Week 51: Leon, Gene & Billy

By: Lafayette

Dec 20 2009

Tags: ,

Category: 1974

28 Comments

Welcome back, friends!

We’re deep into Week 51, and the holiday season is closing in. So I guess an early Christmas gift is in order…how about this vintage Leon Haywood collaboration with the Page brothers?!

Yep, Leon’s 1974 release “Keep It In The Family” more or less keeps things in the Page family…Gene Page handling all arrangements and the conducting, and older brother Billy Page writing the irresistible “Sugar Lump” – the hit single off the album.

Released on 20th Century Records, with entrepreneur-extraordinaire Russ Regan at the helm (you know, the former UNI-boss who hired Barry White as a producer and later did us all a favor by coaxing Barry into recording as a solo artist as well) – which of course gives a clue on how Leon, Gene and Billy met up.

“Keep It In The Family” is definitely among my favourite Leon Haywood albums (long-time followers might remember a near complete discography post on the old blog, excluding only this one and only LP) – with wonderful cuts like the instrumental masterpiece “B.M.F. Beautiful” (written by Gene & Leon), the sweet and upbeat, yet socially conscious, “Sugar Lump” and the highly dramatic “Long As There’s You (I Got Love)”…the latter one sounding like the main influence for pretty much all songs on Portishead’s “Dummy”.

On that topic, I prolly should mention Leon’s massive influence on hiphop…his next album, “Come And Get Yourself Some” from 1975, included the massively sampled “I Want’a Do Something Freaky to You” – which instantly should have you reminiscing on Dre & Snoop and their 1993 epic, “Nuthin’ But A G Thang”! Funny enough, if you go dig up your copy of “The Chronic”, you’ll find that Leon is wrongfully credited as “L. Hayward”!

Now, check out to this short preview of the Leon/Gene/Billy collab “Sugar Lump”:

For those not in the know regarding Leon Haywood, here’s a short but efficient recap courtesy of AMG’s Richie Unterberger:

………………………………………………………………

Soul/funk journeyman Leon Haywood periodically dented the charts in the 1970s with hits that tapped into the grooves and musical hooks of the day’s trends. An accomplished songwriter and arranger, Haywood never pretended to be an innovator, and his hits are cheerful derivations of ’70s midtempo funk and romantic ballads, usually embellished by smooth string charts. His best material recalled the late-’60s/early-’70s Motown sound; on the slower material in particular, his vocals bore a resemblance to those of Marvin Gaye.

Haywood’s roots extend way further back than the ’70s; he toured and recorded with R&B saxophonist Big Jay McNeely’s band (which also backed Sam Cooke on the road) in the early ’60s. In the mid-’60s, he had his first chart entry with “She’s with Her Other Love” on Imperial. In 1967, he had a solid R&B hit (and small pop one) with “It’s Got to Be Mellow,” whose commercial soul sound betrayed his Motown influence.

He didn’t come into his own as a solo artist until the mid-’70s, when he had big R&B hits with “Strokin’,” “Come and Get Yourself Some,” and “Keep It in the Family.” His biggest single, “I Want’A Do Something Freaky to You” (with orgasmic female gasps and moans that made it pretty clear what “freaky” really meant), crossed over to the Top Twenty pop listings. The discoish “Don’t Push It Don’t Force It” was his biggest splash, making #2 R&B in 1980. After the mid-’80s, he eased out of the record business into business ventures; in the 1990s, he produced blues albums by Jimmy McCracklin and others on his own EveJim label.

………………………………………………………………

Aight, that should do it! :¬)

To buy yourself a copy of the original vinyl for less than $15, click here! If you just won the lottery, you might be interested in this $172.50 CD compilation “The Best Of Leon Haywood” from 1996 right here?!

Leon Haywood – 4BB salutes you!

Just two more weeks to go for a complete first year for 4BB Weekly…and we sure got some sweet surprises up our sleeves to make these two last weeks count! See y’all next week!

/Lafayette

(Ps. Damn, almost forgot…can’t really do a post on Leon Haywood without including this groove – one of the ass-wiggliest beats ever, sure to fill any dancefloor in an instant!)

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28 comments on “Week 51: Leon, Gene & Billy”

  1. Mad props to Leon, Gene & Billy! As always, remember to leave a comment on the post – you know we love them!

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  2. “Come And Get Yourself Some” remains my fav of his albums. But this one is still a perfect introduction to his work for those who are not familliar with this great guy.
    Yes “B.M.F. Beautiful” is a fantastic cut among many others.

    Laf, i wish to you, the staff of 4BB and the visitors of this wonderful blog, Merry Christmas and a Funky New Year.

  3. Wow this really IS an early x-mas gift with tracks like ‘Long As There’s You (I Got Love)’ which does sound like most of ‘Dummy’ which is a great cd, and tracks like ‘B.M.F. Beautiful’. Thanks so much Laf or should i say santa.

  4. What a christmas gift! I am a big fan of Leon Haywood and even more fan of Gene Page.

    Thanks a lot, terrific post!

    Oh yeah, and B.M.F beautiful is pure candy to the ears! Sounds straight outta a blaxploitation soundtrack. 🙂

  5. What a terrific album. By the way, am I the only one who noticed the similarities between Keep It In The Family and “I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Singers? I mean dang, I half expected Mavis herself to jump in any minute and take over the vocals! Funky goodness. Also loved Sweet Woman of Mine, Long As There’s You (which sounds like it should have been on the soundtrack of “Claudine” or “Car Wash”), and of course, the exquisite BMF Beautiful (think “Shaft”, “Superfly” or even “Brotherman!” 🙂 ) Great pick, Lafs!

  6. ahhh yeah. looking forward to more education in truly great music for the new year. wish you all and your fams merry christmas and a groove to ride on.

    peace

  7. Hot diggity dawg!

  8. waiting on the 1’s and 0’s to drop as we speak. Thanks Laffy 😀

    I got all “A’s” again!!!

    Holiday greetings, everybody. Whatever you do, be sure to do it good, and please be safe.

    Peace and blessings.

  9. Thanks i love Leon!

  10. Thanks & Merry Christmas 4BB

  11. Thanks BROTHERS

  12. love this guy first remember him with mellow moonlight,and soul cargo lp way back great sound thanks for this

  13. Great stuff as usual from the brothers! Thank you and Happy Holidays from Chi Town Slick!

  14. Merry Christmas & Happy New 2010 to all Brothers!!

  15. Thanks! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  16. Outstanding work as usual guys – big thanks for this. Here’s to 2010 going onward and upward!

  17. hi 4bb
    Hope you all had great new year and chrimbo back on track
    not computer weather for me to hot man 40c + i see great sounds are up to your top seed best love this stuff keep it comin

  18. A favorite Lp of Mine>>>>>>just too lazy to rip it>>>

    Thanks my friend

    Big UP1@1

  19. Nice one Laf. The first song i ever heard by the man was ‘freaky’ the following year, so I missed out on this first time round. BTW – you mention having posted all his LPs a while back (save this one). Did that include ‘Intimate’ from ’76 ? I am specifically after the track ‘Dream dream’, a lovely philly-style ballad. Respect.

  20. Thanks for another good one Lafa!

  21. Superb. Thank you again


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