Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Huey No Hooey

If you like classic soul and you haven't heard of Baby Huey, don't fret. In fact, just the opposite, be glad; much goodness is in store for you. I thought I recalled hearing the name before, but it never conjured up anything other than the nephew of a famous animated duck with a bad temper (possibly due to a serious speech impedement) and a serious speech impedement (a condition often inflamed by a bad temperament). This is not the same Huey.

All I know about Baby Huey I just read in the All Music Guide review of his only, and postumously released, album, eeriely titled "The Living Legend." I know he's dead now, and has been for some time. I know he recorded this before the date of his death. Apparently he was a very large man. I know his album was released on Curtis Mayfield's Curtom imprint, and I know that Curtis not only produced the record, but also wrote 3 of it's 8 songs. I know that the cover is really great. I know that the average review for it on iTunes is a perfect 5 stars. I know that it is freaking awesome.

Huey has a voice. A voice freakishly meshing the raw screeching bombastic energy of James Brown at his most excited with heart-breakingly soulfull power reminiscent of Otis Redding. The backing band freaking cooks. They're called The Baby Sitters, and this record is more than worth classic status based on their work alone. Huey liked smoking weed, dressing in crazy outfits, wearing a big afro, dropping acid, and making the most pleasing funky psychedic soul music I never heard before tonight.

I rocked so hard on the first cut, "Listen To Me" that I had to rock it twice. Huey's voice astounds, and the band builds from a solid foundation of heavy organ guitar drums horns funk to such an ecstatic plateu that I think I'm dancing half naked in the mud at Woodstock. Santana's tuning up and Sly and The Family Stone are prepping their costumes, but they stop to cheer on Huey and the Baby Sitters from stage left. This is energetic stuff.

But wait, let's slow it down. I've heard Sam Cooke sing "A Change is Gonna Come." I've heard Otis Redding sing it too. But I've never felt it as much as when I heard Huey sing it. Horn bombast again. Think Ike and Tina. But the best is the end, when we take it down and Huey gets nostalgic for that very first time of "getting mellow," when "the whole world sorta brightens up a little bit." Huey man, you crazy. Nine minutes plus? Thank you.

Get your neck bob back for Mighty Mighty, somehow better than Curtis's version? Is that possible? Depends. If you'd rather just get funky without the heavy duty socially relevant message music, it's better. (What??! A guy has got to let his hair down every once in a while, right? I love Curtis more than you do, so step off.)

It's a crime that I never heard of this record before now. But damn, it's a good feeling to finally be here today. Have some fun and check this out with no delay.


Blogger J.Knecht said...

I wrote this and was hunting for a picture to post. I found a review on Pitchfork. It's very similar to what I wrote, except it's written much better.

2:36 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home