Archive for 2008

Funky16Corners Radio v.51 – Spanish Grease

June 15, 2008

Example

Funky16Corners Radio v.51 – Spanish Grease

Playlist

Mongo Santamaria – We Got Latin Soul (Columbia)
Joe Cuba Sextet – El Pito (Hit/Tico)
Armando Peraza – Wild Thing (Skye)
Harvey Averne Band – Runaway Child Running Wild (Uptite)
Fred Ramirez – Hold On I’m Coming (WB)
Latinaires – Camel Walk (Fania)
Rene Bloch & the Afro Blues Quintet – There Is a Mountain (Mira)
Willie Bobo – Spanish Grease (Verve)
Tito Puente – Oye Como Va (Tico)
Ricardo Ray – Stop Look & Listen (Alegre)
Jimmy Castor – Ham Hocks Espanol (Smash)
Ray Barretto – Love Beads (Fania)
Joe Bataan – Shaft (Fania)
Harvey Averne – Stand (Fania)
Latin Blues Band – (I’ll Be a) Happy Man (Speed)
Grupo Guerra 78 – Soul Makossa (Disco Lando)

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

Greetings all.

I didn’t think I was going to get it together (or set aside the time) to finish this mix and get it uploaded to the interwebs, but providence (and some Fathers Day related free time) stepped in and here you go.
I’ve been wanting to do a Latin soul mix for a loooong time. Why I never did has more to do with my haphazard record filing “system” than anything else, with a number of my fave Latin 45s in my DJ box and the rest scattered in various and sundry crates. I did try to put them all in one place, but after doing so promptly forgot which box I had put them in. A couple of these tracks have appeared on the Funky16Corners blog over the years, but this is the first full length Latin mix I’ve done.
Anyway, I have, since almost the beginning of my record obsession been a big fan of Latin jazz, and as the years went on and my knowledge of Latin soul and boogaloo expanded thanks to digging, info from friends and reading (reading after all being fundamental). I won’t front and tell you I’m some kind of expert on the genre, but I know what I like and there are a number of sides in this mix that I could listen to all day long without getting bored (not to mention a bunch that I did not include here which I’ll have to put in a second volume). It’s also the beginning of what promises to be a long, hot summer, and this is definitely summer music.
My love for Latin sounds has a LOT to do with the fact that I was for many years a drummer (I haven’t played regularly for a long ass time) and if you dig rhythm and percussion you can’t go wrong with wave after waves of congas, bongos, timbales, and all manner of shakers, bells and wood blocks, which you will find in surplus herein.
Some of the folks in this mix were the premier congueros (Ray Barretto, Joe Cuba, Mongo Santamaria) and timbaleros (“El Rey” Tito Puente) of their day.
Things get started with one of my fave 45s by Mongo Santamaria, his cover/reworking of Dyke & the Blazers ‘We Got More Soul”, retitled ‘We Got Latin Soul’. Mongo – like many of the players in this edition of Funky16Corners Radio – first came to prominence in Latin Jazz, playing with Cal Tjader among others. He broke on his own with his famed cover of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Watermelon Man in 1963 (one of the first major crossovers of the early boogaloo years) and went on to record a long series of popular albums for Columbia, Atlantic, Vaya and other labels in the 60’s and 70’s.
Joe Cuba’s 1965 ‘El Pito’ (built on a chant borrowed from Dizzy Gillespie) is a personal favorite. Cuba had a number of crossover hits including the oft covered ‘Bang Bang’ and the sublime ‘Que Son Uno’. Check your pulse if you don’t end up singing along with this one.
Armando Peraza is another percussionist who broke through as a sideman on the jazz scene (for George Shearing) and went on to play for Santana (with whom I saw him play on 1979). By the late 60’s he hooked up with Gary McFarland and recorded an LP for the Skye label which included his boogaloo-ization of the Troggs ‘Wild Thing’.
Harvey Averne was – like the great Larry Harlow* and DJ Symphony Sid Torin (a major popularizer of Latin sounds)– unusual in his prominence on the Latin scene, because unlike so many of his contemporaries who were either of Puerto Rican or Cuban descent, Averne was a Jew from the outer boroughs. He started playing Latin music as a teenager (as ‘Arvito’). He recorded some of the finest Latin soul records of the 60’s, going on to be a major player in the world of Salsa. His cover of the Temptations 1969 hit ‘Runaway Child Running Wild’ on the Fania subsidiary Uptite is a groover of the first order (More from Harvey later…).
I picked up Fred Ramirez’ cover of Sam & Dave’s ‘Hold On I’m Coming’ on a hunch some years ago (pre-portable) and as you’ll understand once you hear the record, I was very pleased with myself for doing so. I haven’t been able to discover much about Ramirez, other than he seemed to be a studio musician (playing both piano and vibes). Not only does this record start out with a nice break, but Ramirez’ piano swings.
I wish I could say that I owned an OG of the Latinaires’ ‘Camel Walk’ (this and the Latin Blues Band track are taken from reissue LPs), because it’s a killer. As it is, I’ll have to keep digging, but that shouldn’t stop you from appreciating the tune.
I’ve never been able to get the whole story on the Afro Blues Quintet, other that the occasional suggestion that at one time the group included members of War. I don’t know if their collaboration with saxophonist/flautist Rene Bloch extended beyond this 45. The tune we feature in this mix is a great cover of Donovan’s ‘There Is a Mountain’ (also nicely covered by Herbie Mann) with some cool interplay between the flute, piano and vibes.
Percussionist Willie Correa, started out as a translator for Mongo Santamaria (with who he studied the congas). Pianist Mary Lou Williams gave him the nickname ‘Bobo’ and it stuck. As Willie Bobo he recorded some of the finest Latin soul/jazz of the 60’s (even laying down some tasty funk) for the Verve label (that’s Bobo you hear singing on Cal Tjader’s ‘Soul Sauce (Guachi Guaro)’ ). My fave Bobo track is by far the driving ‘Spanish Grease’ clearly the inspiration for Santana’s ‘No One To Depend On’ (Santana would also cover Bobo’s ‘Fried Neckbones and Some Homefries’).
Back when I was a wet behind the ears high school kid I was lucky enough to see ‘El Rey’, the mighty Tito Puente play on stage alongside jazz legend Max Roach, In addition to my shock when Tito opened his mouth and a New York accent came out (like a first class rube, I assumed he was from the Caribbean) I was simply in awe of his playing. A few years later, when I unsleeved my copy of Santana’s ‘Abraxas’ LP and discovered that my fave Santana song was in fact a cover of a tune by Puente, I developed a whole new level of respect for the man. Though I still dig the cover, there is simply no substitute for Puente’s 1963 original. This is one of those records that just grabs your soul and lifts it, building over and over again. Brilliant.
Ricardo Ray, along with his sidekick Bobby Cruz was another of the greats of Latin soul. If you haven’t heard his BLAZING cover of ‘Nitty Gritty’, do yourself a favor and find yourself a copy of the 45 because it’s a killer. ‘Stop Look and Listen’ is cut from his 1967 ‘Jala Jala y Boogaloo’ LP. Ray is another artist who went on to become a giant of Salsa, eventually becoming a born again Christian and moved into the whole new genre of’ Christian Salsa’.
Singer/saxophonist Jimmy Castor is another non-Latin purveyor of the Latin sounds. He got his start writing and singing doowop, moving on in the mid-60’s to have a big hit (R&B Top 20, Pop Top 40 in 1967) with ‘Hey Leroy Your Mama’s Calling’. The instrumental ‘Ham Hocks Espanol’ is the flipside of that record. Though he went on to have hits in the funk genre, Castor kept Latin flavor in his records.
Another towering figure on the Latin scene, who also had a number of pop hits in his time was the legendary Ray Barretto. A master conguero, Barretto first hit the pop charts with ‘El Watusi’ in 1962. Barretto got his start as a sideman for Tito Puente, eventually moving on to a major career as a session man on countless jazz and Latin albums, and a place as one of the great innovators of Latin soul and funk. His 1968 ‘Acid’ album is a landmark of the genre featuring the brilliant ‘Soul Drummers’ and ‘A Deeper Shade of Soul’. Also coming out in 1968, ‘Love Beads’ was the flipside of the driving ‘Hard Hands’. Barretto went on to be the musical director of the Fania All Stars.
Joe Bataan is one of the kings of Latin soul, having recorded all manner of soul (hard and sweet) funk, salsa, disco and even rap in his 40+ year career. One of the funkier sides in his discography is his cover of Isaac Hayes’ ‘Theme from Shaft’.
We return to the sounds of Harvey Averne with his cover of Sly & the Family Stone’s ‘Stand’. This is one of my favorite Latin soul 45s, featuring a fantastic balance of sounds (I love the vibes on this track).
If the ‘(I’ll Be a) Happy Man’ by the Latin Blues Band featuring Luis Aviles sounds familiar, it’s because a sample from the record was the basis for Christina Aguilera’s hit ‘Ain’t No Other Man’. The tune features a driving beat and a fantastic horn chart.
I’ve never been able to find out anything about Grupo Guerra 78. I grabbed the 45 at a record show years ago because I’ll grab just about any over of ‘Soul Makossa’ that I can get my hands on. The label hails from Venezuela, but there are lots of South American pressings of Latin records from elsewhere. That said ‘Soul Makossa’ was popular with the Latin audience, which can be seen in the film of Manu Dibango playing the tune with the Fania All Stars at Yankee Stadium in 1973.
That all said, I hope you dig the mix (throw it at a party one of these hot summer nights and watch the crowd groove). There will definitely be another volume in the future, and I’ll be back later in the week with some more funk.

