It was a few years ago while visiting Washington D.C. and hanging out with my friend Kevin "DJ Nitekrawler" Coombe - the authority on all things vintage soul music related 'round the District and a good distance beyond the Beltway - that I got hip to Father's Children. Actually, I was already hip to Father's Children via the band's 1979 self-titled LP for Mercury and its classic "rare groove" mid-tempo single, "Hollywood Dreaming" - one of those breezy, "free soul" type tunes that aficionados overseas were hyped off of in the '90s or even earlier while the rest of us here in the States were going ape-shit over Lou Donaldson breaks.
I'd always assumed based on "Hollywood Dreaming" that FC was a West Coast group. Not that you had to be from out West to write an escapist song about L.A.; in fact, if anything it would seem to signal the opposite (suffice to say I hadn't thought about it too deeply). However, as Kevin explained, the band was in fact a product of our nation's capital (should have known given the glimpses of cynicism in verse 2 of "Hollywood"). "Ever heard this?" he asked while rifling through his enviable "local" record stash at the crib, flashing a copy of this:
Whoa. Of course, I hadn't. But a quick spin had me making Rainman -like mental notes re: song title and label info (I did recognize Arrest as the same imprint that put out a so-so disco 7" by the Stringfield Family). With its upfront group vocals and punchy, locked-in mid-tempo groove, "Intellect" kinda reminded me of a horn-free, sobered up answer to Brief Encounter's "Get a Good Feeling." I could even live with the excessive shredding on the guitar solo. Or the fact that I was prone to mis-hearing the refrain - "Our only weapon is our intellect" - as, "Our only weapon is our Internet." This was definitely a keeper.
Fast forward a few years (and one OG "Intellect" added to the collection later) and I'm pleased to report that Father's Children's early years continue to yield musical rewards. Only now it's not just for the benefit of a couple of record dudes talking shop in a D.C. apartment, but the rest of the listening universe too. On June 21st, the wonderful folks at The Numero Group (with an assist from the homie Kevin) are set to release Father's Children's aborted 1973 debut album, Who's Gonna Save the World? - a project originally abandoned when its financing ran out, but saved from disappearing forever when the recording's masters were apparently rescued a few years back out of producer R. Hosea Williams' garage. Gonna be seriously sick based on a previous preview , and the latest (heretofore unreleased) song leak from the album, "Everybody's Got a Problem" - a tune at once terse, hypnotic, and - ironically given the ridiculously-delayed release - still very timely with regards to the issues we're dealing with in this country today. Listen below.
As TNG is prone to do with its nifty giveaways and such, there will be an extra bonus 45 featuring "Intellect" included in the deluxe vinyl package rewarding those of us still riding for non-digi formats. It's taken this long. A few more weeks won't hurt.