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Legacy of Gristle

Though Clarence Hollimon has passed, he lives on in his work

The song features Fran in her sassiest persona, explaining: "This ain't no laughing matter no more / I've got to find me somebody for sure / 'Cause right now -- hey hey hey -- right now / You know I needs to be be'd with." It's quite a slangy yet powerful statement about female sexuality. After the second verse the diva shouts, "Play me something, Clarence," and he responds with a teasing, piercing, string-bending solo that suggests exactly the kind of nastily creative lovemaking the boss lady craves. She accents his instrumentation with exclamations such as "Have mercy!" and with a series of discreet groans, tasteful variations on the theme of sexual ecstasy. When he completes the first romp she demands, "Do it like that again," and he proceeds (musically speaking) to sex her up good.

This one tune is a potent and real testimony to the love affair between Gristle and the woman he affectionately dubbed Blabs. Yes, it makes me hurt for her loss. But it also reminds me that for all she has lost -- all we've lost -- with Hollimon's death, there's a righteous legacy, some choice Gristle, still to be savored.

An amazingly fluent axman, Clarence Hollimon was characterized not by bombast or speed but by intelligence and diversity.
An amazingly fluent axman, Clarence Hollimon was characterized not by bombast or speed but by intelligence and diversity.

In addition to 1992's Soul Sensation, Fran and Hollimon's catalog includes See There! (Black Top, 1994) and the forthcoming It's About Time!(JSP, 2000).

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