Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Larry Graham & Graham Central Station Deliver Funky Sermon On “Water”

Larry Graham and Graham Central Station brought massive doses of funk to this wicked groove back in 1975. The track is anchored by Graham’s ferocious thump-and-pluck bass line. It’s one of the bass master’s funkiest riffs. The super-funky groove also boasts tight brass jabs, soulful gospel organ, a monster backbeat and powerful vocals.

Graham had become a devout Jehovah’s Witness the year this track was recorded, and his strong religious beliefs were reflected in the song’s lyrics. The song is about repentance and the cleansing of one’s sins in preparation for judgment day: “Let him find you spotless in each and every way, hey/ Time is gettin’ nearer to Armageddon day.” And the song’s secondary theme is about how people don’t appreciate what they have until they’ve lost it: “You don’t miss your water until your well runs dry.”

Some listeners were a bit turned off by Graham’s heavy sermonizing in some of his songs after his conversion to the Jehovah’s Witness faith, but no one could deny the music legend’s tremendous talent and the sheer power of his bass-driven funk.

“Water” was written and produced by Graham and is from Graham Central Station’s third studio album Ain't No 'Bout-A-Doubt It (1975). This collection was one of the band’s most successful LPs. It contained their bumpin’ funk classic “The Jam” and the #1 R&B smash “Your Love,” among several other stellar cuts. The album peaked at #4 on Billboard’s R&B album chart and climbed to #22 on the Billboard 200 pop album chart.

The lineup for Graham Central Station at the time they released Ain't No 'Bout-A-Doubt was the following: Larry Graham (bass, synthesizer, drums, organ, clavinet, timpani, lead and backing vocals); Patryce “Choc'let” Banks (lead and backing vocals, drum machine [electric funk box]); Robert “Butch” Sam (organ, piano, vocals); David “Dynamite” Vega (guitar, vocals); Manuel “The Deacon” Kellough (drums); and Hershall “Happiness” Kennedy (clavinet, synthesizer, trumpet, vocals).  Tower of Power’s legendary horn section also played on the album.

"Water" at Amazon

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