Back in the day the Ojays came to town with a brand new freshman group called the Commodores. As fate would have it, I happened to get in for free (with two tickets in my pocket, but that's another story).
Anyhoo, this was in the seventies when the Ojays were at the top of their game and they were some real bad dudes. What I remember most about this show was how deep they rolled.
During the seventies I pretty much saw live shows for anybody who was fit to see. We had a decent venue and we were on the circuit. The really big time shows might be on a Thursday night but who cared. Now most of the shows had the same basic set up, a top notch rhythm section, maybe some horns and if you were lucky some scantily clad dancing girls. Seen one, seen 'em all. But not Walter, William and Eddie, they came at you from a different direction.
We had seen pretty much everything out there but we had never seen no shit like this before. The Ojays came through with a full orchestra with white dudes wearing tuxedos playing violins and shit, sitting in little orchestra boxes, with a real conductor directing the music instead of the guitar player just signaling the downbeat and letting it roll. I suppose this was the rolling version of MFSB. Now remember this was the seventies and music was still about the most segregated thing in society at this point. Most of the music we listened to didn't get played on the so called "white stations".
And not to put too fine a point on it, but before the Ojays came on stage their orchestra played a fifteen minute medley of all the hits. As if to say, we don't want you sombitches to get the idea that we are up here for decoration, they came to play and brought the funk with them violins. They could have stopped right there before the Ojays even came on and nobody would have complained.
But with the vocal harmonies of the Ojays floating on top of that luxurious bed of orchestrated funk they totally blew our fuckin minds and I ain't been right ever since.
THE 2022 ZURICH FILM FESTIVAL
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