Archive for August, 2009

Kool & the Gang – Who’s Gonna Take the Weight Pts 1&2

August 30, 2009

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Kool and the Gang

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Listen/Download – Kool & the Gang – Who’s Gonna Take the Weight Pts 1&2 – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope everyone had a most excellent weekend.
Here in NJ (as I’m sure it was along most of the East Coast) we were rained on for most of the weekend, the result of the passing remnants of a dying hurricane. Better – I’m sure – than the hurricane itself, but still a drag.
I figured I’d get the new week started with something tasty that I picked up while down in DC a while back.
As I’ve recounted to my DJ buddies, the digging in DC is outstanding, as applies to both variety and price. I grabbed myself a couple of OG Kool and the Gang LPs in excellent condition. Oddly enough, for a relatively popular band from New Jersey, their LPs rarely show up around here, and when they do they are – in the parlance of the digger – skated. To locate a nice copy of ‘Kool and the Gang Live at the Sex Machine’, for the low, low price of a single, crispy US dollar, was indeed a treat.
It is thanks to that very find that I bring you today’s selection, the supremely funky ‘Who’s Gonna Take the Weight Pts 1&2’.
I don’t know how it is where you hang, but in my personal vinyl neck of the woods, Kool and the Gang MK1 (the band as it existed from it’s first recordings to it’s stylistic dilution somewhere in the late 70s) was one of the most reliably funky bands ever to take a stage (or prop themselves up in front of a microphone).
They managed to mix in a jazzy sophistication without compromising the funk, and ‘Who’s Gonna Take the Weight’ is a great example thereof.
The tune gets started with a little bit of preaching:

People, the world today is in a very difficult situation
And we all know it because we’re the ones to created it
We’re gonna have to be the ones to clean it up
We’re gonna have to learn to live together and love each other

Because I believe one day someone or something
Is gonna wanna judge who’s creating
All this corruption and death and pollution
And all these difficult situations on earth

And He’s gonna wanna know
Who’s gonna take the weight

Following which, Kool (and the Gang, of course…) firm in the knowledge that you can’t leave the audience hanging, winds up and knocks the whole thing over the fence.
The wah-wah guitar sets things up, and then – as is often the case with any Kool and the Gang record – the horn section takes the lead and makes it so that the listener simply must abandon his or her seat and step out onto the dance floor.
There’s a great breakdown toward the end of part one, where the drums and percussion bubble up to the surface for a moment, before the whole thing fades out into a wave of fake crowd noise. When the congas and electric piano come in to start off part two the groove is restored, if spread open a little bit wider than in Part 1. The horns are still there but the rhythm section is a little bit higher in the mix.
It’s solid stuff (sampled many times), and as always, I hope you dig it.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a podcast of the best of the Walker Brothers.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Willie West – Said To Myself

August 27, 2009

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Mr. Willie West

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Listen/Download – Willie West – Said to Myself – MP3

Greetings all.
I figured I’d end the week with a fine bit of New Orleans heat, by the man, Willie West.
If you don’t know the name Willie West, you ought to since the records he recorded with Allen Toussaint during the 60s and 70s are unfadeable, especially the monstrous, downtempo groover ‘Fairchild’ (a record I chased for a long assed time).
I didn’t exactly chase this record, but once I heard it it lodged securely on my want list, and earlier this year I managed to score myself a nice copy.
The record in question, ‘I Said To Myself’ is a laid buck, but supremely funky Allen Toussaint arrangement (West wrote the song), on which Mr. West is joined by none other than the mighty Meters.
The record (from 1975*) has a great, percolating rhythm, punchy horns, and a refrain which has hints of Curtis Mayfield.
The Meters are, as always, in fine form, and the production is sharp and stylish.
I don’t think this has been comped yet so pull down the ones and zeros and get your groove on.
I’ll see you all on Monday.

