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.
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.
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”.