I’ve always loved listening to R & B. Watching is even better. I identified with the rhythm section and the back-up singers. Guess I never wanted to be the front man. The background is what kept things going though.
Think about the musicians known as The Wrecking Crew. The Temptations who weren’t David Ruffin or Eddie Kendrick. Three of the Four Tops who weren’t Levi Tubbs. The Stylistics who weren’t Russell Thompkins, Jr. The Spinners who weren’t Philippe’ Wynne, Bobby Smith or Henry Fambrough. The Black-Eye Peas who aren’t Fergie or Wil.I.Am. You get the idea.
It’s not that I can’t sing lead, but the guys (or women) in the background get to do some really great moves telling the story. Interpretive dance within a 5 foot square. The only problem for me is I’d look like Buddy Holly in a crushed velvet purple suit and ruffled shirt. My friends know I’d own the look though…And I do have the moves.
The really fun part is it’s unexpected when you first see or meet me since I’m just another bald-headed, bearded white guy of a certain age. Like the bad guy extra without dialogue in a bad cop movie. Back in the day, I had the look: wide cuffed bells, qiana shirts with wide lapels, bump-toes, and…wait for it…an afro. A Bob Ross/Tom Jones/Robert Reed (Mike Brady) coif of epic proportions. Not quite to the size of Neal Schon, but somewhere in between.
Not sure there’s any hope for me though – Even the Pip’s never made it beyond being the musical guest (without Gladys Knight)on SNL years ago… as announced by the late great Don Pardo: “ Tonight’s musical guest “…and The Pips!”