Archive for the ‘funk’ Category

Funky16Corners Radio v.79 – Positive Vibrations

January 17, 2010

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Funky16Corners Radio v.79 – Positive Vibrations!

Playlist

Lionel Hampton – Greasy Greens (Glad Hamp)
Jack Wilson feat Roy Ayers – Sidewinder (Vault)
Freddie McCoy – Peas and Rice (Prestige)
Jack Brokensha and the Baroqe-a-delics – Boogaloo (Contrast)
Bobby Hutcherson – Goin’ Down South (Blue Note)
Cal Tjader – Ode to Billie Joe (Skye)
Ulysses Crockett – Sunshine Superman (Transverse)
Gary Burton – Leroy the Magician (Atlantic)
Milt Jackson – People Make the World Go Round (CTI)
Bobby Christian – Mooganga (Ovation)
Johnny Lytle – Above the Clouds (SS)
Lionel Hampton- Them Changes (Brunswick)
Freddie McCoy – Beans’n’Greens (Prestige)
Soulful Strings feat Billy Wooten – One Night Affair (Cadet)
Cal Tjader – Soul Sauce (Verve)


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

Greetings all.

How’s by you?
Speaking for myself, a fabulous (yet tiring) weekend was had, beginning with a stellar edition of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions. Nearing our third anniversary as the only all-45 funk/soul night in New Jersey, the 45 Sessions are running at full steam. Heavy sets were dropped by all concerned, especially DJ Prestige and M-Fasis tag teaming on the tables with a set that got the people up and moving.
I was hoping to bring you a live recording of my set, but technical ineptitude on my part (concerning setting the recording source) left me with a live recording of the DJ area, complete with conversations and other random noise running over the music. With any luck I’ll get the whole thing straightened out by the time I spin with DJ Bluewater at Forbidden City in a couple of weeks.
A few weeks back, when we memorialized the late, lamented Freddie McCoy, I mentioned that I was working on a vibes mix, and the sounds you hear today are the results thereof.
The Funky16Corners Radio experience* features mixes arising from varying levels of inspiration, many of them high-concept, long-gestating projects, others whipped together on a moments notice. Today’s edition of the podcast is one of the former.
I’ve been a huge fan of the vibraphone since I first listened to jazz as a kid. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to see a couple of the masters of the vibes in a live setting, including Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson. The vibes have their haters, mainly people who find the sound too ‘cool’, but I find that the vibraphone produces one of the loveliest, deepest sounds in all of music.
Funky16Corners Radio v.79 includes cuts by some of my favorite players, with some classics, a couple of interesting obscurities. I should also mention, in the spirit of full disclosure, that in addition to the vibraphone, you will also be hearing a couple of other mallet-driven instruments, including the xylophone and the marimba (in a few cases, during the same number).
I can remember the day many years ago when my man Haim first hipped me to Lionel Hampton’s mighty ‘Greasy Greens’. Hampton was one of the true past masters of the vibes, with a career that goes back to the classic Benny Goodman trios, and extended well into the funky 1970s. ‘Greasy Greens’ made a couple of appearances on vinyl, but the ultimate version is the one included here, which was released as a 45 on Hampton’s own Glad-Hamp label. If the groove sounds familiar, it was borrowed by Georgie Woods for the song ‘Potato Salad’.
Roy Ayers is a fave of the rare groove crowd for his 70s stuff, but the selection in today’s mix comes from the early part of his career when he was working as a sideman with pianist Jack Wilson. Their version of Lee Morgan’s ‘Sidewinder’ is a brilliant bit of soul jazz.
I focused on Freddie McCoy in this space a few weeks ago, and promised that I’d include some more of his music in this mix. ‘Peas and Rice’, from 1967 has a goodtime party vibe.
