Well, here is the South Side Movement’s debut vinyl on Wand – finally had the chance to buy a mint copy – never reissued on LP or CD. Special thanks goes to my fellow Trakbuv for the research and review below.
If it’s funk you want: straight ahead, uncut, with no artificial flavourings or additives, then why not get some South Side Movement. Its sole purpose is for moving that dead stuff of yours to a funky sway. It does exactly what it says on the label. The band hail from Chicago, with no less than eight wonderful ingredients for your auditory pleasure: vocals (Melvin Moore), guitar (Bobby Pointer), keyboard (Morris Beeks), bass (Ronald Simmons), drums (Willie Hayes), alto saxophone (Milton Johnson), trumpet (Stephen Hawkins), and trombone (Bill McFarland). They started out as the backing band of the funkalicious duo, Simtec & Wylie, probably most famous for their glorious ‘Gotta get over the hump’, among others from the early 70s. However the pair parted company in 1973, which may have precipitated the move of their backing band to the Wand label where they secured a record deal. Their eponymous debut came out the same year (the first of three in total) with a rather fetching tablecloth advertisement on its cover. I’ll assume that the gentleman refusing to be part of a picnic hamper is the lead singer – spoilsport !
This is a @320 vinyl rip of the original Wand LP including covers.
A1. I’ Been Watchin’ You 3.03
A2. Love Turned Me Loose 2.10
A3. La Dee Da 2.55
A4. Have A Little Mercy 4.55
A5. Can You Get To That 3.07
B1. You’re Gonna Lose My Love 3.22
B2. Come On And Love Me 2.26
B3. Everlasting Thrill 3.01
B4. Superstition 4.03
B5. Mud Wind 4.40
On opening the merchandise you are hit immediately with the cream on the top. ‘I’ been watchin’ you’ is THE killer track and a heavily sampled motha that I’m sure young Nikos will elaborate upon further. Surely one of the first songs detailing the finer intricacies of ‘the stalker’, its semi-sparce arrangement, tight funk approach, and slightly strained vocals are pretty much symbolic of the LP. Absolutely essential to any off-the-bone prime rump motion, attaining Top 20 placement in the Billboard Soul Charts. Then it’s some horny horns on the short but groovy ‘Love turn me loose’ – I’ll never look the same way at the offer of a hot beverage again after hearing this ‘un ! ‘La dee da’ is one of the more melodic tracks on display, resplendent with busy backing vocs, vibes and a colourful arrangement – a nice change of pace. Things get a little more urgent for ‘Have a little mercy’. Dag namit, call the fire brigade coz this baby’s tail feather is on fire – faultless funk at its most insidious – my pick for sure. Then we get some drag-funk in ‘Can you get to that’ with Melvin sounding slightly spacey. I definitely got to that. This was their follow-up single from the album that again secured an admirable position in the Soul Charts. Side Two slides in with the instrumentally excellent ‘You’re gonna lose my love’. ‘Come on and love me’ has Melvin straining rather awkwardly with the high pitch of the song – a mistake by the producer methinks. Conversely, the very next track, ‘Everlasting thrill’, has Melvin singing in his most relaxed stance on the album, and arguably his best vocal performance for it. Very very nice. Their cover of ‘Superstition’ is competent if offering nothing new – presumably a crowd pleaser at their live shows. Melvin then takes a seat while the rest of the band display that tightness of their wares on the melodic, pleasant ‘Mud wind’ instrumental closer.
Top credit must go to Mr Jimmy van Leer who wrote most the songs and produced the sessions. A quote by Chris Jonz on the back cover states: ‘Well, sit yourself down – dinner is being served by ‘The South Side Movement’. These Chicago-based cookers have outdone themselves and prepared a funky, yet festive meal where the main course will fatten your appreciation for sho’ nuff soul feasting”. Bon appétit !!
Melvin Moore, their lead singer, reminds me of a more restrained Leslie Wilson of the New Birth. For those interested in his subsequent solo recordings, we are pleased to include the Modern Soul rarity, ‘All of sudden’ dating from the 80s.
Buy the vinyl from BadCat Records and listen up the killer funky and heavily sampled track ‘I’ been watchin’ you’
You can also enjoy their final 1975 album “Moving South” in our back pages here.