Listen: Am I Black Enough For You / Billy Paul
Nothing like getting straight to the point. Pull that band-aid off Billy Paul.
This followup to the RnB and Pop #1 ‘Me And Mrs. Jones’ should have been a near repeat of that previous achievement. Certainly RnB-wise. But no, it stalled at #29, and only hung in for six weeks. Even less impact was made on Pop (#79).
All the elements were there too. This mono edit sounded good on the radio, well the two times I heard it that is. I wanted this single immediately. I was obsessed with all the Blaxploitation/Shaft/Black Caeser stuff, the wah-wah sleeze guitars and metallic bongos. It was the allure of the dirty heroin ghetto that seemed quite romantic from my parent’s house in the white suburbs of Syracuse.
It sure was a lot of fun going round to the record shops in the not so nice part of town. Many of friends wouldn’t join me, so I’d take the bus by myself most of the time. Man, those Mom & Pop shops were bulging with good stuff, and nice business people too. They’d always go out of their way to welcome you in, especially the ladies that ran The Record Shack, just off Salina Street. They were sisters, always cooking and eating, many times sharing their baked macaroni and cheese, or drug like pineapple upside down cake. Never will I forget that dish. I think they got a kick out of this little white kid, always carrying singles from Walt’s Records, my first stop for the English releases. I got many a great, now obscure, down dirty funk single in that shop. The activity, record playing and dancing on the spot echoed the British Invasion of the 60′s. Different music, different clothes, same energy.