TIR 61: Ride With Al Hudson & Dave Roberson Down One Way’s Funky Road

Al Hudson (left) and Dave Roberson (right) bookend a recent One Way lineup.


Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on THE ONE: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in TIR Episode 61 (three segments): Singer-producer-composer Al Hudson and his partner in funk and soul for more than 45 years, guitarist-composer-arranger Dave Roberson. Beginning first in the early 1970s out of Detroit as Al Hudson and the Soul Partners before becoming Al Hudson and the Partners and finally Al Hudson and One Way by the end of that decade, the pair was at the forefront of generating 15 albums and dozens of classic songs. Along with another key collaborator, bassist-composer Kevin McCord, the group unleashed some of the fiercest, most infectious and authentic funk between 1978 and 1987. Between those and a few soul-oriented songs, they notched 13 top 40 R&B singles during a 7-year stretch, five of them reaching the top 10 between 1982 and 1987, including their biggest hit with the throbbing funker “Cutie Pie.”

Other hits and funk classics included “Do Your Thang,” “In the Basement,” “Pop It,” “Copy This,” “Pull Fancy Dancer/Pull,” “Get Up,” “Hold It,” “Push,” “Wild Night,” “Can I,” “Let’s Get Together,” “Don’t Fight the Feeling,” “Shine on Me,” “Sugar Rock,” “Lady You Are,” “Mr. Groove,” Serving It,” “Don’t Think About It,” “Whammy,” “You Better Quit” and “Get Up Off It.” The group lost some complexity in its sound and momentum with the death of mentor-producer Al Perkins, which was a heavy emotional blow to the band as well, and the departure of McCord in the mid-1980s. A label change from MCA to Capitol in 1988 wrought the ironically titled “A New Beginning,” which scarcely charted and was to be the final One Way album.

The fantastic news is that, led by Hudson and Roberson, One Way is not only performing again but also planning to release its first new music in 30 years. In the most in-depth accounting of the One Way saga, Hudson and Roberson talk about the early days, all their albums and those amazing tracks, memories from the road, their most unforgettable experiences and they are so thrilled to be delivering their stellar sounds to audiences once again.

For too long One Way has been a bit enigmatic and often overlooked as being a top-shelf funk-R&B band. No more. One Way’s hottest dozen or so wickedest grooves stack up against any act that has ever scratched a guitar, plucked a bass and thumped a drum. Let there be no doubt that One Way is one of the best ways to funk.

Note: Special thanks to One Way Manager Cal Spencer for helping make this episode possible.

Recorded July 2018