Dynamics – Funkey Key

When I go digging for records, I usually get up early. It seems that the earlier I got up, the earlier some of my digging nemesis’ would do the same. I don’t remember exactly when this was, but I remember getting up super late and deciding since it was nice, to simply hit up my spot at about 1pm. This is a direct not good move, which would usually result in a wasted trip. However on this day, I happened to stop at a table that had a bout three plastic tubs full of vinyl. My kind of vinyl: Funk, Soul, Reggae and Jazz, and the seller wanted to get rid of them for 2 for $1. This is one of the records I bought. There was no cover, but I remember being drawn in by the label. Here’s the Dynamics with “Funkey Key” from 1973 on Black Gold Records.

This indie Soul vocal band out of Detroit (originally Dearborn) consisted of members Isaac “Zeke” Harris, George White, Fred Baker, and Samuel Stevenson (on the first record they also had Zerben R. Hicks, but he left after that recording). Their first effort was on Cotillion (a division of Atlantic), and since their manager was married to the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, it was just a matter of time before the group, like others in Atlantic’s stable (along with Aretha), would go to Memphis and record. Their first hit, “Ice Cream Song”, which featured prominent Memphis stalwarts Gene Chrisman (drums), Reggie Young (guitar), Bobby Wood (piano), Mick Leach (bass), and Bobby Emmons (organ) backing them, was warmly received. Although they would release a bunch of singles, and gained notoriety somewhat , from the title song of their second Lp “What A Shame” (an Lp filled with sweet vocal Soul, and this, the lone funky number), I can truly say that the word indie fits them, as they were just under the radar of the mainstream and never really achieved that commercial success that many of like sounding bands from the East Coast.

“ When the Who were still called the High Numbers and scrounging around for material for their first single, they simply pilfered two American hits and changed the lyrics rather than writing anything original. Slim Harpo’s “Got Love If You Want It” became “I’m the Face,” and the Dynamics’ “Misery” became “Zoot Suit. ”-Detroit Metro Times, 11/2007

The Dynamics were one of a long list of Detroit bands that were under rated and definitely under appreciated. Recording for Big Top, RCA, Cotillion, and Black Gold, they released a bunch of 45’s of sweet Soul and a few Lps. This cut from What A Shame, kind of sticks out like a sore thumb, but is good nonetheless. You know I dig my Funk sides here at FMF, and stick it in among a group of sweet Soul harmonies, and you’ve got something special. It’s evident that these guys were good, because The Who (when they went under the name the High Numbers), directly ripped off the Dynamics side “Misery” by just changing the lyrics, renaming it “Zoot Suit”, and running with it. Not uncommon (see any Led Zepplin or Rolling Stones early side), but just goes to prove my point that these four fly guys out of Detroit were on to something.

Download or Listen to the Dynamics – Funkey Key from the Black Gold Lp

You be the judge.


Dyanamics – Misery

The High Numbers – Zoot Suit

Keep Diggin’!

3 responses to “Dynamics – Funkey Key

  1. Pingback: SLIM HARPO – THAT AIN´T YOUR BUSINESS « Throughhisown's Weblog·

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