Archive for the ‘Northern Soul’ Category

Willie Mitchell RIP

January 5, 2010

Example

The Mighty Willie Mitchell

Example

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

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some early Leon Russell.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Gene Taylor – The Hunch

December 10, 2009

Example

Listen/Download -GeneTaylor – The Hunch

Greetings all.

We have arrived together at the end of yet another week, surprisingly enough, intact.
Thanks to a lifetime of dental neglect – interrupted repeatedly by trips to the dentist for succor – I am now nursing a toothache, which thanks to my convoluted schedule I won’t be able to have treated until next week. I shall bear up as best I can, and hope I don’t get punched in the mouth (not as easy as you’d think…).

The tune I bring you today was something I picked up back in the spring at one of the Asbury Lanes Garage/Record sales. Despite the fact that these little soirees often look dismal upon first approach, they have proven to be surprisingly fertile when it comes to excavating vinyl. There are never a whole lot of dealers, but the ones that do show up often have a select few quality items for those willing to dig.

This particular visit saw the arrival of a cat I had never seen before with about a dozen boxes of sleeved 45s. I made a beeline to his spot (perched between two lanes) and started working. I generally flip through singles a handful at a time (easier than checking them out inside the boxes), and managed to find something cool in the first stack. Who knows, had that first box been nothing but chaff, I might have moved on, but it wasn’t, so I didn’t, and ended up going home with a nice, fat stack of quality one-dollar records, the vast majority of which were worth far more (many of them having appeared in this space in the time since).

When I happened upon ‘The Hunch’ by Gene Taylor, neither the song nor the artist were familiar, but my Spidey sense suggested to me that I was looking at yet another soul dance 45, so I dropped it into the keeper stack and kept on working.

As it turns out, my suspicions were correct. Now, I understand that on does not need to be Sherlock Holmes to make the assumption I did, but give me some credit here.

When I got the record home and placed the needle on the wax, I was rewarded with an upbeat Northern-friendly dancer. The overall vibe suggests an affinity for the sounds of Curtis Mayfield’s Chicago and as suggested previously, the lyrics are fairly standard dance-craze ish. The record is very cool, but gets a lot cooler once the handclaps and the sax solo come in about halfway through.

The bummer here is that I have been unable to turn up anything of substance on Mr. Taylor himself. There is precious little info on the record label (other than that he seems to have written the song). I found a number of mentions that Taylor returned to the studio in 1969 (four years after ‘The Hunch’) to record a deep soul 45 for Minit records (produced in Memphis by Bobby Womack), and a couple of intriguing mentions that suggest that Taylor was from the south (one placing him in New Orleans, which I have been unable to back up).

If Taylor was indeed from New Orleans, he wouldn’t be alone in his emulation of the Chitown sound, having been preceded by both Eddie Bo (‘Let’s Let It Roll’) and Eldridge Holmes (‘Emperor Jones’) in that regard.
If anyone has any solid info on Mr. Taylor, please drop me a line.

I hope you dig the song, and I’ll be back Monday with a new edition of the Funky16Corners Radio podcast.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some LA folk rock.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

