Friday, 4 August 2017

Oliver!: Dyke and the Blazers - Shotgun Slim (21 March 1992)

Whenever Peel cued up a record as being "From the Kent compilation...", my interest would be piqued.  It usually meant there was a good chance of a fascinating slice of pure funk or soul following on.  For years I associated Kent Records with the best segue I ever heard on a Peel show.  On 27 June 2002, he followed Sandbar by Derrero with Woman to Woman by Shirley Brown, an almost perfect tonal matchup from the conclusion of the former to the beginning of the latter.  Shirley Brown's track was taken from a Kent compilation called If Loving You is Wrong, an album packed with intriguing titles like If We Get Caught, I Don't Know You (sung by a man naturally).  10 years before this, Peel was playing tracks from a reissue of an early Kent compilation called So Sharp which showcased the work of "Dyke" Arlester Christian and his band The Blazers.
In the late 60s, Dyke & The Blazers would have been the soul band of choice for anyone who feared that James Brown was becoming too indulgent or that Sly and the Family Stone was soul music for hippies.  In the age of Aquarius, they provided a home for displaced Mods and a soundtrack for the Northern soul movement.  Playing them in 1992 leaves me hoping that Peel would have inspired any of the soul bands who formed after watching The Commitments.  Not such a leap of imagination when you consider that Dyke and the Blazers' best known song was covered by Wilson Pickett, who (SPOILER) may very well have sung it with The Commitments if they hadn't broken up before he arrived at their last gig.

Video courtesy of FunkNationZ.

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