Funky16Corners Radio v.62 – Hot Pants!! Under the Covers with James Brown
Dee Felice Trio – There Was a Time (King)
Shark Wilson & the Basement Heaters – Make It Reggae (Ashanti)
Cannibal & the Headhunters – Outta Sight (Rampart)
Albert King – Cold Sweat (Stax)
Dick Hyman – Give It Up of Turn It Loose (Command/ABC)
Mar-Keys – Dear James Medley (Atlantic)
Truman Thomas – Cold Sweat (Veep)
Soulful Strings – There Was a Time (Cadet)
Byron Lee – Hot Reggay (Dynamic)
Jerry O – There Was a Time (White Whale)
Jimmy Lynch – There Was a Time (LaVal)
Enoch Light & the Brass Menagerie – Hot Pants (Project 3)
I hope all is well on your end.
I wish I could say the same…
I have been having physical problems for the last week or so (nothing tragic, but sick enough to lose interest in most interesting stuff), as well as dealing with some serious family responsibilities that oddly enough reared their head just about this same time last year.
I am – thank Jeebus – still employed, but even that is of little consolation (until you turn on the news and realize how bad things really are).
Anyhoo…I missed my first Asbury Park 45 Sessions this past Friday (my first MIA in almost two years), and I spent most of the day on Saturday engaged in a little restorative vegetation.
It was in the midst of said lollygagging that I happened to be perusing the old hard drive, and then our friendly neighborhood mail carrier arrived with a record (as he so often does) and the deal – as they say – was sealed.
Ever since I started doing the Funky16Corners Radio Show over at Viva internet radio, I’ve been much more careful about gathering and sorting my digi-ma-tized material. As I was flipping through the folders, I just happened to notice that I had a number of covers of James Brown songs in the to-be-blogged area, and I started to copy them into a folder, with the intention of someday making them into a mix.
Then the mailman showed up with yet another, and after a touch of brainstorming, during which I plunged briefly into the crates to pull out a few more sides, I sat down with the turntable and the laptop, and set to work (though I would hardly describe sitting at the dining room table with headphones on as “work”).
When I was done, I had the mix you see before you, and I had an excuse to take most of the week off to concentrate on, and attend to what the crate diggerati describe as “real world moves”.
A couple of these songs have appeared in this space before, a few as individual tracks and others as part of themed mixes.
My hope is that the new context will forgive the recycling.
Things get rolling with a great version of ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag’ by my all time fave soul singer, the master Otis Redding. I think you’ll agree that he did a fine job.
Next up is the only JB ‘protégé’ in the group, pianist Dee Felice and his trio with a slamming take (the first of four in this mix) on ‘There Was a Time’. I have a few other versions of this tune not included in this mix, and I remember at one time contemplating an all ‘There Was a Time Mix’, but eventually thought better of it (especially since I don’t have the Soul Searchers version yet).
Next up is the wholly awesome Jamaican re-working of the Godfather’s ‘Make It Funky’, recast by Shark Wilson and the Basement Heaters as ‘Make It Reggae’.
Most folks are certainly familiar with Cannibal & the Headhunters epic reading of Chris Kenner’s ‘Land of 1000 Dances’ (in which they introduced the ‘NA, NA NA NA NA’S), but I suspect only the Brown Eyed Soul aficionados among you have heard their take on ‘Outta Sight’.
If you’re not hep to the sounds of Albert King, get down to the Record Barn and grab some of the heat he laid down for the Stax label. Like Little Milton and Freddy King, Albert created a soulful strain of the blues, and was often backed by the Stax house band when doing so. His smoking version of ‘Cold Sweat’ was released as the B-side of a 1970 Stax 45.
Dick Hyman is a name well known to jazzbos, and Easy fans as well. He spent a lot of the 60s experimenting with Moog synthesizers for Enoch Light’s various labels. His version of ‘Give It Up (Or Turn It Loose)’ is something of an acquired taste (which I’ve acquired), and should be listened to repeatedly. Whoever’s working the drums is setting a very tasty groove amongst the various bleeps and bloops of the moog.
The Mar-Key’s are best known for their hit ‘Last Night’, one of the earliest hits for the Stax label. Their James Brown medley comes from their 1966 LP on Atlantic.
The Hammond stylings of Mr Truman Thomas are a big fave hereabouts, and first and foremost among them is his wailing version of ‘Cold Sweat’.
Speaking of Funky16Corners faves, they don’t get any fave-er than Richard Evans’ Soulful Strings. Their take on ‘There Was a Time’ is from their live LP.
I recently picked up a very groovy LP by the late Byron Lee and his Dragonaires. ‘Reggay Hot & Cool’ includes both his reworking of ‘Hot Pants’ (entitled) ‘Hot Reggay’, with some very cool flute, and a smooth version of the theme from ‘Shaft’.
The version of ‘There Was a Time’ by Jerry-O namechecks another Chitown cover of that particular song, by (as Jerry refers to him) Gene Chandler ‘The Woman Handler’. It’s definitely one of Jerry-O’s funkier sides for White Whale.
Next up is yet another version of that very tune, by guitarist/comedian Jimmy Lynch. The 45 (on LaVal, the same label that brought you Chick Willis’ ‘Mother Fuyer’) has some questionable fidelity, sounding as if it was recorded surreptitiously, but the power of the tune shines through.
We close things out with a return to the laboratory of Mr Enoch Light, with a surprising tasty version of ‘Hot Pants’ by the Brass Menagerie. This is the record that the mailman dropped off, and brother it was worth the wait. Though Light’s albums were clearly intended for Hi-Fi nuts, the bands he worked with were the cream of the studio crop, and often enough they craned out some funky stuff (breaks for days and what not).
I hope you dig the mix, and I may or may not be back on Friday.