The Royalettes – River of Tears

December 6, 2009

Example

The Royalettes

Example

Listen/Download -The Royalettes – River of Tears

Greetings all.
Here’s hoping that everyone had themselves a nice weekend.
I’m trying to get enthusiastic about the multi-holiday season (we celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas here at the Funky16Corners ranch), but I’m having a hard time. I think that the older I get, the more I become like Charlie Brown, feeling assaulted by the rampant commercialism associated with the holidays and wishing that things could be dialed back a few notches.
Fortunately I have two small children who really do get excited when this time of year rolls around, so I can still appreciate it vicariously.
The tune I bring you today was the big score from my DC digs this past summer. Though it’s not a terribly rare record, the fact that it’s an ass kicker of superior quality placed it miles ahead of everything else I grabbed that weekend.
As posted here last year, Barbara Banks’ ‘River of Tears’ is one of my all time favorite soul 45s, and a record that I chased for a long time, finally bringing it down by throwing a large wad of cash at it. It was a classic because in addition to the fact that it’s a killer performance, it’s an even better song (co-written by Banks herself).
Back in the day when I was first looking for that 45, I discovered in my research that the tune had been covered by the Royalettes. My interest was piqued, but for some reason I never went in search of their version.
The Royalettes, who hailed from Baltimore recorded several singles for Chancellor and MGM between 1963 and 1966, eventually waxing two full LPs for the latter label.
Fast forward a few years to this past summer, when DJ Birdman was kind enough to take to around to his DC/Maryland digging spots, and while flipping through a box of soul 45s, what do I find but a copy of the Royalettes’ version of ‘River of Tears’. I was surprised to learn that like Barbara Banks original, the Royalettes’ cover was produced and arranged by Herb Bernstein. I put the record in my keeper stack and continued to dig, pulling out a handful of nice funk and soul stuff.
When I was done digging, I walked over to the store’s turntable, put on the headphones, dropped the needle on the record and just about blew my mind.
DRUMS?!?!
As you’ll hear when you pull down the ones and zeros, the Royalettes version opens with a huge, monstrous drum break that sounds like it was recorded inside Carlsbad Caverns! The Royalettes drop in with some tight harmonies, and the rest of the arrangement mirrors the Banks OG fairly closely (bass, vibes etc) but the pounding drums remain fairly high in the mix for the entire record.
It’s interesting to hear the song (what a fantastic melody!) delivered by a group as opposed to a solo voice, but the production on the Royalettes version of the song is a drastic departure from the original. Where the OG is a masterpiece of subtlety, with all the disparate layers sharing the sonic space evenly, the Royalettes cover is explosive. Taken at a slightly more deliberate pace, Bernstein tooks the opportunity to open the record up, adding all kinds of space between the instruments and voices and layering on just a touch of funk.
Recorded in 1967, ‘River of Tears’ was the Royalettes sole 45 for Roulette, and their last 45 overall.
It’s a really incredible record, and I hope you like it as much as I do.
I’ll be back on Wednesday with something cool.

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

Funky16Corners Fifth Anniversary Celebration!!

November 1, 2009

Example

Example

Playlist

Lee Moses – Day Tripper (Musicor)
Booker T & the MGs – Lady Madonna (Stax)
Natural Gas – Eleanor Rigby (Firebird)
Memphis Soul Band – Get Back (Minit)
JJ Barnes – Day Tripper (Ric-Tic)
JEJ Ensemble – Sgt Pepper Medley (JEJ)
Jay Jackson and the Heads of Our Time – With a Little Help From My Friends (Mr G)
Pat Williams – Hey Jude (Verve)
Dobby Dobson – Carry That Weight (Jaguar)
Ramsey Lewis – Sexy Sadie (Cadet)
Supremes – Come Together (Motown)
Verona High School Jazz Ensemble – Let It Be (private press)
Mongo Santamaria – Day Tripper (Columbia)
Ramsey Lewis – Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except for Me and My Monkey (Cadet)
Doc Severinson – Abbey Road Medley (Command)
Gap Mangione – The End (Mercury)


