Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers (Tommy Chong at right)
“Listen – If You Love Her – MP3″
We have returned, following a long, long, long-assed day on Wednesday when we had to take my youngest son (leaving the house at 5AM) to have a surgical procedure on his ears. Short story being, some little kids are prone to repeated, painful ear infections which sometimes have to be treated by placing drains in the ears to relieve pressure therein. The end result is that the ear infections go away, the suffering is alleviated and the need to treat the infections over and over again with antibiotics is ended.
Things went very well with the little guy (despite having undergone general anaesthesia, which was the terrifying part for my wife and I) back to his old self by the afternoon. It was a hell of a way to spend the day, but if you have kids you’ll know the feeling.
That said, I’ve been hanging onto this track for a while, having digi-ma-tized it a few months back, simply waiting for inspirado to strike and push me to the keyboard. This should not be an indicator that the track is in any way lacking, because is it a fine bit of late 60’s soul, with an interesting story attached, but sometimes I just take a look at the ‘to be blogged’ folder and something just grabs me a little harder than something else.
As a child of the 70’s, former consumer of magical herbal refreshment and thus a longtime Cheech and Chong fan, I knew of Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers for many years before I heard a single note of their music.
Why do I mention these two seemingly disparate facts? Because they are in fact not disparate at all, with the legendary Mr. Tommy Chong having been a member of both the comedy team and the soul band.
Chong,a native of British Columbia hooked up with well-traveled soul journeyman Bobby Taylor in the early 60’s. Taylor and Chong soon joined forces in the band Little Daddy & the Bachelors, and as operators of a club in Vancouver, BC.
Legend has it that sometime in the mid-60’s members of the Supremes heard the band while passing through British Columbia and as a result they got signed to Motown. Their name changed to Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, the band recorded three singles and an LP for the label’s Gordy subsidiary. The first of those 45s, ‘Does Your Mama Know About Me’ was a Top 40 hit in 1968.
Today’s selection was the flip side of their second 45 (‘I Am Your Man’ which was in the high end of the Top 100), and is in my opinion the finest thing they ever did.
‘If You Love Her’ is a fantastic, upbeat slice of sweet soul with a propulsive beat, some wailing organ and guitar (courtesy of Mr. Chong) and a great vocal by Taylor.
I’m not familiar with the band’s recording history (as in where and with whom) but while there are certainly Motown touches to the arrangement (especially the background vocals) the Vancouvers really had a sound of their own.
Interestingly enough, Taylor is credited with having brought the Jackson Five (an opening act for the Vancouvers) to the attention of Motown. Taylor and the band also did time as the backing group for none other than Chris Clark (‘Love’s Gone Bad’).
Taylor went on to record a number of 45s and an LP for Motown and its VIP subsidiary. After leaving Motown Taylor recorded singles for a few different labels into the mid-70’s, with his last single being a duet with Thom Bell on Philadelphia International.
Tommy Chong – of course – went on to fame and fortune as one half of Cheech and Chong, later becoming a martyr in the insane, Republican “drug war”, spending time in federal prison for selling bongs. If you get a chance (and are so inclined) check out his memoir of that period, ‘The I Chong’ which is a pretty good read.
That said, I’ll be back on Monday with a very interesting edition of the Funky16Corners Radio podcast. I’ll be digging on Sunday with my new Numark portable (my trusty Columbia GP3 having gone to portable turntable heaven), so I’m sure there will be more solid sounds coming.
Have a great weekend.
PSS If you’re in the area tonight (Friday 4/18 ) and dig the sounds of old school hip hop fall by the World Famous Asbury Lanes for the latest installment of the Fourth and Kingsley Soul Club where your host DJ Prestige and his guest (and a fine gentleman) DJ Jack the Ripper will be rolling the wheels of steel. Kangols optional.
PSSS Tomorrow (Sat 4/19) is Record Store Day, in which the few surviving independent record stores left walking the earth celebrate their tenuous grasp on life. You already know that I think it’s a more than worthy cause. Folow the link above for more info.