Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sweet and Rough, Smart Brothers Style

The Lattimore Brown story is forthcoming, but in the meantime ...

Theron & Darrell - I Was Made to Love Her

Once again the fine folks at Numero have hit one out of the park with their Eccentric Soul series. The newest disc, Eccentric Soul: Smart's Palace features the soul sounds of Wichita, Kansas, as recorded by Dick Smart, whose Solo and other labels augmented his entertainment empire, whose roots lay in the Smart's Palace club, where he and his brothers had a high-powered act (the comp's striking cover art is a picture of one of the Smarts doing a handstand while performing). The CD features a variety of great tracks from the Smart Brothers and others, and quite a few sides have a delightful roughness about them that really lends atmosphere to the material.

Today's selection is a good example of this. Theron Gafford and Darrell Buckner had a band that filled in at Smart's Palace whenever the Smart Brothers were away, and the duo's 1970 Solo 45 "I Was Made to Love Her" did very well locally, but like so many other artists featured in the Eccentric Soul series, not much else followed. That's a shame, though, because despite the roughness of the production, Theron and Darrell really bring home the bacon with this strutting piece of sweet soul. The duo alternate between trading off lines and singing harmony parts, and the whole thing really works. I particularly love the "to be mine" part later in the song, especially near the end, where they drop off to give the band a rough but funky vamp. The whole CD is outstanding, but this tune alone makes the price worthwhile.

(EDITOR'S NOTE - I did not know until today that Numero has a blog; it's very entertaining, and some great stories about the development of the CD are there. I will add it, along with several other fine blogs I've been introduced to lately, to the blogroll pretty soon.)

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