I usually feel a bit short changed by a single whose B side is merely an instrumental version – often simply the backing track - of the A side. So am I short changing you today? Well read (and listen) on.
Linda has just finished recording the A side and needs a break. She pops out of the studio for a cigarette – actually that will help her vocals for the B side she wants to lay down as she wants her voice to sound huskier for this track. Meanwhile back in the studio her backing band Soul Express continue to mess around and, after Linda’s dead slow song, fancy a bit of fun and a work out. While Linda smokes outside, Soul Express are smoking in the studio. They play so loud and fast it triggers the tape machine and, wow!, that’s one for the can. “Hey Linda”, they say, “have another cigarette, save your voice for another day – the B side’s sorted”!
Soul Express have had a long day in the studio. They’re happy with a breakneck little instrumental they’ve laid down but they’re whacked now. Linda, the tea lady, comes in with some refreshments (in truth, something a little stronger than tea). She’s been pestering the studio guys for a while now – “I can sing”, she says, “let me get behind that microphone, I’ve got a little song Mr. Billups wants me to sing”. As I said, it has been a long day for the Soul Express guys. But Linda’s refreshments are helping them unwind and they’re feeling mellow right now. “Go ahead Linda”, they say, “but we got to take this one at a slow place, OK?”. Linda kills it. The unanimous feeling around the studio is that a star is born, and her song is going on the A side.
Howver it came about, this is one 45 with an instrumental side that is definitely worth picking up because all is not as it seems.
Why does a certain (or should I say uncertain) Mr Billups gets his name in big writing on this 45? He is in the writing credits but was he a member of Soul Express? His brother, Shorty, has stated that Eddie was a keyboard player. So just possibly it is Eddie on the organ on these tracks. Mainstream picked up this 45 from a local label HELPP which it is possible Mr Billups was connected to. You can read more about him (or his brother) in this little piece of mine from last year.