Thursday, June 21, 2007

Gert lush

Look at me - it’s 1978, a year on down the line, and I’m still writing on my labels.

I pulled this one out of the box during a well overdue refiling session earlier this week. I needed to enlist the dining room table to in the sorting phase which prompted me to bring a couple of boxes down and into the same room as the turntable. I then spent the rest of the evening on a fairly random puIl and play session. Lately I have been grabbing a few specific records from their normal home upstairs and bringing them down to play. But I really should bring the boxes down more often and ranodmize more, much more fun – a sort of antiquarian ipod shuffle.

Only inasmuch as they ploughed a furrow could you say that Slave was an apt name for the Dayton outfit that formed in 1975 and debuted in 1977 with the album that included the magnificent “Slide”. The musical furrow they chose to plough, though, was very much their own. Their sound had influences, what band doesn’t? I can hear shades of latter day BarKays, Brick, early Commodores, Parladelica, and Ohio Players (trumpeter ‘Peewee’ Middlebrooks was the uncle of Slave’s Steve Washington, trumpeter, founder member and accepted leader). You could say they also tipped a wink to the disco scene, but they were never in its thrall.

In the end their mid-west funk came out of left field and set them apart from other bands at the time.

The tracks here are both sides of a 1978 Cotillion single taken from their third album “The Concept”. Forget the lyrics, just listen to what’s going on underneath. Driven by the organic bass of Mark Adams it’s vivid, dense, and rhythmically luxuriant, all at the same time! Both of these stand the test of time and sound really fresh.

As we say (or used to say) in my part of the world - Gert Lush! (look up lush in the Thesaurus and any and all of the synonyms could easily be used to describe Slave’s output).

Slave – The Way You Love Is Heaven 1978
Slave – Just Freak 1978

Buy “Hardness Of The World” and “The Concept” on one CD here

1 comment:

Vincent said...

Funny I've never seen this record before, and I've known of Slave practically all my life. I think it's time to give these guys a reassessment.