Good midweek to all the FMF family. What I bring to you today is a little bit of Detroit Funk. With so much music coming out of the Motor City and the surrounding areas, the odds are in the favor of great sides being produced. Motown is the obvious choice, but what about labels like Ashford, Groovesville, Impact, Mutt, Soul Hawk, and Ric Tic? These among many, many others are essential labels out of Michigan and are responsible for some of the sweetest Soul and rawest Funk records sides you’ll ever hear. This next record is really a great one. I picked it up my first copy from my man Sasha who runs Future Funk and the Lucky Cat over in Brooklyn. Get on down to Billy Sha-Rae and “Do It” on Spectrum Records.
I do not know too much about Billy Sha-Rae, other than he was from the Pittsburgh area (Uniontown). He would get into a band with former members of The Jaggerz called The Soul Congress. This band would eventually relocate from the Pittsburgh area to Detroit. It was here they would be a session band, playing on many records which would include some by The O’Jays in 1967. This particular record was released on the Spectrum Record label and distributed by Laurie Records. Laurie, founded by Bob and Gene Schwartz, boasted such hit makers as Dion and Gary US Bonds. This side however, was all about Jack Ashford. Ashford, a percussionist for the now famous Funk Brothers out of Detroit (A mandatory DVD for you all to own is Standing In the Shadows of Motown, please run out and get it ASAP) arranged this side with Lorraine Chandler producing. As I said earlier, I do not know too much about this record, but I can only assume that some members (if not all) played on this groover from 1971, as well as Ashford’s expertise with percussion instruments. This record was also released as Johnny Griffith “Do It” on Triple B, accompanied by the Billy Sha-Rae Band. Apparently this version was an over dub with Griffiths playing the electric piano. There was another press on the Hour Glass label as well. If anyone has any more information on this side, I surely welcome any and all contributions.
This is definitely a heavy Funk nugget. Shouts out to the Popcorn throughout, and Billy tells you how to do your thing baby. With a sweet short breakdown in the middle, Sha-Rae grunts and growls over the drum break and carries his voice from the Midwest here to New Jersey, some 37 years later. It’s definitely got some heavy percussion accents, and like I said before, Jack Ashford being the arranger, you know it had have some good percussion. Not that hard of a record to find and a favorite with the Funk and Soul mixtape and blogs, it gets the Fleamarket Funk seal of approval. It’s a dance floor stompoer so drop this gem and watch them go. You may even be surprised when you start to do it yourself. Keep Diggin’!