Archive for April, 2008

Unifics – It’s a Groovy World!

April 2, 2008


The Unifics


Listen – It’s a Groovy World! – MP3″

Greetings all.

So…I took the day off yesterday to take care of my youngest son, who appeared to be in the throes of yet another ear infection. I took him to the pediatrician who informed me that he now had a perforated eardrum (aaarrrgghhhh!!) and needed to see a pediatric otolaryngologist aka an ear, nose and throat doctor.
As a result, he and I are spending the day together again today, alternating between picking up toys, surfing the web, watching kids TV (Imagine my surprise when I look up from the computer and Buddy Guy is playing guitar with a couple of puppets…) and worrying about how much work I’m going to have to catch up on when I go back tomorrow.
The good thing is that he’s actually in pretty good spirits (as long as you don’t accidentally hit him in the ear…), so things are pretty mellow.
A while back, during a visit to my in-laws my extremely righteous father-in-law hepped me to a record store in their area that I’d never been to before. As it turns out, despite a small amount of 45s, the store had the kind of stock I love, i.e. diverse, relatively inexpensive and plentiful. I didn’t get a mountain of wax, but I did get some cool stuff, among which was the record I bring you today.
Now, while they didn’t have that many 45s, in the box of sleeved records (there were a couple of tubs filled with heaps of unsleeved (shudder…) records) there were a couple of interesting items. Unfortunately I was digging without the benefit of my portable, so the records I bought made their way into my bag by virtue of interesting names and titles, which proves once again that you really shouldn’t go digging without a portable.
I bought a couple of garage/beat 45s that were both fantastic examples of how big a gap there can be between how cool a record looks and how cool it actually sounds. Fortunately neither of these cost me much, so I wrote them off as mistakes well learned.
The one soul 45 that I picked up – today’s selection – was by a group that I had heard of (but never heard), and had a title that verily screamed to me “BUY ME!”
So, I did.
Good thing to, because ‘It’s a Groovy World!’ by the Unifics is a winner.
The Unifics were a Washington, D.C. group that formed in the mid-60’s and recorded an LP and a number of 45s for the Kapp label. The group, which featured Al Johnson (who started the group in Newport News, VA as Al & the Vikings) , Michael Ward, Greg Cook and Harold Washington had their first hit in 1968 with their contribution to the “Judge” record craze ‘Court of Love’ (also the title track from their LP) which was Top 5 R&B and just missed the Pop Top 20.
The following year, they laid down ‘It’s a Groovy World’. Written and produced by Guy Draper, the record opens with a brief string flourish, things come to a halt and the singers come in with a fantastically stark bit of falsetto harmony. The record starts up again with a stylish, funky groove as Johnson weaves a tale of brotherhood, harmony (musical and otherwise), peace and love. Though it didn’t have the pop success of ‘Court of Love’, ‘It’s a Groovy World’ did make the R&B Top 40.
A year later the group split in half, continuing on with two replacements for a few more records on the Fountain label.
The Unifics have reformed with original member Al Johnson, and one of the 1970 replacements Tom Fauntleroy.
Unfotunately the CD reissue of their album is currently out of print.
I hope you dig the tune.

PS Check out Iron Leg for a brand new 60’s folk podcast.