(Editor’s note: I recently reached out to some of my favorite music dudes to see if they’d drop some expertise. Through the years, I’ve been able meet and work with some of these cats and, through their generosity, we’ll be rolling out some great posts in the coming months. The concept was straightforward: Have a great song or record you’d want to share? The responses and selections are top-notch. First up is THAT DUDE, Matthew Africa–his mixes, his blog, a lot of his output is straight up educational. We’re delighted to have him. –DM)
A quick listen to the Identities’ “Hey Brother” shows it’s a thinly-masked rewrite of the Billy Roberts composition “Hey Joe”. Although Jimi Hendrix’s recording of “Hey Joe” is perhaps justifiably the best-known version, it seems to be one of those rare tunes that’s impossible to mess up– of the dozens of versions I’ve heard, I have yet to hear a bad one. The lyrics here get recast as a peace and brotherhood bromide so vague Hendrix himself might have winced.
As far as I can tell this is the only record credited to the Identities. The vocal is almost certainly by producer Walter Whisenhunt’s wife, Gloria Taylor. The duo recorded far and wide throughout the seventies before a split which, according to legend, drove a vengeful Whisenhunt to wild out on her masters, giving birth to this left-field disco grail: