Good music never goes out of style. This could be the sum of the whole that can be said about Party Down by Little Beaver, but that would be a huge understatement. His third long-player warrants (re)discovery for funk and soul enthusiasts around the world, regardless of age or gender!
After a move to Florida from his hometown of Forrest City in Arkansas, the illustrious career of Willie George Hale’s (b. August 15, 1945) took off in the 1960’s. This is when his characteristic style of guitar playing was noticed and appreciated by songwriter and producer Willie Clarke, a resident of Cat Records, a subsidiary of TK Records. Hale was featured on many of the label’s hits, such as ‘Clean Up Woman’, written and produced by Clarke and Clarence ‘Blowfly’ Reid for R&B and soul legend Betty Wright. It soon became apparent that Hale was more than a session musician and deserved to be seen as a recording artist in his own right. A string of successful singles in the late 60’s and early 70’s culminated in the release of his 1972 debut LP Joey, using his childhood nickname Little Beaver – originating from his prominent teeth.
Black Rhapsody saw the light of day in 1974. As opposed to the record preceding it, there was little or no involvement of his regular collaborator Willie Clarke. However, they reunited for Party Down, which also features contributions by Betty Wright and jazz fusion bass legend Jaco Pastorius! Its two part title track serves as an introduction to an aural night on the town or a get together in one’s own living room. ‘Money Vibrations’ details about the pro’s and cons of currency, whilst ‘Get Into the Party Life’ inspires optimism to the lonely and the heartbroken. The rest of the album also deals with happiness and love in the unique style that Little Beaver is renowned for. Though largely forgotten today, many of its tracks were covered and sampled by a variety of famous artists such as Erykah Badu, Blowfly and Jay-Z!
Hale would return with two more records, When Was the Last Time (1976) and Beaver Fever (1980), the latter under the moniker of Willie ‘Beaver’ Hale. Following this, TK Records went bankrupt and Little Beaver faded into the shadows, only to re-emerge in 2008 with Love & Affection.
ReGrooved is proud to present a glorious reissue for a record that continues to get your groove on, even after forty-odd years!