Archive for August, 2007

Geraldo Pino – Heavy Heavy Heavy

August 29, 2007

Example

Geraldo Pino

Example

Listen – Heavy Heavy Heavy MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope y’all are ready to groove, because the tune that I am about to whip on you today is, quite literally, figuratively and in title, Heavy Heavy Heavy.
But first, a word from our sponsor…

Example

I had this record all stacked up and ready for blogification when I got the high sign from my man Sascha at the Lucky Cat in Brooklyn, asking me if I was up for a little expeditione du disque on the Thirty First of this very month. Naturally, eager at all times to strap my wax onto my mule and venture out into the wilderness I accepted eagerly. Then I found out that my slot would be opening for the mighty Afro funk powerhouse the Budos Band, and promptly flipped my wig, passing right through excited to psyched.
I assure you all, no matter how much heat I pack in the Funky16Corners porta-crates, the sounds of the Budos Band – emanating from the Daptone stable of stars – are pure heat and if you are within reach of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, you should…nay you MUST, head on out for the last Friday night of the Summer to shake it at the Lucky Cat.
That I had some Afro funk ready to go when this opportunity rolled along is pure, happy coincidence.
When you talk about Afro funk (beat, rock, whatever) the name that first comes to mind is of course that of Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Unless you have a more than passing acquaintance with sounds African, you may not have heard the name Geraldo Pino. Rest assured, though, that in the earliest days of his funkiness, Fela knew Pino – a native of Sierra Leone who was very popular in Nigeria – and his band the Heartbeats as perhaps the funkiest band in all of Africa.
Pino – born Gerald Pine – started out as a devotee of Latin sounds, moving on into American influenced soul and funk via the influence of James Brown. In the words of Fela himself:

“They were great, I must be frank with you. They copied James Brown throughin, throughout every note, every style. And they had the equipment…Before they came into my country, bands only used one microphone, at the time a whole band. But they came in with five microphones, and the sound, it’s deep you know, so nobody wanted to hear anyone but the Heartbeats…they drove everyone out of the market.”

After seeing this Pino I knew I had to get myself together, quick!”*

When you hear today’s selection, ‘Heavy Heavy Heavy’, which was recorded in the late 60’s and released clear on the other side of the continent in Kenya on the Suzumi label, it’s immediately obvious why Fela dug these sounds so much.
There are clear parallels to the sounds of Fela – especially to the ’69 sessions with Koola Lobitos – but Pino’s sound is even more Westernized, compacting the funk into smaller, harder portions. A record like ‘Heavy Heavy Heavy’ is like Fela concentrate, taking the epic scope of an Africa 70 sidelong opus, running it through a Sex Machine and coming out the other end ready to set the dance floor on fire.
‘Heavy Heavy Heavy’ has a groove that’s positively unfuckwithable, with Pino jiving over a seriously propulsive organ line and some pounding drums. If you aren’t shaking your ass halfway through this burner, you need to check for a pulse.
So, download the ones and zeros, begin shaking, continue shaking and drag that ass out to Lucky Cat this Friday.

I hope to see you there.
Peace
Larry

*Quote taken from the excellent book, Fela: The Life of an African Musical Icon

Buy Geraldo Pino – Heavy Heavy Heavy – at Amazon.com

Funky16Corners Radio v.33 – Soul Message – the Soulful Strings

August 26, 2007

Example

Funky16Corners Radio v.33- Soul Message – the Soulful Strings

Playlist

Burning Spear (B) (Evans)
The Stepper (C) (Evans)
Soul Message (C) (Evans)
Listen Here (E) (Eddie Harris)
I Wish It Would Rain (E) (Whitfield/Strong/Penzabene)
There Was a Time (E) (James Brown)
You’re All I Need (E) (Ashford/Simpson)
Zambezi (F) (Evans/Hathaway)
Chocolate Candy (F) (Upchurch)
Valdez In the Country (F) (Hathaway)
1974 Blues (F) (Eddie Harris)
Hey Western Union Man (G) (Gamble/Huff)
I’ve Got the Groove (G) (Gamble/Huff)
I Can’t Stop Dancing (G) (Gamble/Huff)

To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive


Greetings all.

Today’s edition of Funky16Corners Radio is a project that I’ve been promising to do (after several requests) for a long time. I finally got my shit together this weekend, and so here you have Funky16Corners Radio v.33 – Soul Message, the sound of the Soulful Strings.
I’ve only ever done one other single-artist edition of Funky16Corners radio (Lee Dorsey), and after much delay decided to devote a mix to the Soulful Strings as they are not only one of my all-time favorite groups, but also because they are woefully underrepresented in reissue. As far as I’ve been able to tell none of their albums have ever been reissued domestically, and aside from a track here are there on comps, you’d pretty much have to dig up the original vinyl (which took me quite some time) to get the whole picture.
Though their 45s aren’t too hard to come by, the albums (most of them anyway) are another story entirely. They don’t command too high a price, but they can be very hard to track down.
If you’ve hung around here (or the webzine) for a while you already know that I am a huge fan of the legendaryRichard Evans.
Evans, along with Charles Stepney – was the major creative force behind Chicago’s Cadet Records in the 60’s and 70’s. Originally a jazz bassist, Evans went to write, arrange and produce some of the finest records to come out of the Cadet catalog.
Despite what appears to have been a very busy schedule, in 1966 Evans began work on his own project, the Soulful Strings.
While Evans had always been an innovative arranger/producer, it was with the Soulful Strings that he began to experiment with the innovative instrumentation that he would go on to use to great effect with Dorothy Ashby, Marlena Shaw and Terry Callier among others.
Though at first glance the Soulful Strings appear to have been another easy listening/kitsch project engineered to cash in on an audience unable to stomach harder edged soul music (and the Chess brothers may very well have had that in mind) Evans was too much of a visionary to sit back and crank out dross. On the seven Soulful Strings LPs recorded between 1966 and 1971, Evans created some of the most interesting, vital sounds of his career.
It’s important to look past the name of the group and listen closely to the music on the records. When you do so the impression you get is not of a Montovani-esque vibe, but rather an energetic soul/funk/jazz rhythm section augmented (not overpowered) by strings.
This has everything to do with Evans’ vision of a truly soulful sound with a baroque twist (kind of a flipside of Stepney’s psychedelic soul experiments with Rotary Connection), but also with the players he worked with to build the sound.
Though only one Soulful Strings LP (Groovin’) sports a full personnel listing – the rest list only featured soloists – the core of the group was formed from the cream of Cadet sessioners like Stepney, Lennie Druss, Phil Upchurch, Donny Hathaway, Cleveland Eaton, Morris Jennings Jr. and Cash McCall, and vibraphonists Bobby Christian and Billy Wooten. The only strings players that are listed on multiple albums were violinist Sol Bobrov, and viola player Bruce Hayden, with bassist Eaton occasionally doubling on cello.
The debut LP, 1966’s ‘Paint It Black’ was composed entirely of covers. It wasn’t until 1967 and ‘Groovin’ with the Soulful Strings’ that Evans would include an original composition, and with ‘Burning Spear’ the group would have their biggest hit. The tune would go on to be covered by Kenny Burrell, S.O.U.L, Jimmy Smith, Joe Pass and the Salsoul Orchestra. There would be three Evans originals on ‘Another Exposure’, and none at all on ‘In Concert’.
It wasn’t until 1969 and ‘String Fever that an album would be dominated by original compositions, with tunes (and collaborations) by Evans, Phil Upchurch and Donny Hathaway beside two Eddie Harris tunes (1974 Blues and Cold Duck Time).
The final Soulful Strings LP, ‘Play Gamble-Huff’ was – as the title suggests – composed entirely of tunes written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.
The tunes in this mix are not presented in chronological order, nor are all of the Soulful Strings albums represented. You can hear the title cut from ‘Paint It Black’ in Funky16Corners Radio v.31 – Soul Satisfaction*, and I’m holding off on tracks from the ‘Magic of Christmas’ LP until (wait for it…here it comes..) Christmas.
The mix opens with the Soulful Strings best known song, ‘Burning Spear’. Opening with kalimba (an instrument Evans would use frequently), the drums come in quickly until the flute takes the lead. It’s interesting that in a group where the Strings get top billing, the flute (mainly Lennie Druss, later Richie Fudali) is given an especially prominent role.
The next cut ‘The Stepper’ is a groovy swinger with some nice organ and a great guitar solo by Upchurch.
‘Soul Message’, another showcase for Lennie Druss has a propulsive beat and a seriously Eastern vibe.
Evans would dip into the Eddie Harris catalog several times, including a very nice version of the oft covered soul jazz standard ‘Listen Here’. It is one of the tracks from the ‘In Concert’ LP that sound (not surprisingly) ‘In studio’, or at least heavily overdubbed. Of the other ‘In Concert’ tracks included here, ‘I Wish It Would Rain’ is positively sublime, and one of my fave Soulful Strings cuts. ‘There Was a Time’, the group’s sole selection from the James Brown catalog actually manages to preserve some of the urgency of the original while recasting it in their own image. It also sounds as if it were actually recorded live. The final track included here from ‘In Concert’, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell’s ‘You’re All I Need (To Get By), is another great fit of material to setting.
The next four cuts all come from what I consider to be the Soulful Strings finest moment, the 1969 LP ‘String Fever’. As I said earlier, ‘String Fever’ was composed almost entirely of group originals, which are all excellent. As a result, this is their funkiest album, with some of the tracks tapping into a slick, urban vibe that anticipates a lot of early 70’s soul.
‘Zambezi’ and ‘Chocolate Candy’ – both of which I’ve spun at DJ nights to positive response – are both incredibly cool. ‘Zambezi’ features some very groovy scatting (by Upchurch, I think) and ‘Chocolate Candy’, written by Phil Upchurch is a lost classic.
‘Valdez in the Country’ – which also features the guitar/scat combo) was one of the first Donny Hathaway tunes to be recorded, and went on to be covered several times by the likes of George Benson, Cold Blood, Gerald Veasely and Ernie Watts among others. Hathaway wouldn’t record it himself until 1973’s ‘Extensions of a Man’.
‘1974 Blues’, which originally appeared on Eddie Harris classic ‘Silver Cycles’ LP the year before takes a lighter approach than the original, with some great vibes (uncredited).
The final Soulful Strings LP ‘Play Gamble-Huff’ wouldn’t hit the racks until 1971. It features Strings-ized versions of several big hits, including Jerry Butler’s ‘Hey Western Union Man’ (also covered by Clarence Wheeler & the Enforcers), the Ojay’s ‘I’ve Got the Groove’ and Archie Bell & the Drells’ ‘I Can’t Stop Dancing’.
Though I can’t say why that was the end of the Soulful Strings, it wasn’t long before Evans was releasing solo albums, as well as working as a bassist and arranger for Natalie Cole, Peabo Bryson and Ahmad Jahmal among others. He eventually took a long-term position as a professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
That all said, I hope you dig the Soulful Strings.
I’ll be back later in the week with some funk.
Peace
Larry

