Archive for January, 2009

Soul Tornados – Crazy Legs

January 29, 2009

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The Soul Tornados/Toronados/Toranodoes (whatever…)
Photographed at the 1969 Akron, Ohio Tam’O Shanter Festival

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Listen – Soul Tornados – Crazy Legs – MP3″

Greetings all.

Hey hey hey and all that.

When I said that I’d be back on Friday with something funky, I wasn’t lying.
The tune I bring you today is one of the rarer 45s by a group that has appeared here at the Funky16Corners blog before (in Funky16Corners Radio v.27, Soul Organs Vol 1), albeit under another (slightly different) name. To paraphrase the mighty William who Shakes Spears, the name is the thing, but more on that in a moment.
Allow me to digress, so that I may share with you a tale of digging kismet. Back some months, not too long after my birthday, when I happened to have some cash burning a hole in my pocket, it was time for the mighty Asbury Park 45 Sessions.
Naturally, I packed up my traveling crates with the heat, hopped into the Japanese microbus and shot myself in the general direction of the seashore.
When I got there, I discovered that the 45 Killer was one of the guest selectors that night, and he had brought with him a box full of records to sell.
Now, with some people, this wouldn’t be such a big deal, but my man Mike packs the heat (the coming months will see several items procured from his crates), so I dug in with gusto and grabbed me some winners.
My personal favorite from the little expedition is tonight’s selection, ‘Crazy Legs’ by the Soul Tornados. It’s a solid, swaggering bit of organ funk with a big fat break and enough grease to get the dancers out of their seats and onto the floor.
Now, to the name thing.
The last time the group appeared here, it was as the Soul Toranodoes, and if you take the time to look around, you may very well find yourself looking at a 45 by the Soul Toronados. It matters not, because their all the same group, featuring Charles Heller (drums) Bobby Heller (organ), and James Smith (guitar). They hailed from the Rubber City of Akron, Ohio, and recorded three 45s for three different labels.
Two of those records were waxed for the Burt (Go For Yourself* b/w Funky Thing) and Magic City (Hot Pants Breakdown b/w Boot Groove) labels, both out of Detroit and owned by Eddie Burt. ‘Crazy Legs’ appeared as one side (backed with the excellent ‘Bobby’s Mood’) on the Westwood label (also home to the garage pop of the Lime, who were picked by by Chess) out of Canton, Ohio.
Anyhoo, as I said, ‘Crazy Legs’ (not the Donald Austin tune on Westbound) is a killer, and a fitting end to Hammond 45 week.
I hope you dig it (and the other cuts this week), and I’ll be back on Monday with something cool.
Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for something heavy by Leslie West

PSS Check out Paperback Rider which has finally been updated.

Peddlers – Nothing Sacred

January 27, 2009

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The Peddlers

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Listen – Peddlers – Nothing Sacred – MP3″

Greetings all.
If you follow the goings on here at Funky16Corners you’ve heard me mention (and post songs by) the Peddlers a lot over the past year or so.
The most interesting thing (of many) about the Peddlers, is that during their decade long career, they were really several different bands, i.e. a beat group, jazzy organ trio, sophisticated pop group and toward the end of their career ambitious groove makers (see the ‘Suite London’ LP). They really are the kind of band that I could post on Funky16Corners one day, Iron Leg the next and back here again to close out the week.
It took me a good long time to track down their records (there aren’t many I haven’t found), but despite the cost and difficulty, they were all worth it.
The track I bring you today comes from the later part of their time together (1972), and as you can see by the pic on the sleeve above, by this time they were a much funkier bunch – dig the Fu Manchu moustaches and the shaggy hair – in all respects.
Though the vocal a-side ‘Back Alley Jane’ is pretty cool, the tune we gather here to discuss is located on the flip, and is entitled ‘Nothing Sacred’.
Here we get Mr. Roy Phillips working a funky groove on the organ (and some kind of synthesizer as well), Trevor Morais (he of the stunning afro) laying down a solid beat on the drums and bassist Tab Martin with the throbbing undercarriage (oh my..).
They guy that was selling this record had it billed as porno-funk, and though I wouldn’t say that it gets down quite that far, there is a satisfying, laid back feel to the tune.
The groovy thing is, if you dig the tune (a 45-only cut) you should pick up the CD reissue of the monumental, aforementioned ‘Suite London’, which in addition to that whole album, gathers some of the bands rarer late 45s.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Friday with some serious Hammond funk from the Midwest of the USA.
Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for something later by the Everly Brothers

PSS Check out Paperback Rider which has finally been updated.

