Archive for January, 2008

Society’s Bag – Let It Crawl

January 29, 2008

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Mr. Fred Smith

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Listen – Let It Crawl – MP3″

Greetings all.

The week is well underway, and all is well here in the not-so-mystic East.
Though I haven’t been doing a lot of digging lately* I have been busy in other pursuits, such as mixology (the musical variety thereof), hanging with the fam and reading. I’ve been on a post-apocalyptic tear lately, burning through ‘Earth Abides’ and ‘Lucifer’s Hammer’ and just about to jump into ‘Alas Babylon’. The overall effect of hitting this subject matter over and over again is somewhat unsettling (makes me want to stockpile weapons and beef jerky), but the subgenre is a very interesting one. Considering that two of those books were written during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, it’s remarkable how little things have changed.
On the musical tip, I managed to get some more digi-ma-tizing done (not as much as I wanted, but you have to take what you can get), so the flow of soulful ones and zeros should continue unabated.
Today’s selection is another of my record show finds from the fall, in which DJs Prestige, Prime and myself ran roughshod over a huge table of three-dollar 45s and walked away with a number of gems.
When, in the course of flipping through a stack of singles I happened upon the name ‘Society’s Bag’, I recognized it and put the 45 aside immediately pending further investigation. Though I hadn’t heard the record before, I had certainly heard of it, as it had been included in the ‘What It Is’ funk boxed set. When I slid it onto the portable for a preview it took but a few short seconds to realize that this record (and three less dollars) was coming home with me.
It was only when I got home and gave the tune a thorough listen (and the label a closer reading) that the factual stew got a tiny bit thicker.
The song ‘Let It Crawl’, a downtempo funker with groovy clavinet and the occasional bit of vocal punctuation seemed awfully familiar. After a spin or two I realized that the backing track on the record was actually ‘Chittlin’ Salad’ by the Soul Runners. When I saw the name Fred Smith on the label, things started to come into focus.
Fred Smith** is one of the great West Coast R&B/soul/funk record men, having had a long history with the Arvee, Tri-Disc, Mirwood, Keyman and Mo Soul labels and artists like the Olympics, Bob & Earl, the Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band and, more importantly the Soul Runners.
‘Chittlin’ Salad’ is credited to Smith and longtime collaborator James Carmichael. ‘Let It Crawl’ is credited to Smith, arranger Gene Page***, Bob Relf and Earl Nelson****. Relf and Nelson had both been major collaborators of Smith’s at Mirwood.
I can’t say for sure, but it would appear that the Soul Runners personnel may intersect with some of the same players that recorded ‘Hole In the Wall’ as the Packers (more here on that). What I do know is that the Soul Runners were not – as has been widely assumed/reported – the Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band, the only real connection being the involvement of Smith and Carmichael.
It is at this point that the trail grows cold, re-emerging some four or five years later in 1972 when Smith reheated ‘Chittlin’ Salad’ (with some new dressing) as ‘Let It Crawl’. Certainly, this practice is not unheard of (check the article referenced above, as well as the discography of almost any soul label) with backing tracks being recycled all the time, often instrumental reappearing with vocals (or vice versa). If anyone has the details specific to this case, I’d love to hear the story.
I hope you dig the track.
Peace
Larry

*In person that is. The E-dig continues unabated.

**Smith’s mother was comedienne Effie Smith, well known to funk and soul diggers for her series of “telephone” records, where she performed a comedy rap as if she were conducting a telephone conversation. I have a couple of these 45s and will be sure to post one in the future.

***Page was a major West Coast arranger through the 1960’s and went on to arrange the strings on most of Barry White’s biggest hits.

****Relf and Nelson also known as Bob & Earl (‘Harlem Shuffle’, ‘Dancing Everywhere’) , Nelson also recording under the names Jackie Lee (‘The Duck’) , Earl Cosby, Jay Dee and Chip Nelson (?!?!)

Jackie Wilson – I Get the Sweetest Feeling

January 28, 2008

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The Great Jackie Wilson

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Listen – I Get the Sweetest Feeling – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope you all had a most excellent weekend, as did I.
In addition to the usual attempts to hold exhaustion at bay, errands, grocery shopping and (if I’m lucky) some time with the records, my wife and I took our four-year-old son to his first movie. I’m happy to say that it was a gas. Some of my fondest memories of childhood have to do with going to matinees on the weekend, and no matter how many movies I watch on my iPod, nothing, I repeat NOTHING can replace the experience of watching a movie on the big screen.
If you’ve got small kids, you know how hard it is to get to see any movies in a theater, so the opportunity to go out (even if it is a Veggie Tales film) and share that experience with our son was pretty cool. Though he’ll probably never know the wonder of a double feature of ‘The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes’ and ‘The Vanishing Prairie’, I think he’ll get by.
In a completely unplanned segue, today’s selection also carries with it (at least for me) a cinematic connotation.
A few years ago my wife and I were watching an Irish film called ‘The Closer You Get’, and toward the end of the film today’s selection – then completely unknown to me – came on and I was just blown away. Fortunately the music credits at the end of the film were legible ( a rare occurrence) and I discovered – much to my soul fans chagrin – that the tune was ‘I Get the Sweetest Feeling’ by the mighty Jackie Wilson.
I’m ashamed – yet momentarily humble enough – to admit to you that I slept on the music of Jackie Wilson for a long, long time. Though there’s no denying the power of a record like ‘Lonely Teardrops’ or ‘Higher and Higher’ (curse you Rita Coolidge), I was totally unfamiliar with much of Wilson’s catalog.
I looked for a longtime for a copy of this record (once even getting burned by a smalltime EBay lowlife), even going so far as to buy it on CD (Ohhh the indignity!!!) before this past Fall when I found a copy of the LP on my little digging interlude in Baltimore (thanks Vincent!).
Once the vinyl was in my hands, it was only a (brief) matter of time before I had to share it with you in this space.
As it turns out – and not a bit surprisingly – ‘I Get the Sweetest Feeling’ is a longtime Northern Soul fave, so much so that the Soulies pushed it back onto the UK charts in 1972 (Wilson originally recorded/released the tune in 1968, the same year as versions by Erma Franklin and one by the Platters, which I’d love to hear). The record is contains all manner of Northern Soulie bait, including a very nice four on the floor beat, classy vibraphone and harp accents, tasteful horns and an absolutely wonderful, hook-filled melody (courtesy of none other than Van McCoy).
During the time I’ve been typing this piece I’ve listened to the song no less than a dozen times, and could probably go on listening for a few dozen more.
I hope you dig it as much as I do.
Peace
Larry