Peace
Larry

*Larry Harlow became known as El Judio Maravilloso (aka the Marvelous Jew).

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some Aussie 60’s pop

PSS Paperback Rider has been updated

The Flamingos – I Only have Eyes For You

June 12, 2008

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The Flamingos

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Listen – The Flamingos – I Only Have Eyes For You – MP3″

Greetings all.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m good and ready for the weekend.
I know that many past Fridays have seen this space filled with party starters guaranteed to keep your knees loose while you scoot around in the sawdust shaking what you brought with you.
However….
Inspirado – my old and dear friend – has taken me by the hand (or the ears) and I bring you not a fast moving soul groover, but what I believe to be one of the four or five greatest records ever recorded in any genre of music.
Hyperbole this is not.
I can’t be one hundred percent certain of the first time I ever heard ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ by the Flamingos, but I’m guessing it was when I saw ‘American Graffiti’ in 1973. I was only eleven years old, but as soon as this song came on the soundtrack it was instantly drilled deep into the pleasure centers of my brain. As I got older, and started to understand something of how records were made, my deep respect for the astounding level of craft involved in the making of ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ has grown every time I hear it.
There’s something special about the spare instrumentation – pretty much just piano, drums and guitar – contrasted with a rich, velvety blanket of human voices, all of it arranged to perfection (whoever came up with the “shoo-bop-sh-bops” ought to be awarded some variety of the Nobel Prize) that simply blows my mind.
I’ve always had a love for what might be (if only in my own mind) considered “night time” records that sound as if they were recorded in the wee small hours specifically for use in that same time period, whether for lovers or those engaged in solitary meditation, and ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ is the ne plus ultra of that very specific subgenre.
The song itself originated in a 1934 film called ‘Dames’, sung by Dick Powell and was recorded many time before the Flamingos got their hands on it, but there’s no mistaking that fact that every single version since then is rooted in their arrangement.
There are any number of arguments as to where soul music began, and there are just as many roads leading to that particular vanishing point, beginning with gospel, jazz, rhythm and blues, vocal harmony and rock’n’roll. You don’t have to be some kind of expert to understand that a record as powerful as ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ started ripples that extended years beyond its own life on the charts, reaching deep into the years of sweet soul.
More importantly, I’d go as far as to say that this is a signal record that verily transcends the construct (constriction) of genre, elevating itself to an entirely different level. It’s almost the musical equivalent of a meditative exercise, where you just close your eyes, allow yourself to be enveloped by the music (which you all probably do every now and then anyway) and just kind of feel it. Whether the Flamingos intended it or not, this record is possessed of a kind of otherworldly magic. As I sit here writing this piece I’ve probably listened to this song 20 times in a row and it never even comes close to getting old. Beginning with the sound of gently strummed guitar chords it suddenly opens like a flower blooming in time lapse with the lead voice of Nate Nelson and the harmonies of the rest of the group soaring in the background. The surface of the record is undeniably romantic (has there ever been a greater ‘make-out’ record) yet there’s something haunting going on as well. The contrast between the obsessive, almost dark part of the introduction:

