Archive for the ‘Instrumentals’ Category

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

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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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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 Christmas Flashback #2 – Soulful Strings

December 20, 2009

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

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

Originally posted 12/2007

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The Magic of Christmas

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Richard Evans
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Miss Doroth Ashby

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

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

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

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Funky16Corners Radio v.76 – One for the Kids

November 15, 2009

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Artwork copyright 2009 – Miles Grogan (age 5)

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

Playlist

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

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

Greetings all.

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

Peace

Larry

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Jimmy Smith – I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Babe

November 10, 2009

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The Intense Jimmy Smith

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Listen/Download -Jimmy Smith – I’m Gonna Love You a Just Little More Babe

Greetings all.
I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like taking a nap. The fall season has two specific effects on me, depending on the presence (or lack thereof) of the sun. If it’s sunny I want to get outside, fill my lungs with the crisp autumn air and love me some nature. If the sun is obscured by clouds, I feel like putting on my jammies and crawling into bed like a hibernating bear and staying there until it gets warm again. It doesn’t help that I’m especially sensitive to tree pollen and have been in an allergic haze, sneezing like a mofo and wishing my head didn’t feel like a solid block of cement.
I suppose this too shall pass.
On to groovier things….
Back in July, when I packed up my records and motored down to DC for a few nights of deejay type action, I had the good fortune to be invited to take part in the fifth anniversary of the Jazz Corner night at St Ex. There were a grip of DJs there, but at the center of the action were the mighty DJ Birdman and DC Digga. At the very beginning of DC Digga’s set he dropped the needle on a sweet break, which opened up into a very groovy Barry White cover. Naturally I had to know what it was and was shocked when my man held up a copy of Jimmy Smith’s ‘Black Smith’ LP.
I’d known about that particular record for a while but had never managed to score a copy of my own. In the weeks that followed I set out in search of one. When I finally tracked one down I gave the song I heard that night ‘I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Babe’ several spins, digging not only the aforementioned break, but the entire arrangement.
This is some of that tasty late-night stuff. The master of the Hammond takes the lush, boudoir groove of White’s OG and adds a little bit of a funky edge to it so that one might dance to it (vertically or horizontally) if they were so inclined.
There are those – of this I’m certain – who would stroll by with upturned noses at the first great master of the Hammond organ ‘debasing’ himself in such a way, but I would respectfully ask those people to pull their heads from their asses and open their ears. By 1974 (when this LP came out) the era of hardcore greasy Hammond workouts had long since ceased to be. It was hard enough in the 60s for jazzers to make a living, and even moreso in the 70s. While some of his peers had moved on to diluted pop-jazz, Smith was still digging deep into the groove. The days of hard bop soloing may have been behind him, but he was still making quality music.
The record was produced by Michael Viner (of the Incredible Bongo Band) with a studio backing band (I’d love to know who that drummer is). The album also includes interesting versions of Timmy Thomas’ ‘Why Can’t We Live Together’ and a funky take on ‘Hang ‘Em High’. ‘I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Babe’ was sampled by a Tribe Called Quest, the Beastie Boys and Kool G Rap.
I hope you dig the tune and I’ll be back on Friday.

Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for something groovy from Enoch Light

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Fifth Anniversary Celebration Pt2 + F16 Radio v.75

November 3, 2009

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Playlist

Overton Berry Trio – And I Love Her (Jaro)
Gary McFarland – Here There and Everywhere (Skye)
Vince Guaraldi – Eleanor Rigby (WB)
Bola Sete – Golden Slumbers (Paramount)
Ray Charles – Yesterday (TRC)
Shirley Scott – Because (Atlantic)
Brian Auger & the Trinity – A Day In the Life (Atco)
The Pair Extraordinaire – And I Love Her (Liberty)
Lonnie Smith – Eleanor Rigby (Blue Note)
David ‘Fathead’ Newman – Yesterday (Atlantic)
Stan Getz – Because (MGM)
Frank Wess – The Fool On the Hill (Enterprise)


To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive
Greetings all.
As promised, I have returned with the second mix of Beatles covers, aka Funky16Corners Radio v.75 – Golden Slumbers. I menitoned on Monday that this is a much mellower affair than F16C Radio v.74, more suited to dark nights or quiet afternoons than for anything resembling a party.
There are some old faves in the mix, as well as some more recent discoveries.
You can listen to the older Beatles covers mixes via the links below, and to catch Radio v.74 you need only scroll further down the page.
Thanks to everyone who sent along their good wishes on the fifth anniversary of the blog.

I hope you dig the mixes and I’ll be back next week with more of the stuff you love.

Peace

Larry

Hit the previous mixes  here:

Listen/download Funky16Corners Radio v.28 – Rubber Souled Pt1

Listen/download Funky16Corners Radio v.29 – Rubber Souled Pt2

Listen/download Funky16Corners Radio v.30 – Rubber Souled Pt3

Listen/download Funky16Corners Radio v.54 – Come Together
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PS Head over to Iron Leg for some mid-60s German pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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F16C Halloween – Mike Sharpe – Spooky

October 25, 2009

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“I got a scan of the wrong side of the album…and a rock…

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Listen/Download -Mike Sharpe – Spooky

Greetings all.
Despite the surplus of real world activity in my life these days, I am approaching the Halloween season prepared (unlike previous years) on both blog fronts.
Though I’ve never been what you might describe as gung-ho about this particular holiday, I have always seen it as an opportunity for fun, monster movie fan that I am (and by that I am referring to monster films of the old school, not the current wave of mutilation porn that passes for horror cinema), and since the inception of the blog, part of that fun is tracking down and whipping some Halloween grooves on you good people.
This year both of the new selections you’ll be hearing this week made their way into my crates thanks to my man in the YOU-KAY Mister Tony C.
Not too long ago Tony said that he had picked up the Mike Sharpe 45 ‘Break Through’ and that I might be interested in the flipside, a version of the Classics IV tune ‘Spooky’. I had heard of ‘Break Through’ before via the mod soul crowd (and a couple of Northern Soul set lists), and set out in search of my own copy. I wasn’t able to grab a copy of the (more expensive) 45, but I did find a clean copy of the LP, so I grabbed it.
Though I’ve been DJ-ing as part of an all-5 night for years, I like to grab soul/funk LPs where I can find them because I love discovering cool, LP-only tracks (and the Sharpe album had a few of those).
I started to do a little research and much to my surprise I discovered that Mike Sharpe (real last name Shapiro) was an Atlanta-area sax player/songwriter who had actually composed and recorded the original (instrumental) version of ‘Spooky’. It was picked up by the Classics IV’s manager Buddy Buie and guitarist Jimmy Cobb who laid some lyrics on the tune, it was recorded by the band and became their first big hit (spawning countless cover versions on almost as many genres). Sharpe played the sax solo on the hit version of ‘Spooky’ as well as a number of other Classics IV hits.
Sharpe’s OG ‘Spooky’ features a backing of an unusual sounding organ, vocal chorus and of course his saxophone in the lead. It compares favorably with the better known version and was itself a regional hit.
Sharpe went on to record a few more albums for Imperial. I’ll make sure to post ‘Break Through’ some time in the future.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Wednesday with something a little heavier.

Peace

Larry

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

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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