Bethea The Maskman - Stand Up (Pt. 1)
Harmon Bethea and his groups (mainly the Cap-Tans and the Agents) recorded a range of gospel, R&B, soul and funk from the late '40s to the late '70s. By the mid-'60s Bethea had started wearing a mask as a gimmick and using the nom de disc "Maskman." Maskman & The Agents, as they were often billed (various record labels show varying spellings of the nickname), recorded a wide range of soul and funk platters during that period, including the comic numbers "One Eye Open" and "My Wife, My Dog, My Cat" and the Northern Soul classic "I Wouldn't Come Back." Today's selection was released in 1970 on B.B.C. and again in 1973 on Vigor with Bethea receiving sole billing (that's Maskman's picture on the B.B.C. label), although the Agents appear on the recording and are even mentioned. "Stand Up" is a call for black self-awareness and pride, exhorting its listeners to use their awareness of self to empower them to keep on pushing.