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

Greetings all.
I write this sitting at the dining room table, looking out the window as my sworn enemies – fall leaves – drop to the ground. I am currently under attack by some kind of sinus problem, which makes the thought of taking the leaf blower and the rake out of my shed all the more painful.
However, there is something to celebrate, an occasion so momentous, so earth shatteringly earth shattering as to wipe away any and all afflictions by virtue of its world shaking stupendousness.
That’s right, the Funky16Corners blog is five years old.
It was the first week of November 2004 when I first stepped blindly into the blog-o-mosphere, spilling the contents of my fevered brain onto the interwebs via my computer keyboard. Back in the day, I had no earthly idea that I would still be at it five long years later. If you are son inclined, and you take a bracing dip in the Funky16Corners pre-Wordpress archive, you’ll also see that in the beginning, I didn’t really have a clear idea of what I was going to do with the blog.
The general concept is there, i.e. to ruminate on and inform about music, but as you’ll see the musical direction didn’t really take shape until the second month of the blog’s existence. There were traces of the Funky16Corners you know and love, but there was also a bunch of stuff that presaged the whole Iron Leg experience as well. You can go back to that first month and watch me as the divergent musical avenues of my mind do battle for supremacy.
That is now – as they say – a moot point. As I mentioned, a few years later I started Iron Leg to write about 60s pop/psych/garage etc, whittling down my free time even further. But by that time, “free time” itself was an outmoded concept as the whole blogging thing evolved from a pleasant diversion into something else entirely (still pleasant…).
If you’ve been a regular reader of either blog you’ll already know that my move into blogging wasn’t really new, in that I’d been writing about music, first in fanzines, then in newspapers, and ultimately on the interwebs for something like 25 years. What the internet allowed me to do was take a familiar format and give it new, multimedia dimensions.
When I started doing zines back in 84/85, it was all cut and paste with the rubber cement, plundering old books and magazines for artwork (or drawing it myself) and heading down to the old copy shop for duplication. From there, it was on to maybe 10 record stores – locally and in NYC – for hand-to-hand distribution and the dreaded consignment. Believe it or not, even then, via travelers picking up copies and the zine getting written up in other zines, international contact (in a decidedly more limited form) was made.
When the internet came along I took the opportunity (along with the most rudimentary HTML “skills”) and started zine-ing on the web. Out of that effort was born the Funky16Corners web zine, which grew over the course of four years to include a lot of long form articles/discographies and tons of shorter, capsule reviews.
The time came midway through 2004 that planning and executing the long-form web zine was starting to feel like a chore. My first son had arrived and my ability to expend the time and energy that it took to put a new issue together was dwindling rapidly.
I began to take a look at the blogging format, and it’s brevity and quick turnover appealed to me. I made the decision to change direction, concentrating more on single records. Within a couple of months things settled into something like the current format, where they stayed for another two years until the inception of the Funky16Corners Radio podcast in May of 2006. It was at that point that I started to put mixes on the web (god knows I’d been making them since I was first able to operate a cassette recorder), an enterprise that grew in diversity and sophistication to the point where the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast and Guest Mix archives now hold close to one hundred different mixes (as well as almost 30 more over at Iron Leg).
When I look back on those early days of paper-blogging, and see how many people now check in to the blog from all over the world, it genuinely blows my mind. We truly live in McLuhan’s global village, and at least in this circumstance I see it as a good thing. Soul and funk fans from all points of the compass gathering to share information and (more importantly) their love for the music.
There are those among you for whom a lot of the music posted here is new, and of course many dyed in the wool soulies for whom much of it is old (yet wonderful) news. If the Funky16Corners blog has a “mission”, it is bringing those two ends of the spectrum closer together, united by a love and respect for the music and the people that made it.
To mark the fifth anniversary of the blog, this week will see two more entries to that list with the fifth and sixth mixes of soul/funk/jazz covers of Beatles songs.
The Beatles were my first musical love. The first record I ever bought with my own money was a copy of the VeeJay LP ‘Introducing the Beatles’, and their music still stays with me as an important part of my life. When I put the first Beatles covers mixes together back in 2007, I hadn’t planned any sequals. However, as time went on I started making it a habit to record and put aside any Beatles covers that I found, and eventually all of the ensuing mixes came together.
Hit them 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

The first mix this week will be more upbeat, the second (posted on Wednesday) a much mellower exercise for those late night, meditative listening sessions.
I won’t go into much detail on either mix, aside from noting that both of them have contributions from lots of old favorites as well as some unusual stuff.
I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of the ongoing Funky16Corners blog-sperience, including all the regular readers, my fellow bloggers and DJs (big ups to DJ Prestige and the Asbury Park 45 Sessions Crew and DJ Birdman in DC!) and especially those of you that have participated in the yearly fund drive that helps to keep this thing going (especially the Podcast Archive, by far the most heavily trafficked part of the site).
With any luck we’ll all be here for another five years (or longer), unless there’s another paradigm shift in the technology that takes us in another direction entirely.
I hope you dig the mixes and I’ll be back next week with more of the stuff you love.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some mid-60s German pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

