While I can’t grant DJ Bluewater his wish of providing him with an extra copy of this record (sorry my man, I just found this damn record!), I can provide the growing Flea Market Funk family with a little taste of heavy, funky soul courtesty of one brother Calvin Arnold, and Venture Records.
Having just left Motown in early 1967, ex A & R man William “Mickey” Stevenson with his wife Kim Weston, formed the People Record label. When Weston got signed to MGM, Stevenson was offered a chance to help out Venture Records, a blundering label owned by MGM as an avenue for some of their Soul artists. The label was based out of Los Angeles. Drawing from his previous success from Motown, Stevenson captained the ship. He brought along a talented crew from Motown, including writers, sound engineers, and artists. His resume included writing credits for Martha Reeves and the Vandells and Marvin Gaye among others. His greatest credits were “Dancing in the Street” and “Stubborn Kind of Fella”. The continuation of his Motown success with Venture however, would not happen. It was most definitely short lived, as the label folded just after 18 months. A major factor for the downfall of the label was the inexperience of the marketing staff at actually marketing black music. In addition to that, Stevenson was too busy running the label, not writing and producing as he had done in the past.
All is not lost people, as this record I’m about to share with you from 1968, is one of the gems that came from the Venture camp. This record, is Calvin Arnold’s “Funky Way”. This song has been covered a few times, by Rufus Thomas, and later by Ray Johnson. The latter which can be found on DJ O-Dub’s Deep Covers mix cd over at Soul Sides. Known for being more of a Soul man than a a funk guy, Arnold must’ve been hanging around Wille Hutchinson (aka Willie Hutch) or James T. Shaw (the Mighty Hannibal) at the Venture offices. This record is a good combination of some heavy funky soul. Arnold has been treated bad, as a matter of fact, he’s been treated baaaaaaad. His woman has done a “good lovin’, sweet lovin’ man” like him wrong. I’m kind of glad she did, because without the mistreatment of old Calvin, we would not have this guitar driven groover. Backed by the 7 Souls (who played on all the Venture releases), Arnold keeps up nicely with the rhythm section and some funkay ass organ. Women will push you to do many things, and this woman pushed Calvin Arnold too far, so far he had to get funky on her. We’re all lucky she did. Keep Diggin’!