Memphis Black – Why Don’t You Play the Organ Man

January 25, 2009

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Ingfried Hoffman was neither nor…

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Listen – Memphis Black – Why Don’t You Play the Organ Man – MP3″

Greetings all.
I hope you all had a restful weekend (I know I did), and you’re ready for a week full of funky Hammond grooves.
I know I did a theme “week” two weeks ago, but that just seems to be the way my brain is working these days.
The record I bring you today, eluded me – a Hammond organ fiend of the first order – for years. I was never able to find a copy in the field (I suspect although this was released domestically, it didn’t actually get much in the way of distribution), and every time it popped up on a certain auction site, the price skyrocketed and I was left holding the bag (which never held quite enough money).
Until late last year, in which the forces of the universe, and my insatiable lust for Hammond funk were temporaily aligned, so much so that I finally scored myself a copy of Memphis Black’s ‘Why Don’t You Play the Organ Man’ at well below market cost. It was almost as if I had received part of a very limited Hammond 45 bailout.
Good thing too, because the acquisition of same allowed me to digimatize, and then share it with you.
I supposed it’s only fair to begin the description of the record, by letting you know that Memphis Black was neither (from Memphis, nor black). He was in fact the pseudonymous appellation of a certain Teutonic organ grinder by the name of Ingfried Hoffman.
Hoffman, probably the leading exponent of the Hammond organ in Germany (he was also a pianist) spent many years playing with the Klaus Doldinger Quartet before branching out as Memphis Black (and/or the Memphis Soul Band) and then moving on to create library/soundtrack music.
I have no idea exactly how Hoffman “became” Memphis Black – the vocal interjections during ‘Why Don’t You Play the Organ Man’ were a guitarist named Joe Quick (who certainly sounds American) – but the record is funky as hell, with lots of wailing organ by Hoffman, a very fat bass line and some cool guitar. Hoffman and his band have a real feel for the real thing, and without the names of Hoffman and producer Siegfried Loch, one might be forgiven for assuming that Memphis Black may have actually been recording near some real life Mississippi mud.
Hoffman recorded two full LPs with this group, one as Memphis Black (‘Soul Club’) and one as the Memphis Soul Band (‘Soul Cowboy’). Both are very groovy – though expensive – and are worth checking out (I think they’ve both been reissued).
I hope you dig the track, and I’ll be back on Wednesday with some more.
Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for something later by the Everly Brothers

PSS Check out Paperback Rider which has finally been updated.

Geraldo Pino RIP

January 22, 2009

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Geraldo Pino

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Listen – Heavy Heavy Heavy MP3″

Greetings all.

I wasn’t planning a post for this evening, but I just found out via Soulstrut (via the With Comb & Razor blog) that Afro funk legend Geraldo Pino passed away late in 2008. I figured that it was only appropriate to repost this gem from August of 2007.

I hope you dig it, raise a glass to the memory of a very funky man, and have a great weekend.

Larry

ORIGINALLY POSTED 8/29/07
I hope y’all are ready to groove, because the tune that I am about to whip on you today is, quite literally, figuratively and in title, Heavy Heavy Heavy.
That I had some Afro funk ready to go when this opportunity rolled along is pure, happy coincidence.
When you talk about Afro funk (beat, rock, whatever) the name that first comes to mind is of course that of Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Unless you have a more than passing acquaintance with sounds African, you may not have heard the name Geraldo Pino. Rest assured, though, that in the earliest days of his funkiness, Fela knew Pino – a native of Sierra Leone who was very popular in Nigeria – and his band the Heartbeats as perhaps the funkiest band in all of Africa.
Pino – born Gerald Pine – started out as a devotee of Latin sounds, moving on into American influenced soul and funk via the influence of James Brown. In the words of Fela himself:

