Sunday, September 7, 2008
The 35th Street Gang, also known as Raw Soul, did extensive work for Lenis Guess during the 70's. As the house band at the Brockington-Guess Recording Studio on 35th Street in Norfolk, this insanely tight trio appeared (credited & uncredited) on a slew of outstanding tracks. Brent Hosier's Ol' Virginia Soul: Encore! compilation offers a well chosen survey of these recordings, many of which were previously unreleased, as well as some very informative liner notes.
One song that didn't make the cd is "The Dance Of Love", an oddball b-side to the bouncy soul tune "I Spy". "The Dance of Love" is a steamy offering. Backed by an otherworldly chorus, our deep voiced narrator (Lenis Guess) spins the tale of an ancient fertility rite in a far off land. Any good ritual needs strong drums and Grover "Groove" Everett goes above and beyond the call. Bassist Maurice Glass and Guitarist Barry Saunders further flesh out the rhythm with uncanny precision. Then comes the searing fuzz guitar, perhaps supplied by local psych veteran Dean "Gooseberry Pie" Kohler, who Lenis enlisted around the time to give his records more of a rock appeal.
It's hard to imagine that anyone had any aspirations for this song getting any airplay, but stranger things have happened. Maybe it could be viewed as a novelty. Who knows? More than likely it was just a throw away track destined to fill space on a flipside. Simple as that. Regardless of what the thought process was, we're just glad that little pieces of weirdness like this actually make it to wax. Wondering how & why is just part of the fun.
Special thanks to our friend Kevin Coombe of D.C. Soul Recordings for the amazing band photo!
35th Street Gang "Dance Of Love"