My love must be a kind of blind love
I can’t see anyone but you

followed by the punctuation of the shoo-bop-sh-bops is soon mitigated/softened by the deeply romantic chorus, yet there’s no mistaking the obsessive message of the lyrics. There’s something there that is quite literally spooky which is amplified by the ethereal sound of the record. If someone were writing and performing the same set of lyrics today, it would probably be a Goth epic with a video about a stalker.
It’s simply a remarkable and unique piece of work, the very definition of the word ‘sublime’.
Like so many other groups the Flamingos tried to duplicate (almost literally) the success – artistic and financial – of ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ a year later (in 1960) with the carbon copyisms of ‘Mio Amore’. The group, which got its start in the early 50’s went on to record a number of excellent records during the soul and funk era including ‘Boogaloo Party’ (on Philips,a number one hit in the UK in 1966) and ‘Heavy Hips’ (on Ronze, 1970?), the constant through many line ups being brothers Jake and Zeke Carey. As is often the case with the vocal groups of that era, there’s still a version of the group touring today.
I’m not sure what I’ll be doing for Monday (though I will be back).
Either way, have a great weekend.

Peace
Larry

PSS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a new 80’s garage podcast

PSS Stop by Paperback Rider too…

The Valentinos – It’s All Over Now

June 10, 2008

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Mr. Bobby Womack

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Listen – The Valentinos – It’s All Over Now – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope the middle of the week finds you well.
The track I bring you today is one of those OG versions I was unaware of for years,due in large part to the popular cover by the Rolling Stones. Once I discovered that the tune was a cover of a song by a group named the Valentinos it was another sizable interval before I found out that the group was in fact Bobby Womack and his brothers.
Like many R&B/soul performers, the Womack brothers (Bobby, Cecil, Curtis, Friendly Jr. (yes, Friendly Jr…) and Harris) got their start singing the music of the Lord. They were eventually discovered by none other than Sam Cooke who signed them to his SAR label (also home to Johnnie Morrisette, Mel Carter, Johnny Taylor (a MAJOR disciple of Cooke’s vocal style earlier in his career) and the Simms Twins who recorded the OG version of Sam & Dave’s ‘Soothe Me’).
They first recorded for SAR as the Womack Brothers in 1961, recording as the Valentinos for the first time the following year. They would record a half dozen 45s for SAR between 1961 and 1964 (after SAR closed due to the death of Cooke), before moving to Checker/Chess for a few sides in 1965 and 1966.
Ironically, the cover by the Stones was actually released just before the Valentinos OG after Mick and his pals were turned on to an advance copy of the tune by legendary DJ Murray “the K” Kaufman. They rushed into the Chess studios in Chicago in the summer of 1964 and beat the Valentinos to the streets (and the charts).
Ain’t THAT a bitch?
By August of ’64 the Stones had a Top 20 hit, with the Valentinos’ version only making it to #68 on the Pop charts (though the record was just missed the Top 20 on the R&B charts).
When you compare and contrast the versions, though the lead vocal by Bobby Womack is better that anything the Stones might have conjured up, there is a certain smoothing of the edges (not necessarily a good thing) in the Stones version that might have made it more appealing to a pop audience. I dig the gutbucket guitar and the glockenspiel accents on the Valentinos’ original, and as I said before, Womack is really tearing it up. The first time I heard the original version it was a little jarring, but I’ve grown to love it over the years. No matter which version you prefer (and there are many) there’s no denying that ‘It’s All Over Now’ is a damn catchy song.
All this, and the fact that Bobby Womack is definitely an important figure in the history of 60s and 70s soul who has never really gotten his due, either as a supporting player (major studio guitarist and songwriter) or as a performer.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll see you all on Friday.
Peace
Larry

PSS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a new 80’s garage podcast