PS I updated the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive, and created a similar page for the Iron Leg Digital Trip Podcasts. Check them out when you get a week or two…

PSS Check out this article in the New York Times wherein Lenny Kravitz send a little love out to Sharon Jones  the Daop Kings and the mighty Budos Band!!

Friday Recycling: Chairmen of the Board – From the Days of Pigtails (and Fairy Tales)

January 25, 2008

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Greetings all.

This is a repost (original date 4/2006) of what I consider to be a seriously slept on funky side by the Chairmen of the Board, especially interesting as it backs a huge hit, so it should be cheap and plentiful. I hope you dig it, and that you all have a most excellent weekend.

See you on Monday.

Peace

Larry

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Stand up and salute! It’s General Johnson.

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Download/Listen  – From the Days of Pigtails (and Fairy Tales) – MP3

Friday has arrived once again, the weekend is upon us, and I must take this chance to say, huzzah! Kudos to the inventors of the weekend, the 40 hour work week (as it is), labor laws and health insurance (again, as it is…). I invoke these great – and often forgotten – pioneers, because if they ever had the opportunity to return from the great beyond, and see who’s running this country, they would, to the last, expire again immediately, their ghostly faces twisted in disbelief.

<<At this point I have excised some non-timely political rant. Should you wish to read it, check out April 2006 in the archives. – LG <<

So, anyway, how’s about some music? I’ve gone on before about the joy of discovering a great new track, and haven’t been above admitting the instances when I had been unable to see the forest for the trees. This is one such instance. A few weeks ago, via a Myspace friend, Spain’s own Gruyere DJ, I received a link to download his New Years Eve DJ mix. I did so, and the mix was excellent, featuring a wide variety of rare funk nuggets, as well as a bunch of stuff that was not familiar to me. One such track appeared less than 15 minutes into the mix, and it was a killer. I immediately recued the tune (three of four times), listening to see if I might recognize the singer(s), or if any of the lines might reveal a familiar title. No such luck. So, I tried to contact Gruyere DJ to ask him who it was. The Myspace link wouldn’t load. So, I posted a query over at Soulstrut, figuring that one of the learned heads over there would recognize the refrain. Snake eyes…. Then I tried Google-ing the lyrics, only to discover that the main line in the chorus also appeared in a Jackson Five song (this was clearly not the same song, nor was it the Jackson Five). I thought I had reached a dead end. Then Myspace started working again, and I got a message through to my amigo in Spain. He got back to me in short order, and informed me that the track was ‘Since the Days of Pigtails (and Fairy Tales)’ by the Chairmen of the Board. So I start searching around to see how I an get myself a copy of this funky gem, and lo and behold, it turns out to be residing on the b-side of a huge hit, ‘Give Me Just A Little More Time’. Well, dip me in shit and call me stinky! Naturally, I found a nice copy for under ten bucks, and had it drop through the mail slot a few short days later. If you’ve heard the song (which I’m sure someone out there does), you’ll already know how smoking hot it is. If you’re as blissfully ignorant as I was, it should come as a very nice surprise indeed. The Chairmen of the Board was one of the top acts in Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Invictus/Hot wax stable. Formed in 1968, by General Johnson – who had previously been in the Showmen, who’s Beach Music anthem ‘It Will Stand was a hit in 1961 and 1964 (for Minit and Imperial) – Danny Woods and Harrison Kennedy, hit the top ten several times between 1970 and 1973. ‘Since the Days of Pigtails (and Fairy Tales)’ appeared on their 1970 debut LP, and was credited to Ronald Dunbar and Edith Wayne. The Dunbar/Wayne credit, which was also attached to Freda Payne’s ‘Band of Gold’ (among other tunes) was in fact a pseudonym for Holland-Dozier-Holland who were still contractually obligated (as songwriters) to the Motown organization. That LP also featured the original recording of Patches (written by General Johnson) which went on to be a huge hit for Clarence Carter. While the a-side of the 45, ‘Give Me Just A Little More Time’ is one of the most fondly remembered early 70’s soul classics – which strangely enough did better on the Pop charts (#3) than the R&B charts (#8) – it’s killer flipside is what we’re hear to talk about today. Starting off with a funky guitars and tambourine, the good General drops in with the first few lines before the congas, and then the drums kick the tune into gear. The first chorus takes things to another level entirely, bolstered by the horn section. The arrangement is clean, mean and delicious, with enough kick to please the funk fans and the dancers, and plenty of hooks for the pop crowd. Why this didn’t catch on to create one of the great two-sided hits of all time is beyond me. I’d place it up there with ‘Band of Gold’, and Laura Lee’s ‘Crumbs off the Table’ as the absolute best of Invictus/Hot Wax. So the next time you’re prowling garage sales and flea markets, bring along an extra quarter. You’ll be able to get your own copy of this killer. You can thank me then.

