Posts Tagged ‘Hot Sauce’

‘Bring It Home . . .’

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Hot Sauce, a 1970s R&B trio from Detroit, placed just one record in the Billboard Hot 100, a single titled “Bring It Home (And Give It To Me)” on the Stax subsidiary label, Volt. Forty-two years ago this week, in the last days of May 1972, the record was at No. 98 in the second of three weeks on the chart; it would peak at No. 96 a week later (at No. 35 on the R&B chart) and then be gone.

That’s a pretty decent record, not a lot different from records that made it much higher and likely not a lot different from a lot of records of that era that never got near the charts. I’d never heard of Hot Sauce until this morning, when I happened to glance through that Billboard chart. But the sound intrigued me, and I started clicking some YouTube links and checking out some discographies. And I ran across Hot Sauce’s “Echoes From The Past” from the flipside of “Bring It Home.”

That, to my ears, is an even better record, and according to at least two generally accurate sites – Discogs and Soulful Kinda Music – “Echoes From The Past” was the intended A-side of the single. That’s not the side that got the airplay, and I don’t suppose it matters forty-two years later, but it’s the kind of thing that Odd, Pop and I notice around here.

And I dug a little further. The featured vocalist for Hot Sauce on all six of the group’s singles was Chuck Berry’s niece, Rhonda Washington, and it turned out – according to a blurb at Amazon for a CD collection of the group’s work – that Hot Sauce’s 1975 record “I Can’t Let You Go” was the last single released on the Volt label before Stax went bankrupt.

That brought me to a couple more tracks from the group. “Can’t Win For Losing” was the B-side to the group’s first single release in 1971, a record with the odd title of “I’ll Kill A Brick (About My Man),” which has a sound more like Stax/Volt than some of the other tracks from the group. (The phrase “kill a brick,” according to one reference online, is pulled from “I’ll kill a brick, shoot a stick, or stab a raindrop,” but I find no indication anywhere online of where that string of hyperbole comes from.) “Kill A Brick (About My Man),” which also showed up as the B-side to another Hot Sauce single in 1973, cooks:

I remember reading during my high school years a 1956 novel by Arthur C. Clarke titled The City and the Stars. As Clarke depicted life a billion years from now, his protagonist, Alvin, had access to all the world’s information via a screen on the wall of his home. I wondered what I could do with such a tool. I now know: I use that tool to look for obscure records (with a few other uses thrown in along the way). And sometimes in the pursuit of those obscure records and whatever tales they tell, I find something else, a bit of someone else’s tale.

As I wandered through the sounds of Hot Sauce this morning, I took a look at the comments at YouTube under “Bring It Home (And Give It To Me).” Three years ago, a woman named Willone Wilson wrote:

My mother . . . used to wear this song out! I was born in 1971 and I remember this song like someone just put it out. She would play it over and over and sing and it is a memory in song that I cherish very much. She loved music and happy times and of course my wayward dad. They later grew to be best friends and he was by her side until she died.

There are the seeds of a hundred songs and probably as many novels in Willone’s words, and I think there’s a good reminder in there, too, about how music reflects life. With six singles released, and only one reaching the charts, one can argue how much the group Hot Sauce accomplished. But Hot Sauce reached at least two people, and in the unlikely event that Willone and her mother were the only two, well, that’s still a type of success.