Whole lotta familiarity

One of my regular stops is Flea Market Funk, run by DJ Prestige, one of the great crate diggers of our time. (You ought to make it one of your regular stops, if you haven’t already done so.)

DJ Pres is forever hitting The Spot, that mysterious East Coast open-air flea market, and coming up with remarkable tune after remarkable tune.

Last night, he posted a cover of “Whole Lotta Love” by Collective Consciousness Society, or C.C.S. No matter what you call them, I’d never heard of this British group.

But once I heard the cut, I said … hey, I’ve heard this before. And, no, not by Led Zeppelin, either.

I just about fell over. The arrangement on the C.C.S. cover is almost exactly the same as the one on King Curtis’ cover of “Whole Lotta Love.” What’s more, both covers were recorded in 1970. Why they sound almost alike, I don’t know and can’t say.

DJ Pres says:

“’Whole Lotta Love’ by C.C.S. is right up there with Dennis Coffey and Ike and Tina Turner’s cover versions of the mighty Zep. I think it might even be better IMHO. The flute, which many people may be annoyed by, just furthers this band legitimacy. Their interpretation, often out of time, and a bit odd and Jazzy, is definitely a hit for me.”

He has a whole bunch of detail about the studio musicians backing C.C.S., but I have none about who might be backing King Curtis. All I know is that he’s on tenor sax, recorded in New York on Dec. 14, 1970. Larry over at Funky 16 Corners also wrote about the King’s version a while back, but he didn’t know much more than I do. The comments on Larry’s post also point out the similarity between the two versions.

Grab this, then head over to FMF and grab the C.C.S. cover, then enjoy.

“Whole Lotta Love,” King Curtis, 1970, from “Atlantic Honkers,” a terrific 1986 compilation of R&B sax tunes on the Atlantic label. It’s out of print.

3 Comments

Filed under June 2008, Sounds

3 responses to “Whole lotta familiarity

  1. jb

    One fine Saturday morning at the classic-rock radio station, I was astounded to see the King Curtis version of “Whole Lotta Love” on the list of songs for my show. It’ll never happen again, of course–we have since dropped most of the interesting stuff to make way for more Van Halen tunes–but it was a glorious few minutes, anyhow.

  2. Hey there… I’ve always assumed that CCS ripped off the King Curtis arrangement. I think I’ve also read that the CCS Whole Lotta Love was the theme song to Top of the Pops for a while?

    You might want to check out the tune “Brother” by CCS. A flawed yet funky joint.

  3. I used to listen to a night-time disc jockey during the 1970’s…think it was on CKLW…who used to play this all the time — in between Todd Rundgren and England Dan, as I recall.

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