Principal players
Richard Evans
– Arranger/Producer/bass
Lennie Druss – Flute
Charles Stepney – organ, vibes
Phil Upchurch – Guitar
Cleveland Eaton – bass, cello
Morris Jennings Jr. – drums
Bobby Christian – vibes
Billy Wooten – vibes
Cash McCall – guitar
Richie Fudali – flute
Sol Bobrov – violin
Bruce Hayden – viola

LP Discography
A. Paint It Black 1966
B. Groovin’ With the Soulful Strings 1967
C. Another Exposure 1968
D. Magic of Christmas 1968
E. In Concert 1969
F. String Fever 1969
G. Play Gamble-Huff 1971

45 Discography
The Sidewinder / Message To Michael – 1966
Paint It Black / Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing– 1967
Burning Spear / Within You Without You – 1967
The Stepper / The Dock Of The Bay – 1968
Jericho / The Who Who Song – 1968
I Wish It Would Rain / Listen Here – 1969
Zambezi / A Love Song – 1969

*There are also several other Soulful Strings tunes included in the Rubber Souled podcasts.

I almost forgot that there is yet another SS track in Funky16Corners Radio v.24.5  The Beat Goes On….

PS Check out some Freakbeat by the Montanas over at Iron Leg

Friday Flashback – Funky16Corners Radio v.12 – Hammond Funk #1

August 24, 2007

Greetings all.

In honor of the passing of the great Louis Chachere, I decided to re-up one of the old editions of Funky16Corners Radio that had yet to be added to the archives.

Funky16Corners Radio v.12 – Hammond Funk #1 was originally posted in September of 2006. It opens with ‘The Hen Pt1′ and then goes on to tear it up with some of the hottest Hammond funk 45s (and a couple of LP tracks) from my crates. It’s definitely one of my faves, and gets lots of spins on the old iPod.

I hope you dig it, and let it loose while you’re enjoying one of the last weekends of the summer.

Peace

Larry

Example

Track Listing
1. Louis Chachere – The Hen Pt1 (Paula 45)
2. Georgie Fame – Beware of Dog (Epic 45)
3. Billy Larkin – Russell & Williams Sts (World Pacific LP)
4. Willard Burton & The Funky 4 – Funky In Here (Capitol 45)
5. Melvin Sparks (feat Leon Spencer) – Thank You (Prestige 45)
6. Brown Brothers of Soul – Cholo (Specialty 45)
7. Clarence Wheeler & The Enforcers – Doin’ What We Wanna (Atlantic 45)
8. Ohio Players – Walt’s First Trip (Westbound 45)
9. Willie Mitchell – My Babe (Hi 45)
10. Joe Chopper & the Swinging 7 Soul band – Soul Pusher (Lanor 45)
11. Mickey & The Soul Generation – Iron Leg (Maxwell 45)
12. Kossie Gardner – Fire (Dot LP)
13. Village Callers – Hector (Rampart 45)
14. Bill Doggett – Honky Tonk (King 45)
15. O’Jah’s – Roadside 75 (Sound Stage 7 45)
16. Toussaint McCall – Sweet Tea (Dore 45)
17. Dave Baby Cortez – I Turned You On (T-Neck 45)
18. Art Butler – Soul Brother (Epic 45)
19. Jimmy McGriff – Fat Cakes (Capitol 45)
20. Lou Garno Trio – Chicken in the Basket (Giovanni 45)

To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive

NOTE: The Zip file is considerably larger because the individual tracks are ripped at a higher bit rate.

