Odell Brown: Mellow Yellow (1967)

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Odell Brown: Mellow Yellow (1967)

The Chess label out of Chicago knew its way around the blues and funk so when swinging and finger-snap funk (like the Ramsey Lewis Trio's 1965 hit The In Crowd) was all over radio, the Chess brothers Leonard and Phil were onto it.

The smart money was on songs with instant appeal, like Donovan's Mellow Yellow which organist Odell Brown and his band the Organ-izers -- tenor players Thomas Purvis and Duke Payne, bassist Louis Satterfield, drummer Curtis Prince and conga player Henry Gibson – swung their way through with ease.

odellBrown enjoyed some minor success with his band but more when he moved behind the scenes and became an arranger for the likes of Johnny Nash and Curtis Mayfield and did some string arrangements for Minnie Riperton on her '74 album Perfect Angel and the disco-influenced album Stay in Love (1977).

His greatest moment perhaps was co-writing Sexual Healing with Marvin Gaye (for whom he had been an arranger and player in the studio and in concert).

Brown died in 2011 at age 71.

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For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

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