Archive for July, 2009

Mystic Moods – Midnight Snack

July 28, 2009

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The Georgia O’Keefe steez is palpable…

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Listen/Download – Mystic Moods – Midnight Snack – MP3

Greetings all.

I managed to get some time set aside for a midweek post, despite the fact that I thought I’d never get my records together for the DC gigs. I’m limiting myself to my 45 flight case, a small box of jazz 45s (for the Jazz Corner set) and a bag of LPs. It sounds like a lot, but I’ll be doing a 5 hour set at Marvin on Friday night, and want to have enough to go where the mood (my own and that of the room) takes me.
That said, if you’re in the Washington, DC area on Wednesday or Friday nights and want to hear some good music, maybe even cut yourself a slice of rug, see the flyers below for all the pertinent information, i.e. dates, times, locations etc. It’d be very cool to meet some of you.
The tune I bring you today was a complete surprise when I found it on my last trip to the nation’s capitol. I was already – thanks to be hepped to it by my man DJ Prestige – the proud owner of the Mystic Moods funky opus ‘Cosmic Sea’ and assumed (and I’m not alone on this point) that it was the only thing worth picking up (at least for DJ-ing purposes) in their extensive catalog; a funky aberration, if you will.
I found this 45, pulled it out to be previewed on the store’s turntable, and once I gave it a listen placed it at the top of my ‘keeper’ pile.
The Mystic Moods Orchestra was the brainchild of a cat named Brad Miller, an engineer with a taste for creating soundscapes, who later went on to found the audiophile label Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab. From the mid-60s on, Miller, along with a host of collaborators created an oeuvre aimed at providing a soundtrack for seduction (one need only scope out the Mystic Moods album covers to understand this).
The tune I bring you today, ‘Midnight Snack’ was a track on the Mystic Moods 1975 ‘Erogenous’ LP . The tune was written (as was ‘Cosmic Sea’) by Don McGinnis and Bob Todd (along with someone named Gillian Michaels). Both McGinnis and Todd had worked extensively with Miller and the Mystic Moods, McGinnis having previously done arranging for both Boyce & Hart and the Monkees.
‘Midnight Snack’ has a great funky disco vibe, with some of the clavinet from ‘Cosmic Sea’ mixed with electric piano and strings and the very cool ascending horn figure. The flipside, ‘Honey Trippin’ is also pretty cool.
I hope you dig the tune. Wish me luck on the road, and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

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PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for yet another version of ‘The Crying Game’.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Betty Harris – Trouble With My Lover

July 26, 2009

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Miss Betty Harris

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Listen/Download – Betty Harris – Trouble With My Lover – MP3

Greetings all.

I’ll be uncharacteristically brief, since I’m in the middle of preparing for my trip down to DC (see flyers below) , still trying to get my strength back 100% and just living life.
The tune I bring you today is by one of my all time favorite female singers, Miss Betty Harris.
During the 60s and early 70s Harris, more often than not with the mighty Allen Toussaint, made some truly amazing records, including heartbreaking ballads, punchy soul and the monumental funk of ‘There’s a Break In the Road’.
If you’re interested in the whole Betty Harris story, run on over to the Funky16Corners web zine for the article I wrote about her some years ago.
Today’s selection is a transitional record of sorts, in that while it’s not ‘funky’, it is most certainly ‘funky’, enough so that I wouldn’t hesitate to give it a spin for a roomful of dancers. The song in question, ‘Trouble With My Lover’ is in my opinion Harris’ sexiest performance and the arrangement by Toussaint is wide open with a thick, syrupy vibe like riverbottom mud (dig that bass guitar).
It’s a classic, and if you’re not acquainted with Miss Harris’ wider oeuvre, might It suggest that you either start digging for the vinyl or – more conveniently – seek out a comp of her stuff which is uniformly excellent (make sure to check out her early Jubilee stuff as well).
I’ll try to post before I hit the road. If I don’t, and you’re in the DC area, try to stop by and say hello.

Peace

Larry

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PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a Lovin’ Spoonful cover .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners On the Road (Again)

July 23, 2009

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Greetings all.

