Monday, 24 August 2009

Richard ”Popcorn” Wylie ”Extrasensory Perception”

Richard ”Popcorn” Wylie

”Extrasensory Perception”
( LP ABC Records, 1974 )
Catalog # ABCD-834

A1 Singing About You And Me (4:54)
Written-By – Dozier, Jackson, Wylie
A2 Georgia’s After Hours (5:01)
Written-By – Dozier, Jackson, Wylie
A3 How Did I Lose You (5:23)
Written-By – Dozier, Jackson, Wylie
A4 Lost Time (3:56)
Written-By – Perkins, Dozier, Jackson, Wylie
B1 E.S.P. (4:50)
Written-By – Dozier, Wylie
B2 I Can Take The World On With You (4:40)
Written-By – Dozier, Wylie
B3 Both Ends Against The Middle (4:12)
Written-By – Dozier, Wylie
B4 Trust In Me (4:56)
Written-By – Dozier, Wylie

Personnel & Credits:
Arranged By [Rhythm], Producer – McKinley Jackson
Arranged By [Strings & Horns] – Gene Page, McKinley Jackson, Paul Riser
Bass – James Jamerson, Scott Edwards
Drums – Ed Greene, James Gadson, Kenny “Spider” Rice, Ollie E. Brown
Engineer [Mixing] – Barney Perkins
Engineer [Recording] – Barney Perkins, Reginald Dozier
Guitar – David T. Walker, Dean Parks, Dennis Coffey, Melvin “Wah-Wah” Ragin, Ray Parker, Jr.
Keyboards [Harpsichord] – McKinley Jackson
Keyboards [Organ & Piano] – Huby Heard
Keyboards [Piano & Harpsichord] – Richard “Popcorn” Wylie
Keyboards [Piano] – Sylvester Rivers
Percussion – Eddie “Bongo” Brown, Emil Richards, Leslie Bass, Ollie E. Brown, Ray Parker, Jr.
Saxophone [Tenor] – Ernie Watts (tracks: B1 + B4)
Trumpet [Piccolo Trumpet] – Chuck Findley (tracks: A4)
Vocals – Clydie King, Jesse Kirkland, Joe Greene, Shirley Matthews, Venetta Fields

Promotional Copy – Not For Sale
Produced for 3 G’s Productions
1974 ABC Records, Inc.
Format:Vinyl, LP, Album, Promo

Released in 1974 on ABC, Extrasensory Perception was the lone LP cut by Detroit soul legend Richard “Popcorn” Wylie, best known as a recording artist in the early days of Motown. But his role there was also one of songwriter, producer, pianist, and the first bandleader of the Funk Brothers. Wylie played on the Miracles’ “Shop Around” and the Marvelettes’ “Please Mr. Postman.” He also recorded for the label, but left in 1962 for Epic as a solo artist and staff writer. Over the decades, Wylie recorded singles for labels like Karen, Pamelin, Son-Bert, Ric-Tic, and many others. This set was recorded for ABC during the same period Lamont Dozier was at the label as an artist and producer. Cut in Los Angeles, this set has a stellar cast and keeps the Detroit vibe flying hot and heavy. Influenced deeply by Isaac Hayes and Johnny Pate, Wylie’s own melodic genius is woven throughout and deeply entrenched. Produced by the great McKinley Jackson, the tunes were written by Wylie, Dozier, Jackson, and Barney Perkins. The players include James Jamerson, James Gadson, Eddie “Bongo” Brown, Kenny Rice, percussionist Emil Richards, and a slew of guitar players including Dennis Coffey, David T. Walker, a very young Ray Parker, Jr., and Dean Parks.
The set fits together as a well-constructed and designed piece, but there are some clear standouts, mainly in the middle of the set. First there is the righteous heartbroken soul midtempo ballad called “Lost Time,” which walks a wonderfully groovy line between what Motown was issuing at the beginning of the ’70s and what Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff were pouring out in buckets from Philly International. The string arrangements by Gene Page and Paul Riser are brilliant, and the choruses and horns assembled by Wylie and Jackson are instantly memorable. Some of the backing vocalists here include Clydie King and Venetta Fields. Then there’s the killer breakbeat that kicks off the title track, leading into its dynamite choral refrain and harpsichord (very uncharacteristic of a soul record at the time). Wylie’s vocal is big and full and soars above the whirl of instruments. The beautiful shuffling guitar lines that introduce the album — via Coffey and Walker on “Singing About You & Me” — have been sampled on countless hip-hop recordings. The entire album flows together like a suite with some haunting, near ethereal moments as well on tracks like “How Did I Lose You?,” another harpsichord-driven ballad, and “I Can Take the World on with You,” with its use of layered space and textured dynamics. Chicago’s wonderful Dusty Groove imprint rescued this from Universal’s vaults where it had been languishing since it was deleted. The bittersweet thing about this reissue is that Wylie participated in the reissue plans but passed away in September of 2008 before it was re-released. This is a wonderfully fitting tribute to his genius, which has always been presented in compilations of his singles. This is the other side of the story, and the filling out of the full portrait. It’s just beautiful from top to bottom.
By Thom Jurek (AMG)

