Elpedio & the Sonics – Right Time (1979)

“‘You’re going around, and boasting yourself. You talk about this, you talk about that, every day…’ This line from the mighty ‘Right Time’ track is all the evidence you need to establish that Elpedio Burke wasn’t big on boasting or bombast. It is certainly not an attidtude the singer displayed in his time as a recording artist. He has only got a few tunes to his name to begin with and, to make matters worse, his name seems to vary on each and every release. Christened Patrick Burke at birth, it’s a shame Elpedio/Elpidio/Elpedo/Elpido hasn’t got more songs out there, because his output sounds promising. Both ‘Right Time’ as well as the stunning ‘Madgie’ (Abeng/ Black Wax 1975) showcase a very laidback and somewhat restrained singing style. As if to tie himself to his self imposed ‘no bragging rule,’ Elpedio seems to hold back his anger, heartbreak or anguish when delivering his message. But by doing so, he also sounds dead serious and even a bit dangerous. As if he’s on the verge of taking it out on you. The combination of his sweet sounding voice with this self-controlled approach is what brings friction and tension in his songs. Or should I write apprehension? Because it is this mixed bag that lures me into the song and makes sure I take heed of the message. On ‘Right Time’ his prediction of a life without friends is set to a pumping Professionals riddim (of which I’m sure I heard it before, but I just can’t place it. Anyone keen to help me out?) It lays the foundation for a seriously heavy ET dub workout on the b-side, but also raises a few questions. Dancehall was beginning to take over in 1979 but this kind of stepping roots was still widely appreciated in both Jamaica and in the foreign. So why wasn’t this a hit? Was there too much roots out there, too many tunes with the same message, too many songs with the same stepping riddim, too many other big Joe Gibbs hits in the charts and, oh yeah, isn’t it time for something fresh and new, here at the break of a decade? I guess the answer is ‘yes’ to all of the above and I think they’re all justifiable as an apt answer to my question. Perhaps his move to the United States didn’t help his career much either. Elpedio joined a band called Cool Runnings (alongside guitarist Andy Bassford) and recorded a few songs with them. Looking upon ‘Right Time’ 30-something years later releases it from its thwarting timeframe. And a fresh look reveals a big tune in its own right, that is worth digging for. This is truly an underappreciated gem.”
Pressure Beat (Video)

YouTube: Elpedio & The Sonics Right Time 1979 7” Crazy Joe


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