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

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

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

Peace
Larry

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

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

Funky16Corners Radio v.64 – Numbers

January 20, 2009

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Funky16Corners Radio v.64 – Numbers (Downtempo Excursion)

Playlist

Neal Creque – Kenya (Cobblestone)
Overton Berry Trio – Guacamolean Shuffle (Jaro)
Meters – Stormy (Josie)
Richard Groove Holmes – Heavy Groove (World Pacific Jazz)
The Peddlers – Impressions Part 3 (Philips)
El Chicano – Viva Tirado (Kapp)
Freddy McCoy – One Cylinder (Prestige)
Lowell Fulsom – Pico (Kent)
Rotary Connection – Respect (Cadet Concept)
Cals – Stand Tall (Loadstone)
Jackie Edwards & Soulmakers – Che Che (Daran)
Brother Jack McDuff – Moon Rappin’ (Blue Note)
Marlena Shaw – Woman of the Ghetto (Blue Note)
Cymande – The Message (Janus)
Art Jerry Miller – Moon Shot (Enterprise)
Roy Meriwether Trio – What’s the Buzz (Notes of Gold)
Merl Saunders Trio – Ode to Billie Joe (Galaxy)
Billy Larkin – Light My Fire (Pacific Jazz)

Greetings all.

I come to you today in an unusual state of spiritual relaxation. For this we can thank both a day spent at home with my sons, and also the fact that the three of us witnessed (along with the rest of the world) the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Heavy stuff in both cases, in the micro and macro, each one pushing me along – in its own way – in a new, satisfying direction.
The mix I bring you today, the first Funky16Corners Radio podcast of 2009, is something that I had percolating in the background for a long time, setting tracks aside as they were digimatized. The concept of the mix fully formed from the beginning, but the contents amassing gradually.
Late last week, when I saw the aforementioned events on the horizon, I thought to myself that there would be no better time to stitch the mix together.
I’m often tempted to drop something mellow in an attempt to soothe the tortured psyche (my own and those of others), usually after a particularly difficult week. This time out, the quiet, downtempo vibe of the mix is not intended as a balm (though it can and should be applied in that capacity as needed) but rather as a marker (dare I say ‘celebration’) of a new chapter in my life, and in the lives of my fellow citizens. It is a proclamation of sorts, in which the sounds have been assembled, and are presented as evidence of new equilibrium. A slice of the vibe, if you will, and at well over an hour, quite a generous slice at that.
This is a keyboard heavy mix, with lots of piano (acoustic and electric), much Hammond organ (who among you didn’t see that coming) and a couple of unusual vocal numbers.
There is an – extremely subtle – underpinning of funk, with lots of crisp drums, and plenty of soul (jazz).
We get things rolling with the meditative ‘Kenya’, from Neal Creque, from his self-titled Cobblestone LP. The album, which is excellent all the way through, is proof that although Creque is best known as a sideman (Grant Green, Mongo Santamaria), he had plenty to offer as a leader.
Next up is the interestingly titled ‘Guacamolean Shuffle’ from Pacific Northwest pianist Overton Berry and his trio.
If you haven’t already read the playlist, give the next track – a cover of the Classics IVs ‘Stormy’ – a listen, and see if you can guess who it is, I’ll bet the Meters weren’t at the top of your list.
If the bext cut – ‘Heavy Groove’ by Richard Groove Holmes – sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a reworking of Horace Silver’s soul jazz classic ‘Song for My Father’. It hails from Holmes’ ‘Live at the Lighthouse’ LP.
