The Purpose – Dustcracks, Bugs and Roaches
The Purpose – Give In
The Purpose – Life of Love
Picked up this endearingly scratchy record maybe a month ago in San Diego at a spot that O-dub of Soul-sides recommended, B.A.O. Records (as in By Appointment Only). I’m particularly drawn to integrated groups from the 60s and the look of the group plus the fact that the lead singer’s name is John John McDuffy, the guitarist’s name is “Fluffer” and the drummer goes by “Chocolate” pretty much sold me without even listening.
I had my portable turntable with me that day, so I WAS able to check out the sounds as well, cause after all, you shouldn’t judge records just by their covers. The Purpose played what could be described as a mix between urban blues and soul…along with a far too apparent deep love of nursery rhymes. Seriously. At least three songs (“Jump Up,” “I’m A Hog For You” and “Nosey Nosey People”) borrow liberally from well known nursery rhymes like Three Little Pigs and Jack Be Nimble. Additionally the lead singer likes to do this little whiny howl, that just strikes a wrong chord with me. Those would be deal breakers for me if the actual sound of the group wasn’t so tight. The simple, heavy and monstrously funky back beat of the opener “Dustcracks, Bugs and Roaches,” a lament about inner city living conditions, is worth tracking this record down in and of itself. Though there aren’t any “clean” breaks to speak of, this record is all kinds of funky, including all the aforementioned tracks, plus “Give In” and the closer “Feel it.”
Though it’s not the funkiest song on the record, “Life of Love” is the best one, perhaps because it sounds like saxophonist Johnny Miller is doing the singing duties and he has a better voice than J.J. McDuffy with a significantly better style of phrasing, but also because it’s just a really strong track, musically and lyrically, on a record that is perhaps filled up with too many attempts at novelty.
By the way, if you’re ever in the San Diego area and feel an urge to go digging through crates and crates of records, drop Mark at B.A.O. a line at mark[at]baorecords.com