Greetings all.
The new week is here, and brings with it a brand new installment of that venerable institution known as the Funky16Corners Radio podcast.
This time out, the emphasis is on funky Hammond sides, and as this is a favorite sub-sub-genre of mine, I can assure that the file you are about to download and stuff into your ears, brings (as the kids say) “the heat”. I can also assure you (an awful lot of assurance for so early in the week…) is that there will be more of the same coming in the future (hence the “#1”) as I have a surplus of such records in storage at the Funky16Corners complex (deep in a Nevada salt mine).
Things start off with a bang, with one of the hottest organ funk 45s ever minted, ‘The Hen Pt1’ by Louis Chachere. Chachere was a Kansas City based organist/producer, and originally recorded ‘The Hen’ for the local MJC label, and it was then re-released by the Forte label, in Kansas City, MO. Forte was owned by Marva Whitney’s husband Ellis Taylor (her Excello 45 ‘Daddy Don’t Know About Sugar Bear’ was originally issued on Forte). ‘The Hen’ was licensed to, and released by Paula records. Chachere was also the producer of the sought after 45 ‘Remember Me’ by the Trinikas.
Not only is Chachere positively ablaze on the organ, but the guitar and drums on this track are amazing. The snare sound alone is hot enough to power a few dozen lesser records.
Next up is a selection by one of my UK faves, Mr. Georgie Fame. ‘Beware of Dog’ is what my compadres over at Soulstrut refer to as “slept on”, in that it is quite funky, yet resides on the flip side of a dreadful novelty tune, and remains quite affordable (like less than a buck at your local Market du Flea). Grab one now so you can impress your friends by spinning it at your next tea and finger sandwich party.
Billy Larkin, though known to collectors of Hammond sides (mostly via his work with the Delegates) was a West Coast player, capable of wringing everything from jazz to blistering R&B out of his Hammond. ‘Russell & Williams Street’ appears on his late 60’s ‘I Got the Feeling’ LP (where he is billed without the Delegates), and is a groover. It starts out kind of slow, but builds up a nice layer of grit. If you get the chance, grab his 45s on Aura and Pacific Jazz (esp. ‘Pigmy’, which is a cooker).
Willard Burton recorded a number of greasy 45s for a variety of labels – including Peacock, Money, and Genie – throughout the 60’s. ‘Funky In Here’, a side of early 70’s vintage, features some wicked, fuzzed out guitar, nice organ leads and soul shouting. Not sure if the crowd noise is real (I suspect that it was added after the fact for flavor) but that whistle they use is ka-ray-zee.
Though the name on the 45 label is guitarist Melvin Sparks, the organist working it out on Sly Stone’s ‘Thank You Fallettinme Be Mice Elf Agin’ is none other than Leon Spencer. Spencer recorded a number of sessions for Prestige as both a sideman and a leader (his cover of ‘Message from the Meters’ will surely be included in a future mix). His playing here is outstanding, typical of the kind of high quality soul jazz we’ve all come to expect on Prestige 45s of a certain vintage.
The Brown Brothers of Soul were the work of one Rulie Garcia aka Johnny Chingas, an East LA artist who recorded a grip of stuff in the late 60’s and early 70’s. “Cholo” was originally released on the Raza label, before being issued on Specialty in 1972. The drums and organ are kicking on this one, with a solid, Cheech-a-delic, low rider vibe, but it’s worth picking up if only to hear the opening shout of ‘Essaaayyyy Choloooooooo!”.
Someday I’ll have to whip up a mix featuring various and sundry examples of the aftershock of the Isley Brothers ‘It’s Your Thing’, a song that was covered/reworked/ripped-off countless times following its release in 1969. One such “tribute” comes to us courtesy of Clarence Wheeler and the Enforcers. “Doin What We Wanna” was the title track of their 1970 LP, and features Sonny Burke on the organ (Wheeler played the sax). They start with a close approximation of the ‘It’s Your Thing’ riff, and then kick it into overdrive, with just a touch of jazz.
I’ll bet when you tuned in for some Hammond funk, you never imagined that you’d run into your old pals the Ohio Players, but I’m here to tell you that ‘Walt’s First Trip’, from 1972 is indeed both Hammond-y and funky. The flip-side of ‘Varee is Love’, ‘Walt’s First Trip’ was unknown to me until a few years ago when Atlanta’s Agent45 tipped me off. I’m not sure if it conjures up that patented Ohio Players, centerfold dipped in honey vibe, but it’s certainly a cooker.
The next track is another one from the slept-on pile, a relatively cheap and plentiful side that ought to be revered by funk 45 types the world over for bringing the heat and then some. Though released under bandleader Willie Mitchell’s name, the star here is whoever is hammering the organ. Not sure who it is (the likely suspects being either Charles Hodges or Art Jerry Miller, both of whom worked with Mitchell at Hi), but they’re doing a fine job. This is one of those sides like Toussaint McCall’s ‘Shimmy’, which if it were rarer, people would be stepping over each other to get their hands on a copy.
If you think you’ve heard “Soul Pusher” by Joe Chopper and the Swinging Seven Soul Band before, it’s because it’s a thinly disguised (so thinly as to be not disguised at all) cover of the Gaturs ‘Cold Bear’. I haven’t been able to connect the two groups aside from the fact that they both hailed from Louisiana, but if I were Willie Tee I’d be more pissed off that Chopper and his band took their tune and made a lot funkier, adding some wah-wah guitar and a blaring, overmodulated horn section.
If you’re not sitting down, please do so now, as the following track is likely to knock you on your ass. If you aren’t familiar with the deadly Tex-Mex funk of Mickey and the Soul Generation, you need to get (familiar, that is) because they made some of the tightest deep funk 45s ever. ‘Iron Leg’, one of two M&SG 45s that found national distribution on the Maxwell label is nothing less than brilliant, from the wild fuzz bass feedback opening, to the towering pimp walk chorus, as well as the considerable Hammond organ churn running through the whole record (courtesy of none other than Mickey himself). Originally popularized in the 80’s on the UK Rare Groove scene, ‘Iron Leg’ has become a deep funk classic, sought after by crate diggers the world over.
Kossie Gardner was a Nashville-based organist who recorded a couple of LPs in the late 60’s as well as doing session work. His cover of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Fire’ hails from his 1969 ‘Pipes of Blue’ LP, and is – of course – a burner. Even the cheesy backing vocals in the chorus can’t drag this one down, and it’s also worth waiting for Kossie to drop in with some wild screams in the middle of the tune.
Returning to the clubs of East LA, we bring you another deep funk side, ‘Hector Pt1’ by the Village Callers. Release on Rampart records (also home to ‘The Panther’ by the East Bay Soul Brass), ‘Hector’ works up a very solid groove, with some live clapping, congas and groovy rhythm guitar. The “Live” lp that this comes from is exceedingly rare. The 45 ain’t too cheap either, but you’re more likely to get your hands on one of those.
Though some may say “Wha? You bring the Doggett but you leave out the ‘Honky Tonk Popcorn?!?”, my response is despite the fact that world famous organist Bill Doggett is listed as the leader on the session, that funk 45 fave is a little light on the actual organ content. As a result, I flip the record over and bring you its much more organ-ized b-side, a 1969 reworking of the tune that put Bill Doggett on the map, ‘Honky Tonk’. The tune is way funky, and Mr. Bill gets to bring the B3 heat. See, this way, if you were hesitating to spend the dough to get yourself a copy of ‘Honky Tonk Popcorn’, knowing that this is on the flip just doubled it’s intrinsic value.
I can’t tell you much about the O’Jahs, other than that ‘Roadside 75’ is a killer, and I’m pretty sure it was recorded way before 1975. They apparently hailed from South Carolina, and were also billed as the “Odahs”.
Toussaint McCall would deserve legendary status if he had never done anything but record the mighty “Shimmy” one of the greatest Hammond organ 45s ever. Those in the know will tell you that he was also a talented vocalist (‘Shimmy’ having originated as the b-side of his Top10, Deep Soul ballad ‘Nothing Takes the Place of You’). For years I thought his recordings for the Ronn label were the only thing the Louisiana musician had ever done, but a while back I started turning up sides he did for the LA-based Dore label. One such side, the delicious ‘Sweet Tea’ shows that McCall was still bringing the funk post-Shimmy. The tune mixes Hammond organ and electric piano solos, with the occasional funky grunt and some very tight drums.
Back in the Isley Brothers camp, we visit another phase in the many splendored career of David Clowney, aka Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez. He did time in the late 60’s (along with Truman Thomas, no slouch in the Hammond department) as part of the Isley Brothers “family”. His reworking of the Brothers ‘I Turned You On’ borrows the original backing track, and slaps on a heaping helping of Hammond goodness.
I’ve never been able to track down much info on Art Butler, but his track ‘Soul Brother’ is seriously funky and a longtime fave of mine. There was an “Artie” Butler who wrote and recorded soundtrack music during the same period, but I can’t say positively that this is the same musician. ‘Soul Brother” opens up with a nice drum drop, moving on into a funky bass line before Mr. Butler starts working the keys. The version of “Ode to Billie Joe’ on the flip is also quite good.
I couldn’t very well put together a Hammond funk mix without including a contribution from one of the accepted masters of the Hammond, Mr. Jimmy McGriff. Though he was best known for his early 60’s R&B/soul jazz for the Sue label, he had a renaissance of sorts with the Capitol label in the late 60’s, producing much high quality funk 45, one of which – ‘Fat Cakes’ – we bring you today. The tune moves along nicely with some very funky bass, a biting horn chart, and of course lots of Hammond grease courtesy of Mr. McGriff.
Don’t let the fact that the opening and closing tracks of this mix are both “chicken”-related is anything but a coincidence. We are not in any way subsidized by Colonel Sanders or any other branch of the fried chicken industry. The placement of a rare and deadly tack like the Lou Garno Trio’s “Chicken In the Basket” at the end of the mix is only an indicator that I finally got my hands on a copy of the record after the first draft of the mix was done. I’d been searching for this one for YEARS and only recently had the opportunity to add it to the crates at what turned out to be a pretty decent price (considering its rarity). Believe it or not this burner was recorded in 1972 as a promotional item for an Italian restaurant (the Giovanni’s of the label) in Arizona in 1972. ‘Chicken In the Basket” features some hard-hitting drums, sax and – of course – organ, and the flip side ‘Muy Sabroso’ is also quite good.

Enjoy.

PS If you’re interested in a Funky16Corners bumper sticker, all the info is now on a separate page that you can find in the sidebar.

PSS If the folk rock of the Beau Brummels is your bag, head on over to Iron Leg

Louis Chachere RIP

August 22, 2007

Greetings all.

I received some sad news last night (confirmed this morning) , that being that the great master of the Hammond, Mr. Louis Chachere has passed away.

I couldn’t let this sad news go by without posting once again, one of the greatest Hammond funk 45s ever recorded, ‘The Hen Pts 1&2′.

Vaya con Dios….

I’m a little short of time this evening, so I’m pulling a post out of the Funky16Corners Blog archives. This post originally ran almost exactly two years ago .

