Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Teddy Pendergrass 1950 – 2010

January 14, 2010

Greetings all.
What a shitty way to start the day. I get up, I’m sitting at the breakfast table getting my sons ready for school, log onto the interwebs, and the first thing I see is that the mighty Teddy Pendergrass, one of the truly great soul voices of the 1970s has passed away at the age of 59.
Pendergrass had a memorable solo career, but my all-time fave record featuring his voice is also one of my all-time fave records period, that being Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes original version of ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’.
I posted this record back in the summer of 2007, and I’m reposting it this morning in the memory of a brilliant singer.
Peace
Larry

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Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes

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Listen – Don’t Leave Me This Way MP3″

Greetings all.
.

I hope the middle of the week finds you well.
I wasn’t originally going to do a Wednesday post this week, but last night, as I was getting in a little headphone work before turning in (as I often do), I was flipping through my list of stockpiled blog tracks and when today’s selection came on I cranked the volume, closed my eyes and let the music carry me away.
The first time I heard Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes perform ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ I was just about pole axed.
I – like most people – always associated the song with the version (which I mistakenly assumed to be the original) by Thelma Houston. Her explosive take on ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ was a Number One hit in 1977, and is justly considered one of the truly great moments of the disco era (not to mention a fantastic record by any standards).
Then, sometime shortly after I moved in with my then fiancée (now wife), some nine years ago, we were listening to Felix Hernandez’ Rhythm Revue radio show*, and heard that familiar song, delivered by an unfamiliar (male) voice. Of course I hung over the radio until Felix announced the track, and was shocked to discover that ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ was in fact a cover of a recording by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and the male voice was none other than the great Theodore ‘Teddy’ Pendergrass.
I was shocked.
How did I not know this?
I certainly knew who Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes were, but this was one of those moments when it became immediately clear that I had been asleep at the wheel, not only on this particular record, but on mid-70’s soul in general, more specifically disco.
Now, I’ve said this before, but I was always – if not a closet disco fan – one of those soul snobs who was willing to acknowledge that there were some good records within the world of disco, but insisted on turning a cold shoulder to the genre as a whole. I felt bold in professing my love for a record like ‘Get Down Tonight’ by KC & The Sunshine Band, but insisted that it was because the record was atypical, and thus an exception to the (my) rule ( a more succinct explanation here).
Anyway, suffice to say that in the years since then, for a number of reasons, including maturing tastes, a greater understanding of DJ culture and the world of disco (thanks largely to Peter Shapiro’s ‘Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco’ and Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton’s ‘’Last Night a DJ Saved My Life’), and of course exposure to a wider variety of music, my musical world view was reshaped considerably.
That said, that very day I ran out and grabbed a budget ‘Best of’ by HM&theBN’s and listened to it over, and over, and over again.
No matter how you slice it, ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ is an absolutely monumental record. It was a perfect combination of vocalists, composers, producers and musicians, all at the peak of their powers, riding the crest of a wave that had yet to fully break (that being disco).
The Blue Notes had been together in one form or another since the mid-50s. By the early 60’s he group had split in two, becoming Bernard Williams and the Original Blue Notes , who recorded the brilliant ‘It’s Needless to Say’ for Harthon, and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (featuring lead singer John Atkins) who recorded the equally brilliant ‘Get Out’ for Landa (which was included on the Funky16Corners Radio Philly Soul Mix). By the end of the 60’s Atkins was out, and was replaced by Blue Notes drummer Teddy Pendergrass. The group signed with Philly International in 1972, and soon hit with their first really big record ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ which topped the R&B charts and entered the Pop top 5.
The following year they hit again with ‘The Love I Lost’ and then again in early 1975 with ‘Bad Luck’.
Later that year they released the LP “Wake Up Everybody’ and had another R&B Number One with the title track, a gem of socially conscious soul. Oddly enough, the finest track on that album ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ was never released as a single in the US, though it was a Top 5 hit on the disco charts and a Top 20 hit in the UK. It wasn’t until two years later that Thelma Houston recorded her version for Motown, and the rest as they say is history.
It’s hard to listen to the Blue Notes original without wondering what the hell Philadephia International was thinking when they didn’t release it as a single. Though disco had not yet really gained steam as a commercial powerhouse, it would be foolish to pigeonhole ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ as just a “disco” record. This is not to use disco as a pejorative, but is rather a reflection on how this record transcends genre. Pendergrass’s vocal is absolutely flawless and the arrangement is a masterpiece of dynamics.
Opening – and running with – the Rhodes (as does the Houston version) , and the congas, the tune builds very gradually before literally exploding in the chorus, and then building again and again until the listener is carried away on a wave of emotion. It’s almost impossible to imagine anyone hearing ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ (especially the chorus which is absolute perfection) and not jumping up to dance. Had this record come out a few years later, when disco was at its height it would have been HUGE.
‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ is a great example of a great dance record that works on so many different levels. Clocking in at just over six minutes, it was long enough to build a fever on the dance floor, without resorting to any fluff or filler. When the record seems like it has reached its climax (right around the 5 minute mark), Pendergrass and the band take things back a notch. He whips a little mellow scatting on the room, backed by a very percussive electric piano and the drums, but then seemingly out of nowhere the rhythm guitar powers its way to the fore, taking over for just a few seconds and it’s a thing of beauty. I’m not sure who’s playing guitar here (Bobby Eli or Norman Harris most likely) but it’s amazing.
It’s interesting to contrast the Blue Notes version with Thelma Houston’s hit. While there’s no denying that Houston’s Motown-powered recording is a killer, especially her amazing vocal, the Blue Notes version manages to be incredibly exciting and a masterpiece of restraint at the same time. Where Houston’s version is marked by sharp trebly peaks, the Blue Notes recording has a richness about it. With all of its heightened moments of bliss it retains a wholly organic sound. The arrangements by Norman Harris, Ronnie Baker and Bobby Martin, and the production by Gamble/Huff is typically on point. The Philadelphia International crew (with the MFSB house band) created a huge catalog of incredible music, and ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ is one of their finest moments. It was also one of the last big moments for the group with Pendergrass, who embarked on a very successful solo career the next year.
Following his departure, the Blue Notes left Philadelphia International for ABC, and bounced from label to label through the mid-80’s. Despite several personnel changes, Melvin continued touring with the Blue Notes until his death in 1997.
I hope you dig this record as much as I do.
Peace
Larry

