THE WINSTONS / “Color Him Father”

You’ve heard of one-hit wonders, well The Winstons were two-hit wonders. After a massive success with “Color Him Father” the original band eventually broke apart and was later re-formed with new members who kept the old name. More interesting than the story of personnel changes is the fact that both sides of their early forty-five recording were hits, each side in its own way.

A little over four years ago we did an extensive investigation of the hit single’s B-side, which was a song called “Amen, Brother.” That song is credited by many as the foundation for the music that became known as “drum and bass.”

This week, specifically in honor of Father’s Day 2010, we’re sharing “Color Him Father,” which was written by saxophonist and original band member Richard Spencer. I tried tracking more information but the trail ran cold. I could not find reliable material other than an informative but un-referenced article on Wikipedia. There’s not much I can tell you about either Spencer or the original Winstons band.
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Here is the one small photo I could find of the band whose early line up was:
Richard Spencer (lead. vocals, tenor saxophone)
Ray Maritano (vocals, alto saxophone)
Quincy Mattison (vocals, lead guitar)
Phil Tolotta (second lead, organ)
Sonny Peckrol (vocals, bass guitar)
G.C. Coleman (vocals, drums)

The paucity of background info in no way lessens the significance of the two songs. On an emotional level “Color Him Father” is probably even more moving today than when it was first written. The social conditions that most of us face on a daily basis heighten the significance of the praise song because percentage-wise and damn near stereotypically, there are fewer fathers on the scene than back in the seventies when this song was released.

While percentage-wise caring and present fathers made be fewer today, the need for in-home fathers is more pressing than forty years ago.
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As a bonus, I’ve added a fine cover version performed by Keb’ Mo’. I’m impressed with the open sincerity of Keb’ Mo’s style. It’s just voice and guitar, and that’s all that’s needed to deliver the uplifting message.

To all the fathers these two songs are our thank you to each one of you who are defying the odds and setting the example of what a man looks like when he’s colored ‘father’!

—Kalamu ya Salaam

color him father cover 01.jpg 
Soul Hits of the 70s, Vol. 1 – The Winstons

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Big Wide Grin – Keb’ Mo’

This entry was posted on Monday, June 14th, 2010 at 9:36 am and is filed under Classic. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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