Herein lies the rub…the first time I featured ‘The Hen’ by Louis Chachere – one of the greatest funky organ sides ever committed to wax – I only posted ‘Pt 1′. I recently had to digitize both sides of the 45 to fill a special request, so with today’s repost, you get both halves of this mighty banger.

If you’ve never heard it before, strap yourselves in. If you know it, you’ve probably only heard ‘Pt1′, so dig the coda if you will.

Either way, I know you’ll dig it.

See you on Friday.

Peace

Larry

Example

Listen/Download – The Hen Pt1 MP3

Listen/Download – The Hen Pt2 MP3

Originally posted 7/15/05 – “In my book, there’s just nothing tastier than a funky organ groove on 45. There are a number of reasons that this is so…

1. Most of your best organ grooves appear only in 45 form 2. Organ grooves provide at least 200% of your daily minimum requirement of party starting, butt-shaking, good time 3. Because I said so (you can ignore this one…at your peril!) Anyway, whether it’s R&B, soul, jazz or beat-heavy funk, there are dozens of amazing Hammond sounds out there to be had and heard. I always dug organ sounds, but for years my listening was largely limited to jazz organ (which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself) and the masters thereof, the Jimmy’s Smith & McGriff, Groove Holmes, etc. Then in 1999, my pal Bill Luther hit me up with a righteous birthday present. The CD in question was the ‘Vital Organs’ compilation, compiled and annotated by the mighty Matt ‘Mr. Finewine’ Weingarden of WFMU and record collecting fame (a righteous dude and a man who’s probably forgotten more great records than I’ve managed to collect). I was immediately intrigued. The track listing revealed not a single familiar name (a challenge!), and lots of appealing song titles – ‘The Hatch’, ‘Soul Power’, ‘Put Your Weight On It’, ‘Shimmy’ – the kind of titles that when attached to a dusty 45 pulled out of a moldy box set the spidey sense a-tingling (they’re also the kind of titles you sometimes find on surprisingly un-funky records, but that’s why I got a portable to dig with).

So, I get into the car, slide the CD into the player and enjoy a whole other party all the way home. It was all over after that. It’s not often that I can trace my interest in a genre of music back to a specific starting point, but this was one of those times. In the ensuing six years I have spent an inordinate amount of time (and, yes….money) tracking down, and digging up all manner of Hammond action on 45, to the point where I can proudly say that my organ crates are quite healthy and filled with all manner of death dealing heavy hitters, each one guaranteed to leave the house suitably rocked and the dancers sweaty (but happy).

Though I still haven’t tracked down all the cuts from ‘Vital Organs’ (and considering the rarity of some of them likely never will), I have managed to snag a copy of ‘The Hen Pts 1&2’ by Louis Chachere. Despite the fact that ‘The Hen’ was released on Louisiana’s Paula label, and the artist in question has a name that sounds like it shows up several dozen times in the New Orleans phone book, this gem is a bit of Kansas City soul. Chachere originally recorded ‘The Hen’ for the local MJC label, and it was then re-released by the Forte label, in Kansas City, MO. Forte was owned by Marva Whitney’s husband Ellis Taylor (her Excello 45 ‘Daddy Don’t Know About Sugar Bear’ was originally issued on Forte). ‘The Hen’ was licensed to, and released by Paula records.

The tune opens with a tighty, funky snare break (one of my fave snare sounds, along with the drums on James K Nine’s – actually Eddie Bo – ‘Live It Up’ on Federal),and the bass and organ jump right in. The melody line is stated first by the saxophones and then Louis drops in wailing on the break.. The jazzy guitar playing is excellent, and the record is very tightly arranged and well produced. ‘Part 2’ starts back in with a lengthy (and tasty) sax solo, followed by a nice section where the bass/drum tandem is brought up in the mix. Both sides of the record put together barely crack the four and a half minute mark, so the dj in you can’t be blamed for wanting to rock doubles and play it all the way through. The beat is irresistible, and Louis and company manage to keep the novelty “chicken” hysterics on a very low boil. I haven’t been able to nail down a release date, though the catalog number on the 45 suggests sometime between 1969 and 1970, so there is a possibility that this was an attempt to capitalize on the Meters ‘Chicken Strut’ (if anyone knows for sure, drop me a line). Mint copies of this classic are unlikely to be had for less than $50 (sometimes more) though I bagged mine at a bargain price because I took a chance (rewarded) that the record had been undergraded. ‘Vital Organs’ is sadly, out of print, though you might be able to track down a used copy. The only other info I could track down about Louis Chachere is that he produced the funky rarity ‘Remember Me’ By the Trinikas.”

PS Head over to the original post at Blogger and check out the additional info in the comments at the bottom.

Inez Foxx – You Don’t Want My Love (All You Want Is My Loving)

August 22, 2007

Example

Inez & Charlie Foxx

Example

Listen – You Don’t Want My Love (All You Want Is My Loving) MP3″

Greetings all.

This will be a short one tonight (the writing, not the song, which isn’t particularly long either, just a song).
It’s already turning out to be a tough week, with the littlest Funky16Corner heading off to day care for the first time, which is turning out to be a challenge emotionally and logistically. Nobody’s happy about having to drop the little guy off in the morning (though he seemed thoroughly nonplussed this AM), and finding enough time to get everyone lunched and otherwise packed and out of the house in time for me and the Mrs to still arrive at work in a timely fashion is currently a huge pain in the ass.
I’m sure that once we all get the routine down (I feel like Porky Pig when he’s trying to run the baby prep/delivery service for the stork) things will get to be somewhat smoother, but right now I feel like I might at any minute crash face down on the keyboard.
It’s just one of those situations (that come with fatherhood/adulthood) where I find myself attempting to stuff 26 hours into a 24 hour day, and like all similar ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag equations, something always gets pushed aside.
Right now that something is sleep….
Anyway….
Back during my scorched earth tour of New England, I picked up a grip of tasty vinyl, much of which has already found its way onto the ole blog. Today’s selection is one of the juicier apples to be pulled from that particular bushel.
Anyone with a passing interest in soul and R&B surely knows the name Inez Foxx (as in “and Charlie”) via ‘Mockingbird’, a classic in the truest sense of the word that will remembered long after the hit cover by James Taylor (despoiler of old R&B) and Carly Simon is but a greasy stain on the 70’s. They recorded a bunch of great stuff during the early-to-mid 60’s for the Sue and Dynamo labels.
Following her musical partnership with brother Charlie, Inez signed with Volt records in 1971 and headed to Memphis to make herself a record.
Titled – oddly enough – ‘Inez Foxx at Memphis’ (unusual use of a preposition there), the disc is chock full of high quality early-70’s soul. In turns funky (today’s cut) and deep (her cover of Mitty Collier’s ‘I Had a Talk With My Man’), ‘…At Memphis’ is definitely worth tracking down.
My fave cut from the album (and today’s selection) is ‘You Don’t Want My Love (All You Want Is My Loving)’. The tune rolls along at a brisk tempo and displays as much Detroit (it sounds as if it could have been an Invictus/Hotwax release) as Memphis. There’s a great vocal by Foxx as well as a very nice string arrangement (stylish but not overpowering).
Grab the LP if you can. I wouldn’t say that original copies are plentiful, but I don’t believe it’s currently available in reissue, so tracking down the vinyl might be your best bet at the moment.
Until Friday….
Peace
Larry

PS Head on over to Iron Leg for a tune by Emitt Rhodes

Funky16Corners Radio v.32 – Summer Dog Daze

August 20, 2007

Example

Funky16Corners Radio v.32 – Summer Dog Daze

Playlist
Bobby Bryant – I Want To Testify (World Pacific)
Jimmy Smith – Uh Ruh (MGM)
Bobby Hutcherson feat Harold Land- Ummh (Blue Note)
Ekseption – This Here (Philips)
Cal Tjader – Along Comes Mary (Verve)
Gabor Szabo – Sombrero Sam (Blue Thumb)
Freddy McCoy – Pet Sounds (Prestige)
Grant Green – Ease Back (Blue Note)
Woody Herman – It’s Your Thing (Cadet)
Brian Auger Trinity – Listen Here (RCA)

