Alcohol - Robert Jay: A Voxpop45 release
Alcohol by Robert Jay - the story behind the track Alcohol, the first release from Voxpop45s. A new and completely legit record label working with the artists themselves. Each release on 7", no bootlegging. Detroit 1969. Robert Jay woke up one morning mad as hell. Firstly with himself for being so vulnerable, then with the demon alcohol. From that moment, armed with a strong tune in his head, he decided to combine a serious love of the blues and funk with sheer determination to combat the damaging effects of drinking. The result? 'Alcohol'; A smart transposition of 'I'm gonna ditch ya, troublesome woman' blues style lyrics over a pounding funk rhythm and the first release from new funk and soul re-issues label Voxpop45's. The Robert Jay story just goes to show not all rock 'n' roll addictions lead to unhappy endings, sometimes they lead to truly compelling music. "I came out of the service and got the habit. After I got my first drunk on, it took years to get off it. They arrested me for drinking and driving, then I went before the judge and he sent me to three different psychologists to see if I had a mental problem. He told me I had to go to AA so when I went back for my license I told him I didn't have a habit no more. I go to church now. I'm a Sunday school teacher." It's an unrelenting and powerful cautionary two-part tale. During 1969, a blue label release was recorded in-house with plain upfront lyrics and a strong backing track. The message slowly sinks in with the same infiltrating flow as liquor taking over the body. Four years later a second studio recording was laid down, this time onto a pink label. With better equipment, spiralling sax melodies, a glistening rhythm and a little help from his friends, the Blues influence is even stronger than it was before, creating such painful intensity that it's impossible not to dance. After all, this is a track of celebration and with family members hollering their support it has the sound of an after-hours whiskey-soaked block party from the depths of an underground basement. It's nice to know Robert wasn't alone on his road to recovery. "The female vocals were done by relatives of mine through marriage. Beverly, Sydney and their friend, I see them all the time, they live in the neighbourhood. My sister married their brother." Perhaps this and the fact only 300 copies were pressed before being given to friends, was why the record and artist had a following that remained within the boundaries of the city. Voxpop45's are making the track accessible again, re-issuing the music in its original format on 7" vinyl*. Alcohol's tough but soulful sound is proof that when one door closes another always opens and here what could have been a rock 'n' roll style tragedy is actually a blessing in disguise. In the words of Mr Jay... "Let the rhythm push you on"