Archive for the ‘Chicago Soul’ Category

Jesse Anderson – Mighty Mighty

January 14, 2010

Example

The Mighty Mayfield

Example

Listen/Download -Jesse Anderson – Mighty Mighty

Greetings all.
The end of another week is at hand, and despite the usual lack of energy I find myself faced with at these junctures, I’m raring and ready to go. I’ll be joining the rest of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions crew – we’re nearing our third anniversary! – for another evening of the hottest funk and soul jams, all spun at 45rpm.
I should also mention that I’ll be heading up to New York City for another guest spot with DJ Bluewater at Forbidden City, Wednesday night January 27th.
The tune I bring you may sound familiar, since it has been covered a couple of times. It appeared here in the past as done by Baby Huey as ‘Mighty Mighty Children’ and by the legendary Curtis Mayfield (who had a hand in all three records) as ‘Mighty Mighty (Spade and Whitey)’.
The credited artist on today’s version of ‘Mighty Mighty’ is Jesse Anderson. I make that distinction, because as far as I can tell, Anderson was strictly a vocalist, which brings into question who is in fact playing on this (instrumental) side of the 45 (the flip ‘I Got Problems’ is a vocal).
Anderson got his start early in the 60s recording for Federal, moving on to Cadet, then the revived Thomas label, and finally the Outta Cyte imprint. Anderson also co-wrote Syl Johnson’s ‘Come On Sock It To Me’ along with Johnson and Jo Armstead.
The Anderson version of ‘Mighty Mighty’ is a very heavy, very groovy slice of Chitown funk, with a powerful rhythm section (dig that throbbing bass), wrapped up in a river of wah-wah guitar. There’s a meaty drum break midway into the record, and the chorus features some sweet, funky flute action.
Despite the fact that I verily idolize Curtis, I’d have to say that as a single in my DJ box, the Jesse Anderson ‘Mighty Mighty’ is my fave (with Baby Huey a close second).
I find it interesting that the flipside of the 45 (the hit, actually) ‘I Got a Problem’ was co-written by Gene Barge, another Chicago fixture who worked with Jesse Anderson on a number of his records. The fact that only the ‘Mighty Mighty’ side is credited as having been produced by Curtis Mayfield, suggests to me that Anderson may not have had anything to do with the instrumental at all, and that it was slapped on the B-side as filler by Eddie Thomas, Chitown soul mover and owner of the label that bore his name. This is only a guess, and if anyone has any firm information as to the recording’s provenance, I’d love to hear about it.
’Mighty Mighty’ was also sampled (the guitar line and the break) by Main Source for the track ‘Snake Eyes’.
That said, I hope you dig the tune, and if you’re in the area, fall by the Asbury Park 45 Sessions and maybe I’ll be giving this one a spin.

GIG NOTES

Example

In other news, this Friday, January 15th marks the return of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions to the World Famous Asbury Lanes with DJ Prestige, yours truly, DJ Bluewater, M-Fasis, DJ Prime Mundo, Jack the Ripper and guest selector DJ Devil Dick. If you’re in the area, fall by for some heat of the 45RPM variety.

Also…I’ll be returning for another guest spot with DJ Bluewater at Master Groove @ Forbidden City in NYC on Wednesday night January 27th. It’s a very chill night so you should fall by if you’re in the City and down for some funk. The Master Groove line-up for the coming weeks is as follows:

This week – Jan 13th: M.fasis, Nick Cope
Jan 20th: DJ Prestige, DJ Prime Mundo
Jan 27th: M.fasis, Funky16Corners

I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Wednesday.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for something by Herman’s Hermits.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

You can also follow Funky16Corners on Twitter

Funky16Corners Christmas Flashback #2 – Soulful Strings

December 20, 2009

Greetings all.
Welcome to the second “flashback” edition of the Funky16Corners Christmas thing.
This post, originally published in December of 2007 features two sublime tracks by one of my all-time favorite musical acts, the Soulful Strings.
Both tunes are amazing (for different reasons) and they should hold you over until Wednesday when I’ll drop something new for the season.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you soon.
Peace
Larry

NOTE: I just got word that I’ll be joining DJ Bluewater this Wednesday night (12/23) at his new Master Groove night at Forbidden City in NYC. The whole shebang gets started around 10PM, so fall by for some tasty 45s.