To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive

Greetings all.
I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing weekend, free of worry and full of opportunities to replenish the soul enough so that a return to work on Monday won’t drag you one step closer to insanity.
In furtherance of that vibe – if you will – I bring you Funky16Corners Radio v.32 – Summer Dog Daze. This mix is in many ways a sequel to v.24.5 The Beat Goes On, in which we stepped back for a brief survey of the jazzier side of things. Summer Dog Daze is a return to that part of the musical landscape, but this time – in an attempt to counter the stillness of the hot August air – things are little bit funkier, a lot groovier and as always engineered to nourish the ears, the head and the heart.
With a few exceptions every selection in this mix is a cover. Some of them could fairly be considered to be soul jazz standards, and a couple are surprising selections from far outside that orbit (which I think you’ll dig).
We get things started with another track from trumpeter Bobby Bryant’s ‘Earth Dance’ LP (his take on ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’ was featured in ‘Rubber Souled Pt2’), this time a very brassy, large ensemble cover of the Parliaments’ ‘I Want To Testify’. Bryant and band verily tear the tune from the sinuous tempo of the original, kicking up the tempo considerably. It manages to be a more soulful version of the kind of sound that so many larger jazz bands were working at the time (more on that later).
Though he was the first real genius of the jazz organ, Jimmy Smith’s efforts at working in a funkier milieu weren’t always as satisfying. Though there were obvious exceptions to the rule (‘Root Down’ for instance), after his Blue Note years Smith’s tenure at Verve was often marked by overproduced sessions aimed directly at the middle of the road. This isn’t to say that he wasn’t still producing exciting work – ‘The Cat’ has few equals – but that his talent was often wasted. The sad thing is that this can be said of almost all jazz musicians that were attempting to reach a wider audience in the 60’s.
So…last month I spotted an unfamiliar Smith LP on a set sale list, decided to take a chance on it and was richly rewarded. ‘I’m Gon’ Git Myself Together’ – recorded in 1970 with arrangements by Johnny Pate – sports a number of funky cuts, including a laid back cover of ‘Spill the Wine’, and the selection we include here, ‘Uh Ruh’. The tune gets started with a nice, heavy break before Smith comes storming in, wailing on the Hammond. It’s a groove.
If you’re a fan of classic 1960’s Blue Note sessions, then the name Bobby Hutcherson should be very familiar. In addition to his own string of brilliant albums, Hutcherson was – like Grant Green – made very frequent appearances as a sideman for the labels biggest stars. In the mid-60’s Hutcherson began collaborating with the brilliant tenor man Harold Land, who worked the front line of the Max Roach/Clifford Brown (RIP Max…) quintet as well as recording with the legendary (and rarely recorded) trumpeter Dupree Bolton. The Hutcherson/Land group recorded for a number of labels including Cadet, Mainstream and of course Blue Note. ‘Ummh’ comes from the 1971 LP “San Francisco” and finds the two masters working a funky vibe with members of the Jazz Crusaders.
I had never heard of Ekseption before pulling their 1969 debut from a crate at an Asbury Lanes swap meet. Their self-titled LP is filled mostly with prog-ish takes on classical themes like ‘Rhapsody In Blue’ but it also contains a couple of interesting covers, including Jethro Tull’s ‘Dharma for One’ and the cut included here, Bobby Timmons’ ‘This Here’. Ekseption do take a momentary detour into the baroque, but by and large things stay soulful, with a very nice sax solo.
I couldn’t very well assemble a mix like this without a cut from one of my all-time faves, Mr. Cal Tjader. His 1967 cover of the Association’s ‘Along Comes Mary’ (not coincidentally pulled from the LP ‘Along Comes Cal’) features some groovy organ as well as Latin percussion from no less a duo than Ray Barretto and Armando Peraza. Tasty indeed.
A veteran of our recent Stones covers mix, guitarist Gabor Szabo made some of the most interesting jazz/world fusions of the 60’s. Though his best known work was for the Impulse label, Szabo went on to record (and co-own I believe) for Skye, and Blue Thumb. This version of Charles Lloyd’s ‘Sombrero Sam’ is from the 1970 LP ‘Magical Connection’. The tune opens with a very (VERY) tasty break from Jim Keltner, but thanks to a bizarre bit of production, you’ll have to crank the volume a bit to hear it. Szabo solos are supported by some great vibes (by Lynn Blessing) and electric piano (by Richard Thompson).
Vibraphonist Freddy McCoy is another longtime Funky16Corners fave (and ‘Rubber Souled’ veteran). McCoy had a great style, and was sadly underrecorded during his heyday in the 1960’s. I recently grabbed a copy of his Prestige LP ‘Soul Yogi’, which includes some very interesting (and occasionally dated) setting including sitar and a couple of what appear to be attempts at a Soulful Strings sound. The highlight of the LP, and one of the most interesting jazz covers of a rock tune I’ve ever encountered is McCoy’s version of the Beach Boys ‘Pet Sounds’ (oh that it were a cover of the entire LP). I’ve only owned this record for about a week, but I can safely say that I’ve listened to this particular cut between 20 and 30 times. It’s such an interesting intersection of pop and jazz and McCoy really takes the song in a new direction.
As I mentioned earlier, guitarist Grant Green was one of the mainstays of the Blue Note label in the 60’s as both leader and sideman. Though many of his contemporaries made a stab at a funky sound, few did it as well as Green. His 1969 LP ‘Carryin’ On’ features a number of covers (as well as a beautiful version of Neal Creque’s ‘Cease the Bombing’ that I’ll be sure to feature in this space soon), the best of which is his take on the Meters ‘Ease Back’. There’s a more relaxed vibe than on the original, but it’s sure to get your head nodding.
Lot’s of old school jazzbos were making bids to remain contemporary (Buddy Rich, Louis Bellson etc) but few did it as well as Woody Herman. Herman, leader of one of the truly legendary big bands (the Thundering Herd) hooked up with Cadet in the late 60’s for a couple of very interesting albums, produced and arranged by the brilliant Richard Evans. The album ‘Heavy Exposure’ features members of Herman’s band as well as familiar Cadet sessioners like Phil Upchurch and Donny Hathaway (who’s ‘Flying Easy’ gets a workout on this album as well), on a number of interesting covers (like Sly’s ‘Sex Machine’) and this reworking of the Isley Brothers ‘It’s Your Thing’.
We close things out with an extended workout on a tune that is one of the true ‘standards’ of soul jazz, Eddie Harris’s ’Listen Here’, ably delivered by Brian Auger and the Trinity (the only artists here who also appeared in ‘The Beat Goes On’). Showcasing Auger on both piano and organ (very nice solo in the second half), the recording also features the percussion divided amongst four separate players (overdubs, natch) and the group manages to get down for almost 10 minutes without wandering too far afield.
That all said, I hope you dig listening to this edition of Funky16Corners Radio as much as I did putting it together.
Peace
Larry

PS

Example

The Funky16Corners bumper stickers are still here. If you’re one of the faithful, crazy enough to plaster one on your bumper, guitar case, tv screen (whatever), you need only send $1.00 USD (WELL CONCEALED CASH PLEASE!) inside (and this is important so pay close attention because if you don’t this isn’t going to work) a SELF ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE (business sized/#10 envelope (4 1/8″ by 9 1/2″) and I will send you one of these high quality vinyl stickers.
If you were one of the fine folks that donated during the 2007 pledge drive, replace that dollar with a copy of your Paypal receipt and and the same SASE and the sticker is yours for free.
If you are writing from anywhere outside the US, you can send $2.00USD via the Paypal link in the sidebar (please note what it’s for) and I’ll get a sticker in the mail to you.

The address is:

Funky16Corners, c/o Grogan, 80 New Brunswick Ave, Brick, NJ 08724 USA

Tamba 4 – California Soul

August 17, 2007

Example

Tamba 4

Example

Listen – California Soul MP3″

Greetings all.

We started out the week with a mix, celebrated the weekly tipping point with some tasty funk, and wind things up tonight with something sublime.
I’ve been a fan of Brazilian music most of my adult life, starting off with the popular bossa nova stuff that was released (with substantial success) in the US – starting with jazzbo/bossa collabs like Getz/Gilberto and moving on to Astrud Gilberto the Walter Wanderley Trio, and Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66.
Later on I found my way to (and fell in love with) Tropicalia via a Caetano Veloso best of CD, picking up just about everything I could find by Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes, Gal Costa, Tom Ze as well as the mighty Edu Lobo, whose ‘Sergio Mendes Presents’ LP has become a favorite of mine.
I should add that although I have been an enthusiastic consumer of these sounds, I am hardly an expert, and I am aware that true Brazil nuts (heh, heh..Brazil nuts…) would see my level of involvement as a mere scratch of the surface.
One of the groups that I discovered over the years was Tamba 4.
That I (or anyone else outside of Brazil) know who they were has everything to do with their two late-60’s LPs being issued by CTI.
Both ‘Samba Blim’ and ‘We and the Sea’ are outstanding example of the kind of musical fusions that were created when native Brazilian sounds began to meld with jazz, pop and rock in the 60’s.
Formed in the early 60’s as the Tamba Trio (led by pianist Luiz Eca), the group was both successful and influential on the Brazilian scene (they even had the earlier hit version of Jorge Ben’s ‘Mas Que Nada’ in 1963, later recorded by both Sergio Mendes and Hugh Masekela).
In 1968, Eca reformed the band as Tamba 4 and recorded the two albums mentioned above for CTI.
Some years ago, after having purchased the CD reissues of the CTI albums, I was out digging somewhere when I turned up today’s selection, ‘California Soul’.
Written by Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, the tune became a soul standard of sorts, with versions by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, the 5th Dimension (a recording that I remember from my childhood), Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Gerald Wilson, and that crate diggers favorite, the break-heavy take by Marlena Shaw on Cadet*.

