Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Chicago R and B Legend Dies

Eugene Record died last week. He was the lead singer for the Chi Lites, a Temptations wannabe group out of Chicago that had some hits in their day. "Oh Girl" and "Have You Seen Her?" are probably two of their best known tunes.

Back in the eighties I wrote a blues lyric for a Velveeta commercial and the music house I used hired Eugene to do the singing. I remember he was coming back from the Grammy Awards that day and was running a little late.  So we lay down the rhythm tracks and a kickass harmonica riff by a great Chicago blues guy whose name escapes me right now.

When Eugene, Mr. Record to me, showed up, he was all business. I have that effect on black people. Okay, what is the suburban white chick doing here?  He exchanged small talk with the music house producer while things were getting set up for him. Another singer did the sound check while the rest of us waited for everything to be ready for Gene, MISTER Record, to do his thing.

While they all chatted about the Grammy he just won, I was intrigued by his glasses. I couldn't stop staring at them. They were heartshaped and so out of character for this very suave man with the sleek, shiny hair. It was like he borrowed them from Carrot Top. The look did not compute. But nobody was going to tease him.  Least of all me.

The time came for him to go into the studio and sing. The levels had been set for the other singer, not Eugene. So when he opened his mouth the sound almost blew us out of the room. The man had a set of pipes that could be heard across town. He and Patti LaBelle should have had children.  

I was in awe of his amazing voice. It was just huge. I can still remember how my ears rang when he started out and we were blasted to the far wall. But getting to hear him was a short-lived experience because he was done in two takes.

The Velveeta commercial didn't make it to air. We were pushing the envelope having a very sensual R and B voice singing the praises of melted cheese, while a macro lens panned hot dogs, pasta, and vegetables as they were drenched in slow motion pours.  A little too sexy for middle America.

But I got a chance to work with a great legend up close and personal. Even though he pretty much treated me like lint. Regardless, it sure was nice to see what all the fuss was about.

He was 64.  There was a time when I considered sixty-four the same way Paul McCartney did. Old as dirt. Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four? Now, it seems too young to die.


judithheartsong said...

bless him... judi

ksquester said...

Maybe he and Luther can belt out a tune in the that would be good!    Anne

robbush6 said...

Aw, come on! Give us the sexy, melted fake cheese lyrics. You're killing me.

dimundntheruf69 said...

that definitely is too young to sad...~christie

screaminremo303 said...

I think Moe has some 64-year old Velveeta in his trunk.

salemslot9 said...

nice to read an entry
with a Beatles connection :)
can Cheez Whiz be far off?

suzypwr said...

Pretty soon he will seem to be a hot younger man at  64, lol.

belfastcowboy75 said...

Here you go, Robin:

Oh, I see this cheese everywhere I go
On the street, and even at the picture show
It’s Velveeta
Tell you, it’s Velveeta

Oh, I eat this cheese as the cold winds blow
In a grilled cheese it will steal the show
It’s Velveeta
Tell you, it’s Velveeta

Why, oh, why
Did it have to mold away (oh, yeah)

Oh-oh-oh, I've been used to havin' something’ to munch on
And I'm lost
Baby, I'm lost (Oh)

Oh, it is like a kiss upon my lips
But cholesteral within my heart
It’s Velveeta
Tell you, it’s Velveeta

robbush6 said...

Good lord! That singing Cowboy will stop at nothing! You know what they say: "You can take a boy out of the jug band . . . "

jevanslink said...

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Cheesy.   Mrs. l

shaz19743 said...

Wow ....for a music freak like myself working in a studio with a guy with a set of pipes like that would blow me away .....infact just getting in the door of a recording studio is the stuff of dreams for me ......hell id sing jingles for ex lax if it meant a shot at recording my stuff hehe x

sunnyside46 said...

wow, that is interesting...
isn't it funny how your thoughts about age change?