Miss Gladys Knight
“Listen – Gladys Knight & the Pips – Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) – MP3″
The middle of the week is here – at last – and I’m in the mood for something meat and taters funky.
But first, a message…
If you check the comments to the post on Funky16Corners Radio v.56, the one with the big Barack Obama poster at the end – you might notice some one trollish took the time to stop by and drop a taste of the Republican talking points into the mix.
Here’s the deal.
Over the years that I’ve been doing this blog, I haven’t made a secret of my political leanings, nor have I made it a major topic of conversation. I’ve mused on politics from time to time, and often those comments have been met (with varying degrees of civility, this is after all the interwebs) by folks that like their soul and funk blogging politics-free.
This year I’ve mentioned the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama twice, and I have to tell you now that I’ll definitely do it again (and again) until he gets elected.
These are serious times. The country I happen to live in has been in the grips of a SERIOUSLY fucked up bunch of hacks, who have devastated our domestic economy (a situation I am intimately acquainted with) gotten us involved in Vietnam MK2 on two fronts in the Middle East and Asia (with the many thousands of dead and injured on both sides), and pretty much destroyed any international goodwill we might have stored up over the years.
As a result, the election coming up in a few short months is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. We here in the US have a choice between a tool of the establishment who is clearly – despite spinning like a top – intent on maintaining a disastrous status quo, and a clear headed, thoughtful, and intelligent alternative who is likely to put the brakes on our national downslide, wrest control of our country from the oligarchs and plutocrats and at least attempt to restore a kind of socio-political equilibrium.
This is not – as the Rove-ian propaganda has suggested – a cult of personality. What it is, is a large portion of our population, many of whom have been victimized (and I count myself in that number) by the Bush regime and the corporate robber barons it has aided and abetted for eight years, who are focused on a real alternative. Barack Obama is a candidate who offers for the first time in many years, a real chance that our voices may finally be heard above the storm of greed, religious lunacy and ignorance that has held sway for so long.
I have no illusions that Obama is anything more than a man with an idea. The difference this time is the value of the idea in question, and the likelihood that it will improve our lives.
Those that would sit by and mock the fact that Obama has inspired so many to get involved, or caused us to hope that our long national nightmare may be close to an end, are a reminder about how much is really at stake here. The world that they – with the help of Bush, Cheney and their ilk – have created will not stand. The choice we have this November is whether we will allow the disintegration of our way of life to continue, or if we will take a step to put things back on track.
Funky16Corners has always been about soul, in direct reference to the musical genre that carries that name, and in the larger sense as well. Soul music (and R&B, funk, jazz and the blues) is at its core – both literally and figuratively – the sound of freedom.
Freedom from misery, freedom from oppression (of all kinds), freedom to express our deepest emotions and to transcend the boundaries that life and circumstance place around us, internally and externally.
This election, and the candidacy of Barack Obama is also about freedom. Freedom from those that have hijacked our country, defiled the oath they took to defend our constitution and have allowed those that consider working men and women – and their families – to be just another expendable resource, to thrive.
Tonight I’ll be adding an Obama icon to the sidebar, with a link to his campaign and fundraising, and it will remain there until (hopefully) he gets elected in November.
If you’re not registered to vote – or you someone who isn’t – get out there and get registered (it’s not too late). If you can afford to send a few bucks to the Obama campaign, do so (I have, and probably will again).
Ultimately, I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, though I know that it might, but in the end some things are more important, and this election is one of them.
That said, the tune I bring you today carries a message, in the lyrics and in the abstract sense of the funk. It was something I grabbed during a flea market dig with the man DJ Prestige, and it was a pleasant surprise indeed.
I’ve always been a fan of Gladys Knight and the Pips. I’d go as far as to say that Knight may be the greatest female singer to record for the Motown organization (up there with Martha Reeves) and along with the Pips she recorded some very funky music. I have been largely ignorant of their 1970s recordings, a period that I long assumed to have seen a softening of their sound with a preponderance of ballads and mellower soul.
I was – of course – incorrect.
It was out their in the dusty expanse of the spot that I pulled a copy of GK & the Ps 1973 ‘All I Need Is Time’ LP out of a busted cardboard box. It was the kind of crate that looked like it was minutes from surrendering its contents to the elements. Had I come along an hour later, it’s entirely possible that the demons of grit and heat warp might have preceded me, and I wouldn’t be delivering this tasty bit of funk to you.
There on the end of side two was a cover of Sly & the Family Stone’s ‘Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)’.
‘Whoa!’ says I.
Then I get the record home, drop the needle on the wax and it was ‘Whoa!’ all over agin (sic) as Miss Knight and her men prove that even in 1973 they weren’t above getting down and funky.
The song, which had been a Top 40 hit for Sly three years earlier, retains its punch, with the added benefit of Gladys’ powerful instrument and the Pips’ tight, tight harmonies.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back with some more funk later in the week.
Peace (I really mean it…)