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

October 29, 2009

Example

Example

Mr. Johnny Sayles

Example

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

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

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

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

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

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

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Faye Ross – Faith Hope and Trust b/w You Ain’t Right

October 20, 2009

Example

Listen/Download -Faye Ross – Faith Hope and Trust

Listen/Download -Faye Ross – You Ain’t Right

Greetings all.
I hope the middle of the week finds you all well.
I almost wasn’t going to do a post today, as I am up to my ass in the proverbial alligators, but I managed to get the little Corners off to dreamland in a timely manner, so I sit here, typing, digi-ma-tizing some vinyl and being otherwise productive.
The tunes I bring you today are both sides of a mid-60s (I’m guessing) Los Angeles area 45 by a singer named Faye Ross. Aside from the fact that Ms. Ross recorded at least one other 45 for the Trevor label, I have been able to discover nothing about her.
The a-side ‘Faith Hope and Trust’ is a great Northern Soul-ish banger, the flip a nicely produced, bluesy torch song.
Naturally, as is always the case, when I can’t turn up anything on a performer, I start digging into the other info on the label to see what I can find.
As the label itself goes, Round Records was probably based in the vicinity of Los Angeles, California. I’ve found a couple of direct and indirect connections to the LA-based Kris label, but aside from the three Round 45s I own, by Jimmie Preacher Ellis, BW Souls and Faye Ross, little else.
‘Faith Hope and Trust’ was written by Kent Harris. Harris was born in Oklahoma and moved west in the 50s. Under the name Boogaloo and His Gallant Crew he recorded the 45 ‘Clothesline’ b/w ‘Cops and Robbers’ in 1956. Both sides of that record would be redone (and apparently unfairly appropriated) as big R&B hits, first as ‘Cops and Robbers’ by Bo Diddley, and in 1960 the Coasters retitled ‘Clothesline’ as ‘Shopping for Clothes’ (originally credited to Leiber and Stoller, but later shows up with Harris’ name in the credits).
Harris went on to marry and work extensively with LA soul diva Ty Karim, writing and producing many of her records through the 60s.
As I said, I haven’t been able to find any info on Faye Ross. She had a great voice, and the sound of ‘You Ain’t Right’ suggests to me that she was as comfortable singing the blues as she was with straight-ahead soul.
It’s a cool record, and if any of you have anything to add, please drop me a line.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for podcast looking at the career of sunshine pop legend Curt Boettcher

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Jay and the Techniques – Here We Go Again

October 11, 2009

Example

Jay and the Techniques

Example

Listen/Download – Jay and the Techniques – Here We Go Again

Greetings all.
I write to you as I recuperate from yet another – hopefully the last – encounter with kidney stone related surgery. My intrepid urologist (there’s a phrase you don’t hear too often) located and blasted the remaining stones, and if all goes as planned I won’t have to go back the hospital anytime soon (this was my fifth trip this year, only two of which were planned).
Fortunately the body parts required for operation of the Funky16Corners blog – listening ears and typing fingers – appear to functioning properly, so we plow ahead.
The tune I bring you today is something I was turned on to in the early days of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions.
Back then, the AP45 crew had a distinctly different composition than it does today. One of the early DJs, who left the fold after only a few appearances was Garden State Soul’s own Jay Boxcar. Like another ex-AP45er, Connie T. Empress, Jay brought a more classic/Northern soul vibe to his sets. When he dropped the tune I bring you today I took a run up to the turntables and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the high quality tune I was hearing was no stone rarity, but rather a neglected b-side by Jay and the Techniques.
A multi-racial soul band, Jay and the Techniques hailed from Allentown, PA, and had their first and biggest hit ‘Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie’ in 1967. The tune I bring you today was the b-side of their second hit, ‘Keep the Ball Rollin’.
‘Here We Go Again’ is a storming dancer with a pounding organ/horn riff and a wonderful vocal by Jay Proctor. Produced and arranged by Philly legends Jerry Ross and Joe Renzetti ‘Here We Go Again’ is a departure from Jay and the Techniques ‘nursery rhyme’ tunes and is a wonderful slice of pop-inflected soul. The grooviest thing of all is that you ought to be able to pick up your own copy at the next flea market/boot sale for less than a dollar.
I hope you dig the tune and I’ll be back on Wednesday with something cool.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some wild folk rock

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

The Babies – The Hand of Fate

September 24, 2009

Example

The Babies

Example

Listen/Download – The Babies – The Hand of Fate

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

Peace

Larry

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

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

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

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners On the Road (Again)

July 23, 2009

Example

Example

Greetings all.

