Right off the top, I want to give a shout out to my musical twin, Gwin from the Seekthebestblog. I went to her spot to re-read her post on her jams from 1973 to see if today’s pick for the Morning Groove was on it. Well, I checked and re-checked…and it wasn’t. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was…I love this song. It was going to be featured at some point. By the way, if you are a fan of classic soul, you need to get over there and check out her My Jams series. Comes out on Thursdays. And if you are a fan of that glorious music, you need those posts in your life. Like right now.
Second, my mother was a fan of the group who sings today’s song. Mostly on the ballads or slow jams though. But I think she liked this one too. I haven’t written a whole lot about Mom’s musical influence on me, other than to say she played the song that I first remember hearing, and her 45’s always kept me entertained as a youngster. When she would hear “It’s Been A Long Time” or “Wildflower”, it was hands in the air, sway from side to side time. It’s also from her that I appreciate what’s been called Quiet Storm songs from back in the day. So thanks, Mom.
That group Mom loved? The New Birth. The song for today? Their funky cover of Bobby Womack’s “I Can Understand It.”
Womack, if you don’t know, was a musical legend who passed away in 2014. He had his issues with drugs and some dirty macking, but his talent was undeniable. He worked with some of the greats in the business, including the Rolling Stones, Patti LaBelle, Wilson Pickett, Ray Charles and others. He co-wrote the one of the first singles by the Stones, “It’s All Over Now.” He also released a string of classic soul singles and albums in the early 70s, including “Across 110th Street,” which was used by Quentin Tarantino in the movie Jackie Brown.
Womack wrote and performed today’s song on his Understanding album, released in 1972. It’s a pretty good version of the song. The New Birth covered it the following year and for me, it’s the definitive version. That’s not a knock on Womack, but I love how New Birth ramps up the energy on their take of the song. I can remember a local band playing this song when I was younger and those horns were absolutely kicking, much like they do on this version right here.
So “I Can Understand It” is today’s Morning Groove. And as always, thanks for reading and listening.