Archive for the ‘Soul Jazz’ 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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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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Funky16Corners Brings You a Taste of Brazil!

January 3, 2010

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Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66

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Luiz Eca of Tamba 4

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Bola Sete with the OG Sleeve Face??

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Listen/Download -Brasil 66 – Chelsea Morning

Listen/Download -Tamba 4 – We and the Sea

Listen/Download -Bola Sete – Suite Judy Blue Eyes

Greetings all.

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

Peace

Larry

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

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The Royalettes – River of Tears

December 6, 2009

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The Royalettes

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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

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Ray Charles – Sticks and Stones

December 1, 2009

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Ray Charles

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Listen/Download -Ray Charles – Sticks and Stones

Greetings all.
The week is well underway, and I am currently immersed in an object lesson on how no schedule ever goes un-F’ed-with, ever.
Not that I had a lot on my plate anyway (nothing hard and fast) but I sit here with not one but two sick children, and I have just been informed by the plumber that the existing shower apparatus needs to be replaced (not a small job).
I had a nice hot cup of coffee, and peeled a couple of delicious clementines, but not even those gustatory wonders have proven powerful enough to set things right.
It is in that spirit that I bring you not the song I was planning on posting today, but rather something I was listening to on the MP3 delivery device last night as I was struggling to get back to sleep (sick child related). The song in question is something I digimatized last year, and promptly forgot about. I tend to record vinyl in lots (as they are amassed in the wholly disorganized “new arrivals” pile) and then transfer them onto the iPod, organized in playlists. Once they’re in place, I listen to them as much as possible to “explore” the music, deciding what I want to post and when.
So, last night I’m prowling around inside some older playlists to see if there was anything I had neglected, and lo and behold Brother Ray pops his head up, admonishes me for passing him over and giving me a (figurative, and soulful) smack upside the head.
The odd thing is – and this has happened beforeRay Charles is a musician that I pretty much worship, and the likelihood is that I failed to post ‘Sticks and Stones’ sooner, not out of neglect but because I was waiting for a slot to open that would do a record like this justice. I over-thought the matter, and forgot all about it (until last night).
It bears mentioning that the first time I heard ‘Sticks and Stones’, it was not as performed by Ray Charles, but rather as a cover by the great mod revivalists the Secret Service sometime around 1985/86, not doubt on the stage of the legendary Dive in New York City.
Unlike some of their more Jam-influenced brethren, the Secret Service drew heavily from the sounds of soul and R&B as previously recycled by the first wave British Invasion acts. It was via their playlists that I first heard Rodge Martin’s ‘Lovin’ Machine’ (which they picked up from an Easybeats video), and today’s selection, which they no doubt heard via the 1964 cover by the Zombies.
‘Sticks and Stones’, written by Titus Turner and Henry Glover (though only Turner is credited on this 45) is a classic, and a stellar example of how Ray Charles – seldom thought of as an out and out soul singer -  was one of the (maybe THE) most important transitional/formative figures bridging R&B and soul. Released in 1960, his version of ‘Sticks and Stones’ is a powerhouse, with a rolling quasi-latin beat (see ‘What’d I Say’) and an electric piano solo that sounds like so much lightning shooting from the master’s fingers.
It’s a brilliant performance, and proof once again that any self respecting fan of music (any genre) needs to get some Ray Charles in their life (and ears).
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Friday with some funk.

Peace

Larry

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Shorty feat. Georgie Fame – Somebody Stole My Thunder

November 12, 2009

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Clive gets his suave on….

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Listen/Download -Shorty feat. Georgie Fame – Somebody Stole My Thunder

Greetings all.
I hope the end of the week finds you well.
I for one couldn’t be happier that the work week is over, so that I might once again hang with the fam in a relaxed setting. There’s nothing worse than coming directly off a vacation and jumping right back into work/school/routine. It almost makes you think twice about vacationing in the first place (almost…).
Of course, had I not gone away last weekend I wouldn’t have found the LP from which today’s selection originates (as well as a grip of other future Funky16Corners and Iron Leg tunes).
The song in question is the ‘live’ version of the sought after ‘Somebody Stole My Thunder’ by the mighty Georgie Fame.
Surely some of you are familiar with the former Mr Clive Powell, especially those of you with roots in the world of Mod where Mr Fame is nothing less than the equivalent of a smooth, Hammond wrangling holy man.
Fame was, from the early 60s -  where he mixed equal parts Fats Domino and Mose Allison with the sounds of the beat era -  a singular talent, transcending his birth in Larry Parnes’ teen idol factory to become an icon of swinging cool.
He had a couple of hits in the US (’Yeh Yeh’ in 1965 and ‘Getaway’ in 1966) but was a major star in the UK through the 60s and early 70s. The LP ‘Shorty: featuring Georgie Fame’, which was released in 1970 seems in hindsight to have been an effort to apply an edge, or at least a festival/ballroom era veneer to Fame’s career, remaking him from a ‘personality’ and presenting him as part of a band (thus Shorty…). The project was short-lived (though the band did tour the US, appearing at the Fillmore West on a bill with Lee Michaels and Rod Stewart), and a close listen to the album reveals that ‘Shorty’ were less of a distinct band identity, pretty much sounding like Georgie Fame with a backing group.
Bassist Brian Odgers had played in Sweet Thursday, guitarist Colin Green had played on previous Fame LPs, drummer Harvey Burns played with Cat Stevens and Al Stewart and saxophonist Alan Skidmore was a veteran of the London R&B scene, having played with both Alexis Korner and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.
The ‘Shorty’ album includes a couple of tunes from the previous year’s ‘Seventh Son’ LP as well as a reworking of the chestnut ‘Parchman Farm’.
‘Somebody Stole My Thunder’ is a funky, dancefloor mover with a sharp guitar line, churning Hammond and sax, and of course a stylish vocal by Georgie. It’s a little more diffuse than the studio version (popular on dancefloors the world over) but it still packs a wallop.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back on Monday with something groovy.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some groovy sunshine pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

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

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

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

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

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
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

Funky16Corners Fifth Anniversary Celebration!!

November 1, 2009

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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


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