Skip and the Creations
Band members Related acts
line-up 1 (1967)
- Brute Vaughan -- lead vocals
- Jeffrey -- lead guitar, backing vocals
- Rick --
- Skip -- drums, percussion
- Walter Eugene Wells -- organ, keyboards
- The Creations
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Country/State: Colonial Beach, Virginia
Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+
Comments: small amount of age spotting on cover
Catalog ID: 4907
Hailing from the Richmond, Virginia suburb of Colonial Heights (or at least that's where there fan club was located), Skip and the Creations were neither the best, nor the worst of Calvin Newton's Justice recording roster. Most critics aren't that hot on them, but to my ears they come pretty close to The Fugitives, or even Mod and the Rockers.
1967's "MOBAM" (the acronym reportedly stood for 'makers of bad assed music') isn't a major departure from the standard Justice catalog. Like many of the other Justice acts, the album showcased an extremely young group working their way through a mix of then-popular pop and soul hits. Unlike some of the other Justice bands, to some extent Skip and company managed to overcome their limited musical proficiency with a mix of enthusiasm and audacity. Their cause wasn't hurt by the fact that Brute Vaughan was a pretty good singer with a penchant for handling the band's numerous soul covers. Among the highlight were his performances on the frantic opener 'Respectable', an extremely raw 'Ninety-Nine and a Half' (love Jeffrey's guitar solos) and 'Try Me'. Unlike a lot of other Justice acts they also had a drummer who could actually keep time. The band's reliance on a rinky-dink organ as lead instrument was also kind of neat and differentiated them from a lot of the competition. The stabbing Hammond on 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry' actually reminded me a little of something out of the early Percy Sledge catalog - pretty impressive comparison. Best of the lot was the sole band original 'I'm Calling You Baby'. Moody and surprisingly hard rocking, the song reminds me of a radio hit by another band, but for the life of me I can't figure out what. Anyone out there know? Let me know ... Sure, it didn't always work - check out their painful cover of 'Harlem Shuffle', but there were enough qualified successes to make the album entertaining. Sonically flat and somewhat muddy, like most Justice albums, this one doesn't enjoy what you'd call state-of-the-art sound. On the other hand, that patented muddy sound is probably part of the catalog's endearing charm.
I stumbled across something Vaughan had posted to the internet. Hopefully he won't mind if I copy it here: "I am the lead singer on the Skip and the Creations MOBAM record. we were 15 to 19 years of age. We played on week-ends and traveled around in the back of an old Chevy panel delivery truck which looked much like an early model Suburban. We had a blast and It was the first venture into the music industry for most of us. I myself sang in several groups since then , and just decided to give it up New Years 2014. Music has always been a part of my life and I am sure it will continue to be. I have one of your CD,s of the album. I thank you so much for the type of work you are doing. P.S MOBAM does stand for Makers of Bad Ass Music but most of us did not know that was going to be on the label as well as the intro to Skip and the Creations. We were known as The Creations. Strange how those things happen when somebody provides the information."
Bet they were a pretty good live act ...
'MOBAM" track listing:
1.) Respectable (O'Kelly Isley - Ronald Isley - Rudolph Isley) - 2:29 rating: *** stars
The problem covering a song like The Isley Brothers' 'Respectable' is that your chances of matching the original, or even coming close to it are slim, or non-existent. I'll give the band credit for an enthusiastic performance - particularly drummer Skip's frenetic work, but unless you had a need for an "Animal House" vibe, you were going to stick with the original
2.) I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry (Hank Williams) - 2:00 rating: ** stars
Yeah, the should have stayed away from this country classic.
3.) Harlem Shuffle (Bob Relf - Earl Nelson) - 3:00 rating: ** stars
Congratulations on their good taste in covers, but taking on 'Harlem Shuffle' was an artistic bridge-too-far. They got the melody down pretty well and Walter Eugene Wells' organ solo wasn't bad, but boy were their vocals strained.
4.) Ninety-Nine and a Half (Steve Cropper - Eddie Floyd - Wilson Pickett) - 2:42 rating: **** stars
Well it started out a little shaky, but when they finally found the groove Skip and company tuned in an impressive, gritty garage powered cover of the Wilson Pickett classic. As I said earlier, I love Jeffrey's ragged guitar solo. One of the album highlights.
5.) Double Shot (Cyril E. Vetter - Don Smith) - 2:10 rating: *** stars
I've always loved this song, but again, why would you want to head their cover when you could listen to The Swingin' Medallions original?
2.) I'm Calling You Baby (Skip and the Creatons) - 1:50 rating: **** stars
Original tunes are pretty rare on the Justice label which makes the bouncy 'I'm Calling You Baby' even rarer in that it was quite good. An up-tempo rocker with some nice group vocals, this one is hard to sit still through. The album's best performance. Shame the song wasn't longer and they weren't allowed to record more originals.
3.) Try Me - 3:52
4.) Turn On Your Love Light (Joseph Wade Scott - Don Robey) - 2:50
5.) Gimme Some Lovin' (Steve Winwood - Spencer Davis - Muff Winwood) - 2:54
6.) Terry - 2:49
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