Archive for September, 2009

Joe Haywood – I Cross My Heart (And Hope To Die)

September 29, 2009

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Listen/Download – Joe Haywood – I Cross My Heart (And Hope To Die)

Greetings all.
How’s by you? I’m digging the fall-ish weather, plumbing the crates (as usual) and getting a lot of reading done (not always easy).
The tune I bring you today is a 45 I picked up this summer in what had to be (at least proportionally) the find of the year, i.e. a grip of very nice soul and garage 45s, all in minty fresh condition for the low, low price of one dollar each. Not everything was valuable (though a couple of them turned out to be worth significantly in excess of the asking price) but they were all, without exception,  high quality.
Today’s selection is by the great Joe Haywood. While you may not be familiar with Haywood or his discography, I assure that the description of his talent as ‘great’ is accurate. Unfortunately, Haywood was the very epitome of the journeyman soul singer, moving from label to label, making a series of outstanding 45s yet never really making it to the next level of fame and fortune.
I first came upon his music years ago when I picked up a 45 released on the New Orleans-based Deesu label. At the time I assumed that Haywood was a NOLA-based artist, but as you’ll see when you head over to Red Kelly’s  Soul Detective blog, that was an incorrect assumption.
I’ll let you head over there for the meat and potatoes of the Joe Haywood story (including a scan of his obit, and the only picture I’ve ever seen of him).
That said, thanks to the absolutely unfadeable, death dealing soul power of ‘(Play Me) A Cornbread Song’ a staple of my DJ box and a big personal fave, I pick up Joe Haywood 45s where, and whenever I find them.
Such was the case when I found today’s selection, ‘I Cross My Heart (And Hope To Die)’ on the Front Page label. According to the discography at Soulful Kinda Music, there were only a half dozen releases on the Front Page label (with the truth in advertising motto, ‘The Sound of Earthy Soul’), two of which were Joe Haywood 45s (one of the others is a sought after Lee Moses disc). It looks like ‘I Cross My Heart…’ is a late 60s release. It’s a powerful, horn-driven side with a great vocal by Haywood. The song and production are both credited to Bobby Robinson, though if you read the Soul Detective piece, it certainly brings the authorship of the song into question.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back at the end of the week.

Peace

Larry

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NOTE: The grand opening of the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

Over the last year I’ve had a few people ask where they might acquire a t-shirt with the Funky16Corners logo (above). The one I have is home-made, but my wife told me about Cafe Press, where you can upload your artwork and people can purchase a variety of items on demand. That way I don’t have to take the chance I’ll end up with an empty bank account and a garage full of unsold shirts (or various and sundry swag). If you click on the F16 logo link in the sidebar, you’ll end up at the Funky16Corners store at Cafe Press where you can order shirts, hats, tote bags, buttons and even a beer mug for your next soul-related stein hoist. The profit margin is so slim on some of the items as to be non-existent, but I thought this might be a good way to get the word out about the blog. – Larry

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some New Jersey garage pop

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Shades of Brown – Garbage Man

September 27, 2009

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The Shades of Brown

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Listen/Download – Shades of Brown – Garbage Man

Greetings all.
I sit here in the rain (not actually ‘in’ the rain, but symbolically, i.e. imprisoned in the house where everyone is going stir crazy), tired as hell but sure of the fact that if I were able to return to be, sleep would be fitful and unrewarding and would do nothing except waste the day.
What better time to open up the computer-thingy and whip out some blog.
The tune I bring you today is something I picked up a while back while trolling the interwebs for vinyl.
I had never heard the song, but once I saw the Richard Evans credit on the label (and if you fall by the Funky16Corners blog on the reg you know how I feel about Mr. Evans) I had to pick it up.
When I had a chance to give it a listen I was pleasantly surprised on a couple of counts.
First off, the song in question ‘Garbage Man’ is a slice of down and dirty funk.
Second of all, ‘Garbage Man’ is a slice of down and dirty funk, which may seem like a wholly redundant statement (which it is, really) until you place it within the oeuvre of Mr. Evans where it is nothing less than an anomaly. Richard Evans is known for a lot of things, but arranging relatively lo-fi funk tracks is not one of them.
Another interesting point is that if you give a listen to the other tracks on the Shades of Brown LP on Cadet, ‘Garbage Man’ is unusual in that context as well.
Formed in Chicago in the late 60s as the Mentors, the group – Bill Brown, Charles Scott, Earle Roberts and Christopher Allen – recorded a number of unreleased tracks for ABC before moving on to Cadet and changing their name to the Shades of Brown.
The Shades of Brown sound was like a slightly less experimental version of the Norman Whitfield-era Temptations with an emphasis on groove and harmony.
‘Garbage Man’, the final track on the 1970 LP ‘S.O.B’ is by far the roughest sounding track, with raw, funky guitar, hard drums and prominent bass. The arrangement is credited to Evans, and as I said before it is a stark departure from the stuff he’s known for, i.e. the Soulful Strings and Dorothy Ashby. Gone are the lush textures and subtly applied sonic touches, all replaced with hard-hitting, downtown funk.
Interestingly enough, the Shades of Brown were something of a group project for the Cadet records staff, with arranging credits going to Evans, Charles Stepney and two others. 1970’s ‘Garbage Man’ was the last of three Shades of Brown 45s released on Cadet (all of their 45 tracks appear on the LP as well). They eventually parted with the label and disbanded after one more 45 on the On Top label.
I hope you dig the tune and I’ll be back in the middle of the week.