Tamba 4 recorded the tune in 1969 for a third CTI album that was never released, though there were apparently two promo 45s, of which this is one.
They take things at a brisk clip, layering electric piano and flute with a flashy horn section, and the arrangement – by Johnny Pate- is great. It would be great if CTI would release the rest of the session at some point.
Either way, it’s a groovy, swinging take on a fantastic song.
Have a most excellent weekend.
Peace
Larry

*Used by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist in the Brainfreeze mix.

Buy Tamba 4 ‘We and the Sea’ at Amazon.com

War – Me and Baby Brother

August 15, 2007

Example

War with Eric Burdon (who’s not on this record…)

Example

Listen – Me and Baby Brother MP3″

Greetings all.

Here I sit wishing (for the first time in a long time) that I was actually outside instead of in, due to the bizarrely wonderful weather we happen to be experiencing at the moment.
I work late on Mondays, and when I walked out of the building last night, instead of the usual oven-blast, I was greeted instead by the warm hand of an almost humidity-free, seventy-five degree wonderfulness that was positively intoxicating. I felt as if I could have taken my bedroll (yeah…what am I…Davy Crockett??) out into the back yard and slept under the stars.
Of course this idea was soon exiled from my mind by a stampede of mosquitoes and bad-backery, but I can still dream, can’t I?
To what we owe this unusual mid-August reprieve – methinks this be but the eye of the storm – I know not, but I will do what I can to enjoy it, because days like this come but once or twice a summer.
I hope that everyone is digging the Funky16Corners Radio v.31 – Soul Satisfaction (almost everyone). I have some more cool mixes on the back burner (don’t I always though?), and you can expect a new one to drop next week (though I warn you they can’t all be “high concept”).
When I concluded my Monday post, I promised to return with some funk, and like MacArthur, I have (returned that is…).
A while back, while contemplating some Cheech and Chong movie or another (a reverie brought on while reading Tommy Chong’s prison memoir, ‘The I Chong’) the strains of the song ‘Low Rider’ were winding around my brain. This of course is mandated by the Cheech & Chong/Low Rider law of 1975, in which every mental picture of the duo must be synchronized with said song. As a child of the 70’s, who – despite the abstemious Puritan scourge that has beset this country since the 80’s – still finds Cheech & Chong funny (along with celebrity roast habitué Foster Brooks, a reference that will mean absolutely nothing to anyone born after 1970) this happens quite a lot (marijuanostalgia?).
Why am I telling you this?
Because today’s show is brought to you by the letters W, A and R, which spell WAR, which was a very funky band who were responsible for ‘Low Rider’ and a grip of other groovy sounds, the funkiest of which – in my opinion anyway- is today’s selection ‘Me and Baby Brother’.
Oddly enough (I use that phrase an awful lot don’t I?) my history with War is somewhat convoluted.
If you follow the standard timeline, in which the War story begins with their alliance with lapsed Animal Eric Burdon (the long haired leaping gnome) and passes on into their 1970’s string of hits, then of course things are nice and linear aren’t they?
However, if like me you experienced their mid-70’s successes first, and didn’t hear ‘Spill the Wine’ until you were 17 and sitting in Central Park waiting for an Elton John concert to begin (it’s not that long of a story, really), and then later found out in the midst of funk 45-ing that the dudes from War were the same bunch behind the Senor Soul records, the linear is suddenly non, and instead of some kind of stylistic continuum you get to take the (not so) disparate parts out of order, well then…
Anyway, War were a great band, who were always funky but only quite often funk, who rode the charts quite frequently in the 70’s with a number of wonderful songs including ‘Slipping Into Darkness’, ‘Cisco Kid’, ‘Low Rider’ (of course) and ‘Summer’ among others, combining soul, funk, jazz and Latin influences to create a very solid groove.
They did get their first boost backing Burdon, and managed to persevere when he bugged out on them (the musical balance sheet barely effected with his subtraction*), to the point where (and those of my age group will remember this) three of their number occupied a square frequently on the old Peter Marshall-era ‘Hollywood Squares’ – imagine a Papa Dee Allen in his XXXL dashiki alongside the always freaky Phyllis Diller). I drop that little nugget to help put their long ago fame into perspective, and because once upon a time, before the concept of “funk” had taken up residence in my musical sensibility, I was quite the War fan, up to and including asking for (and receiving) some of their LPs for Christmas sometime in the late 70’s.
Back when I was a teenager, my musical tastes were all over the place, and I was still at an age where instrumental virtuosity was still a big factor in my assessment of musicians, filling my ears with long self-indulgent solos, sidelong epics and suites of all kinds, a band like War, who managed to put a jazzy edge on their music, while always remaining soulful and exciting filled all of my immature musical needs while simultaneously causing them to mature. It just happens to be a fantastic coincidence that almost 30 years hence, long after my attentions (having passed through garage punk, psychedelia and jazz) had turned to funk and soul 45-dom that War should still be hanging around, filling that bill as well.
Anyway… ‘Me and Baby Brother’ is a very heavy, very solid bit of funkiness, with a somewhat opaque lyric (I think somebody either dies or goes to jail, after some funky wine of course), but the words (in this case anyway – aren’t all that important. What is important is that War lays into this song like a lion into a gazelle, and if there’s anyone amongst you that doubts the power of the harmonica in a funky setting, they need only sit back and catch Lee Oskar (so seemingly incongruous, and Danish) blowing heat.
No matter how you slice it, every note in ‘Me and Baby Brother’ is a raised fist, and whether it’s raised politically, ecstatically or both matters not. It’s a great record.
Peace
Larry

Buy the Very Best of War at Amazon.com

* In saying this I mean no disrespect to Burdon (I’m a big Animals fan), but rather to emphasize his relative lack of importance in the overall sound of War, i.e. War minus Burdon still equals War…

BUMPER STICKER UPDATE

Example

Thanks to a reader suggestion (which made perfect sense) I’ve decided that anyone outside the US who wants a sticker can Paypal $2.00 USD (using the donation link in the sidebar, include a note explaining what you are paying for). I’ll head to the post office and stock up on postage and envelopes this weekend.

If UK Psyche is your bag, check out something from the Attack over at Iron Leg

Funky16Corners Radio v.31 – Soul Satisfaction

August 13, 2007

Example

Funky16Corners Radio v.31 – Soul Satisfaction

Playlist
Otis Redding – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (Volt)
Wynder K Frog – Jumping Jack Flash (UA)
Baby Lloyd – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (Smash)
Soulful Strings – Paint It Black (Cadet)
George Semper – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (Imperial)
Merry Clayton – Gimme Shelter (Ode)
Curtis Knight with Jimi Hendrix – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (MPE)
Gabor Szabo – Paint It Black (Impulse)
Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (WB)
Thelma Houston – Jumping Jack Flash (Dunhill)
Mongo Santamaria – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (Columbia)
Sam Butera & the Witnesses – Symphony for the Devil (Pr1ma)

