Pure Essence was one of the most creative and progressive bands in the Midwest during the 70′s.Their shows are legendary in the Cincinnati area known for it’s place in funk history.They would start their shows laid back with a funky eastern vibe as lead singer Jerome Richmond(aka MOUSE) would talk and sing to the audience. Larry Middleton who some say has one of the best tenor voices since Marvin Gaye would take over the lead vocals and take the funk a step higher. With the power of master bassist Kevin Roberson lock in with funky drummer Antonio Reid (aka LA Reid) along with Steve Tucker(aka Tuck) wah guitar and Larry’s rhythm guitar they would burn the house down. Later keyboard player Toby Rivers join the band and also provided background vocals. This added to the sound and allowed for Tuck and Larry to play more lead guitar. The song writing of the band was also their trademark. Their lyrics were clever and spiritual without being preachy. Influences include Sly and the family Stone, Yes, Curtis Mayfield, and John Mclaughlin Mahavishnu Orchestra. Some are now among the top people in the music business and others are now working in the underground Hip Hop and progressive R&B movement. The drummer of Pure Essence, LA Reid, is now the chairman of Universal Defjam and co-founder of Laface Records and on this cut very funky I might add. Kevin (Kayo) Roberson, Pure Essence Bassist, has worked on many well known artist recordings and co-produced talent from TLC to Whitney Houston. Steve(Tuck) Tucker, Pure Essence guitar and vocalist, is now working with Stone Throw Records via Soul-Cal Records providing music for the Underground Hip Hop community and Cartoon Networks Adult Swim CD. Check out this new CD from Stones Throw: Chrome Children!
Tuck has played with many other Cincinnati funk musicians and bands such as Bootsy Collins Complete Strangers and The Deele. “Third Rock”, written by Steve Tucker and one of only two songs that was recorded by Pure Essence was sampled by acclaimed underground DJ RJD2 for his 2004 album “Since We Last Spoke” on the song: “Clean Living” (See Music Player). Listen to RJD2 version.Pure Essence along with Bootsy(House Guest), Roger (Zapp), Ohio Players and others from the Dayton and Cincinnati area Pioneered Funk into the modern era. James Brown also started his soul and funk revolution at King Records in Cincinnati. If a band had funk influences, it most likely had a musician from southwest Ohio in it. From Sly and the Family Stone, (Rusty Allen played bass when Gram left) Parliament, to James Brown(Bootsy Bass guitar and The Gap Band (Jimmy Macon guitar). Pure Essence had a message that is timeless “Wake Up” was written over twenty years ago however it reads like today’s headlines. These are some funky mother’s then and now.Members of Pure Essence Jerome(Mouse) Richmond(RIP) Larry Middleton,Toby Rivers, Tony Coats(RIP), LA Reid, Kevin (Kayo) Roberson and Steve(Tuck) Tucker. New music is now on SoundCloud that has that same witt and funky vibe that has been their trademark. They as always tell it like it is and pull no punches.
For classic old school music from Pure Essence check out Soul Cal Records. The CD “Snake In The Garden” will be release in 20014