I just got a bit of sad news via a post to the blog (by his son) , that being George Jones of the Superlatives passed away on October 10th. Martez Thomas Jones has set up a Myspace page as a memorial to his late father.
‘I Don’t Know How (To Say I Love You) Don’t Walk Away’ is an absolutely brilliant record. If you missed it the first time around (back in May), dig it. If you know it then give it another spin in the memory of George Jones.
The Superlatives (George Jones on the right)
“Listen – I Don’t Know How (To Say I Love You) Don’t Walk Away MP3″
I hope everyone has had as excellent a weekend as we did here at the Funky16Corners compound.
The whole shebang got off to an excellent start on Friday when I found out that my work situation was indeed headed for a positive change. Nothing drastic but a whole lot more intellect intensive, as well as a bit more secure than what I was doing, so that’s a load off my mind.
Then, on the recreational tip we got some superior outdoor time in, thanks in large part to that rarity, a better than expected weather report. A good time was had by all.
As a result, I come to this Sunday evening (Monday morning to those of you in the EU and east) well rested and a good deal happier than I’ve been in a while.
I spoke to my man DJ Prestige earlier in the day, and plans are in effect to get down with a podcast/mix collaboration in the very near future. It should be a gas.
One of the most excellent by-products of spinning with the crew at the Asbury Park 45 Sessions, is that I always walk away from these nights with a slightly longer want list. The resident selectors – and the guests of course – consistently bring the heat, and despite my many years of rooting around in dusty basements (not to mention the dark corners of the interwebs), they always spin something that is new to me, which I start digging for as soon as I can.
As a result, since the Sessions got underway, there have been several outstanding additions to the Funky16Corners archive that first found their way into my ears after they dropped from the DJs hands and slipped under the needles at the Asbury Lanes.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be mixing in some of these gems (full credit applied) here on yon blogspot, and with any luck, you’ll not only dig the sounds, but may be suitably inspired to make your way to Asbury Park on July 6th for the next edition of the Sessions.
Back during the March installment, guest DJ Sport Casual was in the midst of a very tasty set of laid back grooves when he brought up the volume on a record that I had never heard before, which promptly knocked me on my ass.
That record was today’s selection ‘I Don’t Know How (To Say I Love You) Don’t Walk Away’ by the Superlatives. Though I said that I had never heard the record before, as soon as the grooves started to release their magic, it was instantly apparent that almost every one of the other DJs had (heard it), and that they were clearly psyched to hear it again.
I stepped up onto the riser where Sport Casual was spinning, asked what the record was, and as soon as I checked out the label, I vowed that I’d have a copy of my own as soon as humanly possible.
I have to step back a second to tell you that I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of synchronicity, and what followed in the ensuing weeks made me more of a believer than ever.
I was able to track down a nice clean copy of the Superlatives 45 in a matter of a few weeks, after which I recorded and scanned it for the blog, uploaded it to the server (and placed on the iPod) and gave it many, many listens. Not too long after I placed it in the on deck circle, I was flipping through the blogroll, perusing what my fellow soul and funk bloggers were feeling, when I happened upon a post by Odub over at the mighty SoulSides blog, in which he told of hearing ‘I Don’t Know How (To Say I Love You) Don’t Walk Away’ spun at a DJ night where he was guesting in NYC, and how hearing the song played over a great sound system had reminded him of the records’ greatness (he also posted an MP3).
Not long after that, I saw the record written up, included in mixes or pop up on sale lists several times over the course of the next few weeks.
For some reason, there was a Superlatives “vibe” coursing through the blogosphere. I suppose it might have always been there, and I had just been missing the forest for the trees, but either way, the Superlatives and I suddenly found ourselves on the same wavelength, and I was digging it.
At first, I reconsidered posting the song here at Funky16Corners. Then I listened to it about a dozen more times, and decided that a record this amazing deserved all the exposure I (and anyone else) could give it.
I can’t tell you much about the group, aside from the fact that they hailed from Detroit, recorded a number of 45s for the Dynamics label (from which both sides of this 45 were licensed by Westbound) in the late 60’s.
The record itself is a marvel.
Opening with the isolated sound of an open hi-hat (also used to great effect on the Cooperettes ‘Shingaling’), it is soon joined by ringing vibes as the supertight harmony magic of the Superlatives themselves. The thing that really hits you (almost literally) is the hard, hard drumming providing the pulse of the record. Though the drums, voices and vibes are the most prominent elements, listen closely for some excellent guitar running in and out all through the song, as well as some tasteful horn work deep in the mix.
Though there are so many aspects of ‘I Don’t Know How (To Say I Love You) Don’t Walk Away’ to recommend it – including placing the parenthetic subtitle in the middle of a title so long it’s practically a work of art on it’s own – that I would normally hesitate to select just one.
There’s a breakdown in the middle of the record in which the arranger comes dangerously close to having his reach exceed his grasp, yet manages to pull off what amounts to a bit of pure magic. The entire band steps back, with the exception of the horns which lay down a little fanfare – trombones in harmony with muted trumpets – after which the lead singer drops a single, extended, soulful ‘BABY!’, that sends chills down my spine every time I hear it. Just beautiful…
So thanks to you Sport Casual for bringing the Superlatives and my ears into the same room for the first time.
PS Both outstanding side of this 45 have been comped on the ‘Westbound Sound of Detroit: Sensational Motor City Groups 1969-1975, though should you wish to procure your very own vinyl original, you can probably do so at a relatively affordable cost (especialy considering the greatness of the record).