Earl Van Dyke

The Earl of Funk

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Earl Van Dyke was a Funk Brother, the name given to the rhythm section of Motown's studio musicians, along with cohorts James Jamerson (bass), Robert White (guitar), and Benny Benjamin (drums). Their names will be forever etched in history for being the backbone of Berry Gordy's popular sound. The four were essential cogs in Motown's assembly line. That said, you can imagine how much promotion went into Van Dyke's solo recording efforts: zilch! Gordy obviously recorded the mammoth keyboardist as an appeasement, a stroke, a perk. A hit by Earl would have been great for him but a disaster for Hitsville U.S.A.; Gordy needed Earl in the studio, period. This LP, like his first, consists largely of remakes; only four of the 12 selections are originals, the best being "The Flick," where Van Dyke warms the airwaves with his busy organ. The remakes cover the gamut from Steams' "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)" to Brook Benton's remorseful "Rainy Night In Georgia." Frankly speaking, there's nothing here to make a programming D.J. listen more than 15 seconds.

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