Mr. Bobby Freeman
“Listen – Bobby Freeman – C’Mon and Swim Pt1- MP3″
I hope the day finds you well, or at least well enough to leap from your chair, join Mr. Bobby Freeman and do the Swim.
This is one of those records that knocked me on my ass the first time I heard it.
I don’t recall exactly when (or where) that was, but I was struck immediately by the power crammed into the grooves on the 45. ‘C’Mon and Swim’ is – like Toussaint McCall’s ‘Shimmy’ or Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers ‘I Gotta Go Now (Up On the Floor)’ – a record that carries with it the energy of any half dozen run of the mill sides, sounding as if the studio in which it was created was left in ruins (this of course being a good thing).
This has a lot to do with the creative force behind the record, a young cat by the name of Sylvester Stewart, who would go on a few years later to rename himself Sly Stone, then proceeding to set the world of soul on fire.
Sly was the heart and soul behind a lot of the Autumn Records catalog, working as writer, producer, arranger and performer (sometimes all at the same time) for a wide variety of pop, rock and R&B acts. This jack of all sounds vibe was never more apparent (prior to the formation of the Family Stone that is) than in ‘C’Mon and Swim’.
Freeman, who had already had some chart success with ‘Do You Want To Dance’ in 1958, was at a minor ebb in his brief career when he hit with ‘C’Mon and Swim’ in 1964.
Freeman and the band come like a bull out of a rodeo chute, beginning the record at full blast. The record is a fantastic example of an intersection of rock and soul (see the collected works of Edwards, Chuck) with wild guitar solos, distorted combo organ (dig, if you will those organ breakdowns late in the record), pounding drums and a blazing horn section. Though Freeman delivers a wailing vocal, Sly Stone deserves at least as much credit for making this record as great as it is.
The record bins of the 1960’s were overflowing with inane dance craze records, but ‘C’Mon and Swim’ blows a good 90 percent of them right off the turntable.
Freeman failed to hit the Top 40 with his follow-up record with ‘S-W-I-M’ and subsequently dropped out of sight.
So roll up the rug, put this one on and wreck the joint.
George Carlin RIP
A few days ago we all got the sad news that one of the formative geniuses of modern American humor, George Carlin had died.
George Carlin was a fucking genius. A master of words and ideas who also happened to be incredibly funny. I know this is a music blog, but the words that Carlin laid down during what I consider his peak years in the early 70’s (AM&FM, Class Clown, Occupation Foole etc) have been a cornerstone of my own sense of humor (and occasionaly my sense of righteous outrage) for as long as I can remember.
He was truly the master of what came to be known as ‘observational’ humor, not just because he found humor in the commonplace, but because he also found depth and profundity, whether he was attacking the absurdity of criminalizing language or rhapsodizing about his childhood in New York City.
Carlin was also an R&B nut, and I can think of no more fitting (at least for this blog) to him than a short vignette called ‘The Hallway Groups’ from the 1973 ‘Occupation Foole’ LP.
I hope you dig it, and that you take the time to raise your glass (or something else) to the memory of a very smart and very funny man.
George Carlin – The Hallway Groups – MP3