Saturday, May 14, 2011

#26 Billy Paul "Let 'Em In" 1977

Though best known for the sultry slow burner "Me and Mrs Jones" (#1 in 1972), Billy Paul could funk it up too. In 1976, he covered the recent Wings hit, "Let'Em In", replacing some of Paul McCartney's guests (Phil and Don Everly, Keith "Uncle Ernie" Moon, "Brother John" Lennon and some real life relatives) with civil rights activists and African American heroes (Louis Armstrong).

The song also includes inspirational passages from Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and Malcolm X's "The Ballot or The Bullet" speech ("But America is in a unique position. She's the only country in history in a position actually to become involved in a blood-less revolution"). Now "Let Em In" becomes almost as profound a statement for African Americans in the 70's as "Don't Fence Me In" was for interned Japanese Americans in the 40's.
Billy Paul's version hit #26 in the UK Charts. You only get half the song on the Top Of The Pops version above. And as a special bonus: some true down home Philly phunk from Billy Paul.

Because you now have "Let Em In", you should buy 360 Degrees of Billy Paul which contains "Me and Mrs Jones", "Am I Black Enough For You" and some sweet Philly soul like "Brown Baby" and his Carole King cover "It's Too Late".

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