The end of the week is here, and I am once again a free man. The tube has been removed from my kidney (not as painful as I thought it was going to be) and I am back on the street again.
I’m a little bit behind the eight ball – confinement in a hospital room for the better part of a week kind of takes it out of you – but I fully expect to be up to speed in a few days.
I come to you empty handed at the end of the week because the wife and I spent the entire day on the road retrieving the two smallest Corners from their grandparents who were kind enough to watch them while I was ill. We had to drive to upstate NY, and then took a route home that initially looked like a smart move but turned into a long string of traffic nightmares. We only just rolled through the door about an hour ago, so there wasn’t really time to prepare something (you can always hit the archives and check out a mix you may have missed the first time out).
However, I have some news…
Next week I’ll be packing up the heat (LPs as well as 45s) in the Funky16Corners-mobile and rolling down to Washington, DC for a couple of nights of vinyl goodness.
Next Wednesday, 7/29 I’ve been invited to spin as part of the crew at the 5th Anniversary of DJ Birdman and DC Digga’s night ‘Jazz Corner of the World’ at Café St Ex, 1847 14th St NW in DC. If you dig the sounds of jazz (all kinds, from hard bop to rare grooves) you need to fall by since Birdman and DC Digga know how to do it up right, and there will be other special guests bringing the heat including Richmond, VA’s own DJ Fatback (who knows him some jazz). Things get rolling at 7PM and go all night long.
Then – yes there’s more – on Friday night 7/31 yours truly, Larry Grogan aka Funky16Corners will be working in long form over at Marvin (a very cool place) a few blocks up at 2007 14th St NW (in DC, natch) where I’ll be manning the storied wheels of steel from 10PM all the way to closing time. You can expect the usual funk, soul and rare groove with bits of disco and jazz (anything that moves the dancers) mixed in.
I’m really looking forward to working up a nice, long groove, and I know the folks in DC like to dance, so we should all get along swimmingly.
If you’re in driving distance try to fall by and make the scene one of those nights, and be sure to stop by the booth and say howdy.
That said, have a groovy weekend, and I’ll see you all back here on Monday.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for the Second Anniversary Mix! .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners 2009 Pledge Drive b/w Funky16Corners Radio v.70

May 31, 2009

Example

Example

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

Funky16Corners Radio v.70 – Daddy Rollin’ Stone
Gentleman June Gardner – It’s Gonna Rain (Emarcy)
Turtles – Buzz Saw (White Whale)
Promenade Hits Band – She’s Looking Good (Promenade)
Albert Collins – Don’t Lose Your Cool ( TCF/Hall)
Derek Martin – Daddy Rollin’ Stone (Crackerjack)
Alvin Cash & the Crawlers – The Barracuda (Mar V Lus)
Frank Frost – My Back Scratcher (Jewel)
Nat Kendrick & the Swans – Dish Rag (Dade)
Sam & Dave – I Said I Wasn’t Gonna Hurt Nobody (Stax)
Billy Lamont – Sweet Thang (20th Century)
Billy Preston – Let the Music Play (Capitol)
Bobby Powell & Jackie Johnson – Done Got Over (Whit)
Willie Mitchell – Respect (Hi)
Carl Holmes & the Commanders – I Want My Ya Ya (Parkway)
David Rockingham Trio – Soulful Chant (Josie)
Emperors – Got To Find My Baby (Mala)
Johnny Copeland – Wake Up Little Suzy (Wand)
Harvey Scales & the Seven Sounds – The Get Down (Magic Touch)
Mickey Murray – Hit Record (SSS Intl)
Lewis Clark – Dog (Ain’t a Man’s Best Friend) (Brent)
Scatman Crothers – Golly Zonk! It’s Scatman (HBR)
Don Gardner – People Sure Act Funny (Red Top)
Earl King – Trick Bag (Imperial)
Little Joe Curtis – Your Miniskirt (Alshire)

Greetings all.