PSS Stop by Paperback Rider too…

Woody Guenther & Cheaters – Bang Dangin’ Time

June 8, 2008

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Another dead end…

Listen – Woody Guenther & Cheaters – Bang Dangin’ Time – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope everyone had themselves a nice weekend, during which, if you live in the Northeast you remained either comfortably ensconced in your air conditioning or found yourselves a nice spot at the beach.
I come to you this fine day with a record about which I have been able to discover precious little information.
Who was Woody Guenther, who were his “Cheaters” and what happened to them after they recorded ‘Bang Dangin’ Time’?
Hmmmmm…
I picked this record up a while back while trolling Ebay for funk 45s. I’d never heard, or heard of this record, but the group name, the song title, the label and the low, low price conspired to remove a few dollars from my wallet, and so it was purchased.
Good thing too, because after my trusty letter carrier delivered it to my door and I had the opportunity to whip it on the turntable the grooved on the record (in concert with the stylus) released a tasty bit of early soul/funk.
After perusing the label, the only name that rang a bell was that of ‘James Shaw’, the real name of the artist otherwise known as the Mighty Hannibal.
“Well there” I thought. “This must be an Atlanta, GA band. I’ll just drop a line to my pal Brian Poust over at Georgia Soul to get some more info.
My friends, it was there that my clue turned out to be but another red herring, as Brian informed me that this was likely not Hannibal, but another James Shaw who happened to be a musician/songwriter/producer who worked out of New York City (more on Mr. Shaw at Red Kelly’s B-Side).
Other than that tenuous connection I have been able to unearth NOTHING on Woody Guenther.
You know how bad it is? I Google his name and two of the top three listings are things I posted on the interwebs (both DJ night set lists where I played the record).
D’oh!
That all said, it is a very cool record, especially the bright piano lines snaking in and out of the tune. On first listen I got a bit of a white soul band vibe, but it was only a hunch (there’s a certain Mitch Ryder-ish vibe, but it might just be the Animals style opening chords) with nothing solid to back it up. It seems that it was released in 1968, in between sides by my man Jerry-O and Erma Franklin.
If anyone has any additional info on the band I would greatly appreciate hearing from you.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll see you all soon.
Peace
Larry

PSS Head over to Iron Leg for the second part of my 80’s Garage Podcast.

PSS Stop by Paperback Rider too…

Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley

June 6, 2008

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Go for your gun

Listen – Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley (PLAY THIS LOUD)- MP3″

Greetings all.

I have to start this emergency/late post by thanking those of you who took the time to meet the outstretched hand of Funky16Corners with your extremely generous contributions to the 2008 Pledge Drive.

I’m happy to say that the lights at our luxurious headquarters will remain on for another year as the server bills have been paid (and I won’t be spending any of the funds on an endless string of shrimp cocktails). I have to admit that I do not embark upon these fund raisers lightly, always wondering if this is the year that things dry up. Fortunately – for my fragile ego anyway – things did not dry up, and I was once again pleasantly surprised that some of you think highly enough of this enterprise to dip into your wallets (especially in this tough year where some of you are forced to choose between saltines and gasoline).

I sent thank yous to everyone that contributed, though my crappy free e-mail account has been acting up and some of them may not have gone through (I’m in the process of changing to a somewhat less crappy free e-mail account).

So thank you one and all.

That said, I must take a moment to mark the passing of one of the true elemental greats of modern music, the mighty, mighty Bo Diddley.

Though I certainly was aware of Bo at an early age, it wasn’t until my teens, when I became fixated on George Thorogood’s version of ‘Who Do You Love’* (on eight track tape no less) that I turned a corner of sorts and started making an effort to get deep inside Bo Diddley (this being a few years before Thorogood gave up the mantle of roots rock savant and started whoring for watery beer).

It was later, in the sweaty depths of my garage band years, while I was bashing drums and wailing with the Phantom Five that we made ‘Who Do You Love’ part of a medley with Johnny Kidd & the Pirates’ ‘Shakin’ All Over’. There was something about singing those dark, sinister lyrics that transported me each and every time, conjuring in my mind images of the plaid jacketed, oblong guitarred, coke bottle eyeglassed hoodoo shaman prowling the stage, dripping with sweat and becoming one with the distorted tremolo of his axe.

If it is possible for you to listen to his first hit, self-titled signature tune and epochal warning shot across the bow of a dangerously listing culture, without feeling the vibration throughout your central nervous system, compelling you to rise from your seat and shake like a snake handler, eyes rolling back into your head, then you sir (or madam) are some sort of higher being, existing above the rest of us mere mortals.

Just try it. Pull down those ones and zeros and take the test.

You will fail for one reason and one reason alone.

Bo Diddley was a gunslinger.

So we approach the end. When Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee are all gone it’ll all be over. The great force of the universe may as well open up a black hole next door and suck us all into the ninth dimension.

With any luck, when Bo saw the light, he also heard the sound of maracas, and thought to himself, ‘It’s time to bring it on home’

‘Bring it to Jerome.’

And down the alley the icewagon flew.

Peace
Larry

*Followed soon by a love affair with the Quicksilver Messenger Service version of ‘Mona’

PS See you on Monday

PSS Head over to Iron Leg for some cool garage psyche.

PSS Stop by Paperback Rider too…

Funky16Corners Radio v.50 b/w 2008 Pledge Drive

June 1, 2008

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Donate to the Funky16Corners 2008 Pledge Drive via Paypal

Greetings, and welcome to the 2008 Funky16Corners Pledge Drive.
The Funky16Corners blog will, this November, complete its fourth year of existence. I started the Pledge Drive three years ago to help offset the cost of storing the sound files and graphics for the blog and the web zine. Initially this was in response to a sudden (though welcome) spike in attendance that briefly knocked the blog out of commission, necessitating the move to a new server with a more generous helping of bandwidth.
Since that time, in addition to the individual tracks I’ve put together and posted all of the Funky16Corners Radio mixes (as well as several mixes I’ve done for other blogs), eventually assembling them for permanent availability in the Podcast Archive (the most popular part of the blog) where there are currently over 60 mixes for download. In the last six months or so I’ve also begun to up the bit rate on the podcasts, improving the sound quality, but also making the files larger.
Though the WordPress blogging tool allows me to keep the blog going free of charge, the server space where all the files are stored costs money, the bill for which comes due this time every year. Each of the podcasts (and the individual files) get downloaded several hundred (occasionally thousands) of times and this consumes a fair amount of bandwidth.
That said Funky16Corners is, and always has been (and will continue to be) a non-profit operation, so I only resort to this annual beg-a-thon to keep it that way. The money raised not only goes to keeping the blog(s)* going, but also the Funky16Corners Web Zine Archive which has been up and running for since 2000.
If you feel that we provide a form of public service here, letting the soulful ones and zeros flow on a regular basis, and you can afford to throw a couple of bucks into the tip cup (a familiar image from my old man’s decades playing in piano bars), then please do so via the Paypal link.
If you cannot (or just don’t feel we deserve it, or are against throwing money at the interwebs on general principle), that’s cool too. Above all, this enterprise is a labor of love in the truest sense of the word. Music in general, and soul music specifically is a major part of my life, and sharing it with you all is as well.
As always, thanks for stopping by, and know that no matter what happens, there’ll always be something new and interesting here to help keep your ears (and the rest of your head) happy.
Thanks
Larry

