This past Sunday, I took a walk up the street to my local gas station to pick up a newspaper (it’s several sheets of lightweight paper with news and information printed on it).
When I walked in, I was hit, quite unexpectedly, with some really beautiful soul music. I thought I recognized the smooth voice, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. So, I asked the man behind the counter – Joshua, I learned from introduction, not from nametag – what it was he was listening to.
Turns out he was taking a listen to a mixed CD he had just made for his father. The song was a Frankie Beverly song. For those unfamiliar, Frankie Beverly formed a band in 1970 that was originally called Raw Soul. However, Beverly met Marvin Gaye in 1976 and Gaye suggested changing the band name to Maze. One name change and a tour opening for Gaye later, and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly has been touring ever since.
The entire encounter took me back to a bike trip I had taken from Brookfield, a suburb of Milwaukee, to the downtown area so that I could purchase their 1985 album – Just Can’t Stop the Love. The album featured the song “Back in Stride Again,” their only number one R&B hit.
We started talking about 70s and 80s soul music and he said, “you know, you should really take this CD and check it out.” I couldn’t believe it, but he gave me the perfect Sunday morning CD. I went home and listened to it and was reminded of what it is about funk-driven soul that made me travel to purchase that album back in 1985.
Maze has been touring for nearly 40 years, but there’s surprisingly not that much good quality video footage. Here’s Frankie Beverly with Maze singing Southern Girls. I hope this takes your pursuit of music into a welcome tangent…