Archive for the ‘funky16corners’ Category

Funky16Corners Blog v.3.0 aka We’re Moving!

January 24, 2010

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That’s right, We’re Moving!!

Greetings all.
This post is to notify you that the Funky16Corners Blog is moving.
Due to a number of reasons, first and foremost being that WordPress seems to be on a tear in relation to MP3 blogs the Funky16Corners blog has relocated to the following address:

http://funky16corners.com

(though www.funky16corners.com should work as well).

What this means, is that while you’ll still get all the delicious funk, soul, jazz and rare groove that you’ve come to expect from Funky16Corners, the whole enterprise has been relocated to our very own server space, no longer dependent on the whims of a free blogging service.
Henceforth, all new posts will be at the new location, and as soon as I finish moving the old posts (the podcast and guest mix archives are already up and running in the new location) I will be shutting this one down.

I go into the deal in more detail over at the new space, and I would ask you to adjust your linkage, especially of you are the proprietor of a blog or website that links back to us.
So, follow the link, and join us at the new location.

Keep the faith!

Peace

Larry

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PS Iron Leg isn’t moving quite yet, so head over to the usual place for a new mix of psychedelia.

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Two by the Roy Meriwether Trio

January 21, 2010

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Roy Meriwether rocking a Nehru…

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Listen/Download -Roy Meriwether Trio – Think

Listen/Download -Roy Meriwether Trio – Mean Greens

Greetings all.
I hope the end of another week finds you well.
I for one will stroll into the weekend with some pep in my step.
Last week, when I was on my way to spin at the Asbury Park 45 Sessions, I noticed the harsh glare of flashing lights in my rearview mirror, as the local popo requested my presence at the side of the road. Naturally, law abiding citizen that I am, I was shocked and stunned to hailed in such a manner, but I kept my cool, pulled to the curb and presented my papers to the officer, all the while wondering what the deal was.
Not too long after that the officer informed me that I had been pulled over because I had a headlight out (which I did not know, really…) and because my inspection was- gulp – almost five months past due (which I should have known but did not).
I was let go with a warning and sent on my merry way, a tale which I relate only because I dragged my butt over to the inspection station first thing this morning and was reminded once again that sometimes the fair winds of good fortune blow in my direction.
Not only was I spared the customary wait (there was no line at all, which in NJ is almost unheard of) but when they did the inspection they failed to check my headlights, and so, a short ten minutes later, I rolled out of the inspection station, onto the highway with a fresh, purple inspection sticker affixed to my windshield.
Of course this week I’ll have to go to the dealer to get the headlight fixed (yet another part of the modern car that the owner is no longer capable of maintaining themselves), but this is – as the kids say – ‘small potatoes’, considering how much of a given week I have to spend motoring my offspring around hither and yon, and how difficult that would be if my car were taken out of commission by the automotive commissars at the DMV.
So I raise my glass of iced coffee to you, inspection station ladies and gents, and say ‘Huzzah!’.
That said, I also have another appearance coming up, Wednesday next at Master Groove, at Forbidden City (NYC, Ave A between 13th and 14th) alongside your compere DJ Bluewater and our fellow Asbury Park 45 Sessioner M-Fasis for a set of high quality funk and soul a la 45RPM. I have been considering putting together a theme set of sorts (not sure which kind yet), but if you’re in the city, and you feel the need to absorb some groovy sounds, and have nothing else to do, may I invite you to fall by and join us? I assure you that no matter how cold the night is, the heat will be brought.
I yet more news…this week saw the death of my trusty Numark portable, which served me well these last few years. The motor gave up the ghost, so It had to be replaced. I’ll let you know how the new one works out.
Now, as far as music goes this Friday, how about some more soul jazz??
Last week, as I eulogized the mighty Freddie McCoy, I made mention of the fact that he was – as a vibist – one of the purest examples of a musician working a soul jazz vibe (pun intended, sort of…).
As pianists go, were you to seek someone similarly inclined, you might be persuaded to turn your ears in the direction of Mr. Roy Meriwether.
Meriwether – who got his start out Indiana way – and his trio recorded a grip of solid soul jazz LPs for Capitol in the 60s, before splitting off into the world of private press rarity, where they would wax their sought after version of the music from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ (some of which was previously featured in Funky16Corners Radio v.64 and my guest mix for Fleamarket Funk, ‘Six Million Dollar Groove’ ) and the super rare, crate digger white whale LP ‘Nubian Lady’.
The tunes I bring you today are from his late 60s Capitol LP ‘Soul Knight’, which I bagged during my trip into the Berkshires late last year.
The LP features a number of very nice cuts, but the two I bring you today illustrate Meriwether’s powerful keyboard style.
The first is a cover of the Aretha Franklin classic ‘Think’, which is taken at a brisk pace, with some tight, funky drums on the bottom.
The second is a version of a tune by another master of soul jazz, saxophonist Eddie Harris. I included Harris’s original version of his tune ‘Mean Greens’ in a mix I did for Fufu Stew called ‘Outta Sight aka Mancini King of Monsters’. The OG is taken as a fairly relaxed pace, but the cover by the Meriwether Trio is a killer, with Roy sounding as if he was about to pop the keys off of the piano. The group gets deep inside the quasi-latin rhythm of the tune and really work it on out. If you get the chance, listen to the OG and the cover side by side to see how two great musicians create their own takes on a standard.
I hope you dig the tunes, and I’ll be back next week.

