Even though this song is in fact a cover version of a song originally written and performed by Shuggie Otis, having heard both versions, I still prefer this one. Maybe it's because this was the first version I ever heard — I only discovered the Shuggie Otis version about ten years ago or so — or maybe it's because the original version has more of a folk-like rhythm instead of the funk/soul rhythm applied by the Brothers Johnson. Or maybe it's just a combination of both.
I first discovered this song when listening to the BBC Top-20 on a Sunday evening on long wave radio back in 1977 — I was only 14 years old — and I instantly took a liking to this song, and especially because of the harp-like keyboard sounds and the "cosmic" guitar solo. This finger-breaking guitar solo — with two electric guitars playing in close harmony — was actually performed for the studio recording by renowned session guitarist and jazz virtuoso Lee Ritenour, but the original version of the song by Shuggie Otis had Shuggie performing the solo himself on an acoustic guitar, without any delay effects.
The song was never a great success for the Brothers Johnson over here in Belgium — it did much better in the UK — while they did on the other hand score a big hit with their next single, "Stomp!" However, the song was featured on the soundtrack of the year 2000 remake of the movie "Shaft", which brought it a renewed popularity.
Maybe it's just my autistic mind, but I distinctly remember a dream I had when I was 14, in which I was on board of a spaceship, together with a girl I was in love with at the time, and we were both wearing a kind of uniform comprised of pristine white trousers, a white sweater, rubbery boots and a black waist belt. It was a very enjoyable dream — probably because of the presence of the girl I was in love with, but the setting of the spaceship was also very much to my liking — and every time I heard this song, those keyboard parts and that guitar solo would remind me of that dream. Later on, another factor would augment my liking of this song, i.e. the Gibson S-1 guitar played by the singer in this video — I was 14-15 years old when I started developing my interest in electric guitars, and I really liked the looks of that Gibson S-1.
Sadly enough, in the video recording here-below, Lee Ritenour's epic solo has been abridged — the actual recording of the song is 4 minutes and 57 seconds, but the video clip is only 3 minutes and 29 seconds — as it's a video excerpt from Toppop, a weekly music chart program on Dutch television. Back in those days, the Dutch media would often shorten songs for the radio and television broadcasts of the pop charts by cutting out certain instrumental passages — or even an entire refrain — so as to be able to squeeze more music into a shorter program.
= DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR =
A little flashback to the 1980s, when selfies were still made with Polaroid cameras. The guitar solo in this song is a killer, by the way.
= DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR =