Pockets – 1977 – Come Go With Us

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If you like smooth vocals, soul with a touch of jazz, and great musicianship then you should dig this immediately! This is one of those rare overlooked gems that you must have if you’re a fan of 70’s soul/funk/jazz. There is no weak song at all, I just love it.

There’s plenty of inspiring music here-my favorites are Pasado, Come and Go With Me & Elusive Lady  along with the killer instrumental tunes. Nice horns, nice keys great chops!

Horribly Underrated Band!

This is a @320 vinyl rip of the original CBS Records LP including covers.

Tracks
A1 Come Go With Me (4:22)
A2 Pasado (5:42)
A3 One Day At A Time (5:44)
A4  Doin’ The Do (2:58)
B1 In The Pocket (3:51)
B2 Nothing Is Stronger (4:00)
B3 Elusive Lady (6:58)
B4 Wizzard Wuzzit (2:35)

Review by Trakbuv

OK.  I’m hauling my entire record collection and prize stereo abroad.  Unfortunately, the plane hits some minor difficulties – resulting in myself being the only survivor on a raft made out of my crates.  I ‘shipwreck’ on an island and am greeted by a group of blood-hungry cannibals.  They offer me 100 of their finest women and as much food as I can ever want in exchange for my entire record collection.  Alternatively, they will leave me with only my favourite 100 LPs and my life.  The choice at first seems easy, but picking my favourite 100 LPs proves more difficult !  However, the analogy does throw up one LP that I would not ordinarily have considered so important – The Pockets debut, “Come Go With Us”.

The predominantly Baltimore-based octet consisted of Al McKinney (keyboards), Jacob Sheffer (guitar), George Cray (drums), Gary Grainger (bass), Charles Williams (horns), Irving Madison (sax) and Kevin Barnes (trombone).  Having played local gigs with a repertoire of top 40 tunes, they entered Sheffield Studios, Baltimore in 1975, and exited with 200 demo cassettes containing four original songs.  Armed with their new babies, they failed to excite anyone in New York.  However, fate would smile kindly following a chance meeting between Al McKinney and Baltimore Colts baseball team member, John Mackey.  Having passed the tape on, Mr Mackey just happened to live next to one Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire.  A meeting was arranged, leaving Verdine White and Co. suitably impressed.  However, Verdine had an ace up his sleeve that was to become the eighth member of the group, and their lead vocalist, Larry Jacobs from San Francisco.  Recording the album took about week, but Verdine spent a while sprucing up the product to impress the powers that be at CBS.  Meanwhile, The Pockets ‘waited and waited’ while continuing to perform for their daily bread.

Well, the wait was more than worth it.  The album is a real thoroughbred of the finest sounds our music has to offer.  Plainly put, there is a scintillating mix of breezy funk, big ballads and jazz-funk, all perfectly captured in a spiralling groove.  And why not lead off with the killer cut ?  What a joy ‘Come go with me’ is – a laugh-out-loud crescendo of happiness – and a track that hasn’t dated whatsoever.  Simply glorious.  Then we have, for me, the single mistake on the LP.  While their version of ‘Pasado’ is respectful, this should never have been considered for more than one microsecond.  The Stairsteps version is GOD.  If you haven’t heard the original from one of the best soul LPs of all-time, may I suggest you skip here for some immediate therapy.  Back on track, Trak, this is a Pockets review, remember.  Co-producers Verdine White and Robert Wright now lend the writing skills that gave the title track such an edge to a lovely climactic ballad.  ‘One day at a time’ is a wonderfully developed song that is a tribute to both their writing and production talents. The first set is stupendously wrapped up with the frantic brassy instrumental ‘Doin’ the do’ – a scorcher from the pen of Mr Grainger.  Another track released as a single, ‘In the Pocket’ is more of a funky chant than a traditional funk number, but still has much excitement to recommend.   The next track(Nothing Is Stronger) is something that LTD made a speciality out of their non-single material – a melodic, skip-along shuffler that is a real treat.  Then we’re onto the second big ballad (Elusive Lady) of the LP, this time written from within the ranks of the band.  McKinney and Barnes do themselves proud with a charming song, beautifully sung with a tremendous change of pace mid-way that really shows off the eclectic elegance of the outfit – a long-time favourite with this scribe.  Finishing off with another instrumental, ‘Wizzard Wuzzit’ is a startlingly good, brisk closer, written once again by Gary Grainger.  Superb.

