The Apostles - Six Pack
Good-day to you..... Here’s hoping everyone had a fairly decent weekend (despite the loss of the Wicked Pickett). I’m still reeling from the news. It was nice to see that he got mentions on all the syndicated “entertainment” shows. Not that Joe Six-Pack gives a crap, but he should get a little Pickett on his plate to balance out the pork rinds and (ultra) cheap beer he was stuffing in his gob while watching football... I mean, honestly...I don’t suspect that anyone who’s following Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on their quest to save the earth gives a crap, but maybe one or two of the less jaded spectators will get the “Who’s Wilson Pickett?” virus jammed into their train of thought and Google-a-fy it the next time they jump onto the interweb. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m so removed from what is accepted as “pop culture” anymore, that when something like the loss of one of the greatest soul singers of all time is noted anywhere on television (outside of public TV, which is like a tiny little island that gets smaller every year), I get a little choked up. As much as I hate crap culture, it’s so overwhelming that like a dog that’s been beaten by its master, any show of kindness is amplified far beyond its actual value. When Lou Rawls passed a few weeks back, the features on TV news (“legitimate” and “entertainment”, quotation marks provided out of scorn for both...) were a less surprising because Rawls had a much higher public profile than Pickett, via more recent appearances on the charts, and his TV work for the United Negro College Fund and (of course) as an entertainer. Pickett’s last “big” media moment (not counting his brushes with the law, which in the grand scheme of things were fairly minor) was his 1991 induction into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame (don’t get me started on that thing...). Despite the fact that Pickett’s tunes get a fair amount of play on oldies radio, and have also found their way onto numerous movie soundtracks (especially ‘Land of 1000 Dances’) that doesn’t necessarily mean that the people paying ten bucks to sit through some formulaic comedy have any idea who he is. I guess all we can hope for is that some preternaturally hip kid will sit through the credits to find out who sang ‘Land of 1000 Dances’ or ‘Mustang Sally’ and head on over to the nearest music store and grab ‘Wilson Pickett’s Greatest Hits’. Anyway, enough of my crabbing (for today, anyway). Today’s selection is another super-duper-funky foh-five, and that is just about all I know about it. Really. I first heard the Apostles ‘Six Pack’ when it popped up on the sales list of a friend of mine. I was suitably impressed, US currency changed hands and before you could say “Bob’s yer uncle” it appeared in my mailbox. All I’ve been able to find out since then is that it came out in 1969. Despite any religious connotations of the name Apostles, I’m betting that they weren’t following anyone spiritually besides the Meters. It starts out with a funky – but not overly exciting – bass line, so as the record begins you’re sitting there thinking to yourself
“I expect this 45 to provide an acceptable level of funk, but little else.”
Then, a few short seconds later the guitar player drops in with some of the wildest, bell-bottomed, crazy legged fatback guitar and knocks the whole thing for a loop, and suddenly you’re all like
“Yipes! I didn’t see that coming.”
The horns follow suit (well arranged and played in a Memphis stylee) and the next thing you know you’re fiddling with the afro-pick in your suddenly luxurious head of hair and doing the Camel Walk over to the water cooler and back again. Now, when I say that the guitar is funky, I mean like some funky hermit was sitting around minding his own bid-ness when a bolt of lightning hit his picking fingers and sent this riff coursing through them. He spent the next few years wandering the streets playing the riff over and over again like a mantra, until someone found him, and built a band around him for the sole purpose of recording this song. He then wandered back out of the studio (before they could record the b-side “Soul Fiesta” which is in comparison a serving of that old favorite “weaksauce”), never to be seen again. He may yet be wandering the dusty streets of some forgotten town. Or – which seems more likely – the Apostles were a band that hit upon this riff the normal way, and were never capable of anything nearly as funky, which is why they only ever did the one 45 before fading away forever. If anyone knows who the Apostles were, I’d love to hear the story. Until such time, I’m going to go on believing that the first story is true.