Bobby Byrd spots you in the crowd and says ‘I know you got soul!”
“Listen – Bobby Byrd – I Know You Got Soul – MP3″
Though I am not yet fully recovered from the combination of my travels and the yearly assault of Daylight Savings Time (Steal an hour from me, will you!??!), I simply must share a new acquisition with you.
As you’ve seen – if you checked out Monday’s post – Prestige and I did some quality digging down in DC and Virginny, and I managed to cross a couple of longtime wants off of my list, today’s selection being one of them.
If you stop by here on the reg you know that I worship at the church of the One Mighty James Brown, but like many followers (in many religions)I was for a long time but a dilettante, focused only on the the big picture, unaware of the many strange and wonderful things hovering on the periphery.
And what a periphery….
Surrounding the core of the James Brown sound were a number of stellar satellites. Most that are acquainted with that strata are familiar with the ladies, like Lyn Collins, Vicki Anderson and Marva Whitney.
Brown’s male protégés/subordinates created some heavy sounds with the Godfather as well, especially Hank Ballard (Brown was largely responsible for the resurgence of Ballard’s post-Midnighters career) and the artist featured today, a man that was with Brown from the very beginning (and who made some of the finest JB-related singles), Mr. Bobby Byrd.
Byrd and his family took responsibility for Brown when he was paroled in the early 50s, and the two singers built a close working relationship that lasted more than two decades with Byrd as a charter member of the Famous Flames, and later as a solo performer.
Between 1963 and 1973 Byrd recorded a series of 45s and one LP (1970s ‘I Need Help’) for labels like Federal, Smash, King, and Brownstone, including well remembered (and heavily sampled, see list below*) classics like ‘Hot Pants (I’m Coming)’, ‘Keep On Doin’ What You’re Doin’’ and today’s selection, the absolutely, positively heaviest thing he ever whipped on us, ‘I Know You Got Soul’.
I was – typically – unaware of ‘I Know You Got Soul’ for a long (too long) time, mainly because it’s not one of the easier King 45s to grab in the field. Of course, once I heard the song, my mind was good and truly blown and I searched high and low for a copy – with no success – until I finally happened upon a copy down in DC.
Once you pull down the ones and zeros you’ll be spending all your free time looking for a copy of your own.
This is a heavy, heavy record. It starts out like any dozen hot JB records, but all of a sudden Bobby falls by and drops like a truckload of sledgehammers and things get taken (tooken, tooked) to a whole ‘nother level, and before you know it you have the head nodding, the butt shaking and the feet flying around the room like a couple of mad dogs. Bobby is at the top of his rough, soulful form, and is aided and abetted by a rock hard guitar riff and some heavy drums.
But wait (he says in his late night knife pitchman voice) there’s more.
One of the reasons (a small one, but a reason nonetheless) that I dig the James Brown musical universe is the fact that the Godfather made probably the only records outside of the worlds of hard bop and salsa to feature trombone solos, and whereas the JB listener is used to hearing shout outs to Maceo to bring the tenor sax, if you take a step deeper into the mix you get to hear calls (like Bobby Byrd’s in this song) for the trombonic assistance of Mr Fred Wesley (leader of the JBs). I probably listened to ‘I Know You Got Soul’ about 30 times before I dug that what I was hearing Byrd say was ‘Fred Wesley won’t you blow one time’, which of course Fred, groovy guy that he was, did, and the next thing you know you’re in trombone heaven.
I can personally attest to the power hidden in the grooves of this record, on account of when I dropped it last Saturday in Richmond, the crowd, already all wrapped up in the dance, got lifted a little bit more, and to be honest who wouldn’t when compelled by the great Bobby Byrd to “Shake your moneymaker!”.
Solid, solid stuff.
Bobby Byrd eventually married Vicki Anderson, and the pair sang at the Godfather’s funeral. Byrd himself passed away in 2007.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll see you all on Friday.
*Songs sampling ‘I Know You Got Soul’
A Tribe Called Quest’s “Money Maker”
CEO’s “Hit Me with the Beat”
Compton’s Most Wanted’s “The Final Chapter”
Cool C’s “The Glamorous Life”
CPO’s “The Movement”
DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s “You Got It (Donut)”
Double XX Posse’s “Executive Class”
Dream Warriors’s “Face in the Basin”
Eric B and Rakim’s “I Know You Got Soul”
Everlast’s “I Got the Knack”
Ice Cube’s “Jackin’ for Beats”
KMD’s “Hard Wit No Hoe”
Kool G Rap’s “It’s a Demo”
Kool Moe Dee’s “Rise ‘N’ Shine”
Kwame’s “Keep on Doin’ (What You’re Doin’ Baby)”
Martine Girault’s “Revival”
MC Ren’s “Kizz My Black A-z”
Movement Ex’s “United Snakes of America”
Original Flavor’s “Give ’em Some Wrek”
Professor Griff’s “Pawns in the Game”
Public Enemy’s “Cold Lampin’ with Flavor”
Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power”
Public Enemy’s “Party for Your Right to Fight”
Rappin is Fundamental’s “Whenever You Need an MC”
Roxanne ft Chubb Rock’s “Gear”
Salt-N-Pepa’s “A Salt with Deadly Pepa”
She Rocker’s “Give it a Rest”
Special Ed’s “Come On, Let’s Move”
Ugly Duckling’s “Everybody C’mon”
Wee Papa Girls’s “You’ve Got the Beat”