R.J. Griffith pays tribute with track from his uncle’s Nineteen Seventies group

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R.J. Griffith, an acclaimed Chicago singer, songwriter and audio engineer, desires to provide his uncle, R&B singer Thomas Williams, his flowers earlier than it’s too late.

He got here up with an thought to make sure that his uncle’s legacy stands the take a look at of time by protecting “You Flip Me On,” a 1970 track by The Fabulous Turks, Williams’ group.

In lots of instances, Black creatives from bygone eras die two deaths: the bodily one and the second when their legacies fall by the wayside.

“I feel I needed to be about 25 or 26 when [Williams] performed the music for me, however when he performed ‘You Flip Me On,’ I stated, ‘Wait, I would like to listen to this one once more,’ ” stated Griffith. “My uncle gave me a CD with the music on there, after which come to search out out my mother had a forty five [vinyl record] within the basement of the track, so I went residence and began utilizing her document participant and was listening to the track.

“As expertise superior, I discovered it on YouTube. I simply ripped it off of YouTube and saved listening to it over and over. I went to my uncle and stated, ‘I need to remake the track.’ ”

Chicago singer R.J. Griffith.
Aaron Reese Boseman

Griffith, 31, a Seton Academy alumnus, says singing is in his genes, and he can pinpoint when he knew music was what he needed to do together with his life.

His profession began in 2016 with “Prey,” an EP that obtained favorable views from a number of media retailers. Griffith’s music has appeared in movies reminiscent of “The Assumptions” and “Canal Avenue,” starring Bryshere Y. Grey (“Empire”), Mekhi Phifer (“E.R.”), and Harry Lennix (“The 5 Heartbeats”).

“I used to go to church and see my uncle Thomas singing on a regular basis,” Griffith stated, “and I used to be like: ‘Man, I want I may be like that’ — he was a really clean singer. In my teenage years, I began imitating Jamie Foxx. That’s how I developed my voice, by singing for ladies in highschool and seeing if it labored, and if it did, I knew I used to be onto one thing. And if not, I simply saved working.”

The Turks opened up for James Brown and Isaac Hayes on the first Black Expo began by Operation PUSH in 1972.

Jerome Davis, a retired postal service worker, not solely remembers listening to “You Flip Me On” for the primary time on WVON, he additionally was a supervisor of a document retailer the place clients got here in particularly to buy it.

“It was totally different it, and in case you stretched out your creativeness a bit, it might have match right into a doo-wop type, however [The Turks] had been primarily an R&B group,” stated Davis, who says “You Flip Me On” was an area hit. “I vividly recall that track. As a salesman, I keep in mind recommending it to clients.”

Williams says he was receptive to listening to that his nephew was wanting into his music.

“I used to be very honored,” stated Williams, who lives in Romeoville. “A younger man would look again at one thing that was completed approach earlier than he was born, and see one thing in it.”

The Fabulous Turks.
Thomas Williams

Griffith’s subsequent step was to search out Willie Weems, the person who wrote “You Flip Me On.”

It seems Weems had a selected lady in thoughts when he wrote “You Flip Me On.”

“Her identify was June Wright,” stated Weems. “Once you see a lady you admire, it’s a pure feeling. … On the time I used to be doing units, and we had been making music, and she or he would present as much as watch us play. There have been points that saved us from going ahead; we had been mates however by no means lovers. She impressed me to provide you with the lyrics.”

Did Williams give his nephew a stamp of approval?

“I like what [Griffith] did as a result of he introduced it updated. I used to be actually impressed,” stated Williams.

Fabulous Turks member Thomas Williams.
Aaron Reese Boseman

And that stage of affirmation means all the things to Griffith since studying the backstory of the track’s lyrics.

“After I first heard it, I considered me as a youngster with the hormones going by your physique. You’re wanting on the lady however you don’t know methods to specific your self,” stated Griffith, who says he has some exhibits lined up within the close to future. “Most males don’t specific themselves anymore, so it’s bringing again that vibe of R&B and love songs.”



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