I’d like to welcome one and all to the 2009 edition of the Funky16Corners Blog Pledge Drive.
This is the third year that I come to you, asking for donations to help keep the Funky16Corners Blog (and family of associated blogs) and webzine up and running (at least as far as interwebs based storage in concerned).
As it stands, in addition to all the standard graphics and individual sound files, there are now 79 mixes in the Funky16Corners Podcast Archive (more to come as I gather and post all the non-Funky16 mixes I’ve done for other sites) and another 25 in the Iron Leg Digital Trip Archive. As has always been the case, I pay for dedicated server space where I store all these files, and as has always been the case, this costs a little bit of money. Back in the olden days I was able to depend on free space, but thanks to some hot linkage back in ought-six the blog underwent a sudden and sustained increase in traffic that necessitated moving into paid digs.
If you’ve been following the blog with any frequency you’ll know that this year the situation is a little more critical since yours truly is no longer gainfully employed. This is not to say that I’m not working, since I resigned my position so that I could remain home to care for my two sons, but aside from the fringe benefit of spending lots of quality time with the kids, the pay is – how do you say? – non-existent.
That said, the blogs will continue unabated, since this is what I do. If you count the Funky16Corners web zine, I’ve been at this since 2001. The Funky16Corners Blog will celebrate its 5th anniversary on the interwebs this November (Iron Leg will be two years old at the end of June).
If you dig what we do here, and have the means and the will to throw a couple of bucks into the operating budget (as it is), you need only click on the Paypal links below and do so (special thanks to those of you that contributed between the drives) . If you don’t want to, or can’t afford to, that’s cool too. Times are (really) tough all over, and if the music that I post here makes you happy, or soothes your soul in any way at all, pass it on to a friend and spread the good vibes.

Example

Click Here To Donate via Paypal

NOTE: If you’ve been having any trouble going through the donation process at Paypal, make sure to click on the blue “update total” button to complete the process. – LG