Derek Martin – Daddy Rollin’ Stone

January 23, 2008

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Derek Martin circa 2008

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Listen – Daddy Rollin’ Stone – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope you’ve all been slipping, sliding and grinding (oh my!) to the groove grease posted herein on Monday. I always slap these babies onto the iPod and play them at work all day long (though I managed to listen to all nine Beethoven symphonies (albeit quietly) one day last week). I just can’t get enough of that Hammond goodness, and I hope some of you feel the same way.
Last Friday, when I was working the decks at the Asbury Park 45 Sessions, my time (limited as it was) was coming to a close, so I quickly had to formulate and cue up my last two 45s. I had already planned on the Four Larks as my closer, but I had three or four sides hanging in the middle of the box so that I had some choices at just such a moment. As I flipped through the biscuits my attention was caught by an exceptionally hot and tasty one, that being Derek Martin’s ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’. I immediately slapped it on the table, cued it up and let it rip to great reaction, especially from the Empress herself.
Back in the Fall when I finally found a copy of this record down in Baltimore, I was – as they say – gassed. I’d been searching for it since the old Mod/Garage days, when I was first exposed to its intoxicating soulfulness via the cover by the Who.
It should come as no surprise that ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ was something of a Mod anthem (back in the OG Mod days), since it inspired covers by groups containing certifiable Mods, those being the Who (of course) and Johns Children (led by ace face Marc Bolan)*. Give the record a listen and you’ll see why.
Props must be distributed to our pals across the pond, because it was they, not we, who really embraced Black music from the States in a serious way, especially of the R&B and soul varieties. Drop the needle on ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ and hear the very template for smoky basement clubs crowded with parkaed souls, carried away by the spirit (and amphetamines).
Derek Martin (who, thanks to a reader, I got a picture off of his Myspace page) was a Detroit singer who got his start recording with the Pearls in 1954, moving on to the Top Notes (with pianist Dave Clowney, later known as Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez), and Jimmy Ricks and the Raves, with whom he first recorded ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ for Atco.
The song itself was penned and first recorded in 1953 by the mighty Otis Blackwell – best know for writing a grip of classic tunes like ‘Fever’, ‘Handy Man’ and ‘Great Balls of Fire’.
Martin’s solo take on ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ is an absolutely inspired bit of groovery. Opening with a snappy little drum rol, the back-up singers (no less than crucial to the success of this record) fall by with the WAAA WAAA WAAA’s and then Derek himself whips out a little Ray Charles-ery and the whole things gets rolling like a Sherman tank of cool, verily unstoppable. The call and response action between Martin and the girls is pure brilliance, with a crazy bit of stop/start action that sets my hair on end every time I hear it. There’s a very cool sax solo, then Derek comes back and takes the whole thing home.
SOLID.
And then there’s the words, which are of course one hundred percent BAD ASS.

I got a friend named Coley**,
He’s got a girl named Chris,
I’m gonna steal that girl though he’s twice my size,
‘Cause I know how to do it like this.

Do WHAT brother?
I think I know.
This is the kind of stuff to make your backbone snap and your feet start burning up the floor.
Makes you want to close all the windows and turn up the heat on account of you NEED to be sweating when this monster is chewing up your HI FI.
So stomp your hands, clap your feet and feel the soul, ‘cause if this doesn’t do it for you…
Peace
Larry

PS Don’t forget to fall by Iron Leg for some cool sounds.

*There’s even a very nice version from the 70′s by the New York Dolls

**Most transcriptions I’ve seen name Derek’s “friend” as “Cody”, but I’ve listened to the song a bunch of times and I keep hearing something closer to “Coley”. If anyone knows for sure, let me know.

Funky16Corners Radio v.42 – Soul Organs Vol. 3

January 21, 2008

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The Late, Great Billy Preston

Funky16Corners Radio v.42 – Soul Organs Vol 3

Playlist

1. Charles Kynard – Where It’s At (World Pacific)
2. Jimmy Caravan – UFO (Vault)
3. Labert Ellis – Batman (A&M)
4. Bull & the Matadors – Funky Judge (Toddlin’ Town)
5. Little Mac & the Boss Sounds – Midnight Hour (Atlantic)
6. Drippers – Honey Bunch Pt2 (Moon Shot)
7. Derek David – The Morning After (Pagan)
8. Leon & the Burners – Whiplash (Josie)
9. Larry Hale – Organ Shout & Do the Duck (Columbia)
10. Pacesetters – Freedom and Justice (Kent)
11. Jimmy Caravan – Higher & Higher (Vault)
12. JC Davis – Monkey (Chess)
13. Billy Preston – Billy’s Bag (VeeJay)
14. Earl Van Dyke & the Soul Brothers – The Flick Pt2 (Soul)
15. Wild Bill Davis – Breaking Out Pt1 (RCA)
16. Freddie Roach – One Track Mind (Blue Note)
17. Hank Marr – Marr’s Groove (Wingate)

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

 

