“Listen – Titus Turner – People Sure Act Funny – MP3″
Welcome to another week here at the Corners du Funk, where I sit securely inside the air-conditioned bunker while the streets look like they’re going to start melting.
As predicted, the brisk spring weather has taken a sudden bizarre turn, and it’s closing in on 90 degrees. I was actually digging it for a while, until a half hour in the direct sunlight had me feeling like a frankfurter over the coals, so the boys and I hightailed it inside for some lunch and cold beverages.
I hope all is well on your end, and that if you are in one of the area so affected, you can take advantage of the warm weather without too much trouble.
The tune I bring you today was a chance find during my DC digs back in March.
If you’re a collector of R&B and soul, then the name Titus Turner should loom large. Turner – though no slouch in the performing department – made his mark as a writer of some of absolutely dynamite songs, among them ‘Sticks and Stones’, ‘All Around the World’ (aka Grits Ain’t Groceries), and ‘Leave My Kitten Alone’.
Turner himself had a two decade long career as a recording artist, spending most of the 50s recording mostly for Okeh and King, and then the 60s waxing sides for no less than a dozen different imprints.
Turner originally recorded ‘People Sure Act Funny’ for the Enjoy label in 1962. The OG is a bit of Ray Charles-y heat with a great vocal by Turner.
Flash forward half a decade and none other than Arthur Conley dipped into the Turner catalog and recorded his own version of ‘People Sure Act Funny’, with which he had a hit.
Sometime that year it would appear that Turner himself ran back into the studio – not willing to let Conley steal his thunder – and re-recorded the song, this time with a somewhat heavier – dare I say funky – edge to it.
Conley’s version was a Top 40 Pop hit, and generated a couple of other covers by folks like Shorty Long and Hammond master Lonnie Smith (who recorded a version for Blue Note that will be appearing in an upcoming mix).
Turner – who I hope had a nice little nest egg of royalties to rest upon – only recorded a few more 45s before vanishing into the woodwork.
He passed away in 1984, only 51 years old.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Wednesday with some funk.