Australian-born vibist Jack Brokensha emigrated to Canada, and eventually crossed the border into Detroit where he found a spot in the Motown organization as one of the storied Funk Brothers. He came to be known as ‘White Jack’ (as opposed to Jack Ashford, who was not…). He recorded an LP with his group the Baroque-adelics (also billed as the Concert Jazz Quartet). ‘Boogaloo’ appeared on that LP, as well as the 45 from which this version was recorded.
The aforementioned Bobby Hutcherson was perhaps the greatest post-bop vibes stylist of the 1960s, the predominant master of the instrument on the Blue Note label, leading many sessions and working as a sideman on countless others. ‘Goin’ Down South’ appeared on his 1970 ‘San Francisco’ album, one of many he recorded in partnership with the great tenor saxophonist Harold Land (who had played alongside trumpeter Clifford Brown in his classic groups). The tune features Hutcherson working on both vibes and marimba. He cooks up a very tasty groove indeed.
Cal Tjader was known primarily as a master of Latin jazz styles, but found time to work in a soulful style as well. He was one of the co-founders of the Skye Label (alongside Gabor Szabo and Gary McFarland) in the late 60s. His cover of Bobbie Gentry’s ‘Ode to Billie Joe’ appeared on his 1968 LP ‘Solar Heat’.
Bay area vibist Ulysses Crockett doesn’t have an expansive discography, but what he did lay down on vinyl is certainly worth hearing. His version of Donovan’s ‘Sunshine Superman’ appeared on the flipside of ‘Major Funky’.
Gary Burton was another one of the great vibists of the 1960s, recording with George Shearing and Stan Getz, but also stretching out into the realm of the avant garde with the likes of Carla Bley. ‘Leroy the Magician’ – complete with breakbeat by Bernard Purdie – appeared on Burton’s 1969 Atlantic LP ‘Good Vibes’.
Milt Jackson was, along with Lionel Hampton the preeminent practitioner of the vibes in the bop era. He was a cofounder of the Modern Jazz Quartet, and appeared on Thelonious Monk’s seminal Blue Note sessions. Like so many of his contemporaries, he took a soulful turn in the 60s and 70s. His version of the Stylistics ‘People Make the World Go Round’ appeared on his 1972 ‘Sunflower’ LP.
Bobby Christian was a versatile instrumentalist who’s career stretches back into the 1930s. He recorded a number of albums as a leader (sought after by exotica/now sound fans) and also worked extensively as a sideman, appearing on a number of Cadet sessions, including albums with the Soulful Strings. He was nearing 60 when he recorded ‘Mooganga’ for his 1970 Ovation LP ‘Vibe-rations’.
Johnny Lytle is known to soul jazz fans for his classic ‘The Village Caller’ and his excellent work for Detroit’s Tuba label in the 1960s. ‘Above the Clouds’, from his 1969 Solid State LP ‘Be Proud’ features Lytle working it out on vibes and xylophone.
Lionel Hampton returns with his funky take on the Buddy Miles classic ‘Them Changes’.
Freddie McCoy’s 1968 ‘Beans’n’Green’ is cut from the same pattern as ‘Peas and Rice’ (aside from the obvious soul food connotations) with an in-studio ‘live’ vibe, handclaps, soul partiers and the lot. The two tracks sound as if they were recorded in the same session, but there was actually five months between the two sessions.
Billy Wooten is known to the crate digger set for his rare and highly sought after LPs with the Wooden Glass and the Nineteenth Whole. He was also a busy sideman, working on a couple of the funkier Grant Green sessions, and with the Soulful Strings. The cut included here, ‘One Night Affair’ appeared on the ‘Soulful Strings Play Gamble Huff’ and includes Wooten with an extended marimba solo.
The closing track in the edition of Funky16Corners Radio is one of the all-time soul jazz/dancefloor vibes classics, Cal Tjader with the legendary ‘Soul Sauce’. Tjader was a masterful player, and manages to really work it out n the vibes while pushing the band to its limits.
As always, I hope you dig the mix, and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.

