Funky16Corners Radio v.78 – Forbidden City Funk

December 27, 2009

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Funky16Corners Radio v.78 – Forbidden City Funk!

Playlist

Parliaments – Good Ole Music (Revilot)
Marlena Shaw – California Soul (Cadet)
Soulful Strings – Zambezi (Cadet)
Mystic Moods – Cosmic Sea (WB)
Bobby Byrd – I Know You Got Soul (King)
Willie Smith – I Got a New Thing (Genuine)
Louie Ramirez – Do It Any Way You Wanna (Cotique)
Willie Tell & The Overtures – Kick-Back (Chess)
Hoctor – Gold Coast (Hoctor)
La May – Free the Soul Man (SPQR)
Incredible Bongo Band – Apache (Mr Bongo reissue)
Melting Pot – Kool and the Gang (Ampex)
Danny Delaney – Stop and Think (Palmetto)
Cymande – Fug (Janus)
Chuck Carbo – Can I Be Your Squeeze (Canyon)
Louis Chachere – The Hen Pt1 (Paula)
David Batiste & the Gladiators – Funky Soul Pt1 (Instant)
Nanette Workman – Lady Marmalade (Pasha)
Laura Lee – Crumbs Off the Table (Hot Wax)
James Brown – Hot Pants Pt1 (People)
Lyn Collins – Think (About It) (People)
Roger & the Gypsies – Pass the Hatchet Pt1 (Seven B)


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

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The view from behind the decks at Forbidden City

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Getting ready to pull the trigger on Hoctor’s ‘Gold Coast’.

Greetings all.

The end of another year is at hand, and I thought I’d try something different this year. The fam and I are hitting the road for some relative-related visitation, so this will be it until the New Year.
Last Wednesday I had the honor of sharing the decks with my Asbury Park 45 Sessions cohort DJ Bluewater at his new Master Groove night at Forbidden City in Manhattan (the evening’s other guest selector was none other than the mighty M-Fasis). Forbidden City is a chill venue with some very cool people, and despite the holiday traffic and huge heaps of snow in the street I had a great time.
A couple of folks (specifically members of the Funky16Corners group on Facebook) requested a set list for the night, and while I was recovering from the Christmas festivities I thought it might be a cool idea to record the evening’s selections in a new edition of the Funky16Corners Radio podcast. The only real difference between this and any other edition of  F16C Radio, is that the tracks herein were selected on the fly, as I DJ’d. Certainly there was a level of selection inherent in what went into my DJ box (which holds about 75 singles) but the set itself was assembled on the spot at Forbidden City.
What you’ll be listening to is just over an hour of hot funk 45s (many breaks within) including a couple of new arrivals that will most certainly be blogged about separately in the coming months.
The evening was marked by an interesting (thought certainly not unprecedented) incident toward the end of my set. While the bar wasn’t packed, there was a crowd, including a particularly lively group of young ladies who came in right before I started spinning and proceeded to whoop it up with several rounds of drinks. Nothing out of control, but they were clearly deep in the holiday spirit(s).
About 45 minutes into the proceedings, one young lass approached me and informed me that she had come from an entire table of flamenco dancers (I was worried for a minute that she was going to request actual flamenco music, a genre that I rarely carry with me). She then asked me – right in the middle of a set of tight, slamming funk (see above list for confirmation of same) if I might “play something dancey”?
Now, in situations like this, I always try to maintain my icy veneer of cool. I’m certainly not averse to taking requests, as long as they are – how do you say – of an ‘appropriate’ nature. I’ve seen some weird ones, i.e. a kid requesting anything by KISS during a set of Northern Soul, and I’ve also dealt (as almost any DJ has) with surly, drunken booth-monkeys who seem to feel that it’s OK to crawl on/into the DJ booth, bumping/placing their drink on the turntables, causing the tone arm to jump as they demand something specific (which I immediately counter with a demand that they remove themselves from my immediate vicinity with the greatest possible haste).
This particular girl was polite, but I couldn’t help but recoil slightly at the idea that a self-proclaimed dancer could not find it in themselves to move to any or all of the records listed above.
I mean, honest to god, funk is, by definition, funky, a state of being that gets its name by its ability to cause people to move in a rhythmic fashion, often described by observers as “dancing”. Not everyone who feels compelled to move by these records is a good dancer, but they are all dancing. Even those wallflowers who are prevented – by timidity, inebriation or physical infirmity (or a combination of any or all of the above) – from dancing usually react to the power of the music by some seated version of the dance, with the foot-tap, the head-bob, the seated-shimmy or something else along those lines. Anyone confronted by a 45 like Bobby Byrd’s ‘I Know You Got Soul’ who doesn’t move at all, should be checked for a pulse.
That said, I was in a festive mood, so I dipped into my DJ box and pulled out my number one slice of guaranteed Becky-bait, Nanette Workman’s French language version of LaBelle’s ‘Lady Marmalade’, which gives them all the easily recognizable Top 40 vibe they can handle while simultaneously allowing me to save face by offering quality funk to those in the know. I followed this with some James Brown (‘Hot Pants’), Lyn Collins (‘Think About It’) and since my time was just about up, I whipped a little Roger & the Gypsies on the assembled masses, figuring if that wasn’t “dancey” enough, there was nothing anyone of my powers could do, and HO HO HO, and what the fuck, and “Good evening ladies and gents!” and what not.
Happily, after I sort of/kind of answered her request, these people actually got up and danced, to four 45s that were in essence EXACTLY the same as the sixteen others that preceded them, proving once again that human nature is a funny thing, and sometime giving the people what they want is exactly the same as giving them what they need, and everyone walks away from a night at the pub with a wobble in their step and more importantly, a smile on their face.
It is in that spirit that I wish you all a Happy New Year, and the best of all things in Twenty-Oh-Ten (man, who saw that coming???).

