April 25, 2006



Syl Johnson - Dresses Too Short/Is It Because I'm Black (1968/1970)

You can imagine working for James Brown had its ups and downs. You had the throngs of women. You were the preeminent funk band. If you were the guitarist, you probably played three notes a night. But, if you didn't stop playing when James put up his pointer finger.

That's a beating. Or, at the least, a fine.

Then, I listened to Syl Johnson. He was the James Brown for the lazy man. Not a carbon copy, far from it. He just had a dirtier, laid back version of the funk. Although not gaining the mainstream audience, Syl became known to me via his use by hip hoppers. Check out "Different Strokes" and then go pull out Wu's Shame from 36 Chambers. RJD2 used Syl. Biz did. I'm sure I don't know of the many other credits.

I hope he's gettin' paid.

On a completely different note. Syl had cojones. Before it became popular to be a conscious soul man, he put out an album entitled "Is It Because I'm Black?" You know that wasn't getting radio play. Listen to Concrete Reservation, the funk, the strings, the looped vocals. Everything works.

A sampler, Different Strokes. http://rapidshare.de/files/18893893/03_Different_Strokes.wma.html

The entire double album: http://rapidshare.de/files/18872802/syl_johnson_dress2short_isitbecause.rar.html

And, Syl, yes. Yes it is.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes it is.

ha ha ha

5:32 PM  

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