Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop, R&B
Listen to Samples
He's Got To Be Mellow (But Funky)!
David Wayne | Santee, CA United States | 08/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was nice to see this collection released my Mercury in 1996. This underrated singer/songwriter/producer made a solid impact on the scene of soul music from the late 60s through the 80s. Outside of "Don't Push It, Don't Force It" and "I Wanna Do Something Freaky To You," Leon's music doesn't get much radio play at all these days, and that's a shame, as one listen to this disc will prove to you. Taking the highlights from the top: The opening two cuts, "Daydream" and "Strokin'" (not the Clarence Carter song), show the types of grooves that Haywood was typically into during the late 70s and early 80s. He was a funkateer of the first order! So your head will already be bobbin' when the first rapid-fire horn blasts from "Don't Push It" hit you. This was a leading dance floor anthem on both sides of the Atlantic. It was at once soulful, funky, danceable, and original, which for Haywood, was an accomplishment. Leon Haywood basically made a career out of appropriating other people's sounds and melding them together into hits for himself. So for "Don't Push It" (and "She's A Bad Mamma Jamma," which Leon wrote for Carl Carlton) to so boldly rule the dance floors, must have been pleasing to him. "Don't Push It" was his biggest soul hit ever, hitting #2 in early 1980. The hits "Keep It In The Family," "Believe Half Of What You See," and "Come And Get Yourself Some" found Leon borrowing freely from the light reggae groove the Staple Singers were in during the early 70s. Another monster hit, "I Wanna Do Something Freaky To You," took an idea first put forth by Marvin Gaye on his "Let's Get It On Album" (see "Come Get To This"), and combines it with the groove from the classic Norman Whitfield song "Smiling Faces Sometimes," which hit big for The Undisputed Truth. Leon's amalgamation lit a fire under women from coast to coast, hitting #7 R&B and going to #15 on the Hot 100 (his best pop showing ever). It was a happy day for me when I discovered that "One Way Ticket To Loveland" is on this CD. I had searched for the song for ages, and I couldn't understand why I couldn't find it in Joel Whitburn's Top R&B singles. Now that I know it was Leon singing the song, I know the story. Haywood was based in Los Angeles, where he worked with prominent session musicians like Ray Parker and James Ingraham. As a connected producer, it was a cinch for him to get local airplay on XPRS in Los Angeles (which was also the soul station in San Diego, with its signal originating south of Tijuana). So songs like "Loveland," with Haywood back in his Staples mode, and "La La Song" (Leon singing double-tracked like Bobby Womack) were played like hits in L.A., although they failed to catch on nationally. The last track on the disc was Leon's second recording success, the catchy "It's Got To Be Mellow." This song is an old school staple, a beach music essential, and a big hit (still) with the hispanic crowd in L.A. It combines equal parts of Marvin Gaye's "Crazy About My Baby" and Martha Reeves' "My Baby Loves Me," with the opening flourish from Jackie Ross' "Selfish One" thrown in for extra spice. It is typical of Haywood's "It's All Good" approach. The end result is something that sounds remarkably original! As for Leon's first chart triumph, 1965's "She's With Her Other Love," it's not here! I guess EMI (which owns the masters from Imperial Records) would not cooperate. "It's Got To Be Mellow" was licensed from MCA (owner of Decca's masters), so it would have been nice to see "Party" from Haywood's late-70s MCA years. Other than those two key omissions, this disc truly represents Leon Haywood's best."
The funkiest thing, next to Parliament
tobias | Finland | 06/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Leon makes the music of old power funk, but with a slight twist of high fi sound, where needed. The best funk since George Clinton."
I wanna do something freaky to you baby
Sherance M. Brothers | Jasper, Alabama United States | 09/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"love this whole cd but my favorite is i wanna do something freaky to you, that is the cut dr. dre used to make nuthin but a g thang, that started the deathrow saga. leon deserves his props as ac funk pioneer."