29 April 2017, No. 249, Bar-Kays, ‘Let’s Have Some Fun’

Yow. The Wiccans are all like, “An’ it harm none” do what you want to, but I think “Let’s Have Some Fun” is a far better guiding principle, and it’s No. 249 in the record show. The free vocals at the end are just dying to be sampled, and every bar starts with that characteristic Bar-Kays farting synth sound. Minimoog, I assume, though the Yamaha CS-15 I once had could make bubbly, zipper-coming-down sounds like that. Winston Stewart keeps it on the one for the entire tune, even when he’s using his right hand (I assume) to solo on the organ. Stewart is credited on Rick Dees’ Disco Duck LP as “Moog-Winston Stewart,” so the Moog guess is strong, even though Stewart’s credit on that quacking novelty record is for ARP programming. In “Let’s Have Some Fun” the Bar-Kays could have used a tape loop or a sequencer to make each bar go byow, but having a human depress a key to make the noise every time is part of what gives this song something people call soul. Or, at least, the substitution of computers for human button depressors is part of why people say much contemporary music is soulless. That, and the lack of horn sections.

Two years after this cut came out, the band put out “Holy Ghost,” which we’ve already covered (if lightly) and which employs the same bass synth strategy with a very similar sound. No wonder both tunes made the list. The thing I should have mentioned about “Holy Ghost” but didn’t is the distinctive double taps on the cowbell, and while “Let’s Have Some Fun” doesn’t have any cool cowbell happening, it does have a really long break like “Holy Ghost,” from 3:30ish to 5:30ish, replete with chants and horn licks. Get funky with it.