Dick’s Picks: This week’s pick from our man Dick is this seldom-seen slice of soul/funk with a dash of Californian sunshine-pop-sike from the short-lived Odyssey…..
At the dawn of the ‘70s Motown was flushed with cash from its ’60s successes and about to relocate from its Detroit home to California, before this relocation took place the label got one foot in the door via the launch of a West Coast label named….yup you guessed it Mowest. The label was quickly forgotten once the parent company set up shop in sunnier climbs, although not before they’d scored a handful of hits (Franki Valli’s ‘The Night’ being one of them), a lot of flops and the occasional record that sunk without trace at the time, before eventually being rediscovered – hello Odyssey!
Firstly don’t get this group confused with the later ’70s pop/disco act that scored big with ‘Native New Yorker’, ‘Going Back To My Roots’ amongst others. This Odyssey, counted an ex-original-member of Chicago Donnie Dacus amongst its line-up and were a strange amalgam of soul/funk mixed with a dash of sunshine-pop and even a liberal sprinkling of country – YIKES! This is ‘Broken Road’ which has a wonderful afro/jazz vibe with a dash of hippie thrown in….
For most people the albums reputation has grown due to the inclusion of two songs ‘Battened Ships’ and ‘Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love’. ‘Battened Ships’ is a feet-shuffling, Latin-infused, floor-filler that’s been at the top of the more discerning DJ’s wants lists ever since the album was first deleted (rumours have it that the record was changing hands for as much as $100 in the mid-‘70s!), with ‘Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love’ being a wonderful slice of laid-back soul with a stunning vocal…..
As a footnote top US reissue label Light In The Attic recently cribbed the ‘Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love’ title for their Mowest compilation LP/CD…..as for the band, just the one LP and one promo ’45 and from there the trail goes cold…..