Peace

Larry

*Special thanks go out to Mike Karlos of Radio 95X production for putting together that snappy drop you hear midway into the mix.

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Jesse Anderson – Mighty Mighty

January 14, 2010

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The Mighty Mayfield

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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

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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

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Earnest Jackson – Funky Black Man

January 12, 2010

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Earnest Jackson

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Listen/Download -Earnest Jackson – Funky Black Man

Greetings all.
The tune I bring you today is something I finally picked up over the summer, after years of digging.
I first came upon the music of Earnest Jackson back in my early funk 45 digging days when I scored a copy of the instrumental ‘Hogwash’ that appeared on the flipside of Jackson’s cover of Al Green’s ‘Love and Happiness’. This was for years a cheap, crate digger staple, and by far the cheapest 45 on the Stone label (more on that in a minute).
Jackson recorded three 45s for Stone, the last of which is today’s selection ‘Funky Black Man’.
Stone, which as far as I can tell was run by producer/songwriter Ron Shaab was operated out of Baton Rouge, LA. Shaab worked with a number of artists, including Louisiana pop legend John Fred (who co-produced this record), the Sisters and Brothers, Cold Grits and George Perkins on a variety of local and nationally distributed labels.
In addition to the three Earnest Jackson 45s on Stone*, there were also 45s by Adrian Lanier and a group called Fried Chicken. The sole 45 by Fried Chicken was a tune called ‘Funky DJ’, which is where the story starts to get interesting.
If you’re a 90s/00s crate digger, you are without a doubt familiar with the two legendary turntable exercises by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist entitled ‘Brainfreeze’ (1999) and ‘Product Placement’. These two mixes were game-changers on a number of levels, first and foremost as landmark all-45 workouts. On a secondary level these mixes served to blow up the reputations of a number of 45s of varying levels of obscurity, and suddenly many of them were in demand, and subsequently costly (an effect that lingers to this day, a decade later).
Both Earnest Jackson’s ‘Funky Black Man’ (Stone 203/ 1974) and Fried Chicken’s ‘Funky DJ’ (Stone 207 / 1976) appeared in these mixes, the former in ‘Product Placement’, the latter in ‘Brainfreeze’. This is noteworthy because ‘Funky DJ’ is in essence a cover of ‘Funky Black Man’, with very little changing other than the lyrics. The arrangements are almost identical, and interestingly, Fried Chicken were actually legendary Texas funkers Bubba Thomas and the Lightmen recording under a pseudonym. The writing credits on the two 45s are different, with the only name in common being that of Ron Shaab (Shaab and Fred get producing credits on both).
The Fried Chicken 45 is the rarer of the two, regularly selling for well over $100USD (with the Jackson version usually getting about half as much). I’m sure that there’s some elevated level of appeal (especially to anyone aping DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist) with the Fried Chicken 45, since you can cut in the ‘Funky DJ’ sample, but I’m not sure that alone would be worth doubling the price. Having heard both, I prefer Jackson’s ‘Funky Black Man’. I like his vocals, and the arrangement more than the Fried Chicken/Bubba Thomas take on the tune.
If you want to check out ‘Funky DJ’, make sure to fall by the excellent ‘I’m Shakin’ blog, which has a write up on the Fried Chicken 45. Also, if you haven’t heard the Shadow/Chemist mixes, track them down, since they’re both amazing.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Friday.

GIG NOTES

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In other news, this coming 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

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Willie Mitchell RIP

January 5, 2010

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The Mighty Willie Mitchell

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Listen/Download -Willie Mitchell – That Driving Beat

Listen/Download -Willie Mitchell – Up Hard

Listen/Download -Willie Mitchell – My Babe

Greetings all.

I come to you today with some sad news, that being the passing of the giant of Memphis soul and R&B, Mr. Willie Mitchell.
Mitchell is best known – at least to those outside of hardcore soulies – as the man who made Hi Records a major force in soul music, especially via his productions for Al Green, Syl Johnson, Ann Peebles, O.V. Wright and many others.
Mitchell, who was born in Ashland, Mississippi – got his start as a trumpet playing bandleaders in Memphis before joing Joe Coughi’s Hi label in 1959 as an artist, producer, and arranger. Following Coughi’s death in 1970, Mitchell ended up bringing the label its greatest success.
The music of Willie Mitchell (as performer and producer) has been a constant presence in the Funky16Corners Radio podcasts, and the three songs I bring you today all appeared in those mixes over the last three years.
The first two, ‘That Driving Beat’ and ‘Up Hard’ are both Mod soul classics.
1965’s ‘That Driving Beat’ is a slamming dancer in a Junior Walker stylee, with blaring tenor sax, a horn section that sounds like the model for Otis Redding’s version of Satisfaction’ and unlike most of his records from this period, vocals.
‘Up Hard’, written by (and featuring) organist Art Jerry Miller (who went on to record his own album for the Stax subsidiary Enterprise) mixes a tight horn section with a powerful, gritty guitar line and pounding drums. The 1968 single was released with two different B-sides.
The final track, Mitchell’s 1969 cover of Willie Dixon’s ‘My Babe’ is a 45 that I slept on for YEARS. There it sat in my crates, picked up at some flea market or other for a pittance, all but ignored. Never a huge fan of the song itself, I finally pulled it out one day and gave it a spin, and was promptly blown away. There, nestled in the grooves of a record that I had long suspected was a run of the mill R&B/soul instrumental, was a sizzling bit of organ funk that has had a place of honor in my DJ box ever since.
These tunes by no means represent a comprehensive sampling of Willie Mitchell’s career. They’re just three of his records that I like a lot.
I suspect that other – in particular Red Kelly of the B-Side – will be posting long form tributes to the greatness of Willie Mitchell.
Dig the tunes, and I’ll be back on Friday.

Peace

Larry

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Funky16Corners Radio v.78 – Forbidden City Funk

December 27, 2009

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Funky16Corners Radio v.78 – Forbidden City Funk!