What makes this such a hard LP to part with ?  I guess it has an innocent effervescence of a band that has had the cork finally removed by two producers who knew exactly how to trap that youthful zest.  I love the charm, the range of sounds and the sincerity of this record – I really hope you approve.

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The back cover of the vinyl LP was used as the cover art of 1996 compilation “Golden Classics” in CD (see here). All 8 songs are included in this CD as the first 8 hits (out of 19)! Don’t miss it when you see one! You can easily buy the vinyl here. Finally, listen up “Come Go With Me”.


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Conversation for album: Pockets – 1977 – Come Go With Us

35 Comments
  • hooch
    Posted at 18:34h, 18 May 2009 Reply

    thank nikos, looking forward to this!

  • Marcha
    Posted at 20:06h, 18 May 2009 Reply

    Thanks for this nikos, can’t wait for the next album coming.

  • rich
    Posted at 21:26h, 18 May 2009 Reply

    i got this one already great album thanx nikos

  • jean paris
    Posted at 22:10h, 18 May 2009 Reply

    one word…DOPE… thanks to nikos and of course trakbuv 4 ur knowledge…much appreciated…

  • JTF
    Posted at 23:14h, 18 May 2009 Reply

    Thanks!

  • Lafayette
    Posted at 00:23h, 19 May 2009 Reply

    Finally! Great selection, Nikos! 😀
    Great work on the write-up too, Buv!

    /Lafayette

  • Soul is the Music
    Posted at 01:34h, 19 May 2009 Reply

    Oh man, how I LOVE this album!I’m feeling very nostalgic right now. 🙂 It was such a great period of time in the music. There was such inspiration and meaning in the songs. It’s sad that we have arrived at a place in time of such nothingness and so called artist who have nothing to offer.

  • Simon666
    Posted at 02:20h, 19 May 2009 Reply

    Really nice stuff, thanks a lot Nikos!
    And thanks for the writing Trakbuv 🙂

  • invisiblenigma
    Posted at 02:53h, 19 May 2009 Reply

    Much Thanks Nikos and Trakbuv!! I actually have a horribly scratched copy of this one!! It’ll be great to hear it clearly!!

  • raggedy
    Posted at 03:29h, 19 May 2009 Reply

    I just love your intro to the review … lol Thanks for posting an album that precious to you!

  • Gea
    Posted at 11:11h, 19 May 2009 Reply

    The melody, the musical arrangements, and those silky smooth soulful vocals created a unique sound. It has elements of R&B, jazz, and latin (Pasado)in it, and over three decades later, these tracks still sounds fantastic as ever!!

  • carlos
    Posted at 13:44h, 19 May 2009 Reply

    I love your work,specially all that info you provide.Thanks a million for such a permanent brilliant work.

  • jeff
    Posted at 01:00h, 20 May 2009 Reply

    thanks for this man

  • Fernando
    Posted at 11:36h, 20 May 2009 Reply

    Certainly worth the wait thank you for sharing.

  • julia
    Posted at 02:31h, 21 May 2009 Reply

    …great album, great times!

  • Volcan
    Posted at 02:33h, 21 May 2009 Reply

    One of the best of the under recognized 70’s groups.
    Rich vocals, real musicians, sweet harmony and kinda funky. Love it.

  • hops
    Posted at 04:03h, 21 May 2009 Reply

    good music. thanks bro

  • SeP
    Posted at 12:01h, 21 May 2009 Reply

    “Come go with me” was a serious jam in ’77,always enjoyed this song, the musical arrangements, the soulful harmonious vocals, created a sound that was second to none that year, and arguably for the entire decade of the 70’s, tremendous dance track!!