*The Rhythm Revue, which started out on listener-supported WBGO moved on for a time to commercial radio and lives on today in a series of popular dance nights hosted by Hernandez.

Shirley Bassey – Light My Fire

August 23, 2009

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Miss Shirley Bassey

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Listen/Download – Shirley Bassey – Light My Fire – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope the new week finds you all well.
By the time you read this I ought to be back on my feet after a few unpleasant days in the hospital (thanks to a stubborn infection and the ensuing fever).
The tune I bring you today was planned for the end of last week, but the hospital firewall prevented me from accessing my server, or the WordPress switchboard, so it was not to be.
The last time I was down in DC (with the family) I managed to get in some digging at Som Records. One of the records I pulled out of the bins was one that I had been seeking for a long time, mainly for the version of ‘Spinning Wheel’ (ofen funky in unfunky hands).
Anyway….I walked up to the counter and my man Patrick saw the Shirley Bassey LP and noted “There’s a great version of ‘Light My Fire’ on there.”
OK, I thought. Two good tracks on one LP, I’ll take it.
I had no idea.
The version of ‘Spinning Wheel’ is funky, but since my man DJ Prestige covered it a while back over at Fleamarket Funk, I figured I’d write up ‘Light My Fire’.
When I got home and dropped the needle on the tune in question, my immediate response was:

HOLY CRAP!?!?

I mean, seriously…my fave version of LMF has always been the one by Rhetta Hughes on Tetragrammaton. It’s a little masterpiece of dynamics, sex and grooves.
As soon as I heard Shirley Bassey’s version, Rhetta moved down one spot.
Bassey’s version starts out with a slinky guitar line, then drums and bass, and then, like producer Johnny Harris was trying to know people out of their seats, the whole fucking orchestra drops in at double volume and you’re all like “Wha???”
Shirley comes in with a typical, stylish vocal, and things keep moving along nicely.
Then the band comes back in for an instrumental interlude, with icy washes of strings, pounding drums. Then Shirley comes back in for the big finish (almost) with Harris and his band taking it out BIG.
I’ve heard that the version on the ‘Johnny Harris Movement’ LP (sought after by collectors of beats and such, since it was sampled) is pretty much the same track, without the vocals.
Either way, wait until dark, snuggle up with your significant other and let this one rip.
I am not responsible if your couch gets broken.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for another iconic Woodstock performance.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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Attack of the Evil Kidney 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

