The Mojo Men
One of the great joys of digging for new music is finding the unexpected. I have long since given up digging in the field with a portable turntable, because to be frank, it’s kind of a pain in the ass.
I’d rather apply a mixture of what I already know, with a dose of intuition, in the hopes that when I return home and drop the needle on the record, the results will be satisfactory.
The record you see before you today is the result of just that kind of digging.
I always stop when I pick up a 45 on the storied Autumn label (San Fran beat, folk rock and even soul), and I linger when the song in question is an interesting cover.
The Mojo Men were already on my radar via their 1966 cover of the Buffalo Springfield’s ‘Sit Down I Think I Love You’, which was a Top 40 hit and later included on the original Lenny Kaye compiled ‘Nuggets’ set.
That single, an ornately poppy number would never suggest to me that the group in question had something like the 45 you see before you today up their musical sleeve.
As it turns out, they sort of didn’t.
Allow me to ‘splain.
The original Mojo Men were an all-male quartet that migrated from Florida to the Bay Area in 1964. Not long after their arrival they hooked up with one Sylvester Stewart (known to his friend as Sly) and recorded some demo material with him in the group. Apparently unsatisfied with the results, Sly left the group bit continued to champion them, bringing them to Autumn Records where he was a house producer.
This version of the Mojo Men recorded a few 45s in 1965, the first of which was a cover of the Rolling Stones ‘Off The Hook’, which had first appeared on ‘Rolling Stones Now!’ earlier that same year.
The Mojo Men do a serviceable rendering of the tune, moving in an early-garage direction, which is missing some of the loose-limbed swagger of the OG but still delivers.
The 45’s flipside ‘Dance With Me’ made it into the Top 100, but the following year drummer Dennis DeCarr would leave the group, to be replaced by Jan Errico, late of the Vejtables (and apparently related somehow – either sister or cousin – to Sly and the Family Stone drummer Greg Errico).
It was with Errico that they would have their biggest hit with ‘Sit Down I Think I Love You’, and continued to record through the end of the decade.
Sundazed has done a couple of different comps on the band, though some of them seem to be out of print.
I hope you dig the track, and I’ll see you all next week.