Hollis Floyd - Have You Seen Her
Greetings. This is the first day since Monday where I’ve felt even remotely healthy enough to even think about writing anything. Needless to say the germs of the baby (in a strange twist on the old adage) are delivered upon the father (and mother, and if evil germs win out, the grandmother), and the lowly bacteria (or virus) that brought the once mighty house of Grogan to a standstill - the battlements riddled with the fallen - is at last on the wane. Our latest installment brings us back around to the world of the Hammond groove, Philadelphia area department, cool covers section. Hollis Floyd was a Philly organist, who early in his career was a member of The Medallions - along with guitarist and Harthon co-founder Johnny Styles – who recorded at least one 45, “Ebb Tide Pts 1&2” for King. Floyd is best know to collectors for his semi-novelty ‘Black Poncho Is Coming’ (which has an excellent b-side in ‘Everything is Everything’) , released (like today’s selection) on his own Silloh label. Floyd had a great swinging style (not too far off the mark from Charlie Earland’s sound) with at least as much – if not more- jazz than R&B. My buddy Haim let me know he had a copy of ‘Black Poncho’ for sale, and I noticed that he had another Floyd 45, so I decided to grab them both. This turned out to be a wise and ultimately satisfying move… “Have You Seen Her” was a huge vocal hit for the Chi-Lites in 1971. Co-written by lead vocalist Eugene Record and soul diva Barbara Acklin, the tune is a sweet mid-tempo gem that is often – mistakenly but understandably – wrapped in with the Philly sound of the era. Dropping the needle on Hollis Floyd’s version was initially a shock as he converted the slow, smooth vibe into a swinging, uptempo groove. The fact that this change-up works at all is a testament to the quality of the melody, and the ability to erase the melancholy lyrics the mind of the listener. The track features Floyd’s Hammond, with guitar and drums (it sounds like organ bass) and it has a sound I can imagine coming out of a transistor radio on a hot, early-70’s summer day in Philly. The record was arranged by guitarist Thornel Schwartz (who had started out with no less a giant than Jimmy Smith), so I'm willing to bet that it's him on guitar. Other than the two Silloh 45s mentioned here, and 45s on the Jell and Junior labels that I don’t have, I haven’t been able to track down many recordings under Floyd’s name. I’d love to know if he still plays.