Little Royal & The Swingmasters - Razor Blade
"Little" Royal Torrance had a sound that was probably too derivative to ever elevate him from the B-list of soul artists, particularly considering that his vocals were very similar to those of James Brown. Despite this limitation, Royal recorded fairly frequently in the '60s and '70s for labels including Carnival, Excello and Tri-Us, a Starday-King label. For the latter label Royal cut his most well-known material with the "Crazy Cajun," Huey P. Meaux, as producer. Today's selection was the instrumental B-side of his 1972 Tri-Us single "Jealous" (a reworking of Garland Green's smash 1970 hit "Jealous Kinda Fellow" that gave Royal a rare taste of chart success) and has become a breakbeat favorite. "Razor Blade" has a pretty good melody, but what really sells the record is the wicked bass solo and the scratchin' guitar solo that follows it. It's solid get-down, and a lot of fun. Although "Jealous" was the hit, "Razor Blade" made enough noise for a funky 45 follow-up, "Switch Blade," which is also popular among the rare funk flock. Little Royal's Tri-Us recordings are worth checking out, as they are fine pieces of what Southern soul in its final hour.
It should also be noted that "Razor Blade" has a fraternal twin in Sebastian's Brown Dog 45 "Living in Depression," for which it is the backing track.