This Monday we are traveling to the Windy City, Chicago, mecca of Soul, Jazz and the Blues, deep dish pizza, and Wrigley Field among others to get some. The some I’m referring to today is gritty Funk, courtesy of General Crook on Down To Earth Records. Check out the General with “Gimme Some” (Part 1) from 1970.
Born in Mississippi in 1945, General Columbus Crook Jr. made his way to Chicago in his late teens. It was in Chi-Town that the General befriended another Mississippi transplant Burgess Gardner. Gardner gave Crook a shot at the lead singer of his Soul Crusaders Orchestra, a group based out of Chicago. For a few years Crook and company played shows in clubs and dance halls throughout the area. However, in 1969, the General got his big shot to go out as a solo artist with a contract with Capitol Records. The result was less than stellar, resulting in two obscure 45’s: “In the Warmth of These Arms” and “When Love Leaves You Crying”, both basically flops. It was no surprise that Capitol dropped General Crook. Down but not out, he would go on to sign with Down To Earth Records, run by the brother duo of Burgess and Walter Gardner. He released four sides on DTE, including this side, but would eventually part ways with the Gardner brothers. Four years later the General was back at Scepter, and released a S/T debut full length of Wand. Taking direction from no one but himself (and the fall out over direction with the Gardner brothers long gone), Crook put out a fantastic funky Soul piece, including ballads, pure Funk, and a Marvin Gaye cover, all which was unfortunately lost in obscurity despite his great effort. Releasing a single here and there in the future, Crook focused primarily on production duties in the years to come.
A solid piece of Funk on 7″, and clearly a nod to James Brown (via Archie Bell and the Drells), complete with drummer, bass, and guitar shout outs, General Crook hoots and howls his way thorough out this 2:49 of heat. Backed by the Soul Crusaders Orchestra, both parts of this side really groove. Part II is the instrumental to the track (without the General), so in essence it’s just the Soul Crusaders Orchestra, with just one hook and some goofy General Crook mouth noises thrown in (IMHO ruins it). The Genera asks: “What do you want me to give you baby?” at the end, and my reply is a clean instrumental. A great record over all, and another great Funk and Soul artist who was on the cusp but didn’t make it big. Keep Diggin’!