I can vividly recall picking this Muscle Shoals 45 up at Record Corner in London the week it was released in 1974, and discussing the group’s name with Dave Hastings who was doing duty behind the counter. We both felt it was inconceivable that the name was a serious proposition and concluded that it must have been chosen ironically. Especially in the light of the lyrics to the funk topside “Flat Black”. Musically it can’t hold a candle to the flip Welcome Back, which was penned by George Jackson and Robert Moore. The first recording of the number that I know was by Odia Coates and her recording was released on UA as well with the immediately preceding number to this release. Unlike her cut which has the Fame Gang playing behind her, this version must have the guys in the group, but I like the harmonies and the hard lead vocal a lot. There is a whole list of names on the writer credits for the top side – R. Shack, R Keith, M James, J Lelan, A Chapin, M Wheelock, D. German – could these be the members of “Uncle Tom”? They may well have had second thoughts about the name as the 45 was also issued credited to the “UT’s”, but sadly it still didn’t sell.
Flat black / Welcome back ~ UA 418 (1974)
Thanks to Bob Abrahamian for the suggestion