The end of the week is here, and I am once again a free man. The tube has been removed from my kidney (not as painful as I thought it was going to be) and I am back on the street again.
I’m a little bit behind the eight ball – confinement in a hospital room for the better part of a week kind of takes it out of you – but I fully expect to be up to speed in a few days.
I come to you empty handed at the end of the week because the wife and I spent the entire day on the road retrieving the two smallest Corners from their grandparents who were kind enough to watch them while I was ill. We had to drive to upstate NY, and then took a route home that initially looked like a smart move but turned into a long string of traffic nightmares. We only just rolled through the door about an hour ago, so there wasn’t really time to prepare something (you can always hit the archives and check out a mix you may have missed the first time out).
However, I have some news…
Next week I’ll be packing up the heat (LPs as well as 45s) in the Funky16Corners-mobile and rolling down to Washington, DC for a couple of nights of vinyl goodness.
Next Wednesday, 7/29 I’ve been invited to spin as part of the crew at the 5th Anniversary of DJ Birdman and DC Digga’s night ‘Jazz Corner of the World’ at Café St Ex, 1847 14th St NW in DC. If you dig the sounds of jazz (all kinds, from hard bop to rare grooves) you need to fall by since Birdman and DC Digga know how to do it up right, and there will be other special guests bringing the heat including Richmond, VA’s own DJ Fatback (who knows him some jazz). Things get rolling at 7PM and go all night long.
Then – yes there’s more – on Friday night 7/31 yours truly, Larry Grogan aka Funky16Corners will be working in long form over at Marvin (a very cool place) a few blocks up at 2007 14th St NW (in DC, natch) where I’ll be manning the storied wheels of steel from 10PM all the way to closing time. You can expect the usual funk, soul and rare groove with bits of disco and jazz (anything that moves the dancers) mixed in.
I’m really looking forward to working up a nice, long groove, and I know the folks in DC like to dance, so we should all get along swimmingly.
If you’re in driving distance try to fall by and make the scene one of those nights, and be sure to stop by the booth and say howdy.
That said, have a groovy weekend, and I’ll see you all back here on Monday.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for the Second Anniversary Mix! .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Danny Delaney – Stop and Think

July 21, 2009

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Listen – Danny Delaney – Stop and Think – MP3″

Greetings all.

How about something quick and funky for the middle of the week?
My medical incarceration continues – my escape delayed for at least a day (no fault of my kidneys, but rather getting bumped from a schedule at a busy hospital). I may (keeping my fingers crossed) be out sometime on Wednesday, but don’t be shocked if I make my end of week post from here. It seems the harder I struggle to get out, the deeper I sink. Like I said, my health right now is OK (aside from the rogue stone that caused this visit, which will be pulverized in the coming weeks) but I have to get a qualified professional to remove the tube from my back before I can go home.
I would like to thank everyone who has sent along good wishes for the restoration and continuation (thanks RM) of my health. It means a lot.
But, back to the music….
The song – of course – if of average length. The information I’ve been able to track down about it is not.
Some months back my man Haim dropped a set-sale list my way, and as usual there was plenty of goodness to be had. After I made my selections and moved on to the check-out line, Haim said he also had some “less pristine” copies of a very heavy record, and asked if I’d be interested in one of them.
Now, when Haim says that a record is hot, naturally I take his word for it. The man has hepped me to so many quality records that his reputation is unimpeachable. However, if it is possible for something to be extra/super unimpeachable, such a thing is his grading, i.e., when he says a record is less than perfect, it is generally about two grades better than most people’s stuff. That said, when the record in question found its way into the mailbox, and onto the turntable I just about flipped my wig, since ‘Stop and Think’ by Danny Delaney is a slice of stone solid funkiness.
It is also one of the most lead-less records I’ve ever encountered. I haven’t been able to discover anything about it, aside from the fact that it was also issued on the Seeda label. When I saw that I figured I could see who else recorded for Seeda, and I might be able to follow something from there. The only problem with that is that I can’t find anyone else who recorded for Seeda, nor for that matter anyone else who recorded for Palmetto. The name ‘Palmetto’ suggests to me that we might be dealing with something from the South Atlantic coast, i.e. South Carolina, Georgia or Florida, but I can’t say for sure, and there’s no address on the label.
A dead end….aside of course for the fact that this is a very funky record, with plenty of organ, popping horns, a great vocal by Delaney and a tasty change-up toward the end. If I had to guess I’d place this in the area of 1971 or 1972, but things being what they are it could be one or two years in either direction (earlier or later, that is).
If anyone out there has anything to add, please drop me a line and pass it along.
I would be much obliged.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for the Second Anniversary Mix! .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Lafayette Afro Rock Band – Hihache

July 19, 2009

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The Lafayette Afro Rock Band

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Listen – The Lafayette Afro Rock Band – Hihache – MP3″

Greetings all.

