JUNIE – Suzie Super Groupie
LP – Black Vinyl
Walter ‘Junie’ Morrison released his third solo LP, Suzie Super Groupie, in 1976. A slick, smooth and soulful record, it’s a genre-melting tour de force with rich elements of proto-boogie, funk and jazz. In short, this is yet another essential album reissue from Be With.
The sublime Suzie Thundertussy, is a favourite of Harvey and Theo, and was brilliantly sampled by Madlib for Kanye West’s No More Parties In LA. The track opens with a sinuous synth and combines Junie’s storytelling abilities with an emphatic vocal style and funky arrangements. The powerful bass and sinister chords create an undeniable groove, and the explosive chorus is full of ambition and joy.
If You Love Him is a great, mid-tempo soul song. With a swinging jazz-infused middle-eight, it demonstrates Junie was much more than a mercurial funkateer. The laconic groove of What Am I Gonna Do recalls Fresh-era Sly Stone, whilst the frantic Super Groupie showcases his sharp imagination and sense of fun. The lyrics range from humorous to dirty, all fuelled by an infectious groove and tight horn arrangements.
The P-Funk of B-side opener Surrender bounces and sparkles, with a strutting Junie backed by great harmony vocals and joyous horns. Suzie is a sleek, softer affair albeit with a disco pulse; a beautiful combination of bright, funky horns, fluid basslines and vigorous rhythms. Stone Face Joe is another character song, this time one that chugs along on a sweet boogie rhythm.
The winner however, is the closing piece. An extended funk-rock jam, Spirit has a heart-rending spoken-word intro and, as a nod to Jimi Hendrix, creates a live concert sound, complete with screaming crowd and fuzzy vocals.
Junie made his name as the lead singer and keyboardist of the Ohio Players. As the mastermind behind Pain, Pleasure, Ecstasy, and the oft-sampled Funky Worm, he was beloved by countless musicians, not least Prince. As co-writer of some of Funkadelic’s seminal works – One Nation Under A Groove, (Not Just) Knee Deep – his standing as one of the structural fathers of funk is undisputed.
|If You Love Him
|What Am I Gonna Do
|Stone Face Joe
LABEL: Be With Records
CAT NO: BEWITH063LP