I continue my attempt to spread the word about the mighty Peddlers, with the inclusion of a brief interlude from their sought after ‘Suite London’ LP, ‘Impressions Part 3’.
One of the few tracks on this mix to have made a dent in the charts, El Chicano’s cover of Gerald Wilson’s ‘Viva Tirado’ is a classic.
Next up is another Funky16Corners favorite, vibraphonist Freddie McCoy with the groovy ‘One Cylinder’.
If the next track sounds familiar, it’s because Lowell Fulsom’s ‘Pico’ is the instrumental b-side of the classic ‘Tramp’. I’ve always dug ‘Pico’ for it’s somewhat haunting vibe, and I have to apologize for not having a less timeworn copy of the 45.
Things take something of a left turn with a selection from a group featured here in the last few weeks, Rotary Connection. Though some of their covers tend to go in strange directions, I think their version of Otis Redding’s ‘Respect’ is right on the money.
We head out to the San Fran Bay area for the haunting – yet groovy – organ instrumental, ‘Stand Tall’ by the Cals, yet another gem of a record that I was turned on to courtesy of my man Haim.
I’ve never been able to turn up much info on the group Jackie Edwards and Soulmakers, other than that they appear to have hailed from the Chicago area. They recorded a couple of very nice soul jazz 45s, that are definitely worth your while to track down.
If you stop by here on the reg, you are definitely familiar with the work of Hammond legend Brother Jack McDuff. The cut we bring you today is the title cut from his masterpiece, ‘Moon Rappin’. The album is a brilliant, funky, far out slice of late 60s soul jazz, and unlike almost every other Hammond record in my crates, is a start to finish listening experience.
We return to the vocal side of things with one of Miss Marlena Shaw’s finest Cadet 45s, ‘Woman of the Ghetto’, featuring a dynamite Richard Evans arrangement.
The other track in this edition of Funky16Corners Radio to have glanced the charts (in the winter of 1973) is the Message by Cymande. If you haven’t checked out the multi-layered sounds of Cymande (well represented in reissue) then you should do so post haste. They mixed funk, soul, jazz and reggae for one of the most unique and memorable sounds of the 70s.
Memphis organist Art Jerry Miller recorded a cool but hard to find LP for the Stax offshoot Enterprise in 1970. Miller worked extensively with Willie Mitchell at Hi Records, and reportedly it’s that label’s house band that backs him on ‘Moonshot’.
Pianist Roy Meriwether recorded several excellent LPs through the 60s and 70s. One of his finer small-label efforts is the rare ‘Jesus Christ Superstar Goes Jazz’ on the Notes of Gold label. ‘What’s the Buzz’ is a reworking of a tune from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
Next up is a groovy cover of Bobbi Gentry’s ‘Ode to Billie Joe’ by the late Merl Saunders. The album that this track hails from was one of my personal white whales, and like Ahab, I chased it far and wide before finally (and I should note, with a bit of poetic justice) grabbing it from a friend for a very reasonable price.
Things come to a conclusion with a tune by another Pacific Northwest keyboard hero, Mr. Billy Larkin. He recorded several albums of soul jazz with his group the Delegates, as well as some as a solo. His version of the Doors ‘Light My Fire’ appeared on the 1969 LP ‘I Got the Feelin’.
That all said, I hope you dig this edition of Funky16Corners Radio, and I’ll be back on Monday with something cool.

Peace

Larry

PS Make sure to stop by Iron Leg

PSS Check out Paperback Rider as well

Louis Armstrong w/Leon Thomas – The Creator Has a Master Plan

January 18, 2009

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Louis Armstrong

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Leon Thomas

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Listen – Louis Armstrong with Leon Thomas – The Creator Has a Master Plan – MP3″

Greetings all.

