Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Bunny Sigler Bag Set

(Bunzmusicandrecords.com) A few years back when I was lucky enough to tape an episode of Chic-A-Go-Go at the amazing, currently restructuring/fundraising art space Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Arts (apologies if I've called it the Philadelphia Museum of Cemetery Arts in the past, that's incorrect and less accurate). I told the director my dream guest was Philly soul legend Bunny Sigler, and it turned out I made a very good choice when the vocalist arrived in a dazzling outfit and a challenging hairpiece, bursting with musical joy for the kids of all ages in attendance. His performance was magnificent. But just as important to me was his gift, which I suppose was a kind of EPK, but I see more as a collectible "Bag Set," in an edition of Lord knows how many, as I kind of assume he was handing these out freely and generously. Inside the Bag Set was a CD-R of Mr. Sigler's classic 1974 breakthrough LP (he was a powerhouse songwriter before becoming a solo artist on Philadelphia International), "That's How Long I'll Be Loving You," which featured Gospel-style vocals and arrangements on some killer soul songs, and famously has a slow, gorgeous version of "Love Train." The low res, Wite-Out pocked,  faded Xerox cover and Bunny's  handwriting all over the disc it makes it better than an autographed LP. Also included is his kind of weird 2015 CD, "Bundino," which is not a CD-R, but not exactly a professional release, as despite the slick production and vocal arrangements and professionalism of the recording, it features bizarre, amateur-bordering-on-outsider artist packaging (the back cover has no tracks listed, features a grinning Bunny in buckskins awkwardly photoshopped in front of teepees, and has a UPC code that's almost as big as the picture of Bunny). His singing is good, though there are a lot of tracks where it seems like the backup singers are propping up an older singer's weaker vocals, except the backup singers are frequently also Bunny.  The strongest singing is not on one of the soulful ballads, but on a blues number called, "Buttermilk and Cornbread," and the winner for the Why Didn't Anyone Talk To Him Award goes to "Red or Yellow - Black or White," a plea for unity by getting your loving on with woman from many "nationalities." Also in the baggie was a DVD of an iMovie photo montage lyric video of "Laveda," a romantic soul jam; dozens of business cards (a few different designs) that list Youtube clips to look for, and several Websites (all now defunct, sadly); and a program for a memorial service for Lee Andrews, Questlove's dad, a vocalist who was a contemporary of Bunny. Sadly, Bunny joined Lee in the heavenly choir a year and a half after his amazing performance on our show. But I thank the Philly Soul Gods that I bagged this bag, which I subsequently have reached for more often than I have his classic LPs.

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