This is a repost (original date 4/2006) of what I consider to be a seriously slept on funky side by the Chairmen of the Board, especially interesting as it backs a huge hit, so it should be cheap and plentiful. I hope you dig it, and that you all have a most excellent weekend.
See you on Monday.
Stand up and salute! It’s General Johnson.
Download/Listen – From the Days of Pigtails (and Fairy Tales) – MP3
Friday has arrived once again, the weekend is upon us, and I must take this chance to say, huzzah! Kudos to the inventors of the weekend, the 40 hour work week (as it is), labor laws and health insurance (again, as it is…). I invoke these great – and often forgotten – pioneers, because if they ever had the opportunity to return from the great beyond, and see who’s running this country, they would, to the last, expire again immediately, their ghostly faces twisted in disbelief.
<<At this point I have excised some non-timely political rant. Should you wish to read it, check out April 2006 in the archives. – LG <<
So, anyway, how’s about some music? I’ve gone on before about the joy of discovering a great new track, and haven’t been above admitting the instances when I had been unable to see the forest for the trees. This is one such instance. A few weeks ago, via a Myspace friend, Spain’s own Gruyere DJ, I received a link to download his New Years Eve DJ mix. I did so, and the mix was excellent, featuring a wide variety of rare funk nuggets, as well as a bunch of stuff that was not familiar to me. One such track appeared less than 15 minutes into the mix, and it was a killer. I immediately recued the tune (three of four times), listening to see if I might recognize the singer(s), or if any of the lines might reveal a familiar title. No such luck. So, I tried to contact Gruyere DJ to ask him who it was. The Myspace link wouldn’t load. So, I posted a query over at Soulstrut, figuring that one of the learned heads over there would recognize the refrain. Snake eyes…. Then I tried Google-ing the lyrics, only to discover that the main line in the chorus also appeared in a Jackson Five song (this was clearly not the same song, nor was it the Jackson Five). I thought I had reached a dead end. Then Myspace started working again, and I got a message through to my amigo in Spain. He got back to me in short order, and informed me that the track was ‘Since the Days of Pigtails (and Fairy Tales)’ by the Chairmen of the Board. So I start searching around to see how I an get myself a copy of this funky gem, and lo and behold, it turns out to be residing on the b-side of a huge hit, ‘Give Me Just A Little More Time’. Well, dip me in shit and call me stinky! Naturally, I found a nice copy for under ten bucks, and had it drop through the mail slot a few short days later. If you’ve heard the song (which I’m sure someone out there does), you’ll already know how smoking hot it is. If you’re as blissfully ignorant as I was, it should come as a very nice surprise indeed. The Chairmen of the Board was one of the top acts in Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Invictus/Hot wax stable. Formed in 1968, by General Johnson – who had previously been in the Showmen, who’s Beach Music anthem ‘It Will Stand was a hit in 1961 and 1964 (for Minit and Imperial) – Danny Woods and Harrison Kennedy, hit the top ten several times between 1970 and 1973. ‘Since the Days of Pigtails (and Fairy Tales)’ appeared on their 1970 debut LP, and was credited to Ronald Dunbar and Edith Wayne. The Dunbar/Wayne credit, which was also attached to Freda Payne’s ‘Band of Gold’ (among other tunes) was in fact a pseudonym for Holland-Dozier-Holland who were still contractually obligated (as songwriters) to the Motown organization. That LP also featured the original recording of Patches (written by General Johnson) which went on to be a huge hit for Clarence Carter. While the a-side of the 45, ‘Give Me Just A Little More Time’ is one of the most fondly remembered early 70’s soul classics – which strangely enough did better on the Pop charts (#3) than the R&B charts (#8) – it’s killer flipside is what we’re hear to talk about today. Starting off with a funky guitars and tambourine, the good General drops in with the first few lines before the congas, and then the drums kick the tune into gear. The first chorus takes things to another level entirely, bolstered by the horn section. The arrangement is clean, mean and delicious, with enough kick to please the funk fans and the dancers, and plenty of hooks for the pop crowd. Why this didn’t catch on to create one of the great two-sided hits of all time is beyond me. I’d place it up there with ‘Band of Gold’, and Laura Lee’s ‘Crumbs off the Table’ as the absolute best of Invictus/Hot Wax. So the next time you’re prowling garage sales and flea markets, bring along an extra quarter. You’ll be able to get your own copy of this killer. You can thank me then.