Yeah, yeah, uh huh, Lord, Lord…

The following are the names of the members of one of the best funk combos of all time: “Master” Henry Gibson (percussion), Joseph “Lucky” Scott (bass), Craig McMullen (guitar) and Tyrone McCullen (drums). You probably never have heard of them, although watch them in this clip below from 1973 and you’ll probably recognize both the song they’re playing and the singer who fronts them:

These four guys were Mayfield’s symbiotic backup band during those initial, revolutionary solo records he recorded after leaving the Impressions in 1970. Mayfield is one of the closest and most-intimate singers of the soul era, and his band matched the unforced sophistication of his delivery by exhibiting impeccable dynamics, transitioning easily from heavy to subliminal and back again multiple times in the course of the stretched-out songs that made up Curtis’ new funk repertoire. 1971’s Curtis/Live! displays this well, illustrating how funk doesn’t need 16 pieces to get across.

The video performance above is from a new DVD from the Reelin’ in the Years archive, called Movin’ On Up: The Music and Message of Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions. It’s one of about 20 complete live and television performances included in the documentary, making the DVD a spectacular document of this artist. Reelin’ in the Years is quickly becoming one of my favorite companies in the history of humankind. They also have significant catalogs of blues and jazz music performances.

Just for kicks, here is the Fishbone cover of same song linked above:

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