Peace

Larry

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NOTE: The Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive has been updated (see link in sidebar) , and all seventy seven previous mixes are now represented.

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PPS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for a year-end wrap up mix.

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Funky16Corners Christmas – Lenox Ave. – Little Drummer Boy

December 22, 2009

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Chuck Rainey

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Listen/Download -Lenox Avenue – Little Drummer Boy

Greetings all.

Christmas is just about here and things are well underway at the Funky16Corners compound. The menorah has been extinguished and packed away for another year and the Christmas tree has been put in place, lit, and otherwise decorated, awaiting the arrival of jolly St. Nick and a pile of presents for the little Corners.
This has been a challenging but rewarding year, all but two weeks of which were spent as a newly minted stay at home dad. It was a big move leaving the job I worked at for twenty-four years (some good, some ultra-suckworthy), but I haven’t regretted it for a second. I do miss some of the folks I used to see every day, but when I left there I got to spend my days with my two wonderful sons. The stress level at the Funky16Corners crib took a nosedive, and while it’s been a lot of work, it has been the kind of work that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Here at the blog, it has been a most excellent year, with another great year with the Asbury Park 45 Sessions crew (big ups to Prestige, Prime Cuts, Jack the Ripper, Bluewater, M Fasis and all the guest selectors) and couple of fantastic road trips to spin records down in Washington, DC. The inward flow of vinyl has been excellent (if reduced somewhat) and this year’s Funky16Corners Pledge Drive was once again a big success, keeping the blog and the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive up and running for another year.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you that stop by here in the reg to partake in the conversation, because you make it all worthwhile.
The Funky16Corners blog celebrated its 5th anniversary this year, and with any luck we’ll keep thing rolling for another five years or more.
The tune I bring you today is something I picked up this year (and oddly enough I can’t remember the circumstances of its arrival in my crates). It’s a funky take on that old holiday chestnut ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ by a group called Lenox Avenue. This, their sole 45 was released on Chess in 1970.
Though I haven’t been able to find any info on the group, the names on the label suggest to me that this may in fact be an early incarnation of the group that recorded an album a few years later under the name the Chuck Rainey Coalition (on the Skye label).
Bassist Rainey and his cohorts – including keyboardist Richard Tee – were major hired hands in the New York (and elsewhere, natch) studio scene, showing up on all kinds of records from the late 60s onward.
Lenox Avenue’s take on ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ is taken a slow, but funky pace with some groovy female backing voices. As I mentioned a while back when I posted the equally cool George Conedy version of the tune, this has never been one of my fave Christmas carols, yet when someone injects it with a dose of funk, I really dig it.
I hope you dig it too, and that those of you that celebrate the holiday have a very groovy Christmas, and those of you that don’t still partake in some of the fellowship of the holiday season (one of the few times of the year people see to go out of their way to be nice).
Have a great rest of the week and I’ll see you all next week.
Peace (and I mean it, man…)

