Thursday, February 26, 2009

Natural High

Since we're in a soulful mood, here's another one of my favorites that CERTAINLY deserves a spin every now and then.
Bloodstone, a five-man soul group out of Kansas City, Missouri, hit The Top 40 on The Pop Charts three times in 1973 - 1974. Their biggest pop hit was Natural High, which hit #10 on The Billboard Chart and went all the way to #5 on The Cash Box Chart. (Other Top 40 Singles included Never Let You Go, #35, 1973, and Outside Woman, #31, 1974.)
The group first formed as The Sinceres, an a cappla vocal quintet, back in 1962. Ultimately, they all learned to play instruments and became a full-fledged band, playing the club scene in Los Angeles and the casino lounges in Las Vegas. Founding members included Charles McCormick (who sang, played bass and wrote Natural High), Willis Draffen and Charles Love (both on vocals and guitar), Harry Williams (drums) and Roger Durham (keyboards). When Durham died in 1973, the group carried on as a quartet.
In 1975 the group financed and starred in a film musical called "Train Ride To Hollywood". In the film, they performed a number of older tunes, including their versions of As Time Goes By, Toot Toot Tootsie, Yakety Yak and Sh-Boom. According to the liner notes to Rhino's "Didn't It Blow Your Mind" CD Series, the best track was the title cut, Train Ride, "an exuberant celebration of railroading".
While the film bombed at the box office, noted music critic Dave Marsh called it "witty" and "underrated" ... "arguably the funniest picture of the whole '70s blaxploitation film boom." Between the slapstick and the reefer jokes, "Bloodstone wedges in a fairly complete history of black vocal harmony music from the Mills Brothers to the Coasters to their own bad selves. They do it even better on the soundtrack album." (Hmmm ... we'll have to watch for THIS one!!! We seem to catch the unintentionally (yet HILARIOUSLY!) funny "Can't Stop The Music" every time it's on lately ... and ALWAYS at the "Y.M.C.A." segment!!! OMG ... and you think Bruce Jenner is funny on The Kardashians?!?!?!!!)