Greetings all.
Man…I know I go on and on about this, but I am tired.
Exhausta-ma-fied.
I spun at the Asbury Park 45 Sessions on Friday, went out and ran errands on Saturday (though I got some fresh new kicks…) and this morning I had to be pried out of bed with a crowbar.
However, like the postal service, we get our MP3’s up in the spot no matter what brothers and sisters, and this has been a two podcast weekend. I’m posting a very groovy, now sound-ish mix over at Iron Leg (with a HUGE accompanying post) and, as promised Funky16Corners is back with yet another dip into the Hammond crates.
I know that not everyone is as much of a Hammond nut as I am, but when the spirit strikes I must follow, and I think I’ve whipped together a very nice selection of 45s for your delectation.
Though the title is Soul Organs Vol. 3, I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that things might slip into the realm of funk now and again, but since we have 16 corners, and all of them happen to be funky there’s not much I can do about that (not that I anticipate many complaints).
Since most of you will be pulling down the ones and zeros as a start to your week, I figured that I ought to get things started with something a little – how do they say – lively, and things don’t get any livelier than Charles Kynard’s ‘Where It’s At’, which shoots out of the gate at 100MPH and just gets faster. Kynard absolutely sets the Hammond on fire. If you’re lucky enough to fid yourself a copy of this 45, be forewarned that the flip is just as hot.
Jimmy Caravan’s ‘UFO’ is – much to my chagrin – making a return appearance (it was part of Radio v.34, which I didn’t recall until after the mix was done – but since it’s such a groovy track I hope you’ll forgive me. That said, Caravan, who recorded two excellent Hammond LPs in the late 60’s, makes two appearances in this podcast.
Labert Ellis made one 45 in his lifetime, and it is one of the great Hammond two-siders I have ever encountered (the flipside, ‘Dancing In the Streets’ was on Radio v.27 Soul Organs Vol 1). Ellis’ fired up version of the Batman theme is a killer.
You may be familiar with Bull & the Matadors’ ‘Funky Judge’ but how many of you knew that its b-side was an organ instro of the same song? I have no idea who the organist is, but he does a fine job.
Little Mac & the Boss Sounds version of ‘Midnight Hour’ appeared on the flipside of a vocal (You Can’t Love Me” (In the Midnight Hour) ) by Ann Mason. I believe this record is of North Carolina origin and I’ve heard say that Little Mac was originally a church organist and may have been blind.
I’ll go ahead and admit that I know nothing about the Drippers and ‘Honey Bunch’. I always assumed that Moon Shot was a Philadelphia area label, having also released sides by Cliff Nobles and the Delfonics, but even that’s just a guess.
As far as I’ve been able to tell, Derek David is the vocalist on the flipside of ‘The Morning After’. Pagan was a Washington, D.C. based label, and David had recorded other vocal sides for the label. Either way, ‘The Morning After’ is one of my favorite moody organ sides.
Leon and the Burners were a Cleveland, Ohio group, who recorded one excellent two-sider for the Josie label in 1965. Opening with a slow drumbeat, ‘Whiplash’ picks up speed gradually eventually working into a nice groove. The flip side ‘Crack Up’ is also quite good.
‘Organ Shout and Do the Duck’ (the flipside of ‘Shout and Do the Duck’, natch) is credited to Larry Hale, but due to the fact that Hale was a vocalist; my suspicion has always been that the organist is someone else (who, I don’t know).
The Pacesetters ‘Freedom and Justice’ has long been rumored to be the work of none other than Bootsy and Phelps Collins, who had played and recorded under that name prior to joining the James Brown band and are believed to have revived the name for this one-off 45 for Kent (the flip is a tune called ‘Push On Jesse Jackson’.
I don’t have anything more to tell you about Jimmy Caravan, other than his take on Jackie Wilson’s ‘Higher and Higher’ is a gas.
As far as I know, the J.C. Davis that recorded the wild ‘Monkey’ was in fact a sax player and vocalist. The identity of the organist is a mystery.
Everyone is familiar with Billy Preston via his big hits in the 70’s, but only the Mods among you will be hip to his early work for Veejay and Capitol (among other labels), his time as a sideman to giants like Ray Charles, and as a regular on Shindig. Preston recorded a number of fantastic organ instrumentals, my favorite being the UK dance floor fave ‘Billy’s Bag’.
In his capacity as leader of the Funk Brothers, Earl Van Dyke was the keyboardist on the lions share of Motown recordings in the 60’s. Aside from backing any number of singers, Van Dyke and the Soul Brothers recorded a number of excellent organ instros, including the Northern Soul fave ‘Six By Six’ and my personal fave ‘The Flick’.
Wild Bill Davis was a pioneering jazz organist who was also spent time working as a pianist with Louis Jordan during his hitmaking years. Like many Hammond jazzers, Davis moved on through R&B and soul in the 60’s. and the finest of his sides from this era is the hard charging ‘Breakin’ Out’.
The New York based organist Freddie Roach recorded a number of albums in the 60’s as both leader and sideman for the Blue Note and Prestige labels. ‘One Track Mind’ has a relaxed, yet funky groove’
The mix closes out with a real Funky16Corners favorite, Mr. Hank Marr. Marr recorded the bulk of his work for the King label, but for me his finest sides were waxed for the Wingate label in Detroit. ‘Marr’s Groove’ (actually one side of a split 45 with ‘Stitt’s Groove’ by Sonny Stitt on the other) is a great showcase for Marr on both piano and organ.
So, I hope you dig the grooves. I’m off to try and grab a little extra sleep.

Peace
Larry

PS Head on over to Iron Leg for a groovy new Now Sound Podcast!

