Thursday, August 22, 2013

40 Year Itch: Danger When You Taste Brown Sugar

With a hard charging cover of Hot Chocolate's "Brother Louie" , the troubled power pop band Stories hit #1 on August 25 1973. Stories was formed when Michael Brown of The Left Banke met Seattle native Ian Lloyd (born Buonconciglio) and the two decided to make Beatlesque music. They made one decent album before Brown left. While recording the second album, as an afterthought, the remaining band has to seek out a single. Ian Lloyd spent a weekend listening to demos when he heard the Hot Chocolate tune, already a Top 10 hit in the UK. As he told Classic

When "Brother Louie" was played, it was crazy because when I heard it, I thought "that's different." Then they got to the chorus. As soon as they hit the chorus, I said "This is the one. This is the one we should do." Obviously I was surprised because you can think something's a number one record, but it won't be a number one record. But the fact that I had really been listening for two days to all this stuff and then heard that and said "This is a number one record," when it finally went to number one, I was surprised. I was kind of like, "Wow! I was right!"

The single shot up to #1 forcing the Kama Sutra label to re-release the band's About Us album with "Brother Louie" as the lead off cut.

The song, about an inter-racial love affair, was very edgy for its time. Billboard Magazine wrote

 "When our review panel heard the song, they like it but felt the sensitive nature of the material would keep radio stations at arms length".

That wasn't the case. Had American's radio listening public decided it really didn't "make no difference if you're black or white" or was there a certain shock value in the lyrics that helped propel the tune to the top of the charts?

Maybe it's just the performance. The funky bass line, the wah wah guitar and Ian Lloyd's Rod Stewart styled vocals just sounds like a soundtrack to a steamy Summer.

There was a second 1973 cover of "Brother Louie" worth noting. Vibes master Roy Ayers recorded a version for his album Virgo Red.

And in 1974 the Undisputed Truth recorded a cover for the album Down to Earth

No comments:

Post a Comment