Everything Old Is New Again

SoulfulDetroit.com FORUM: Archive - After July 12, 2003: Everything Old Is New Again
Top of pageBottom of page   By john dixon ( on Thursday, July 17, 2003 - 02:21 pm:

Greetings forum folk, I've been a spook lately, lurking and reading, but not posting. New job, fewer net leisure time, blah yada. Hope eveyone is enjoying the summer. Here in coastal South Carolina, it's that special six weeks to two months period when the humidity is so extreme that it feels like a great big damp monkey has leapt onto your back the moment you step outside.

Since I rarely listen to commercial radio these days I haven't had time to get sick of them yet but it's kinda funny that the two songs that would get my vote for "song of the summer" are both built around samples or re-recordings of older tunes from "my era". That new song by Pink, "Feel Good Time" is based on a song by LA jazz-rockers Spirit, "Fresh Garbage", from '68. All the press is hyping that Beck wrote and produced the track but I hope Jay Ferguson has a writing credit as well since his original by Spirit is the foundation of the whole song. That horn sample on Beyonce's "Crazy In Love" is what makes that tune great. I know that I've heard that horn riff somewhere before. Seems like I read somewhere that it was from an old Chi-Lites record. Can anyone pinpoint the origin of that horn riff?

Following recommendations that I read here has rarely led me astray. Just the other day I finished reading Raynoma Singleton Gordy's book and it was great. Since the book was published over a decade ago, I wondered what Miss Ray has been up to in the interim and what's going on with her now?

Beat the heat & stay cool!
Peace y'all

Top of pageBottom of page   By Common ( on Thursday, July 17, 2003 - 02:39 pm:

Hello John,

Yes. That is the Chi-Lites' 'Are You My Woman' that that horn riff is taken from.


Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Thursday, July 17, 2003 - 03:24 pm:

Great seeing you out here, my friend. I miss reading your posts.

The Chi-lites' "Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)" is where Beyonce & Jay-Z took the horn riff from. The horns were originally arranged by Tom Washington (a/k/a Tom Tom 84). The single was released in 1970 (Brunswick 55442).

The Chi-lites' Eugene Record wrote the song and he does have a songwriting credit on Beyonce's "Crazy In Love" (boy, is he gonna have a merry Christmas when the royalty check comes in!).

BTW - I read Raynoma's book as well - what a life! I think she still lives in California (maybe one of our Detroit colleagues can tell us).

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By john dixon ( on Thursday, July 17, 2003 - 07:22 pm:

Kevgo, thanks for the kind words; you are truly the keeper of the castle. I've read, maybe here, that in clubs at the moment, DJs are looping this horn riff for five minute stretches and hysteria ensues. And yeah, Merry Christmas Eugene Record! Hope Jay Ferguson gets his too for the Pink/Beck song. After leaving Spirit, he notched a couple of top #40 hits: one big-"Thunder Island" in "78 and a minor followup-"Shakedown Cruise", followed by a prolific career in film and tv music.

At this very moment I'm listening to my freshly mailed from half.com "The Essential Sly & The Family Stone" and it sounds fantastic! I think I first learned of this reissue through posts here. Sly was a supernova, a total original and originator. Everybody, especially Motown, had to follow his lead while he burned and when he blew up, he blew right out. But this new CD restates his genius and is a blast to listen to, so let me close.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 11:31 am:

I bought "The Essential Sly & The Family Stone" the moment it came out. You're right as rain about Motown, especially Norman Whitfield, following his lead.

I have a DVD of a TV show from 1969-70 called "The Music Scene" and it contains a segment of Sly & the Family Stone performing two sets of hit medleys. It's just amazing to hear a big tight sound coming from this combo.

As the British group ABC once sang, "Sly was the original originator!"

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Eli ( on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 11:46 am:

Now you're talkin'!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By john dixon ( on Tuesday, July 22, 2003 - 01:24 pm:

I was in my local record store earlier today to pick up copies of Marshall Crenshaw's brand new "What's In The Bag" and Howard Tate's "Rediscovered". The commonality between the two? They both do Prince covers: MC does "Take Me With You" and Howard does "Kiss".

Anyway I had the clerk let me see the inner CD sleeve for the Charlie's Angels II soundtrack and sure enough, Pink's "Feel Good Time" is co-credited to Jay Ferguson along with Beck and William Orbit. So Jay WILL have a Merry Christmas royalty check like Eugene Record. I think that's so cool because so many people even remember Spirit that much anymore, their jazzy leanings almost certainly prevented them from more mainstream success in the late 60's. I wonder how it must feel to hear something you wrote in 1968 as the foundation for a big hit song in 2003?