Peace

Larry

Example

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for some tunes by the late Mike Evans and Mighty Baby.

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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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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

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

Example

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

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for something by the Fugs.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

You can also follow Funky16Corners on Twitter

Percy Sledge – Baby Help Me

January 10, 2010

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Percy Sledge

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Listen/Download -Percy Sledge – Baby Help Me

Greetings all.
I hope all of you are warm, dry and happy this wintry Monday.
I for one have yet to fully emerge from the fog of the weekend (nothing too strenuous, just too much on the agenda when some well deserved vegetation would be in order), so I figured what better way to kick things off than a nice, upbeat soul cut?
When most folks hear the name Percy Sledge, they expect one thing and one thing only, that being that monument to deep, weepy southern soul, ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’. One of those soul records that people with no knowledge of soul at all know about (thanks to countless soundtrack appearances), ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ manages to still be listenable despite 40+ years of saturation.
When I was down in DC last year, spinning and digging, in addition to a grip of funk 45s and LPs I managed to pull a couple of slices of classic soul, one of which was Percy Sledge’s 1968 LP ‘Take Time To Know Her’. Backed by the Muscle Shoals crew, the LP features Sledge working out on his other big ballad hit, the Dan Penn/Spooner Oldham classic ‘Out of Left Field’, and an interesting cover of the Classics IV’s ‘Spooky’.
While I was checking the album out, wandering through the grooves randomly I happened upon something I did not expect to find, that being today’s selection, ‘Baby Help Me’. Written by none other than Bobby Womack, ‘Baby Help Me’ is a great illustration of the little known fact that Percy Sledge, in addition to his famous way with a pleading ballad, was also able to work it out on a little bit of the soul shouting.
While Sledge wasn’t about to give the Wicked Pickett a run for his money, he acquits himself nicely, bringing his sand-papery growl to the fore, on top of a rocking rhythm section and some tight horns.
It’s great to see that Percy wasn’t afraid to get a little Alabama mud splattered on the cuffs of his continental suit.

Oddly enough I have another 45 by Mr Sledge in the queue, but it deserves a post of its own, so keep you ears peeled for that one in the coming months.

Example

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:

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 the Fugs.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Remembering Freddie McCoy

January 7, 2010

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The Great Freddie McCoy

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Listen/Download -Freddie McCoy – Funk Drops

Listen/Download -Freddie McCoy – My Babe

Listen/Download -Freddie McCoy – Pet Sounds

Greetings all.

