New Orleans born King Floyd is primarily known for his quirky 1970 Atlantic hit ‘Groove Me’. Sparse and bass-heavy, the catchy cut made a name for Mississippi’s Malaco Studios and more specifically their unprepossessing Chimneyville label. Ex mailman Floyd enjoyed more chart action and cut two full LPs but his output’s been sadly neglected by the reissue labels. Now Ace/Kent redress the balance with a new 24 track set that collects together the best of King Floyd’s output – all his singles and the cream of his album tracks.
Born in 1945, King Floyd’s dream was a career in music and in 1964 he chased that dream to California where he recorded unsuccessfully for a number of labels. He eventually returned to New Orleans where he hooked up with ambitious musical entrepreneur Wardell Quezergue. Quezergue eventually took Floyd (and other artists including Jean Knight) to Tommy Couch’s up and coming Malaco Studio in Jackson, Mississippi. Couch and Quezergue and their artists recorded eight songs and they tried to license them to labels throughout the South – including Stax. As the rejections piled up it was decided they’d form their own label as an outlet – thus, Chimneyville was born.
King Floyd’s ‘What Our Love Needs’ was amongst the first Chimneyville releases and it was duly shipped to DJs throughout the South. One radio spinner, George Vinnett, flipped the record and played ‘Groove Me’… and the tune took off – igniting the interest of the major labels, including Atlantic, with whom Chimneyville signed a distribution deal. With the muscle of Atlantic behind it, ‘Groove Me’ became an R&B no. 1 in January 1971. Three more moderately successful Atlantic/Chimneyville singles followed, along with an album but by then Floyd had fallen out with his mentors and decided to go it alone and worked on a second album without them. Atlantic soon lost interest and Chimneyville hooked up with TK till 1978… the same year that King Floyd quit the business – retiring to California to live off his royalties which received a surprising boost when his songs were sampled by the hip-hop fraternity. In the 90s he made a comeback of sorts, recording an album in 2000 and working the oldies circuit. He died in 2006.
‘I Feel Like Dynamite’ is King Floyd’s first CD release in the UK and its two dozen tracks reveal a workmanlike Southern soul man. ‘Groove Me’ is the obvious standout and most of the other singles use the same throbbing bass-line template. The man’s two albums yield some treasures though – notably the uptown flavoured ‘A Day In The Life Of A Fool’ and ‘So Glad I Found You’ and an interesting six minute plus version of ‘My Girl’ – complete with explanatory spoken passages.