The Underdogs (and friends)
Listen/Download – The Underdogs – Love’s Gone Bad Listen/Download – The Underdogs – Mo Jo Hanna
The Iron Leg has returned, hopefully for the long run.
It seems likely that for a while anyway, I’ll be sticking with one post a week augmented with the occasional Iron Leg Digital Trip mix, but at least I’ll be able to share some groovy stuff with you all.
An important note, I’ll be taking part in the Spindletop night with DJ Perry Lane next Monday night, beginning at 10PM at Botanica, 47 East Houston Street (between Mulberry and Mott) in New York City. They have a very groovy thing going there so come on down to soak up the Hammond 45s, soul jazz and other swinging sounds.
The tune I bring you today is – in it’s original form – a masterpiece of hard edged Motown, as performed and recorded by Chris Clark.
Not long after I scored my copy of that particular record, someone (I do not recall who) informed me that there was a garage band version of the track, which also appeared on the VIP label.
At the time I assumed that this was probably unspeakably rare and did not hold out hope that I might snag so scarce a beast, but as its appearance in this space today proves, things often work themselves out over the course of time.
The version I bring you today was recorded in 1966 by a Detroit area band called the Underdogs.
Interestingly, the Underdogs were the first band to record for the stories Motor City garage label Hideout Records (also home to Doug Brown and the Omens and the Pleasure Seekers among others).
Composed of Dave Whitehouse (bass, vocals), Chris Lena (guitar), Tony Roumell (lead guitar) and Michael Morgan (drums), the Underdogs, a popular local band were apparently the beneficiaries of a certain Mr. Berry Gordy’s plan to expand into other markets.
They had already recorded for Hideout when they went into the studio with Clarence Paul, aided by Earl Van Dyke on piano and James Jamerson on bass.
The first time I heard the Underdogs 45, I thought that the two sides came from two different sessions. This is in fact not the case, but the sound of the two songs is different.
‘Love’s Gone Bad’ is compared to the Chris Clark recording remarkably spare, and much more what you’d picture a 60s punk band sounding like (aside from Van Dyke’s piano backing).
The flip side, a rendering of Henry Lumpkin’s oft covered ‘Mojo Hannah’ (listed here as ‘Mo Jo Hanna’) has a much fuller, more ‘produced’ sound to it.
‘Love’s Gone Bad’ went on to be a fairly substantial Detroit area hit.
Apparently the Underdogs went into the studio a second time (with no less a light than Norman Whitfield!) and recorded a cover of the Temptations ‘The Way You Do the Things You Do’ which was unreleased at the time, but later appeared on Motown reissue comps.
The Underdogs were reported to record the original version of Bob Seger’s legendary ‘East Side Story’, but Seger decided to keep it for himself, and the rest is history.
That all said, ‘Love’s Gone Bad’ is yet another savage example that the good people of Detroit harbored a lot of snotty longhairs amongst their many legendary soul singers.
I hope you dig the tunes, and I’ll see you all next week.