Monday, April 12, 2010

Goin' Back to the Well!

Joe Simon - Music in My Bones

It's not uncommon for an artist to follow a big hit with a soundalike. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but when the artist brings a certain artistry to the follow-up or something about it "just clicks," the former is more likely to occur.

Joe Simon earned his third Billboard R&B #1 in 1975 with the disco-tinged "Get Down, Get Down (Get on the Floor)," and today's selection was the follow-up. To be honest, it sounds like "Music in My Bones" is really just extra material from the "Get Down" master tape (a la "My Part - Make It Funky, Pts. 3 and 4" by James Brown), as the groove is virtually the same, Joe seems to be carrying on the ad-libbing he was doing at the end of "Get Down," and the backing vocalist's use of a "music in my bones and I can't sit down" refrain provides the only substantive variation. To my ears, however, the tune still works, because the groove was so good and Joe's really getting into the "let's have a ball" flavor of the lyrics. Joe's fans agreed, and the song made it to #9 on the R&B chart.

I've read the In the Basement feature from 2008 on Bishop Simon, who left R&B behind for the ministry in the 1980s, and he mentions several times that at the time he was recording his hits he actually hated R&B. Although I respect his stated views and would by no means say that he is being insincere, the fun sound of "Music in My Bones" seems to belie such a sentiment!

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