Archive for the ‘soul’ Category

Funky16Corners Christmas Flashback Pt1 – Clarence Carter / George Conedy

December 17, 2009

Greetings all.

The time has come for Funky16Corners to get back into the Christmas groove. We are doing so by re-upping Christmas posts from years past, soon to be followed by a new Christmas track next week. I’m slacking a little on new material since I suffered through a root canal this morning.

I hope you dig these tunes and I’ll see you all on Monday with some more holiday heat.

Peace

Larry

Originally Posted December 2006

Example

Clarence Carter

Example

Example

Listen – Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa ”

Listen – George Conedy – El Nino del Tambor”

Greetings all (and Ho Ho Ho).
It’s time for the second annual* Funky16Corners Christmas post.
As I’ve gone over a few different times, I’ve never been a big collector of (any) holiday themed funk and soul. I may pick up a piece here and there – when it turns up – but I don’t generally seek it out. This is the main reason it may take a decade or so before you see me post a Christmas edition of Funky16Corners Radio. I just don’t have the raw material at my disposal.
That is not to say that I would ever let the time of year go by unnoticed, and this time out I have a couple of excellent funky yule logs for ye, one you may have heard, and another that you almost certainly haven’t.
The former may very well be my all time favorite funk/soul Christmas record, by one of the truly great voices of 60’s and 70’s soul. The singer, Mr. Clarence Carter, the song, ‘Back Door Santa’.
First off, I suspect that someone, somewhere in the funky blog-o-sphere will be dropping this chestnut, and I don’t care, on account of I love this record, and you should too, and much like spinach and yams, more than one serving will only serve to improve your overall well being.
That said, Clarence rips it up here, whipping every last bit of funk they had hidden at Fame studios on you (as well as jingle bells and egg nog), with all the good Santa-related double (hardly) entendres money can buy. Get this on thy-Pod post haste, so that over the weekend, when some wet blanket tries to throw ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’ (or, God forbid that thing where the dogs bark out ‘Jingle Bells’) on at the Christmas gathering, you can parry (and thrust) with this big, jangling set of Christmas balls and really get the party started.
I mean, seriously…how can your ears suck up this groovy gravy, and your butt fail to respond– in the words of the great Lee Dorsey (without whom everything you do can’t be funky) – with the make-a-shake-a-make-a-hula, or however it is you likes to shake it (but don’t break it).
By the way, if some youngster starts tugging on your scarf when this starts playing, it’s because he heard this songs very essence sampled by none other than Run DMC (It’s Christmas in Hollis Queens! Etc etc).
On the flippity flop, I bring you the result of a happy accident (referring not to the recording of the record, but rather the circumstances by which it landed in my Crate du Hammonde).
The record in question popped up a while back on the sale list of a pal of mine, who’s taste in music I hold in very high regard (howdy Agent 45…).
So, on this list I see a record with the brief (but wholly sufficient description of “funky Hammond version”), directly adjacent to a very reasonable price, which was at the end of a line that began with a Spanish song title (which I didn’t bother to translate). So, I pay my money, some time elapses and the record in question pops through the mail slot at Funky16Corners headquarters. I whipped it on the turntable, and in a few short seconds (about as long as I suspect it will take you) it became apparent that the title was in fact ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ en Espanol.
I have to say that even as a tike, when they still showed the animated special of the same title, this was far from my favorite Christmas tune, certainly not the kind of thing I thought capable of funk-a-fi-zation. Little did I know that sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s an organist named George Conedy laid down an LP of Christmas tunes for the gospel subsidiary of the Kent label, which I am assuming was the source of the music on this very 45**.

All I have to say is that George took an overly solemn carol and turned it into a slow, funky jam that sounds like it dropped out of the long lost (so long lost as to never have existed..) Santa-sploitation classic “Superfly Santa the Hard Way” aka “Hell Up in the North Pole”, in which our hero, Saint Nicky, wearing a red (of course) velvet suit, and driving a red and white Caddy brings Christmas joy to all the poor kids (and a few of the better looking women) on his route.
I’ve gone a-Googling, and as far as I can tell Mr. Conedy has vanished into the ether.
Well, wherever you be I say Huzzah! And Merry Christmas to you George!