Peace

Larry

Example

NOTE: The grand opening of the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

Over the last year I’ve had a few people ask where they might acquire a t-shirt with the Funky16Corners logo (above). The one I have is home-made, but my wife told me about Cafe Press, where you can upload your artwork and people can purchase a variety of items on demand. That way I don’t have to take the chance I’ll end up with an empty bank account and a garage full of unsold shirts (or various and sundry swag). If you click on the F16 logo link in the sidebar, you’ll end up at the Funky16Corners store at Cafe Press where you can order shirts, hats, tote bags, buttons and even a beer mug for your next soul-related stein hoist. The profit margin is so slim on some of the items as to be non-existent, but I thought this might be a good way to get the word out about the blog. – Larry

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some New Jersey garage pop

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

The Babies – The Hand of Fate

September 24, 2009

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The Babies

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Listen/Download – The Babies – The Hand of Fate

Greetings all.
At long last the work week is grinding to halt and we can all get ready to let loose on the weekend.
It’s been a busy week hereabouts, filled with both real world moves and unreal (i.e. records) escapades.
If you’re a longtime follower of the Funky16Corners blog you might remember a few years back when my father-in-law brought me a gigantic stash of 45s that he found when he was out searching for antiques. I spent the better part of a summer going through those records, finding everything from Hammond funk to twee pop.
I was down in the basement the other day doing some laundry and I spied the last few boxes of unexplored 45s up on a shelf and decided to have a sit down to see what I missed on the first go-round.
I managed to pull about a dozen interesting pop/rock discs, and two very cool soul 45s, one of which I bring you today.
When I pulled a disc by a group called the Babies out of one of the crates, I didn’t expect much, but since it was a mid-60s Dunhill release (and had been arranged by the great Gene Page) I figured it was worth a spin, so I put it on the keeper stack and brought it upstairs.
I checked out one side and it didn’t do anything for me. However, when I dropped the needle on ‘The Hand of Fate’ what I got was a very tasty slice of Northern style soul. I set off to the interwebs to see what I could dig up.
As it turns out, the answer was “not much”.
However (again) what I did find was intriguing. It turns out that the Babies tune did in fact have a certain amount of popularity on the Northern Soul scene in the UK. ‘The Hand of Fate’ was released by Dunhill in 1967. In a promotional ad I found (see above) it shows that the Babies were in fact a white group, and that Dunhill tried at least once to tie them in to the success of the Mamas and Papas.
I was able to locate a personal reminiscence of someone that remembered the group. They named one of the members as Rita Hurtzberg*, and said that although she and the other girls in the group hailed from Beverly Hills, California, they worked the R&B side of the street, opening for the likes of Cannibal and the Headhunters and Thee Midnighters in East LA.
The legendary Gene Page was an LA-based arranger who had in fact worked with the Mamas and Papas, but was best known for his work with soul artists like Dobie Gray, Solomon Burke and several Motown artists.
‘The Hand of Fate’ has a great four on the floor beat wrapped in the kind of classy strings and vibes that the Northern Soulies love so much. The lead vocal (Ms. Hurtzberg??) is really quite good, sounding like a slightly deeper-voiced Lulu. The real star of the show however is Page’s arrangement, which is pure, stylish, urban soul at it’s best. Had the record been marketed as such, it may not have been a hit, but it would surely be better known than it is. As it stands, it’s something of a lost classic of blue-eyed soul. The Babies had one other single on Dunhill before passing on into the dark caverns of obscurity.
Thank God for the Northern crowd**, and for the concept of heading back into a neglected stack of 45s. There is definitely something to be said for leaving no stone unturned.
I hope you dig the record and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

*I’ve found references to a Rita Hurtzberg singing backup on an album by one of the members of Rhinoceros.

