Sunday, 5 September 2010

The Legacy Of Rotary Connection

I’m originally penned this having just helped do some washing up after a visit home and a quality Sunday roast (made up of chicken, sausage, stuffing, leeks, potatoes and a hearty helping of white sauce). Soul stew indeed :).

I put on a two disc of Rotary Connection, the band which launched Minnie Riperton (Loving You, Two People, Inside My Love) and which was founded and co-produced by Marshall Chess, the son of Chess records owner Leonard. Listening to each song, I was further reminded of their lasting impression on modern music as well as at the time they were active. The band itself were releasing records between '66 to ’74, during which time they created an exciting mix of big sounding psychedelic soul fused with elements of jazz, American folk and a touch of country.

Connection created songs that we can only fully appreciate the impact of some forty years later. They’re most famous for the record Black Gold Of The Sun, taken from their 1971 album Hey Love which has since been given a retouch by 4Hero and covered by Masters At Work on the Nuyorican Soul album. However as a group they have influenced many other artists, especially those in HipHop; notably A Tribe Called Quest, Common and The Fugees.

Memory Band is the most notable in the way that A Tribe Called Quest sampled the sitar strokes for Bonita Applebum and also used by the Fugee’s in Killing Me Softly, itself an updated version of the Roberta Flack classic. Love Has Fallen on me was resung by Lily Allen and keys replayed on Common’s Drivin Me Wild. Souls Of Mischief of 93’ til Infinity fame used ‘Respect’ to influence The Name I Called Myself and Jay-Z used Burning of The Midnight Lamp on an intro to his album Vol 3…Life & Times of S Carter.

Sampling aside the band created a big sound which still allowed the elements within the song to breathe. Everything feels organic and loose, fitting with both the times and the musical outlook of the band. This makes such listening to their music feel positively life-affirming.

If you haven’t got any of their albums I’d highly recommend Black Gold: Very Best Of
Or check it on Spotify
So Rotary Connection, we salute you.