Playlist

Parliaments – Good Ole Music (Revilot)
Marlena Shaw – California Soul (Cadet)
Soulful Strings – Zambezi (Cadet)
Mystic Moods – Cosmic Sea (WB)
Bobby Byrd – I Know You Got Soul (King)
Willie Smith – I Got a New Thing (Genuine)
Louie Ramirez – Do It Any Way You Wanna (Cotique)
Willie Tell & The Overtures – Kick-Back (Chess)
Hoctor – Gold Coast (Hoctor)
La May – Free the Soul Man (SPQR)
Incredible Bongo Band – Apache (Mr Bongo reissue)
Melting Pot – Kool and the Gang (Ampex)
Danny Delaney – Stop and Think (Palmetto)
Cymande – Fug (Janus)
Chuck Carbo – Can I Be Your Squeeze (Canyon)
Louis Chachere – The Hen Pt1 (Paula)
David Batiste & the Gladiators – Funky Soul Pt1 (Instant)
Nanette Workman – Lady Marmalade (Pasha)
Laura Lee – Crumbs Off the Table (Hot Wax)
James Brown – Hot Pants Pt1 (People)
Lyn Collins – Think (About It) (People)
Roger & the Gypsies – Pass the Hatchet Pt1 (Seven B)


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

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The view from behind the decks at Forbidden City

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Getting ready to pull the trigger on Hoctor’s ‘Gold Coast’.

Greetings all.

The end of another year is at hand, and I thought I’d try something different this year. The fam and I are hitting the road for some relative-related visitation, so this will be it until the New Year.
Last Wednesday I had the honor of sharing the decks with my Asbury Park 45 Sessions cohort DJ Bluewater at his new Master Groove night at Forbidden City in Manhattan (the evening’s other guest selector was none other than the mighty M-Fasis). Forbidden City is a chill venue with some very cool people, and despite the holiday traffic and huge heaps of snow in the street I had a great time.
A couple of folks (specifically members of the Funky16Corners group on Facebook) requested a set list for the night, and while I was recovering from the Christmas festivities I thought it might be a cool idea to record the evening’s selections in a new edition of the Funky16Corners Radio podcast. The only real difference between this and any other edition of  F16C Radio, is that the tracks herein were selected on the fly, as I DJ’d. Certainly there was a level of selection inherent in what went into my DJ box (which holds about 75 singles) but the set itself was assembled on the spot at Forbidden City.
What you’ll be listening to is just over an hour of hot funk 45s (many breaks within) including a couple of new arrivals that will most certainly be blogged about separately in the coming months.
The evening was marked by an interesting (thought certainly not unprecedented) incident toward the end of my set. While the bar wasn’t packed, there was a crowd, including a particularly lively group of young ladies who came in right before I started spinning and proceeded to whoop it up with several rounds of drinks. Nothing out of control, but they were clearly deep in the holiday spirit(s).
About 45 minutes into the proceedings, one young lass approached me and informed me that she had come from an entire table of flamenco dancers (I was worried for a minute that she was going to request actual flamenco music, a genre that I rarely carry with me). She then asked me – right in the middle of a set of tight, slamming funk (see above list for confirmation of same) if I might “play something dancey”?
Now, in situations like this, I always try to maintain my icy veneer of cool. I’m certainly not averse to taking requests, as long as they are – how do you say – of an ‘appropriate’ nature. I’ve seen some weird ones, i.e. a kid requesting anything by KISS during a set of Northern Soul, and I’ve also dealt (as almost any DJ has) with surly, drunken booth-monkeys who seem to feel that it’s OK to crawl on/into the DJ booth, bumping/placing their drink on the turntables, causing the tone arm to jump as they demand something specific (which I immediately counter with a demand that they remove themselves from my immediate vicinity with the greatest possible haste).
This particular girl was polite, but I couldn’t help but recoil slightly at the idea that a self-proclaimed dancer could not find it in themselves to move to any or all of the records listed above.
I mean, honest to god, funk is, by definition, funky, a state of being that gets its name by its ability to cause people to move in a rhythmic fashion, often described by observers as “dancing”. Not everyone who feels compelled to move by these records is a good dancer, but they are all dancing. Even those wallflowers who are prevented – by timidity, inebriation or physical infirmity (or a combination of any or all of the above) – from dancing usually react to the power of the music by some seated version of the dance, with the foot-tap, the head-bob, the seated-shimmy or something else along those lines. Anyone confronted by a 45 like Bobby Byrd’s ‘I Know You Got Soul’ who doesn’t move at all, should be checked for a pulse.
That said, I was in a festive mood, so I dipped into my DJ box and pulled out my number one slice of guaranteed Becky-bait, Nanette Workman’s French language version of LaBelle’s ‘Lady Marmalade’, which gives them all the easily recognizable Top 40 vibe they can handle while simultaneously allowing me to save face by offering quality funk to those in the know. I followed this with some James Brown (‘Hot Pants’), Lyn Collins (‘Think About It’) and since my time was just about up, I whipped a little Roger & the Gypsies on the assembled masses, figuring if that wasn’t “dancey” enough, there was nothing anyone of my powers could do, and HO HO HO, and what the fuck, and “Good evening ladies and gents!” and what not.
Happily, after I sort of/kind of answered her request, these people actually got up and danced, to four 45s that were in essence EXACTLY the same as the sixteen others that preceded them, proving once again that human nature is a funny thing, and sometime giving the people what they want is exactly the same as giving them what they need, and everyone walks away from a night at the pub with a wobble in their step and more importantly, a smile on their face.
It is in that spirit that I wish you all a Happy New Year, and the best of all things in Twenty-Oh-Ten (man, who saw that coming???).