Originally posted 12/2007

Example

The Magic of Christmas

Example

Richard Evans
Example

Miss Doroth Ashby

Listen – Soulful Strings – Jingle Bells”
Listen – Soulful Strings – Merry Christmas Baby”

Greetings all .
It’s time for the third annual* Funky16Corners Christmas post.
Christmas is nearing rapidly, and I couldn’t very well let it go by without dropping some soulful goodness of a holiday variety.
If you’re a regular reader of the blog you’re familiar with my ongoing trials and tribulations (some would say too much so, but that’s just the way things are around here).
Two thousand and ought seven has been a real yin yang of a year, with the duality of trouble and good fortune engaged in a perpetual tug of war. All thing considered, however, I’ve got it pretty good.
On the personal side I have a wonderful wife and two incredible children. I took a long time to get started on the family thing, but it’s worth every bit of time and energy one might invest in it. That, in the end, is what it’s all about.
Things here at Funky16Corners – as well as over at Iron Leg, the blog I started this summer – have never been better. I couldn’t ask for a better creative outlet, and special thanks go out to all of you that stop by here on the reg and engage in the conversation. I couldn’t do it without you.
As I’ve stated repeatedly in the past, I’ve never been much of a holiday music collector. However, once in a while a personal obsession of mine also happens to have a Christmas record. In the case of Richard Evans and the Soulful Strings, their 1968 LP ‘The Magic of Christmas’ is a real gem.
The first tune I selected was the obvious choice (at least for me) because I can’t think of another version of ‘Jingle Bells’ that opens up with an honest to goodness drum break. I’m not sure who’s laying it down here (though it sounds like the same drummer that Evans used on Marlena Shaw’s ‘California Soul’, which I’ll be blogging in the next few weeks).
The second selection is a lush, sublime reading of Charles Brown’s classic ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ which features the brilliant Dorothy Ashby on harp. If you aren’t familiar with Ashby – I included her ‘Soul Vibrations’ on my collab with DJ Prestige ‘Beat Combination Pt2’ (check out the Flea Market Funk Mixes page)– she was one of the few harpists who could actually play jazz on the instrument, and the three albums she recorded for Cadet between 1968 and 1970 (in collaboration with Evans) are brilliant.
If your nerves are frayed (like mine) and the consumerist madness of the holiday season has you down, give this version of ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ a listen and all will (at least for a few minutes) be well.
I’ll be taking the next week off to enjoy the holiday with my family and do a little visiting. I will most definitely be back with something for New Years Eve, so hang tight, enjoy your Christmas and I’ll see you all soon.
Peace
Larry

*Though this is the blogs fourth Christmas, for some reason I didn’t do a holiday post in 2004

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some Christmas pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners Radio v.76 – One for the Kids

November 15, 2009

Example

Artwork copyright 2009 – Miles Grogan (age 5)

Funky16Corners Radio v.76 – One For the Kids – Funk and Soul for Children of All Ages

Playlist

Rufus Thomas – Do the Funky Penguin Pt1 (Stax)
Shirley Ellis – The Clapping Song (Congress)
Village Soul Choir – A-B-C’s (Abbott)
Freddy & the Kinfolk – The Goat (Dade)
Electric Company feat Morgan Freeman and Bill Cosby – Jelly Belly (WB)
Banana Splits – Doin’ the Banana Split (Kelloggs)
George Semper – Shortnin’ Bread (Imperial)
Bill Doggett – The Worm (Columbia)
Schoolhouse Rock feat. Grady Tate – I Got Six (Capitol)
Guitar Ray – Patty Cake Shake (Hot Line)
King Coleman – The Boo Boo Song Pt1 (King)
JC Davis – Monkey (Chess)
Jerry O – The Funky Chicken Yoke (Boogaloo)
Okie Duke – Chicken Licken’ (Ovation)
Jackson Five – ABC (Motown)
The Philly Four – The Elephant (Cobblestone)
The Unemployed – Funky Rooster (Cotillion)
Lucky Peterson Blues Band – Good Old Candy (Today)
The Portraits – Three Blind Mice (Tri Disc)
Maggie Thrett – Soupy (From Tha Soul)

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

Greetings all.