Asbury Park 45 Sessions Recap

January 19, 2008

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Example

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Listen – Deacon John Moore – You Don’t Know How (To Turn Me On )- MP3″

Funky16Corners Set List

Rudy Ray Moore – The Turning Point (Kent)
Harvey Scales & the 7 Sounds – The Get Down (Magic Touch)
Johnny Griffith – Do It (Triple B)
Fred Lowery with Big Bo & the Arrows – Ride the Iron Horse (Cotillion)
Irene Reid – Dirty Old Man (Old Town)
Emperors – My Baby Likes To Boogaloo (Mala)
Junior & the Classics – Mix Up a Go Go (Magic Touch)
Lonnie Brooks – Let It All Hang Out (Chess)
Deacon John Moore – You Don’t Know How To Turn Me On (Bell)
Betty Harris – Mean Man (Sansu)
Benny Poole – Sorry Bout That (Solid Hit)
Derek Martin – Daddy Rollin’ Stone (Crackerjack)
The Four Larks – Groovin at the Go Go (Tower)

Greetings all…

Just a short recap of the festivities of night the last at the World Famous Asbury Lanes.
Things at the Asbury Park 45 Sessions were – once again – most excellent, with the always dynamic combination of hot wax, groovy people, tater tots and, of course, bowling balls.
Though a dire need for sleep caused me to bug out early (I volunteered to do the first set), I did catch sets by DJ Prestige and DJ Prime (both excellent), got to pal around with the other 45 Sessions regulars, and met Conn Shawnery of Canada’s Afrokats Records. I also managed to work some vinyl trades with your friend and mine DJ Bluewater. The results of said trade will of course be seen in this space in the not too distant future.
Though the sets haven’t been archived, I do happen to have on hand one of the smoking platters I dropped last night, a slice of New Orleans funk from guitarist/singer Deacon John Moore. The remainder of the set composed of a variety of hot funk, heavy soul and ending (as has been my tradition) with a slice of pure, danceable soul.
I hope you dig it, and as the set lists roll in, they will of course be posted.
If you’ll excuse, I’ll now return to vege-ma-tating my Saturday away.

Peace
Larry

DJ Bluewater Set List

Samson and Delilah – Theres A DJ In Your Town – (Indigo)
Ernie and The Top Notes – Dap Walk – (Fordom)
Alex Williams and The Mustangs – Moondust – (Jewel)
The Masai – Across The Tracks – (Contempo)
Ernie Hawks & The IG’s – Soulful Trip Pt. 1 – (Nite Club)
Polyversal Souls – Sad Nile – (Fryers)
El Rego – Vimado Wingnan – (Aux Ecoutes)
Emotions – Blind Alley – (Volt)
Little Mary Staten – Steppin’ Stone – (GME)
Nicole Willis and The Soul Investigators – If This Ain’t Love – (Timmion)
Helene Smith – You Got To Be A Man – (Phil L.A. of Soul)
Frank Williams and The Rocketeers feat. Little Beaver – Got to Be A Man – (Phil L.A. of Soul)
Yvonne Fair – Say Yeah Yeah – (Dade)
Inell Young – What Do You See In Her – (Libra)
Little Ron Johnson – I Keep Telling You – (Hard Times)
Levert Allison – Sugar Daddy – (Elbejay)
4th Coming – You’re My Precious Someone – (Alpha)

DJ Prime Set List

scotch plains – raider marching band – the horse (hmr)
white stripes – conquest (guitar intro)
grant green – the battle part 1 (blue note)
popcorn wylie – funky rubber band (soul)
tina turner – whole lotta love (united artists)
james spencer – take this woman off the corner (memphis)
the sylvers – fool’s paradise (pride)
isley brothers – i turned you on (t neck)
gloria lynne – if you don’t get it yourself (canyon)
billy the baron & his smokin’ challengers – communication is where it’s at (grill)
ted taylor – the road of love (ronn)
fatback band – goin’ to see my baby (perception)
rimshots – dance girl (astroscope)
little royal – razor blade (trius)
charles wright & the watts 103rd st. band – must be your thing (warner bros.)
ruby & the party gang – hey ruby (shut your mouth) (law-ton)
soul patrol – saigon strut (shamley)
sons of slum – right on (stax)

DJ Prestige Set List

Mr. World Intro
Andrew White – Who Got De Funk/ Andrew’s Music
Detroit Sex Machines – Funky Crawl/ Soul Track
The T.M.G.’s – The Hatch/ Funk 45
Mel Brown – Chicken Fat/ impulse!
Ron Holden – I Need Ya/ Now
Diana Ross and the Supremes – He’s My Sunny Boy/ Motown
Gene Dozier & the Brotherhood – A Hunk of Funk/ Minit
The Dap Kings – Nervous Like Me/ Kay-Dee
Javier Rodrigez – Rumble/ Raw Wax
The Watts 103rd St. Band – Spreadin’ Honey/ Keymen
The Detroit Night Riders – Getting Funky/ Mutt
Pucho & Latin Soul Bros. – Freddie’s Dead/ Zanzee
Nu-Sound Express – Ain’t It Good Enough/ Silver Dollar (x2)
The Intrigues – In A Moment/ Yew
The LTG Exchange – Waterbed Part One/ Wand Fania
The T.S.U. Tornadoes – Getting the Corners/ Atlantic
The Isley Brothers – Don’t Give It Away/ T Neck
Ray Barretto – Soul Drummers/ Fania
Mugo – Organize (Kenny Dope Edit)/ Kay-Dee
Ken Lazarus & the Crew – Monkey Man/ Steady Records
Outro: The Penguins – Hey Senorita/ DooTone

 

Friday Recycling: Manu Dibango – New Bell

January 18, 2008

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Greetings all.

The weekend is almost upon us, and I for one am suffering from an extended bout of sleep deprivation. This, and I’ll be spinning at the latest edition of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions (at the World Famous Asbury Lanes…see below) this Friday 1/18. So, in a feeble attempt to budget what little time remains (and to maybe try and hit the sack a little early this evening) I’m pulling an old post –  (from October of 2006) that just happens to feature an extraordinarily wonderful song –  out of the archives and slapping it into yon blogspotte as a spaceholder of sorts.

If all goes as planned I’ll be back on Monday with a new Funky16Corners Radio podcast. Until then, I’ll invite you once again to join us at the 45 Sessions (either in person or on the interwebs at JamNow), and hope you dig the Afro-funk.

