William DeVaughn ~ Be Thankful For What You Got 1973 Disco Purrfection Version
Published at : 05 Nov 2020
The first time I heard this one I thought it was going to be Timmy Thomas "Why Can't We Live Together". After opening with a similar bongo rhythm, the churchy organ and James Jamerson-like bassline take the song into another direction with a classy laid back groove. Then the cool vocals of William DeVaughn come in preaching about what is really important in life. The combination of the orchestra and vocalist/writer was pure gold. William is a Jehovah's Witness who had written a song and then invested $900 to record it at Omega Sound in Philadelphia, a vanity production house. Omega's pitch was they would record your song but you had to pay up front. In 1973 DeVaughn was living in Washington DC answered an Omega ad in Billboard. An agent from Omega came up to see him and then they sent him to Philadelphia for a second audition. They agreed to record his songs if he could come up with $1400 for the session, but they accepted the $900 he was able to scrape up. Omega relented and contacted producers Frank Fioravanti and John Davis to put together a session and hire musicians. Well, that studio ended up being Sigma Sound, the home of The Sound Of Philadelphia. Davis got Earl Young (drums), Norman Harris (Guitar), Larry Washington (Congas) and Vince Montana (Vibraphone) all key members of MFSB. John Davis himself handled the organ and directed the session facing the other musicians. Omega VP Frank Fioravanti knew the song was something special, but record executives in New York shunned the song saying "it was the worst thing they ever heard". Not wanting to give up, Frank went to LA to shop the song and got three offers in one day! The winner was Wes Farrell of Chelsea Records who signed DeVaughn to their Roxbury label. Entering the chart at #89, it quickly scaled the charts, peaking at #4 pop and spent one week at #1 R&B. Even at the height of his popularity, DeVaughn was still going door to door in Washington DC canvassing and taking donations for the Jehovah's Witnesses.