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Tuesday, July 22, 2003 - 01:38 pm:

Wow....Last night I was looking at a clip of Spirit performing "1984" on "The Music Scene" DVD I own. What a group...

I also remember seeing Jay Ferguson lip-synching "Thunder Island" on American Bandstand when I was a lad.

Great band!
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By john dixon ( on Tuesday, July 22, 2003 - 02:10 pm:

cool remembrance Kevgo, I meant to say NOT that many people remember Spirit anymore.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Tuesday, July 22, 2003 - 02:50 pm:

When I was doing college radio many moons ago, the station's format was classic rock (which was all the rage in the 1980s).

Because our budgets were limited, we often had to use promo 45s from years past as sources instead of albums or CDs. So, when we played "I Got A Line On You" or "1984" it was from the original yellow-labelled Ode/CBS singles (and these suckers were in mono!). It wasn't until months later we purchased "The Best Of Spirit" on Epic/CBS that we were able to retire the 45s to the vault.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By john dixon ( on Tuesday, July 22, 2003 - 03:33 pm:

Kevin, was "The Music Scene" an ABC summer replacement show originally broadcast back in the late 60's? I may have seen that "1984" segment during its original airing....

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Tuesday, July 22, 2003 - 04:08 pm:

"The Music Scene" was aired on ABC-TV during the 1969-70 season. It ran from September 1969 until January 1970 on Friday nights (7:30-8:15 EST).

The show was originally hosted by the comedy troupe The Committee which included David Steinberg & Lily Tomlin, along with a guest host (i.e. - Tommy Smothers, Michael Cole of Mod Squad). Half-way through the series run, David Steinberg became the sole host of the series.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By john dixon ( on Tuesday, July 22, 2003 - 05:25 pm:

Kevin, I had the season wrong but that's the same show I remember. Boy, that really took some jogging of a few apparently damaged memory cells. I remember that it wasn't on very long but I do vividly recall seeing Spirit perform "1984". Thanks.

Top of pageBottom of page   By R&B ( on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 12:19 pm:


Top of pageBottom of page   By mc5rules ( on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 12:49 pm:

Spirit was a great band -- "The 12 Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus" was a big part of my teenage years. They made some terrible albums in the 80s and 90s, but I saw them live (as a 3-piece) somewhere around 1992, and they were surprisingly awesome...

Sadly, Randy California drowned in 1997...

Top of pageBottom of page   By SteveS ( on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 01:06 pm:

I saw Spirit at the Grande Ballroom in 67 or 68. They were quite amazing, and way out of the mainstream, although they gradually became a more conventional rock band. The concert was quite memorable. The PA system they would use at the Grande was always blisteringly loud, and it would generally take at least a half an hour or so to clear one act off the stage and bring on the equipment for next one, followed by endless mike checks and roadies banging on drums and playing the guitars, all with the volume at 11+.

I don't remember who Spirit followed, but after the first group cleared, the drummer (an older guy who I think maybe was Randy C's stepfather) walked out carrying an old, fully assembled 3 pc drum set, followed by Randy with a twin reverb and the piano player carrying a wurlitzer piano. The plunked the stuff down, plugged it in and just started playing, while the PA was still blaring. This had never happened before at the Grande. They played at much lower volume than most bands then, so it took a few minutes for the PA folks to realize that the band had started. The tune was "It's All the Same". That same night they also did Fresh Garbage, I Got a Line, and a long tribute to John Coltrane (he had died a few months before that night).

Top of pageBottom of page   By john dixon ( on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 04:55 pm:

Thanks for that cool recollection SteveS. Ed "Cass" Cassidy was the drummer and was, indeed, guitarist Randy California's step-father. No one would blink an eye today but, back then, Cass's shaved head was quite a unique fashion statement. Before Spirit, Cassidy at one point had played with the legendary Rising Suns, featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder.

mc5, the original lineup cut 4 lps, "Dr. Sardonicus" was the last. Released in 1970, it was one of the first great "headphone" records, with "trippy" panning effects and innovative production by David Briggs. When the original lineup split after "Dr. Sardonicus", their recorded output was awful; didn't even sound like the original band.

If I remember correctly, Randy California drowned in the ocean in Hawaii while saving his son, who had gotten caught in a riptide. His son made it out but Randy, tragically, did not.

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