Simtec & Wylie – 1971 – Gettin’ Over The Hump
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Simtec & Wylie were an American soul duo from Chicago active in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The group was composed of Walter “Simtec” Simmons and Wylie Dixon, and had a hard soul sound similar to that of Sam & Dave.
As Simtec Simmons & Wylie Dixon, they issued “Socking Soul Power” in 1969, then became Simtec & Wylie for the 1970 Shama Records singles “Do It Like Mama” and “Gimme Some of What You Got“.
The group signed with the Mercury-distributed label Mr. Chand and issued a full-length, Gettin’ Over the Hump, in 1971, which proved to be their only album; however, the track “Gotta Get Over the Hump” became a hit single on the R&B charts, reaching #29 on the Billboard Soul Singles chart. They appeared on Soul Train on Christmas Day 1971.
The album contains some righteous riffs, including their pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps anthem “Gotta Get Over the Hump” and “Bootleggin‘.”
The most interesting cut is the duo’s funky remake of Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May“. Part of their backing band — Ronald Simmons, Bobby Pointer, and Fred White – became a part of Southside Movement, who started a little commotion with “I’ve Been Watching You” in 1973. This same album was reissued in 1971 on Mercury Records as Bootleggin’.
A1 Bootleggin’ 5:35
A2 Gotta Get Over the Hump 3:00
A3 Sold On You 2:40
A4 Put Up or Shut Up 3:00
A5 What’s Good to You 3:00
B1 Maggie May 5:53
B2 You Just Can’t Win 5:10
B3 Everybody’s Got a Part to Play 3:18
B4 Is It Meant to Be? 3:08
Review by mag1c_hands
Walter “Simtec” Simmons’ and Wylie Dixon’s “Gettin’ Over the Hump” has the distinction of being the only album released on the Mister Chand label, Gene Chandler‘s painfully short-lived Mercury-distributed vanity label.
Information is somewhat scarce, but it’s not implausible to theorize that Wylie Dixon is the brother of one Eugene Dixon (nee Gene Chandler). He was in a group called Wylie Dixon and The Big Wheels (“Sweet Pea / Sad Time” on the Conduc label, 1965) with Bobby Pointer, whose writing credit shows up frequently on this album. Simtec was apparently also in a group with Bobby Pointer and his brother Roland Simmons for a 45 on the Maurci label in 1967 billed as Simtec Simmons and the Mechanical Monster (that’s awesome). At some point everyone decided to join forces and Simtec & Wylie was the result. Boasting a similar production booth to the Gene Chandler and Jerry Butler duet album on Mercury from the same year, Gene produced with arrangements by Chicago legends Richard Evans and Tom-Tom Washington.
The results sound like nothing short of a psych-funk Sam & Dave. The title track must have been something of a local hit (hence an album named after it), but I’m surprised this wasn’t much more popular. Most tracks have an excellent amped-up loping funk groove smothered in organ, fuzz guitar, and strings. Backing is by the T-Boxes band, possibly the same Tea Boxes Band that the Simmons’ brothers formed in 1964 and used to back up Wylie Dixon on tour.
There are really no duff tracks in the bunch but highlights include an awesome funk take on Rod Stewart’s Maggie May (seriously) and a cover of the standout track from the Gene & Jerry album, “You Just Can’t Win” (actually written by Dixon and the Simmons’ brothers). The latter song is a relatively faithful take, if slightly funkier, that devolves into a fuzz-drenched psychedelic funk coda that puts Sly & the Family Stone to shame.
The Mister Chand label was stacked to the hilt with talent and they were nailing a perfect sound for the early 70s but for one reason or another it burned out quickly and has wallowed in obscurity ever since. It should be spoken of in the same breath as Twinight and other groove-centric Chicago indies.