Friday, September 22, 2006

Limber Up and Get Down!

Simtec Simmons & Band - Limber Up

The intertwining careers of Chicago soulsters Wylie Dixon and Simtec Simmons have left behind an interesting set of singles on the artists separately and as a duo. Their work as "Simtec & Wylie," reminiscent of a funkier take on Sam & Dave, was the most prolific and successful, with releases on Toddlin' Town, Shama and Mister Chand (where they hit with "Gotta Get Over The Hump" in 1971). Prior to their recording as a duo, they had worked together as the Tea Boxes Revue, a setup where Simmons and his band, the Tea Boxes, backed Wylie and other artists. During this period Simmons recorded several instrumentals for the tiny Maurci label, starting out with "Tea Box," which may be one of the first Chicago soul records to feature a drum machine! It is conceivable that said drum machine is making an appearance on today's selection, a later single on Maurci. "Limber Up" is a nice instrumental romp that makes good use of a snippet of the "Bonanza" theme to create a surging groove that really works. After no hits followed "Gotta Get Over the Hump" (although some of the records, such as "Put Up or Shut Up" and "Bootleggin'" are popular among rare groove fans), the duo split up in 1973. Fortunately their great solo and duet recordings preserve their great Chicago groove.

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