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Harvey Scales Interview


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Hi. Today I did a phone interview with Harvey Scales, the first Milwaukee artist that I have talked to on my radio show. Harvey originally started signing in local vocal groups, and was in a group with Al Jarreau as well as a member of the Esquires. Harvey cut his first record, "The Clock", for Wisconsin's Cuca records -- he got a chance to record the record when he went to the studio with the Birdlegs group (who recorded their hit "Spring" in the same session); the band backs Harvey on his recording.

Harvey soon joined The Seven Sounds, who were a self-contained band and vocal group. The group cut the excellent "Glamour Girl" for Cuca records in the mid-60s. After cutting one more record for Cuca, the group cut their hit two-sider "Get Down" / "Love-itis" for Milwaukee's Magic Touch records. Although the "Get Down" (a dance record) was the bigger hit, "Love-itis" also received play and became popular with a rock audience, and several groups, including the J. Geils band, remade the track. The group became a popular band on the Wisconsin college fraternity / Chicago bar rock circuit, playing for mainly White college audiences alongside such groups as Baby Huey and the Babysitters and Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts. The group had a string of dance-themed follow-up records (such as the Broadway Freeze and the Yolk); despite getting play on R&B radio, the group continued to perform for primarily White audiences. The group recorded on several other record labels including Chess, Stax, and Mercury.

In 1976, Harvey was a co-writer (along with Detroit producer Don Davis) of Johnny Taylor's hit "Disco Lady", which became the first certified platinum record. The track was actually based on Harvey's previously released record "Groove on Sexy Lady". Through Davis, Harvey wrote many songs for other artists, including The Soul Children, the Dells, Dramatics, Tavares, and Billy Davis and Marilyn McCoo. He also wrote the music for the late-70s TV show Kaptain Kool and the Kongs. Harvey signed as a solo artist to Casablanca records, cutting two albums. Harvey's second Casablanca LP, actually a disco opera, included a drum break that has been sampled in several R&B and hiphop songs (including in Soul II Soul's hit "Back to Life").

Harvey still performs today and is appearing in the new Bernie Mac / Samuel Jackson film "Soul Men". He is also about to record an album in Memphis with Willie Mitchell and the Hi Rhythm. You can check my interview at:




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