I know this may seem a little early for the arrival of the next Funky16Corners Radio podcast, but sometimes it’s just like that.
The roots of this mix go a long way back (maybe a couple of years?) to a suggestion by a regular reader (who’s identity has been lost in the depths of my e-mail account, raise your hand if it’s you…) that I put together a mix of funk and soul tunes for the kids out there (I have two of my own, and I’m sure a lot of you have your own too).
I thought that this was – in the words of the sage Gomez Addams – a capital idea, but like so many of those, it had to bounce around in the back alleys of the windmills of my mind for a while before I finally buckled down and started rummaging around in the crates to make it a reality. The 40th anniversary of Sesame Street kind of gave me a nudge to get this together as well.
Though the idea seemed simple enough, the realization of the concept took a little bit of thought. There were a couple of obvious selections (some of which made it into the mix, some fell by the wayside for a variety of reasons), but I really needed to go through the archive so that inspirado might finally take hold.
The tunes I was looking for needed to be things that would catch the ear of an actual kid (everything herein has been road tested with my three and five year old sons), and would also need to be “safe”, i.e. free of anything obviously inappropriate (please let me know if I missed anything….). I also wanted the contents of the mix to appeal to the young at heart as well, so that if you are so inclined you could cut a rug alongside your progeny.
Back when the theme was first suggested, the first (and at the time, only) record that came to mind was King Coleman’s ‘Boo Boo Song’, a 45 that sent my son into apoplexy the first time he heard it, and I suspect that it would have the same effect on most people, not just kids. When I hit the crates – as is always the case – I leaned in the direction of overkill, pulling all kinds of stuff that I thought might appeal to the younger set. As I worked through an imposing stack of wax – my sons at my side, some things went by the wayside, either because they ended up containing inappropriate content, or because they failed to elicit a positive response from the “focus group”.
Some of it, like the Electric Company and Schoolhouse Rock fell into the ‘purpose made’ category, their soulful and/or funky attributes merely a happy coincidence.
A couple of things in the mix were in fact performed by actual children (the Jackson Five and Lucky Peterson, who was actually five), and several others were based in kids nursery/playground rhymes. Others were just plain fun (the ‘animal’ themed numbers went over especially well with my kids).
I should also mention that the artwork for Funky16Corners Radio v.76 was created by my five year old son Miles. He drew it before I started working on the mix, but I felt it fit the vibe perfectly. With any luck he’ll whip up some covers for future editions of the podcast.
Listen closely for some blasts from your own childhood (anyone else ride for Captain Kangaroo??), and drop me line to let me know how the mix played with the kids in your life. Make sure you pull down the mixed version so you get all the ‘bonus’ material.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back later in the week with something more traditional.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PPS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for some late-period Monkees

PPPS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

F16C Halloween – Johnny Sayles – My Love’s a Monster

October 29, 2009

Example

Example

Mr. Johnny Sayles

Example

Listen/Download -Johnny Sayles – My Love’s a Monster

Listen/Download – Clea Bradford – My Love’s a Monster (a whole ‘nother song…)

