Week 42: Could It Be Better?

By: Lafayette

Oct 18 2009

Tags: ,

Category: 1970

31 Comments

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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!

(Ps. This weekend I stumbled across Friends Of Distinction’s final album, or rather their contributions to the soundtrack of the 1975 blaxploitation flick “Honey Baby, Honey Baby” – a real bargain, in near mint too. To be honest I haven’t listened to it yet, but with favourites like Weldon Irvine and Zulema on it as well, it definitely could become a future post…if not for it’s greatness, at least for some closure!)
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31 comments on “Week 42: Could It Be Better?”

  1. Listen up, friends! Please remember to leave a comment on the post – you know we love the feedback!

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  2. Many Thanks
    Guido/LF

  3. Beautiful, Laf! And no worries about “long” posts – they’re so well-written and informative I’d still read ’em even if you gents weren’t sharing the albums!

    Never seen the soundtrack you mention so if you ever get around to it, would love a listen.

    • Thanks, Cheeba!
      I’m not worried about longs posts…my worry is too long posts! 🙂
      Hehehe!
      And regarding the “Honey Baby, Honey Baby” OST (which I now can report is kick ass good by the way) – it’s been posted elsewhere already, so I won’t be bringing it up anytime soon!

      /Lafayette

  4. You are f-ing great.

  5. This is fire..Good Looks

  6. Thanks for the tip, Laf. Blax pride is deeeep and missed it so appreciate the pointer.

  7. Lovin this one!! Much Thanks Laf!!

  8. yeeah, BIG UP! to the Warner Bro…

  9. Thanks a million 4BB

  10. For me not as strong as ‘Real friends’, with ‘Great Day’ easily being the standout track – definitely agree Laf – the sweet smell of hazy summer captured perfectly. Also a soft spot for ‘You and I’ and, of course, ‘Time waits’. But you can’t miss with FOD, can you ? Great stuff, Laf.

  11. PS. I’d definitely love the personal edge you give to your reviews – paraphrasing MJ – ‘Don’t stop til we get enough’ !

  12. thanks yall! this musics gettin me in the mood for halloween tonight! cant wait to see all the costumes and freaks gettin out our society’s comfort zOne and just buggin out! im goin as what most guys look like on these albums you’ve been posting, got my jheri curl and my spray can drippin! keepin it funky tonight…what a great holiday, a day you can act as crazy and funky as ya wanna be. here’s to a fun, funky and safe hollows eve yall!!! check out this jheri and that mic!

  13. many thanks Laf! i almost missed this one i thought u guys were on a break from posting cuz of the beat competition. anyways Friends of Distinction is always dope much appreciated!

  14. When I saw the track list and saw “new mother nature” I wondered if it was a cover of the guess who song no sugar tonight/new mother nature and sure enough it was!!!! and what a great cover it is!!!!! Soulful Anthem is my favorite song on the album!! Laff these are FOD albums are amazing, I have never heard The Friends Of Distinction and now I feel enlightened! Didn’t we / great day is such a soulful gem, so is Willa Faye and the closer Bring Us A Better Day is a great catchy bouncy tune.. thanks so much for sharing!!

  15. I don’t think it can be better – this is bloody awesome!

  16. Great Great Music !! Thank again !!

  17. Great post, very informative! Thanks.

  18. OOO WEE I love this post. Thank you so much for taking the time to dig for so much information. I just love finding out little things I never knew about the artists like Elston driving for the Tempts in the early 60’s. That link was sooo interesting.

    Thanks Lafy Boo!

  19. Thanks again for more yummy goodness

  20. It’s hard to go wrong with FOD. A friend of mine once made me a tape of the with The Main Ingredients and the 5th D. You kow I had it playing a lot. Thank a 1000 x’s for the treats.

  21. ANother gem from one of my favorite group

    Thanks a million

    Ps; The chord progression are similar to the sound of 5th Dimension at the time

    Big Up1@1

  22. Feeding my soul with delicatessen, thanx.

  23. my man:
    i would like to thank you and your readers for you kind and supportive words. i often feel the “friends” were the “rodney dangerfield” of music sometimes.
    when i hear your compliments and respect, it makes me appreciate being appreciated.

    thanks again for you kind words.

    harry elston

  24. Thanks, Harry! 😀
    We got nothing but love for you and the wonderful music of F.O.D.!

    Thank YOU!

    /L


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