Bob & Gene - If This World Were Mine... (Daptone Records)

Add Date: 08/22
Focus Tracks: 13, 2, 4
FCC: Clean
Formats: Top 200, Triple A

Artist Info: Record collector, DJ and New York soul music historian David Griffiths stumbles across a now rare Bob & Gene 45 whose sticker hints at an “upcoming album If This World Were Mine”. Curious, Griffiths places one call after another when finally, an elderly William Nunn happens to pick up the phone. An eventual meeting ensues and, stunned, Griffiths finds himself entrusted with boxes of disintegrating Mo Do reel-to-reel tapes. “It was crazy on so many levels,” Griffiths states. “You had these intensely emotional songs, mixed with this lo-fi quality, that in a way represented so much great music from so many cities that were never really heard by anyone.” Deciding these tapes needed to be heard, Griffiths (with the Nunn family’s blessing) brings them to Brooklyn contemporary soul/funk powerhouse Daptone Records. What you now hold in your hands, 36 years after its intended release is the tender, re-mastered result in its entirety: Bob & Gene’s If This World Were Mine...

Laced with achingly lush soul ballads as well as funky, Five Stairsteps-esque dance numbers, If This World demonstrates Bob and Gene’s mature songwriting and vocal prowess. With lyrics surely aimed at a “special someone” as well as their ailing community, the twelve songs here are pleas for love and hope during a time when hatred and despair wrapped Buffalo’s bleak horizon. Still involved in the music business today, Bobby Nunn would eventually leave Buffalo, settle in California and work with folks such as Rick James. Gene Coplin still lives in Buffalo and is a practicing minister. The two remain friends and feel lucky to have had an environment like Mo Do to call home. As Gene says, “It was home for our hearts.” True, Mo Do will go down in the history of soul music as one in a million failed record labels. And though, sadly, the late William Nunn never got to see his labor of love come to its ultimate fruition, If This World Were Mine... is indeed testimony that his spirit lives on.