Considered a classic by DJ’s and samplers alike, Gwen McCrae’s 1979 album Melody of Life is full of infectious grooves, funky basslines and Gwen’s gorgeous and powerful voice. Gwen McCrae’s story is an interesting one. Youngest child of 5, she began performing in local clubs, and sang in local groups like the Lafayettes and the Independents. In 1963, she met George McCrae, and got married within a week of meeting him. They performed and released music as a duo later that year, which resulted in them signing a contract with Henry Stone’s TK Records. Having made music for a couple of years, Gwen was discovered by soul singer Betty Wright, who helped mentor and produce for her throughout the 1970s. This resulted in Gwen having a #1 R&B hit with “Rockin’ Chair” in March 1975, which also reached number 9 in the United States’ Billboard Hot 100.
In 1979, Gwen McCrae releases her 6th studio album Melody of Life, a memorable stamp in her rich discography. Electric tracks such as “All This Love That I’m Giving” or “The Joy,” show the versatility and fire Gwen has as a singer and performer, and it was the 4th track of Melody of Life ‘I Found a Love’ that Madlib used as the sample for “Gamble on Ya Boy” (featuring Defari) on his 2008 album WLIB AM: King of the Wigflip. He takes a small snippet on the Gwen McCrae song at 1:37 minutes in (when it breaks down to a funky bass rhythm, with Gwen singing “I’m talking about that real love, yeah”), slows it down, and loops it to allow for Defari to do his thing over it. Another example of Madlib’s ability to find gems and flip them in a way that not only makes for a great beat to rap or sing over, but also turns the song into an groove-filled hip-hop track.
Gwen McCrae’s “I Found a Love” off her 6th studio album Melody of Life (1979) released on Cat Records.
Madlib’s “Gamble on Ya Boy” (featuring Defari) off his 2008 album WLIB AM: King of the Wigflip released on BBE Records.
You can find all purchase information for Gwen McCrae’s Melody of Life here.
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