Timmie Rogers aka Super Soul Brother
“Listen – Super Soul Brother MP3″
Greetings and salutations.
It’s just about Friday hereabouts (and everywhere else in the world as the sphere revolves) and the approaching weekend finds me weary and somewhat dispirited.
Work is wearing me down like a pencil eraser. This is not really due to the actual stresses of the job (the flow is steady, and relatively without interference) but rather the peripheral, procedural stupidities of my new assignment. I came out of an environment where I was pretty much left to my own devices (as long as the work got done), stepped directly through the looking glass and wound up in a place where even the slightest scratch below the surface reveals a fabric woven from a combination of Orwellian regulations and the vise-like pressure applied from above (in which shit rolls downhill).
I won’t trouble you with the details, because if you are unlucky enough to labor in any strata of corporate America you’ve probably experienced at least a little bit of the relentless stupidity that I’m talking about, and will thus be getting (as they say) my drift.
It’s just that sometimes I think this new job is slowly eating away at my intellect, kind of like a slow-drip version of ‘Flowers for Algernon’.
It just leaves me praying for the weekends in a way that I thought I never would again.
That said, I figured there must be some of you out there feeling the way I do (to varying degrees, depending of course on the level of contempt you have for your own position).
Aside from the embrace of one’s family and friends, the only other way I know to do battle with oppressive stupidity is by feeding your head as aggressively as possible with sights, words and sounds (tastes and smells too, natch) that remind you that no matter how grey and Top 40 the world around you seems to be, there is in fact light to be had at the end of every tunnel.
With me, the mind-fuel of choice is more often than not books and music. As long as I have something cool to listen to and interesting to read the suits of the world will never be able to fold, spindle and/or mutilate my psyche.
In furtherance of such an effort, I bring you yet another suitable weekend-opener, guaranteed to put some pep in your step, glide in your stride and a smile on your face (at least I hope so).
As an inveterate digger of crates, and having spent much interweb time with same, I have seen the LP ‘Timmie Rogers as Super Soul Brother – alias Clark Dark’ many times. I never ventured to pick it up (whether by lack of inclination or coin, or both), but a few months ago I spied a copy of a 45 from said LP, that being the title cut ‘Super Soul Brother’, purchased same, and have since given it many a spin (on turntable and I-to-the-Pod).
I think that as soon as you click on the link, download and play the tune, you will find that Timmie was a hoot, and that back in 1970 he laid down a funny rap atop a funky track, and all was cool.
What I didn’t know – until recently – was that Timmie Rogers was all of 55 years old when he laid down ‘Super Soul Brother’, and was not by trade a singer, but in fact a veteran comedian who had been working in vaudeville and nightclubs since at least the early 40’s. Rogers (born in 1915) started his career as part of a Nicholas Brothers-esque dance duo (Timmie & Freddie) before moving on to standup comedy (where his contemporaries were cats like Nipsey Russell and Slappy White). It was in that capacity that he appeared in TV and movies (from Ed Sullivan to Sanford & Son to Good Times) up into the 90’s. He was also a songwriter and creator of novelty records prior to his Clark Dark days.
How Timmie Rogers found his way to Stax subsidiary Partee Records, and how the single from the LP (or was the LP and expansion of the 45??) ended up on Cadet, I do not know.
What I do know is that ‘Super Soul Brother’ is an unusual admixture of a contemporary (for 1970) vibe – I love the line about George Wallace riding his bicycle through Harlem – and bits and pieces of old-school Chittlin Circuit-ry (like the Amos & Andy reference). It also bears mentioning that the opening segment of the record bears a passing resemblance (lyrically) to the rap in ‘What Is Soul’ by Funkadelic. It manages to be both funny (if occasionally cornball) and funky, with a driving beat and an eminently sample-able piano riff running through the song.
Besides, how can you miss with a funnyman that sees Aretha Franklin as the granddaughter of Benjamin?
Have a good weekend.