Thursday, March 30, 2006

Soul Brother Number One-and-a-Half

Bobby Byrd - Hot Pants - I'm Coming, Coming, I'm Coming

Bobby Byrd, like Scottie Pippen, was one of those right-hand men whose glory, although greater than that of many second bananas, was immensely overshadowed by the talent of the people they were associated with. It was Bobby Byrd that befriended the then-Toccoa inmate James Brown in the early-50s. It was Byrd who brought James into his group, the Avons. It was the newly-christened Famous Flames who backed up James' pleading on "Please Please Please" and provided background singing and dancing to the James Brown Revue. And it was Byrd whose call-and-response with JB was featured on hits such as "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine" and "Get Up, Get Into It, and Get Involved." Fortunately, Byrd got to shine as an opening act in the James Brown Revue and on a lot of great recordings bearing the "James Brown Productions" imprimatur for Smash, King and Brownstone from the early sixties through to the mid-seventies. Byrd's biggest hits didn't depart much from JB's funk formula, but Bobby's husky and soulful voice brought something to the recordings that made them stand on their own, and hits such as "I Know You Got Soul," "I Need Help (I Can't Do It Alone)" and today's selection cemented Byrd as a funk force to be reckoned with. (A further note: Byrd's JB connection was further enlarged by the fact that Byrd married the James Brown Revue femme vocalist Vicki Anderson, who name-checked Byrd in "I'm Too Tough (For Mr. Big Stuff)" - "they say Bobby Byrd's got the word.")

Despite its awful title, "Hot Pants - I'm Coming, Coming, I'm Coming" is a solid slab of funky get-down, featuring a very aggressive groove, great horn charts and Byrd's relentless enthusiasm in his bellowed vocals. "I can't knock it / 'cause I need to rock it," Byrd shouts, and rock it he does!


Anonymous said...

It didn't occur to me how awful the title was until you mentioned it. great slab of funk, though.

Anonymous said...

This is good stuff (your blog that is). Im a big soul fan but its hard to get info on some of this rarer stuff. My collection is varied but this is great. thanks so much.


Anonymous said...

the links broken already. any chance you can fix it