King Floyd “I Feel Like Dynamite – The Early Chimneyville Singles and More 1970-74” (Kent CDKEND 404)
By Pete Nickols
What Our Love Needs; Groove Me; Baby Let Me Kiss You; Please Don’t Leave Me Lonely; Got To Have Your Lovin’; Let Us Be; Let Me See You Do That Thing; It’s Wonderful; Everybody Needs Somebody; Woman Don’t Go Astray; Think About It; Here It Is; Messin’ Up My Mind; So Glad I Found You; A Day In The Life Of A Fool; My Girl; Do Your Feeling; It’s Not What You Say; Thank You; You’ve Got Me; Hard To Handle; So Much Confusion; I Feel Like Dynamite; Handle With Care.
New Orleans native King Floyd started his recording career in California in the 60’s for labels like Original Sound, Uptown and Pulsar. Without much sales joy, he duly returned to the Crescent City to become a postal worker but by 1970 he had linked up with Wardell Quezergue and Elijah Walker, with the former inviting him to a session he had booked at the then fledgling Malaco Studios in Jackson, Miss., a session which would spawn, inter alia, both Jean Knight’s “Mr Big Stuff” and Floyd’s “Groove Me”, a funky track (included here of course) which, when taken on for distribution by Atlantic, put our man firmly on the early-70’s ‘soul map’.
These 70’s tracks which Floyd cut for Malaco’s Chimneyville imprint were split between out-and-out southern funk and more melodic southern-soul, a few examples of which were actually quite ‘deep’. So, to enjoy the majority of this CD you will need to like the funkier sounds as well as the melodic ones and, indeed, several of even the uptempo offerings make for good listening, especially perhaps “Let Me See You Do That Thing”, “Here It Is”, Floyd’s ‘take’ on Otis’ “Hard To Handle” and the CD’s title-track “I Feel Like Dynamite”. Of the other ‘funkers’, Floyd’s follow-up to his “Groove Me” hit, “Baby Let Me Kiss You”, was actually superior to it to my ears, even though it didn’t sell quite as strongly, whilst frankly I can live without “Got To Have Your Lovin’”, “Everybody Needs Somebody” and “Do Your Feeling”.
However, the ‘B’ sides and album-tracks included here offer up the less funky sounds. The CD-opener “What Our Love Needs” is a nice lyrical piece whilst “It’s Wonderful” is a well-enough-sung, big, fully-arranged beat-ballad. Skip “Let Us Be”, where a coy, girlie chorus doesn’t help improve an already very average piece of pop-soul. Very much ‘album fillers’ are “Woman Don’t Go Astray” (although this mid-pacer did also see single release), “So Glad I Found You”, “It’s Not What You Say”, “Thank You”, “You’ve Got Me” and another Otis ‘cover’ (by way of the Tempts), “My Girl”. The sleeve-notes award a Gamble & Huff-like sound to Floyd’s “So Much Confusion” but to me this one sounds almost more like a Norman Whitfield production.
The genuinely deep winners are the emotion-drenched, string-sweetened “Please Don’t Leave Me Lonely”, the storyline warning from Floyd to his girl to “Think About It” before she leaves him and his superb almost semi-spoken interpretation of the long-revered “Handle With Care”.
There is one other deep Floyd gem not included on this Kent selection of Chimneyville material from this particular era and that’s my own all-time-favourite Floyd track ”I’m Missing You” (Chimneyville 10205), which at least saw earlier CD reissue via that fine Grapevine GVCD 3010 various-artists release “Troubled Waters – Deep Soul From The Deep South”.
So, this CD, which sports the usual good-quality Ace/Kent presentation, has its aural highpoints but rather too many low-to-medium ones as well for my liking. It’s probably worth getting if only for the three deep winners and the best of the funkers but, overall, I’d be struggling to rate it above 6 out of 10.