As previously mentioned, I communicate to you via the powers of the interwebs, and a wholly unexpected wi-fi connection at the hospital. By the time you read this (sometime Monday AM) I may very well be under the knife yet again, hopefully getting re-stented, and de-tubed so that I may walk the earth freely once again.
As you may have guessed, being in the hospital sucks out loud, but I must admit that the suckitude has been dialed down a tad since (with the company of my lovely wife) I am now able to sit here, write and listen to music. It’s not exactly the comforts of home, but it’ll have to do for now.
The other day, post procedure/pre-rehospitalization, I – like a suburban rube – was out mowing the lawn in the hot sun, and decided that I would take the old iPod with me to alleviate the endless buzz of the mower pounding my eardrums. Whilst I was nearing the end of the job, and my energy/patience,a very tasty drum break, followed by several minutes of stylish Afro-funk poured out of the phones and into my brain, and for a short while the lawn was all but forgotten, taking a back seat to the groove.
The tune in question is (not coincidentally) the song I bring you today, ‘Hihache’ by the Lafayette Afro Rock Band.
Though I had this tune on a CD comp for some years, the vinyl only came into my hands in the last few months via a very nice haul at what first appeared to be an inauspicious edition of the Asbury Lanes garage sale. I walked into the room, saw almost no sellers (or buyers), but fortunately decided to stick around and dig. Good thing too because I walked back out into the sunshine that day with an armload of tasty vinyl, part of which was the ‘Voudounon’ LP by the Lafayette Afro Rock Band.
A French band, formed (I kid you not) in Long Island, NY, the LARB made some of the tastiest Afro-funk ever to roll down the pike. Formed in 1970 as the Bobby Boy Congress, they were rechristened in 1972 (after Boy departed to go solo). They recorded ‘Hihache’ in 1974,and thanks to that mighty break, the record soon became a DJ/hip-hop staple, eventually being sampled numerous times (see list at the end of the post*).
However – big “however” here – unlike so many “break” records, ‘Hihache’ has the quality and stying power to keep it’s solid groove going for almost seven minutes, long past the break. In addition to the rock solid percussion, there’s some righteous electric piano, fuzzed out guitar and of course blazing horns. ‘Hihache’ is pure dancefloor gold, and should I recover in time to honor my DJ commitments at the end of July (more on that later), I can promise you that I will drop ‘Hihache’ right next to my other Afro-fave, ‘New Bell’ by Manu Dibango (and if I’m in the groove, maybe some Geraldo Pino).
As it is, pull down the ones and zeros, slap on your cans and shake your sweaty ass all over the place to this one.

Peace

Larry

*Records sampling ‘Hihache’ by the Lafayette Afro Rock Band

Aimee Mann’s “That’s Just. . .”

Angela Winbush’s “Treat You Right”

Biz Markie’s “Nobody Beats the Biz”

Biz Markie’s “Studda Step”

Black Moon’s “Buck ‘Em Down”

Bulldog Breaks’s “Bring it on Down”

Channel Live’s “Build and Destroy”

Coolio’s “Hands on my N*gger”

De la Soul’s “Oodles of O’s”

Digital Underground’s “No Nose Job”

DJ Honda’s “Biz Freestyle”

Gravediggaz’s “2 Cups of Blood”

Hurricane’s “Comin Off”

Kris Kross’s “It’s Alright”

LL Cool J’s “Jinglin’ Baby”

Mad Flava’s “Bump Ya Head”

Mad Lion’s “Double Trouble”

Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It”

Nas’s “The Foulness”

Naughty by Nature’s “Ghetto Bastard”

Naughty by Nature’s “It’s On”

Nice & Smooth’s “No Delayin’”

Original Flavor’s “I Like It”

Public Enemy’s “Can’t Truss It”

Rumpletilskinz’s “Dacumin”

Souls of Mischief’s “Dirty D’s Theme”

Stezo’s “Freak the Funk”

Wu-Tang Clan’s “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothin’ to Fuck wit’”

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for the Second Anniversary Mix! .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Attack of the Evil Kidney 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