**It’s interesting to note that while this record is all but unknown over here, in the UK it’ll run you about $40

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some great 1967 LA folk pop

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Average White Band – TLC

September 22, 2009

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The Average White Band

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Listen/Download – The Average White Band – TLC – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope that everyone is well.
I’m sliding toward the middle of the week, having witnessed a brief surge in energy (accumulated over the weekend) dissipate rapidly. It’s one of those things where you feel like you have a handle on everything with just a little but left to spare, then you turn your back for a minute and the next thing you know you’re flat on your ass looking for a nice soft blanket to wrap yourself in.
The good thing is, we have ourselves some music with which to soothe the savage within us all (on account of that’s how we roll at Funky16Corners).
The tune I bring you today is yet another record that made the return trip with me from Washington, DC.
I can’t remember if I’ve gone into detail on this specific subject before (it’s like that when you get old and crusty), but I certainly have addressed the subject in general terms, that being the undeniable quality of what one might refer to as “obvious”, common, cheap, popular records. One such record, that I always carry with me in the DJ box, which meets all of those criteria, and carries with it a certain amount of other baggage, yet is completely and utterly unfuckwithable, is ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ by the Average White Band.
The record I speak of – which ironically enough is not the record I bring you today, but bear with me because clarification is forthcoming – was a major hit in 1975, right on the cusp of my passage from youthful Top 40 listening  into FM rock radio. It is one of the finest bits of late-period funk, and the fact that such a record was created by a bunch of (mostly) pale, freckled Scotsmen upset no less an authority than the Godfather of Soul, who was so aggrieved that he created the A.A.B.B. (Above Average Black Band, essentially the JBs) and whipped out an answer record called ‘Pick Up the Pieces One By One’ (read more here).
Anyway, while I was digging in DC, I came across an AWB album that I had never seen, and picked it up because it contained a cover of the Crusaders’ ‘Put It Where You Want It’. I get the record home, give it a spin and discover that while I dig that cover, my favorite track on the album is the song we bring you today, namely ‘TLC’.
I set to doing some research, and discover that what I had in my hands was in fact a 1975 repackaging of the group’s debut LP from 1973. The AWB was initially signed to MCA, released the album ‘Show Your Hand’*, moved on to Atlantic where they hit with ‘Pick Up the Pieces’, after which the folks at MCA, knowing an opportunity when they saw it, re-released the album under the title ‘Put It Where You Want It’.
That’s the record I found.
That said, today’s selection, ‘TLC’ is a tasty bit of laid back funk, with some snappy drums, sleek horns and a chugging guitar/bass/keys rhythm section. It’s a nice, long jam (clocking in around the eight-minute mark), and while no sane person would expect it to make the impression that ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ did, it is nonetheless very groovy, and further proof that the AWB had plenty of stuff to back up the big hit.
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Friday.

Peace

Larry

*’Show Your Hand’ was released with what some might consider to be an offensive cover, featuring a cartoon of a white-face Golliwog popping out of a jack in the box. When MCA re-released the album the Golliwog was replaced with a shot of a female torso.

PS Where my peeps at? Hardly any comments in the last week. Are we not feeling the selections???


PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

The Bar-Kays – Sang and Dance

September 20, 2009

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The Bar-Kays, looking fly at Wattstax

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Listen/Download – The Bar-Kays – Sang and Dance – MP3