Peace

Larry

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NOTE: The Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive has been updated (see link in sidebar) , and all seventy seven previous mixes are now represented.

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Funky16Corners Christmas – Lenox Ave. – Little Drummer Boy

December 22, 2009

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Chuck Rainey

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Listen/Download -Lenox Avenue – Little Drummer Boy

Greetings all.

Christmas is just about here and things are well underway at the Funky16Corners compound. The menorah has been extinguished and packed away for another year and the Christmas tree has been put in place, lit, and otherwise decorated, awaiting the arrival of jolly St. Nick and a pile of presents for the little Corners.
This has been a challenging but rewarding year, all but two weeks of which were spent as a newly minted stay at home dad. It was a big move leaving the job I worked at for twenty-four years (some good, some ultra-suckworthy), but I haven’t regretted it for a second. I do miss some of the folks I used to see every day, but when I left there I got to spend my days with my two wonderful sons. The stress level at the Funky16Corners crib took a nosedive, and while it’s been a lot of work, it has been the kind of work that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Here at the blog, it has been a most excellent year, with another great year with the Asbury Park 45 Sessions crew (big ups to Prestige, Prime Cuts, Jack the Ripper, Bluewater, M Fasis and all the guest selectors) and couple of fantastic road trips to spin records down in Washington, DC. The inward flow of vinyl has been excellent (if reduced somewhat) and this year’s Funky16Corners Pledge Drive was once again a big success, keeping the blog and the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive up and running for another year.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you that stop by here in the reg to partake in the conversation, because you make it all worthwhile.
The Funky16Corners blog celebrated its 5th anniversary this year, and with any luck we’ll keep thing rolling for another five years or more.
The tune I bring you today is something I picked up this year (and oddly enough I can’t remember the circumstances of its arrival in my crates). It’s a funky take on that old holiday chestnut ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ by a group called Lenox Avenue. This, their sole 45 was released on Chess in 1970.
Though I haven’t been able to find any info on the group, the names on the label suggest to me that this may in fact be an early incarnation of the group that recorded an album a few years later under the name the Chuck Rainey Coalition (on the Skye label).
Bassist Rainey and his cohorts – including keyboardist Richard Tee – were major hired hands in the New York (and elsewhere, natch) studio scene, showing up on all kinds of records from the late 60s onward.
Lenox Avenue’s take on ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ is taken a slow, but funky pace with some groovy female backing voices. As I mentioned a while back when I posted the equally cool George Conedy version of the tune, this has never been one of my fave Christmas carols, yet when someone injects it with a dose of funk, I really dig it.
I hope you dig it too, and that those of you that celebrate the holiday have a very groovy Christmas, and those of you that don’t still partake in some of the fellowship of the holiday season (one of the few times of the year people see to go out of their way to be nice).
Have a great rest of the week and I’ll see you all next week.
Peace (and I mean it, man…)

Peace

Larry

NOTE: I recently did a short interview about the role of the guitar in classic funk. Check it out over at Jemsite.

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Funky16Corners Christmas Flashback Pt1 – Clarence Carter / George Conedy

December 17, 2009

Greetings all.

The time has come for Funky16Corners to get back into the Christmas groove. We are doing so by re-upping Christmas posts from years past, soon to be followed by a new Christmas track next week. I’m slacking a little on new material since I suffered through a root canal this morning.

I hope you dig these tunes and I’ll see you all on Monday with some more holiday heat.

Peace

Larry

Originally Posted December 2006

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Clarence Carter

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Listen – Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa ”

Listen – George Conedy – El Nino del Tambor”

