Yesterday morning, before the DCB headed down the road to the town of Newington NH (did you catch those fireworks?) I was passing by the Portland Flea-for-All with my mom and stepfather and decided to pop in for a quick look, as none of us had ever been.
Of course, it had to be that when I walked in the door, I was immediately corralled in to a horseshoe of record cases with many familiar faces staring at me, ready to be flipped and handled. One jumped out at me first; “Quiet Fire.” I had always told Gene how much I loved Roberta and, in fact, had brought my first record of hers (her own debut album) to my first meeting with Gene. “Quiet Fire” has been a long-running feature on my DJ sets, as her “Go Up Moses” is perpetually going to be my pal Moshe’s entrance music.
Recently, I’ve been able to see the grace and omnipotence of God in the simplest of things. This was no exception. This was a simple sign of affirmation that there were good things to be. So, like any other DJ, I began digging.
It didn’t take me long to find this record, nestled a few behind “Quiet Fire,” one I surprisingly didn’t have in the collection yet. This features no less than 4 tunes penned by Gene. This album has been special to me because I’ve always thought “Feel Like Makin’ Love” would make a pretty serious first dance with my lady love at our upcoming wedding. When I brought the record home, K said that she thought it was a sign. I’ll take it.
I love so many of the tunes on “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” but the title track is, many feel, the first honest-to-God entry in the R&B genre. Score another for McDaniels, who had already pioneered a heap of other genres and milestones in his career thus far. He’d continue this trailblazing until his passing. When I was writing his bio for his website, Gene and I talked about R&B and he laughed quite a bit about it. He said, rather deadpanned, “Why don’t you say what you really mean? Black music for black folks.” I remember retorting, “Tell me how you really feel!” He was serious, though.
Thank you Andrew at Uptown Vinyl for being a cool cat and great curator of wax. I’ll be back.