Monday, March 14, 2005

why can't we live together

While I had heard Timmy Thomas before, I hadn't ever realised that he was born in the same hometown as I until I was researching the man a little bit. Born Nov 13, 1944 in Evansville, IN, Timmy Thomas first attracted attention for his work as an accompanist with jazz musicians Donald Byrd and Cannonball Adderley. (Not while in Evansville, trust me). He then embarked on a spell as a session musician, most notably with the Memphis-based Goldwax label. Later based in Miami and working for TK Records (and its subsidiary Glades), Thomas sessioned for artists like Betty Wright and KC and the Sunshine Band. Eventually, he embarked on his own solo material and found himself with a top ten hit in 1972 with "Why Can't We Live Together?' (US Number 3/UK Top 20).

His stripped down sound is completely foreign for its time. Over an early drum machine, Timmy bangs out what could be an improvised organ line. His simple, Booker T. Jones-like organ style came to the fore as a hypnotic pulse punctuates an understated, but heartfelt plea. He had released records both before and after this song, but none of them had as much success or sales as this. He continued to work on sessions for TK artists including Gwen McCrae and Clarence Reid's alter-ego, Blowfly. This song was tastefully covered by the sophisticated British chanteuse Sade in 1984. Which makes perfect sense. Forgive my dusty grooves in this timeless classic, its message remains intact...

Buy "Funky Me" on Miami Sound from the always mouth-watering Soul Jazz. Or his greatest hits.

Timmy Thomas - Why Can't We Live Together
Timmy Thomas - Funky Me

bonus cut: Sade - Why Can't We Live Together

2 Comments:

At 7:21 PM, Blogger guanoboy said...

sombody recently sampled this...don't remember who...

Why Can't We Live Together...I haven't heard this in awhile, so good! thanks!

 
At 12:01 AM, Blogger spock said...

When the song was a current hit, I recall the DJs saying he was from Dallas. Perhaps he was based there when the record hit.

 

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