To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive

Greetings all.
I just stepped in from the deck, having made a feeble attempt to take in the scheduled meteor shower (we get a fair amount of light pollution, and I was in the middle of a delicious ice pop), and it was just one of those nights where the exit of the sun seems to have done nothing to cut the humidity.
This has been an excellent weekend hereabouts; with a big family gathering to celebrate the late July/early August birthday cluster (which included my little guy Sean turning one-year-old) and today we took the kids to the circus.
I only mention the visit to the big top (where it had to be about 110 degrees), because as the elephants marched out, what should come over the PA system but a taste of some old school New Jersey funk, that being ‘Jungle Boogie’ by Kool & the Gang. It wasn’t the highlight of the show (that was when I realized that a member of the Chinese acrobatic troupe the AcroStars, was the same guy that ushered us to our seats, multi-tasking at its finest), but it made the wonderful experience of watching two little boys dig the circus all the sweeter.
A couple of weeks back, during the Rubber Souled podstravaganza, one of the commenters (Holland Oates) asked if I was planning a Stones covers podcast (I wasn’t), and specifically mentioned Merry Clayton’s powerhouse version of ‘Gimme Shelter’, which I blogged in the space a looong time ago.
The idea did appeal to me, and when I started rolling it around in my brain, several excellent records came to mind.
Though in many ways their roots were largely different, one thing the Rolling Stones shared with the Beatles was a love for US R&B and soul music. Both groups covered Arthur Alexander, and the Stones paid homage to Solomon Burke, Irma Thomas, Rufus Thomas, the Valentinos, and Alvin Robinson among others. While they’re best known for their devotion to Chicago blues, they definitely had a taste for soul.
When I hit the crates and started to dig, my suspicions that the Stones weren’t as widely covered as the Fabs were confirmed (sort of). While there weren’t as many different Rolling Stones songs that got covered, it became immediately apparent that almost everyone – at one time or another – covered ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’.
Of course this did nothing to stop me, so what you’re getting here is no less than six ‘Satisfactions’, along with two ‘Jumping Jack Flashes’, two ‘Paint It Blacks’, the aforementioned ‘Gimme Shelter’, and one of the oddest covers of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ that you’re ever likely to hear.
Things get started with perhaps my favorite soul verson of ‘Satisfaction’ by the mighty Otis Redding. Suitably shamed for excluding Otis’s ‘Day Tripper’ from the ‘Rubber Souled’ mixes (I had to have the Vontastics), I decided to lead off with his take on the Stones. Otis was the king, and his revved up version of ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ is one of his best covers.
Wynder K Frog (aka Mick Weaver) spent a lot of time playing on other people’s records, but his own sides feature some of the hottest Hammond action of the late-60’s. Fortunately for US diggers, most of his stuff also saw release on this side of the Atlantic, courtesy of the United Artists label. The Frog’s take on ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ sports some wailing organ and a tight horn chart.
‘Baby’ Lloyd Stallworth was for a time one of the Famous Flames, who made his way to the front of the stage a couple times in the 60’s via a couple of 45s and this performance from the 1967 ‘James Brown Show’ LP on Smash. Lloyd was a solid vocalist, though this version of ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ owes a big debt to Redding’s arrangement.
The Soulful Strings were well represented in the ‘Rubber Souled’ mixes, and they return with a great latin-ized version of ‘Paint It Black’. You already know that I think Richard Evans (mastermind/arranger behind the Soulful Strings) was a genius. The arrangement here may seem minimalist, but taking a song as distinct as ‘Paint It Black’ and recasting it with a whole new vibe certainly earns points for originality.
Organist George Semper is well known to Hammond aficionados for his excellent ‘Making Waves’ LP on Imperial, as well as his funky 45 with the George Semper Rhythm Committee. His stylish version of ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ is a great showcase for his Hammond stylings.
Merry Clayton has a unique distinction among the artists in this mix, in that she appeared on the original recording of the tune she covers here, that being ‘Gimme Shelter’. After an early stint as a Raelette, Clayton went on to sing backup for a veritable Who’s Who of late 60’s/early 70’s music, including Neil Young, Leon Russell, Joe Cocker, Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, and Allen Toussaint before recording her debut album in 1970. Clayton’s reading of ‘Gimme Shelter’ in many ways meets and exceeds the power of the Stones original. I really dig when the guitar gets all wah-wahed out near the end.
Next up is yet another Curtis Knight recording featuring the assistance of Jimi Hendrix. As is the case with many of these collaborations, ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ is of confusing provenance, not to mention truly weird mixing that allows the volume to surge here and there. However, Knight lays into the tune with some heavy soul shouting, so he gets in the mix while Herbie Mann remains on the cutting room floor.
You’d never know it, but the drummer behind Gabor Szabo is none other than funkmeister Bernard Purdie. His playing here is somewhat restrained, but that’s cool to because you get to hear Szabo double his own guitar with sitar. Things start out the tiniest bit unhinged, but fall into a groove before long. All of Szabo’s Impulse LPs are worth picking up. The LP that this track comes from ‘Jazz Raga’ has a wild cover, one side featuring a Szabo playing his sitar for a mod bird while sitting on a Lambretta, and the other an odd abstract painting by the guitarist.
The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band version of ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ starts off with some wild shouting from Charles Wright and keeps things pretty simple aside from the addition of horns. Wright and band started out providing the instrumental backing for the vocal “adventures” of one Bill Cosby before striking out on their own to lay down some heavy soul and funk, including the legendary ‘Express Yourself’. This tune is pulled from the LP ‘Together’.
One of my favorite tracks in this mix is the tour de force version of ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ by Thelma Houston. Originally appearing on her 1969 ‘Sunshower’ LP her take on the tune is every bit as heavy as the original and sports some cool, vaguely baroque touches courtesy of the albums producer/arranger, none other than Jimmy Webb. It would be another eight years before she would top the charts with another cover, that being Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’.
I’ll assume you all know who Mongo Santamaria was. He recorded a string of party records for Columbia in the mid-to-late 60’s, which are all pretty easy to find and most certainly worth picking up. Oddly enough, his placing ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ in a Latin bag ends up working quite well, with some nice percussive breakdowns through the song.
Saving the wildest for last, I bring you a cut from an LP I bagged at a record show years ago. Louis Prima (who doesn’t appear on this track, unless he’s shaking a tambourine or some such) was a dynamic performer who worked in jazz and pop from the 20’s all the way into the late 70’s. His band, led by saxophonist/vocalist Sam Butera (who I actually got to see years ago playing the Caesars lounge in Atlantic City) was a legendary unit renowned for heating up Prima’s Vegas shows for years. By the late 60’s, the band included young organist Richie Varola (nee Varhola) who verily set fire to the Hammond (he recorded a smoking LP for Verve in the late 60’s). Originally appearing on the LP “The Prima Generation ‘72’ (which is autographed by Prima and Butera and appears to have been pressed for sale at the band’s shows. The LP closes with a “suite” of sorts, based around the main theme of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, though it takes an ironic detour into ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ along the way and then goes of into something entirely different. Either way, it’s worth it to hear Varola (who died young) in his prime.
So, I hope you dig the mix, and I’ll be back later in the week with some funk.
Until then…
Peace
Larry

PS

Example

The Funky16Corners bumper stickers have arrived. If you’re one of the faithful, crazy enough to plaster one on your bumper, guitar case, tv screen (whatever), you need only send $1.00 USD (WELL CONCEALED CASH PLEASE!) inside (and this is important so pay close attention because if you don’t this isn’t going to work) a SELF ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE (business sized/#10 envelope (4 1/8″ by 9 1/2″) and I will send you one of these high quality vinyl stickers.
If you were one of the fine folks that donated during the 2007 pledge drive, replace that dollar with a copy of your Paypal receipt and and the same SASE and the sticker is yours for free.
If you are writing from anywhere outside the US, send a business sized/#10 envelope (4 1/8″ by 9 1/2″) without a stamp, with $2.00 USD and the sticker is yours ($1.00 with Paypal receipt).

The address is:

Funky16Corners, c/o Grogan, 80 New Brunswick Ave, Brick, NJ 08724 USA

Vinyl Record Day Post – Will Work for Records…

August 10, 2007

Example

This is my contribution to the commemoration of Vinyl Record Day.

