The moment I saw the cover for T.V. & The Tribesmen’s Barefootin’, I had a feeling it was going to be good. The cover, which looks like the grandmother of all iTunes advertising, is udeniably swinging. That the album was on the HBR label intrigued me — from 1965 to 1966 Hanna-Barbera (as in the cartoon company) had a record label, largely for children’s records based on its properties like The Flintsones, Jetsons, and Johnny Quest.
Yes…. I collect some of these things too.
What a great cover, no?
Anyhow, a couple years back I’d read a bit about the label and how they’d released some pop and soul records, which were somewhat hard to find and supposedly pretty cool to boot. There was even some psychedelic stuff too! Upon checking my box of random singles, I found some there and continue to pick them up out of curiosity when I find them.
You see, the label was run by soon to be superstar Danny Hutton, friend of Brian Wilson (yes, The Beach Boy’s Brian Wilson) and one third of the band that would be named Three Dog Night. So here was a young label with some deep pockets looking for cool things to release (including his own follow-up solo single). Fortunately , it seems Mr. Hutton had some good taste in music from the get go!
Beyond the kids’ stuff, I’d not seen any albums on the label until a couple weeks ago when I found this copy of Barefootin’ by TV & The Tribesmen (got it for less than $5 in quite playable VG condition for its age and obscurity!). Immediately I figured this was going to be rock and roll’s answer to the Firehouse Five Plus Two (Disney animators who played dixieland music on the side).
However, upon searching the interwebs, I learned something fascinating that gives this album a way better pedigree: “TV & The Tribesmen” was actually a fellow named Joe Medwick Veasey (or, simply, Joe Medwick), a singer and songwriter of many great tunes for none other than Bobby “Blue” Bland, including “Farther on Up The Road” (a concert staple for performers such as Eric Clapton and Joe Bonamassa).
Oh! Em! Gee! Who knew?
How does it sound? It’s actually a sweet collection of toe-tappin’ funky soul nuggets that would not be out of place on a mix somewhere between singles by mid-60s James Brown, Solomon Burke, Smokey Robinson, and The Temptations.
I found only one site that has samples of his music, including tracks from this album. Click here to check out samples like this one for “After Hours Man”.
Why the album was not brought out under Mr. Medwick’s real name is a mystery to me at this point (more research will ensue, no doubt). Regardless, this is one y0u probably should keep your eyes out for if you like vintage soul and R ‘n B. It is a bit pricey up on eBay right now and the copy on Gemm isn’t a whole lot cheaper. And as far as I can tell, it’s not currently out on any digital form yet — at least not available in the US — but maybe a little more recognition will help rectify that.
(Hello, Mr. Sundazed? Have I got a suggestion for you!)
This is a prime example, folks, of why I love collecting records. There is always something new and fun to discover in this big old world we live in. Check out some of these tracks I found on YouTube related to Medwick.
Here’s the title track from the album:
Medwick’s first hit was for Bobby Blue Bland:
Clapton and Joe Bonamassa do this one too: