British singer-songwriter Labi Siffre released ten albums of soul, jazz and funk between 1970 and 1998. A year later, a sample from the opening track of this, his fifth release, would be used as the basis for Eminem’s My Name Is. But it wasn’t the first time the song had been sampled by Hip Hop.
I Got The starts off as perhaps the greatest soul song ever. After just two verses and two passionate choruses calls of ‘You’re so good / The way you give / You’re so good / You’re the best there is’, the song stops and drastically changes course. A stop-start drum and bass groove takes over, providing the bed for a now-very familiar electric-piano riff. We’ve switched from soul to funk and the band are on fire.
I Got The will now forever be linked to Eminem, but the basic drum and bass groove had previously been lifted by the Wu-Tang Clan, and Jay-Z sampled the first section of the song a few years before Eminem and Dr. Dre came along. Nothing’s original under the sun. Or in Hip Hop.
Remember My Song is a fantastic record. I Got The is clearly the stand-out track but The Vulture, the opening track on the flip-side, is also a stone-cold funk gem. It’s so good, it’s a surprise the album didn’t sell in higher numbers. Original copies are now very scarce, presumably snapped up by Hip Hop fans in the late ‘90s, but this Mr. Bongo reissue sounds great.
And what a backing band. Not only do we have Chas Hodges and Dave Peacock on guitar and bass – surely making this Chas & Dave’s greatest contribution to popular culture – but the lead guitarist and arranger of the album is Big Jim Sullivan – one of the most renowned session guitarists on the London scene in the 1960s (alongside Jimmy Page and Vic Flick).
Chas Hodges, one half of Chas & Dave, died earlier in the year. Strangely this has been the year where I’ve listened to more of the duo than any other time in my life.
About six months ago, while being slightly obsessed with an online pool and snooker video game (Hustle Kings on the PS4), I started listening to Chas & Dave’s Snooker Loopy on repeat. I love the song from my childhood. Is it the best song about snooker ever committed to record? It might just be. It’s definitely the best music video featuring the sport. Well, the best one with Dennis Taylor contributing vocals at least.
My renewed interest in Chas & Dave led me back to probably their furthest reaching musical contribution – their work as studio men (guitar and bass) on Labi Siffre’s I Got The, later sampled as the backbone of Eminem’s My Name Is.
There was always a bit of ridicule levelled at the duo when I was growing up. For the longest time, they were the furthest thing from cool. I remember everybody laughing at a tour poster in the ‘90s that advertised ‘Chas & Dave Live In Concert* (*Not Original Dave)’. I’m sure they never went out of fashion in London though. This sort of knees-up Mother Brown music seems to be written in the DNA of cockneys.
This record is one of their better-known ones, featuring the single Rabbit, commonly trotted out as one of their best tunes. Looking at their discography, they were busy boys, almost releasing an LP a year from 1974 until the momentum started running out in the ‘90s and the schedule switched to a different compilation every other year.