Greetings all.
The Funky16Corners Halloween thing continues today with a heavy slice of Chicago soul from the man Johnny Sayles.
This record (my copy of which sailed over from the UK courtesy of my man Tony C) is one that has been mentioned here previously, but never posted (on account of I didn’t have a copy).
The previous mention was in relation to a past Funky16Corners Halloween post of the late Clea Bradford’s song of the same title. When I first wrote about that record I knew that the Sayles ‘My Love’s a Monster’ existed, but could not figure out whether or not it was in fact the same song (which it is not).
Sometime between then and when Tony sent me the record I heard it on YouTube and started drooling immediately.
Johnny Sayles, born in Texas but transplanted to the Windy City started recording in the late 50s (one of his first records was with Ike Turner) and waxed his first record under his own name a few years later. Between 1963 and 1972 he recorded a grip of hot records for a variety of Chitown labels including Mar-V-Lus, Chitown, St Lawrence, Chess, Dakar and Brunswick.
‘My Love’s a Monster’, released in 1965 on Chitown is a storming Monk Higgins production with a gritty vocal by Sayles. It bears all the marks of prime, mid-60s Chicago soul and the choed handclaps alone are worth the price of admission.
If the hardcore soulful goodness wasn’t enough for you, you also get the spooky “BUM BUM BUM BUM BUMMMMMM!!!!” riff several times in the song moving it to the top of the list for any All Hallows Eve soul throwdown.
I’ve also reposted the Clea Bradford number to remind you how groovy that one is too.

I’ll be back on Monday for the beginning of the Funky16Corners Fifth Anniversary Celebration.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some more Halloween in a pop/rock stylee…

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Shades of Brown – Garbage Man

September 27, 2009

Example

The Shades of Brown

Example

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

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

September 6, 2009

Example

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

Howlin’ Wolf – Pop It To Me

August 11, 2009

Example

Howlin’ Wolf

Example

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

Funky16Corners On the Road (Again)

July 23, 2009

Example

Example

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

Victor Johnson – When You Say You’re Mine

July 14, 2009

Example

The Master: Richard Evans

Example

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

Etta James – Tighten Up Your Own Thing

June 16, 2009

Example

Miss Etta James

Example

Listen – Etta James – Tighten Up Your Own Thing – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope the middle of the week finds you all well. I’ve pretty much reduced my free time to sitting out on the front porch praying for gaps in the clouds, through which the rarest of the rare, i.e. rays of sunshine, pass only to tease me before hiding once more. It is at this point that I wish to lodge a formal protest with who ever is in charge of these things, that it’s too goddamn cold for the sixteenth of June (Happy Birthday Pop!) and I feel that my already spare allotment of summer days is being truncated. I realize that if you’re reading this wrapped in a bearskin in Musk Ox, Finland you will probably have a hard time mustering any sympathy for my plight, but I assure you that it is (at least regionally) unfair.
That bit of business dispensed with, I bring you – as promised – a bit of sister funk, from the catalog of one of the funkiest sisters ever, Miss Etta James.
I would be remiss if I did not admit that I slept on the sounds of Miss James for a long time, mainly because I assumed her to be part of an earlier era, of which I was (I am ashamed to say purposefully) ignorant. This was of course incorrect, at least in the sense that Etta James has been making quality music from the R&B era, right on through into classic soul and as today’s record will attest, funk.
Owner of one of the most powerful voices of all time, Etta James has led what can charitably called a rough life, dealing with all manner of tragedy – external and self inflicted – not the least of which was being portrayed by a certain, decidedly un-Etta-like popular singer in the film ‘Cadillac Records’. She got her start working in the mid-50s with no less a luminary than Johnny Otis, and eventually found her way into the House of Chess by the beginning of the next decade.
James recorded her best (and best remembered) material for Chess-associated labels (Argo, Cadet) between 1960 and the mid-70s, including bangers like ‘Something’s Got a Hold On Me’, ‘Tell Mama’ and her duet with Sugar Pie DeSanto ‘In the Basement’.
The tune I bring you today, ‘Tighten Up Your Own Thing’ was released in 1969 and appeared on her well-titled LP ‘Etta James Sings Funk’. The tune was written by Pearl Woods, a soul singer in her own right who recorded for Mala, Crackerjack, Dawn and Charge, and who co-wrote ‘Something’s Got a Hold On Me’. ‘Tighten Up Your Own Thing’ features a slamming vocal by Etta, some strong guitar and drums, and of course a wailing horn section.
‘Etta James Sings Funk’ was recorded a few years after her triumphant Muscle Shoals sessions, but any loss in Alabama grit is more than made up for with hard edged, Chitown swagger.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Friday with some international sister funk.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for some psyche.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 111 other followers