Greetings all.
How’s about we get things started this week with a taste of Memphis funk (and a huge helping of sample bait)??
The tune I bring you today was another one of my Washington DC scores. Oddly enough, though I came home with a huge, steaming heap of vinyl, almost all of it was in LP form. There was much digging to be had, but little of it took the form of the little seven inch wax biscuits we love so much here at Funky16Corners headquarters.
However, as a lifetime of experience has shown, sometimes quantity is sacrificed for quality, and this was one of those times. I probably came home with less than 20 45s, but as you’ll see as they get posted up in this space, they were by and large of an exceedingly high quality. Maybe not the rarest stuff (though there were a couple of what the kids refer to as “tough pulls”) but excellence from end to end.
The 45 I bring you today (I’ll only post one side, saving the flip for a later date) is an very cool side by a band with an interesting history.
Is there anyone among you that hasn’t heard ‘Soul Finger’? If you have, then you’re already hip to the sounds of the Bar-Kays.
Founded in Memphis in 1966, the Bar-Kays were soon recruited by the mighty Otis Redding as his backing band. They toured with him through 1967, until December 10th of that year, where the majority of the band perished along with Redding in a Wisconsin plane crash. Only the band’s trumpeter Ben Cauley survived that crash, and their bassist – who was in a second plane – put the band back together.
The band’s Volt discography shows only two singles released during 1968 (and I suspect that some or all of those sides may have already been in the can), but by 1969 the reconstituted Bar-Kays had returned to their duties backing other Stax/Volt artists in the studio, as well as recording their own music. ‘Sang and Dance’ was definitely recorded by the “new” Bar-Kays as sax player Harvey Henderson (a new member) is namechecked during the song.
Today’s selection first appeared as an A-side in 1969, though the copy I have is from the songs second appearance, as the B-side of the R&B hit ‘Son of Shaft’ in 1971.
I’d already heard ‘Son of Shaft’, but was unfamiliar (so I thought) with ‘Sang and Dance’. As soon as I previewed the song on the store’s turntable I realized that while I may not know the Bar-Kays record, I had definitely heard it sampled by an obscure artist by the name of Will Smith, on an equally obscure record called ‘Getting’ Jiggy With It’.
Fortunately for all of us, ‘Sang and Dance’ has much more to offer than the familiar ‘Na Na Na Na Na Na Na’ refrain. It is a veritable smorgasbord of funk, mixing dance craze boilerplate, a chant borrowed from Jomo’s ‘Uhuru (African Twist)’*, funky wah-wah guitar, fatback drum breakdowns and a blazing, horn-infested chorus.
It’s a great way to get your week (and your heart) started.
I hope you dig it.

Peace

Larry

*I assume that the Bar-Kays copped the chant from the earlier record, but it’s also likely that the chant arose from a third, common source.

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for something funky and freaky from Lulu.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

The Other Brothers Meet the Dynatones At the Hole In the Wall

September 17, 2009

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The mighty Dynatones

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Listen/Download – The Other Brothers – Hole In the Wall – MP3

Listen/Download – Dynatones – Hole In the Wall – MP3

Greetings all.
How does the day find you?
I just came in from running some errands surprised at the unseasonably crisp air. Fall seems like an impatient drunk, elbowing its way to the front of the bathroom line as the rest of us stare with a mix of anger and incredulity as the month of post-tourist warmth fails to materialize.
That said, I’m here to let you know that 8:30 in the AM is really the best time to go out and get things done, as the rest of the world is either on their way to work, or sound asleep. The aisles of the grocery store are empty and spacious, the line at the bank is short. It’s not even 10AM and I’m sitting at the laptop, most of my to-do list to-done, with a tasty iced coffee within arms reach.
The tunes I bring you today are a continuation of sorts of my own Ahab-esque chase of the roots of a particular song, which – should you be unfamiliar – you can freshen your memory here and here.
The song in question is entitled ‘Hole In the Wall’, known to soulies the world round as performed by the Packers.
Some time back – and I can’t remember exactly how I came upon this information – I found out that this famous instrumental did indeed have a vocal version. Naturally, as soon as this info came my way I set out to score a copy and was able to do so in short order.
That version was performed by a group called the Other Brothers. Unfortunately, aside from the fact that the Other Brothers’ 45 was released on LA-based Modern Records, I haven’t been able to track down anything in the way of information about the group. I mention the LA connection, since the original ‘Hole In the Wall’, despite the involvement of many serious Memphis heads, was in fact created in the that city with the involvement of local radio star the Magnificent Montague.
The Other Brothers’ version of ‘Hole In the Wall’ is a raucous soul burner with a raunchy rhythm guitar line (given even more burn by a honking sax), and party-time vocals (with that fake “live audience” ambience you’ve come to know and love). There are shout outs to Batman and Robin (doing the Jerk) , Matt Dillon, Festus and Miss Kitty (doing the Watusi), the Lone Ranger and Tonto (doing the Duck), all of whom seem to be hitting the discotheque scene. It’s really a very groovy record, and would surely get the dancers moving once laid on the slipmat and placed under the needle.
The flipside, ‘It’s Been a Long Time Baby’ is a great Northern-style dancer that I’ll be sure to post up some time in the future.
The second version of ‘Hole In the Wall’ comes to us courtesy of the mighty Dynatones. Known to most for their minor hit ‘The Fife Piper’, the Dynatones, a West Virginia band who had their initial releases on Pitssburgh’s St. Clair label, were picked up by HBR (the musical wing of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon empire). Fortunately, HBR had enough success with the 45 that they had the band do an entire LP, which I was lucky enough to find earlier this year.
The album is actually pretty good, with a grip of soul covers, including ‘Hole In the Wall’. The arrangement isn’t too far removed from the Packers’ OG, and you get some of the groovy, low-rent electric piano vibe (Wurlitzer??) and since it’s the Dynatones, who were working the flute-y side of Soul Street you get some of that too.
That said, I can’t see anything wrong with dropping two more versions of what can only be considered a “soul standard”. If I find any more I’ll be sure to bring them your way.
I hope everyone has a great weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for psychey prog….

