Archive for the ‘Richard Evans’ Category

Funky16Corners Radio v.79 – Positive Vibrations

January 17, 2010

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Funky16Corners Radio v.79 – Positive Vibrations!

Playlist

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


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

Greetings all.

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

Peace

Larry

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

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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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PS Head over to Iron Leg for some Christmas pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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Shades of Brown – Garbage Man

September 27, 2009

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The Shades of Brown

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Listen/Download – Shades of Brown – Garbage Man

Greetings all.
I sit here in the rain (not actually ‘in’ the rain, but symbolically, i.e. imprisoned in the house where everyone is going stir crazy), tired as hell but sure of the fact that if I were able to return to be, sleep would be fitful and unrewarding and would do nothing except waste the day.
What better time to open up the computer-thingy and whip out some blog.
The tune I bring you today is something I picked up a while back while trolling the interwebs for vinyl.
I had never heard the song, but once I saw the Richard Evans credit on the label (and if you fall by the Funky16Corners blog on the reg you know how I feel about Mr. Evans) I had to pick it up.
When I had a chance to give it a listen I was pleasantly surprised on a couple of counts.
First off, the song in question ‘Garbage Man’ is a slice of down and dirty funk.
Second of all, ‘Garbage Man’ is a slice of down and dirty funk, which may seem like a wholly redundant statement (which it is, really) until you place it within the oeuvre of Mr. Evans where it is nothing less than an anomaly. Richard Evans is known for a lot of things, but arranging relatively lo-fi funk tracks is not one of them.
Another interesting point is that if you give a listen to the other tracks on the Shades of Brown LP on Cadet, ‘Garbage Man’ is unusual in that context as well.
Formed in Chicago in the late 60s as the Mentors, the group – Bill Brown, Charles Scott, Earle Roberts and Christopher Allen – recorded a number of unreleased tracks for ABC before moving on to Cadet and changing their name to the Shades of Brown.
The Shades of Brown sound was like a slightly less experimental version of the Norman Whitfield-era Temptations with an emphasis on groove and harmony.
‘Garbage Man’, the final track on the 1970 LP ‘S.O.B’ is by far the roughest sounding track, with raw, funky guitar, hard drums and prominent bass. The arrangement is credited to Evans, and as I said before it is a stark departure from the stuff he’s known for, i.e. the Soulful Strings and Dorothy Ashby. Gone are the lush textures and subtly applied sonic touches, all replaced with hard-hitting, downtown funk.
Interestingly enough, the Shades of Brown were something of a group project for the Cadet records staff, with arranging credits going to Evans, Charles Stepney and two others. 1970’s ‘Garbage Man’ was the last of three Shades of Brown 45s released on Cadet (all of their 45 tracks appear on the LP as well). They eventually parted with the label and disbanded after one more 45 on the On Top label.
I hope you dig the tune and I’ll be back in the middle of the week.

Peace

Larry

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NOTE: The grand opening of the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

Over the last year I’ve had a few people ask where they might acquire a t-shirt with the Funky16Corners logo (above). The one I have is home-made, but my wife told me about Cafe Press, where you can upload your artwork and people can purchase a variety of items on demand. That way I don’t have to take the chance I’ll end up with an empty bank account and a garage full of unsold shirts (or various and sundry swag). If you click on the F16 logo link in the sidebar, you’ll end up at the Funky16Corners store at Cafe Press where you can order shirts, hats, tote bags, buttons and even a beer mug for your next soul-related stein hoist. The profit margin is so slim on some of the items as to be non-existent, but I thought this might be a good way to get the word out about the blog. – Larry

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some New Jersey garage pop

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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Victor Johnson – When You Say You’re Mine

July 14, 2009

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The Master: Richard Evans

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Listen -Victor Johnson – When You Say You’re Mine – MP3″

Greetings all.

I have to start this post off by sending out thanks to my brothers over at Soulstrut, who were a big help in digging up some facts about this record.
Some time back I was casting my line onto the interwebs in search of vinyl, and happened up on ‘When You Say You’re Mine’ by Victor Johnson. Though I’d never heard of Johnson, the single bore a very interesting credit, i.e. “Strings and Horns arranged by Richard Evans”.
Regular visitors to the Funky16Corners blog will already be aware that Evans is one of my musical heroes. Starting out his career as a bassist, Evans went on to arrange and produce a wide variety of simply amazing records for the Cadet label, among them Dorothy Ashby, Odell Brown and the Organizers, Terry Callier and last but certainly not least, the mighty Soulful Strings. Evans’ work at Cadet is visionary, creating a sonic universe at once soulful, sophisticated and (very) forward looking.
When I found the Johnson 45, I was surprised because I had no idea that Evans had done any work for independent labels. A BMI search revealed yet another intriguing fact, that being that the song was written by Ken Chaney (one of the pianists to have played with the Young-Holt Trio) and Monica Chaney (his wife?). This, and the Evans credit confirmed for me that this was very likely a Chicago record.
An inquiry over at Soulstrut brought me some more information. The record appears to date from 1972/73, and Evans did in fact craft some other indie label 45s for the likes of the Sounds of Black, Joyce Williams and T.L. Barrett.
The record itself is very cool in a jazzy, sophisticated soul vibe, with Johnson’s vocal – reminiscent of Billy Eckstine or Arthur Prysock* – flowing over the arrangement. The tune itself has a wonderful hook in the chorus. The arrangement is – for Evans anyway – fairly straight ahead (no kalimba or fuzz guitar), with understated horns and waves of strings.
Interestingly enough, the flipside (actually the A-side) the bluesy ‘After Dark in the Ghetto’ was apparently a local hit in Chicago.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Friday with a couple of interesting cover versions.

Peace

Larry

*Thanks Pickwick!

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook


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