As the inaugural post for this blog, I figured it was appropriate to use one of my favourite albums from the 70’s soul era. Little Beaver – aka Willie Haley – was born in the, “jewel of the Delta”, Forrest City, Arkansas in 1945. His mother gave him the nickname Little Beaver because of his teeth and it seemed to stick with him for the rest of his career. Hale started at an early age, moving from Arkansas to Florida in the early 1960’s to pursue a music career. The move forced him to fuse his swampy funk with the refined Bauhaus elegance of Miami and he managed to get signed to the Cat label – an offshoot of the Disco giant TK Records.
Hale’s rise to fame was gradual and peaked in 1974 with his hit “Party Down” which reached #2 on the US R&B chart. Unfortunately, the soulful vocals and smooth arpegiated chords that made Hale such a hit in the 70’s led to his commercial demise in the 80’s, during which time, his music failed to compete with the dance-floor oriented Disco that was being produced. Regardless, Party Down has carved out a spot in the soul cannon and cannot be ignored. Enjoy!