Peace

Larry

*Thanks Alan

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a couple of tunes written by the great Ellie Greenwich.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

The Buena Vistas – Kick-Back

August 25, 2009

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The Return of the Mysterious Buena Vistas

Listen/Download – The Buena Vistas – Kick-Back – MP3

NOTE: I’m warning you porcupines…the opening to this 45 may very well give you whiplash. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Greetings all.
The record I bring you today is one that as soon as heard its roar emanating from the turntables (during a DJ Prime Mundo set at an Asbury Park 45 Sessions), I grabbed my pith helmet and elephant gun and headed out to the bush in search of my own copy.
The search yielded surprising results, on account of the record I was looking for, was ‘Kick-Back’ but the 45 it was clawing its way out of was by a group I’d never heard of before, named Willie Tell and the Overtures.
I started my search in all the usual interwebs nooks and crannies, and came up snake eyes.
Then I posted it as a want over at Soulstrut. Some kind soul offered me a copy for $100. I politely declined…
So I started trying to find info about the record, and stumbled across some very interesting information, that being that the Buena Vistas, a group (more like a “name”) which released a number of cool 45s on Detroit’s Marquee label, released a single with the same exact two songs on it, BEFORE Willie Tell and the Overtures (which Chess released in 1970).
Hmmmmmmm….
So, I dug a little further and found someone saying that the recordings were exactly the same.
A HAH!
I head on over to E-Bay, and find a copy for sale, bid promptly, and in a surprising twist, got it for about $16 (which for you kids is much less than $100).
A few days later the record fell through the mailslot, I slipped it on the turntable, put the needle down, and discovered that my investment had been a wise one.
Now I was really intrigued. ‘Kick-Back’ is a break heavy monster, with some funky guitar and organ that sounds absolutely fantastic when issuing forth from a nice, loud sound system. I was also happy to discover the the flipside ‘The Soul Ranger’ also has a break, sounding like a slightly funkier version of the New Orleans classic ‘Horse With a Freeze’ (an Eddie Bo joint).
Now we addressed the Buena Vistas here before, talking about their Mike Terry produced 45 ‘Hot Shot’. My guess – which I still stand by – is that the musicians heard on this record were in fact various and sundry Funk Brothers.
Someone posted a comment on that post, which said the following:

“The Buena Vistas are actually Kathy Lynn & The Playboys, well-known musicians from Buffalo NY who recorded three 45s for Swan in a variety of styles. They became the Buena Vistas on Swan and then moved to Detroit where they were on Marquee and Lla Salle, as well as recording on LaSalle as The Antiques and Lynn Terry. Check the names- Kathy Lynn Keppen, Nick Ameno, Carl Cisco. And sometimes Eddie Bently. Thye were managed by Shannon in Buffalo and in Detroit. And they also recorded a 45 that was released as by The Rockin’ Rebels. The kicker is that they were all white!”

I ain’t buying it. That may have been the group that went out on the road, but I have serious doubts that they actually recorded any of the Marquees’ 45s (at least not the ones I own). Here’s what I wrote then:

“The Buena Vistas recorded several 45s for four different labels (Swan, Marquee, BB and LaSalle) between 1966 and 1968. Mike Terry’s name is on several of them as arranger.
The songwriting credits on the labels point to the involvement of Tom Shannon, a disc jockey/record man from Buffalo, NY who along with Carl Cisco (another name on the label) relocated to Detroit in the mid-60’s. Shannon and Cisco were both involved in another act on Swan, that being the Rockin’ Rebels, another instrumental act that were a “band” in name only, and probably a revolving cast of musicians, or at least a few different sets of players over the years that the group was issuing 45s (see the AllMusic bio of the group for more info). I suspect that this was also the case with the Buena Vistas, where the “name” was little more than a vehicle for a string of attempted assaults on the charts by the people behind the scenes.”

I stand by that assessment, unless credibly informed otherwise.
The Buena Vistas to Willie Tell & the Overtures transformation/shenanigans only serves to push me further in that direction.
I hope you dig the song, and watch for the flip in an upcoming mix.

Peace

Larry


PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for another iconic Woodstock performance.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Shirley Bassey – Light My Fire

August 23, 2009

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Miss Shirley Bassey

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Listen/Download – Shirley Bassey – Light My Fire – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope the new week finds you all well.
By the time you read this I ought to be back on my feet after a few unpleasant days in the hospital (thanks to a stubborn infection and the ensuing fever).
The tune I bring you today was planned for the end of last week, but the hospital firewall prevented me from accessing my server, or the WordPress switchboard, so it was not to be.
The last time I was down in DC (with the family) I managed to get in some digging at Som Records. One of the records I pulled out of the bins was one that I had been seeking for a long time, mainly for the version of ‘Spinning Wheel’ (ofen funky in unfunky hands).
Anyway….I walked up to the counter and my man Patrick saw the Shirley Bassey LP and noted “There’s a great version of ‘Light My Fire’ on there.”
OK, I thought. Two good tracks on one LP, I’ll take it.
I had no idea.
The version of ‘Spinning Wheel’ is funky, but since my man DJ Prestige covered it a while back over at Fleamarket Funk, I figured I’d write up ‘Light My Fire’.
When I got home and dropped the needle on the tune in question, my immediate response was:

HOLY CRAP!?!?