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Clarence Nelson – Super Soul

September 15, 2009

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Listen/Download – Clarence Nelson – Super Soul – MP3

Greetings all.
The middle of the week is here, and so it’s time for some more goodness.
The tune I bring you today is one of those “dead end” records, in that I have been unable to turn up much information about it.
‘Super Soul’ by Clarence Nelson is undeniably groovy, but is also almost equally untraceable.
I can tell you with a degree of certainty that it was released in 1967, and that’s about it.
There are a few interesting clues orbiting in the periphery, with which I will now enter the realm of conjecture.
There are two names on the record; that of Mr. Nelson himself, and the writer and producer of the songs, one Edwin Hubbard. A dip into the Google-sphere reveals that there were musicians of those names working in and around Memphis, Tennessee during the 1960s, with Nelson as a guitarist (playing in a group called the Fieldstones) , and Hubbard as a flute/saxophone player and arranger (also a Memphis studio musician) who was known for mixing country music and jazz.
As to whether or not they are the same Nelson and Hubbard referenced on the label of ‘Super Soul’, I cannot say for sure. However, a BMI search reveals that the Edwin Hubbard who wrote ‘Super Soul’ and ‘Good Times’ also collaborated with Memphis musician Larry Muhoberac who spent years as the keyboard player in the band of a certain Elvis Presley. This would seem to me to add another level of solidity to the Memphis connection.
That said, ‘Super Soul’ is a groover, with a repeated ‘gunshot’ sound effect, organ, piano and Nelson’s sly vocal.
The flipside is a raving organ instrumental which I’ll make sure to include in the next Hammond mix.
If anyone has any additional info to contribute, as always, it would be greatly appreciated.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for some groovy folk rock.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Juanita Brooks RIP

September 13, 2009

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Juanita Brooks, back in the day…

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Listen/Download – The Explosions – Hip Drop Pt1 – MP3

Greetings all.
I had something else planned for today, but over the weekend one of the good folks at Soulstrut passed along the sad news that the lead singer of the Explosions, Juanita Brooks had passed away at the age of 55 (after complications from back surgery).
If you’re a regular attendee at the club Funky16, you’ll already be familiar, if not with Ms Brooks, then with the Explosions. The group recorded (under the aegis of the late, great Eddie Bo) a couple of the hottest funk 45s to come out of New Orleans, including the unfuckwithable ‘Garden of Four Trees’ (which I am sad to say still eludes me after lo these many years) as well as the tune I bring you today (and have brought you a few times before) the dependable, floor-filling fan favorite, ‘Hip Drop’.
Brooks came from a musical family, and was still a teenager when she recorded with the mighty Bo.
She went on to become a performer on the musical theater stage, in New Orleans and off Broadway. She also spent time as a backing vocalist, and performing live in New Orleans.
Though the Explosions recorded three 45s (the only three records released on Bo’s Gold Cup imprint), Brooks was only he lead singer on two of them, ‘Hip Drop’ and the impossibly rare ‘Jockey Ride’. Oddly enough, the lead singer on ‘Garden of Four Trees’ – which is credited as the Explosions featuring Juanita Brooks – was in fact (according to Bo) actually Marilyn Barbarin (who recorded the insanely good ‘Reborn’ on Bo Sound).
As I said before, ‘Hip Drop’ is a fan fave, and as I have witnessed personally, a guaranteed floor-filler. Though it lacks the ultra-funky punch of ‘Garden of Four Trees’, it’s just over two and a half minutes of fun, with a bright, sing-along chorus, ringing tambourine and interjections from Mr. Bo himself.
It’s a longtime fave of mine, and I can still remember the thrill I felt when I finally scored a copy for my record box.
Juanita Brooks will be missed.
See you on Wednesday.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for some groovy folk rock.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Joe Bataan – Young Gifted and Brown

