Harvey Scales – I Wanna Do It

Harvey Scales and the Seven Sounds Photo Courtesy of Wisonsinology

Download or Listen to Harvey Scales – I Wanna Do It from the Stax Records 45

Fresh of some dance record company Funk, I bring you a record by a guy I never come across in the field. There is a good reason for that. Most of his records kill it. When they are that good, prices go sky high. That’s ok though, it’s a buyers market in today’s economy, and you can get some harder to find records at reasonable prices these days. Fortunately, I was able to dig this up in the field cheap, so that’s a bonus for me (and you). Here’s Harvey Scales with “I Wanna Do It” on Stax Records.

Born in Arkansas, but raised in Milwaukee, WI, Harvey Scales is a legend in the Badger State. He started in music at 15 at a school called North Division in Milwaukee. Scales performed in a group called the Playboys circa 1959-60 against future superstar Al Jarreau, who was in a similar Doo Wop group called the Sophisticants. Scales also performed in the Esquires (who would later record one of my fave 45’s “Get On Up”) and teamed up with pal Al Vance and formed The Seven Sounds in the early sixties. He put out records such as “The Clock” as Harvey (with another band backing him up and who he also sang with, Birdlegs) and “Glamour Girl” with the Seven Sounds. The Seven Sounds members included: Ben Petrie (Baritone Sax), Rollo Onstead (Tenor Sax) Monty Smith (trumpet/ keyboard), Al Vance (Bass), Rudy Jacobs (Guitar), Billy Stonewall (Drums) Lee Brown (Vocals). He also sang with Birdlegs (and Pauline) who put out records on Wisconsin Record label Cuca. Scales was the first Black R & B artist in Wisconsin (along with the Packers). Their main gigs were the many colleges of Wisconsin and clubs of Chicago, but eventually hit the East Coast college circuit as well. He’d play with (and as a rival of) Baby Huey and the Baby Sitters, Ike and Tina Turner, and Bobby Bland. From the Cuca label he moved to Magic Touch (which was originally an named after an upholstery place) with Lenny LeCour, where they would put out some really great sides: “Get Down/ Love-itis” (the latter rerecorded by J.Geils Band), and “Broadway Freeze” were two stand outs. He would go on to record for Chess (which he’d say were his greatest sessions). “The Yoke” and “The Funky Football” were on Chess, and a whole slew of stuff that supposedly didn’t get released. Meanwhile, he did some sides for Stax, and this was one of them. He also recorded for Cadet in the mid 70’s, “Leave It for the Trashmen”, and then moved on to Casablanca on the strength of his relationship with his Stax collaborator Johnny Taylor. This led to his hit “Disco Lady”, loosely based on a song called “Groove On Sexy Lady” written by Scales (and performed backed by the Seven Sounds). “Disco Lady” became a huge hit and the first ever platinum record. On that strength, his move to Casablanca churned out a few Lps, Confidential Affair and Hot Foot: A Funque Dizsco Opera. Scales continued to tour and also write for artists like Soul Children, Marilyn McCoo, Tyrone Davis, ZZ Hill, and the Dramatics among others. He was active in music in the 80’s and 90’s, and as of late played a Wax Poetic event at South Paw in Brooklyn, where he was rediscovered and appreciated by a whole new audience.

Scales would say that this record was the strongest side (the B Side) rather than the A side “What’s Good for You (Don’t Have to Be Good to You)”. This 45 I have has the flip on both. Whether it was or not, to me, it’s a stone cold groove. This wah wah guitar and drums that are unfuckable with (look that up internet junkies). Scales wants some of that Funky Thang, but when he asks the bass to funk up the place because it ain’t no disgrace, you know the man is serious as a heart attack. Shout out to Bob Abrahamian of Chicago’s WHPK 88.5FM Sittin’ In the Park radio show for a dope interview he did with Scales a while back. This record is a great side and I say find it, please! Keep Diggin’!

Here’s some video shot by a Cool Hands Luke @ the Five Spot of Harvey Scales live show:

6 responses to “Harvey Scales – I Wanna Do It

  1. Thanks for keeping alive this bit of Wisconsin’s musical heritage. Great post, great tune. Keep on keepin’ on!

  2. information! i’ve got the same 45 and never knew the history of Scales, but it explains why I dug it in Milwaukee. That b side is killer. horn breakdown. man.
    thanks for making me smarter.

  3. Pingback: Harvey Scales and the 7 Sounds – Get Down « Flea Market Funk·

  4. Thursday March 4th (6:30-8:30)
    The Mitchell Park Domes Music Under the Glass Series

    Friday March 5th (9pm-Close)
    The Grafton Ale House

    Saturday March 6th (9pm-Close)(LISTEN TO WMSE 91.7 at 3pm on this Day to hear Harvey discuss his longstanding music career)Kelly’s Bleachers II in Windlake

    Friday March 19th (9pm-Close)
    Rythym and Brews in Saukville, Wisconsin

    PRESS RELEASE want more details? see bottom of page…

    2009 Lifetime Achievement Award Member
    Wraps up the WAMI year with a Spring Tour in Wisconsin.

    In April 2009, The Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) Recognized Harvey Scales and the Seven Sound’s Music Career by awarding them the Highest Musical Accolade in the State of Wisconsin.

    The WAMI Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to a new Artist in 2010, but Harvey Scales and The Seven Sounds, without further ado, will perform at varying locations throughout your Area in March 2010, before the award moves on to another artist.

    He will be available for interviews, please give Harvey Scales the attention he deserves, and allow your readers the information that they need to know about this great Musical Leader from Wisconsin, and his coming shows in your area.

    Please arrange your interview with Harvey Scales today by calling Barbara at 414-333-3334

  5. I knew Harvey Scales when he was with the 7 Sounds. I lived in Sheboygan, WI, 50 miles north of Milwaukee and he played at a couple bars there where I got to know him. This would have been in the early 70’s but I first saw him in the late 60’s. Not only could he sing but he was one of the most animated dancers ever. He moved to Memphis so I didn’t see him for many years and one day I was looking through a magazine in 1976 and nearly fell over when I saw he had written ‘Disco Lady.’ I saw him again about 1990ish when he had moved back to Wisconsin. He was amazed that a white guy like me was so familiar with his records. I was very surprised to see that he is still singing and recording and maybe we’ll meet again if he plays here in Las Vegas.

  6. I was just doing a search before posting an article and interviews with Kenny Walker and Harvey Scales that I did this past weekend at the All Nighter flea market in Wheaton, Illinois when I saw your site. I figured I should pass my link along in case you wanted ot view the interviews. I was cameraman, crew and interviewer so forgive the quality on my part but these two fellows were awesome! http://weirdreview.com/2011/08/24/vol/

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