Aside from being the token “5 white guys and a black drummer” band from L.A., this record is a nice little heatrock chock full of moody loops, beats and breaks (what else would I be covering?). This album was to be the first release from comedians Dick and Tom Smothers (the smothers brothers) new label; SMO-BRO, with distribution by Buddah records…..It had all the right ingredients: a cover of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” to get the white folks, a cover of “Aquarius” from the Hair soundtrack to get the hippies, “Dear Prudence” in case any Beatles fans might be checking out the back cover, They were pushing their cover of “Morning Dew”, and a cover of “Get Out of My Life Woman” to get any soul fans — even closing out the album with the amazing instrumental “Soul Foundation”, and filling it all in between with originals from arranger and vocalist Rick Kellis. So, why did it go nowhere?
Logically, we would say blame Buddah, too busy pushing artists who were charting, presumably, because the myriad of covers didn’t do for the album what they hoped it would; sell on it’s own. Coincidentally, my 2 favourite tracks are originals written by Kellis: “Bruised”, and the aforementioned “Soul Foundation”, both the last 2 tracks of the megamix, which this time around, I get busy on the this record with 2 copies. These too tracks alone make this lp one of my all-time favourites.
Even still, to this day, the record isn’t “worth enough” to appear on famous record collector’s walls, so, sadly, the Sound Foundation doesn’t really get there dues in the beat digging circle. Anyone should be overjoyed to pick this up in the field if you haven’t come across it already. One of the strangest things about the album, is that given how well these guys were with the rhythm, and making it funky the cover of “Get Out of My Life Woman” (whenever I refer to this song, or any related covers of it from now on, it will be referred to as GOOMLW) does not contain the classic drum break. If you don’t know, GOOMLW, written by Allen Toussaint (who produced the meters), first put out by Lee Dorsey in ’65, contains, by all accounts, the first “hip-hop” Drum Break as in: Boom Clack, Ba-boom boom Clack — before that no one has been able to find any rhythmic open drum pattern containing that time signature that today’s music is soooo dependant on. Ah well, the record delivers the goods like Fed Ex, and the only black member of the group, drummer Billy Ray Morris, serves it up to ya.
Due to the 6 minute megamix of the album, I didn’t include some tracks like Magic Carpet Ride, GOOMLW and a couple other nice moments, but you get the idea by the amount of sample/dj fodder involved here. Give it a listen, if you collect records, find the album, if you dj; cop doubles — and if you don’t; start.