And the same to all of you readers.

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, go out and suck up some of that Christmas cheer. It’s good for the soul.
I may not post until the middle of next week (days off, visiting with the family and all that) but I promise you some excellent pre-New Years grooves.

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

**For some strange reason the flip side of the Conedy 45 is a recording of Billie Holiday singing ‘God Bless the Child’. I get the thematic connection, just not why thelong deceased BH ended up on the b-side of a George Conedy 45.

Funky16Corners Radio v.77 – Get Ready!

December 13, 2009

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Wayne Cochran gets uptight!

Funky16Corners Radio v.77 – Get Ready!

Playlist

Andre Williams – Do the Popcorn (Checker)
Freddie Scott and the Four Steps – Same Ole Beat (Marlin)
Isley Brothers – Get Into Somethin’ Pt1 (T-Neck)
Wayne Cochran – Get Ready (Chess)
Bobby Byrd – If You Don’t Work You Can’t Eat (King)
Aaron Chico Bailey & the Family Affair Band – The Point Pt1 (Kris)
Booker T & the MGs – It’s Your Thing (Stax)
Dixie Cups – Two Way Poc A Way (ABC/Paramount)
Enoch Light & the Light Brigade – Pick Up the Pieces (Project 3)
Barkays – Son of Shaft (Volt)
Bohannon – Fat Man (Dakar)
Wilson Pickett – International Playboy (Atlantic)
Dave Baby Cortez- Twang Taang (Sound Pak)
Donald Austin – Nanzee (Eastbound)
Jimmy Preacher Ellis – I Gotta See My Baby (Round)
Nite Liters – Afro Strut (RCA)

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

Greetings all.

Here we all are again, getting our thing together with a little of the soulful stuff so that we may fill our ears and massage our tired brains as we embark on another trying week. This week is even more of a challenge because the holiday season is in full gear, meaning that the roads and shopping centers are choked with mobs of people brimming with “holiday spirit”, i.e. on the verge of killing one another so that they can spend a lot of money they don’t have (especially this year).
Why don’t you do your friends a favor and send them a Funky16Corners mix for Christmas? They’re free, and delicious, and will help fill from 45 minutes to an hour of their lives with the wonderfulness of funk, soul and jazz.
It is in that spirit that I whip upon you yet another edition of the storied Funky16Corners Radio podcast – the 77th in the series – entitled ‘Get Ready!’.
What are you getting ready for? How about 45 minutes of grooving funk (almost exclusively from 45s) engineered to liven up your wassailing and or eggnog guzzling, up to, but hopefully not including destruction of the pagan tree in the middle of the room (or the seasonal symbol of your choice). You can turn up the volume, but just make sure no one dances into a flaming yule log.
Things get started with taste from the catalog of the always groovy Andre Williams. Williams made a bunch of outstanding 45s in the late 60s for Chess and Checker, and ‘Do the Popcorn’ is one of his finest. Look for the flip of this one, appearing in this space soon.
The next track – by Freddie Scott and the Four Steps – already made such an appearance, but I couldn’t help but toss it into the pot this time around.
I have to thank my man DJ Birdman for turning me on to the Isley Brothers’ ‘Getting Into Something’ the last time I was down in DC. He spun the long version of the track (which includes the extended break in Pt2) and I was like ‘I know that sounds like the Isleys but I don’t know that song.’ And he hepped me to the title.
Wayne Cochran, the man who’s bouffanted visage appears on the cover for this mix was one of the truly great white soul eccentrics. His version of the Temps ‘Get Ready’ appears on the flip of a funky take on Muddy Waters’ ‘Hootchie Kootchie Man’ (sic).
Bobby Byrd! That’s all I have to say on the matter.
Aaron Chico Bailey and the Family Affair Band laid down their extended funk treatise ‘The Point Pts 1&2’ for Los Angeles’s Kris label. Other than the fact that this is a very cool side, I can tell you nothing about them.
Booker T and the MGs were of course the preeminent instrumental band in Memphis during the 60s (and they had massive competition by the American Studios group and the Hi Rhythm Section), charting many of their own hits and backing countless others in the Stax/Volt axis. Their version of the Isley’s ‘It’s Your Thing’ features Mr Jones working it out on the clavinet.
I won’t bother trying to convince you that the Dixie Cups’ 1965 ‘Two Way Poc a Way’ is true funk, but if those drums don’t put a dent in your cerebellum, I don’t know what will.
Next up is a bit uf funky disco from the master of all things easy (and occasionally funky) Mr. Enoch Light. Light had a crack outfit of East Coast sessioners at his disposal at all times, and their take on the AWB’s hit ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ is dance floor approved. If you need more proof head back to Funky16Corners Radio v.62 and check out their excellent version of James Brown’s ‘Hot Pants’.
The Barkays made some great records both before and after the disastrous plane crash that took many of their members (as well as Otis Redding). Their reworking/tribute ‘Son of Shaft’ doesn’t stray too far from Isaac Hayes’ OG, but it is funky.
Hamilton Bohannon returns to the Funky16Corners Radio scene with ‘Fat Man’, which is one of the funkier numbers on his 1974 ‘Keep On Dancin’’ LP.
The next cut is a track that I only discovered was a Wilson Pickett OG after I had already written up the cover by New Orleans belter Lee Bates. Had I looked at the writing credits on the label, I would have discovered that the song had Philadelphia origins, but sometimes I miss the forest for the trees. That said, the Wicked one lays it down hard and heavy making all sorts of claims as to his soulful powers. This is a killer, and the lyrics are hilarious.
Dave Baby Cortez has made many appearances on Funky16Corners, from his early days as an R&B organist, through his soul sides and right on into the funk. The selection in today’s mix – ‘Twang Taang’ – falls into the last category. It’s more of a vocal number than a Hammond feature, but I dig it anyway.
Donald Austin’s funky guitar feature ‘Nanzee’ was the flip side of the better known ‘Crazy Legs’. He drops the tempo down a little bit, but makes up for it with an extra serving of funky.
Jimmie Preacher Ellis laid down some real heat when he whipped up the psychedelic funk of ‘I Gotta See My Baby’, which featured the brutal ‘Put Your Hoe to my Row’ on the flipside.
The final cut in this edition of Funky16Corners Radio is a fairly well known – and accessible – 45 from the mighty Nite Liters, ‘Afro Strut’. Why I waited until I had 76 mixes under my belt to include it here is a mystery.
I hope you dig it all, and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.

