Ray Bryant – Up Above The Rock

Ray Bryant - Up Above The Rock

It’s all too rare these days that I dig into my collection and pull out a record that takes me back to the days when I was heavily involved in the mod scene, but today’s selection is one such occasion. In recent years I’ve found myself drifting further and further away from the mod scene for a variety of reasons – the reticence from some to progress beyond the obvious Small Faces/Who/Paul Weller and well-known Northern Soul & Motown tunes and the fact that in some quarters it has moved on to an almost exclusively r&b playlist. Now don’t get me wrong – I really dig my r&b, however when nights feature just the one genre of music it tends to put me off a little and becomes somewhat “samey” after a while. This has of course led me to follow a more funky route and embrace more experimental sounds and genres as well as becoming a bigger fan of psychedelia. I’ll always be a mod at heart (and still dress that way) but I’m happy to have broken free of the constraints of the scene.

So anyway, on to this week’s featured tune. This was something that I first heard on David Holmes’ Come Get It, I Got It mix album/compilation a number of years back. As soon as I heard it, it just screamed out the word “cool” in capital letters! I had always had a soft spot for funky jazz, but this was what would be more apporpriately described as mod jazz and I absolutely loved it! It kinda reminded me of a song that was used as the theme music for the “Film..” tv series in the U.K. that was hosted by Barry Norman. The track in question I later found out was by an artist called Billy Taylor and the song was called “I Wish I knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” – which became an unofficial anthem for the U.S. civil rights movement and was later covered by Nina Simone. Where “Up Above The Rock” differs is the drums which could very easily be used as a break in hip-hop – the “hey” part of the song was later sampled in The Wiseguys’ “Start The Commotion”.

Just as I write this update, news has just reached me of the passing of the legendary Mr Don Covay. We featured Mr Covay here on the blog last year and it’s with great sadness we learn of his death. May god have Mercy on the Overtime Man. R.I.P.

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