Peace

Larry

Example

Example

Manu Dibango

Example

Listen – New Bell MP3″

Originally posted 10/2006 

Greetings
We gather here today, in the figurative bottom of the ninth inning, three men on base, two outs, the crowd on its feet, and it’s all hanging in the balance.
What “it” is, at least from my particular viewpoint is the concept of the weekend, i.e. the reward we all hope to get after being beaten like a rented mule for five days. No one who works for a living can be faulted for placing a great deal of hope in the restorative powers – physical and spiritual – of the weekend. It doesn’t matter whether you plan to lie on the couch in your jammies eating milk and cookies, fire up the leaf blower, or head out into the cold, dark night in search of the warmth of alcohol and /or human companionship.

When Friday night comes, all bets are off.
In my own case, I arrive here today after one of the slowest weeks in recent memory, filled to the brim with paperwork, general hassles and the grand parade of ignorami (that being the plural of ignoramus) that beset me almost daily. This is not to say that I do not enjoy the company of many of the folks I work with. In fact, I would have to say that in all my years at this particular job, I have never worked with a mellower bunch. However, when I say that, I refer only to those people that work in the same department with me. The people I have to deal with, all day long from the moment I walk into the building until I make my escape at 4:30, the people that hang around my neck like the ancient mariner’s albatross, the people that more often than not do nothing but lower my appraisal of humanity….they work in other departments.
I only tell you this to put a fine point on exactly how important the weekend is to me, personally.
It’s freedom, brothers and sisters.
It is in that spirit that I bring you a track so hot, so full of life, so…so funky, that I give you my personal guarantee that if you download it, give it the old zip-a-dee-doo-dah and shuffle it off into your MP3 delivery system, that its medicinal value will be revealed immediately, allowing you to launch yourselves into your own little slice of freedom today, or for that matter any time you want a taste of why you bother working for a living.
When I drop the needle on Manu Dibango’s ‘New Bell’, it makes me want to get my big & tall dashiki out of cold storage and do the hokey pokey until the break of day.
For those that don’t know – and I would sincerely hope that it’s not too many of you – Manu Dibango, “The Lion of Cameroon” is the cat that hit the international stage like an A-bomb in 1972 with ‘Soul Makossa’*. If you haven’t heard that particular song, I’d recommend highly that you hit the garage sales and flea markets tomorrow with a shiny quarter clutched in your hand, because that is all you will need to get a copy of that particular 45.
It is with that potent serving of Afro-funk, that the Manu Dibango story begins and ends. However, Dibango has had a long and versatile career, working in jazz (where he got his beginnings), funk and world beat, still playing today well into his 70’s.
The world of Afro-funk/Afro-beat is one that I have only scratched the surface of. As far as original vinyl sources, other than artists that have been widely issued outside of Africa (like Dibango or Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who we will be visiting with sometime next week), you pretty much have to be satisfied with reissues and compilations. Suffice to say (and listening to this track will illustrate it nicely) African artists, especially the two I just mentioned, who both spent a lot of time outside of Africa in their musically formative years, were listening to a lot of American funk and soul – especially James Brown – mixing those sounds with indigenous beats and modern African pop music. Considering how much US blues, funk and soul owe to African roots; you end up with one big musical Moebius strip, folding back in on itself from every angle.
Listening to ‘New Bell’, or other Dibango heaters like ‘Weya’, it’s not hard to understand why Dibango was so popular. While he created a densely layered funk, with multi-level instrumental interplay not unlike any contemporary James Brown production – he also worked in a touch of jazz (listen to Dibango’s soprano sax, and the electric piano solos) and just enough of an African vibe to spice up the mix. The end result was hypnotic and supremely danceable.
If you can get your hands on the original ‘Soul Makossa’ LP, as well as it’s follow up ‘Makossa Man’ (both released domestically on Atlantic) do so post haste. While ‘Soul Makossa’, ‘New Bell’ and ‘Weya’ all saw release as 45 edits (the first two domestically, and ‘Weya’ in Europe), it is really worth tracking down the albums for the extended mixes of all of these tunes, which are amazing. If you’re ever lucky enough to find the 45 of Dibango’s ‘Salt Popcorn’ – also known as ‘Dikalo’ – you’ll hear things get even funkier.
Fortunately there are a couple of excellent ‘Best of’ comps of Manu Dibango’s best work, though you’ll have to pick up a couple of them to get all of the best tracks.
Have a (really) good weekend.

* The last time I wrote about Manu Dibango, I received a couple of e-mail communiques from folks who let me know that despite the repeated appearance of the word ‘Makossa’ in his songs (they even mention it in the beginning of ‘New Bell’), that his music bears little resemblance to actual Makossa music. One of the commenters on this old post lays it out better than I can.