Greetings all (and Ho Ho Ho).
It’s time for the second annual* Funky16Corners Christmas post.
As I’ve gone over a few different times, I’ve never been a big collector of (any) holiday themed funk and soul. I may pick up a piece here and there – when it turns up – but I don’t generally seek it out. This is the main reason it may take a decade or so before you see me post a Christmas edition of Funky16Corners Radio. I just don’t have the raw material at my disposal.
That is not to say that I would ever let the time of year go by unnoticed, and this time out I have a couple of excellent funky yule logs for ye, one you may have heard, and another that you almost certainly haven’t.
The former may very well be my all time favorite funk/soul Christmas record, by one of the truly great voices of 60’s and 70’s soul. The singer, Mr. Clarence Carter, the song, ‘Back Door Santa’.
First off, I suspect that someone, somewhere in the funky blog-o-sphere will be dropping this chestnut, and I don’t care, on account of I love this record, and you should too, and much like spinach and yams, more than one serving will only serve to improve your overall well being.
That said, Clarence rips it up here, whipping every last bit of funk they had hidden at Fame studios on you (as well as jingle bells and egg nog), with all the good Santa-related double (hardly) entendres money can buy. Get this on thy-Pod post haste, so that over the weekend, when some wet blanket tries to throw ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’ (or, God forbid that thing where the dogs bark out ‘Jingle Bells’) on at the Christmas gathering, you can parry (and thrust) with this big, jangling set of Christmas balls and really get the party started.
I mean, seriously…how can your ears suck up this groovy gravy, and your butt fail to respond– in the words of the great Lee Dorsey (without whom everything you do can’t be funky) – with the make-a-shake-a-make-a-hula, or however it is you likes to shake it (but don’t break it).
By the way, if some youngster starts tugging on your scarf when this starts playing, it’s because he heard this songs very essence sampled by none other than Run DMC (It’s Christmas in Hollis Queens! Etc etc).
On the flippity flop, I bring you the result of a happy accident (referring not to the recording of the record, but rather the circumstances by which it landed in my Crate du Hammonde).
The record in question popped up a while back on the sale list of a pal of mine, who’s taste in music I hold in very high regard (howdy Agent 45…).
So, on this list I see a record with the brief (but wholly sufficient description of “funky Hammond version”), directly adjacent to a very reasonable price, which was at the end of a line that began with a Spanish song title (which I didn’t bother to translate). So, I pay my money, some time elapses and the record in question pops through the mail slot at Funky16Corners headquarters. I whipped it on the turntable, and in a few short seconds (about as long as I suspect it will take you) it became apparent that the title was in fact ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ en Espanol.
I have to say that even as a tike, when they still showed the animated special of the same title, this was far from my favorite Christmas tune, certainly not the kind of thing I thought capable of funk-a-fi-zation. Little did I know that sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s an organist named George Conedy laid down an LP of Christmas tunes for the gospel subsidiary of the Kent label, which I am assuming was the source of the music on this very 45**.

All I have to say is that George took an overly solemn carol and turned it into a slow, funky jam that sounds like it dropped out of the long lost (so long lost as to never have existed..) Santa-sploitation classic “Superfly Santa the Hard Way” aka “Hell Up in the North Pole”, in which our hero, Saint Nicky, wearing a red (of course) velvet suit, and driving a red and white Caddy brings Christmas joy to all the poor kids (and a few of the better looking women) on his route.
I’ve gone a-Googling, and as far as I can tell Mr. Conedy has vanished into the ether.
Well, wherever you be I say Huzzah! And Merry Christmas to you George!

And the same to all of you readers.

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, go out and suck up some of that Christmas cheer. It’s good for the soul.
I may not post until the middle of next week (days off, visiting with the family and all that) but I promise you some excellent pre-New Years grooves.

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

**For some strange reason the flip side of the Conedy 45 is a recording of Billie Holiday singing ‘God Bless the Child’. I get the thematic connection, just not why thelong deceased BH ended up on the b-side of a George Conedy 45.

Funky16Corners Radio v.77 – Get Ready!

December 13, 2009

Example

Wayne Cochran gets uptight!

Funky16Corners Radio v.77 – Get Ready!

Playlist

Andre Williams – Do the Popcorn (Checker)
Freddie Scott and the Four Steps – Same Ole Beat (Marlin)
Isley Brothers – Get Into Somethin’ Pt1 (T-Neck)
Wayne Cochran – Get Ready (Chess)
Bobby Byrd – If You Don’t Work You Can’t Eat (King)
Aaron Chico Bailey & the Family Affair Band – The Point Pt1 (Kris)
Booker T & the MGs – It’s Your Thing (Stax)
Dixie Cups – Two Way Poc A Way (ABC/Paramount)
Enoch Light & the Light Brigade – Pick Up the Pieces (Project 3)
Barkays – Son of Shaft (Volt)
Bohannon – Fat Man (Dakar)
Wilson Pickett – International Playboy (Atlantic)
Dave Baby Cortez- Twang Taang (Sound Pak)
Donald Austin – Nanzee (Eastbound)
Jimmy Preacher Ellis – I Gotta See My Baby (Round)
Nite Liters – Afro Strut (RCA)

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

Greetings all.