Example

Donate to the Funky16Corners 2008 Pledge Drive via Paypal

Funky16Corners Radio v.50 – These Arms of Mine

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Playlist

Funky16Corners Radio v.50 – These Arms of Mine

Irma Thomas – I Wish Someone Would Care (Imperial)
Eldridge Holmes – An Open Letter To My Love (Kansu)
Laura Lee – Hang It Up (Chess)
Otis Redding – I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (Volt)
James & Bobby Purify – I Don’t Want To Have To Wait (Bell)
Roosevelt Grier – Yesterday (MGM)
Percy Sledge – When She Touches Me (Atlantic)
Walter Jackson – Funny (Not Much) (Okeh)
Mighty Sam – In the Same Old Way (Amy)
Lyn Collins – Ain’t No Sunshine (People)
Bobby Bland – Do What You Set Out To Do (Duke)
Baby Washington – What Becomes of a Broken Heart (Cotillion)
Solomon Burke – These Arms of Mine (Bell)
Thelma Jones – Never Leave Me (Barry)
James Carr – To Love Somebody (Goldwax)
Howard Tate – Part Time Love (Verve)
Freddie Scott – Where Were You (Shout)
Lou Rawls – Your Good Thing (Is About To End) (Capitol)
Betty Harris – Nearer To You (Sansu)
O.V. Wright – Please Forgive Me (Backbeat)
Irma Thomas – Time Is On My Side (Imperial)

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

Greetings all.

