September - Shorty Long Sept 1, 2006 18:42:03 GMT -5
Post by Diamond Girl on Sept 1, 2006 18:42:03 GMT -5
Profile: Shorty Long
Born: Frederick Earl Long May 20, 1940, Birmingham, AL
Died: June 29, 1969, Detroit, MI
Genres: Motown, Soul, R&B, Pop, Funk, Blues
Instruments: Piano, Organ, Drums, Harmonica, Trumpet
Contributions to music:
*Versatile in music styles and a gifted musician
*Recognized the Funk Revolution that was soon to emerge
*One of the funkiest singers to record at Motown Records
*Singer, songwriter, and record producer
In Birmingham he worked as a DJ, toured with the Ink Spots, and gigged at a club called Old Stables. In 1959, Long moved to Detroit, caught the ear of Harvey Fuqua, and cut two singles for Fuqua's Tri-Phi label. "I'll Be Here," backed with "Bad Willie," came out in 1962; the follow-up, "Too Smart," released later in the year.
His first release Motown release (the first on the Soul subsidiary), "Devil With the Blue Dress On," was a slow bluesy grinder with a stinging solo guitar that accented the break. Long and William Stevenson wrote "Devil" and it had all the ingredients of a hit but, for some reason, didn't chart. His next release, "It's a Crying Shame," didn't chart either. Then came what should have been a million seller — Long's funky name-dropping soulful "Function at the Junction"; written by Shorty Long and Eddie Holland, the song had it all — funky beat, soulful singing, good lyrics, danceability, everything — yet, it only climbed to the number 97 position on the pop chart in 1966. His classic remake of the Big Bopper's "Chantilly Lace" received some spins but failed to impact, despite a cool spoken intro by Long and a rollicking honky tonk piano. His next release, "Night Fo' Last," went to number 75 on Billboard's Top 100, 22 slots better than "Function"; not as good, but a good effort.
It wasn't until 1968 before he had his first bona fide hit in the music business. "Here Comes the Judge," a funky record (all of Shorty Long's recordings are funky), had some nifty lyrics and a percolating, bubbling beat, and zoomed all the way to number eight on the charts. An excellent LP was released, which included his hits, should-have-been hits, and some new stuff like "Don't Mess With My Weekends" and "Here Comes Fat Albert."
Sadly, just when it seemed Shorty Long was going to capitalize after nearly a decade of paying dues and have his talent recognized, he died in a boating accident on June 29, 1969, on the Detroit River.
*He taught himself the piano at an early age
*His first release, 1964's "Devil With The Blue Dress" was the first recording issued on Motown's Soul label
*He is the only Motown solo artist who was allowed to produce his own recordings in the 1960s
*He acted as an MC for many of the Motortown Revue shows and tours
*Earl Van Dyke, Motown's session pianist, says Shorty used to come in and say, "Today we ain't playing nuthin' but funk, if you don't feel funky, take a drink of this," and then he'll reach in his coat and pull out a bottle of liquor.
*He was a talented, and yet, underrated legend in Soul/R&B music
"I'll Be Here" (Tri-Phi, 1962)
"Bad Willie" (Tri-Phi, 1962)
"Too Smart" (Tri-Phi, 1962)
"Devil with a Blue Dress On" (Soul, 1964)
"It's a Crying Shame" (Soul, 1964)
"Function At The Junction" (Soul, 1966)
"Chantilly Lace" (Soul, 1967)
"Night Fo' Last" (Soul, 1968)
"I Had a Dream" (Soul, 1969)
"A Whiter Shade of Pale" (Soul, 1969)
"Function At The Junction" R&B#42, Pop#97
Top 10 hit
Pop & R&B
"Here Comes the Judge" (1968) R&B#4, Pop#8
Here Comes the Judge (Soul, 1968)
The Prime of Shorty Long (Soul, 1969) posthumously
Wrote or co-wrote
"Devil With The Blue Dress" "Function At The Junction" and "Here Comes The Judge"
Song Choice Of the Month
Function at the Junction
From the LP Here Comes the Judge