Peace

Larry

Example

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PPS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for some instro pop.

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Gene Taylor – The Hunch

December 10, 2009

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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

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

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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The Johnny Otis Show – Country Girl

December 8, 2009

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Shuggie Otis, Delmar Evans, Johnny Otis

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Listen/Download -The Johnny Otis Show – Country Girl

Greetings all.
I hope the middle of he week finds you well.
It finds me cold (what the hell?!?) but happy, since I hit the Allentown record show this past Sunday and grabbed some heat of the 45RPM variety. Bagged me some funk, Northern Soul and other good stuff, all of which will be appearing in this space, as is the custom here in the Funky16Corners organization.
I’m also hard at work on a couple of new mixes for the Funky16Corners Radio thang.
In related news, if you weren’t already hip, my interwebs radio show over at Viva Internet Radio has shifted in time (how’s that Einstein…) from Thursday’s at 9PM to Thursday’s at 5PM, so, instead of a snifter of brandy and a fine cigar you can get all funky and soulful while up inside those mashed potatoes and gravy (groovy?).
The tune I bring you today is a funky, crunchy, and greasy like a truckload of sizzling bacon. If’n you’re not already hip to the sounds of the might Johnny Otis (and his many compadres) may I suggest you read up on your read ups, since he was involved in some of the finest R&B, soul and funk to come out of the West Coast for the last half a century. On his own, with his son – the legendary Shuggie, of course – and working with folks like Preston Love, Johnny Otis really knew his shit (as the kids say).
Today’s selection is of a 1969 vintage, and like the equally awesome ‘Watts Breakaway’ (featured here three years back) it is a cooperative effort between Johnny, Shuggie and Delmar ‘Mighty Mouth ‘ Evans. ‘Country Girl’ is easily identifiable as part of the ‘Tramp continuum’, started by Mr. Lowell Fulsom, and carried on through Otis and Carla, Brian and Jools, the Mohawks and countless others.
The tune features vocals interplay between Johnny and Delmar (and booming guitar courtesy of Shuggie) in which they rhapsodize about the outstanding physical attributes of the titular woman (“great big ole healthy country girl”). As songs written in tribute to big butts, ‘Country Girl’ is the ne plus ultra (apologies to Sir Mix-A-Lot).
It’s easy to get lost inside a groove this heavy, but make sure to pay attention to the lyrics, especially the warning that ‘You can take foxes out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of foxes’.
Bing, bang, and of course, boom.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back to close out the week with something tasty.

