Live Fast Die Young
Eric Lomax Live Fast Die Young 45 (Columbia, 1969)
Messages in African American music date back to slave hollers and work songs. In early Black gospel and country blues message songs were common. And in early rock & roll, every once in a while a message snuck in. However, if anyone can be said to have brought the message song into modern Black music it is Curtis Mayfield. With the Impressions and on his own, Curtis was such as great songwriter and an fantastic interpreter of his own songs that few people who followed him in the message song could escape his influence, an influence which was, during the Sixties and the Seventies, as strong on soul music as Dylan was on folk and rock. I don't know crap about Eric Lomax, but from the sound of "Live Fast Die Young", he was very much indebted to Mayfield. Though I doubt Lomax was from Chicago (nn reference to him in any of the books on Chicago soul that I have), the sound of the record is very Windy City - a little bit Simtec Simmons, a lot a bit late 60s Impressions. The vocal phrasing has that smooth hesitancy that is Curtis Mayfield. And then there is the message. Give this one a few listens. It will grow on you.