Here we all are again, getting our thing together with a little of the soulful stuff so that we may fill our ears and massage our tired brains as we embark on another trying week. This week is even more of a challenge because the holiday season is in full gear, meaning that the roads and shopping centers are choked with mobs of people brimming with “holiday spirit”, i.e. on the verge of killing one another so that they can spend a lot of money they don’t have (especially this year).
Why don’t you do your friends a favor and send them a Funky16Corners mix for Christmas? They’re free, and delicious, and will help fill from 45 minutes to an hour of their lives with the wonderfulness of funk, soul and jazz.
It is in that spirit that I whip upon you yet another edition of the storied Funky16Corners Radio podcast – the 77th in the series – entitled ‘Get Ready!’.
What are you getting ready for? How about 45 minutes of grooving funk (almost exclusively from 45s) engineered to liven up your wassailing and or eggnog guzzling, up to, but hopefully not including destruction of the pagan tree in the middle of the room (or the seasonal symbol of your choice). You can turn up the volume, but just make sure no one dances into a flaming yule log.
Things get started with taste from the catalog of the always groovy Andre Williams. Williams made a bunch of outstanding 45s in the late 60s for Chess and Checker, and ‘Do the Popcorn’ is one of his finest. Look for the flip of this one, appearing in this space soon.
The next track – by Freddie Scott and the Four Steps – already made such an appearance, but I couldn’t help but toss it into the pot this time around.
I have to thank my man DJ Birdman for turning me on to the Isley Brothers’ ‘Getting Into Something’ the last time I was down in DC. He spun the long version of the track (which includes the extended break in Pt2) and I was like ‘I know that sounds like the Isleys but I don’t know that song.’ And he hepped me to the title.
Wayne Cochran, the man who’s bouffanted visage appears on the cover for this mix was one of the truly great white soul eccentrics. His version of the Temps ‘Get Ready’ appears on the flip of a funky take on Muddy Waters’ ‘Hootchie Kootchie Man’ (sic).
Bobby Byrd! That’s all I have to say on the matter.
Aaron Chico Bailey and the Family Affair Band laid down their extended funk treatise ‘The Point Pts 1&2’ for Los Angeles’s Kris label. Other than the fact that this is a very cool side, I can tell you nothing about them.
Booker T and the MGs were of course the preeminent instrumental band in Memphis during the 60s (and they had massive competition by the American Studios group and the Hi Rhythm Section), charting many of their own hits and backing countless others in the Stax/Volt axis. Their version of the Isley’s ‘It’s Your Thing’ features Mr Jones working it out on the clavinet.
I won’t bother trying to convince you that the Dixie Cups’ 1965 ‘Two Way Poc a Way’ is true funk, but if those drums don’t put a dent in your cerebellum, I don’t know what will.
Next up is a bit uf funky disco from the master of all things easy (and occasionally funky) Mr. Enoch Light. Light had a crack outfit of East Coast sessioners at his disposal at all times, and their take on the AWB’s hit ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ is dance floor approved. If you need more proof head back to Funky16Corners Radio v.62 and check out their excellent version of James Brown’s ‘Hot Pants’.
The Barkays made some great records both before and after the disastrous plane crash that took many of their members (as well as Otis Redding). Their reworking/tribute ‘Son of Shaft’ doesn’t stray too far from Isaac Hayes’ OG, but it is funky.
Hamilton Bohannon returns to the Funky16Corners Radio scene with ‘Fat Man’, which is one of the funkier numbers on his 1974 ‘Keep On Dancin’’ LP.
The next cut is a track that I only discovered was a Wilson Pickett OG after I had already written up the cover by New Orleans belter Lee Bates. Had I looked at the writing credits on the label, I would have discovered that the song had Philadelphia origins, but sometimes I miss the forest for the trees. That said, the Wicked one lays it down hard and heavy making all sorts of claims as to his soulful powers. This is a killer, and the lyrics are hilarious.
Dave Baby Cortez has made many appearances on Funky16Corners, from his early days as an R&B organist, through his soul sides and right on into the funk. The selection in today’s mix – ‘Twang Taang’ – falls into the last category. It’s more of a vocal number than a Hammond feature, but I dig it anyway.
Donald Austin’s funky guitar feature ‘Nanzee’ was the flip side of the better known ‘Crazy Legs’. He drops the tempo down a little bit, but makes up for it with an extra serving of funky.
Jimmie Preacher Ellis laid down some real heat when he whipped up the psychedelic funk of ‘I Gotta See My Baby’, which featured the brutal ‘Put Your Hoe to my Row’ on the flipside.
The final cut in this edition of Funky16Corners Radio is a fairly well known – and accessible – 45 from the mighty Nite Liters, ‘Afro Strut’. Why I waited until I had 76 mixes under my belt to include it here is a mystery.
I hope you dig it all, and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PPS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for some instro pop.