  • Groovy Emmanuel
    Posted at 14:09h, 21 May 2009 Reply

    Some real stuff here! Baltimore at its best… shining all over through seventies in terms of music and football!!! Giving the opportunity, I was moved by the fact that former Baltimore Colts tight end John Mackey, famous in a thrill play at Super Bowl V along with the great quarterback Johnny Unitas, is connected to the release of this excellent album. Music, football, seventies, Baltimore, really exciting period, these are the things perhaps that might make a good plot about the activities of the black community in Baltimore area. We have talked a lot about Baltimore vocal groups scene in this blog before, it’s time to see that music stands mainly as a daily activity, why not! Thanks Trakbuv for the opportunity given!

  • Trakbuv
    Posted at 17:15h, 21 May 2009 Reply

    It’s great to see that Nikos and I are not alone in our appreciation of this glorious record. Many thanks everyone for your glowing comments. Nice to know that my ignorance of American Football hasn’t stopped me marking a memory for Groovy. It’s forever amazing how many bands get their break through a chance meeting with someone who happens to know someone else – ain’t that the unwritten way of the world !!!

  • George M
    Posted at 20:23h, 21 May 2009 Reply

    WOW!
    What an album!
    I have seen this album around but have never picked it up as I have never known about it or been recommended it. What a fool I feel like now. I bet it’s really obscure and expensive now.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this, isn’t “One day at a time” the greatest piece of art you have ever heard. True “Soul” at its best, a real expression of what is fundamental and real inside of every one of us who feels Soul!
    Thank you so much.

  • whoknows
    Posted at 22:24h, 21 May 2009 Reply

    Thanks Trak! From your review…I can’t wait to give this a listen! much appreciated! …and the lesson to learn here is that if you’re trying to make it or get a deal, always have those tapes in your pocket!

  • Mario
    Posted at 11:18h, 22 May 2009 Reply

    This joint is kind of dope!

  • Mr. Moo
    Posted at 21:26h, 22 May 2009 Reply

    This is indeed their best album, although their second one, Take It On Up (1978), is more funky (and a bit more my cup of tea) than this first and their last album So Delicious (1979). The song ‘Funk It Over’ is tremendous.

    All three albums were reissued on CD in 1994 (Sony).

    Thanks for the heads up & review, Nikos & Trakbuv.

  • DiskoTone
    Posted at 08:18h, 23 May 2009 Reply

    “Come an go with me” is a very dope jam! I haven’t heard this jam since I was in Chicago!

  • Chris-T
    Posted at 17:41h, 25 May 2009 Reply

    Thanks Nikos, really appreciate your blog.

  • Martin
    Posted at 18:15h, 26 May 2009 Reply

    WOW! This album is crazy! I love the melodies, harmony and soul combined with light funk! That’s what I need to keep me on my feet! Huge thanks! 😀

  • Robert
    Posted at 06:37h, 28 May 2009 Reply

    thanks Nikos,I downloaded this fantastic lp 2 days ago and I really love it.Just full of emotion and energy!!
    Your blog rocks!!!

  • manny
    Posted at 16:38h, 29 May 2009 Reply

    thanks for posting

  • ramxl
    Posted at 04:03h, 09 June 2009 Reply

    Thanks for the memories, I haven’t heard this song in a many of years and today for some reason it came to mind. And you are correct Elusive Lady is on point! Still one my other favorite is Pasado lol.

  • Geewiz
    Posted at 02:50h, 12 July 2009 Reply

    Domo Arigato!!!!

  • Richard
    Posted at 22:37h, 06 February 2010 Reply

    This is excellent. I have not this music in 30 years, but still sounds brilliant. Nice one.

  • Trakbuv
    Posted at 11:47h, 20 February 2010 Reply

    Hi Vince – Glad you like the Pockets version of “Pasado”. I hope I didn’t upset you – it’s just I love The Stairsteps version, especially when placed on one of my all-time favourite albums. I may have been over-zealous in my statement, although my heart feels exactly as I stated. I try to spill my love for the music into my keyboard, and sometimes my positivity has casualties in my blunt brushstrokes. I am particularly jealous that you saw the band perform live as their sound is so crisp yet tangibly dynamic on LP. It feels good to chat about these things – I hope you feel the same way too. BTW – no offense taken, and I hope likewise.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 14:07h, 12 February 2016 Reply

    Thanks

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