Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Crazy Cosbyness

Bill Cosby - Ursalina

I've covered various funky 45 sounds from Bill Cosby on this blog on multiple occasions, and today's post is a follow-up to the post I did some time ago featuring the Cos' "Ursalena," a beathead favorite. As I mentioned in the prior post, the Cos re-recorded the song in 1973 for Paramount, and that alternately-spelled version is featured today. I still stand on what I said in the prior post about the Warner Brothers recording being the superior one, but further spins of the Paramount 45 has illuminated the fact that the re-make is worth more than a listen or two. The West Coast funk of the Warner record is replaced with a jazz-funk groove, and the lyrical references of the original are absent. Instead of presenting the story of the tongue-tied suitor of the song's subject, the Paramount version finds Cos and Stu Gardner using the song's eccentric hook as a springboard for improvisational vocalese - these two guys are just hooting and hollering about, with Gardner's gospelly wails playing against Cosby's chanting. At any rate, the groove slips and slides along, and there are some nice jazz and funk breaks in there to spice it up a bit.

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