Melvin McArthur Hardin and Hubert Timothy McPherson were cousins from Holly Springs, Mississippi. As a soul duo, they were discovered by Gene Chandler when moving to Chicago in search of a career in music. Yolanda Hardin, who was Melvin Hardin’s mother and Hubert McPherson’s aunt, helped with the publicity of the duo’s music, which lead to them being offered a contract over at Bamboo Records, where they recorded”Backfield in Motion,” an instant hit which made it to number 3 on Billboard Magazine’s R&B chart in 1969.
They later signed to Stax Records with the hope of releasing more ambitious material, which led them to their 1973 self-titled masterpiece Mel & Tim. With tracks like “Making Love Is My Thing” and “Yes We Can-Can” being clear highlights on this album, the first track off the album “Keep The Faith” really stood the test of time, being sampled by various producers throughout the years, including Madlib for his classic 2000 Quasimoto album The Unseen. The Loop Digga took the 1973 classic and sampled both the beat and the gorgeous strings to the original track, producing a hard-hitting beat with soul and bounce, and titled it “Axe Puzzles”. Lord Quas goes in as usual, and it’s a track that, amongst many others, stands out as one of his best.
Listen to Mel & Tim’s “Keep The Faith” below, from Mel & Tim (1973), released on Stax Records.
Listen to Quasimoto’s “Axe Puzzles,” taken from The Unseen (2000), released on Stones Throw Records.
You can find purchase information for Mel & Tim’s 1973 classic over at discogs.com.