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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rotary Connection - I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun

Rotary Connection was the idea of Marshall Chess, the son of Leonard Chess, founder of the famous Chess Records.

In 1966, Marshall Chess, the director of Cadet Concept Records, wanted to move away from the blues, soul and rock that had made Chess a powerhouse record label and try something new. His idea was to tap the psychedelic movement that was prevailing in the 60s.

He formed Rotary Connection from musicians close to Chess Records. He gathered studio musicians, songwriters, and singers. Two stand out musicians who joined the band were guitarist Phil Upchurch (who went on to have a stellar Jazz career) and then Chess receptionist, Minnie Riperton.

They released 6 albums between 1967 and 1971. All of the albums are good but the stand out album is 1971's Hey Love. On this album we see a jazzier Rotary Connection than we have before. The band must have viewed it as a drastic enough change that they even credit the album to the New Rotary Connection. It features a song titled "I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun".

Starting in 1993, the House music DJ and Production duo of "Little" Louie Vega and Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez (known as Masters At Work) found themselves working with live musicians and even quite a few Jazz greats. They began releasing these recordings under the moniker Nuyorican Soul. In 1997, Nuyorican Soul covered Rotary Connection's "I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun". They then called in the UK Electronic Soul production team, 4Hero, to create a remix of the track. Widely regarded to be 4Hero's best remix, the result is a piece of work that keeps the integrity of the original and brings it into harmony with the fast paced style of Drum & Bass that was popular in the late 90s.

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