July 18, 2009

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Greetings all!
Guess here I’m writing this?
In the goddamn, motherf&%$#! hospital, that’s where.
As I mentioned last week I had been in for a “minor” (heh heh…) procedure related to my ongoing kidney issues. Well, I get out of the hospital, and over the course of the next week I start feeling not so good, I call my doctor, describe the symptoms and the next thing you know, bob’s yer uncle and I’m back in a hospital bed.
The catch this time is that I have been nephrostomy-fied, which means I have a tube leading from my kidney (I only have the one), out my back and into a lovely rubber bag. It will remain thus for the next few days until they go back in, put back in ANOTHER stent (look it up) and set me free once again like a rogue bear being helicoptered into the wild.
I have had just about enough of this shit, but there’s not much I can do about it.
The one little ray of sunshine is that I just discovered quite accidentally that the hospital has a wi-fi connection, so I am able to alleviate the positively soul numbing boredom of this place by communicating with you all via the interwebs.
I’ll be here until at least Tuesday, so I am going to attempt to get my Monday posts together, and will be monitoring the blog.
Wish me well.
Peace
Larry

Covering Aretha (Since You’ve Been Gone X 2)

July 16, 2009

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David T Walker

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Listen – David T Walker – Since You’ve Been Gone – MP3″

Listen -Tommy Wills – Since You’ve Been Gone – MP3″

Greetings all.

The tunes I bring you today arrived in the to-be-blogged bin in a roundabout way, i.e. I picked up the records from which they hail for other tracks, and just happened to get these in the bargain. I was sitting, digi-ma-tizing vinyl and realized that I had just recorded two different (both cool) version of Aretha Franklin’s ‘(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone’, and naturally, the large portion of my brain used to sorting these kinds of things demanded that I gather both of them into a single blog post, so that you, the listening audience in the blog-o-mos-phere, might derive the same level of enjoyment from them that I have.
The first of these is the flip side of a track included in the recent ‘Getting the Corners’ edition of Funky16Corners Radio. Tommy Wills was a saxophonist who operated out of western Ohio and Indiana during the 60s and 70s. His take on ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ – for some reason credited to Jerry Waxler (sic) –  is, as was the a-side – a little on the lo-fi side, but the band gives the tune a spirited reading, with Wills sax, organ and drums (way down in the mix). It’s not hard to imagine Wills and his band sharpening the arrangement on a tiny bandstand somewhere.
The second version I bring you today is by guitarist David T. Walker is a somewhat more sophisticated affair, with what sounds like at least one more channel of stereo, a full band, and Walker’s jazzy guitar style. I have to admit that Walker was a rather late discovery for me, and I dig his take on the whole soul jazz thing.
It’s just a great song, laid down very nicely by two different instrumentalists, and I thought you might dig it.
I’ll be back on Monday with some funk.

NOTE: Don’t forget to fall by Viva Internet Radio Tonight at 9PMEST for the latest edition of the Funky16Corners Radio Show. You can always check out the show (and many pastshows) in the archive.

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Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Victor Johnson – When You Say You’re Mine

July 14, 2009

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The Master: Richard Evans

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Listen -Victor Johnson – When You Say You’re Mine – MP3″

Greetings all.

I have to start this post off by sending out thanks to my brothers over at Soulstrut, who were a big help in digging up some facts about this record.
Some time back I was casting my line onto the interwebs in search of vinyl, and happened up on ‘When You Say You’re Mine’ by Victor Johnson. Though I’d never heard of Johnson, the single bore a very interesting credit, i.e. “Strings and Horns arranged by Richard Evans”.
Regular visitors to the Funky16Corners blog will already be aware that Evans is one of my musical heroes. Starting out his career as a bassist, Evans went on to arrange and produce a wide variety of simply amazing records for the Cadet label, among them Dorothy Ashby, Odell Brown and the Organizers, Terry Callier and last but certainly not least, the mighty Soulful Strings. Evans’ work at Cadet is visionary, creating a sonic universe at once soulful, sophisticated and (very) forward looking.
When I found the Johnson 45, I was surprised because I had no idea that Evans had done any work for independent labels. A BMI search revealed yet another intriguing fact, that being that the song was written by Ken Chaney (one of the pianists to have played with the Young-Holt Trio) and Monica Chaney (his wife?). This, and the Evans credit confirmed for me that this was very likely a Chicago record.
An inquiry over at Soulstrut brought me some more information. The record appears to date from 1972/73, and Evans did in fact craft some other indie label 45s for the likes of the Sounds of Black, Joyce Williams and T.L. Barrett.
The record itself is very cool in a jazzy, sophisticated soul vibe, with Johnson’s vocal – reminiscent of Billy Eckstine or Arthur Prysock* – flowing over the arrangement. The tune itself has a wonderful hook in the chorus. The arrangement is – for Evans anyway – fairly straight ahead (no kalimba or fuzz guitar), with understated horns and waves of strings.
Interestingly enough, the flipside (actually the A-side) the bluesy ‘After Dark in the Ghetto’ was apparently a local hit in Chicago.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Friday with a couple of interesting cover versions.