July 18, 2009

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Greetings all!
Guess here I’m writing this?
In the goddamn, motherf&%$#! hospital, that’s where.
As I mentioned last week I had been in for a “minor” (heh heh…) procedure related to my ongoing kidney issues. Well, I get out of the hospital, and over the course of the next week I start feeling not so good, I call my doctor, describe the symptoms and the next thing you know, bob’s yer uncle and I’m back in a hospital bed.
The catch this time is that I have been nephrostomy-fied, which means I have a tube leading from my kidney (I only have the one), out my back and into a lovely rubber bag. It will remain thus for the next few days until they go back in, put back in ANOTHER stent (look it up) and set me free once again like a rogue bear being helicoptered into the wild.
I have had just about enough of this shit, but there’s not much I can do about it.
The one little ray of sunshine is that I just discovered quite accidentally that the hospital has a wi-fi connection, so I am able to alleviate the positively soul numbing boredom of this place by communicating with you all via the interwebs.
I’ll be here until at least Tuesday, so I am going to attempt to get my Monday posts together, and will be monitoring the blog.
Wish me well.
Peace
Larry

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

May 31, 2009

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

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

Greetings all.

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

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Click Here To Donate via Paypal

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

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

Peace

Larry

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

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PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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Lyman Woodard RIP

March 1, 2009

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Lyman Woodard

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Listen – Dennis Coffey and the Lyman Woodard Trio – It’s Your Thing – MP3″

Greetings all.

This will be a quick one since I just got home after being away for the weekend and I still haven’t gotten my head screwed back on completely.
Over the weekend I heard that organist Lyman Woodard had passed away at the age of 66.
Woodard, who is best known to the crate digger set as the man whose trio backed Detroit guitar god Dennis Coffey (the group that recorded today’s selection), and for his Strata LP “Saturday Night Special”.
Those of you that stop by here on the reg know that I love me some Hammond, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that my first exposure to Woodard’s playing was via his work with Dennis Coffey. The ‘Hair and Thangs’ LP on Maverick is tuff stuff (I’ve only ever had the reissue), but to really get to the heart of the matter you have to hear their cover of the Isleys’ ‘It’s Your Thing’. Woodard’s muscular, driving Hammond style provided the perfect counterpoint to Coffey’s overdriven fuzz guitar.
It is an odd bit of coincidence that I pulled this 45 out of the crates just last week for inclusion in an upcoming mix. Sadly Mr Woodard’s passing demands that it be brought to the forefront, and another track take its place.
Woodard’s classic early work was being reissued, and he had some archival live work and new recordings coming out as well.
He will be missed.

Peace

Larry

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Remember, Funky16Corners and DJ Prestige will be hitting the road at the end of the week, appearing in Washington DC Friday 3/6 at Moneytown (at Dahlak) and in Richmond, VA on Saturday 3/7 at Mercy (at Cous Cous)> If you’re in the area and feel like getting your groove on fall by and say hello!

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a new edition of the Iron Leg Digital Trip Podcast…

PSS Check out Paperback Rider which has finally been updated.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners Is Sick!

December 22, 2008

Greetings all.

It pains me (literally and figuratively) that I am dictating this post from a hospital bed, one kidney ailing, the other having handed in its resignation. 

I’ll probably be out of here before Christmas, but I doubt I will be posting anything new this week on any blog. 

Enjoy your holidays, spend some time mining the archives, and with any luck, I will see you all next week.

Peace
Larry

PS: Ray – thanks for the card!

Scatman Crothers – Golly Zonk! (It’s Scatman)

December 18, 2008

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Golly Zonk! (It’s Scatman)

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Listen – Scatman Crothers – Golly Zonk! (It’s Scatman)- MP3″

Greetings all.

I wasn’t originally planning on posting something to end the week, but I was suddenly overcome with the need to offer up something thunderous and slightly ragged in an attempt to offset the black cloud that’s been following me around.
The little atom bomb I’m about to whip on you comes from an unlikely source (the garbage man from ‘Chico & the Man’, caretaker from ‘The Shining’ and last but not least the voice of Hong Kong Phooey), Mr. Scatman Crothers.
Back in 1966 the Scatman (originally a musical performer, thus the ‘Scatman’ nickname) whipped out a 45 for the legendary and legendarily diverse HBR label (also home to the Unrelated Segments, Guilloteens, and for a brief time the 13th Floor Elevators), and despite what you might have thought, it is a boneshaking, hip-swivelling, proto-headbanging slice of hardcore R&B cum soul that seems as if it were recorded during a crank/Viagra bender. I may be going out on a limbe here, but I’d be willing to say that ‘Golly Zonk! (It’s Scatman)’ reaches levels of intensity not unlike tunes like ‘Shimmy’ by Toussaint McCall. I’d love to know who it is wailing away on the organ.