September 10, 2009

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Mr. Joe Bataan

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Listen/Download – Joe Bataan – Young Gifted and Brown – MP3

Greetings all.
Here we all are at the end of what has been a very busy week here in the depths of the Funky16Corners compound. Both of the little Corners headed off to school, with the bigger of the two starting kindergarten and the littler one off to preschool (he is most definitely NOT feeling the bus…).
The groovy thing is, they have the same morning session, and they’re out of the house in the morning, which allows me to do crazy stuff like mowing the lawn at 8:05 in the AM in a (successful) attempt to beat the rain. Finished at 8:35, I now settle in at the dining room table with an icebag on my knee, a bottle of water and the laptop, so that I might complete my blogly duties before I continue on with the rest of my responsibilities.
I’d like to thank the good folks at Transition Culture for including me in their nomination for the Kreative Blogger award, which is a kind of continuous, chain-letter-esque bit of what Spy Magazine used to call ‘log rolling’, i.e. passing on a little love in the hopes that the recipient might do the same. The point being expanding the blog-wise knowledge of the readers by hepping them to some sites that I dig, in the hopes that they’ll move along in that direction and cause the ripple in the interwebs to keep moving.
I appreciate the props, and while I hate to be the slob that breaks the “chain”, I show my love in the sidebar (which was recently pruned to remove inactive sites, so that your valuable time might not be wasted). Click on any of the links to the right to see what I dig (and it’s not all funk and soul either).
The tune I bring you today is something I picked up this summer (for a single, crisp dollar!), which quickly flipped my wig and became a solid favorite, Joe Bataan’s ‘Young Gifted and Brown’.
If your not hip, know that Bataan ought to be chiseled into the Mt Rushmore of Latin soul, having made some of the genres finest records over the last 40 years. He’s laid down everything from sweet soul to slamming funk and is still at it today.
‘Young Gifted and Brown’ – which I haven’t been able to nail down a release date for, but suspect something 1971-ish – is a powerful, funky tale (autobiographical?) of empowerment that borrows/paraphrases its title from Nina Simone’s ‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black’. Released on the Fania subsidiary Uptite records, the tune has a killer arrangement and is right for the dance floor.
I hope you dig it, enjoy the weekend and I’ll be back on Monday with something cool.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a couple of tracks from the Chiswick catalog.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners Radio v.73 – Vanishing Point aka the Return of Super Soul

September 6, 2009

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Funky16Corners Radio v.73 – Vanishing Point aka the Return of Super Soul

Playlist

Booker T & the MGs – Chicken Pox (Stax)
Buddy Miles – Them Changes (Mercury)
5th Dimension – Shake Your Tambourine (Bell)
Shirley Bassey – Spinning Wheel (UA)
Dorothy Norwood – Soul Train (GRC)
Bo Diddley – High Again (Checker)
Buena Vistas – Soul Ranger (Marquee)
Labelle – Lady Marmalade (Epic)
Sisters and Brothers feat Sister Geri – Chained (Calla)
Hoctor – Gold Coast (Hoctor)
Bobby Byrd – If You Don’t Work You Can’t Eat (King)
James Brown – Hot Pants Pts 2&3 (People)
Jimmy McGriff – Shaft (Groove Merchant)
Ken Munson – Rocks In My Bed (Paramount)
Mickey & the Soul Generation – Chocolate (Maxwell)
Bohannon – Truck Stop (Dakar)


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

Greetings all.