Peace

Larry

Example

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for a Tim Hardin cover.

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Lucky Peterson – Our Future

December 3, 2009

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Lucky Peterson

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Listen/Download -Lucky Peterson – Our Future

Greetings all.
Friday is here, and surprisingly enough, so am I.
This has been a rough week, with all kinds of appointments, plumbing challenges and a day where I was convinced that I was on the verge of being felled by the flu (it turns out I was only exhausted).
The tune I bring you today is perhaps the coolest cut I have yet to come across by the funkiest five year old ever* (at least he was five when it was recorded), Lucky Peterson.
Back in the day, when I was chasing Hammond records like a greyhound chases rabbits, I encountered something that at the time looked like the holy grail of organ related wax, an album by a five year old kid, named (surprise) Lucky Peterson. It was the kind of record that would have grabbed without having heard a note, but fate stepped in and I was unable (and have still been unable) to find a copy of the full album.
However (and this probably worked out for the best) I was able to bag a couple of his 45s, which to be perfectly honest were not Hammond burners, but were in fact clearly the work of a five year old child (with the help of grown up musicians, natch...). A talented five year old, but a child nonetheless. Some of those songs, in particular ‘Good Old Candy’ (included in a recent edition of Funky16Corners Radio) have a certain kiddie funk vibe that made them rough but charming.
Anyway, I recently came across yet another Lucky Peterson 45, which – due to the fact that it was cheap, and included a song called ‘Funky Alphabet’ – I picked up post haste. ‘Funky Alphabet’ turned out to be (as so many songs labeled ‘funky’ are) not funky at all.
However, the A-side of that 45 featured what has to be the best thing little Lucky ever did, an inspired bit of funk called ‘Our Future’, which includes organ, wah-wah guitar and the singer’s soulful (and occasionally shrill) screams. It aspires to a Motown vibe, with a cool string section, and although a lot of what Lucky sings is indecipherable, it’s clear that his heart is in the right place.
Interestingly enough, Peterson was a discovery of blues giant Willie Dixon’s (Dixon gets songwriting credit on some of his singles) and recorded his LP for the Today label in 1969. His song ‘1-2-3-4’ a reworking of James Brown’s ‘Please Please Please’ was an R&B hit in 1970 and got Peterson a fair amount of national TV exposure.
Unlike so many child prodigies, Peterson stayed with music, eventually taking up guitar and going on to play with Little Milton before starting his own career on the blues scene which continues today.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

Example

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for a new mix of 60s pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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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

Example

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for a new mix of 60s pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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The Carter Brothers – Do the Flo Sho

November 29, 2009

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The Carter Brothers

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Listen/Download -The Carter Brothers – Do the Flo Sho