I should begin by recognizing that this, Funky16Corners Radio v.50 marks – approximately – the second anniversary of this podcast (the first volume appearing around the beginning of May 2006).
Those of you that have been here from the beginning (or have come up to speed via the Podcast Archive) will already be aware that the “style” of the Funky16Corners Radio thang has evolved over the past two years, due in large part to my own increased comfort on the technological end of things. When things got started, these podcasts were pretty much straight song-to-song mixes with no additional content. I did not have the wherewithal to add anything to the mixes because I had no idea how to do it. This – thanks in large part to a few crucial pieces of software** – changed, and the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast evolved into its present form, something between a classic DJ mix and an actual radio program (at least the kind of program that I’d do if I was actually on the radio). With any luck, if time allows, it will evolve even further.
That said, in the fifty odd mixes to date, all manner of soulful sounds have been featured, including no less that five devoted to New Orleans soul and funk, several Hammond mixes, three Philly Soul mixes, a number of soulful and funky jazz mixes, mixes focusing on individual artists like James Brown, the Soulful Strings, Jerry O, Lee Dorsey and Sly Stone, three volumes of Beatles covers (and one on the Stones) and a wide variety of themed/vibe specific (funky, downtempo etc) mixes. There’s pretty much something in the Podcast Archive for anyone with a taste for funk and soul.
A point that I made recently, is that I make these mixes as much for myself as for those that come to the blog. I have a playlist in iTunes – more than two days long – composed entirely of Funky16Corners and Iron Leg mixes (as well as the guest mixes I’ve done for other blogs) and it is by far the most frequently accessed playlist on the old iPod.
Of all the selections in that playlist, none is played more than the one mix I put together devoted to soul ballads, Funky16Corners Radio v.18 Blues, Tears and Sorrow. Since I first dropped that mix in January of 2007, I’ve wanted to get a second volume of ballads together, and Funky16Corners Radio v.50 is it.
I’ve always been of the opinion that great soul ballads are in many ways the realest, or at least the deepest kind of soul records. This has a lot to do with the fact that even years into the soul genre, the ballad sides retained traces of the very birth of the sound. Many of the records in this mix bear the marks of gospel, blues, and rhythm and blues vocal harmony, and are – at least for me – the most deeply emotional records in my collection. This may have much to do with the subject matter therein, i.e. love, unrequited, lost and stolen, and the fact that these sentiments are being delivered by some of the greatest singers around. I love all kinds of soul; fast paced Northern-style dancers, rough soul shouting and sweet harmony, but there’s something more going on in the best soul ballads. It could be the drama, or the way a great ballad envelops you, grabbing your heart as well as your ears, but I find myself coming back to, and reexamining great ballad performances more intently than I do a hard-hitting dance floor mover.
I’m sure it also has a lot to do with the fact that there is no greater showcase for a great singer (or a more thorough betrayal of a bad one) than a ballad. If you really want to hear why Otis Redding or Eldridge Holmes are so revered, you need only listen to their performances in this mix.
If you get the chance, I’d suggest saving this one for a warm night. Set yourself up by a window, feel the breeze of a summers evening and let the sounds (and soul) wash over you. You won’t regret it. There’s a little over an hour of deep soul herein.
The mix starts out with one of my personal favorites, Irma Thomas’ sweeping ballad ‘I Wish Someone Would Care’. Her Imperial Records catalog is filled with amazing records, but none of them come close to the epic scope of ‘I Wish Someone Would Care’. The core of the record, Thomas singing against a basic rhythm section, is built upon gradually, adding backing singers, and in the chorus even Spectorian chimes, but none of it matters when Irma’s voice takes on an edge and soars above it all.
Regular readers will already be aware that I think Eldridge Holmes was an amazing – and dreadfully underrated – vocalist. During the decade he was recording (most often under the aegis of Allen Toussaint) Holmes made several of the finest soul records to come out of New Orleans in the 60’s and 70’s, from R&B, to soul and right on into funk. The last record he made – interestingly enough not with Toussaint but with another great NOLA producer Senator Jones – was ‘An Open Letter To My Love’. If you ever needed proof of Holmes’ remarkable talent, you need go no further than this record, probably the most obscure side in his discography. It’s one of those performances that you can listen to over and over again and find something new each time.
Laura Lee is best known for her funkier Invictus/Hot Wax material, but the seven 45s she recorded for Chess between 1967 and 1969 are all outstanding. ‘Hang It Up’, her second to last record for Chess in 1969 is a powerful performance, not in the least because she seems to be threatening to murder her man. Heavy stuff.
As far as I’m concerned, there was no greater soul singer than Otis Redding, and I couldn’t very well put together a mix like this without including what I feel is his greatest song, ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’. Originally appearing on his 1966 LP ‘Otis Blue’, Redding went on to record a couple of brilliant live versions of this track.
James and Bobby Purify made some scorching upbeat sides (‘I Take What I Want’, ‘Shake a Tail Feather’), and one of the great classics of sweet soul (‘I’m Your Puppet’), but ‘I Don’t Want To Have To Wait’ proves that they could deliver a solid ballad.
Roosevelt ‘Rosie’ Grier is one of the most interesting crossover stories of all time. A star as a professional football player in the 60’s, Grier made a number of soul records (some of the rarer sides being popular with the Northern Soul crowd) and had a pretty successful career as a TV and film actor. It was on a recent digging expedition that I turned up his first single for MGM, 1967’s ‘Slow Drag’ b/w ‘Yesterday’. I picked it up for ‘Slow Drag’ (which I’ll feature in the future), but when I flipped it over I ended up hearing what is probably my favorite version of the Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’. Recorded in Memphis at American Studios, Grier’s deeply soulful yet minimalist take on the tune has really grown on me. Interestingly enough, the guitarist on ‘Yesterday’ sounds like the same player on the previous track by James & Bobby Purify.
Percy Sledge will reside in the soul ballad hall of fame for all eternity for ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’, but I prefer another cut from that album, the slightly lower key ‘When She Touches Me’. I love the combo organ on this one. This tune was also covered by Solomon Burke and Mighty Sam McLain.
Many of the records in this mix hew pretty closely to the southern soul sound, but Walter Jackson’s ‘Funny (Not Much)’ is a slice of pure torch song heaven. Jackson, who at times sounded like a slightly grittier version of Johnny Mathis recorded for a number of labels in the 60’s, but his best work was laid down for the Okeh imprint. ‘Funny (Not Much)’, was originally recorded by Nat King Cole and later covered by Etta James and Marvin Gaye. The tune is a real heartbreaker, and in the hands of a lesser talent may have been maudlin, but Jackson’s amazing reading of the tune makes it a winner.
Mighty Sam McLain was – like James and Bobby Purify – a discovery of DJ ‘Papa’ Don Schroeder. A native of Louisiana, McLain recorded a number of classic 45s for Amy in the mid-to-late 60’s. One of these, ‘In the Same Old Way’ features McLain’s wonderful voice wrapped around a haunting Dann Penn/Spooner Oldham tune. Like a few other Penn/Oldham songs, this was also covered by a country singer, in this case Bobby Bare.
Lyn Collins is best known for the funk classic ‘Think (About It)’, but in addition to her talents as a funky diva, she could also work a ballad, as illustrated by the flipside of that record, her cover of Bill Withers’ ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’. Collins may be the ragged yin to Withers’ mellow yang, but I really dig her take on the song.
Despite the fact that he is thought of by many as a blues singer, Bobby Bland (one of the truly classic vocalists of his era) recorded many a great soul side. ‘Do What You Set Out To Do’ which sounds like it could have been recorded years before its 1972 released date, features a powerful vocal by Bland over a smooth, string laden arrangement.
Baby Washington had a long career that lasted from the mid-50’s until the late 1980’s. Though the title is changed, ‘What Becomes of a Broken Heart’ is actually a cover of Jimmy Ruffin’s 1966 hit ‘What Becomes of the Broken Hearted’. Recorded in 1969 and released as the flip side of her superior version of ‘Breakfast In Bed’, Washington reels in the emotion of Ruffin’s original, applying a layer of deep southern soul.
One of the greatest soul artists of all time, Solomon Burke appears here covering another, that being Otis Redding. Burke’s version of ‘These Arms of Mine’ appeared on his 1969 ‘Proud Mary’ LP. His velvety tenor provides a great contrast to Redding’s rougher original.
Despite the fact that I own several 45s by Thelma Jones (including her original version of ‘The House That Jack Built’, later made famous by Aretha Franklin), I’ve never been able to find out much about her. ‘Never Leave Me’, was the a-side of her first Barry 45 from 1966 (the flip is the hard charging ‘Stronger’) . She would record a total of five 45s for the label between 1966 and 1968 and then drop out for several years, making a comeback during the disco era.
James Carr is another Funky16Corners fave. His cover of the Bee Gees’ ‘To Love Somebody’ – which Barry and Robin Gibb wrote with the intention of giving the song to Otis Redding – was covered by a wide variety of artists, from the Flying Burrito Brothers, to Dusty Springfield and Nina Simone. I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to say that Carr’s is the definitive soul version.
The original Funky16Corners Radio ballad mix led off with Howard Tate’s ‘Get It While You Can’. The bluesy ‘Part Time Love’ a cover of the Clay Hammond song also recorded by Little Johnny Taylor – is another strong cut from the 1967 ‘Get It While You Can’ LP.
Freddie Scott recorded for a number of labels in the 60’s (his first hit was the wonderful ‘Hey Girl’ on Colpix) but he is best remembered for his Shout sides. ‘Where Were You’ was the b-side of his first 45 for the label in 1966.
One of the highlights of Funky16Corners Radio v.18 was the original version of ‘Your Good Thing Is About To End’ by Mable John (a personal fave of mine). The version featured in this mix is the cover by the great Lou Rawls (the flip of his cover of Donovan’s ‘Season of the Witch’), which was a hit in 1969. It may lack some of the emotional power (and the Stax house band) of the OG, but I still dig it.
If you’ve been around since the web zine days, you know that I ride for Betty Harris in a big way. Her Sansu recordings (under the direction of Allen Toussaint) are all excellent, but the only hit was her heartbreaking ballad ‘Nearer To You’.
Another return visitor from v. 18 is the mighty O. V. Wright, one of the greatest southern soul singers. His Backbeat recordings, starting in 1965 are uniformly excellent. Released in 1973, ‘Please Forgive Me’ was his second to last 45 on the label.
This edition of Funky16Corners Radio closes out as it began, with a classic 45 by Irma Thomas. ‘Time Is On My Side’ is another great example of a song that should have been a hit, but wasn’t until it was coopted/covered by a white rock band (in this case the Rolling Stones, but you already knew that). Irma’s take is much more animated than the Stones laconic reading, and it’s a great way to finish the mix.
I hope you dig the sounds as much as I did compiling them, and I’ll see you next week with much more goodness.
.Peace
Larry