I come to you today with a couple of tunes, posted in the memory of one of the great soul jazz vibists, Mr. Freddie McCoy. This post was originally planned for Wednesday, but I had to stop and take a minute to remember the great Willie Mitchell, so here we are today.
They also come to you courtesy of one of the stranger stories to find me since the inception of this blog.
Back in October of 2006 I posted one of my the most hypnotic numbers in McCoy’s catalog, the title track from his 1969 LP ‘Gimme Some’. Over the course of the next few years, the post drew some interesting comments, the most interesting being one from McCoy himself (then living in Morocco under the name Dit Ahmed Sofi) in May of this year.
Later that year he contacted me offline, telling me that he had some new music recorded (on guitar, no less) and asking of I knew someone who might be interested in putting it out.
About a month after that, someone posting with McCoy’s WordPress log-in left a message that he had passed away on September 27th.
Naturally, this alarmed the family members (his children, nieces and nephews) and ex-band member Chuck Purro, who had posted in, and were following the thread.
Very soon after the posting of the death notice, I received an e-mail (from McCoy’s account) informing me that he had in fact passed on and that I would receive further information as soon as possible.
It wasn’t until just before Christmas that his children posted a message on the blog that they had gotten in touch with his family in Morocco, and had confirmed his passing.
This is sad news, but especially so when you consider that McCoy was – at least in my opinion – the finest, purely “soul jazz” vibraphonist I’ve ever heard.
There were of course many vibists that traveled through the soul jazz genre, including masters like Cal Tjader, Bobby Hutcherson, Gary McFarland, Gary Burton, Johnny Lytle and past masters like Milt Jackson and Lionel Hampton, but none of them – despite many brilliant recordings – really found their home in that particular sound.
Freddie McCoy did.
Starting out as a sideman with Johnny Hammond Smith, Freddie McCoy recorded his first date as a leader n 1963, and his last in 1971 (almost all for Prestige*).
Working with a supporting cast that included Joanne Brackeen and Bernard Purdie, McCoy, like almost every jazzer not working exclusively on the “out” side, spent much of the 60s mixing his own original compositions with covers of contemporary pop and soul material. A survey of his albums (all out of print and some harder to find than others) reveals that while the results were occasionally pedestrian, they were also at times positively transcendant.
The (very) few details I have picked up about his post-recording years, suggest he spent some time living a quasi-hippy lifestyle in Hawaii (with some members of his band), spent time on an ashram in India, living his last days in North Africa.
1960s soul jazz was by and large the province of organists (a major focus here at the ‘Corners) and guitarists, with vibraphonists often working on the periphery as supporting players. Freddie McCoy took a skill rooted in hard bop, mixed it with rhythm and blues, soul, funk and even psychedelia and produced a truly unique sound that to this day has yet to receive its due.
Oddly enough, after first hearing that Freddie might have passed away, I started working on a mix (which will drop here in a week or two) of soul jazz vibes, that was to include a couple of prime tracks by him. It still will, but confirmation of his death made be dip back into the crates to record a few more cuts to post by themselves, and to pull one more – which had appeared here as part of a previous mix, and is a  particular fave – out of the archives.
The three tracks I bring you today by no means represent all facets of McCoy’s sound, but they should give you the impetus to go out and dig for more, and maybe (just maybe) some enterprising soul at a record company might be inspired to put together a comp of his finest work so that a new generation can groove to his sounds.
The first two tracks come from his 1966 ‘Funk Drops’ session for Prestige. The title cut features a repeating baritone sax figure (by Laurdine Patrick) against Joanne Brackeen’s organ and McCoy’s vibes. While not out and out funk, the sound here is well on its way in that direction, and is the kind of hard hitting stuff that Mods and their ilk have been sliding across dance floors to for decades.
The second track from that album is a reworking of Willie Dixon’s blues/r&b standard ‘My Babe’ which produces an even harder, even Modder dancers groove, with aggressive, choppy guitar by Napolean Allen kicking up the tempo.
The third and final track is something I included in Funky16Corners Radio v.32, Freddie McCoys sublime and absolutely brilliant cover of the Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’, recorded for his 1968 LP ‘Soul Yogi’. He takes the original, bumps up the tempo a few notches and really moves with Brian Wilson’s wonderful melody. The section of the recording towards the middle, where he starts to swing the tempo is a few, magical seconds of musical perfection that I absolutely live for. I always find myself giving this one repeat spins, and I think you will too.
That all said, take a moment to soak up the great music that Freddie McCoy gave us before he slipped the surly bonds of earth.
I hope you dig these sounds,and I’ll see you all on Friday.

Peace

Larry

*His last LP ‘Gimme Some’ was released on the Buddah subsidiary Cobblestone, but in his first reply to my original post he stated that he never actually recorded for that label. Whether or not those sessions were done for Prestige and then farmed out to the other label, I can’t say for sure. If anyone knows please drop me a line.

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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 Brings You a Taste of Brazil!

January 3, 2010

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Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66

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Luiz Eca of Tamba 4

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Bola Sete with the OG Sleeve Face??