I was just ruminating the other day on the idea that blogging (at least on my end) has really changed the way that I listen to music. Digging out and exploring individual tracks in depth, especially on headphones, which creates a kind of closed loop wherein one can really get inside of a record, moving around the back alleys of an arrangement, finding all manner of hidden wonders that are overlooked in a casual/passive listening environment. This is probably true for anyone who consumes the majority of their music via headphones, in my case through the almighty iPod. One of the reasons I started doing the Funky16Corners Radio mixes was – aside from a compulsion to gather and frame music in a thematic fashion, which goes back to the earliest days of mix-tapes – so that I could sit down and dig into a group of songs.
As has been stated in this space several times in the past, I make these mixes as much for myself as I do for you folks. The Funky16Corners Radio playlist has verily burned a hole in my iPod, providing the lions share of my listening when I was chained to a desk, and almost as much when I find the time during the day. That someone besides me gets some enjoyment out of the enterprise is a (very) happy by product.
Since the inception of the Funky16Corners Radio thing back in 2006, there have been all kinds of mixes, many themed geographically (i.e. New Orleans and Philadelphia), a number of Hammond organ mixes (you know how I roll), lots of general soul and funk mixes and in the last two years a bunch of jazzy collections (which are some of my faves) (over 1,000 tracks in the mixes alone).
Since this is the 70th edition of Funky16Corners Radio, I thought that the time was right for a return to the roots with a collection of straight ahead soul. There’s some R&B, and a touch of the funk here and there, but by and large what you get in Funky16Corners Radio v.70 is a soundtrack for what has been referred to here in the past as your next ripple and potato chip party. Get your friends together with a large quantity of alcohol (or the intoxicant of your choice), slap this one on an MP3 delivery device, sit back and watch things get out of hand. By the end of the (nearly an) hour, the floor is going to be littered with cans, bottles, articles of clothing, someone’s going to have locked themselves in the restroom (doing God knows what) and that guy from the office will be out on the deck wondering how he burned off his eyebrows with the barbecue grill.
I slapped on my miners helmet and descended into the darkest corners of the Funky16Corners warehouse, fireproof gloves and tongs in hand, to bring back a selection of rough and ready bangers. A couple of these numbers may be familiar to long time visitors of the blog, but reframed properly, in a new and exciting context, the old and familiar will soon reveal hidden charms.
So, things get underway with what is probably my all time favorite New Orleans instrumental, Gentleman June Gardner’s ‘It’s Gonna Rain’. Believe it or not this is a cover of a Sonny & Cher song (the flipside of ‘I Got You Babe’).
Keeping things on the incongruous Sunset Strip 1960s tip, I bring you the Turtles (?!?!?) with ‘Buzz Saw’. Known far and wide to crate digger types and Hammond aficionados, ‘Buzz Saw’, which is unlike anything else the Turtles ever recorded, is a positively slamming and extremely greasy organ workout. My suspicion has always been that the organist on ‘Buzz Saw’ was someone outside of the band, but if anyone knows different, drop me a line.
The next track is a cover of Rodger Collins’ ‘She’s Looking Good’ as performed by the wholly anonymous Promenade Records band (they’re not actually given any name at all on the record). This originated on a two-EP set (with a cool picture sleeve) composed of covers of then contemporary tune (rock and soul) that I found at a record show. Going by the Newark, NJ address, my assumption is that this is related somehow to the Peter Pan childrens record company, which released a couple of non-kids exploito cash-in collections over the years. Whoever the singer is, he does a pretty nice job.
Albert Collins is a huge personal fave of mine. Though he is most often associated with the blues, mainly due to his later career when he recorded for the Alligator label, Collins spent most of the 60s recording a series of genre-bending 45s for a variety of labels. The sounds he made touched on soul, garage, surf and pure rock’n’roll, even getting funky when he signed up with Imperial in the late 60s. ‘Don’t Lose Your Cool’ is one of his TFC/Hall 45s and swings like 60 from the git go.
The cut that gives this mix its name, ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ by Derek Martin is indisputably one of the great soul records of the 60s. Need I say more?
‘The Barracuda’ is yet another in a long line of similarly burning, lo-fi and blazing numbers laid down by Chitown wonders Alvin Cash and the Crawlers. Like the mighty Jerry-O, Alvin and his pals managed to take a formula, work it to death but doing so in a way that keeps you coming back.
Speaking of good and greasy, when you’re working in the sonic universe things just don’t get any moreso than when Frank Frost plugged in his git-box and kicked up some juke joint dust with the mighty ‘My Back Scratcher’, wherein Slim Harpo and Mongo Santamaria fall under the wheels of a speeding bus, get scraped up off the road, tossed in a blender, served over ice with a twist of Dixie Peach. Try not moving to this one.
I don’t know much about Nat Kendrick and the Swans, other than the fact that they recorded for Henry Stone’s Florida-based Dade imprint, and that there is a distinct possibility that this is in fact an extra-contractual James Brown-related side. How does one do the dish rag???