I mean, seriously…my fave version of LMF has always been the one by Rhetta Hughes on Tetragrammaton. It’s a little masterpiece of dynamics, sex and grooves.
As soon as I heard Shirley Bassey’s version, Rhetta moved down one spot.
Bassey’s version starts out with a slinky guitar line, then drums and bass, and then, like producer Johnny Harris was trying to know people out of their seats, the whole fucking orchestra drops in at double volume and you’re all like “Wha???”
Shirley comes in with a typical, stylish vocal, and things keep moving along nicely.
Then the band comes back in for an instrumental interlude, with icy washes of strings, pounding drums. Then Shirley comes back in for the big finish (almost) with Harris and his band taking it out BIG.
I’ve heard that the version on the ‘Johnny Harris Movement’ LP (sought after by collectors of beats and such, since it was sampled) is pretty much the same track, without the vocals.
Either way, wait until dark, snuggle up with your significant other and let this one rip.
I am not responsible if your couch gets broken.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for another iconic Woodstock performance.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

No Friday Post: Sick again and WordPress is Blocked…

August 20, 2009

Aretha Franklin – Save Me

August 18, 2009

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All hail the Queen of Soul.

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Listen/Download – Aretha Franklin – Save Me – MP3

Greetings all.
This is going to be brief, since I’ve been fighting a fever since yesterday, and appropriately feel like yesterday’s garbage.
The tune I bring you today is another great “missing the forest for the trees” moment.
I first heard ‘Save Me’ as performed by Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll.
Then someone hepped me to the version by the mighty Nina Simone.
THEN…my man DJ Bluewater came to the Asbury Park 45 Sessions with his very own dub plate of the Wanda Davis version (smoking, of course) from the Midwest Funk compilation.
So I’m all “I wonder what obscure source produced such a popular (and grooving) song?”
A cursory search revealed what a glance at the Brian and Jools label would, that being that the original version of the tune was by that very obscure artist, Aretha Franklin.
That’s right. Aretha co-wrote the tune with King Curtis (and  – I think –  her sister Carolyn) and recorded it on her 1967 ‘I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You’ LP (along with another minor tune, uh ‘Respect’). It was her debut LP for Atlantic after leaving Columbia, is of course a classic.
The tune opens up with a grinding, ‘Gloria’-esque guitar line, then Aretha (and a churning bass line) drop in and take things to a whole new level. It’s a very rock-ish soul number, and the Queen of Soul even gets to namecheck Batman and the Green Hornet.
When I first heard Aretha’s version, I thought it sounded strangely familiar, and a little internal (brain-based) digging reminded me that the song’s co-composer King Curtis resurrected the backing track two years later for the song ‘Instant Groove’.
It is without question a classic.
I hope you dig it.
I’m going back to the couch…

Peace

Larry

NOTE: Make sure to check out the Midnight Soulstice show from this past Friday which includes a mix from yours truly. It’s archived for streaming or download here.

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for an iconic Woodstock performance.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Sly & the Family Stone At Woodstock

August 16, 2009

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Sylvester Stewart gets down with half a million of his closest friends

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Listen/Download – Sly & the Family Stone – Woodstock Medley – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope all is well on your end as the summer creeps inexorably to it’s symbolic close.
I have returned from my travels, in which a family vacation was inevitably bisected (however briefly) with a digging soujourn (productive). Many good times were had, good food consumed (god bless the Vietnamese and their pho, as close to mother’s milk as soup has ever come) and waves of needless traffic fought bravely.
The tune(s) I bring you today are here in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock.

“Woodstock??!” you say. “On Funky16Corners?!?!?”
Yessireebob.

