When browsing for new sounds its always handy when something reaches out to you, or when when some artwork or a song title captures your attention….today’s song did just that with its name! For anyone that knows me they will understand the significance of the title, but for all those who don’t, lets just say that when a song this funky bears your name, its more than just a result, its a bloody gift the musical gods!
Released as a 45 on Chess Records in 1970, Cynthy Ruth featured on Black Merda’s self-title debut album which came out that same year.
Black Merda were a psych-soul four-piece hailing from Detroit. Owing a large chunk of their sound to Jimi Hendrix, the band mixed fuzz-toned psychedelic blues-rock with late 60’s soul! Featuring guitarists Anthony and Charles Hawkins, bassist VC Veasey (aka Veesee L. Veasey) and drummer Tyrone Hite, the group emerged in the late 60’s after Veasey, Hite, and Anthony Hawkins had spent time in a band called the Soul Agents, backing Edwin Starr and Gene Chandler. Citing Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced? as a chief inspiration the band then added Anthony’s younger brother Charles on second guitar and christened themselves Black Merda.
Black Merda’s self-titled LP was revolutionary enough to gain healthy support from the media and fans, though the band members were reported to have shared their disappointment when it didn’t reflect the heaviness of their live shows. Two years later and the band released their second album, but as with many promising bands, Black Merda quickly fizzled out. Over the next three decades the band continued to receive interest from new and old fans alike which eventually encouraged a reunion in 2005! That same year the Funky Delicacies label released a compilation entitled, The Folks from Mother’s Mixer. Collecting all the songs from the two original albums, Black Merda and Long Burn the Fire this compilation attracted new attention and a new cult following which eventually resulted in a reunion! The Hawkins brothers and Veasey reunited in 2005. (Hite had died in 2004) and the reformed Black Merda played at several festivals in Detroit and the surrounding region as well as New York’s Central Park SummerStage concerts series and The Ottawa Blues Festival in 2006.
Cynthy-Ruth is one low down dirty funk dream with its loose-fitting groove, chunky bass and huge Hendrix nods…and I’ve just been reading how Kanye West sampled it in his Teriya King track..that i’ll investigate now! Check it out above.
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