Rufus, Tell Me Something Good

Gene’s post of the Brothers Johnson on Facebook led me to this Rufus with Chaka Khan track, which I adored back in the day when it was new. This is all modulation and anticipation, the beat is slowed and crawling, and Chaka revels in the suspense.

I count this as an example of the most serious and amazing sounds released and people got it. Art and the godhead mix.

7 thoughts on “Rufus, Tell Me Something Good

  1. I love the soul music of the early 70s, mostly pre-disco in other words. It’s a strange thing, maybe inevitable but I remain unconvinced, the way the 60s monolith Pop Music became fragmented to the point where rockers didn’t listen to soul and vice versa, singer-songwriters had their own niche, little kids had their bubblegum and paths rarely crossed. I blame “progressive” FM radio, which played a few black artists such as Sly and Hendrix, a little Stevie Wonder, and ignored most of what was popular at the time. The DJ’s and program directors said that they were only giving the listeners what they wanted, and no doubt that is largely true. My question is why was this? I mean, the hippies and their siblings who listened to WNEW-FM in New York were not a racially intolerant bunch, certainly not consciously anyway, so I don’t get it. And it’s not like soul music was stuck in a rut either, bands like Rufus and the Philly Soul sound were constantly pushing boundaries and adding the coolest little touches to their songs. My own opinion is that the split was not so much a racial thing as a class thing – in my town (Pelham) the working class Italians stayed true to soul music and even helped push it into the disco direction, while the other, richer white kids veered into prog rock, which people might forget was hugely popular in the early 70s. I’m interested in your thoughts on this.

  2. Early 70s rock had a few strands, one of which was prog. Another was Southern rock. We loved the Allman Brothers and Marshall Tucker, others loved Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Outlaws. All were big in my suburbs. Others loved hippie rock, like CSNY and Neil Young, and there was hard rock, like Mott and Humble Pie et al. I listened to all that, but my friends and I also listened to Sly and Stevie, but also the OJays and Kool and the Gang and the Spinners, Hot Chocolate and Rufus. But I remember going to see a show with the OJays and Kool and the Gang at Nassau Coliseum and remember that our skinny white asses were a small minority in a crowd of 15,000 or so. I didn’t consider that a racial thing, not about prejudice, but more a cultural one, soul music seemed more romantic, maybe softer, than our rok. Which was why, later in the 70s, when WBLS started mixing Blondie, the Clash and Talking Heads into their soul-disco mix, it seemed so freaking refreshing, just as it was when WNEW occasionally played Hot Chocolate between Yes and Lee Michaels tracks.

  3. Another factor in the early 70s, is that the soul music was a staple of AM radio. It was everywhere because those songs from Philly and Miami and LA were actual bonafide Hot 100 hits. You didn’t need it on free form rock radio because it was already widely exposed.

  4. Yeah, there was the AM factor and the fact that soul music continued to be more of a singles music than album-oriented. “Serious” “artists” made albums. Hit singles were almost an embarrassment although I’m sure they took the money. Yeah, like Creedence were less respected than The Band, I definitely remember that.

    Lee Michaels.

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