While it was by and large a rock festival, Woodstock featured one of the most unequivocally blazing Sly and the Family Stone performances ever committed to vinyl (or film for that matter).
There, in the middle (quite literally) of the second night, Sly and his gang took to the stage, faced a crowd of drowsy, mud-soaked hippies and blew their fucking ears off with a veritable tidal wave of funky love, which was at least in the context of Woodstock without equal.
You might want to start and consider how amazing a band Sly & the Family Stone were. Though they sometimes get overlooked in funk/soul circles for their rock-ish style and traveling amongst the longhairs, Sly and the band were without question a going soul and funk concern. There was a pop edge, but what music in that time period didn’t display such filigree?
I want you to pull down the ones and zeros and slap on the headphones and turn the volume way the fuck up and tell me if around the seven and a half minute mark, when the band rips into the ‘Music Lover’ riff you don’t get the stone (pun intended) tingles up and down your spine as a shit eating grin explodes on your face.

I mean GODDAMN!

When Sly gets all ‘I WANT TO TAKE YOU HIGHER!’ and the audience shouts back ‘HIGHER!’ over and over again, and again in a rapturous bit of call and response I get a headrush, and a footrush (on account of they’re tapping so hard) and I kind of get taken away, and it’s 1969, and I’m almost seven years old, a ghostly pale white kid on my way to second grade, and somehow I’m transported (without the knowledge or consent of my parents, natch) to the foot of the stage, with my eyes and ears all bugged out, my crew cut blown back in the hot wind emanating from the edge of the stage and then I snap out of it and realize I’m still sitting at the dining room table with my laptop, typing this stuff and a brief wave of disappointment that I wasn’t there sweeps over me.
The really groovy thing (as they might have said back in the olden days) is that no one knew when they showed up to play at Woodstock that it was going to end up being anything but another gathering of the tribes. The on-stage energy you see displayed by Sly in the movie is the kind of thing he and the Family Stone were accustomed to bringing wherever they went. I remember seeing a film of them absolutely tearing the house down at some cockamamie battle of the bands at the Ohio State Fair (check it out over at La Colmena de Humo)and thinking to myself how few of the performances I’ve seen in my thirty some year concert going career came within 1,000 miles of that show, and Woodstock is BETTER than that one.
Of course Sly burnt himself out a few short years down the line and never really came back.
That my friends is a serious loss, and a lesson in the cruel ways of fate.

Life’s a bitch like that sometimes.
Dig the Sly.

Peace

Larry

NOTE: Make sure to check out the Midnight Soulstice show from this past Friday which includes a mix from yours truly. It’s archived for streaming or download here.

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for another iconic Woodstock performance.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

8/14 Asbury Park 45 Sessions Wrap Up

August 15, 2009

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Maurice Williams meets the Buena Vistas

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Yours truly upon the wheels du steel

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Pat James Longo (see playlist below) & DJ Prestige discuss all things funky

Funky16Corners Playlist
Titanic – Sultana (CBS)
Santana – Jin-Go-La-Ba (Columbia)
Oneness Of Juju – African Rhythms Pt1 (Black Fire)
Mandrill – Fencewalk (Polydor)
Buena Vistas – The Soul Ranger (Marquee)
Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs – The Four Corners (Veep)
Tommy Wills – (Funky) 4 Corners (Airtown)
Quincy Jones – Money Runner (Reprise)
James Brown – The Payback Pt1 (Polydor)
Royalettes – River of Tears (Roulette)
Isley Brothers – Get Into Something Pt2 (T Neck)
Dyke & the Blazers – Shotgun Slim (Original Sound)
Commodores – Machine Gun (Motown)
Tony Camillo’s Bazuka – Dynomite Pt1 (A&M)
Bar-Kays – Sang and Dance (Volt)
Willie West – Said To Myself (WB)
Bobby Byrd – If You Don’t Work You Can’t Eat (King)
Laura Lee – Crumbs Off the Table (Hot Wax)
Richards People – Yo Yo (Tuba)
Louis Chachere – The Hen Pt1 (Paula)