When we last spoke, I hinted that there were some major changes in the offing.
Indeed there are.
I haven’t ever gone into detail on this subject before, so bear with me. Here at the Funky16Corners compound, there’s me (the big Corner), my wife (the pretty one) and two little Corners of the future. Both of my sons, in addition to being wonderful, loving, smart and funny, have what are euphemistically known as “special needs”.
My oldest has a diagnosis on the Autism spectrum, and my youngest has developmental delays. Though they are both “high functioning”, both of them have had difficulties in commercial daycare. As a result, my wife and I put our heads together, and we decided that for the well being of all concerned, I would take family leave so that I could stay home with the kids.
I’ve gone into some detail in this space before about how the industry I work in has been in a precipitous decline for the last year or so, with huge layoffs at our location (I work at a newspaper that’s part of a huge national chain). The forecast for the industry as a whole is grim, and in an odd bit of coincidence, last week (after I’d already set up my family leave) they announced a furlough, in which all employees would be forced to take a week off without pay in the first quarter.
I’ve worked at this paper for 24 years, and changed positions a number of times. Like a dot on a graph, for roughly 80% of that time the changes were all positive/upwardly mobile, having to do with the increasingly sophisticated technology of the operation. Unfortunately, the last few years have seen the line on the graph plummet as I was downsized out of one position (in IT) into one I was grossly overqualified for. I managed to work my way out of that into something much better, but by the time I was up and running in my current position, the folks at corporate were already running wild, cutting the heart out of the business.
As a result, when we “did the math” (since my wife is securely employed) we decided that at least until the boys were both in school full time (a few years out), I would be recast in the role of stay-at-home Dad.
The odd thing is, despite my long history on the job, I couldn’t be happier about this. I get to spend more time with my sons, and more importantly provide them with a much better environment than they’d get at a day care center (and believe me, we have had enough experience in that department to know that). Though I’ve always enjoyed work more when it presented an intellectual challenge, I’ve never (EVER) depended on work for satisfaction or growth in that regard.
Work has never been my life, but rather something I’ve done so that I can live my life outside of work.
So, as of Monday January 19th 2009, I begin a new chapter in my life.
Things here at the blog should pretty much remain the same. I suspect that new austerity measures will stem the tide of new vinyl in the Funky16Corners crates, but as I’ve related here countless times, I have more than enough on hand to last a good, long time.
Though I can’t say for sure, I suspect that any stress that has manifested itself in the blog(s) is likely to ebb, and that is  – of course – a positive development.
And, if you’re a representative of a major media organization who’s been looking to hire a blogger. Now’s the time!
In celebration of this new era, I bring you a truly unusual selection with a vibe that I think sets the tone for this great leap forward.
If the title ‘Creator Has a Master Plan (Peace)’ sounds familiar, it may be via the original, classic version by Pharoah Sanders (also featuring the vocals of Leon Thomas) from his 1969 ‘Karma’ LP , though that version lasted more than 30 minutes and included a huge helping of free/out sound exploration.
The version I bring you today is a very unusual artifact from the twilight years of the mighty Louis Armstrong. I have to admit that I was ignorant of the existence of the ‘Louis Armstrong and His Friends’ LP until it came up in conversation over at Soulstrut a few years back. Late in the Spring of 1970, Bob Thiele (of the Impulse and Flying Dutchman labels) brought Armstrong and an all star group (led by arranger Oliver Nelson)into the studio. The resulting session can charitably be described as wavering back and forth between bizarre and banal. Armstrong works his way through a couple of old-school numbers, and a few very strange attempts at current material like ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and ‘Everybody’s Talkin’, but there’s also one completely unexpected gem. That gem is – not coincidentally – Satchmo’s version of ‘The Creator Has a Master Plan’.
Thomas and Armstrong split the vocals here, with the first verse provided by the former, and the chorus by the latter, before Leon falls by with the spiritual yodeling and then what you end up with is an odd, and oddly appealing, one time only, intersection of easy listening, avant garde spiritual jazz, flower power and that essence of starshine that Satchmo carried with him from the streets of New Orleans, all over the world and back again to the studio on Wednesday May 27, 1970 where the old, the new and the in-between all sat down and meshed for a few unlikely minutes.
While there’s none of the earthy, tenor explosions of Sanders, this version does touch on the original in places. Thiele was the producer on both sessions, and in addition to Thomas, the great James Spaulding plays flute on both versions.
The temptation – once you’ve heard both versions – is to see a huge divide between the two, but I’d suggest that you step back a bit, take it all in, and you might just start to realize how much there is connecting the two.
That said, dig the tune, wish me luck on my new endeavor, and I’ll be back on Wednesday with a new edition of Funky16Corners Radio.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for something grooovy from Dudley Moore!?!

