the track Teardrops. In this collection we feature the track Missin’ Persons Bureau from the album Conscience. I personally love this track because of the smooth percussion sounds and no one less than Frankie Knuckles choose to highlight this aspect even more in his Paradise Ballroom remix. Much greatness combined in one song if you ask me! The lyrics to this song are quite easy going, but very catchy, talking about a recently lost love. If you like the track, I can also definitely also recommend Womack & Womack – Life’s Just a Ballgame.  It has a similar vibe and equally great percussion!

Garfield Fleming – Don’t Send Me Away (1981)

This track was one of only two records Garfield Fleming ever recorded, and it has become a late Soul anthem, an alldayer/weekenders classic for many people. In contrast to the Womacks, there is only a relatively small digital footprint for this artist. The main reason for this is that Garfield Fleming never released his music on any of the big labels like Atlanctic Records or CBS, but chose to release on a much smaller independent label called Becket Records. This label was created in 1980 by Ira Pittelman and Morris Levy in New York, NY but closed down in 1985. In the early eighties, independent artists and record labels really had a strong struggle, they were way less empowered than artists are today due to the internet revolution. Nonetheless, it’s not because the label only had a short lifespan, it didn’t release great music.

Watch out! This track has the tendency to activate a strong Last Song Syndrome (LSS) in your mind, also known as earworm! It’s catchy, it’s cheery, but the lyrics are quite deep. Garfield is begging his love to keep him around, as he can’t live another day without his love.

Glenda McLeod – No Stranger To Love (1983)

We go over to another modern Soul track, which got quite some attention in the mid eighties. Glenda McLeod is what you would call a one-hit-wonder. There was only a limited supply of this record. According to comments on Discogs: “the first press is extremely rare, only a handful copies are known to exist.” The average selling price of this 7″, with only the original track, an acapella version and an instrumental, goes for about € 100. Some sellers even go as high as asking over a daunting € 2000 for this single record. A bit too hyped in my opinion, as the track is nice but doesn’t really stand out in between the big amount of early eighties classics like Gwen McCrae’s Keep The Fire Burnin’ or Grace Jones’ Pull Up To The Bumper. However I did choose to feature this track into the collection, because it fits in nicely with the theme of love & hurt!

Evans Pyramid – Never Gonna Leave You (1978)

Evans Pyramid is the ghost child of Andre Evans, one of those musicians who few people have heard of, despite him having played with a number of important figures in jazz, soul and funk. Andre worked together with the likes of Isaac Hayes, the Delfonics and many more. Eventually, Andre began to play and record his own music, using what he’d learned from all the talent he had worked with previously. His first entry into music was drumming, but by the time he started doing solo projects he was capable of playing many of the instruments himself, only bringing in a limited number of external musicians.

Evans Pyramid only put out a few records, but they definitively have a special kind of signature sound. For me this record really sounds like the rush you get when you encounter a fresh love. With its dreamy sounds and soft voice, it creates a beautiful atmosphere. It makes you have the feeling of floating in midair as if all earthly worries are gone. Why would I ever want to give up that feeling, I’m never gonna leave you. Beautiful record, Mr. Evans!

King Tutt – You’ve Got Me Hung Up (1979)

Next in the collection we have King Tutt, aka William Tutt Jr. He’s also one of those musicians who have a very limited number of works released through an independent label, but every single one of them sounds great! King Tutt was mostly active during the eighties, also releasing records under the alias Tuttoo. You’ve Got Me Hung Up is definitely one of the first released songs. Interesting to note, amongst the many co-writers there is a guy by the name Antonio Womack, coincidence?

Donnell Pitman – Love Explosion (1980)

This disco banger is largely based on the record Ripple – The Beat Goes On & On which was released in 1977 on the influential Salsoul Records based in NYC. This song features very basic female lyrics chanting repeatedly “The Beat Goes On”. The love aspect only came in play when producer Archie Russel re-introduced his interpretation of the track three year later in Chicago on his own label Arpco. He basically kept large parts of the instrumental and added the soulful voice of Donnell Pitman on top. Instead of singing about the beat, Donnell is singing about the joy of euphoric love moments. Perfect addition to the collection!

William De Vaughn – Crème De Crème (1982)

The last track in the collection is one by William De Vaughn. It’s not the first time I pick a track by William. This soul singer also got featured in ΔY Funk Collections #10,  where I talked about his biggest hit record Be Thankful For What You Got released in 1974. This time, I picked a track which he released 8 years later called Crème De Crème. It’s a more unknown track of William, but definitely not one to underestimate: the poetic lyrics make for the perfect love letter. Interesting to know, William soon stopped recording music after he released Crème De Crème and had a 18 year break from the studio. In 2004, at the age of 57, William got at it again and his last releases actually date from last year.

That’s all for now! Craving for more? Check out the earlier ΔY Funk Collections …
ΔY Funk Collections #11 ~ “Minimal disco” records with a summer sound.
ΔY Funk Collections #10 ~ Influential soul records
ΔY Funk Collections #9 ~ The prelude of this collection, including romantic disco gems

Enjoy.

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