*The plural indicating the addition – as of last summer – of Iron Leg, my 60’s pop/rock blog to the Funky16Corners family.
**Props to DJ Prestige for turning me on to Audacity

Donate to the Funky16Corners 2008 Pledge Drive via Paypal

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Make sure to head over to Iron Leg for something from Buffalo Springfield

Johnny Griffith – Do It

May 29, 2008

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Johnny Griffith

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Listen – Johnny Griffith – Do It – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope all is well on your end, and that you got a chance to head on over to Fleamarket Funk and check out my guest mix (I’ll eventually be adding it to the podcast archive).
I decided to close out the week with a track that I spun at the last Asbury Park 45 Sessions.
It was a while back, not long after I copped my copy of Billy Sha Rae’s funky ‘Do It’ that I discovered what I though might be (and in fact turned out to be) an instrumental version of the tune by Johnny Griffith.
Griffith – one of the famed Funk Brothers – was a versatile keyboardist who recorded two LPs for Motown’s Jazz Workshop subsidiary.
Griffith’s supremely funky, clavinet-tastic, version of the tune (basically Griffith soloing over the backing track from the Sha Rae 45) is a killer. Though I dig both versions, I vacillate between which one is my fave (currently leaning toward the instro).
Griffith, who reunited with the Funk Brothers around the time that ‘Standing In the Shadows of Motown’ was released,  passed away in 2002 at the age of 66.
As always, I hope you dig the tune.

Funky16Corners 2008 Pledge Drive
In related news, this coming Monday (June 2) I’ll be dropping a very special edition of Funky16Corners Radio (Number 50!!) and kicking off the 2008 Funky16Corners Pledge Drive.
Every year (at least for the last three) around this time (when my server bills come due) I pass the e-hat and ask for donations to cover the cost of maintaining the Funky16Corners Blog and web zine. This is basically the server space where all of the graphics – and more importantly, the sound files, including the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive – are stored.
I’ll have up a Paypal link, and if you feel like you get something out of the blog, and wish to contribute to its continued existence, anything you are able to give will be greatly appreciated.
That said, I hope you all have an excellent weekend, and I’ll see you on Monday.
Peace
Larry

PSS Head over to Iron Leg for an outstanding slice of Freakbeat

PSS Stop by Paperback Rider too…

Jimmy McGriff 1936 – 2008

May 26, 2008

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The Master

Listen – Jimmy McGriff – A Thing To Come By Pts 1&2 – MP3″

NOTE: I was just informed that I had the incorrect file linked above. I’ll try to fix it tonight.

Thanks

Larry

Listen – Jimmy McGriff – Fat Cakes – MP3″

Greetings all.

I wasn’t planning a post tonight, but after spending an absolutely lovely Memorial Day hanging with my brother and his family, I came home, logged on and found out that one of the last remaining greats of the Hammond, Jimmy McGriff had passed away at the age of 72.
McGriff, a former police officer was one of the founding fathers of the Philly school of Hammond (a group which included Jimmy Smith, Groove Holmes, Shirley Scott, and later Charles Earland) who first hit it big in 1962 with his cover of Ray Charles’ ‘I Got a Woman’, and shortly after that with the blinding swing of ‘All About My Girl’.
McGriff – in a career that spanned more than 50 years – recorded for Sue, Solid State, Capitol, Blue Note, Groove Merchant and Milestone, recording his final album a few years ago.
McGriff, unlike some of his contemporaries, was able to play hard charging R&B, soul jazz and funk with equal facility, leaving behind classics in all of those styles.
The two tracks I’m posting this evening appeared over the last few years in a couple of Hammond-centric episodes of the Funky16Corners Radio podcast.
‘A Thing To Come By Pts 1&2’ appeared on the 1969 LP of the same name for Solid State.
‘Fat Cakes’ is ripped from a Capitol 45 and originally appeared on his 1971 ‘Soul Sugar’ LP.
They are both prime examples of McGriff’s funky mid-period work, and stand as a testament to why Hammond fiends like me hold him in such high esteem.
He was truly one of the greatest, and will be missed.
Peace
Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Fleamarket Funk to check out my guest mix!

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PSS Head over to Iron Leg for a track by Arthur Lee and Love.

Paperback Rider has been updated as well

Funky16Corners Guests at Fleamarket Funk

May 26, 2008

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To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Guest Mix Archive

Greetings all.
As promised, I’m sending you over to DJ Prestige’s Fleamarket Funk blog for my contribution to his ongoing guest mix series. My mix, ‘The Six Million Dollar Groove’ is a collection of funky and soulful jazz sounds that ought to get your week off to an energetic start.
So, head on over to Fleamarket Funk, check out the mix and when you’re done, stick around and check out my man Prestige’s own mixes and individual tracks. He’s got a good thing going over there, and if you dig it here, you’ll surely find something you’ll like over at FMF.
That said, I hope you dig the mix and I’ll back later in the week.

