“Listen – Gene Chandler – In My Body’s House – MP3″
The middle of the week is here, and the tune I have for you is a certified killer.
Like Friday-heavy, the kind of thing I might drop to get a weekend started, or more likely a record that you’d whip on a crowd you want to kick it up to the next level (like I did in DC).
‘In My Body’s House’ is one of those records that I knew about, having seen it on countless playlists, knowing (without having ever heard it) that it was one of the heaviest pieces in the Gene Chandler catalog.
Gene Chandler “The Woman Handler” (as he was christened by none other than Jerry-O) was one of the true kings of 1960s Chitown soul. He got his start as a member of the Dukays, then he whipped ‘The Duke of Earl’ on the world in 1962 and became a star.
He recorded for Vee-Jay until 1963, for Constellation from 1963 to 1966 and then (in an unusual simultaneous contractual obligation) for both Checker and Brunswick (where he recorded his smoking version of ‘I’ll Bet You’ and a couple of nice duets with Barbara Acklin) for the remainder of the decade.
‘In My Body’s House’, written by none other than the God of Chicago soul Mr. Curtis Mayfield is –first and foremost – a banger. The record opens with whip crack drums, wah wah guitar and organ before the horns, and then Gene falls by. The song has an aggressive, funky tempo with a solid vocal by Chandler. Interestingly I’ve often found that if you listen closely to some of the artists that recorded with Mayfield (or using his material) have a tendency to recreate his phrasing, whether picking it up in person or via demos. If you listen to Chandler’s version of Mayfield’s ‘You Can’t Hurt Me No More’ (also recorded by the Opals) this is especially evident. Though the influence isn’t overpowering on ‘In My Body’s House’, there are sections of the song where it sounds like Chandler is channeling Mayfield (listen for the phrase “creed and race”).
I also dig the intermittent bits of fuzz guitar, as well as the wild little bit of scat with which which Chandler closes out the song.
If the song sounds at all familiar, you may have heard it redone – by Baby Huey and the Babysitters, and later Mayfield himself – under the title ‘Hard Times’. I haven’t heard the Curtis version, but Baby Huey takes it at a somewhat slower pace.
I hope you dig the tune, and I shall return at the end of the week with some groovy Hammond.