Peace

Larry

*Thanks Pickwick!

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Running the Meters

July 12, 2009

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The Meters –

Joseph ‘Zigaboo’ Modeliste (left), George Porter (second from left)

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Listen -George Porter’s Joyride – Cissy Strut – MP3″

Listen -George Porter’s Joyride – Sneaky Freaky – MP3″

Listen -Zig and Gaboon’s Gang – Let’s Get Fired Up – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope everyone had a groovy weekend.
My medical procedure on Friday was actually not quite as bad as I thought it would be. Not exactly a hoot either, but grading on the curve, nothing I’ll have nightmares about.
The tunes I bring you today fell into my crates many years apart, but thanks to an obvious (and meaningful) connection it behooves me to present them to you in tandem.
Now… show of hands…who among you isn’t familiar with the Meters?
OK…those of you with your hands up, back away from the interwebs, slip on your digging shoes and head out into the field until you acquire any and all of their extremely easy to find 45s (the LPs not so much, but if you can find them cheap, good on you). Once you are in possession of some of the unfuckwithably funkiest music ever crafted in New Orleans, nay the world, and you’ve had a suitable time in which to restore the smooth contours to your brains, feel free to return to the discussion.
For the rest of you, we’ll just go ahead and rap.
The Meters, as stated above (and several times in this very space over the course of the history of Funky16Corners) were one of the greatest of classic era funk bands, laying down a few of what are undisputably (to any sane listener) the greatest grooves ever committed to vinyl.
If you’ve ever heard ‘Cardova’, and not had your spine rattle and shift (along with your general musical sensibility), then you are probably deaf.
That said, after several years – including a few before the Meters during which they were pretty much Art Neville’s band, recording on a wide variety of New Orleans records – and a number of albums for Josie and then Warner Brothers, they dissolved in 1978.
It was, coincidentally, two years further on up the road when bassist George Porter, and drummer Zig Modeliste got their own things together (separately), creating post-Meters bands.
Porter’s group, Joyride included guitarist Bruce McDonald, drummer Ricky Sebastian and keyboardist Sam Henry. They recorded one 45 for Deesu, and one for their own Chippewa label, as well as an albums worth of unreleased material.
Zig Modeliste formed Zig and Gaboon’s Gang around the same time with a band that included the young Ivan Neville on keyboards. Their actual vinyl output was limited to a single 45 for the Orleans International label (rumored to have been bankrolled/commissioned by a fried chicken chain), a New Orleans Saints “fight song” of sorts entitled ‘Let’s Get Fired Up’. They also recorded a live set that saw release many years later.
The recorded results of both of these 45s are evidence that while both of these musicians was crucial to the sound of the Meters, having gone their separate ways they took their music in new directions.
The George Porter’s Joyride record (though some comments over at the Home of the Groove blog suggest that the Deesu 45 is actually Porter backed by studio musicians) sees an updated (and less groove heavy) version of the Meters chestnut ‘Cissy Strut’, which employs some decidedly 1980-ish keyboard sounds and production. By no means is it a bad record, but laid side to side with the OG it tends to suffer in comparison. The flipside, ‘Sneak Freaky’ also bears a time-appropriate sound, but since it is a group original, the sound works much better in a funky synth bag with some great drumming. In retrospect the feel aspires to some of the un-loose looseness so indicative of great New Orleans records, especially the sounds of the Meters.
‘Let’s Get Fired Up’ by Zig and Gaboon’s Gang is an aggressive slice of commercial funk that sounds like it could have been created in New York or LA. The production and playing are tight, and the football-related lyrics manage not to overpower the proceedings. I wouldn’t hesitate to drop the needle on this one at a funk night.
As it is, neither of these bands appears to have survived more than a few years, with Porter working steadily as a studio musician, eventually reuiniting with Art Neville in the Funky Meters. Zig Modeliste also had a serious career as a hired gun, and is currently playing and recording with Zigaboo Modeliste and the New Aahkesstra.
I hope you dig the tunes, and I’ll be back on Wednesday.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Billy Preston – Outta Space

July 9, 2009

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Mr. Billy Preston

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Listen -Billy Preston – Outta Space – MP3″

Greetings all.

