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Thursday, May 24, 2012


Ft Worth, Texas native Ray Sharpe took influences from rock n roll, country and r&b music and created music that was entirely unique. While his early singles (including the big hit "Linda Lu") could be classified as rockabilly, these records also could fall into the r&b classification. What's in a label anyhow? 

By the time of this release, Ray was working in New York City with the legendary King Curtis.

Producer/ sax man King Curtis must have truly loved this track, as he used it THREE times, this being the first appearance. In early '67, Ray Sharpe's vocal was removed, the track was sped up and new lyrics were added and it became Aretha Franklin's incredible "Save Me". Finally, in '68 King Curtis reworked the same basic track and turned it into "Instant Groove".

It's no surprise that Curtis loved the track, as it's a smoker- taking its cue from Them's "Gloria", the track is a masterpiece is smoldering dynamics. While the track starts off in full flight, through some subtle nuances the musicians keep turning up the heat until its a smoldering inferno of go-go goodness. None other than Jimi Hendrix is on guitar, as well. Hendrix is really given a chance to play on Part 2, although he plays a very subtle (yet still effective) break.

from 1966...




Supermod said...

Another fave!! Unfortunately, I only have a really scratchy copy of this so I never DJ it, but I so love it!

And as you noted, such an influencing beat.

ana-b said...

One of my faves....

Actually, there are four King Curtis related versions of the tune. The fourth being Owen Gray's version of "Help Me".

The basic track is the same but it somehow manages to be a bit funkier than Sharpe's version. It too was released in '67. I'm not sure which 45 was issued first.

ana-b said...

Oops, I meant to say the Gray recording was released in 1966, not 1967.

Derek See said...

Yep, you're right Ana. I forgot to mention that one and I LOVE that record! Supermod, was that one of your Oaktown flea finds?

Funky16Corners said...

Hendrix plays rhythm on this one with Cornell Dupree on lead. There's audio somewhere of Jimi being interviewed while in the UK and the Owen Gray 45 comes on in the background, and he mentions to the interviewer that it's him playing on it.

Supermod said...

Derek, I think it may have been an Oakland flea market find... which would explain the scratches. What's really interesting is learning that Cornell Dupree played on this! Yeah, I know I should be more impressed with Hendrix, but Cornell Dupree!