With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music reviews, gig reviews, fun trivia and extra added random stuff!

Play It Again Mayhem – “I Dig Your Act” – The O’Jays July 21, 2020

This is the fourth song in the Play It Again Mayhem series which began earlier this year. Check out the earlier posts by clicking here (Betty Wright), here (Elton John) and here (Roxy Music). All the previous songs were from the 1970s, for this one I am taking you back to the 1960s for an early track by an iconic soul group, the O’Jays. The song is “I Dig Your Act” which was released as the B-Side of 1967’s “I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow (Than I Was Today)”. “I Dig Your Act” was written by brothers Robert and Stanley Poindexter, with someone called L Harper. The siblings also wrote the A-Side with Jackie Members and Emma Jean Thomas. These were among a number of tracks recorded by the O’Jays in the mid 60s for Bell Records. While the group garnered a few minor US hits in the 60s none matched the scale of their breakthrough smash “Backstabbers” on the Philadelphia International label in 1972. That was a US R & B number 1, number 3 in the main Billboard chart and a top twenty hit in the UK. Incidentally did you know why they were called the O’Jays? I didn’t until I did the research for this post. In the early 60s they were a quintet consisting of Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, William Powell, Bobby Massey and Bill Isles. They were not making much progress until they were taken under the wing of Cleveland Radio DJ, Eddie O’Jay, who became their manager. At that point the group changed their name from the Triumphs to the O’Jay’s in Eddie’s honour.

I believe that “I Dig Your Act” was a minor Northern Soul success in the UK, at places like the Twisted Wheel, the beat suggests as much, albeit at the less frenetic end of that Northern Soul pace. I used to own the record on 7 inch vinyl, which I probably purchased at the Bop Shop in Rayners Lane near Harrow in West London. In my teenage years full of angst I played it a lot, especially when I was dumped by the girl of my dreams, and to be fair there were plenty of those girls. I felt that the bravado and swagger of the tune and the lyrics probably helped me to get through many rejections from girls as a teenager. To be fair and to add some balance I was probably the dumper as often, if not more often, than I was the dumpee. Lyrics like “I dig your act, I want a front row seat to watch you try in vain to get me back” probably soothed my angst very well. On top of that the production and call and response style gave the song a really happy vibe. I hope you enjoy it, I still love it even after all these years.

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“Walks around all day long singing this song” June 30, 2014

bobby womack 09

I realise that I’m a couple of days late with this post but I couldn’t let the passing of such a musical giant as Bobby Womack go without saying anything. The first music genre I really got into was soul music. I recall reading about the likes of Bobby Womack in Blues & Soul magazine in the early 70s. My lifelong friend Glen Voisey and me used to frequent an excellent, though long since defunct, record shop at Rayners Lane called The Bop Shop. They had racks and racks of second-hand vinyl and I remember buying Womack’s “Harry Hippie” and “Across 110th Street” on 7 inch vinyl without previously having heard either track. Initially I had just read how great the man was. I was not disappointed; “Across 110th Street” remains one of my favourite songs. How can anyone not love “The Poet II” album?


Bobby was not only a great singer and guitarist (Jimi Hendrix was a fan of his playing) he was also a great songwriter. Other people recorded some fantastic interpretations of his songs. Notably for me is Millie Jackson’s version of “If You Want My Love, Put Something Down On It”, which he wrote with his brother Cecil. The Rolling Stones clearly valued his talent having a big hit in 1964 with “It’s All Over Now” a song written by Bobby and Shirley Womack and recorded by one of Bobby’s early groups the Valentinos. Womack was also a great interpreter of other people’s songs too, his version of “California Dreamin'” is testament to that. Bobby has recorded and released great music for more than 50 years. he has worked with the likes of Sam Cooke back in the 60s right through to Damon Albarn with the Gorillaz and his last solo album “The Bravest Man In The Universe” released in 2012. Bobby will be sadly missed and my thoughts are with his family, friends and his legions of fans. Bobby Womack RIP


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