SoulTracks Lost Gem: The Commodores are on "The Assembly Line" of Soul/R&B and...Hip-Hop?

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    "Let 'em COOK, yo- Let 'em COOK." 1968: 6 young men at Tuskegee University form a band. 

    1969: they release their first 7-inch single on Atlantic Records. 

    1971-2, release two more singles on the experimental MoWest records, a Sunset and Vine-headquartered division of the larger Motown Records. Motown puts the young men in tour support of The Jackson 5ive. 

    1974: "COOK, yo- They Simmering now". The band is ready for their debut Motown album- Machine Gun. It's hailed as a modern funk masterpiece and shows promise. Also, they inadvertently become a building block for a new form of music-making- Hip-hop! 

    The album track "The Assembly Line," written and produced by Gloria Jones (of "Tainted Love" fame) and Pam Sawyer (co-writer/producer of dozens of Motown hits) hit the public hard - but not as an entire song. It's all about the BREAK, y'all.

    "Let 'em COOK, yo- Let 'em COOK." 1968: 6 young men at Tuskegee University form a band. 

    1969: they release their first 7-inch single on Atlantic Records. 

    1971-2, release two more singles on the experimental MoWest records, a Sunset and Vine-headquartered division of the larger Motown Records. Motown puts the young men in tour support of The Jackson 5ive. 

    1974: "COOK, yo- They Simmering now". The band is ready for their debut Motown album- Machine Gun. It's hailed as a modern funk masterpiece and shows promise. Also, they inadvertently become a building block for a new form of music-making- Hip-hop! 

    The album track "The Assembly Line," written and produced by Gloria Jones (of "Tainted Love" fame) and Pam Sawyer (co-writer/producer of dozens of Motown hits) hit the public hard - but not as an entire song. It's all about the BREAK, y'all.

    Around the 4:05 mark of this 5:08 jam is the hardest of drum breaks and chants - this section is being looped, scratched, and strung together for minutes at a time at parties all over the NYC area. You can be forgiven if you heard those drums, but didn’t realize it was The Commodores. A common practice of DJs of the time was to cover up song titles. Motown pulled three 7-inch singles (two charted by Billboard Magazine) from this album: “Machine Gun” (#7), “Are You Happy,” and “I Feel Sanctified” (#7). 

    In 2020, this ILLEST of breakbeats was finally released as a 7-inch single, only 49 years after a generation of parents tried to figure out why their Machine Gun LPs were worn out in one spot- and why was the song title scratched out. Please enjoy this early Commodores Lost Gem!

    Respect to: #GrandWizardTheodore #ColdCrushBrothers #GrandMasterFlash #HipHop50

    By Donald Cleveland

     
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