How’s things in your corner of the blog-o-mos-phere?
Things here are pretty groovy, though by the time you read this I’ll be on a table somewhere getting yet another kidney related procedure (outpatient and only – heh “only” – uncomfortable) and wondering if the groundhog that moved in under our deck has been apprehended yet. Not the way I’d choose to spend a Friday, but in the grand scheme of things not all that tragic and I ought to be back in the saddle (as it were) on Saturday.
Not too long ago me and some of my on-line compadres were having a chat about the basic quality of a particular funk 45 that also happened to have been a HUGE chart hit. The convo followed the usual collector/digger blueprint in that a good portion of the people were sick to death of it, a few – like myself – rode hard for it and some on the fringe got their pants wet soapboxing about how anything so popular couldn’t possibly be good.
It was during that exchange that a number of other records that were – if not as popular – significantly more popular than the kind of rarified wax that usually pads the boxes of your average funk 45 DJ, were discussed, and lined up against the first record (which was the AWB’s ‘Pick Up the Pieces’). One of the records listed was today’s selection, ‘Outta Space’ by the mighty Billy Preston.
In addition to being the proud owner of what might have been the wildest afro in the history of “the natural”, Mr. Preston – who sadly shook off this mortal coil back in ought-six – was a keyboard wizard and vocalist extradordinaire. Starting with his earliest Hammond material (especially the Northern fave ‘Billy’s Bag’ on Vee-Jay), his work with the Beatles, on through his funky hits of the early 70s, and his mellower (and very successful) stuff like his 1980 duet with Syreeta Wright ‘With You I’m Born Again’, Preston laid down a very solid body of work.
Of course, this being Funky16Corners, his Hammond stuff has gotten the most shine hereabouts.
However…and I’ve given this a lot of though in the last couple of years, I would be remiss if I didn’t step up to the pulpit to preach a little bit about ‘Outta Space’.
First and foremost, no matter how popular this record was in its day, there is no denying (by any sane person) that ‘Outta Space’ is as solid a piece of keyboard funk ever produced by Billy Preston (or anyone else). The clavinet is one of the signature sounds of the funk movement (YOWWWWWW!!!), and ‘Outta Space’ is built on 100% certified clavinet DNA.
The song has a very solid dancefloor beat, with that little rhythmic kick at the end of each bar that suggests some kind of funky twist on a conga line.
There’s a video on Youtube with Preston working ‘Outta Space’ with his band, Billy on the Hammond and someone else on the clavinet and they are tearing it the fuck UP!
I mean honestly….
There’s probably a major treatise to be written on the artistic value of funk 45s balanced against their obscurity. There’s a basic issue of, one man’s obscure is another man’s obvious, but once you get beyond a certain level, where you’re dealing with things that almost no one has heard, that the rarity fetishists, the label coverers and the Secret Squirrelistas would have you believe that the relic they dug out of some long forgotten basement is the ne plus ultra of all things funky. However my friends; as someone with experience, and a discerning ear, I can assure you that many of these records, despite their lofty provenance, suck out loud. Of course so do a lot of popular records, but the scale swings both ways.
Many is the time that I’ve finally gotten to check out a copy of a storied funk (or soul) 45, dropped the needle and found myself decidedly underwhelmed. I have also gone into detail in this very space, time and time again of the power coming out of the kind of records at which most seasoned collectors would roll their eyes and guffaw dismissively. I don’t have the time to waste on that kind of shite and I will go ahead and assume you don’t either.
A true follower of the funk, one with an honest feel for music – as opposed to an obsession with the encyclopaedia of ephemeral back alleys – will put on a record like ‘Outta Space’, and start to move, taken away by the power of a real, solid record.
That’s what this is.
Real.
Solid.
Funk.

I can promise you this my friends: the next time I find myself behind the decks, whipping the funk 45 love on the masses, I will be dropping ‘Outta Space’*, and so help me Jeebus if it doesn’t fill the assembled multitudes with the spirit of all things good and funky, I will resign my commission in the army of the funk.
This is my promise to you.

NOTE: Don’t forget to fall by Viva Internet Radio Tonight at 9PMEST for the latest edition of the Funky16Corners Radio Show. You can always check out the show (and many pastshows) in the archive.

Example

Peace

Larry

*Yes, I have it on 45, but happened to pull out the LP first, thus the picture above…

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook


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