Saturday, December 31, 2011

F*U*N*K*Y Year's Closing G*R*O*O*V*E

Dear friends of this blog, I've been ill for a week or so and am right now about to recover. Of course these things happen to you when you least need them, e.g. in the week between Xmas and New Year's Eve. Did some cursin'.

Motown (CAN) LP # M 832V1 (1975)
Luckily I pulled myself together just in time to prepare this year's last blog post. Since some time now I've had in mind that the 31st of December needs something funky, and not just funky but F-U-N-K-Y ! And here one of JB's funky divas enters the stage: Yvonne Fair. in 1974, she recorded a handful of gritty funk tunes every one of which is a true ear bone shatterer. By 1974, Yvonne had been in the business since a long time. From 1963 onwards she was part of the James Brown Revue, and in 1965 she gave birth to JB's daughter Venisha. In the later '60s, Chuck Jackson brought her to Motown, but her first (and only) album only appeared in late spring 1975. Before that she regularly performed as an opening act for the likes of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye until in June '74 her first solo single (on the Motown label) hit the Soul charts. That first made her name known to a larger public and she was now noticed by JET: ... a honey peach of a girl ... she may look like an overnight hit, but she has been working and waiting for this break more than 10 years (August 1 issue, p. 60).

In '74 and early '75, Motown released three 45s of Yvonne Fair, and all the sides are included in her LP. These are actually the funky tunes on this album, while most others are in the ballad- ish vein (»It Should Have Been Me«); there's also a nice version of »I Know (You Don't Love Me No More)«. The aggressively sexist (yet intended anti-sexist) bitch concept of her fabulous album stands in a row of similar LPs of black female r&b singers in the post-Pam Grier era, culminating in Denise LaSalle's infamous The Bitch Is Bad album in 1977.

So let's move on to Yvonne's funky sides, one or two more than usual in this blog. But that's fine for today. The tracks are ripped from the LP but they were originally released on her three (and only) Motown 45s. Real killer-tunes! The latter two are probably well-known to most of you, the first two maybe not so. Happy New Year Y'all!

Yvonne Fair: »Love Ain't No Toy« / »Walk Out The Door If You Wanna« from the LP The Bitch Is Black (1975):

»Let Your Hair Down« / »Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On« from the LP The Bitch Is Black (1975):

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In case your head is clear tomorrow and you'd like to read more about Yvonne Fair, you can go here (in Italian) and here (in French).

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