If you don’t believe me, pull down the ones and zeros and prepare for cerebral demolition. This is the kind of record you put on at the exact moment you realize that your party has gotten out of hand, and that you couldn’t actually give a shit.
Solid stuff.

I’ll see you all on Monday with some Christmas action.

Peace

Larry

PS I’m pretty sure that ‘Golly Zonk!’ was the B-side here, as the flip was a tune Scatman did for a 1966 animated musical version of ‘Alice In Wonderland’, in which the Cheshire Cat was played by Sammy Davis Jr. (and NO, I’m not making that up)

PSS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for some UK instro heat

PSS Check out Paperback Rider as well.

Miriam Makeba RIP

November 11, 2008

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Miriam Makeba – “Mama Africa”

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Listen – Miriam Makeba – Pata Pata – MP3″

Greetings all.

I wasn’t expecting to do a midweek post*, but I heard the news of yet another important passing (no less that the ninth reported here in the last few months), and could not let it go by without taking note.
The group of musical émigrés that came to the US from South Africa in the 1960s, including Hugh Masekela, Letta Mbulu, Caiphus Semanya, and Jonas Gwangwa has always held a fascination for me. They all made some mark on the musical scene of the 60s, some to great financial success (Masekela’s 1968 hit recording of the Philemon Hou song ‘Grazing In the Grass’). One of the most prominent members of that group, Miriam Makeba died this week at the age of 76.
Makeba, who was married for a time to Masekela** (they were both aided with their move to the US by their friend Harry Belafonte), and became known as ‘Mama Africa’ , had a long career that began before she came to the US, and continued for decades afterward. She was an outspoken opponent of apartheid, and campaigned
Her biggest hit, 1967s ‘Pata Pata’ (covered countless times***) is also a personal favorite of mine. It is a singularly joyful record with an infectious rhythm and a lyric, which – although written (I think) in Makeba’s native Xhosa – draws the listener in and compels you to sing along (or at least try).
While I was tearing through my record boxes tonight trying to find this single – an infuriating task since I’d had it in my hands, and my dj box several times in the last few months – I was shocked to notice for the first time that the tune was co-written by none other than the great Jerry Ragavoy!
That said, pull down the ones and zeros and let the spirit of the music take you over, and remember the great Miriam Makeba.

Check out this great clip of Makeba performing ‘Pata Pata’ on Brazilian TV, with none other than Sivuca on guitar!

Peace

Larry

*I have a joint Funky16Corners/Iron Leg post ready to go, but I’ll hold it until Thursday

**After divorcing Masekela, she later married Stokely Carmichael (aka Kwame Ture)

***By Osibisa, Senor Soul, Tito Puente, Afro Blues Quintet +1 and Ray Bryant among others


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PSS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg

PSSS Check out Paperback Rider as well.

Oh Hell YES WE DID!!!

November 5, 2008

Example

You Can Call Him Mister President!!!

Listen – We Got a Brand New Funky President!!!! – - MP3″

NBC Calls it for Obama!!!!!

Damn!

I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes, reeling with a mixture of delight and disbelief.

It’s a new day.

I’ll post the anniversary mix in the morning.

I need to SAVOR this!

TIME HAS COME TODAY!!

Head on over to the Devil’s Music for the full version of the Chambers Brothers classic that says it all.

Rudy Ray Moore (aka Dolemite) RIP

October 21, 2008

Example

RUDY RAY MOORE
1927 – 2008

Greetings all.
I come to you today with the sad news that Rudy Ray Moore, better known far and wide as Dolemite has slipped the surly bonds of earth and passed on to a special, profane section of heaven, dedicated to providing eternal rest for the truly outrageous.
Moore wore a lot of very funky hats (literal and figurative) during his five decade long career, working as an R&B singer, pioneering stand-up comic, actor and all around provocateur.
He is best known for creating the fast-talking pimp Dolemite and portraying him in the films ‘Dolemite’ and ‘The Human Tornado’, as well as including the character on some of his comedy albums.
In remembrance of the great one I’m reposting the special guest mix I did for Jazz Syndicate Radio back in January.
There are several sound bites from Dolemite films, and the mix closes out with what I consider to the RRM’s finest musical effort, ‘Put Your Weight On It’, on which he is accompanied by the Fillmore Street Soul Rebellion.
I hope you dig it, and that you raise a glass in memory of one of the baddest motherfuckers ever to walk the earth.
See you on Friday.
Peace
Larry

