Dirt and Grime

Music, The Good Old Days

Kanye West released a new song on New Year’s Eve dissing Nike and biting Drake’s “Jumpman” flow, but the thing that stuck with me the most after my first listen to it is the sample that plays during the intro. Ye should’ve flipped this Father’s Children joint into a full song rather than bothering with all the other bullshit, but I’m thankful that he chose it at all, because I had never heard the original before. Props to my boy Marcus J. Moore down in D.C. for the info, turns out Father’s Children is an old soul/doo-wop group from Adams Morgan. Check out their song “Dirt and Grime” above as sampled on Kanye’s new cut, and then read about their history below, via Pitchfork:

At the end of the 1960s, three high school friends from Washington, D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood formed a doo-wop group together. They sang in all the usual places– the park, street corners, walking home from school. After adding a fourth member, they got good enough to start playing parties and talent shows. Even as they got gigs, they still didn’t have a name until one was given to them when they backed a local soul singer. They became the Dreams. In the late 60s and early 70s, a lot of predominantly black neighborhoods had community centers working hard to get kids off the streets, and Adams Morgan had the People’s Center, founded in 1972 by Norman Hylton. The group found itself frequenting the Center, and it was here that it was suggested that they add instrumentalists and become a self-contained band in the Earth, Wind & Fire vein.

The singers recruited a band and took up instruments themselves, quickly developing into a tight, flexible unit with a strong original repertoire, much of it written by keyboardist/vocalist Nick Smith. It was a chance event that put the final piece in place, though: the band emerged unharmed from a rollover van accident while touring Virginia. They changed their name to the more hip and current Father’s Children, and most of them converted to a form of Islam. Late in the year, the band entered the studio to make its first album. A few personnel changes, tours to Texas and Bermuda, and some sessions that lasted into 1973 later, they had it.

But it never was released. The band couldn’t get a record deal as its management company folded, and producer Robert Hosea Williams, who didn’t get paid for his work, put the tapes in his garage, where they remained until now. Numero Group has dusted them off and finally put together Who’s Gonna Save the World, the lost debut of Father’s Children. The album reflects the five-month period over which it was recorded quite well, presenting the band as skilled in funky social commentary, string-soaked love songs, Santana-esque jams, psychedelic post-hippie mysticism, sweet harmony soul and artsy fusion.

I’m about to go check out Who’s Gonna Save The World, and I suggest you do too. Hollerrrrr.

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