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Listen/Download -Brasil 66 – Chelsea Morning

Listen/Download -Tamba 4 – We and the Sea

Listen/Download -Bola Sete – Suite Judy Blue Eyes

Greetings all.

First and foremost, Happy New Year to all of you that don’t hew to one of the more obscure calendars.
As befits a blogger of my advanced age and parental status, I spent New Years Eve quietly, with the extended Funky16Corners fam in upstate NY. I won’t jive you and say that I haven’t spent many a past New Years greased to the gills and running wild like an escaped baboon, but those years are far behind me. I no longer possess the recuperative powers of my youth, and while I may partake in a cocktail every now and again, mass consumption thereof is but a memory.
I hope you all had a great time in the celebratory fashion of your choosing, and remained safe, warm and ready to soak up some quality music in the year two thousand and ten, the arrival at which is something that would have boggled my fevered brain decades ago, when such a date sounded like so much science fiction. Since we’ve arrived at this point on the timeline, and have neither become the first course in an alien feast, nor bow before a race of super intelligent apes, I have to assumed that the Jules Vernes of our age were – no matter how imaginative – somewhat less Jules Verne-y than the OG.
That said, I have decided to bring in the New Year with something mellow.
My digs of the past year were as always, diverse and satisfying, and today’s selections are proof.
The music of Brazil is something that I could not live without. Much like my fascination with the sounds of Jamaica, though I am in no way an expert, my love for the music made by our neighbors in the south, particularly after the foundation of bossa nova, runs very, very deep.
The three records I bring you this fine day were all created by Brazilian performers that had a presence here in the US.
Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 (and later 77, etc) actually had a fair amount of popularity in the US with a number of Top 40 hits in the US between 1966 and 1971, including their powerhouse cover of Jorge Ben’s ‘Mas Que Nada’. The group went a long way to popularizing (and pop music-a-fying) the sounds of Brazil for the US market, to the point where I actually remember my parents owning a couple of their records.
The Brasil 66 version of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Chelsea Morning’ was on the 1971 LP ‘Stillness’ and is a great, jazzy take on an oft covered singer songwriter chestnut. ‘Stillness’ was the last album that would feature vocalist Lani Hall, who went on to marry none other than the group’s producer, Herb Alpert. Mendes’ piano is featured prominently and there’s lots of great percussion in the background.
Tamba 4, led by pianist Luiz Eca had a long history in Brazil as a trio, reforming in 1968 as Tamba 4 and releasing a couple of albums on CTI in the US in the late 60s.
Tamba 4’s ‘We and the Sea’ was the title track from their 1968 CTI debut. It’s a great example of the group’s sound, with Eca’s piano, flautist Bebeto and Ohana’s percussion joining with Gary McFarland-esque wordless vocalizations. If you haven’t heard any of their stuff, it has been reissued and some of it can be found in iTunes. I’m also reposting their very tasty, 45-only version of ‘California Soul’.
Though I only ever knew of the Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete via his 1960s recordings with the genius Vince Guaraldi, by the time he was making those records he was past 40 and had had a long career in his home country. His American discovery was by Dizzy Gillespie in New York in 1962 and he joined the trumpet master at the Monterey Jazz Fest that year. He went on to tour with Gillespie, eventually relocating to San Francisco where he met up with Guaraldi.
The tune I bring you today is a very mellow reworking of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s ‘Suite Judy Blue Eyes’ from Bola Sete’s 1971 LP ‘Workin’ on a Groovy Thing’.
The version is laid back with (of course) a Brazilian flair and sounds as if it might have been the inspiration for guitarist Fareed Haque’s 1997 reworking of the entire ‘Déjà vu’ LP for Blue Note*. Oddly enough, though I dig CSN/CSNY, ‘Suite Judy Blue Eyes’ has never been one of my favorite tunes from their catalog, and I like the way that Bola Sete removes the time-worn number from its shambolic and overreachingly ambitious (nothing like a bunch of longhairs reaching deep into their serapes to call something they wrote a “suite”) hippie roots, recasting it as a meditation of sorts.
I hope you dig the sounds, and I’ll be back on Wednesday with something a little closer to home.

Peace

Larry

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*This was part of a short-lived series that Blue Note commissioned of jazz artists redoing entire classic albums which included Charlie Hunter covering Bob Marley’s ‘Natty Dread’ and Everette Harp’s version of Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’

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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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