The Intruders, Impressions and Superlatives: Bump It Loud

The Intruders: Together
From The Intruders Are Together (Gamble, 1967). Also on Cowboys to Girls: The Best Of

The Impressions: We’re a Winner
From We’re a Winner (Universal/MCA, 1968)

Superlatives: I Don’t Know How
From 7″ (Westbound, 1969). Also on Westbound Sound

Had a grand time at Bumpshop over last weekend. Here’s the thing you have to understand: Bumpshop might start up around the same time (10pm) but they go until 4am. As routine as this might be for any NYer, it’s damn near incredible for folks like me, stuck in cities like SF and LA where most nights begin winding down around 1:30am since the bar staff doesn’t want to stay there a minute past 2am if they help it.

Better yet, the last 30-40 minutes of Bumpshop winds down all the uptempo funk and just rides out on sweet soul and hand-clapping goodness; some tracks just leave you, head bowed, in reverent contemplation. As you’d expect, resident DJs Chairman Mao and Jared kilt it (you have to respect DJs hardcore enough to put a song – not otherwise available on vinyl – onto acetate, just so they can spin it out. CD lovers will no doubt shake their head at such things).

It was a good night, not the least of which is that Mao’s last song of the evening was this incredible sweet soul 45 from the Bay Area (ssssshhh) that was a nod to me (even though, alas, I no longer reside in the Bay).

For people in NY (or visiting NY), do yourself a favor and take yourself out to the next Bumpshop in May – Miles from L.A.’s Funky Sole/Root Down/Breakestra will be the special guest – but seriously – stay to the end, even if it means having to drink a triple-mocha-latte-chino ahead of time. Leaving earlier is like having a fantastic meal but then skipping dessert. Don’t do that.

In any case, there’s nothing like listening to four straight hours of soul/funk/jazz/Latin to really 1) bring out the trainspotter in one (, I have no shame in admitting that I was giraffing over the DJ booth more than few times) and 2) make you realize how much insanely good music there is out there. Thus inspires today’s post.

I had more or less forgotten the Intruders’ classic “Together” until Jared played it last night (backed with a cover version that’s now parked at the top of my want (nay, need) list) and good god, what an insanely great song. The chorus, especially played loud, is incredible. On a related side note: for many years, I pushed this kind of soul to the background but in the last year or so, it’s all I really crave. Musical tastes are strange that way, no?

Speaking of stuff pushed to the background, I clearly have not been giving “We’re a Winner” enough play since I had forgotten how awesome this song was. So nice, they played it twice at Bumpshop and frankly, if they had put it on repeat a few times more, I doubt a soul would have complained. This is one of those songs I wish I had a time machine for, just to see how people reacted to it back in the day.

Speaking of which, this might seem painfully obvious but since I spend the bulk of my time listening to music through headphones or at home, I forget how the dynamics of listening to music in a club environment changes how they come across. Case in point, the Superlatives 45 is one of the first soul 45s I ever bought when I started “buying soul 45s.” I knew nothing about the group but I liked how it sounded – doo wop harmonies but armed with a monstrous backing drummer. It’s been a personal favorite but I had never heard it pumped over a speakers and when they dropped it the other night…*whistle*…incredible.