“Listen – Blue Eyed Brother and Soul Get Along Pt1 (vocal) MP3″ “Listen – Blue Eyed Brother and Soul Get Along Pt2 (instrumental) MP3″
Hey, hey (and once again, with feeling) hey.
Greetings to one and all on this chilly, rainy and miserable (rain and chill being hardly as miserable as the need to return to work today) Monday morning.
It was a freakishly nice weekend here in the Northeast with temperatures in the 70’s. The kind of weather where one side of your brain is all “Wahoo! It’s warm!” and the other side is picturing the giant hunk of the arctic ice shelf cracking and falling off into the ocean. You know, the “Oh shit, the earth is melting…” thing where the cigar chomping Republicans are willing to look you straight in the face and tell you that there are “differences of opinion” about global warming (which, in a similar weather-related vibe is the equivalent of pissing on your leg and telling you that it is in fact raining).
I suspect that every time I enjoy a day like that I’m basically whistling past the graveyard, but since it was the same day we took Miles and all of his little cousins to the zoo to celebrate his birthday, we just kind of enjoyed our temporary good fortune, made some kind of primitive gesture to ward off the evil eye and hoped that next January we wouldn’t be spending the entire month walking around in Bermuda shorts as our brethren closer to the equator were treading water.
That said, this morning’s selection(s) would never have popped up on my radar without the presence of the mighty Home of the Groove blog. If you follow this blog and/or were a reader of the Funky16Corners web zine you will be aware of my deep and abiding affection for the music of New Orleans. Dan Phillips at the HOTG meets (and by a long shot) exceeds that affection by devoting his entire blog to those sounds, and by doing a continually excellent job. Let me tell you sonny, I’ve devoted a lot of time tracking down, ingesting and researching New Orleans funk, soul and R&B, and even with all that I can say that I am always learning something new at HOTG and hearing records for the first time that I am almost always compelled to go out and find.
One such record was posted at HOTG last March. I already knew the name Chuck Cornish from his funk 45 ‘Ali Funky Thing’ on Wand, a record sought out and prized by serious crate digger types. I did not know however that Chuck was a son of the Crescent City, nor was I aware that he had recorded today’s selection for the SSS Intl label, ‘Blue Eyed Brother and Soul get Along Pts 1&2’ (part one of which had been an HOTG feature*).
So, in the ensuing months I kept my eyes and ears peeled for my very own copy of said 45, and a few months ago my search came to fruition.
As Dan said in his post, there’s almost no information out there on Chuck Cornish. ‘Blue Eyed Brother and Soul get Along Pts 1&2’ is a late 60’s release (one of only a few 45s that Cornish is known to have recorded) with a ‘Let’s all get together and work out the funky mess this country has become’ message. Chuck lays out a picture of an America racked by riots and other unrest. Now, I can’t say why ‘Blue eyed brother’ and ‘soul” needed to make the President happy (unless Chuck, like myself took one look at Richard Nixon and decided that he was one of the unhappiest looking motherfuckers ever, who, in the words of George Carlin looked like “…he hadn’t taken a shit in a month”), but I can agree with Chuck’s overall sentiment, which we could certainly use a little of today, on a local and international level.
The musical vibe is most definitely a NOLA one, with Chuck sounding like the leader of a Curly Moore tribute band, and the musicians – ‘specially the drummer and guitarist – are of course both anonymous (in that I have no idea who they were) and familiar (as I definitely recognize the playing). I hope that someday some lucky soul gets to crack open the session logs on records like this so me and all of my equally curious crate digger pals get a more thorough idea of the provenance, and that the masterful, soulful and funk-ful players on these sessions get their due.
There’s something about New Orleans funk that make it like no other. The musicians and singers (as well as writers, arrangers and producers) that made these records brought a specific flavor to their efforts. The quickest way to describe it is a more “relaxed” or natural funk. This is not to say that there weren’t some truly manic and rough funk sides to come out of New Orleans (I’m talking to you Chuck Carbo) but that the lions share of NOLA funk has a certain laid-back-ness to it that goes right to the pleasure centers of the brain and brings on a loose-limbed movement in which you pop your hip and let your backbone slip. ‘Blue Eyed Brother and Soul get Along Pts 1&2’ is a prime example of such a tonic, and as such a great antidote for a Monday.
*I’m posting both sides, because there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing, HOTG no longer has an active link to part 1, and the instro vibe on part 2 is mucho groovy.