I hope all is well on your end of the interwebs.
As stated on Friday, it’s been a very busy period here at Funky16Corners headquarters, with the two sprouts headed to school, many (MANY) appointments on the books and general life type stuff piling up around me.
Among the items on the “to do” list were a new mix for this very blog, as well as an upcoming guest mix for somewhere else, as well as a rash of digi-ma-tizing and filing new arrivals and future mix contents.
Before we get started with the latest edition of the Funky16Corners Radio thang, it behooves me to note that there is a minor change in the blogroll. Last week the fine Echoes In the Wind blog was officially discomblogulated by the bureaucrats over at Blogger (one of the many reasons I abandoned that service a few years back for the elysian fields of WordPress) and he was left – as the kids say – with his cheese flapping in the wind. Not one to let tragedy get him down, Greg has reconstituted his blogging space as Echoes Again (at WordPress, natch) and the least I can do is send you good folks over his way to help him get restarted. Make sure that you click on over this Tuesday (9/8) for the grand reopening.
The mix I bring you today is something I’ve had cooking on the back burner for a while. If you follow the comings and goings here at Funky16Corners, you know that no matter how many times the Funky16Corners Radio mixes enter the realm of high concept, I always find the time to take a step back every once in a while to whip some straight ahead funk and soul on you good people.
Today’s selection, ‘Vanishing Point: The Return of Super Soul’ – aka Funky16Corners Radio v. 73 – sees us taking some very solid funk (some familiar, most not so much) and wrapping it up in bits and pieces of one of my all time favorite movies.
Things get off to a rousing start with what I would say is the greatest Meters song neither written or recorded by the giants of the Crescent City. When one thinks of someone copping a little of that Meters juice, you would imagine the suspects to be some obscure, one-off group from the funky hinterlands, instead of perhaps the greatest of all 60’s instrumental soul bands, that being Booker T & the MGs. Coming from their last LP in 1971, the incredible ‘Melting Pot’, ‘Chicken Pox’ is one of those tunes you’d just love to spring on the heads in some kind of blindfold test. The first time I heard it, ‘Chicken Pox’ made my head spin. The opening second of the song sound as if they were lifted from any early Meters 45, and when Al Jackson comes in on the drums (with Booker T joining him almost simultaneously on the organ), and Steve Cropper whips out that big, rolling guitar riff, it’s kind of hard not to imagine the boys from Memphis didn’t feel Art, George, Leo and Zig snapping at their heels. How I wish this was available on 45….
Next up is a cat (and a song) that ought to be familiar to regular visitors to this space. Drummer/singer Buddy Miles was literally and figuratively a giant, who managed to mix rock and soul as well as anyone. His best known song ‘Them Changes’, covered countless times – heard here in its original form –  is a hard charging freight train of a record, with fat, fuzzy bass, blazing horns and of course Buddy’s vocals up on top.
If you haven’t read the set list yet, give the next song a listen and see if you can figure out who it is. Were you thinking of the 5th Dimension? I actually bought the album that this song appears on for another cover (which turned out to be a completely different song than I was looking for), but when I heard this wild version of Bobby Marchan’s ‘Shake Your Tambourine’ I knew my money wasn’t wasted.
Now, if you saw the name Shirley Bassey and did a double take, listen to her take on Blood Sweat and Tears ‘Spinning Wheel’ and be reassured. It’s one of those songs that produces interesting cover versions in incongruous sources, and this is no exception. Opening with an odd bit of swirling orchestration, it’s only a few seconds before some solid bass drops in, followed by funky drums, fatback guitar and Ms. Bassey’s reliably hot vocals.
It was the night of the last Asbury Park 45 Sessions when I scored the next 45, right out of my man DJ Prestige’s sale box. Dorothy Norwood is one of the biggest gospel stars of the last 40 years, but also has the distinction of having toured with the decidedly secular Rolling Stones. I grabbed ‘Get On Board the Soul Train’ mainly because I pick up ‘Soul Train’ records wherever I find them, but this one had the extra benefit of a very funky backing (dig that guitar riff) and a very soulful vocal my Ms Norwood.
Bo Diddley’s ‘I’m High Again’ is another find from that night, coming from Mr. Pat. James Longo. One of Big Bad Bo’s wilder numbers from his late 60s period (sought after by the crate digger types in your neighborhood), ‘I’m High Again’ sees the mighty Mr. Diddley namechecking LSD over a funky beat and some wild flanged guitar in a performance guaranteed to flip the wig of anyone that never listened past the early 60’s.