Make sure to check out the other posts (some coming this weekend) at the following locations:

AM, Then FM
Flea Market Funk
Fufu Stew

Got the Fever

Ickmusic


It’s Great Shakes

 Jefitoblog
Lost in the 80s
Py Korry
Three-Sixty-Five45s

Bloggerhythms

Davewillieradio

Echoes In the Wind

Good Rockin’ Tonight

The Hits Just Keep On Comin’

In Dangerous Rhythm

Stepfather of Soul

RetroMixes

The Snack Bar 

 

 

Greetings all.
I come to you today as part of a blogswarm (“Quick Ma! To the root cellar!!”) spurred on by the observation of Vinyl Record Day.
There are those – astute individuals one and all – who would have you believe that every day around here is in fact “vinyl record day” (hundreds of posts to date and every single one ripped from vinyl), but it would be dishonorable to quibble with so noble an undertaking, and to do so would prevent me from relating yet another chapter in the ever fascinating Larry Grogan Story (coming to screens worldwide in 2009).
Anyhoo….
As I’ve recounted in varying degrees of thoroughness, my record/music collecting days started when I was about 11 years old when I dropped a couple of bucks – and these were hard to come by, 1973 I don’t work and barely get an allowance dollars, so allow for a considerable amount of inflation – for my very first record, that being a copy of the VeeJay LP ‘Introducing the Beatles’.
This is not that story.
However, that little sliver of an anecdote is necessary as an opening parentheses of sorts on the story that follows (not to mention my entire musical life…). It is notable as the beginning of my record obsession, which by the time I was in high school had thundered into my life like a buffalo stampede and was – believe it or not – running a very close second to my other mid-teens obsession, that of course being naked women.
The love of music, instilled in me from my earliest days by a father who was a both a musician and educator, had become just about all-consuming, with time not spent listening to or collecting music devoted to fantasizing about rock stardom of some sort. I wouldn’t actually get my hands on a set of drums until age 16, but when I did, an obvious lack of skill didn’t stand in the way of my joining a “band” as soon as humanly possible.
Now the mid-teen years are also the time – at least in my day – when the wolf cubs are initially booted from the den to at least try to fend for themselves. In my house, this ritual was observed by a command to go forth into the world and seek some form of employment.
Naturally I was thrilled….
However, seek I did (however feebly) and almost in spite of myself I was able to find work at the local dirt-hole/flea market (known as ‘The Auction’) where I was signed over into indentured servitude to a couple of cantankerous senior citizen “electronics dealers” names Stu and Rose who would awake in the middle of the night, pack their van to the ceiling with CB radios, under-the-dash tape decks, whip antennas and boom boxes(1), and travel from Brooklyn to Englishtown NJ. This is where they would lay in wait for me to come trudging out of the dawn (roughly a mile and a half walk from my house) in my jeans and flannel, where upon my arrival I would unload this 20th century gypsy caravan and set up the “store” (as it were). It was there, in front of two already unstable wooden tables, now loaded with hundreds of pounds of electronics, that I would spend the next eight hours standing in either blazing heat, or freezing wind (the weather never took any other form at the Auction) and make sure that no one was stealing.
This was of course a thrill. The kind of job that only comes to teenage slackjaws, maybe eight, nine times in any given year, and it was mine…ALL MINE!!!
There was no lunch break.
This was taken care of by the bag of cold chicken and catsup sandwiches (and a tuna and egg salad combo that I developed quite a liking for, but my wife will not allow in the house)  that my employers fed me all day long.
As hard as it is to believe, I used to get paid for all of this.
At the end of the day, Stu – much to the chagrin of his angry wife, who gave him the stink eye as he pulled a huge wad of cash from his pocket – would peel off three of the dustiest, wrinkliest, tattered five dollar bills and place them reluctantly into my quivering hand.
Fifteen dollars.(2)
As I said, there was no lunch break, but I was usually able to squeeze in a fifteen minute break, during which I would run to the other end of the flea market, through the clouds of dust, fried onions and coffee smell, and seek out my dealer, Willy.
Willy appeared – as much from 100 yards away as close up – to have leapt from the cover of Jethro Tull’s ‘Aqualung’ and into a pile made up of equal parts dogshit, marijuana and one-dollar bills (3). He was the very embodiment of the pejorative “dirty hippie”(4).
Every weekend Willy would step into the Philadelphia night (he had one of the thickest Philly accents I’d ever heard), pile his wife, children and his dog, a black german shepherd named Satan (yes, Satan, who was actually a pretty nice dog) into his busted old van, along with approximately 400,000 LPs, and head off to Englishtown.
It was in the fifty or so boxes of LPs that Willy would lay out every weekend that my record collection was born. In the few minutes I had to dig, I would manage to squeeze as many one and two dollar albums out of my fifteen bucks as possible, enough so that when I got home, and scraped the accumulated filth from my aching body, I would have lots of new music to make me forget how I had just slaved for eight hours and had no cash in my pocket to show for it.
This scenario should of course come as no surprise to any record fiend that came of age when vinyl was still the coin of the realm. If records are your fix, and you’re jonesing, you must dig, even if it means that’s all you get for your sweat.
So, anyway….
I worked for the electronics people for over a year, when an acquaintance of mine from school – an affluent pot head, even more feckless than myself (if you can believe that) with whom I had jammed once or twice (5) – who also happened to work for Willy now and again, said that the man himself was looking for another helper.
Imagine my excitement.
It was like being handed the keys to the kingdom. Getting up at the crack of dawn on Saturday would no longer be a chore. I would spring from bed and skip through the woods to the flea market with a smile on my face. I’d get to spend the whole day running my greedy fingers over mountains of vinyl, hand-picking the finest, ripest LPs which would then find a home in my collection, all at what I was sure would be a generous discount.
It was Willy who sold me my first Buffalo Springfield, Jimi Hendrix and Cream LPs (among many others).
This was going to be great!!!
I managed to get myself terminated from my executive position in the electronics trade by “accidentally” sleeping in one Saturday. My keepers cut my chain and cast me out into the flea market, where I was immediately assured by the nearby vendors that I had been regularly beaten like a rented mule, the old folks were out of their mind to let me go, and I would be better off wherever I landed.
Naturally I allowed this smoke to be blown directly up my ass, blissfully unaware of what awaited me a few aisles over.
When I arrived at Willy’s stand, he pulled me in the back and began to reveal to me, like an onion peeled away one layer at a time, the fresh hell I was stepping into.
First, every single record I sold – no exceptions – had to be written (artist, title, label and price) in his busted up spiral notebook, so that he could keep a close eye on his “inventory”, refreshing it when necessary with new stock. This of course at a stand where no one walked away with less than 10 records.
Second, while Willy was off jawing with his fellow dirtballs, I was left under the jaundiced (literally and figuratively) eye of his lovely wife, who’s name lo these many years later is hidden behind a huge, unmovable mental block. While she watched me like a hawk, her children made themselves scarce. They never really had the opportunity to annoy me because they ran free like a couple of hyenas, all day long.
Third, I was informed that grazing through the stock was frowned upon, an edict that I (naturally) had to be reminded of all day long.
All of this, and for the exact same fifteen dollars that I had been getting at my old job.
Needless to say, I didn’t last long working for WillyCo.
After about a month of this tomfoolery – too much for even an unambitious, slackadaisical want-wit like myself – I tendered my resignation, and worked for the very last time in my life as a seller of records.
As I wandered away from the stand, with Satan barking at me and the very essence of the flea market caking in my nostrils, I wondered why and where it had all gone so very wrong.
Despite what you hear about teenagers having convinced themselves of their own indestructibility, I was sure that this was the end of the line for me. What would I do for a job (nothing for a while as it turns out) and more importantly, what would I do for records (also nothing, as I had no source of income)?
Fortunately, by that time I had accumulated quite a heap of albums, enough to keep me busy until the summer, when – my lack of ambition still not remedied – I would move on to a series of even crappier jobs (6).
My vinyl obsession, as ought to be obvious to anyone that reads this blog on the reg, survived this brush with greatness, and went on to heights I never could have imagined during all of those dusty fifteen dollar days.
I have no idea what became of my flea market employers.
The electronics people have in all likelihood gone on to the great haggle-fest in the sky.
Willy…who knows?
Is he still slinging records in the great out-of-doors, or at some point did he find himself a storefront somewhere (where he was surely crushed under the corporate boot heel of a Wal-Mart or somesuch), or, like so many of his brethren did he find himself a lucrative home on the interwebs?
In the words of the great Tootsie Pop commercial of old, ‘The world may never know’.

NOTE: All names have been changed, except my own, and that of Satan the dog.

FOOTNOTES

1 Boom boxes were at the time a brand new, and highly coveted product, running for the most part well over 100USD. In my entire tenure at the electronics stand, the only item I can ever remember being stolen was a JVC boom box.

2 These were after all the mid-70’s where fifteen dollars could feed a family of 12 for a month, and/or be used to purchase a brand new Cadillac…

3 Though, in retrospect, a closer match would be Ron Moody’s Fagin, from the movie ‘Oliver!’

4 His way with a buck would later convince me that Willy only looked like a hippy, being possessed of the cold, flinty heart of a much hairier Ebenezer Scrooge

5 Who introduced me to the music of the Good Rats. Imagine – if you will – a garage full of untalented suburban teenagers attempting to replicate ‘Taking It to Detroit’. I realize that this means next to nothing to anyone not from the New York area, but it’s worth mentioning for the few who might know what I’m talking about.

6 Anyone out there ever picked corn for a living?…heh…I thought not.


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