Soul Strut 100: # 84 - WILLIAM DEVAUGHN - Be Thankful For What You Got

RAJRAJ tenacious local 7,743 Posts
edited April 2012 in The Soul Strut 100
I will slowly be unveiling the Top 100 Soul Strut Related Records as Voted by the Strutters Themselves.

# 84 - WILLIAM DEVAUGHN - Be Thankful For What You Got

Please discuss your reactions to this record. The thread will be archived later here.


DeVaughn was a salaried government employee as a drafting technician (according to Casey Kasem,[citation needed] he designed sewers), part-time singer,[1] and member of the Jehovah's Witnesses.[citation needed] DeVaughn wrote "A Cadillac Don't Come Easy", eventually re-written to become "Be Thankful for What You Got", in 1972, and spent $900 toward its development[vague] to Omega Sound [A Philadelphia Production House][2] The producers at Omega wrote a smooth arrangement, eventually booking time to record at Sigma Sound Studio in Philadelphia. The session featured members of the MFSB group ??? guitarist Norman Harris, drummer Earl Young, bassist Ron Baker,[citation needed] and vibist Vince Montana ??? secured by Allan Felder, who also developed the separate adlib back-up chorus with his sister's vocal choir.[3] Frank Fioravanti, a coproducer, secured the song's release release on the Roxbury Records record label.[4]

The record sold nearly two million copies on its release in spring 1974, reaching #1 on the U.S. R&B charts and #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, selling a million copies.[5] The track saw two chart entries in the UK, with the record peaking at #31 (1974), and #44 (1980), in the UK Singles Chart.[6] With a sound and content influenced by Curtis Mayfield, its simple and encouraging lyrics hit home, to the extent that it became featured on gospel radio stations. When his success as a recording artist seemed guaranteed, DeVaughn quit his government job.

DeVaughn released an album, featuring mostly songs of an overtly religious character, and the second single, "Blood Is Thicker Than Water", made the R&B top ten and the pop top fifty later in 1974; "Give the Little Man a Great Big Hand" had minor success early the next year.[7] Live, DeVaughn preached to and admonished his audience from the stage. He lost interest in the music industry not long after, working in a record store and again as a draftsman. Fioravanti kept Devaughn under contract[citation needed] hoping to eventually get recording again but it was not until 1980 that they would hook up for new projects. Fioravanti made a mistake by giving the new album Figures Can't Calculate to TEC Records[citation needed] included the title song, which was a minor R&B hit, and a remake of "Be Thankful for What You Got". TEC never paid out any royalties.[citation needed] Soon after Devaughn recorded another Fioravanti tune, "Creme de Cream", released in Europe on the "Red Bus" label. Until this point Fioravanti produced or co-produced all of the singles and albums.
In 2004, DeVaughn released a new single, "I Came Back", on his own Mighty Two Diamond Records.

Related Threads

Top Ten Summer Songs (RR)

What are you listening to now?



  • "Gangster Lean? Dig My Sun Roof Top!!"

  • GrandfatherGrandfather 2,303 Posts
    Wonderful wonderful song.

  • bassiebassie 11,710 Posts
    At this point, I am playing 'Give the Little Man...' out way more.Terrific swing to it, much like Be Thankful...and great message, much like Be Thankful

    Very easy record to listen to in its entirety.

  • yuichiyuichi Urban sprawl 11,329 Posts
    I definitely have this board to thank for hipping me to this record a while back.

    So fuckin' smooottth.

  • pickwick33pickwick33 8,946 Posts
    He wasn't quite a one-hit wonder like most make him out to be - there were a few followups - but "Be Thankful" is the one people remember. The Be Thankful album is a lot more solid than most people would expect. Consistently good from front to back.

    And I wish like hell that somebody would delete that Youtube posting that identifies this song as "Diamond In The Back" by Curtis Mayfield. Sheer lunacy.

  • The_NonThe_Non 5,691 Posts
    I love this album, really good end to end. ESSENTIAL CRATE material.

  • pcmrpcmr 5,591 Posts
    blasting this with the summer weather ....

  • DJBombjackDJBombjack Miami 1,665 Posts
    Yes Yes Yes! Wonderful album... essential.

  • motown67motown67 4,513 Posts
    Yes this song and summer go together perfectly.

  • LoopDreamsLoopDreams 1,195 Posts
    First time I heard Be Thankful, I slapped a bud and was like "yo yo, check out how this guy does Massive Attack". Ooof.

    Loved it ever since, and ya, the whole LP's a solid play

  • Such a classic!
    Lately I've been feeling this version:

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts

  • DanteDante 371 Posts
    i actually knew this song through this version:

    which is the only cover that can compete with the absolutely gorgeous original. the intruders version is a (not close) third.

  • AlmondAlmond 1,427 Posts
    I remember playing this on repeat, studying with my old roommate. Great song, good memories.

  • Big_StacksBig_Stacks "I don't worry about hittin' power, cause I don't give 'em nuttin' to hit." 4,670 Posts
    The_Non said:
    I love this album, really good end to end. ESSENTIAL CRATE material.


    Big Stacks from Kakalak

  • Anybody know anything about the disco version?



  • i love records like this where i was initially attracted by one song and then end up loving the whole thing.

    definite cosign the summer time music sentiment

  • FlomotionFlomotion 2,391 Posts
    Thomas1981 said:
    Anybody know anything about the disco version?



    The German release on EMI from 1980 is the only one I've seen but don't know if that version also dates back to '74 or was just a later edit. I like it.

  • LaserWolfLaserWolf Portland Oregon 11,518 Posts
    Who doesn't love this song / album?

    Now, I think we may have had this discussion, but...

    Diamonds in the back? Upholstery? Custom windows? Women?
    Lean? Limousine?

  • mrmatthewmrmatthew 1,575 Posts
    Foudmd a minty copy of this out in the field for $1 this weekend and have been playing it LOUDLY ever since.
    GREAT sumertime music and this tune, inparticuliar, is really doing it for me

    great tune, great message, especially these days.

  • pickwick33pickwick33 8,946 Posts
    Thomas1981 said:
    Anybody know anything about the disco version?

    There was an uptempo remake on his 1980 album, Figures Can't Calculate The Love I Have For You (on the TEC label).

  • pickwick33pickwick33 8,946 Posts
    And sure enough, at my DJ gig a week and a half ago, some lady asked me for "Diamond In The Back" by Curtis Mayfield.

    **shaking my head**

  • I encountered the Love/Arthur Lee version via Duane's WFMU radio show a few months ago. Pretty great.

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