Sam and Dave said they weren’t going to hurt nobody. They LIED!!!! This track is a killer.
Billy Lamont was an R&B/soul journeyman when he went into the studio in the mid-60s, with a freaky young cat by the name of James Marshall Hendrix and recorded the brutal ‘Sweet Thang’. Heavy stuff indeed, though not as heavy as Jimi would get a year or so down the pike.
Though Billy Preston would spend the 70s as a major recording star, he spent much of the previous decade playing the organ behind other performers like Little Richard and Ray Charles. He also got a couple of opportunities to record under his own name, for a variety of labels (including Derby, Vee Jay and Capitol) many of which are stellar. The finest of these – at least in my opinion – is ‘Let the Music Play’ in which Mr. Preston is assisted ably by a young Sylvester Stewart, soon to change his name to Sly Stone. Do yourself a favor and slap on the headphones for this one and dig the stereo panning with the screams in the chorus. Very groovy indeed!
Louisiana-based singer Bobby Powell was featured here not long ago with a solid cover of the Staple Singer’s ‘Why Am I Treated So Bad’. The tune I bring you in this mix is a rollicking duet with singer Jackie Johnson (about whom I know nothing) entitled ‘Done Got Over’.
While I was prowling around in the crates compiling this mix I happened upon one of the many Willie Mitchell LPs I have and grabbed this groovy little cover of ‘Respect’. Give it a listen and I think you’ll dig it.
Another band from the list of folks that worked with (but sadly did not record with) Jimi Hendrix before he hit it big is Philadelphia’s own Carl Holmes and the Commanders. Holmes recorded consistently through the 60s for Parkway, Atlantic and other labels, laying down R&B, soul and a couple of slices of slamming funk. The Commanders ‘I Want My Ya Ya’ is one of their earlier sides, from the days when they were playing up and down the East Coast, and serving (according to Animal House writer Chris Miller) as one of the models for Otis Day and the Knights in ‘Animal House’.
The David Rockingham Trio are a serious presence in the Funky16Corners Hammond crates. ‘Soulful Chant’ is by far my fave number by the band.
The Emperors – who hailed from the Harrisburg area but recorded in Philadelphia – laid down some very hot soul sides for Mala and Brunswick. In addition to their smoking version of Don Gardner’s ‘My Baby Likes To Boogaloo’, they also recorded the killer ‘Got To Find My Baby’.
Johnny Copeland is another one of the great rocking bluesmen. I happened upon his version of ‘Wake Up Little Susie’, which stomps all over the original, sounding like Johnny and Huey P Meaux had the Everlys tied up and locked in the trunk of a car. It is without doubt the wildest version you’ll ever hear of this particular song.
If you were ever tempted to doubt the soulful pedigree of the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you might want to take a second and investigate the discography of Mr Harvey Scales and his Seven Sounds, who, it must me said, kick ass. A fine example of this ass-kicking power is the mighty – and appropriately titled – ‘The Get Down’, during which Harvey and the boys do indeed (get down).
Mickey Murray is best known for his wailing version of ‘Shout Bamalama’, but the funkier ‘Hit Record’ manages to be soulful and of instructional value at the same time.
I know nothing about Lewis Clark, aside from the undeniable fact that ‘Dog (Ain’t a Man’s Best Friend)’ is high quality, even higher octane soul. Clark recored for the Brent label, which also released some excellent garage punk 45s.
If you didn’t hear Scatman Crothers wailing when I first posted ‘Golly Zonk! It’s Scatman’ a while back, then open your ears and dig, because in addition to his Coolsville Hall of Fame turn as the voice of Hong Kong Phooey, Scatman absolutely BURNS on this one, on the HBR label, home to much wailing garage punk.
I mentioned Don Gardner earlier (in relation to the essential ‘My Baby Likes To Boogaloo’). Go back a few years before that and dig his smoking, Ray Charles-esque take on Titus Turner’s ‘People Sure Act Funny’. Gardner’s frequent partner Dee Dee Ford is mentioned on the label, but I don’t hear her in the mix.
We head back down to New Orleans for a certified classic by the great Earl King. King recorded a wide variety of bluesy sounds under his own name, as well as writing several classic tunes and performing on other people’s records, including providing the voice and whistling (and composition) on Professor Longhair’s ‘Big Chief’. ‘Trick Bag’ brings us a lyrical taste of the New Orleans voodoo culture, along with a great vocal by King.
Things close out with another odd bit of soul, this time by Little Joe Curtis. Taken from a compilation on the exploito Alshire label (where it appeared alongside some psyche by the Animated Egg and a couple of easy listening cuts), ‘Your Miniskirt’ borrows liberally from the Fantastic Johnny C’s ‘Boogaloo Down Broadway’.
I hope you dig this edition of Funky16Corners Radio and if you can afford it, toss something into the tip cup as you pass by. I’ll be back next week with more soulful goodness.

Peace

Larry

Example

Click Here To Donate via Paypal

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg to check out my favorite mix from the Iron Leg Digital Trip Podcast Archive.

NOTE: Don’t forget to check out the Funky16Corners feature over at the Dust and Grooves blog.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 111 other followers