Greetings all.
I hope everyone had themselves a nice, long, filling Thanksgiving weekend.
Things hereabouts have been status quo, aside from number one son getting sick (he appears to have acquired what felled number two son last week), which this being November, may also be considered part of the aforementioned status quo.
In non blog-related news, if you get a chance, and you have a taste for alternative comedy and social commentary check out Marc Maron’s WTF podcast (available on iTunes). Maron has always been a favorite comedian of mine and his podcasts are both funny and intellectually stimulating.
Also, the fam and I caught ‘The Fantastic Mr. Fox’, which was, true to the title, fantastic, yet a little on the complicated side for small kids. My wife and I agreed that it seemed more like a regular Wes Anderson movie (a la Rushmore, Bottle Rocket etc) presented in animated form.
The tune I bring you today is a greasy bit of 1965 blues/R&B/soul crossover from the Carter Brothers.
Though they hailed from Alabama, the Carter Brothers (Al, Roman and Jerry) relocated to California which served as their base of operations through the 1960s. They recorded their first 45s for the Rexie label, moving on to Louisiana-based/nationally distributed Jewel records in 1965. They recorded a half-dozen 45s for the label between 1965 and 1967, with Roman Carter recording one solo 45 in 1968.
The a-side of their first Jewel 45, ‘Southern Country Boy’ was a Top 40 R&B hit in the summer of 1965. Today’s selection was the flipside of that very record.
‘Do the Flo Sho’ was a medium tempo dance craze number with a churning horn section, overlayed by a sinuous guitar line. The vocalist issues terpsichorean instructions via soul shout, which kind of go on for a while, but are worth wading through for Roman Carter’s admonition that while doing the mashed potato, “don’t slip in the gravy”, which any soul fan will tell you are indeed words to live by.
The Carter Brothers went on to record dozens of 45s for a variety of labels, and have maintained their popularity in Europe and Japan.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Wednesday with something funky.

Peace

Larry

Example

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for a new mix of 60s pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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Louie Ramirez – Do It Any Way You Wanna

November 24, 2009

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Louie Ramirez

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Listen/Download -Louie Ramirez – Do It Any Way You Wanna

Greetings all.
This will be the last post this week.
The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us, and the fam and I have some visiting, and then some chilling to do.
At least as an adult, Thanksgiving has always been the holiday that meant the most to me, especially since I got married and had kids. Aside from the gustatory orgy that the holiday is best known for, it really has become for me a time of serious reflection, in which despite whatever petty annoyance is getting its hooks into me, I try to turn inward and realize all that I have to be thankful for.
First and foremost come family and friends. A distant but important second is the fact that I have the blogs as a creative outlet. No matter how much real world action you have on your plate, it wouldn’t be tolerable without something to wrap your head (and ears) around, music being the food of love and all that (so sayeth Willie the Shake).
That said, I figured that if the blogging week were to be truncated, then it behooved me to pony up something extra heavy that you might carry with you into the festive holiday weekend.
Today’s selection first hit me back in the spring when my man Tony C included it in a mix he did for the Hook and Sling blog. The tune in question opened the mix and grabbed me from its opening notes. The song (though not the version) was oddly familiar, so I set to Google-ing and discovered that the number in question was a cover of the 1975 People’s Choice hit (their biggest) ‘Do It Any Way You Wanna’, a record I hadn’t heard since it was first on the radio.
The version in the Tony C mix was by latin jazz vibraphonist/percussionist Louie Ramirez, and came from his 1976 LP ‘A Different Shade of Black’.
I set out in search of my own copy, and for a while wasn’t even sure if it had come out on a 45. It was only recently, while searching for something else entirely that I happened upon a very nice copy of said 45 at an equally nice price, apprehending and appending it to the Funky16Corners crates.
Ramirez spent the 60s and early 70s as an important supporting player on the boogaloo and salsa scenes, working with Joe Loco, Charlie Palmieri, Joe Cuba and Tito Rodriguez. His version of ‘Do It Any Way You Wanna’ passes the original version and leaves it in the dust. The Ramirez take on the tune has a much more aggressive tempo and an absolutely dynamic arrangement. The opening shock of strings, giving way to the drum breakdown, then on to the familiar riff really grabs your ears in a way that the People’s Choice version never really achieves. It’s really mind blowing when you place the versions side by side, that the Louie Ramirez record, with its amazing blend of latin, funk and disco wasn’t a hit.
The record is a killer, and hopefully it’ll hold you all until Monday.
Have a great holiday and I’ll see you next week.

Peace

Larry

Example

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for an unusual soundtrack cut.

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Oscar Toney, Jr. – Everything I Own

November 22, 2009

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Mr. Oscar Toney, Jr.