The Four Sonics – You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me

January 16, 2008

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The Four Sonics

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Listen – You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope all is groovy in your neck of the soulful woods.
I started out the day by walking outside in a t-shirt and discovering a thick coating of ice on our windshields, which I promptly started scraping (still in a t-shirt), ending up chilled to the bone and with gnarled, frozen fingers. What a hoot… I shouldn’t complain. We’re already midway through January and we have yet to see more than a dusting of snow, so in the long run a frosty windshield and some cold fingers is a small price to pay for not having to fire up the snow blower.
I came upon today’s selection a while back while trolling through some 45 crates at a record show. Though I’d never heard of the Four Sonics, I knew that the Sport label was home to a number of excellent 60’s Detroit soul 45s, so I grabbed it. When I gave it a test run on the GP3, I happened to spin the uptempo a-side, which convinced me to fork over the three dollars. It wasn’t until I got home and started to digimatize my haul that I flipped the disc and gave the b-side a listen, which it turns out was the right thing to do, on account of no matter how dance-y the topside of this 45 is, the flip is exponentially ballad-y and melodramatic, so I figured I’d save the uptempo for another day and whip the flip on you now.
I have to start out by saying that when I saw that the Four Sonics had recorded a version of ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’ I was dubious as I’ve never been a huge fan of the Dusty Springfield version (though that may be the result of oldies radio overplay induced fatigue).
The tune, written by Pino Donaggio and Vito Pallavicini as “Io che non vivo (senza te)” was given English lyrics by Simon Napier-Bell and Vicki Wickham and taken into the Top Ten by Springfield in 1966.
The Four Sonics, who recorded two 45s for the Sport label in 1968 got their start as the Velvet Angels, a group that rose from the ashes of Nolan Strong and the Diablos (bass singer Jay Johnson was a Diablo, and Strong is rumored to have appeared on some of the Velvet Angels 45s). The group, consisting of Johnson, Bill Frazier, Steve Gaston and Eddie Daniels went on to record 45s for Sepia (as the Four Sonics+1), Triple B and JMC.
The Sport label – which benefited from the involvement of one Andre Williams, who recorded one 45 under his own name for the label (and produced some others) – released eleven 45s between 1967 and 1969, including one of the earliest sides by the Dramatics.
The Four Sonics version of ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’ is an absolutely monumental slice of sweet harmony soul, with a breathtaking falsetto lead. Produced by Shelley Haims (who I believe was the owner of Sport Records), the arrangement which manages to maintain just a touch of Motor City grit beneath the lush harmonies is taken a slightly more deliberate pace than Springfields, with a little more 4/4 pounding in the chorus. It’s a great example (like many of the decidedly more austere recordings by the Van Dykes) of the application of an earlier type of R&B vocal harmony to peak era soul.
I hope you dig it.
Peace
Larry
 

PS Remember, the Asbury Park 45 Sessions returns this Friday, 1/18 at the World Famous Asbury Lanes. Hot funk and soul 45s, bowling and (of course) tater tots in full effect. If you’re a reader of the blog and you fall by, be sure to come up and say hi! If you can’t be there in person you can always check it out live on the interwebs at JamNow.

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Marlena Shaw / Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – California Soul(s)

January 14, 2008

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Marlena Shaw (top) Marvin & Tammi (bottom)

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Listen – Marlena Shaw – California Soul – MP3″

Listen – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – California Soul – MP3″

Greetings all.

How’s it going y’all?
All is well on this end, despite the likelihood of snow this evening.
We had a great time at my son Miles’ 4th birthday party yesterday, and I even got in some excellent (unexpected) LP digs this afternoon (a nice pile of vinyl accumulated in under 20 minutes), which will yield a number of future Funky16Corners features.
Today’s selections have been sitting in the hopper for about a month now, just waiting form me to get my shit together and put a post together.
The song ‘California Soul’ has been on my radar since my Mom brought the 5th Dimension’s ‘Stone Soul Picnic’ LP into the house in 1969, when I was but a wee lad of seven summers. I don’t think I heard another version of the tune until I was well into my twenties, and then I think it might have been the cover by the Gerald Wilson Orchestra.
I didn’t get familiar with the Marlena Shaw version until DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist used the break in the Brainfreeze mix sometime around 2000. Though I have a grip of Marlena Shaw stuff in my crates, I only managed to score a copy of the ‘California Soul’ 45 (one of the many funky sides that had its price driven into the stratosphere by the Brainfreeze phenom) late in 2007. Oddly enough, there are two versions of the 45 on Cadet, which released it once as an a-side, and then again later in 1969 as a b-side (the one I have).
The tune, written by Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson was (I believe) originally recorded by the 5th Dimension, who had a Top 40 hit with the song toward the end of 1968.
It was my main intention to post the Marlena Shaw version – which is in my opinion the finest of all – because the full song, not just the amazing breakbeat with which it opens – needs to be heard.
It pays to note that none of these many versions (there’s also a nice take by the Undisputed Truth) would be possible without the always outstanding songcraft of Ashford and Simpson. They wrote many remarkable songs, but ‘California Soul’ holds a special place in my heart (and ears) because I feel that it’s really a unique intersection between soul and pop music in that it works the whole late-60’s California mythos into an elegantly soulful bag.
Shaw’s version (with some of that Richard Evans magic) is remarkable because it has a propulsive force that is largely absent in the other versions, thanks in large part to the drumming. Though I’m not positive, I believe that the drumming on ‘California Soul’ is provided by Morris Jennings Jr., a favorite of Evans and a major player in the Cadet sound, on records by the Soulful Strings (I think it’s Jennings working the break on ‘Jingle Bells’), Ramsey Lewis and many others. This in addition to Shaw’s undeniably powerful vocal. If you aren’t on the Marlena Shaw tip, this record ought to be enough to send you there.
The drums and handclaps provide the bottom, surrounded with a lush blanket of strings (oh so soulful…), piano and of course Shaw.
In contrast is the much mellower take on the tune by Marvin Gaye and (maybe) Tammi Terrell. Their version was recorded during Terrell’s physical decline (she was suffering from a brain tumor) and released after her death, on their last duet LP ‘Easy’.
The rumor has always been (thanks to claims by Gaye himself) that the vocals on this tune (and many tunes recorded during this period) were not in fact Terrell, but actually Valerie Simpson (something that Simpson herself has denied).
There is – at least to my ears – a different feel in the vocals on ‘California Soul’, especially on the line (my favorite part of the lyric)

‘so the people started to sing, and that’s how the surf gave birth I’m told…’,

where the feel is much more Simpson than Terrell. Whether this is in fact an ailing Terrell, or Simpson (no less than eight of the 12 tracks on the ‘Easy’ LP are Ashford/Simpson compositions) I can’t say for sure. This should in no way diminish the legacy of Terrell as an outstanding vocalist. Though her discography is tragically short, it’s very long on quality. Either way I dig this version, and I hope you do to.
Sometime in the future, if I’m in the right mood I may have to put together an all-‘California Soul’ podcast.
See you later in the week.
Peace
Larry

Head on over to Iron Leg if you wish to partake in some garage pop…

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PS Don’t forget the Asbury Park 45 Sessions return this Friday 1/18 to the World Famous Asbury Lanes!!

