Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Lay It On Me, Maurice & Mac!
Maurice & Mac - Lay It On Me
The history of many soul (and pop) groups usually plays out with the lead singer forging a solo career, with the group either dissolving forthwith or soldiering on with new lead singers, with mixed results. In the case of the Chicago soul group The Radiants, lead singer Maurice McAlister and group member Green "Mac" McLauren split off together to join the parade of Sam & Dave-inspired acts as "Maurice & Mac." (The Radiants would recruit Mitchell Bullock as lead and continue to record for Chess - the Northern Soul classic "Hold On" comes to mind - and then for Twinight before disbanding in 1972.) From 1967 to 1972 the duo recorded a string of fine singles, mainly for Checker, ranging from their version of "You Left the Water Running" (their most successful record) to great ballads like "So Much Love" and uptempo groovers like today's selection. By 1972, the two broke up the act and, interestingly, McAlister re-joined the Radiants for their final Twinight single, "Don't Want to Face the Truth," although not as lead singer.
Although it is true that Chicago soul didn't have an immediately-identifiable "sound" a la Detroit soul or Memphis soul, I've found that a lot of the Chess/Checker/Cadet funky soul sides of the late '60s have this groove that is instantly recognizable. That groove is all over "Lay It On Me." The strong horn charts, great bass lines, and propulsive drumming (I assume by Maurice White) provide a fine foundation for Maurice and Mac to bring their aggressive back-and-forth leads and harmony work.