Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Kenny Wednesday #2 - The Gambler

No, we're not back to Kenny Rogers. Not yet. (Although The Gambler is a great song.)

Instead, for the second Kenny Wednesday, I bring you... Kenny G!

(No, not that one. Yet.)

2. Kenny Gamble

This Kenny was one half of the legendary songwriting partnership Gamble & Huff. Kenny & Leon (Huff) also formed Motown rival Philadelphia International Records and pioneered the Philly sound. They're the men responsible for many, many classic soul standards, including If You Don't Know Me By Now, Backstabbers, Me & Mrs. Jones, Show You The Way To Go and When Will I See You Again?

But there are two Gamble & Huff compositions which stand out above all others to me, and I really couldn't choose between them... so I'm going to play you both...

The first one reminds me of being a teenager, when I was neck-deep in my first full-on Motown phase. It also reminds me of a teenage crush, unrequited love... you know the sort of thing. But this was the song which could turn that around. The rules were all right there in the lyrics, I just had to follow them one step at a time...
I'm gonna do all the things for you
A girl wants a man to do, oh baby
I'll sacrifice for you
I'll even do wrong for you, oh baby
Every minute, every hour
I'm gonna shower
You with love and affection
Look out it's comin' in your direction...

The restraining order still stands, thirty years later.

And then there's this, which I discovered quite a bit later. A charidee record, released in 1977 when the New York City dustbin men went on strike... it led on to a lot more socially-conscious work for Gamble & Huff, putting their money back into regenerating parts of Philadelphia to really clean up the ghettos Gamble grew up around...

That really is an All-Star line up: Teddy Pendergrass, Archie Bell, Billy Paul, The O'Jays, Dee Dee Sharp... and the peerless Lou Rawls doing that incredible spoken intro.


  1. Two great tracks.

    Sorry to hear about that restraining order. I know from bitter experience that animal sacrifices are not the way to go on Valentine's Day.

    1. When a man you've never met before suddenly gives you a dead goat on an altar... that's beyond impulse.

  2. Great post and wouldn't have thought of this particular Kenny - So many great songs though, and Me & Mrs Jones is one of my all-time favourites. Didn't realise until the other night's Grammys that Billy Paul had passed away last year - Must have missed that one amongst the sheer volume of other departures.

    As for restraining orders, teenage girls are the worst and when in a "gaggle" can make life very difficult for some poor unsuspecting school heartthrob. I am thankful that the 1471 service didn't exist in those days as many calls were made from callboxes to family landlines just in the hope "he" would answer, only for us to hang up in a fit of giggles. Oh the shame.

    1. Yes, I remember reading about Billy Paul passing, but it was a month or so after the event, I think.

      I don't have a lot of sympathy for the school heart-throbs...

  3. Nice post Rol. I was unfamiliar with 'Let's Clean Up the Ghetto' - what a great tune.

  4. Also noticing you are being particularly productive at the moment (I can barely keep up) - At this rate by the end of the year you'll have posted, well I won't be a maths nerd but an awful lot of stuff....

    Don't burn out on us!

    1. I used to blog daily (in my old blog) but becoming a teacher and a father put a stop to that. Over the last 6 months though, I've changed my approach to this blog...and I also have a bit more free time, so I'm wasting it wisely. I still can't keep up with some of the daily bloggers in my blog roll...But I don't feel like I'm burning out yet. There's just too much good music out there to share!


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