In honor of Richie Havens, who passed away earlier this week, I’m bringing back this 2010 post. -O.W.
Lamont Dozier: Going Back To My Roots
From Peddlin’ Music On The Side (WB, 1977)
Richie Havens: Going Back To My Roots
From Connections (Elektra, 1980)
One of my best moments in a club came back in the ’00s when I was at APT during a night that Chairman Mao was spinning. I had never heard Lamont Dozier’s “Going Back To My Roots” before and I was just marveling at now just how good the song was, but that incredible change in the arrangement that drops around the 6:30 mark. It was so unexpected and sublime, one of those songs that really only could work as well as it does when you give it time to unfold on a dancefloor. Simply incredible.
Not surprisingly, it drew the attention of other artists. The best known cover is by Odyssey but…I don’t know…I think I found the vocals to be too disco-clichÃ©. Richie Havens’ version however won me over with that intro piano (I’m a sucker for good piano intros) and though Havens has a rougher voice than Dozier’s it works well here. The “reprise” section is missing but otherwise, I find this almost as pleasing to play out.
yo man did u ever check peter tosh live in boston 76′ smasher
i went up and down south america on that cassette in 98 traded my let it bleed tape for a salvavidas t-shirt
but the tosh stayed close strong in the desert and strong in the rain side streets and main
Great post O-Dub. This is probably too late to be called “proto-disco” but this song just seems to capture that moment when soul and disco were passing each other for a fleeting moment ever so perfectly. And truly it is a rare thing to have a cover that meets its original in quality as Richie Havens’ version of “Goin Back to My Roots” does so well. Personally, I always find it amazing that with Soul Sides you are always able to dig into the crates, find a fantastically obscure song to cover, and then manage to resurface such fine secondary covers of your featured music. Love it
Absolutely love both versions of this song. Lamont’s tends to get more people on the dance floor though for sure.