Monday, March 13, 2006

RIP King Floyd

I have learned this morning that R&B/funk singer King Floyd has passed away. In his honor I post his biggest hit, the funky "Groove Me", which was a #1 R&B and #6 pop hit in 1971. Interestingly, "Groove Me" was recorded at the same session that produced Jean Knight's hit "Mr. Big Stuff." Famed New Orleans arranger/composer/producer Wardell Quezerque rounded up Floyd, Knight, and some other artists and had them come to Jackson. Lightning struck twice at those sessions, with Stax picking up "Mr. Big Stuff" and turning it into a #1 R&B and #2 pop hit.

A further note is that "Groove Me" started the Jackson, Mississippi concern Malaco as a record label - Malaco was a production company and couldn't get "Groove Me" sold to any labels (Stax rejected it in favor of "Mr. Big Stuff"), so the Chimneyville label was formed to release the record.

"Groove Me" is a sentimental favorite of mine because I discovered the song in college when I purchased one of the Rhino "History of Funk" CDs. In those days I would DJ our fraternity parties and I made a point to play "Groove Me" as often as I could. People loved dancing to it (and this was, mind you, in the '90s) and I still love hearing the song now.

I had the pleasure of meeting King Floyd in Chicago in 1997 (where he was appearing for the first time since "Groove Me" was a hit!) and he was a very strong performer and gracious person. May he rest in peace.


MadPriest said...

This is incredibly bad news, another good man dying too young. Already this has been the worst of years.
Back in the late seventies, when I was young, naive and strictly Northern I bought a copy of "Can You Dig It" on speck hoping it would be a dancer. Of course, it wasn't, but it was a beautiful record. Many people, including myself, rate this Dial release as his greatest moment, better artistically, if not financially, than "Groove Me." Certainly, it was the record that turned me from a Northern Soul fan into a soul fan. This has made my life far more enjoyable even though, since that day, I have been constantly broke.
P.S. What is it with Dial? For a small label their artists have suffered more than their fair share of tragedy. Annette Snell, Joe Tex, King Floyd, all dead before their time with Annette's death being, possibly, the most awful thing to happen in the history of soul music.

The Stepfather of Soul said...

Great story re the King Floyd record. His Dial stuff was good (it was great hearing it for the first time on the Kent CD "Dial Records Southern Soul Story"). I hadn't thought about what you said about so many Dial artists having passed away. That's pretty strange.

Darcy said...

Sad news. Too many are passing away lately.
The "B" Side turned me on to a great slow track of his - "Handle With Care", had to go and dig for it on ebay straight away and a copy dropped thru my letterbox just a few weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

what a really good song sorry that he has left this world

Your Boy Josh said...

Thanks for the post. I'm extremely sad about this. I would like to do a memorial post about him myself, but I haven't been able to find any other information about him passing. Where did you hear about this?

The Stepfather of Soul said...

I heard about it via the Southern Soul yahoo group. One of the members found out about it, as well as finding out that Wardell Quezerque's oldest son had died also.

Unfortunately, when you're an R&B artist with only one major hit you don't get a lot of press when you die.

MadPriest said...

You are so right. When I read the news on your blog I set up an alert on Google and the only current news report that mentions King Floyd concerns a displaced, New Orleans horn player who lost his instrument in the floods but has had it replaced with the help of his new community. The link is that he once opened for King Floyd. You bloggers do a great job and the news always gets through somehow. However, we could do with a central news site you could all link to - a real soul information service maintained by music bloggers.

Red Kelly said...

yeah, after I saw that post in SS, I couldn't believe it... I googled it myslelf, and came up empty as well. I was hoping against hope it wasn't true, but when they posted confirmation yesterday, it laid me low... 61 is WAY too young to check out.

A very cool guy.

(btw: LOVIN' the Kelly Brothers stuff, dude! Thanks.)

jabartlett said...

Sorry to get this news. There have never been enough singers who could pull off "heyyy-ah-uhhh--aw, sookie, sookie now."

MadPriest said...

Local obit. with funeral details.