Wednesday, February 10, 2010

ROW: Harvey Scales & the Seven Sounds – Love-itis (Tuff City)

Nearly ubiquitous in his influence, James Brown begat thousands of imitators the world over. One of Milwaukee’s answers to the JB juggernaut was Harvey Scales, a local soul-cum-funk impresario who fronted the alliterative Seven Sounds in the Godfather’s shadow for years. Scales recorded a string of 45s for the local Magic Touch imprint spanning the decade between ’67 and ’77 and this convenient Tuff City comp gathers them all. Many of them promote titular dance crazes with colorful sobriquets like the “Get Down”, “Broadway Freeze”, and my personal favorite “The Yolk”. Scales doesn’t shy away from a playful “flavor of the month” disposability openly denigrating earlier dances in later songs. For instance, “Get Down 1970” summarily relegates the earlier “Get Down” (from ’67) to the dust heap without a second look. Scales seven-piece band is tight and groove-versed starting out in deep JB soul bag and flirting with disco funk on later cuts like “Groove on Sexy Lady” and “Love Thief”. Snatches of the signature Stax sound and even a little bit of Curtis-era Impressions also enhance the agenda. Taken piecemeal or in a single feast, it’s quite a satisfying menu and a damn fine party platter to boot.

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