Peace
Larry

GO NOW!! – FUNKY16CORNERS GUESTS AT FLEAMARKET FUNK

Asbury Park 45 Sessions Wrap Up

May 24, 2008

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Me, apparently giving my selection a lot of thought…

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Listen – Soul Brothers Six – Some Kind of Wonderful – MP3″

Funk16Corners Set List 5/23 Asbury Park 45 Sessions

Roger & the Gypsies – Pass the Hatchet Pt1 (Seven B)
Eddie Bo & Inez Cheatham – Lover and a Friend (Capitol)
James Brown – Talking Loud and Saying Nothing (“rock version”) (King)
Roosevelt Grier – Slow Drag (MGM)
Dee Felice Trio – There Was a Time (King)
Rufus Thomas – Do the Funky Penguin Pt1 (Stax)
Jimmy Smith – The Cat (Verve)
Georgie Fame – El Bandido (Imperial)
Backyard Heavies – Expo 83 (Scepter)
Cymande – Fug (Janus)
Boogaloo Joe Jones – Right On (Prestige)
Gloria Walker – Them Changes (Federal)
King Curtis – Changes Pt1 (Atco)
Bill Doggett – Honky Tonk Popcorn (King)
Johnny Griffith – Do It (Triple B)
Bill Cosby – I Luv Myself Better Than I Luv Myself (Capitol)
Joe Hicks – Home Sweet Home Pt2 (Scepter)
The Flamingos – Boogaloo Party (Philips)
Chuck Edwards – Downtown Soulville (Punch)
Billy Wade and the 3rd Degrees – Tear It Up Pt1 (ABC)
Lou Courtney – Hot Butter n’ All Pt1 (Hurdy Gurdy)
Jimmy McGriff – The Worm (SS)
Village Callers – Hector (Rampart)
Melvin Sparks – Thank You Pt1 (Prestige)
Freddie McCoy – Funk Drops (Prestige)
Rusty Bryant – Soul Liberation Pt1 (Prestige)
Wynder K Frog – Jumping Jack Flash (UA)
Ross Carnegie – The Kid (El Con)
Earl Van Dyke – Soul Stomp (Soul)
Soul Brothers Six – Some Kind of Wonderful (Atlantic)
James Brown – Funky President (People It’s Bad) (Polydor)

Greetings all.
Just a short wrap up of last night’s Asbury Park 45 Sessions.
We were working with a truncated crew, resulting in an extra long set by yours truly (I almost ran out of records?!?).
There were lots of old favorites and a grip of new acquisitions (Many of which are waiting in the on deck circle to be blogged herein). I even got to spin a bunch of Hammond sides and hot little Prestige soul jazz mini-set toward the end.
The crowd was dancing (some of them anyway) and it was a great way to kick off the summer season.
Remember that this Monday my guest set will be dropping over at DJ Prestige’s Fleamarket Funk.
I’ll leave you with a repost of the Soul Brothers Six classic. See you on Monday.

Peace
Larry

DJ Prestige Set List
Intro: – Al Downing – The Whole World’s Gone Funky/ Chess
C.C.S. – Whole Lotta Love/ Rak
Simtec & Willie – Do It Like Mama/ Shama
James Brown – Soul Pride Part 1/ King
Eddie Senay – Hot Thang (Instrumental)/ Sussex
Paul Humphrey – Funky L.A./ Lizard
Brother Jack McDuff – Hot Barbecue/ Prestige
The Ska Kings – Jamaica Ska/ Atlantic
Carlton Moore – Soul Jamaica/ Tobin
The Unemployed – Funky Rooster/ Cotillion
Lil’ Lavar & the Fabulous Jades – Cold Heat/ Now-Again
Barbara & the Uniques – I’ll Never Let You Go/ Arden
3 Stars – Jersey Slide/ Stang
The Sister and Brothers – Yeah, You Right/ UNI
Oscar Weathers – The Spoiler/ Top and Bottom
The 5th Dimension – Feelin’ Alright?/ Bell
Counts – Funk/ Aware
El Michels Affair – C.R.E.A.M./ Truth and Soul
Kellee Patterson – I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More, Baby/ Shady Brook
Jesse Gresham Plus 3 – Shootin’ the Grease/ Head
Breakestra – Baby Don’t Cry/ Stones Throw
Brother Lloyd’s All Stars – Tramp/ Dynamite Soul
Dirty Fingered B-Boys – The King Is Here/ Sure Shot
The Mad Men – Do The African Twist/ Gamble
Mickey and His Mice – Cracker Jack/ Marti
Nina Simone – O-O-h Child/ RCA

DJ Bluewater Set List
Soul Believers – The Popcorn – (King)
Soul Explosion – Barnyard Pimp – (Tramp)
Soul Partners – Spead – (Bell)
Organics – Foot Stumping – (Compose)
Soul Believers and The Dapps – I Don’t Want Nobody’s Problems – (King).
Charles Bradley and The Bullets – Now That Im Gone – (Daptone)
Dynamic Walter B. And The New Breed Band – Butter Toast – (Playground)
Queen Eve and The Kings – Bringin’ Home The Bacon – (Melting Pot)
Lee Fields and The Explorers – Soul Dynamite – (Soul Fire)
Sohail Rana – Soul Sitar – (Jazzman)
Breakestra – Getcho Soul Togetha Pt. 2 – (Stones Throw)
Lovations – Later Baby – (Cap City)
Dynells – Let Me Prove That I Love You – (BlueBerry)
Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings – Im Not Gonna Cry – (Daptone)
Richi Corbin Trio – A Woman Was Made For A Man – (Funk45)
Diplomats Of Solid Sound – Plenty Nasty – (Record Kicks)
Dyke and The Blazers – Black Boy – (BGP)
Grips – Fancy Roll – (GED)


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