“Grits & Corn Bread”: Watts 103

Musical salute to Georgia ‘s Official Prepared Food continues with “Grits & Corn Bread” – a song that listerners can enjoy at a variety of playback speeds.   Zero to 180 is partial to the medium speed:

“Grits and Corn Bread”   The Soul Runners     1966

Billboard would identify “Grits & Corn Bread” as a ‘Breakout Single’ in its January 28, 1967 edition.– debut 45 from The Soul Runners, who would be the forerunners to the estimable Watts 103 St. Rhythm BandHip Wax makes the historical connections:

“After [Dyke & the Blazers leader Arlester] Christian was shot to death in Phoenix, Arizona, another great soul-funk act arose like a phoenix.  Christian’s final sides were recorded with the guitar-bass-drums nucleus of the nascent Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band.  Led by Fred Smith, Watts began as the Soul Runners, a hip group similar to Booker T. & the MGs, with singles on a soul-food theme.  The classic version of ‘Spreadin’ Honey,’ for instance, appeared on both sides of the name transition and was remade by Watts on their first, underrated LP of cheery, adventurous, mod soul.  But, not quite making it as either funk or soul jazz, the band sorely needed a charismatic vocalist to front the band, another Arlester Christian [i.e., future front man, Charles Wright].”

Musically starchy?  Rather meaty, actually

Soul Runners 45Billboard’s band biography bespeaks:

“As the Soul Runners, the group scored a 1967 hit with the instrumental ‘Grits and Cornbread’; rechristened the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, they scored again later that same year with another instrumental, ‘Spreadin’ Honey,’ and with the support of comedian Bill Cosby (whom they’d previously backed in the studio) were signed to Warner Bros. soon after.”

David Gordon – on Yahoo’s ‘Southern Soul List‘ – does his own dot-connecting, as he links The Soul Runners with CharlesPackyAxton (son of Stax co-founder, Estelle Axton) of The Packers, among other related groups.  “Grits and Corn Bread” would be released January, 1967 – according to Gordon.

Meanwhile, over at Spectropop’s Group Discussion, “Davie” Gordon would post an even more elaborate discography that links Magnificent Montague, The Soul Runners, and countless related artists.

 corn (grits + bread) = (C)G + CB

Grits & Corn Bread“Grits & Corn Bread” is the 2nd installment in Zero to 180’s musical tribute to corn grits.