As of late, I have been on this crazy Free Jazz and Hard Bop kick here at Flea Market Funk, picking up some Albert Ayler and the like. However, I have secretly been on the smoothed out R & B tip as well. Not that it’s bad to listen to some R & B, because who doesn’t need some Al Green, Marvin, or some Frankie Beverly in their life? Well, if you’re feeling me, let’s get down with some of that R & B, from one of the smoothest brothers around. Check out Latimore and “Let’s Straighten It Out” on Glades Records from 1974.
Born in 1939 in Charleston, Tennessee, Benjamin “Benny” Latimore drew his musical influences from many things around him. In no particular order they would be the church, Blues, and Country Music. A gifted piano player, Latimore got his start by playing piano in Florida, for musicians such as Joe Henderson, before being scooped up by record company tycoon Henry Stone for his Dade Record label in the mid 1960’s. When the 70’s started, Benny Latimore was making hits, the first being “Stormy Monday” and then a cover of Gladys Knight’s “If You Were My Woman” (which reached number 70 on the R & B Charts). His biggest hit, coincidentally was this record, but he had a few more “Somethin’ ‘Bout ‘Cha”, and “Keep The Home Fire Burnin”, before they became few and far between. Not to say he didn’t make other records, but titles like “There’s A Red-Neck In The Soul Band” weren’t exactly breaking through the top of the charts. Let’s face it though, the man is gifted, and he is smooth as hell, you can’t deny that. As the 80’s approached, he move over to Malaco, where he would record some Modern Soul on Dorothy Moore’s label. If you don’t pick up anything she has done on that label in the 70’s, you’ve slept because there are a few bangers on there IMO. A later collaboration with Henry Stone on a label called LatStone and an appearance on UK’s Joss Stone’s record has kept him busy up until today.
Like I said, Latimore was one smooth brother. This song is the original Quiet Storm people. His combines the preaching of the church and some smooth, smooth Soul meets R & B style on this side. He wants to straighten it out bad, and by the end you know any woman was in a puddle at his feet. Hell, he could teach the flyest pimp a trick or two with this song. This is 1974 people, no Disco yet, Funk moving it’s way to be more on the Disco side, and here is Benny Latimore smoothing this shit right out. This is coming out of Florida too, not the Big Apple, not Detroit, not even Philadelphia, we’re talking the Sunshine state. Henry Stone knew what he was doing, and so did Benny on this track. That’s why it was his most successful. For me, this tune and “Sweet Vibrations” are my favorite. If you’re looking for some stuff to open a bottle of wine to and chill with your lady, this tune is a keeper. Keep Diggin’!