Main | Thursday, January 19, 2012

Funk/Disco Legend Jimmy Castor Dies

Funk and disco legend Jimmy Castor has died of heart disease at the age of 71. Castor scored half a dozen pop and disco chart smashes, including his 1972 classic Troglodyte, the first five seconds of which is arguably the most-sampled line in the history of rap and house music. Troglodyte also introduced the recurring character of Bertha Butt, the "enormous cavewoman" who titled her own 1975 Top 20 hit, Bertha Butt Boogie. That single contains one of my favorite stanzas in all of pop music: When Bertha got movin', her hips were hummin' in the wind, the ground started shakin', no grass grew where SHE'D been!

Shamefully missing from YouTube is my favorite Jimmy Castor Bunch record, Supersound, which is probably responsible for blowing out the speakers on my dad's '74 T-Bird. (I blamed my sister's Frampton Comes Alive.) The tom-tom breakdown in Supersound is possibly only second to the epic cowbell/tom-tom breakdown in the Bar-Kay's Holy Ghost. The album containing Supersound also gave us the monkey-grunt novelty single, King Kong, which Castor performed on Soul Train as a man in a gorilla suit danced in the audience. The seventies, folks. That sound you hear is my hips hummin' in the wind.

UPDATE: The Village Voice has just published an epic zillion-word biography of Jimmy Castor. I'm just digging in....

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