You Gotta Wash Your Pumpkin…
Funky16Corners Radio v.38- Fall Funk
1. Manu Dibango – Moni (Atlantic)
2. Fatback Band – Njia (Nija) Walk (Perception)
3. Bird Rollins feat the New Jersey Burners – Do It To It (Calla)
4. Gene & Eddie – Sweet Little Girl (Ru Jac)
5. Bill Coday – Get Your Lie Straight (Crajon)
6. James Rivers – Fonky Flute (Kon Ti)
7. Dave Baby Cortez – Do the Funky Dance (Sound Pak)
8. Brother Jack McDuff – Theme From Electric Surfboard (Blue Note)
9. Ramsey Lewis – Since You’ve Been Gone (Cadet)
A new week is upon us, and I am overcome by a grey indifference, due no doubt to the strange autumn weather. As I’ve related several times in the past, here in New Jersey, we go through bizarre seasonal transitions, where the weather can’t seem to make up it’s mind, hurtling back and forth through diametrically opposed periods of warmth and cold, stitched together by a vague, unpleasant wetness.
I suppose I should be thankful that in this part of the country we rarely experience extreme weather (raging brushfires, tornados, floods, hurricanes or softball-sized hail), but I cannot deny that the current state of affairs does something to the equilibrium.
I an effort to combat this malaise, and to right the ship as it were I have decided – with the help of my recent Baltimore digs – to assemble a batch of funky grooves, engineered to lift the spirits and move the feet. All but two of the 45s in this mix were procured last week in the Charm City (I put aside a couple of choice bits for presentation by themselves), and I have Vincent the Soul Chef to thank for putting me up on one of his spots, where these sounds were found (literally in a back alley, behind a locked gate).
On that note, make sure you head over to check out the Fufu Stew Thanksgiving extravaganza, a three part Turkey Day themed mix with contributions from several other bloggers (myself included).
The preamble now dispensed with, I bring you some info (on account of it wouldn’t be Funky16Corners if I didn’t, right?) to peruse while you’re soaking in the funk.
But first, some news…
After a long delay, the Funky16Corners Radio Archive has finally been assembled, wherein one will find links to download mixed MP3s and Zip files for every edition of the Funky16Corners Radio podcast. As I said this was a longtime coming, but thanks to the aid of a friendly reader – who sent along the files I was missing – it is now a reality.
I’ve also consolidated the pre-Wordpress blog archives (or at least the links thereof) into a single page, truncating the sidebar considerably.
I considered moving the blogroll off onto a separate page, but at least for the moment, I like having the links on the main page, so that’s where they’ll stay.
To access the new pages you can click on the appropriate graphics in the sidebar.
That all said, I hope you like the improvements – as they are – and would like to hear what you think.
This edition of Funky16Corners Radio has a running time which is a little on the short side (just under a half hour), but I figured maybe instead of sitting in front of the computer all day, you might want to get a concentrated dose of the funk, which you might carry with you out into the streets, spreading the love wherever you go. Dig also the interstitial interjections from the legendary Redd Foxx…
Things get off to a rousing start with a side by the Lion of Cameroon, the mighty master of the makossa, Manu Dibango. Dibango’s ‘Weya’ is a longtime fave, and though I already have the French issue on Fiesta, I figured it couldn’t hurt to pick up a nice copy of the US issue on Atlantic. Good thing I did too, because the b-side ‘Moni’ is a searing bit of Afro-funk (the Fiesta b-side is ‘Pepe Soup’). Dig the heavy fuzz guitar herein.
I have DJ Prestige for turning me onto the Fatback Band, via his inclusion of ‘Goin’ To See My Baby’ on our ‘Beat Combination’ collab. Thanks to that, I have been on the lookout for Fatback 45s ever since. Good thing too, since ‘Njia (Nija) Walk’ is a funky killer – not to mention the fact that it carries on its flipside a tasty version of ‘Soul Man’.
I haven’t been able to track down much in the way of concrete info on Bird Rollins. Though he’s backed by the New Jersey Burners (dig those tasty breaks) on ‘Do It To It’ (originally issued on Andee) he appears to hail from the south. He recorded two 45s for the Calla label in the early 70’s, and for a couple of other imprints (Rol Cal, Magnet, Disco) into the disco era.
One of the things a digger hopes for when exploring new territory, is to come up on local vinyl. I was lucky enough while in Baltimore to score a copy of ‘Gene and Eddie’s ‘Sweet Little Girl’ on the Ru Jac label. Between 1963 and 1972 Ru Jac released a grip of quality sides by Baltimore/Washington DC area artists including Winfield Parker and Butch Cornell. Gene & Eddie had five singles on Ru Jac between 1968 and 1971, with ‘Sweet Little Girl’ coming out in 1969. Though the tune isn’t out and out funk, it surely is funky with a bit of Sam and Dave-ish interplay.
Though he got his start in Mississippi, Bill Coday was “discovered” in Chicago by Denise Lasalle and her husband Bill Jones (owner of the Crajon label), who took him to Memphis where he would record under the aegis of the great Willie Mitchell. ‘Get Your Lie Straight’ was a Top 20 R&B hit in 1971, and features a gritty vocal by Coday with some signature Memphis backing. Coday went on to record for Galaxy and Epic, and continues to tour and record to this day.
Followers of New Orleans sounds will find the name James Rivers a familiar one. Adept on both sax and flute, Rivers recorded for a variety of local labels (Instant, Eight Ball, Kon Ti) through the 60’s and 70’s (I’ve features some of his stuff in previous New Orleans mixes). The aptly named ‘Fonky Flute’ is one of his rarer 45s, so I’ll ask you to forgive the noise at the beginning. The record has an edge warp that had the tone arm bobbing like a drunk on a mechanical bull, and it’s a miracle that the record got recorded at all. However, a little surface noise is a small price to pay, as the normally restrained Rivers uses ‘Fonky Flute’ as his opportunity to go 100%, Rahsaan Roland Kirkified, batshit crazy during his solos, making Jeremy Steig look like the light entertainment for a meeting of the Garden Club. It’s one my fave flute sides, and I’m always on the lookout for a clean copy.
If you stop by here on the reg, you already know I love me some Hammond, which is what I was expecting years ago when I first grabbed ‘(Do It) The Funky Dance’ by Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez. Imagine my surprise when I slapped it on the turntable and it turned out to be a funk vocal, and a good one at that. I was unaware that Cortez had done any singing (which it turns out he had, occasionally), and this 1971 45 is proof that maybe he should have done so more often. I’m not saying that he was going to give Wilson Pickett anything to worry about, but as singing organists go, he wasn’t bad.
Also on the Hammond tip, and quite heavily at that is one of the masters of the genre, the mighty Brother Jack McDuff with ‘Theme From Electric Surfboard’. I love McDuff’s Blue Note recordings (‘Hunk of Funk’ is an all time fave), and ‘Theme..’ has a very groovy, almost Blaxploitation feeling to it, with a serious amount o swing. Brother Jack must have dug it a lot, because he rerecorded it a couple of times for Cadet.
Speaking of Cadet, we close out the mix with one of the labels stalwarts, the great Ramsey Lewis. His cover of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ (the flip of the oft sampled ‘Les Fleur’) appeared on his 1968 ‘Maiden Voyage’ LP. I really dig the mix of Lewis’ trademark soul jazz piano/bass/drums groove with the backing vocals and the horn section.
So, I hope you dig the mix, and that if you’re missing any of the Funky16Corners Radio podcasts, you spend some time catching up.
PS Don’t forget the Asbury Park 45 Sessions are this Friday 11/23 at the World Famous Asbury Lanes!!