Johnson 3+1 - Testify
Occasionally I hear songs that leave me scratching my head and stating "it's a wonder they didn't get sued" because the songs are nothing but reworking of other tunes. These songs, naturally, fall short of being cover versions because they have new titles and claim different songwriting credits and are just different enough to not be the real thing. Several songs immediately come to mind: "Ruby Dean" by Bobby Womack (later recorded by Joe Hicks), which took on the Kenny Rogers song "Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town"; "I Could Never Be Happy" by The Emotions, which liberally borrowed from "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," as done by Diana Ross; "The Ballad of Mr. Pitiful" by Charlie Whitehead, which does an awesome job working around the Otis Redding classic; and today's selection, which took Archie Bell & The Drells' 1968 mega-hit "Tighten Up," added some crowd noise and new lyrics and got busy.
This MP3 came from Barry "Soul Brother" Fowden, who also has a great page about the Venture label, on which the song was recorded. (Barry, if you want me to remove this file please let me know. It's just too hot of a groove for me to sit on!) While you're reading the article, check out his entire Soul Cellar website, which has lots of good material about many artists (especially Phillip Mitchell) and is the home of his awesome radio show, which he does more frequently (and better) than I do!