A few days ago, my friend Todd hit me up on IM and asked if knew what the sample was to this:

Shad: Rose Garden
From TSOL (Fontana North, 2010)

Hadn’t caught this last year (song/video appeared early summer 2010) but was instantly smitten by the production.1 I didn’t know the sample though except that it was obviously some cover of Joe South’s country hit, “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden.” I gotta say, it’s a pretty great song on a few different levels. Not only is the songwriting strong but there’s a lot of flexibility in how one might approach it, making it a great song to cover.2 For example, after South, the next artist to find success with it was Dobie Gray in 1969, putting a much stronger soul/funk feel on it.

In fact, I thought maybe it was Gray’s version that was used in the Shad song but even if sped-up, it wasn’t right; the intonations weren’t right and Gray’s got no back-up singers unlike the sample. So I threw the question to the cloud and Brendan Joyce came through.3 Clearly, this is the OG source:

The Three Degrees: Rosegarden4
From Maybe (Roulette, 1970)

Pretty awesome soul take on the tune – I’d say it’s neck and neck with Gray’s, which is a bit slower, though the fact that the Degrees could throw back-up harmonies gives it an edge too (the funky guitars on this are a bit much for me though).

Also, it’s been four years since I first posted it, but if we’re going to talk Three Degrees, gotta give love to this great song off the same Maybe album:

The Three Degrees: Collage
From Maybe (Roulette, 1970)


  1. Much as I think it’s cool to pay homage to Pharcyde’s “Drop,” I wish the execution was a bit sharper. Feeling that umbrella lady though.
  2. That said, best known version is still within the country camp: Lynn Anderson’s 1971 cover, and frankly, I think she sons the shit out of South’s OG.
  3. The cloud also offered up this stunning video clip of the group…singing in Japanese. Whoa.
  4. That’s not a typo. Not sure why they made it a single word but that’s how they spell it on the LP. The 7″ version of the song, on Mojo, spells it as “Rose Garden”. Also: there’s an explosion at the end of the song. Completely fucking random. It’s on the original LP; I have no idea what the hell that’s about.