Legendary Detroit pianist and Northern soul favorite Richard “Popcorn” Wylie was born in the Motor City on June 6, 1939; the product of a musical family, he formed his first band while in high school, recruiting fellow students James Jamerson on bass and Clifford Mack on drums — both, along with Wylie, would later serve as members of the Motown label’s famed Funk Brothers studio group. In 1960 Wylie signed with the local Northern label to record his debut single, “Pretty Girl”; while performing at the Detroit nightclub Twenty Grand he was spotted by engineers working for then-fledgling Motown, who recommended him to owner Berry Gordy Jr.
Wylie soon released “Shimmy Gully,” one of the earliest Motown releases, and with backing band the Mohawks issued a pair of 1961 singles, a cover of Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want)” and “Real Good Lovin’.” However, his most significant impact was behind the scenes: as leader of the earliest incarnation of the Funk Brothers, Wylie played on both the Miracles’ “Shop Around” and the Marvelettes’ “Please Mr. Postman” — two of Motown’s most pivotal early hits — and also served as the bandleader for the first Motown Revue tours.
Wylie split with Motown in 1962, signing with Epic as a solo artist. He soon made his label debut with “Come to Me,” followed a year later by “Brand New Man” and “Head Over Heels in Love”; according to legend, these sessions were backed by jazz cult icon Sun Ra and members of his Arkestra. None of these singles were commercial hits, however, and after Epic terminated his contract following 1964’s “Do You Still Care for Me?,” Wylie freelanced as a songwriter, producer, and session player for the small Detroit labels SonBert and Ric-Tic, and in 1966 he formed his own label, Pameline (so named for his three daughters), which yielded a series of singles including the Detroit Executives’ 1967 Northern soul perennial “The Cool-Off.”
During this time he also wrote or produced at least two dozen singles for Ed Wingate’s Golden World family of labels, home to singers Edwin Starr (a frequent Wylie collaborator) and J.J. Barnes and later acquired by Motown. In 1968 Wylie finally returned to his own recording career, landing at the Karen label long enough to generate his own Northern classic, “Rosemary, What Happened?” “Move Over Babe (Here Comes Henry)” followed on the Carla label later that same year. In 1971 Wylie briefly signed with Motown’s Soul subsidiary to cut perhaps his best-known record, “Funky Rubber Band.” For unknown reasons the single remained unreleased until 1975 but proved a U.K. club favorite and remains a Northern crowd-pleaser to this day.
Two more 1975 singles on ABC — “Lost Time” and “Georgia’s After Hours” — represent Wylie’s final sessions as a headliner, although his writing and production work have gained in renown in the years to follow, with 25 of his Pameline efforts collected on the Popcorn’s Detroit Soul Party compilation, probably the best introduction to his music as of this writing.
By Jason Ankeny (AMG)

By Pier

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