Her searing performance with Mick Jagger on "Gimme Shelter" gave her a place in rock 'n' roll history. She also worked closely with Joe Cocker and his band, singing on many of his early hits, and later backed Carole King on her big albums of the era. Also in 1969, she signed on with Ode Records, a division of A&M, as a solo artist. Previously, I've featured cuts from her first two LPs, Gimme Shelter and Merry Clayton, both of which were impressive*; and, today, I've got two songs up for consideration that appeared on her third Ode album, Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow, which would be her swan song for the label. As is usually the case, I have chosen cuts with the highest funk quotient.
"Keep Your Eye On the Sparrow" (Dave Grusin -Morgan Ames)
Merry Clayton, Ode 66110, 1975
I confess that I don't think I ever watched the TV detective series, Baretta, which began in 1975 and had "Keep Your Eye On the Sparrow" as its theme song. Surprisingly, Sammy Davis, Jr.**
sang the TV version - and, for Sammy, it was a fairly funky affair arranged by Dave Grusin, who co-wrote the tune. That "official" version was released as a single the next year, but didn't do much. Then, also in 1976, Rhythm Heritage, comprised of a bunch of top LA studio musicians, covered it. Their version shot up to #20; and I recall hearing a version of the song on the radio back then that was likely theirs.