Why did I buy this record? Initially it was the B-side, the instrumental backing track, that caught my ear. A fine Morris Bailey* tune, part Philly soul, part funk with a infectious horn riff. The song is clearly made for dancing. Knowledge of the bump notwithstanding.
However, if you give this record some time, eventually the A-side will grown on you. Ty Chestnut takes us on a musical odyssey to teach us The Bump. Your first impression might be that Ty is not the best of singers. Obviously he will never get mistaken for Marvin Gaye. But what Ty might lack in vocal prowess he more than makes up for it with infectious energy. The man sounds like he is having fun. I am convinced he was having fun. I am having fun just writing about this record. Ty is having a great time doing the bump, and after a few listens you will be looking for someone to bump with.
And the best part is, this bump is not the disco-dancing bump made popular by Joe Tex almost 10 years later. Sorry Joe, but Tyrone Chestnut has been the life of the party long before you got here. The hard part is finding the party. Billboard predicted success for Tyrone on his debut single, pegging it as at least a Top 60 seller. Billboard was wrong. James Brown and Rufus Thomas must have had the market cornered on dance crazes in 1969. Ty’s vocal delivery might not have been in step (no pun intended) with the deep soul and Motown harmonies topping the charts in the late 1960s. “The Bump” failed to bump any records out of its way, and never even made it to the Top 160.
No matter that Ty’s first record was a dud in the eyes of the record buying public. Along with his brother Al, Ty has enjoyed a long career in music and is still bumping today. And DJs who are aficionados of old soul are hip to the bump. Billboard got it right after all. Ty, a winner is you. Same for “The Bump”.
*seriously, this is all the information there is on the web about Morris Bailey? Someone should write a blog post about the man…