7 Songs, 31 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As the in-house session guitarist for Henry Stone’s Miami-based Alston and TK labels, Little Beaver coaxed sounds out of his instrument that effortlessly evoked the muggy decadence of the Miami nightlife of the early ‘70s. His work with artists such as Betty Wright and Clarence Reid possesses an immediately recognizable flavor that blends down-home Southern leads with swampy wah-wah effects and proto-disco flourishes. His first solo album, Party Down, is arguably his finest recording. Though the lyrics rarely go beyond the incantatory repetition of phrases like “get into the party life,” Little Beaver’s evocative playing, and the slow-burning accompaniment of Henry Stone’s house band speak volumes. Beaver plays his hollow-bodied Gibson with the sort of head nodding, behind-the-beat phrasing that recalls Freddie Stone at his most relaxed, and though he's eager to display his virtuosity he also knows when to give the band room to stretch out over the tight, minimal grooves that are the foundation of the Miami sound. Party Down successfully captures the sound of Miami Soul at a thrilling pre-disco peak.

EDITORS’ NOTES

As the in-house session guitarist for Henry Stone’s Miami-based Alston and TK labels, Little Beaver coaxed sounds out of his instrument that effortlessly evoked the muggy decadence of the Miami nightlife of the early ‘70s. His work with artists such as Betty Wright and Clarence Reid possesses an immediately recognizable flavor that blends down-home Southern leads with swampy wah-wah effects and proto-disco flourishes. His first solo album, Party Down, is arguably his finest recording. Though the lyrics rarely go beyond the incantatory repetition of phrases like “get into the party life,” Little Beaver’s evocative playing, and the slow-burning accompaniment of Henry Stone’s house band speak volumes. Beaver plays his hollow-bodied Gibson with the sort of head nodding, behind-the-beat phrasing that recalls Freddie Stone at his most relaxed, and though he's eager to display his virtuosity he also knows when to give the band room to stretch out over the tight, minimal grooves that are the foundation of the Miami sound. Party Down successfully captures the sound of Miami Soul at a thrilling pre-disco peak.

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About Little Beaver

Born William Hale on August 15, 1945, in Forrest City, AR, Little Beaver moved to Florida when he was a teenager. After recording for other labels, he recorded sides for the Cat label, an imprint of Henry Stone's TK Records of Hialeah, FL. His first charting singles were "Joey" and "Wish I Had a Girl Like You" b/w "Six Foot Hole." The next single, the hit "Party Down, Part 1," was later sampled by rap and hip-hop artists, like so much of the TK catalog. The mid-tempo groover was his biggest record. The Party Down LP featured vocals by Betty Wright and keyboards by Benny Lattimore ("Let's Straighten It Out") and Timmy Thomas ("Why Can't We Live Together"). Post-"Party Down" singles were "Let the Good Times Roll" b/w "Let's Stick Together," both on the Party Down LP; "Little Girl Blue"; "I Can Dig It Baby" (co-written by Hale, Betty Wright, and Willie Clarke) b/w "Get Into the Party Life"; "Give a Helping Hand" b/w "Mama Forgo"; "Funkadelic Sound"; and "We Three." Other Little Beaver albums are Little Beaver, Black Rhapsody, When Was the Last Time, and Beaver Fever, which was credited to Willie "Beaver" Hale (all were released on Cat). ~ Ed Hogan

HOMETOWN
Forest City, AR
BORN
August 15, 1945

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