E Rodney Jones & Larry & the Hippies Band – Right On Right On (Sex Machine)

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E. Rodney Jones

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Listen – Right On – Right On (Sex Machine) MP3″

Greetings All

Though this is a little late for inclusion on the mid-week tip, I will be following it up on Friday with a brand new edition of Funky16Corners Radio (as well as another one next week), so hopefully my tardiness will be forgiven.
Today’s selection is a cut that I happened upon some years ago during the early stages of my Jerry-O fixation.
Jerry-O (read the story here) was one of those soul cats who managed to record a lot of 45s, but also managed to do so in some fairly well hidden nooks and crannies. Though he had a couple of minor hits, Jerry-O (Jerry Murray to his mama) managed to release a number of records on his own label that also saw release on larger labels, while simultaneously recycling instrumental tracks in a way that created a fair amount of discographical confusion. This is itself was not unusual, as the world of 60’s, small label soul and funk is rife with re-used tracks, oft times given new sets of lyrics and performed by different singers, sometime merely renamed. It’s just that Jerry-O and his associates made something of a cottage industry of the practice, which oddly enough is beside the point – kind of. How it is not beside the point is that Jerry-O was also a producer and songwriter and often worked on records only in one or both of those capacities.
‘Right On – Right On (Sex Machine)’ (which he co-produced with Bernie Hayes) is one such record.
Billed to E. Rodney Jones & Larry & the Hippies Band (triple word score for getting not one, but two ampersands in a band name!), ‘Right On – Right On (Sex Machine)’ is actually a slightly retitled cover of the stoner funk opus ‘Sex Machine’ from the epic ‘Stand!’ LP by Sly & the Family Stone. The tune was also covered by no less that the mighty Woody Herman on one of his funky big band albums for Cadet.
Now, I love me some Sly (more on the master soon), but I have to say that E. Rodney (and Larry and his Hippies) do the best version of the tune that I’ve ever heard.
That the vocal track is so mellifluous has much to do with the fact that Jones was no itinerant funk-meister, but rather one of the most popular/powerful radio personalities in Chicago. As the voice of WVON (the Chess-owned black radio powerhouse) Jones was one of the great radio voices of the last half of the 20th century, and – as any great DJ – a tastemaker. He also – like many of his contemporaries, including Jocko Henderson, Georgie Woods, John R, and Jerry Blavat – made a record or two in his day. That none of these great voices was much of a singer (in the classic sense) matters not a whit. That they managed to crank out a couple of tasty soul novelties here and there only adds to their status as legends.
Jones recorded 45s for Twinight, Double Soul, Tuff and Westbound, some of which – like ‘Soul Heaven’ on Twinight have become highly collectable.
Larry & the Hippies also recorded their own sides for another great Chi Town label, Toddlin’ Town.
‘Right On – Right On (Sex Machine)’ manages to take the original, somewhat lysergic vibe of the original and “turn it up to eleven” by ladling on extra helpings of wah-wah guitar and organ, and sounding like he was sitting at the mike with a huge shit-eating grin, his face illuminated only by the orange coal on the end of a big, fat joint. I’m not suggesting that E. Rodney was in any way a consumer of the kind bud, but rather that his success at creating the impression that he was – via his enthusiastic reading of the song – is a testament to his greatness as a purveyor of the theatre of the mind* (if you know what I mean, and I think you do…).
The “lyrics” – created expressly for this record, since the original was a 13 minute instrumental workout – combine a certain zen minimalism with a kind of black power-lite message, all delivered by Jones in a blissed out fashion.
Jones eventually relocated to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he went on to a very successful second chapter as an influential blues DJ. Sadly, Jones passed away in 2004.

Peace

Larry

* According to IMDB,  Jones appeared (at least his voice did) in ‘Three the Hard Way’ and ‘Mahogany’

6 Responses to “E Rodney Jones & Larry & the Hippies Band – Right On Right On (Sex Machine)”

  1. fleamarketfunk Says:

    Right On as always. I like the groove, it kind of creeps up on you and just hangs there. Looking forward to next week.

  2. Brian Marshall Says:

    I was wondering…..I have this as a 45 on the Double Soul label and I’m wondering if this is the same “Right On Right On” as the one you featured on Westbound. Forgive me if that sounds like a stupid question, but I can’t pick up MP3s on my computer right now.

  3. funky16corners Says:

    Brian
    While I can’t say for sure if it’s the same exact recording (I suspect it is), it is the same song.
    Larry

  4. Steve Douglas Says:

    A great side. I happened to find a copy at a flea market in Baton Rouge years ago and took it (and a few other records) to the station he worked at there, WXOK-AM.

    He was very cool (even though I had a HUGE mohawk at the time) and autographed the label for me and even recorded some of the other 45s I brought to carts and played them on his afternoon blues show.

    I was saddened by his death when I heard about it but took solice in knowing that the guy had one hell of a life.

    I always listened to his show while cooking in the kitchen of the “jazz” cafe I worked in and it really helped me get through the days there.

    Thanks for posting this…

    Steve

  5. michael berry Says:

    Hi

    I’m so sorry to hear Mr.Jones has passed. He was a very good friend of my father Lawrence Berry.

    You can reach me via e-mail. My name is Michael Berry. I knew Mr.Jones when I was a young boy living in Chicago… or you could say Mr.Father was a very close friend and we use to call “THE MAD LAD” Uncle Rodney. We visit his house all the time. My Father Lawrence Berry aka ” THE KING SPINNER” worked with Mr.Jones in St.Louis and Chicago. My Father was also a disc jockey on KPRS in Kansas City, Mo. Before we move to Chicago in the 1960,s we use to vist Mr.Jones and his family in St.Louis before they moved to Chicago.

    I would love to get in touch with Amanda or Rodneys son. We both played drums and use to play Rodneys sons drums when he lived in Chicago in the Mid to Late 60’s.. I have visited the night club Amanda and Rodney owned when we lived in Chicago.

    Please pass my phone number and e-mial to the family please in you can. My father died in Chicago when I was still a young boy and my brother and I moved backed to Kansas City. I am trying to find out information about my father from anyone who knew my dad. I think Amanda will remember our family.

    Michael Berry
    214-914-3880
    noexcuseinc2003@yahoo.com

  6. devil dick Says:

    figures i go do a search and the master has already hit this most excellent 45 up already!
    Cheers!
    dd

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