Thursday, June 4, 2015

"Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" by Wolf

Song#:  1278
Date:  12/11/1982
Debut:  82
Peak:  55
Weeks:  9
Genre:  R&B, Synthpop

Pop Bits:  Studio musician Bill Wolfer, aka Wolf, had his sights on moving out from the shadows and into the spotlight. Armed with demos of his own songs, Wolfer got signed to the Constellation label (an offshoot of Solar Records) and readied his debut album titled "Wolf." Although Wolfer wrote/co-wrote nine songs on the album, it was this tenth one, a remake, that got slated for single release. Credited to just Wolf, the song got near the halfway point on the chart before dropping. It would be Wolfer's lone pop chart single. He continued his work as a musician and producer before issuing a few new age/jazz albums beginning in 1989. Later in 2000, he founded the traditional Cuban jazz band Mamborama. The band has issued three acclaimed CDs.

ReduxReview:  This synth-laden version of the song is certainly interesting. Usually, I can do without the vocoder on most songs, especially like this where it is the entire vocal. But it doesn't bother me so much on this one. I think it is because Wolfer's jazz-funk playing enhances everything. His solo is pretty sweet too. I can't say this is an outstanding version of the song, but it's well done and a fun listen.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Although is name may not be familiar, a good portion of the people on this planet has heard Wolfer play. In addition to work he did with Stevie Wonder, Wolfer played on Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Most notably, Wolfer performed the synth and synth programming heard on "Billie Jean." Wolfer also went on to produce several recording including Shalamar's #17 contribution to the "Footloose" soundtrack, "Dancing in the Sheets" (1984).  2) This is a remake of The Temptation's classic #1 hit from 1972.


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