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Foley - 7 Years Ago...Directions In Smart-Alec Music

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

I think Foley’s CD was one of the first Columbus albums I ever got - probably a gift from my brother. There’s no doubt that my brother was instrumental in me hearing a broad spectrum of Columbus music. I was playing in clubs in what was then known as the "tie-dye rock" niche centered around the South Heidelberg, but he was on top of the larger scene. Foley is legendary in Columbus - he played with Miles and P-Funk. And his album 7 Years Ago serves as a sprawling tribute to Miles Davis.


7 Years Ago...Directions In Smart-Alec Music

MoJazz - 374637001-2


Foley’s always been a somewhat enigmatic figure to me. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him play live - maybe with P-Funk? In researching this post, it’s pretty clear he’s elusive. He doesn’t seem to like being photographed and he’s anti social media. He often performs with his hood up and sunglasses on. And yet he surely has one of the most impressive resumes of any Columbus-based musician. There’s a great interview on The Last Miles where he provides his thoughts about the importance of mystique among many other topics, including an extremely honest take on his stint with Miles.

Joseph McCreary, Jr. was born in Columbus and started playing in bands when he was 12. The story of his break is surely one of the craziest I’ve ever heard. He had a friend who'd met Miles' bassist at the time, Marcus Miller, and had his phone number. Foley cold called him, had a great conversation and Miller told him to send a tape. Miles heard the tape, called Foley and he was in the band. Miles was looking for a guitarist, but Foley had been experimenting with his tone and developing what eventually would be called “lead bass.” He started touring in May 1987 and remained until Miles passed away in 1991.

Everything from the take on “Directions In Music,” to the date on the newspaper-style cover are nods to Miles Davis. According to Steve McKeever’s liner notes, Foley was rolling tape when his mother came in and let him know Miles had passed. The emotion of the moment was preserved as the track September 28th, 1991.

Released on Motown's shortlived MoJazz label, 7 Years Ago is an intense listen which defies categorization and can be exhausting at times. Its topics are heavy and very relevant almost 30 years later. A lot is going on here - musically, lyrically, thematically. A lot of P-Funk musicians, including George Clinton, appear throughout. Columbus stalwart Jim Maneri appears on a couple tracks. The single, If It’s Positive, is a rumination on the impact of AIDS and includes a rap from Speech of Arrested Development.

Like so many Columbus musicians, Foley took advantage of The Recording Workshop down in Chillicothe to record some songs. One of those tracks, The Senate (on which Foley played all the instruments), ended up on a flexi disc in the December 1988 Guitar Player Magazine. And the 7 Years Ago CD Bonus cut? The Recording Workshop session of The Senate. This is an album that rewards repeat listens.

In addition to Miles, Foley has toured and/or recorded with Prince, George Clinton, Sly Stone, Lenny White, Macy Gray, and more. He moved to Dallas around 2011 but he remains one of Columbus’ most pedigreed, if elusive, musicians.


1 Preface

Voice – George Clinton

Written-By – Foley, G. Clinton

2 Cum 'Round (Parts I & II)

Bass [Solo] – Byron Miller

Featuring – Belita Woods

Guitar [Wah-wah] – Andre Foxx

Keyboards [Solo] – Larry Dunn

Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals – Belita Woods

Performer [Additional Hoot Nanny] – Foley

3 Ain't No Class (N Da Middle)

Rap [Additional Rap] – May May

Voice – Aerle Taree

Written-By [Raps Written By] – Foley, George Clinton, Speech

4 R U Gonna B

Alto Saxophone – Kenny Garrett

Featuring – Belita Woods

Lead Vocals – Belita Woods

5 Count Da Shit Off (Interlude)

6 Better Not Die (N Amerika Being Black)

Rap – J. L. Mc

Written-By [Rap Written By] – Foley, May May

Backing Vocals – The Steeles

Rap, Written-By [Rap Written By] – Speech

Synthesizer [Moog Solo & Duet] – Larry Dunn

Voice – Aerle Taree

Arranged By [Strings] – Larry Dunn

Bass [Lead] – Foley

Conductor – Eddie Del Barrio

Engineer – Andrew Berliner

Piano – Deron Johnson

9 Luv Mi Not (Interlude)

10 Love Is...Strange

Alto Saxophone – Kenny Garrett

Bass [Lead Solo] – Foley

11 He Said, She Said

12 Tell Miss Thang

Alto Saxophone – Kenny Garrett

Featuring – Belita Woods

Lead Vocals – Belita Woods

Performer [Hoot Nanny] – Foley, May May

Piano – Deron Johnson

Tenor Saxophone – Gary Thomas

14 Who Did What?

15 Black Dog

Bass, Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Vocals – Foley

Drums – Michael Bland

Guitar [1st Solo] – Dewayne "Blackbird" McKnight

Guitar [2nd Solo] – Michael Hampton

Guitar [3rd Solo] – Keith Staten

Written-By – J. Page, J. Baldwin, R. Plant

16 ..........We Did What!!!!

17 Date Rape (Remix) 40 Solos & A Mule

Alto Saxophone – Kenny Garrett

Bass [Lead Bass Solo] – Foley

Drums – Blaine Emerson

Keyboards [1st Keyboard Solo] – Deron Johnson

Keyboards [2nd Keyboard Solo] – Larry Dunn

Keyboards, Piano – Jim Maneri

18 The Godfather (Interlude)

Bass [Lead & Electric Bass] – Foley

Drums – Blaine Emerson

Keyboards, Piano [Acoustic Piano] – Jim Maneri

19 Dreams On Da Floor

Alto Saxophone – Kenny Garrett

Backing Vocals – Lynn Davis, Selandra WrightVoice – Sister Souljah

20 Closing

Voice – George Clinton

20 Set N It Strait

22 The Senate (CD Bonus Cut)

Drums, Bass, Keyboards, Piano, Bass [Lead Bass] – Foley

Companies, etc.

  • Copyright (c) – Motown Record Company, L.P.

  • Phonographic Copyright (p) – Motown Record Company, L.P.

  • Manufactured By – Motown Record Company, L.C.

  • Marketed By – Motown Record Company, L.P.

  • Recorded At – Crystal Sound

  • Recorded At – Soundcastle

  • Recorded At – Paisley Park Studios

  • Recorded At – TRW

  • Published By – Foley's Music

  • Published By – Exoskeletal Music

  • Published By – Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

  • Published By – Arrested Development Music

  • Published By – EMI Blackwood Music Inc.

  • Published By – May Boogie Music

  • Published By – AACI Songs

  • Published By – Superhype Publishing Inc.


  • Art Direction, Design – Jonathan Clark (5)

  • Engineer – Tommy*

  • Engineer [Assistant Engineer] – Bret Newman, Gary Meals, Kevin Davis, Lisa Michaels, Marc Psfaffler, Ray Hahnfeldt, Steve Durkee

  • Executive-Producer – Steve McKeever

  • Liner Notes – Steve McKeever

  • Mixed By – Foley, Tommy*

  • Photography By – Darius Anthony

  • Producer, Written-By, Arranged By, Performer – Foley

  • Project Manager [A&R Manager/Project Superman] – Bruce Walker (3)

  • Recorded By [The Steeles' Background Vocals Recorded By] – Tom Tucker, Jr.* (tracks: 4, 7, 10, 12)


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