I had to be the maddest twelve-year-old on the planet.
Day after day, I listened to the radio, waiting to hear the song that is today’s Morning Groove. Day after day, the station would play it—but more times than not, it was the edited version. And day after day, I would get heated. Even now, as a grown man, I still tend to frown my face when the song fades out during what I consider the best part of the song. What part is that? The drum break that starts right after the 3:00 minute mark.
What part of the game is that? Anyone who has heard “Holy Ghost” by the Bar-Kays knows that the fun is just getting started when the drum break kicks in. If you want to hear this funk monster set it off right, you’ve got to play the long version. There’s no need for vocals after that awesome drum part. Just let the Bar-Kays do their work. When that version plays, I still my frown my face—but in a good way.
The Bar-Kays had been through plenty by the time “Holy Ghost” was released. The original band was the backup band for Otis Redding; most of its members perished with him in a plane crash late in 1967. The reformed Bar-Kays then worked with Isaac Hayes for a time while making their own music, when the label they were signed to, Stax Records, went under in the mid-70s. After signing with Mercury Records, the group started finding some success and by the time today’s song was released, they were touring with the likes of Parliament-Funkadelic. In the last of the existence of Stax, the label found some shelved recordings the Bar-Kays had made while they were on the label, released an album called Money Talks, and released “Holy Ghost” as a single. The Bar-Kays got themselves a smash hit out of it, one of the greatest funk songs of all-time.
Today, I’m clearly feeling funky. And as funk tunes go, they don’t get much funkier than this. Enjoy today’s Morning Groove, and as always, thanks for reading and listening.