Thursday, August 24, 2006

Shakin' a Leg With Billy Guy

Billy Guy - If You Want to Get Ahead, Shake a Leg

Billy Guy was one of the lead singers for The Coasters, and his sly, instantly recognizable lead graced several of their bigger hits. By the late '60s Guy was working as a solo act, both musically and as a stand-up comic, and The Coasters were about to split into warring "Coasters" groups. I first learned of Guy's solo stuff from a December 2002 episode of "Downtown Soulville" which aired after Guy's death, and it's a pretty interesting body of work, ranging from soul to funk. Today's selection appeared on the show and made its way into my record collection. "If You Wanna Get Ahead, Shake a Leg" was a Verve single, and on it Guy motor-mouths his way through the "go-go-go" lyrics. The end result is a pretty good up-tempo number. The flip, "I'm Sorry About That," tries to be a deep soul ballad, but Guy's vocals lack the gravitas to make it convincing.

Writing this post reminds me that I need to try to get the best Billy Guy 45 I've ever heard - "Lookin' Like a Nut Nut" (featured on the "Downtown Soulville" show), a nice piece of funky soul. Off to eBay I go!

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