Pat. James Longo Playlist

Jimmie Willis – “Soul Power PT. 1″ (Orr Records cat. 1100 (Prod. by Porter – Sago))
Charlie Lucas And The Thrillers – “Wonderful Feeling” (Waterbird cat. WB001 (Produced by C. Simmons))
Curtis Davis – “Your Love And My Money” (Bev-Mar Records cat. BM 1001)
Bobby Freeman – “Do You Wanna Dance, 1970″ (Double Shot Records cat. #152″ (Prod. by: Winn-Rodgers))
Big Mac – “That’s The Way YouTreat Your Woman” (Jewel Records cat. SL 1274 (Produced by Dan Clay Upia Productions))
Lorenzo Holden – “The Wig” (Cee-Jam Records cat. INSTRUMENTAL #1 CJ-8961 (Plug Side / Wht Lbl Promo)
The Sensational Guitars of Dan & Dale – “Robin’s Theme” (Tifton cat. 45-125 (with Pic Sleeve)
The Combinations – “Bump Ball!” (RCA Victor cat. 47-9482 (Producer Jim Foglesong)(Plug Side / Not For Sale))
The Blues Groove – “Makin’ It (Verve cat. VK-10417)
Ruff Francis & The Illusions – “Give Me Mercy” (Essica Records cat. 002″)
Bo Diddley – “I’m High Again” (Checker cat. 1200 (Produced by Gene Barge & Charles Stepney)
Frankie Newsome – “Don’t Mess With My Lovemaker” (Part II) (Savern cat. SN-104 (Prod. By Sago – Stevio Arr. Cond. by Z. Sago)
The Pazant Brothers – “Skunk Juice” (RCA Records cat. 47-9634 (Production / Prod. by Ed Bland)
Ray Barretto – “Together” (Fania cat. 501 (Produced by: Jerry Masucci))
Monguito Santamaria VOCAL BY: Ronnie Marks – “Hey Sister” (Fania cat. 481)
Ray Rodriquez – “Workout – Part II” (Ghetto Records cat. G – 010 (Music Directo – Joe Bataan / Producer – George Febo))
The Stark Reality – “Say Brother” (Big Yellow cat. 45-63 Produced by Spotlite Enterprises))
Rusty Bryant – “Fire Eater” (Prestige cat. PRT-750 (PR-2932))

Listen/Download – Mandrill – Fencewalk/Hagalo – MP3

Greetings all.
Just a quick note to say that the Asbury Park 45 Sessions were once again banging, the perfect accompaniment to a warm summer night. I joined DJ Prestige, DJ Bluewater, M-Fasis, DJ Prime Mundo and special guest selector Pat James Longo for an evening of funk, soul, disco, latin and all manner of grooves.
There were several heavy sets, and Mr Longo brought the heat, dropping a number of incredible 45s, including one by Stark Reality that moved right to the top of my want list.
We also managed to buy and trade some cool vinyl amongst ourselves, including a couple of new residents for my record box (which I am digitizing as I type this).
Hopefully we’ll be doing this again in a couple of months, and as I always say, if you’re in the area, you simply must drop by.

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

Bobbi Humphrey – Spanish Harlem

August 13, 2009

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Bobbi Humphrey

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Listen/Download – Bobbi Humphrey – Spanish Harlem – MP3

Greetings all.
I figured I’d end the week with something upbeat and a little on the light side.

The Funky16Corners brigade has returned from the field, tired but somewhat rested. I even managed to get in some digging (surprising, I know) scooping up some cool stuff for Funky16Corners and Iron Leg both. I also got in a visit with my man DJ Birdman, one of the truly righteous people I know.

I should note that tomorrow (Friday) evening at 11PM the good folks at the Midnight Soulstice show on WRIR Richmond, VA will be running a recent Funky16Corners mix as part of their (and I’m humbled) ‘The World’s Best Funk DJs’ series. You can read about the show here (live) and I’ll make sure I post the archive link as soon as I get it.

Not too long ago I was digging at one of the Asbury Lanes garage sales, and in an armload of one-dollar 45s I happened to score a copy of the 45 you see before you today, ‘Spanish Harlem’ by Bobbi Humphrey.
Born and raised in Texas, Humphrey was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie playing in a talent contest at Southern Methodist University. He suggested she take her flute and move to New York City, which she did.
After hitting at the Apollo Theatre amateur night she picked up some regular gigs in the city she was signed to Blue Note records in 1971. I’ve seen references suggesting that she was the first female instrumentalist signed to Blue Note, but pianist Jutta Hipp recorded a pair of albums for the label in the 50s.
Between 1971 and 1975 Humphrey recorded a half dozen LPs for Blue Note (including a live set).
Her version of Ben E. King’s ‘Spanish Harlem’ was recorded for her 1971 debut ‘Flute In’, which included covers of tunes by Bill Withers and Carole King and featured instrumental contributions by Lee Morgan and Idris Muhammad.
Humphrey’s version of ‘Spanish Harlem’ is taken at a brisk pace, with her flute often doubled by vibist George Devens.
I dig it and I hope you do too.
I’ll be back on Monday with some soul.
Have a great weekend.

