I first came across this band through the Hulu Television re-make of the movie “High Fidelity.” (It is based on the 1995 book by Nick Hornby on which he is the executive producer). The scene shows a flashback of Rob reminiscing on her past relationship with Mac.
That aside, “Merry Go Round” starts with a warm surf rock guitar riff that sells me so hard because it feels like a hug and summer days. Plus, that bass drop before the chorus I mean…you’re sucked right in.
With sunshine on the low and a second round of COVID lockdowns, the way these trumpets and saxophones rise and melt together makes me my smile do the same.
(You’re playing the song right now, right?)
“Doin It” is a timeless funk-soul album.
This album gives an ode to Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” and another instrumental cover of Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By.” They bring James Brown inspired funk on their first track “What They Doin?”.
“Santana Part I & Santana Part II” is a head nod to rock’s grandfather: jazz. The track starting with a funky whirr of the guitar and the gospel notes suspending on the organ, the percussion breaks into syncopated beats of trumpets.
Now when I really like a song that I felt I “discovered” I’ll survive off of repeat forever. Belting “your love” from “Merry Go Round” over and over is when I realized I can’t just know only one song.
My curious nerdy self naturally thought: Let me get into their discography.
Lo and behold to my shock and surprise that the band only ever produced this one solo album and even more shocking was that were only a few hundred copies pressed of this work.
However, the most impressive thing about this album is that these players were in high school when it was recorded.
Did you hear that?
From Virginia Hampton High School, these musicians won the “New Sounds of 1972” Pepsi contest. This funded their ability to birth Doing It!!
Now, we all ingest lyrics. When I heard Frank Jonshon’s (nicknamed ‘Coach”) cry of unstable love in “Merry Go Round”, it made me wonder what were these 17 year-olds listening to and experiencing to create an album like this?
Not just the usual shagging, drinking beer, and skipping class to possibly go play music but what eras of black music they were pulling from.
What did they need to hang on, get solace and guidance from during the political tension that hovered in the 60s and 70s.
You can hear the of music they’re pulling from, which black artists they respected, and what they were trying to emulate. When you can hear all of that, how can you not love it?
What does it say to the canon of black music and the way it has always carried black people through tough times.
They sound as if they were in the bands of Dizzy and Count Basie but they were not.
I’m simply in awe of the dedication to their craft and how these young musicians were, in fact, doing the damn thing by recording an album.
It paints a nice picture of what music could be created.
So go belt out the lyrics from “Merry Go Round” with me and check out the rest of The Equatics album.
And also you’re welcome.