Crate Digger: B Bumble and the Stingers – Down at Mother’s Place
B Bumble and the Stingers – Down at Mother’s Place (PYE 1972)
Yes, it’s ‘that’ B Bumble and the Stingers, the same group that inflicted the nauseating novelty spin that is ‘Nut Rocker’ upon the world in 1962. This, however, is 1972 and a whole lot of stuff has happened and the world is not the same place. The Sixties had swung into the sunset, the Kennedy boys were dead, Dr. King too, the Vietnam War had made the nightly news a place of darkness and death for most Americans, Manson had led the ‘tune in drop, out crowd’ to a point that seems to most something of a logical if still shocking conclusion.
Heroes were now very much the ‘antitype, Bullitt and Dirty Harry, the ideal of manhood. Cynical, world-weary, just a little prejudiced in one way or the other. Suitable for the snarky all-knowing 1970s.
What’s all this got to do with a record by a novelty group of essentially session Musos I hear you cry? Well, the answer is in the track. Down at Mother’s Place is a slice of filmic exploitation, from the mod Jazz coolness through the funky drummer, right down to the swishy swoosh of the big wah-wah chords of the guitar. It could easily be the theme from a film starring a huge star in the role of a grizzled maverick cop, fighting against his boss, the law, or some other hot Seventies trope.
It’s good, underrated in my opinion. If it didn’t have the B Bumble name on it then I am sure more DJs would play it. Sped up a little it’s a great dancer and fits a funky set or a Mod Jazz set equally well, but that is not the point. Putting this tune in a pigeon hole and you miss the real message.
The big takeaway from this is that a group that delivered a sugar-sweet hit like Nut Rocker in 1962 recognized that in 1972 saccharine sweetness would not fly anymore. They needed to reflect a bit of grit to get a hit.
For some reason, despite the band being a revolving cast of session guys working out of Rendevouz Records this seems to have only had a UK release on the very UK based PYE international records (the early seventies were a real low point for PYE, forcing them to reissue many Sixties soul tunes on their Disco Demand label that fed into the blossoming Northern Soul Scene) It wasn’t a hit, and I’d dare say it’s not even popular in retrospect, you can find a copy quite easily and cheaply today despite the lack of sales.
As much as I like this tune it probably falls just short of being a classic, but in all seriousness, try to forget it’s B Bumble and the Stingers and listen for yourselves. It’s very good.
B Bumble and the Stingers – Down at Mother’s Place
Arranged and produced by Rod Pierce
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