PPPS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

The Johnny Otis Show – Country Girl

December 8, 2009

Example

Shuggie Otis, Delmar Evans, Johnny Otis

Example

Listen/Download -The Johnny Otis Show – Country Girl

Greetings all.
I hope the middle of he week finds you well.
It finds me cold (what the hell?!?) but happy, since I hit the Allentown record show this past Sunday and grabbed some heat of the 45RPM variety. Bagged me some funk, Northern Soul and other good stuff, all of which will be appearing in this space, as is the custom here in the Funky16Corners organization.
I’m also hard at work on a couple of new mixes for the Funky16Corners Radio thang.
In related news, if you weren’t already hip, my interwebs radio show over at Viva Internet Radio has shifted in time (how’s that Einstein…) from Thursday’s at 9PM to Thursday’s at 5PM, so, instead of a snifter of brandy and a fine cigar you can get all funky and soulful while up inside those mashed potatoes and gravy (groovy?).
The tune I bring you today is a funky, crunchy, and greasy like a truckload of sizzling bacon. If’n you’re not already hip to the sounds of the might Johnny Otis (and his many compadres) may I suggest you read up on your read ups, since he was involved in some of the finest R&B, soul and funk to come out of the West Coast for the last half a century. On his own, with his son – the legendary Shuggie, of course – and working with folks like Preston Love, Johnny Otis really knew his shit (as the kids say).
Today’s selection is of a 1969 vintage, and like the equally awesome ‘Watts Breakaway’ (featured here three years back) it is a cooperative effort between Johnny, Shuggie and Delmar ‘Mighty Mouth ‘ Evans. ‘Country Girl’ is easily identifiable as part of the ‘Tramp continuum’, started by Mr. Lowell Fulsom, and carried on through Otis and Carla, Brian and Jools, the Mohawks and countless others.
The tune features vocals interplay between Johnny and Delmar (and booming guitar courtesy of Shuggie) in which they rhapsodize about the outstanding physical attributes of the titular woman (“great big ole healthy country girl”). As songs written in tribute to big butts, ‘Country Girl’ is the ne plus ultra (apologies to Sir Mix-A-Lot).
It’s easy to get lost inside a groove this heavy, but make sure to pay attention to the lyrics, especially the warning that ‘You can take foxes out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of foxes’.
Bing, bang, and of course, boom.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back to close out the week with something tasty.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for a Tim Hardin cover.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Lucky Peterson – Our Future

December 3, 2009

Example

Lucky Peterson

Example

Listen/Download -Lucky Peterson – Our Future

Greetings all.
Friday is here, and surprisingly enough, so am I.
This has been a rough week, with all kinds of appointments, plumbing challenges and a day where I was convinced that I was on the verge of being felled by the flu (it turns out I was only exhausted).
The tune I bring you today is perhaps the coolest cut I have yet to come across by the funkiest five year old ever* (at least he was five when it was recorded), Lucky Peterson.
Back in the day, when I was chasing Hammond records like a greyhound chases rabbits, I encountered something that at the time looked like the holy grail of organ related wax, an album by a five year old kid, named (surprise) Lucky Peterson. It was the kind of record that would have grabbed without having heard a note, but fate stepped in and I was unable (and have still been unable) to find a copy of the full album.
However (and this probably worked out for the best) I was able to bag a couple of his 45s, which to be perfectly honest were not Hammond burners, but were in fact clearly the work of a five year old child (with the help of grown up musicians, natch...). A talented five year old, but a child nonetheless. Some of those songs, in particular ‘Good Old Candy’ (included in a recent edition of Funky16Corners Radio) have a certain kiddie funk vibe that made them rough but charming.
Anyway, I recently came across yet another Lucky Peterson 45, which – due to the fact that it was cheap, and included a song called ‘Funky Alphabet’ – I picked up post haste. ‘Funky Alphabet’ turned out to be (as so many songs labeled ‘funky’ are) not funky at all.
However, the A-side of that 45 featured what has to be the best thing little Lucky ever did, an inspired bit of funk called ‘Our Future’, which includes organ, wah-wah guitar and the singer’s soulful (and occasionally shrill) screams. It aspires to a Motown vibe, with a cool string section, and although a lot of what Lucky sings is indecipherable, it’s clear that his heart is in the right place.
Interestingly enough, Peterson was a discovery of blues giant Willie Dixon’s (Dixon gets songwriting credit on some of his singles) and recorded his LP for the Today label in 1969. His song ‘1-2-3-4’ a reworking of James Brown’s ‘Please Please Please’ was an R&B hit in 1970 and got Peterson a fair amount of national TV exposure.
Unlike so many child prodigies, Peterson stayed with music, eventually taking up guitar and going on to play with Little Milton before starting his own career on the blues scene which continues today.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for a new mix of 60s pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook


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