Thursday, July 31, 2008

tea box: simtec simmons

when is a teapot not a teapot ?

This stunningly obtuse selection from the world of fine teas comes freshly brewed from the wonderful Office Naps - run with considerable style by DJ Little Danny out of Austin, Texas - a site I stumbled across by happy accident some time back, and have turned to on many an occasion subsequently looking to score a regular fix.

On a weekly basis since Office Naps' inception, Danny has consistently surprised and enlightened his hard core readership with some amazingly rare and hard to find "45rpm curios" from a variety of genres falling between '60s psychedelia and jazz obscura with unstinting dedication, all lovingly ripped from his own out of print collection.

His site is a treasure trove of unpredictable cool.

I can't imagine I might have happened on this Chicago release without DJ Little Danny's obsessive attention to delivering up such obscure gems, richly augmented through his regular supporting commentary.

Written by Maurice Jackson and released on his independent tiny soul imprint, Maurci, "Tea Pot" is an infectious machine driven jazz concoction which sheds much needed light on the late 1960's scene anchored in the mid west prior to the funk explosion ushered in with the dawning of a new decade and an audience thirsty for some deeply stirred bitches' brew. Like the best of teas its gently heated ingredients are infused with a flavour best sipped and savoured. Natch.

" 'Tea Box', for all its whimsical qualities, was not some after-hours lark of a studio engineer at loose ends. This selection was the handiwork of Simtec Simmons, the singer, guitarist and leader of aspiring Chicago R&B group the Tea Boxes. “Tea Box,” according to legend, was recorded at the behest of Herb “Kool Gent” Kent, a Chicago radio disc jockey who was taken with the sound of the rhythm machine and who in turn encouraged Simmons and his combo to record using it.

“Tea Box” features Simtec Simmons on guitar and two members of the Tea Boxes - his brother Ronald Simmons on bass and Bobby Pointer on the drum machine. Released on Maurice Jackson’s tiny Chicago soul label Maurci in 1967, “Tea Box” was, strangely enough, a good-sized regional hit, its anomalous and quirky appeal sending robots all over the upper Midwest to their local record shops for something they could finally dance to."

Simmons would later gravitate to a much harder edged funk sound on teaming up with fellow Chicago band leader, Wylie Dixon, scoring some respectable hits with their duo Simtec & Wylie, but as the 70s drew to its close, Simmons's appetite to win over the dance floor waned to the point of his quitting the industry for good.

This shit is too good to miss.

As is Office Naps, back after a fortuitously brief hiatus. Go visit today and grab yourself a cup.

SIMTEC SIMMONS: TEA POT from "Tea Pot" 45 (Maurci) 1967 (US)


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