It amazes me how fast Monday comes along. I actually got in some digging this weekend, but the rewards were kind of sparse. Lots of orchestra and Doo Wop on 45, and my local store had been kind of picked clean (I just missed a good stash I was told). As I was browsing though, I came across this record that was missed. I had heard of it, but hadn’t seen it in the field as of yet. So today I bring you some Afro Rock Psychedelic Soul from the one and only Ten Wheel Drive. So check out “Ain’t Gonna Happen” on Polydor Records.
Ten Wheel Drive came about after lead singer Genya Ravan’s band Goldie and the Gingerbreads ceased as a band. She hooked up with Mike Zager and Aram Schefrin (two Jersey boys!) through a mutual friend, Billy Fields. After a few times playing together in NYC, they formed the band. The cast of players was revolving, but apparently that’s what really made the band great, the change. They signed to Polydor after a successful Atlanta Pop Festival performance, and went on to release four Lps: Construction #1, Brief Replies, Peculiar Friends (all on Polydor), and a self titled Ten Wheel Drive on Capitol, with ex-Rascal’s vocalist Annie Sutton. With label troubles and the ever shifting band personnel, Ten Wheel Drive were short lived. While some band members went on to other, bigger gigs (Bette Midler, etc.), TWD sort of fizzled out. Zager went on to do soundtrack work and Schefrin became a lawyer. Genya Ravan, however, would stay in the music business. She released a solo album on Polydor in the early 70’s, but continued to make music well into the 80’s.
With a comparison to Janis Joplin, Geyna Ravan’s voice really stands out. She wails on this track. It’s a bit Bluesy, and with some killer horn work. If you listen closely, you can hear the Jay Z sample. That’s right, Hova used this track with Beenie Segal and Freeway on 1-900-Hustler. Back to TWD. It’s said that if their Rock Opera had been released on a record, rather than shelved by their record company, that Ten Wheel Drive would have been a household name. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards. What was in the cards though, was a slot in musical history. You can’t take that away from them, they had a good run. I’ll be back midweek with more goodness. Don’t forget Friday’s 45 Sessions at the World Famous Asbury Lanes and special guest Pat James Longo (Primitive Sound System). Keep Diggin’!