PSS Check out Paperback Rider which has finally been updated.

Joe Bataan – Latin Strut

January 15, 2009

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Joe Bataan

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Listen – Joe Bataan – Latin Strut – MP3″

Listen – Deodato – Super Strut – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope the end of the week finds you well.
I stand before you on the cusp of some major (I think positive) changes in my life. I won’t go into too much detail today, on account of not having a whole lot of time today, but I will explain at length come Monday. Rest assured that these changes should not affect the blog(s) in any negative way. If anything the supply of good vibes is likely to expand.
That said, I’ve enjoyed serving up the sizzling Latin soul this week, and the tune I’ve held for last is a banger.
Though this was the ‘Week of Boogaloo’, today’s selection falls far outside that time period. Though not technically ‘boogaloo’, it is certainly Latin soul, so my hope is that once you pull down the unos y ceros you’ll dig the connections (and the tune).
As I’ve said before, I’m in no way an expert on Latin sounds, but I am a big fan. My Latin crates aren’t particularly deep, but I like to think that they contain a fair amount of quality. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff (not “new”, but new to me), and today’s selection is a fairly new addition to the Funky16Corners arsenal.
Last year, thanks again to a sale list from my man Haim, I happened upon a copy of Joe Bataan’s ‘Latin Strut’. This is one of those records that I’d never heard, but certainly heard about for a long time. As soon as I checked out a sample, I slapped down the semolians and before long the disc found its way through the mail slot and the air in things at the Funky16Corners compound were a little bit groovier.
Joe Bataan is one of the major movers and shakers of Latin soul, from the early years of boogaloo and coining the term Salsoul in the 70s.
It was on the album bearing that title in 1974 that he dropped today’s selection, ‘Latin Strut’.
Now, if you’re a regular reader of Funky16Corners, you know that I’m the kind of nut who spends at least as much time reading record labels as I do spinning the records. Oddly enough, I gave ‘Latin Strut’ a grip of spins before I stopped to scan the label, so imagine my surprise when I look under the song title expecting to see the words ‘Joe Bataan’, and instead the name Deodato pops out at me.
“Huh?”, says I, seconds before I set to Googling and discovered that ‘Latin Strut’ was in fact a cover of a Eumir Deodato tune entitled ‘Super Strut’. Naturally, it wasn’t long before I grabbed a copy of the OG (it was but a pittance) because I couldn’t very well tell this particular tale without including both 45s.
Deodato’s original is certainly “Latin” in it’s conception, if a tiny bit jazzier with the Rhodes laid on thick (which is cool). Joe Bataan cranks up the Latin percussion, amplifies the tempo a touch for the dancers and opens things up with a very sweet flute solo. It also helps that about two thirds of the way through ‘Latin Strut’ there resides a very nice drum/bass breakdown.
Though apparently (according to the excellent book ‘Love Saves the Day’) ‘Latin Strut’ didn’t make a big impression on the Latin audience, it should come as no surprise that its pre-disco vibe was a major hit on the dance floors of New York City.
I hope you dig the records, and I’ll be back on Monday with something nice.
Have a great weekend.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for some 6T’s Canadian rawk…

PSS Check out Paperback Rider which has finally been updated.

Funky16Corners Radio Show Tonight 1/15 9PM

January 15, 2009

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Greetings all.

This is just a note to let you know that the Funky16Corners Radio Show on Viva internet radio returns tonight – Thurs 01/15 at 9PM . The show will play at 9PM, and will be archived thereafter at the Funky16Corners Radio Show Page (where you can still hear many old shows if you haven’t checked it out yet).

