Song of the Day: Houston Person “I No Get Eye For Back”
Everything about Houston Person‘s 1977 LP Harmony indicated that the former straight-ahead tenorman was interested in pursuing more commercial music. In came a strong funk influence, a cheesecake cover and some slick production. While the whole of the LP was not entirely artistically (not to mention commercially) successful, Person does manage to bottle lightning on the track “I No Get Eye For Back”. The song is an infectious funk groover that seems to summarize everything that was going on in black popular music at the time: a real CliffsNotes summary of a number of disparate musical threads. The song combines a soulful sax line, a laid back funk beat and what feels like an almost Fela Kuti vibe. This is a great track for when you first want to get the party started or are looking for a bit of comedown at the end of the night without completely losing a dance vibe.
Houston Person was born in Florence, South Carolina in 1934. He came up through the tail end of the swing and bebop eras and made a reputation for himself as a dependable and skillful tenor player. While never a huge name in jazz, he recorded a number of classic records for the Prestige label throughout the 60’s and had a long-time stint as a sideman to the formidable singer Etta Jones, frequently gigging and recording with her. His versatility and ability to play in a number of different styles saw him frequent in demand for session work, while also recording dozens of LPs as a leader. At the age of 83, Person is still alive, kicking and making music.