Thanks in large part to a very busy schedule this week (working on multiple podcasts, getting together with my brothers to practice for a reunion of our old band, getting ready for a record show) I’m continuing the recently instituted tradition of recycling some “classic” Funky16Corners material.
This Friday I bring you one of my all-time fave New Orleans/Eddie Bo 45s, ‘Horse With a Freeze Pts 1&2’ by Roy Ward on Seven B. This was originally posted in November of 2006, right after I got out of the hospital (that was a hoot).
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back on Monday with some more heat.
Look yo! It’s Eddie Bo!!
“Listen – Horse With a Freeze Pt1 MP3″
“Listen – Horse With a Freeze Pt2 MP3″
Originally Posted 11/06
Hey hey hey.
I’m sorta, kinda, almost, quasi back in the proverbial saddle (pity the figurative horse). My leg has moved from condition red (honey glazed ham) to condition yellow (Lean leg of New Zealand lamb, hold the mint jelly). It’s still swollen – especially compared to the other leg), but much less so, and considerably less painful since last week.
I have to tell you, this really knocked me for a loop. In the last 10 months I have made some serious improvements to my health and well being, and I was feeling like “Healthy Larry” was back in the hi-youse, and “Sick, get his ass to the hospital Larry” was gone for good. Well, sometimes even the best immune system finds itself vulnerable to unexpected attack by a rogue germ or two, and this was that time.
This has led me to two basic conclusions:
1. I hate the fucking hospital. I know that it’s there to help people, and if I hadn’t gone there I would have eventually expired. However, if ever a place was engineered to make you feel helpless while simultaneously bombarding you with images to make you feel your mortality more acutely, the hospital is it brother. The nurses were mostly nice, the doctors seemingly competent, and my roomies were even OK. It certainly could have been worse but I would much rather have been glued to my desk making a living, and doing stuff with my family (other than yelling at my toddler not to hit Daddy’s leg, or Daddy would cry…). Seriously…
2. Numero dos, they need to get the interweb installed at all hospital beds, so that fools like me can continue to keep in touch with all the reality/news that they don’t show on basic cable. I almost blinded myself web surfing on my cell phone.
Anyway…both are minor considerations. As long as I’m healthy, ambulatory, sentient/non-comatose and capable of forming a coherent paragraph or two, I shall continue.Today’s selection is two sides of one of the hottest funk 45s to drop out of the Crescent City EVAR (to borrow a Soulstrut-ism). I’ve been holding it in abeyance for a long time. At first, I wanted to wait and include it in a mix, but then I decided that it was too heavy a selection to have to share space with a bunch of other songs, so then I was going to keep it aside for a special occasion. So, I was all ready to drop it as part of the big Second Anniversary festivities, but then I got sick and everything got all bollixed up. Although I got the Anniversary Mix uploaded, the ensuing weekly string of heat was not to be (I promise something better next year).
So, anyway, I’m sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, my lovely wife is out running errands with the baby, and I managed (after much struggle) to get Miles down for a nap. I figured, what better time to sit down at ye olde computational engine and compose something between a blurb and an epic poem that would convey to you how I feel about Roy Ward’s ‘Horse With a Freeze Pts 1&2’.
I’ll start off by hepping you to the fact that ‘Roy Ward’ was probably no more than another pseudonym for the mighty, soul-a-riffic-, funkadelic, New Orleans-tastic Mr. Eddie Bo. Unlike the few occasions where Bo was leading a band behind a long lost singer (James K. Nine or Doug Anderson for instance), it would appear that ‘Roy Ward’ was in fact Bo, performing under an assumed name for God knows what reason.
Listening to the vocals on the track, I’d say (with many years of listening to the man’s work carefully) that it is extremely likely that it is in fact the voice of Eddie Bo you hear sidling over to Wilson Pickett’s side of the street, with the YEEOOOWS and what not.
There is no doubt whatsoever that Mr. Bocage (as it says on the drivers license Eddie has to whip out when he wants to buy beer) wrote this song, nor that he was largely responsible for arranging the band you hear dropping the freeze-breaks right and left.
There is also no doubt that ‘Horse With a Freeze Pts 1&2’ is one of the great dance-craze rip offs of al time, attempting to glom onto not one, but two current (circa 1968) dances, the Freeze, and of course, the Horse.
Now ‘The Freeze’, as far as I can ascertain was little more than a soulful take on the whole musical chairs enterprise (hybridized with a touch of freeze tag?), in which when the music stops, the dancers have to stop moving. The two main models that come to mind are Alvin Cash’s ‘Philly Freeze’, and the Stereo’s ‘Stereo Freeze’. I know there must be other ‘Freeze’ records out there that I’m not thinking of. Not to mention that a dance like this almost certainly started not with a song with ‘Freeze’ in the title, but rather a record with stop/breaks in it that would facilitate the freezing. If anyone knows the genesys of this particular trend, I’d love to hear it.
The other inspiration was the explosion of ‘Horse’ tunes that followed Cliff Nobles monster hit of the same name (follow this link to a story I did about the ‘Horse’ craze).
That said, I’d go as far as to say that Bo pretty much outdid the competition, because ‘Horse With a Freeze’ is no less than a solid kick in the ass. The record starts with a very promising drum break, a scream from “Roy” and a rolling intro from the band (including a quote from the ‘William Tell Overture’, aka the theme from the ‘Lone Ranger’). Things churn along at a funky pace, with the singer dropping in every now and then with commentary/dance suggestions before the whole band stops cold. I spun this last year at a gig and some of the folks in the crowd were taken by surprise by the silent breakdowns. After each break things star right back up, with a great rolling guitar, piano and of course those snapping drums. Part two is basically more of the same, high quality gravy.
No matter how you slice it, ‘Horse With a Freeze’ is certainly one of the hottest sides that Eddie Bo conjured up in the late 60’s, and that’s saying a lot.
If you wish to possess your own copy, expect to lay out a couple of bucks, as this is not an easy one to find. When it does turn up, it pulls serious coin. That said, unlke many a high priced funk 45, this one is worth every cent (and then some).