Greetings brothers and sisters, it’s time for a midweek version of Flea Market Funk. I’d first like to shout out a few people, who have mentioned me in their posts, and have really got me some great exposure in this very first week or so that I’ve started this blog. A big thank you to the folks at FuFu Stew, Funky 16 Corners , Neopolitan Funk, 365 45s, and most of all, Souled On Music, who was kind enough to throw some attention my way, and for that, many thanks. Good looking out my brother. I was also excited (what a coincidence!) when I saw the latest issue of Wax Poetics, with none other than my last post’s subject, Betty Davis on the cover. I’m ready to check that article out, and I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t ever read or heard of that magazine (most likely if you’re reading my blog you have), to get on it like the JB monorail. They’re 22 issues strong (I’ve managed to get every single one, finally, thanks for issue #13 DJ Prime!) and have a roster of top notch record heads and music writers that seriously know what’s up in funk, soul, reggae, latin, jazz and hip hop. I’m not sure who’s really reading my blog yet, but if you guys know WP already, then forgive me for stating the obvious.
The track at hand this evening is none other than “Party Down Part 1” by Little Beaver. I picked up “Funkadelic Sound” for a quarter some time back, and when I saw “Party Down”, I just couldn’t pass it up. This Arkansas boy (born William Hale) moved to Florida as a teenager and played his way onto Henry Stone’s stable of labels and imprints. These included TK, Glades, Alston and Cat, among many others. Cat is the label he cut this record on in 1974. He was a session musician for TK, and played on such hits as Betty Wright’s “Clean Up Woman”, and “Rock You Baby” by George Macrae. What’s great about “Party Down”, is the back up musicians who played on it with Little Beaver, a veritable who’s who of the Florida music scene at the time. They are all great musicians in their own right, who had already cut great records, and would go on to make the Glades label and others stand out with that Florida funk/soul sound. Let’s check the roster, shall we? “Party Down Part 1” features background vocals by Betty Wright, a strong soul sister, also a producer, pianist Benny Lattimore, and organ man Timmy Thomas, who churned out a few for Glades himself. Being backed up by this brand of musicians, there is no way “Party Down” can suck.
The overall groove of this soulful piece is right on brothers and sisters. Little Beaver’s guitar work calling you like he calls his baby: “Come on girl, don’t be shy, we’re just partying down, you and all your friends, we’re gonna party down.” This is some tender shit here with a serious groove, despite it’s mid-tempo speed. For those familiar with Thomas’s “Funky Me”, there is that primitive drum machine sound over the drummer’s beat. This tune just reminds me of an old coworker of mine, Miss Dolores, a church going woman, who spoke of the “wall grinding parties” she attended in the 70’s. She’d tell me: “You know the ones, where the lights were low, and you got your wall grinding on”, A wink and a smile to follow. This same woman, when she heard the type of music I spun, couldn’t believe it. “You got a lot of Soul for a white boy.” I have Miss Dolores quotes for days. So here’s a midweek treat for you, some jazzy, soulful “wall grindin” music. Enjoy, let it all hang out, and party down.