In preparation for a recent trip to the Bay Area I bumped "The Mack" to the top of my Netflix cue, seeing as it's an iconic look at early seventies Oakland. I didn't get around to watching it until after I got back, but I must say for a Blaxploitation flick it is one of the best I've seen, not to say that I'm an expert. The acting is extremely melodramatic but the lead parts by Max Julien and Richard Pryor are very memorable. There are lots of elements from this movie that have been cherry-picked by the Hip Hop scene (think Too Short, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and most of the West Coast scene) and even what most of popular culture imagines when they think of pimps, pimp style, mink coats and purple fedoras . . . you know the deal. This movie was probably the first to put that stuff on screen. Check out the video over at Soul Spectrum Videos for an iconic scene that features a musical performance from the Dr. Frankenstein that gave birth to this post's "Disco Monster." Also, if you're a fan of Dave Chappelle and remember his skit "Player Hater's Ball" you will no doubt catch some references.
As the story goes, The Sisters Love were given a cameo slot in the film and it was their manager or producer that suggested to the director to use Willie Hutch for the soundtrack and what a soundtrack it is! It features some great tunes, including the classic "Brother's Gonna Work It Out." But for me, the song that The Sisters Love perform in the movie is a revelation. Having only really heard their classic remake of Curtis Mayfield's "Give Me Your Love," and another song ((I Could Never Make) A Better Man Than You) that they lip-synch on a bootleg Soul Train tape, I was unaware of any other songs of theirs.
The Sisters Love - Now Is the Time
This song is a funk monster with the Sisters giving a rousing, gut-bucket performance over a slamming groove that is much more sinister and in-your-face than most other female vocal groups of the time. The Supremes or Honey Cone they were not. With the quality of their limited output (8 singles for a total of 16 songs) it's a wonder they never got a full length record deal. I mean, they opened for The Jackson 5 for crying out loud! That is a tour slot that you have to work for. Then you see the Soul Train videos (check 'em out over at SS Videos) and you start to get it. They may have been damn good performers with top-shelf songs but they were not the most attractive girl group around. Even before MTV, they were not getting their dues for their music. Hell, there might have been many other factors at play, but from my comfy office chair, it seems to me that the lead-singer's gap toothed vocal stylings might have been the nail in their commercially unsuccessful coffin.
The Sisters Love - Give Me Your Love (Danny Krivit re-edit)
From a "Funk Monster" to the real "Disco Monster." This is legendary New York Disco DJ, Danny Krivit's re-edit of The Sisters Love's biggest hit. Krivit, who regulaly DJs in NYC (check out his 718 Sessions if you're in NYC or passing through for one of the best sound systems you've ever heard and a crowd that has NO SHAME in shaking their collective groove-thangs) seemlessly extends the bass-heavy groove of this song and turns a 45-only masterpiece into an eight minute epic classic!