Peace

Larry

Joe Cuba Sextet – Psychedelic Baby (You’re Psychin’ Up My Mind)

January 13, 2009

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The always stylish Joe Cuba Sextet

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Listen – Joe Cuba Sextet – Psychedelic Baby (You’re Psychin’ Up My Mind) – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope the middle of the week finds you well, and that you all found Monday’s selection as groovy as I did.
The tune I bring you today comes to you courtesy of the purveyors of a couple of the all-time great Latin soul/boogaloo cuts. The group: The Joe Cuba Sextet, the tunes; ‘El Pito’ and ‘Bang Bang’.
Today’s selection is a cut from the JC6’s 1967 ‘My Man Speedy’ LP, and is a cool little window into the outer reaches of the boogaloo landscape where the overall reach for popular crossover – for what is boogaloo is not one of the great crossover movements of the 60s?- is amplified lyrically, in this case (as in many cuts on the competing Cotique label) using the term ‘psychedelic’, employed largely out of context, yet not without charm. I make that particular point not to damn the JC6, but to point out that in a era where every record company suit with a fat stogie in his mouth was stapling the word ‘psychedelic’ to everything on wax, the JC6’s use of the term, in that context, can hardly be considered offensive.
The tune in question, ‘Pyschedelic Baby (You’re Psychin’ Up My Mind)’ was written by Bobby Marin, who also wrote the oft sampled ‘I’ll Be a Happy Man’ for the Latin Blues Band. The cut has a pop edge with a nice repeated piano/vibes riff. There’s also a nice little timbale breakdown (with some echoey vocal effects) in the middle of the tune as well, followed by a nice vibes solo by Joe.
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Friday with something very nice.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a garage band soul cover

PSS Check out Paperback Rider which has finally been updated.

The TNT Band – The Meditation

January 11, 2009

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Tony & Tito of the TNT Band

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Listen – TNT Band – The Meditation – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope all is well on your end, and that you’re all ready to get down with a week full of Latin soul.
If you want to immerse yourself in something a little more long-form, you can always hit the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive and take a soak in Funky16Corners Radio v.51 Spanish Grease. I wasn’t ready to jump into another mix, but I did pull a couple of sweet boogaloo 45s out of the crates, so I thought I’d share them with you this week.
I’ve related the story here a few times, of how some years ago my most righteous father-in-law drove down from the hinterlands and dropped something like 3,000 45s on me, which I spent the better part of a summer going through. I pulled a grip of 45s for my own crates, a couple of boxes to sell/trade, and weeded out several hundred that ended up going to the landfill (though the percentage of quality vinyl to crap was exceedingly high).
One of the disc that caught my eye instantly was the only Cotique label 45 in the lot, ‘The Meditation’ by the TNT Band. It was pretty well rinked, but I put it aside in a box of to-be-listened-to stuff, where it sat for months. When I finally got around to checking it out I was blown away. I was also pissed off, since (as I mentioned) the record looked like it had been holding up the short leg of a kitchen table, and sounded like the TNT Band had recorded the song during a hailstorm. It was way too damaged to DJ with (or to record, listen to, or blog).
Naturally – as is always the case in these situations – ‘The Meditation’ went onto my want list, where it remained for a good long time.
Last summer I happened upon a much nicer copy (still not mint, but I won’t stand on ceremony), immediately digi-ma-tized it, and placed it into the to-be-blogged folder, where it sat waiting for some company (the rest of which you’ll be hearing this week).
The two T’s in TNT were Tony Rojas and Tito Ramos. Ramos had previously sung with both Johnny Colon and Joe Bataan. ‘The Meditation’ was released in 1969, charted regionally and was reportedly a big dancefloor hit in New York.
Aside from the fact that it’s a very groovy side, it falls into that particularly interesting subset of soulful records that find their inspiration in the model put forth by Archie Bell and the Drells’ ‘Tighten Up’ (there are a grip of those and someday I will assemble many of them for a Funky16Corners Radio feature).
The TNT Band recorded a handful of LPs for Cotique (also home to the La-Teens, Lebron Brothers, Chollo Rivera and the Latin Soul Drives, and oddly enough several records by “break-in” king Dickie Goodman) in the late 60s before fading away (sadly) like the rest of the boogaloo craze.
‘The Meditation’ is a stone classic that brings us a taste of summer in the cold air of January.
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Wednesday with something caliente

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a garage band soul cover

PSS Check out Paperback Rider which has finally been updated.


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