A couple of weeks back I layed the absolutely deadly funk of the Buena Vista’s ‘Kick-Back’ on you, and I promised that I’d be bringing you it’s very tasty flipside in the coming weeks. Well a promise made is a promise kept, so unzip your ears and let a little bit of the ‘Soul Ranger’ slide into your sound hole. It’s got breaks, a taste of Roy Ward’s ‘Horse With a Freeze’ and some very funky, wobble-legged guitar running through the whole thing. If there ever was a solid two-sider you needed for your record box, this is it my friends.
Last week when I dropped Labelle’s version of the Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ I made mention of the fact that I always pack three versions of ‘Lady Marmalade’ in my DJ box. Two of them – by Nanette Workman and Mongo Santamaria – are relatively obscure. The third is of course the OG, which in the language of the streets is completely and utterly unfuckwithable. Featuring production by the mighty Toussaint, and backing from the Meters, it is, despite however much overexposure you might associate with the song, a burner of the first order, and very, very funky.
Another taste of Louisiana, is the funkier side of the Sisters and Brothers Calla 45, ‘Chained’. While not as heavy as ‘Yeah You Right’ (on Uni), ‘Chained’ is a great bit of southern funk.
The next cut is a record that I’d been chasing for a long time. I’ve had a copy of the Hoctor version of the Meter’s ‘Cissy Strut’ for years, but for just as long the cut ‘Gold Coast’ has eluded me. Until, that is, it showed up in Mr. Longo’s sales stack at the 45 Sessions and I agreed to pay him whatever he thought fair in order that the record should return with me to my lair. Fortunately for me he suggested a more than acceptable price, I dug into my change purse and we made the exchange. ‘Gold Coast’ is – to coin a phrase – funky as year-old gym socks, with two distinct grooves which switch rather abruptly in the middle of the song. It pains me to think of all the time I was walking around without a copy of this 45. It’s all better now.
Speaking of 45s that I pick up whenever I come across them, the works of Mr. Bobby Byrd are high on that particular list. I dig his many collaborations with the Godfather of Soul and drop the needle on them whenever I stand behind  the wheels of steel. ‘If You Don’t Work You Can’t Eat’, with its fantabulous intro of ‘Hello jocks and friends!’ is from the socially conscious side of the JB menu, and has a churning beat, with some great guitar and electric piano bubbling up from underneath.
And how can you drop some Bobby Byrd without paying tribute to the Godfather himself? When I was down in DC last time I whipped ‘Hot Pants Pt1’ on the crowd (to great acclaim I must say) so I figured I’d flip the disc and offer up Parts 2 and 3 for your delectation.
No Funky16Corners mix is complete without a taste of Hammond, so I bring you a little something from Mr. Jimmy McGriff. If there’s a bad version of the ‘Theme From Shaft’ I have yet to hear it. Listen as Mr. McGriff and his band vamp on that famous riff, until they get to bust out into the second part of the tune. Very groovy indeed.
I’m a nut for some funky flute (I have something along those very lines jamming its way to me via the intertubes that I simply cannot wait to whip on you) and Ken Munson’s ‘Superflute’ album is a solid source thereof. Sought after by beatheads for the break in the title track, the LP has much more to offer, including some cool covers and a couple of nice originals. The tune I bring you today is in the latter category. ‘Rocks In My Bed’ is a solid slice of Blaxplo-style groove.
Mickey and the Soul Generation are best known for the mighty ‘Iron Leg’, one of my all time favorite funk 45s. If you wish to sample another very tasty groove, you need only flip that 45 over for a taste of ‘Chocolate’. Not as organ heavy as the a-side, there’s some very tasty guitar and horns on ‘Chocolate’, as well as a propulsive groove. The whole thing’s not too far removed from an early Kool and the Gang vibe.
The early 70s Dakar recordings of Hamilton Bohannon are often cited as ‘disco’ records, but that has more to do with the fact that they were played in clubs (especially overseas) than any relation to what you might think of as a disco style. ‘Truck Stop’ from the 1974 LP ‘Keep On Dancing’ is a fantastic example of his very funky, groove oriented style in which the band digs into a riff and keeps digging for several minutes. I’m definitely going to be posting more by Bohannon in the future, so stay tuned.
That’s it for this edition of Funky16Corners Radio. I hope you dig the funky sounds, and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.

Peace

Larry

NOTE: Funky16Corners gets a nice namecheck from no less than the great Nick Hornby (author of ‘High Fidelity’ among others) on the Guardian UK website. Thanks Nick!

PPS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for some garage psyche

PPPS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook


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