Ms’s Hendryx, Dash and Labelle
Listen/Download – Labelle – Won’t Get Fooled Again – MP3
I come to you in the middle of a busy week with something a little unusual.
Another find from my recent DC digs (with another NJ connection*) was the album ‘Moonshadow’ by Labelle.
Now I’m as down with ‘Lady Marmalade’ as the next cat (I carry no less than three different versions in my DJ box at all times in case of emergency), and as a recent post will prove I am familiar with (and dig) the group’s sound when they were known as Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles.
However, the ‘Moonshadow’ LP was known to me only peripherally (if that), and it was only through the good graces of my man DJ Birdman that I walked out of one of the many stores we hit that weekend with a copy of the record in my hands.
Good thing too, because when I got home, and had a chance to sit down, spin and digimatize my acquisitions, I was shocked (and stunned, of course) when I dropped the needle on side one and discovered a wild, souled up take on the Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’.
Are you now as shocked and stunned as I was?
Wait until you hear it.
Recorded in 1972, under the auspices of Vicki Wickham (producer of the UK TV show Ready Steady Go, and one of the co-composers – with Simon Napier-Bell – of the English lyrics to Dusty Springfield’s ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me), ‘Moonshadow’, featuring the title cut (a Cat Stevens tune), the Who song I bring you today and a number of group originals is, to borrow a tired old cliché, a transitional album.
The old school, polished girl group-isms of a few years earlier are gone, but the wild, space age funk of a few years in the future has yet to arrive.
The Labelle version of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ hews closely enough to the original that it is still recognizable, yet there’s no mistaking Patti Labelle’s mighty voice tearing its way through the song. It’s also worth giving some thought to differences inherent in these particular lyrics being delivered not by the Who but by a group of black women in early 70s America.
While pretty much any song sung by Patti Labelle automatically becomes soulful, there’s still a rock underpinning to the proceeding, though things do take off in another direction entirely at the end of the record, as jazzman Harold Vick comes in with a slightly “free” soprano sax solo.
It’s a very groovy record, and as always I hope you dig it.
I’ll be back on Friday with something cool.
*Ms. Nona Hendryx coming from the capitol city of Trenton!