Peace

Larry

NOTE: I recently did a short interview about the role of the guitar in classic funk. Check it out over at Jemsite.

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for some Christmas pop.

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Funky16Corners Christmas Flashback #2 – Soulful Strings

December 20, 2009

Greetings all.
Welcome to the second “flashback” edition of the Funky16Corners Christmas thing.
This post, originally published in December of 2007 features two sublime tracks by one of my all-time favorite musical acts, the Soulful Strings.
Both tunes are amazing (for different reasons) and they should hold you over until Wednesday when I’ll drop something new for the season.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you soon.
Peace
Larry

NOTE: I just got word that I’ll be joining DJ Bluewater this Wednesday night (12/23) at his new Master Groove night at Forbidden City in NYC. The whole shebang gets started around 10PM, so fall by for some tasty 45s.

Originally posted 12/2007

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The Magic of Christmas

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Richard Evans
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Miss Doroth Ashby

Listen – Soulful Strings – Jingle Bells”
Listen – Soulful Strings – Merry Christmas Baby”

Greetings all .
It’s time for the third annual* Funky16Corners Christmas post.
Christmas is nearing rapidly, and I couldn’t very well let it go by without dropping some soulful goodness of a holiday variety.
If you’re a regular reader of the blog you’re familiar with my ongoing trials and tribulations (some would say too much so, but that’s just the way things are around here).
Two thousand and ought seven has been a real yin yang of a year, with the duality of trouble and good fortune engaged in a perpetual tug of war. All thing considered, however, I’ve got it pretty good.
On the personal side I have a wonderful wife and two incredible children. I took a long time to get started on the family thing, but it’s worth every bit of time and energy one might invest in it. That, in the end, is what it’s all about.
Things here at Funky16Corners – as well as over at Iron Leg, the blog I started this summer – have never been better. I couldn’t ask for a better creative outlet, and special thanks go out to all of you that stop by here on the reg and engage in the conversation. I couldn’t do it without you.
As I’ve stated repeatedly in the past, I’ve never been much of a holiday music collector. However, once in a while a personal obsession of mine also happens to have a Christmas record. In the case of Richard Evans and the Soulful Strings, their 1968 LP ‘The Magic of Christmas’ is a real gem.
The first tune I selected was the obvious choice (at least for me) because I can’t think of another version of ‘Jingle Bells’ that opens up with an honest to goodness drum break. I’m not sure who’s laying it down here (though it sounds like the same drummer that Evans used on Marlena Shaw’s ‘California Soul’, which I’ll be blogging in the next few weeks).
The second selection is a lush, sublime reading of Charles Brown’s classic ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ which features the brilliant Dorothy Ashby on harp. If you aren’t familiar with Ashby – I included her ‘Soul Vibrations’ on my collab with DJ Prestige ‘Beat Combination Pt2’ (check out the Flea Market Funk Mixes page)– she was one of the few harpists who could actually play jazz on the instrument, and the three albums she recorded for Cadet between 1968 and 1970 (in collaboration with Evans) are brilliant.
If your nerves are frayed (like mine) and the consumerist madness of the holiday season has you down, give this version of ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ a listen and all will (at least for a few minutes) be well.
I’ll be taking the next week off to enjoy the holiday with my family and do a little visiting. I will most definitely be back with something for New Years Eve, so hang tight, enjoy your Christmas and I’ll see you all soon.
Peace
Larry

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

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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

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Clarence Carter

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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

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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

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

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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

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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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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

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

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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

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

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

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook


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