Peace

Larry

PS The Asbury Park 45 Sessions returns this Friday 8/14 with the usual crew of heavy hitters, this time out joined by special guest Pat James Longo. If you’re in the area fall by and dig the sounds.

Example

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for two by Leon Russell.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Howlin’ Wolf – Pop It To Me

August 11, 2009

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Howlin’ Wolf

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Listen/Download – Howlin’ Wolf – Pop It To Me – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope the middle of the week finds you all well.
The Funky16Corners fam and I are in Washington, DC trying to cram in a little west and wewaxation before the summer comes to a screeching halt. I was at the Smithsonian today and saw (in the same room) one of Grandmaster Flash’s turntables and a Cheech and Chong album. Very cool (and unexpected).
The record I bring you today is by no means an original discovery, as I was tipped off to its existence by Mack over at Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye. So intrigued was I by the very concept of today’s selection, that I bought a copy sight unheard.
When the record finally made it’s way to the crib, and I had a chance to give it a spin I knew that my investment was a wise one.
Chester Burnett, aka Howlin’ Wolf was one of the greats of the Chicago blues scene in the 50s and 60s. Coming up from the Delta to Chitown, where he was signed by the Chess brothers, Wolf laid down some of the most intense music (let alone blues) to have ever been committed to vinyl, including classics like ‘Back Door Man’, ‘How Many More Years’ and ‘Smokestack Lightning’. Howlin’ Wolf was as close to a true elemental spirit as popular music has ever produced. If you’re not already down, might I suggest that you head down to your local music dispensary and pick up the single disc “Best of” on Chess, set aside a week or two, put it in the player and get your mind good and blown. If you’re not really a blues “fan” – and it’s important to note that serious exposure to the real stuff, like Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter et al will reveal how disappointing much modern “blues” is – you should still get your hands on some Wolf, because it is music so powerful as to transcend genre. Aside from the fact that his basic catalog is influential in an almost unparalleled way (listen to the ‘Best of’ and see the history of 60s rock unfold before your very eyes), Howlin’ Wolf was, among the big Chicago bluesmen (most of who came from elsewhere) the one who brought into the modern era the power of the Delta. Ingest some Wolf and then go get yourself some Charley Patton and Blind Willie Johnson and dig the similarities.
That said, today’s selection can’t really compare to the power of Wolf’s best stuff, but in the context of the whole Funky16Corners thang, it may very well provide an open door for some of you to step through and get a handle on the heavier stuff.
By the mid-60s Wolf was still at it, but the heyday of the electric bluesmen was long since past and Chicago had become one of the major centers of soul recording in the US. Someone at Chess decided to steer the Wolf in a new direction and decided to have him cover Syl Johnson’s (another southern bluesman turned Chicago soul shouter, though a generation younger) ‘Come On Sock It To Me’. Written by Johnson, Jo Armstead and Jesse Anderson, ‘Come On Sock It To Me’ was covered (though employing the same basic track) as an organ instrumental by the Deacons on the Shama label.
The Howlin’ Wolf version does not – as far as I can discern – re-use Johnson’s instrumental track*. Wolf’s version moves at a slightly faster pace, and the guitar and organ lines are different from the original. While no one is going to mistake Howling Wolf for a soul man, he makes a pretty interesting go of it on the retitled ‘Pop It To Me’, and it’s worth it just to hear him take the word ‘boogaloo’ and whip it through his 57 year old sinuses. It is a thing of beauty, as are his repeated ‘wooooooo’s.
‘Pop It To Me’ isn’t going to re-write the history of Howlin’ Wolf, but it’s cool to hear nonetheless.
See you on Friday.

Peace

Larry

*The Johnson OG was arranged by Johnny Cameron, the Wolf arrangement is credited to Monk Higgins

PS The Asbury Park 45 Sessions returns this Friday 8/14 with the usual crew of heavy hitters, this time out joined by special guest Pat James Longo. If you’re in the area fall by and dig the sounds.

Example

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for two by Leon Russell.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook


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