King Floyd: Do Your Feeling + Woman Don’t Go Astray
From Think About It (ATCO/Chimneyville, 1973)
I’m still blown at the fact that no news outlets (apparently) have reported on the fact that King Floyd died 10 days ago, on March 6, in California. He wasn’t a huge star but he was hardly obscure either. In any case, The B-Side audioblog has an excellent biography and remembrance.
For me, what’s always stood about King Floyd is that, as a vocalist, he had this notably mild tone yet most of his best cuts found him funkin’ it like he was James Brown’s lost brother. (I know the obvious cut to illustrate this would be “Groove Me,” but seriously, at this point, if you’ve never heard “Groove Me,” you shouldn’t be reading this blog. I mean, that song basically put Malaco Studios on the map, was a #1 R&B hit, and has appeared in many soundtracks and funk comps.)
Floyd knew how to get into a Southern state of mind when it came to his soul and funk – a lot of hootin’ and hollerin’ but vocally, he didn’t have that Otis Redding or Wilson Pickett power behind him and under other circumstances, might have made a decent balladeer (see Bill Withers for an example of someone with a weaker voice but who knew how to use it) but as noted, his best cuts were invariably dance tracks.
By the way, unbelievably, of his various albums, I could find exactly none of them available on CD outside of a compilation format. Someone had the good sense of reissuing his eponymous debut onto vinyl, but no CD. Provided, the Malaco-issued Choice Cuts is actually a very, very good anthology, with almost all of what I’d consider Floyd’s best songs but even so, I’m rather surprised the soul set didn’t make more of his albums available on CD or reissue.
In any case, Choice Cuts has a few songs I’d put high on my list of recommended King Floyd tracks (including “Woman Don’t Go Astray”): “Baby Let Me Kiss You,” “I Feel Like Dynamite,” and “Hard to Handle.”
It was actually a challenge finding a song to highlight that wasn’t on that comp but I’m surprised “Do Your Feeling” (a King Floyd original) wasn’t on the anthology: this is a smoking hot funk track that highlights just how mean a groove Floyd could help lay down (with help from arranger Wardall Quezergue and producer Elijah Walker).
I also went with another song off of Think About It (which is an excellent album that more than holds its own against his debut): “Woman Don’t Go Astray” which is probably my favorite King Floyd track amongst his slower numbers. It’s got this great, soulful kick to it: not exactly a ballad but not as hyperactive as “Do Your Feeling.” Its distinctive rhythm is what really sells the song.