Thursday, 13 September 2007

RIP Bobby Byrd

bobby byrd

Sometimes it takes the death of an artist to remind us of their contribution to their craft, but in the case of Bobby Byrd, like fellow collaborator James Brown who passed away at the end of last year, his work is as present and in the mainstream as it ever was. In large part due to sampling, but also for the work he did with Brown, the sounds he created are stock sounds in today's popular culture, having been featured in classic hip hop tracks by Eric B. & Rakim among many others. To some the term "stock sounds" may seem a little derogatory but from where I sit, if I can listen to the drums, notes or vocals he made a few thousand times and still find them exciting, then I see that as nothing but positive. Even at less funky clubs, tracks like the classic "I Know You Got Soul", "Headquarters", "I Need Help" and pretty much anything he did with James Brown, always work and attest to the incredible quality of the music he made. The point is, when I heard about this, it didn't feel like an old soul legend passing away, it felt like someone who was current and making music. I was really surprised he was as old as 73 and thought of him as the energetic hype man on some of the finest funk records ever made, not a fading star.

This is "Headquarters (Augusta, GA)" which I mentioned above. I think it captures the excitement that characterised Bobby Byrd's work. The shouting on the intro, the incredible horns and of course Byrd's hyperactive vocals make this a track that hasn't left my crate since I got it. Play it this weekend and pay respect to the man.

↓ Bobby Byrd - Headquarters (Augusta, GA) ↓

Bookmark and Share