Week 42: Could It Be Better?
Again, Week 42 is almost over already…I’m kept busy handling the 4BB/Damn! Remix Competition, but back by public demand – here’s another healthy dose of The Friends Of Distinction! More precisely, this week’s post is all about the (incredibly enough) never re-issued follow-up album to “Real Friends”, the nothing short of fantastic “Whatever” LP, also released in 1970…definitely a hectic year for the Friends.
Maybe not my absolute favourite in their discography (that would still be their “Grazin'” I guess), but “Whatever” sure holds my all time favourite FOD song…the wonderfully perfect lazy Sunday afternoon (preferably a crisp autumn Sunday like today) theme song “Great Day”!
And even though I’ve played it like a gazillion times – and it’s a track that’s become more of a state of mind than just a song, I hadn’t played the song or the album in years before ripping it for my defunkt FOD triple post. Mostly because it’s been out of my crates for just as long…the reason for this is that I’ve used this album to decorate my bedroom – on a top shelf, high above my bed, I’ve placed five good looking and personally important LP’s…simply making the room a better place to be than without them. “Whatever” is one of these albums, thanks to “Great Day” and the very distinguishable yet laidback cover art. So, I think I just haven’t needed to play it…”Great Day” plays in my head all by itself every time I see the cover – and just as easily makes me instantly happier and always puts a smile on my face. The song is just that good!
If you actually could hear what sunshine sounds like, this is what you would hear:
There’s actually two versions of the intro of this song floating around…on the album version the song starts with Barbara Love saying “It’s kind of a nice day, ain’t it?” and Harry Elston somewhat indifferently replies “I don’t know?!” – but on the version that ends off the 20 track long “Best of The Friends Of Distinction” from 1996 (available here), has Harry replying even more reluctantly “Hmmm, it could be better!” (Have a quick listen right here!) Well, it’s not a big deal or anything, just an interesting detail! :¬)
To most others, “Whatever” is the album with “Time Waits For No One” on it…a definite milestone to any diehard FOD fan – which also was the top charting single off the album. Other noteable tracks are “Check It Out”, “People Talkin’ And Sayin’ Nothin'” and “Willa Faye”…really great songs, all three of them featuring Floyd Butler on lead vocals – the latter track being discussed a lot among FOD fans, just for being omitted from all compilations reissued on CD.
To all of you who shied away from my long ramblings of last week, but still are interested in knowing more about the Friends Of Distinction, this article is for you…on Epinions.com by someone calling himself Jaguardog – everything you ever thought you wanted to know about FOD is covered, and extensively so…just check out this snippet:
“Harry Elston, the co-founder of The Friends Of Distinction, first worked as a limousine driver for The Temptations in 1960. He was also one of the co-founders of the Los Angeles discotheque, Maverick’s Flat. Harry was also instrumental in the formation of the N.I.E.U. (Negro Industrial and Economic Union), a non-profit organization headed by John Daniels, Booker Griffin and Jim Brown. While working with the N.I.E.U, Harry met many personalities like Bill Cosby, Robert Culp, Tony Curtis, Bill Russell, Mike Warren and other Hall Of Fame Football and Basketball players. The Friends Of Distinction can trace their roots back to Los Angeles, CA in 1961 with the re-formation of the R&B group The Hi-Fi’s. The members were Fritz Baskett, Floyd Butler, Harry Elston, Marilyn McCoo, Lamonte McLemore, Rex Middleton and Lawrence Summers…”
Just imagine the level of details in the rest of it!
OK, I’m heading back to the work of assembling the perfect jury for our Remix Competition…and to make another call to one of the prospective sponsors – but before I go, let me just say that you won’t be disappointed with this week’s Friends Of Distinction offering. “Whatever” is definitely worth a closer look!
Get your own copy of the original vinyl here for less than $25 – money well spent in my humble opinion.
Harry Elston, Barbara Love, Charlene Gibson & Floyd Butler – thank you for the music!