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Listen/Download -Oscar Toney, Jr. – Everything I Own

Greetings all.
I hope the dawning a new week finds you well.
You’d never knowing by looking at (or reading) me, but I spent Friday night and most of Saturday in the hospital by virtue of another chapter in my ongoing kidney stone saga. Despite the fact that the stones I had were lasered down to a size that I was assured were “passable”, they decided to try to pass at exactly the same time (and in the same place), thereby beating the oddsmakers and sending me back to the operating room.
Fortunately it was a quick procedure and I was home in time for Saturday dinner, but honestly, this shit is getting old.
Feh…
That said, I decided to get the week started with something soulful and mellow.
Not too long ago when the wife and I were up in Massachusetts – she digging for yarn, me digging for records – I happened to pick up a 45 by one of my fave, underrated 60s soul singers, Mr. Oscar Toney Jr.
One of the very first soul 45s I ever picked up (and fell in love with) was Oscar Toney Jr.’s ‘Ain’t That True Love’. A classic southern soul burner by any standard, ‘Ain’t That True Love’ is pure Muscle Shoals goodness with a blazing vocal by Mr. Toney.
Toney recorded a number of 45s (and an LP) for Bell between 1967 and 1970, before moving on to the Capricorn label for the next two years.
By 1973 Toney’s career had run it’s course in the US. However, in the UK, John Abbey, founder of ‘Blues and Soul’ magazine and the man responsible for placing a number of US soul and funk sides with the Mojo label founded Contempo Records. Over the next few years Abbey would work with acts like Sam and Dave, JJ Barnes, Tamiko Jones and Oscar Toney Jr.
Toney’s sole Atco 45 (coming right after his association with Capricorn) was a Contempo production, a cover of the 1972 Bread hit ‘Everything I Own’.
The tune is a great showcase for Toney’s wonderful voice and he manages to tear the song from its original soft rock setting and recast it as a deep soul ballad.
Toney eventually recorded a number of singles and an album for Contempo before leaving secular music and returning to his gospel roots in the 80s. He returned to the soul scene once again with a comeback album in 2000.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back later in the week.

Peace

Larry

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Tomorrow’s Children – Sister Big Stuff

November 19, 2009

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Ken Lazarus

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Pluto Shervington

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Listen/Download -Tomorrow’s Children – Sister Big Stuff

Greetings all.

I hope everyone – those with kids and without – pulled down the ones and zeros and gave this week’s Funky16Corners Radio podcast a listen.
The tune I bring you today is a recent find (though a longtime fave).
If you follow the Funky16Corners blog you’ll already be aware that I am a fan of Jamaican music. While I am by no means an expert, I dig me some ska and rock steady, reggae and dub and I get especially jazzed when the sounds of the island intersect with American funk and soul.
Today’s selection is just such a stylistic blend.
If you haven’t checked out either of the Trojan ‘Funky Kingston’ comps, do yourself a favor and track them down (though both volumes appear to be out of print). They featured a grip of heavy Jamaican funk, mostly covers of US and UK bands like the Meters, Kool and the Gang and Cymande, but with the occasional storming original like Zap Pow’s ‘Soul Revival’. The OG 45s are hard to come by (I’ve only ever found one other that appeared on these comps) but I grab them when I can.
The tune I bring you today is not only a fine example of island funk, but also another entry in the ‘Big Stuff’ continuum, in which Jean Knight’s 1971 ‘Mr. Big Stuff’ was covered, versioned, semi-covered, borrowed from and paid tribute to by a variety of artists. Head on over to the Stepfather of Soul for a survey thereof, or check out a few that have appeared previously in this space.
I have to start by warning you that my copy of Tomorrow’s Children’s ‘Sister Big Stuff’ suffers from what sounds like needle burn* for the first minute or so, adding an unwanted layer of static to the proceedings. It’s not impossible to listen to, but it does subtract from the overall experience a little. My prescription would be to play it loud, outside of a ‘headphones’ setting to minimize the discomfort while maximizing the groove.
That said, the record, featuring vocals by reggae vets Pluto Shervington and Ken Lazarus is a kicker, never straying too far (despite flipping the sexual POV from the original) from its roots. It would appear that there may have been an entire LP by Tomorrow’s Children, but I can’t say how much of it was as funky as ‘Sister Big Stuff’.
I hope you dig the song, and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

*I don’t see the storied “cue burn” going on for more than a few seconds. I suspect a jukebox somewhere is guilty of fouling the merchandise….

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