PSS Thanks to the folks at NRC Next in the Netherlands for the nice writeup of Funky16Corners!

Funky16Corners Meets Dolemite! – Special Mix

January 11, 2008

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Funky16Corners Meets Dolemite!
Special Mix for Jazz Syndicate Radio

Bill Blacks Combo – Shoo Be Doo Be Doo Be Do Dah Day (Hi)
Mighty Hannibal – Jerkin’ the Dog (Shurfine)
Kool & the Gang – The Gang’s Back Again (Dee Lite)
Rufus Thomas – Sister’s Got a Boyfriend (Stax)
Johnny Goode – Payback (Solid Hit)
Bill Cosby – Road Runner (WB)
Mr C & Funk Junction – Hot Butter’n’All (Hurdy Gurdy)
Della Reese – Compared to What (Avco)
Toby King – Mr Tuff Stuff (Federal)
Marva Whitney – It’s My Thing (King)
Triplett Twins – Get It (Thomas)
Joe Haywood – Sing Me A Cornbread Song (Decca)
Willie Mitchell – Pearl Time (Hi)
Rudy Ray Moore & the Fillmore St Soul Rebellion – Put Your Weight On It (Generation)

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

 

Greetings all.
I figured I’d finish out the week by posting the mix I put together for Tony C over at Jazz Syndicate Radio in the UK. The show will actually be rerun one more time (Friday morning 1/11 at 11AM EST) so if you’d like to experience the whole shebang (i.e. my mix surrounded by two excellent sets by Tony) then that’ll be your last chance since Jazz Syndicate Radio does not currently archive. This will be a quick one, and I’m sorry to say that there’s no ZIP file associated with this one (I never make them for the guest mixes I do), so you’re just going to have to listen to Dolemite laying it down between songs.
Some of the tunes herein will be familiar to longtime devotees of the Funky16Corners thang, as about half of them have appeared here over the years, but then we’re always picking up new visitors here, and since (as far as I can remember) I haven’t included any of these tunes in a mix before, the “experience” (as it is) ought to be fairly fresh (nice run-on sentence, huh?).
Things get started with a very groovy Stevie Wonder cover by Bill Black’s Combo (dig the electric piano and guitar on this one) and sail right on through one of my all-time faves (by anyone, maybe one of my Top 10) from the aptly named Mighty Hannibal. We move on to a tasty one from New Jersey’s own Kool & the Gang, head on to Memphis for a banger from Mr. Rufus Thomas, and then back on up to the Motor City for a classic by the great Sidney Barnes, working incognito under the nom de guerre ‘Johnny Goode’.
The next cut is another by the once funny, and occasionally musical Bill Cosby. Though the last tune I featured by Cos (his version of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’) drew some derisive hoots from the audience, I still ride for Cosby’s detours into the world of soul. Sure, his take on ‘Roadrunner’ isn’t going to make anyone forget Junior Walker, but I dig it anyway. Next up we flip over one of the truly brilliant funk 45s (Lou Courtney’s ‘Hot Butter’n’All’) for the instrumental version thereof, which bears the same title yet is credited to ‘Mr C and Funk Junction’ instead.
Fans of ‘Touched By an Angel’ might be shocked when they lend an ear to a funky side from Miss Della Reese. Here Della whips out a cover of Eugene McDaniel’s ‘Compared to What’ that – although she edits the lyrics a tad – is still smoking.
Things continue to smoke with Toby King’s contribution to the ‘Big Stuff’ wars of the early 70’s with his own answer, entitles ‘Mr Tuff Stuff’.
If that wasn’t hot enough for you, please fasten your seatbelts and put your seats in the upright position, because Miss Marva Whitney is about to bring the turbulence. Another “answer” record (though really a barely disguised cover), her ‘It’s My Thing’ is the very soul of intensity. How her vocal cords survived this session is a mystery.
I know little of the Triplett Twins other than they were from Chicago. I can only speculate on the fortuitous arrival of twins at the Triplett house (imagine, had they been triplets??).
Joe Haywood’s ‘Sing Me a Cornbread Song’ is – in the vernacular of the kids – HEAT. It resides on the border of Soulville and Funk City, and is as sweaty, heavy and groovy as they come. Dig that guitar!
The Master from Memphis, Willie Mitchell joins us with a cover of Andre Williams ‘Pearl Time’. It may lack the saucy je ne sais quois of the original, but – to paraphrase the mighty Lee Dorsey – EVERYTHING Willie Mitchell does is soulful, so…you know…dig it.
We arrive at last call with a musical contribution from the man who gave this mix its dramatic flavor, Mr. Rudy Ray Moore. There’s another – more Hammond-y – version of ‘Put Your Weight On It’ out there, but seriously, WHY would you want a Rudy Ray Moore record with less Rudy Ray Moore on it? Here, we meet (and exceed) USDA Rudy Ray Moore daily allowance. Put your weight on it INDEED.
That said, I’m going to switch to chill mode and ease into the weekend. Miles is having his 4th birthday extravaganza on Saturday, so wish the little soul man a happy birthday and I’ll see you all on Monday.

Peace
Larry

PS Head on over to Iron Leg for some more 60′s pop!

PSS Remember! The next edition of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions is but a week away (next Friday 1/18). Be there, or as they say, be square.


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