Thursday, January 31, 2008
Chicago's Other Soulful Strings
The South Suburban Electric Strings - (Pisces) Sign of the Zodiac
I've wanted to feature this tune for quite some time now, but the fact that my copy of the 45 was a bit scratchy kept me from doing so. However, after hearing the tune on a recently-acquired aircheck (to be showcased in a future "Soul on the Air" post), I realized that, scratches and all, I want to do the feature sooner rather than later.
"(Pisces) Sign of the Zodiac" was recorded by the South Suburban Electric Strings, a studio group clearly patterned after Cadet Records' successful Richard Evans-led group the Soulful Strings. As far as I know, "(Pisces) Sign of the Zodiac" b/w "Blues for Strings and Things" was their only 45, and it garnered two releases, first on WVON DJ Richard Pegue's Nickel imprint and then on Toddlin' Town at the dawn of the '70s. Involved with the record was Sidney "Pinchback" Lennear, better known among funk fans for his freaky funk reading of Syl Johnson's "Different Strokes" on Twinight and among disco fans as a member of the South Shore Commission, whose "Free Man" was a hit in 1975. The atmospheric "Sign of the Zodiac" features some great trippy guitar work on a blaxploitation-styled groove, with the strings providing the requisite atmosphere.