One of the great joys of growing up in the ’70s was experiencing the last days of free-form FM radio. Even in central Wisconsin, our local top-40 station turned freaky late at night.
After 10 p.m., the WIFC jocks played anything and everything. There were deep album cuts from David Bowie and Uriah Heep followed by mind-blowing cuts from Gil Scott-Heron and the jazz sax player Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
My introduction to Rahsaan Roland Kirk in 1976 was “Theme For The Eulipions,” which was the first cut from an album called “The Return of the 5,000 Lb. Man.” That noirish tune oozes cool over its 9-plus minutes.
After buying that record at Inner Sleeve Records in Wausau, Wisconsin — which was cool enough to stock it — I found a most pleasant surprise.
The album’s second cut is a rollicking cover of “Sweet Georgia Brown” done in a roadhouse style familiar to anyone who knows how the Harlem Globetrotters used the song as their theme.
“Sweet Georgia Brown,” Rahsaan Roland Kirk, from “The Return of the 5,000 Lb. Man,” 1976. It features Hank Jones on piano and Milt Hinton on bass.
This is for the wonderful Meadowlark Lemon, the Globetrotters star who died Sunday. He was 83.
We watched him countless times on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” By the time I was old enough to take myself to see the Globetrotters in their annual New Year’s Eve game in Milwaukee, Meadowlark had left the team.
Now I kinda wish I’d bought this Meadowlark Lemon funk/soul/disco record when I came across it while digging for records in my friend Jim’s back yard a few years ago. It’s from 1979.