Tag: The Bar-Kays

Comprised of founding member, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mathew Ajarapu, Khayle Hagood (bass), Khori Wilson (drums) and Cam Cunningham (guitar), the Chicago, IL-based soul outfit The Devonns (pronounced De-Vaughns) can trace their origins to when  Ajarapu dropped out of med school, and found himself unemployed and aimlessly drifting through his life. As the story goes, at the time, Ajarapu was listening to music constantly and found himself drawn to the classic soul sounds of the late 1960s-early 1970s, best known for steady grooves, carefully crafted songwriting, impeccable production and gorgeous arrangements.

While sonically and aesthetically drawing influence from the work of The Impressions, Leroy Hutson, The Bar-Kays, Carole King, Raphael Saddiq and Jamie Lidell, the band’s primary focus was on exploring the elements of songwriting, arrangement and production made popular from about 1965-1973 or so. The act’s debut single “Come Back” was released earlier this year through Italian soul label Record Kicks Records — the label home of Hannah WIlliams and the Affirmations, Marta Ren and the Groovelets an others, and was reportedly written in 10 minutes on a $300 Danelectro singlecut guitar. Recorded at Chicago’s Kingsize Sound Labs, the track features arrangements by Paul Von Martens, who has worked with Mavis Staples, Paul McCartney, and Elton John, and the guitar work and percussion of multi-instrumentalist Ken Stringfellow, who has worked with R.E.M. “Come Back” received attention across soul music circles, and building upon a growing profile, the Chicago-based soul act’s latest single “Think I’m Falling in Love,” is breezy and up beat track centered around a gorgeous string arrangement, a bluesy guitar line and a classic horn line, and while the song and its arrangement is heavily y indebted to Smokey Robinson, The Impressions and Leroy Hutson, the song also will remind some listeners of Mayer Hawthrone. According to the band’s Mathew Ajjarapu, “The song actually came to me pretty quickly; I was driving to work one day and suddenly the entire guitar lead riff popped into my head, along with the bass line and chords. I instantly knew it was kind of special.”

Currently, the band is in the studio with Paul Von Martens working on their highly anticipated full-length album, which will also be released through Record Kicks next winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of 1969’s Hot Buttered Soul, the legendary Isaac Hayes quickly developed a reputation as being one of Stax Records‘ boundary pushing, bleeding edge funk and soul stars. At a time when most soul, R&B, pop, and rock songs were an extremely radio-friendly three minutes or less,  Hayes crafted expansive, mind-altering and epic compositions that bridged psych rock, funk, soul, early disco, rock and jazz — and routinely captures him and his backing band catching and holding onto a groove and taking it as far the groove would take them. Just as a few examples for those not familiar, the aforementioned Hot Buttered Soul consists of only four tracks with album closer “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” clocking it at 18:42; “I Stand Accused” and “Something” off 1970’s The Isaac Hayes Movement clock in at just under 12 minutes; and “The Look Of Love” off 1970’s . . . To Be Continued clocks in at a little over 11 minutes.  And this was before Hayes accepted the unique assignment of writing the beloved soundtrack for the seminal and canonical Blaxploitation film, 1971’s Shaft.

However, “Do You Thing” off the two LP Shaft soundtrack may have arguably been the longest song he ever wrote, as it actually took up most of the second LP’s B side, as the expansive groove before ending with the overdubbed sound of a record player needle violently scratching across a vinyl; however, interestingly enough, Hayes and his backing band The Bar-Kays had recorded an additional improvisational 13 minutes that sonically possessed elements of free jazz, jazz fusion and psych rock that had been consigned to the vaults  . . . that is until the folks at Now-Aagin Records stumbled upon it and decided that they needed to release the full 33 minute version of the song, from the 2-inch tape masters on the greatest day of all for audiophiles — Record Store Day.

Including with the vinyl release is a booklet detailing the history of the never-heard-before version of one of Hayes’ most famous and beloved songs. To celebrate the upcoming release of the 33 minute vinyl check out a 22 minute version of “Do Your Thing” that ends with wild peals of discordant noise featuring feedback, strummed guitar chords eventually played through wah wah pedal, shimmering and soaring organ chords with musician studio chatter before a quick fade out.