One of the many things we love about this track is that we first heard it on the best music discovery service around: Conduit! We were unaware that legendary Detroit band Black Merda even existed until we heard them at the beginning of Conduit Set #012, DJ Segue’s “Dusty Roadtrip Through Your Mind.” It sent us down a Black Merda rabbit hole from which we may not emerge (and we’re cool with that).
Black Merda started out in the mid-60’s as a funk-rock session band, most notably sitting in for Edwin Starr’s classic, “War.” Billing themselves as “The First Black Rock Band,” they released their eponymous debut in 1970, and that’s where “Cynthy-Lou” first appeared (though this version comes from a more recent collection of reissues, The Psych Funk of Black Merda.
The song is a tale of the brokenhearted prodigal son. It sort of plays out like Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House,” but with a bit of a surprise ending. And it’s all set to a slow-rolling funk groove that’s half electric Muddy Waters, half Funkadelic.
If you like “Cynthy-Ruth,” you’re probably going to like the rest of the DJ Segue set that turned us on to it. Listen to it at Conduit’s new home on Mixcloud.