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

Funky16Corners Meets Dolemite!
Special Mix for Jazz Syndicate Radio

Bill Blacks Combo – Shoo Be Doo Be Doo Be Do Dah Day (Hi)
Mighty Hannibal – Jerkin’ the Dog (Shurfine)
Kool & the Gang – The Gang’s Back Again (Dee Lite)
Rufus Thomas – Sister’s Got a Boyfriend (Stax)
Johnny Goode – Payback (Solid Hit)
Bill Cosby – Road Runner (WB)
Mr C & Funk Junction – Hot Butter’n’All (Hurdy Gurdy)
Della Reese – Compared to What (Avco)
Toby King – Mr Tuff Stuff (Federal)
Marva Whitney – It’s My Thing (King)
Triplett Twins – Get It (Thomas)
Joe Haywood – Sing Me A Cornbread Song (Decca)
Willie Mitchell – Pearl Time (Hi)
Rudy Ray Moore & the Fillmore St Soul Rebellion – Put Your Weight On It (Generation)

Greetings all.
I figured I’d finish out the week by posting the mix I put together for Tony C over at Jazz Syndicate Radio in the UK. The show will actually be rerun one more time (Friday morning 1/11 at 11AM EST) so if you’d like to experience the whole shebang (i.e. my mix surrounded by two excellent sets by Tony) then that’ll be your last chance since Jazz Syndicate Radio does not currently archive. This will be a quick one, and I’m sorry to say that there’s no ZIP file associated with this one (I never make them for the guest mixes I do), so you’re just going to have to listen to Dolemite laying it down between songs.
Some of the tunes herein will be familiar to longtime devotees of the Funky16Corners thang, as about half of them have appeared here over the years, but then we’re always picking up new visitors here, and since (as far as I can remember) I haven’t included any of these tunes in a mix before, the “experience” (as it is) ought to be fairly fresh (nice run-on sentence, huh?).
Things get started with a very groovy Stevie Wonder cover by Bill Black’s Combo (dig the electric piano and guitar on this one) and sail right on through one of my all-time faves (by anyone, maybe one of my Top 10) from the aptly named Mighty Hannibal. We move on to a tasty one from New Jersey’s own Kool & the Gang, head on to Memphis for a banger from Mr. Rufus Thomas, and then back on up to the Motor City for a classic by the great Sidney Barnes, working incognito under the nom de guerre ‘Johnny Goode’.
The next cut is another by the once funny, and occasionally musical Bill Cosby. Though the last tune I featured by Cos (his version of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’) drew some derisive hoots from the audience, I still ride for Cosby’s detours into the world of soul. Sure, his take on ‘Roadrunner’ isn’t going to make anyone forget Junior Walker, but I dig it anyway. Next up we flip over one of the truly brilliant funk 45s (Lou Courtney’s ‘Hot Butter’n’All’) for the instrumental version thereof, which bears the same title yet is credited to ‘Mr C and Funk Junction’ instead.
Fans of ‘Touched By an Angel’ might be shocked when they lend an ear to a funky side from Miss Della Reese. Here Della whips out a cover of Eugene McDaniel’s ‘Compared to What’ that – although she edits the lyrics a tad – is still smoking.
Things continue to smoke with Toby King’s contribution to the ‘Big Stuff’ wars of the early 70’s with his own answer, entitles ‘Mr Tuff Stuff’.
If that wasn’t hot enough for you, please fasten your seatbelts and put your seats in the upright position, because Miss Marva Whitney is about to bring the turbulence. Another “answer” record (though really a barely disguised cover), her ‘It’s My Thing’ is the very soul of intensity. How her vocal cords survived this session is a mystery.
I know little of the Triplett Twins other than they were from Chicago. I can only speculate on the fortuitous arrival of twins at the Triplett house (imagine, had they been triplets??).
Joe Haywood’s ‘Sing Me a Cornbread Song’ is – in the vernacular of the kids – HEAT. It resides on the border of Soulville and Funk City, and is as sweaty, heavy and groovy as they come. Dig that guitar!
The Master from Memphis, Willie Mitchell joins us with a cover of Andre Williams ‘Pearl Time’. It may lack the saucy je ne sais quois of the original, but – to paraphrase the mighty Lee Dorsey – EVERYTHING Willie Mitchell does is soulful, so…you know…dig it.
We arrive at last call with a musical contribution from the man who gave this mix its dramatic flavor, Mr. Rudy Ray Moore. There’s another – more Hammond-y – version of ‘Put Your Weight On It’ out there, but seriously, WHY would you want a Rudy Ray Moore record with less Rudy Ray Moore on it? Here, we meet (and exceed) USDA Rudy Ray Moore daily allowance. Put your weight on it INDEED.
Peace
Larry


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