Funky16Corners Radio v.28 – Rubber Souled Pt1


Funky16Corners Radio v.28 – Rubber Souled Pt1

Billy Preston – Eight Days a Week (Exodus)
Music Company – TheWord (Mirwood)
Bunny Sigler – Yesterday (Parkway)
Stevie Wonder – We Can Work It Out (Tamla)
Vontastics – Day Tripper (St Lawrence)
Chris Clark – Got To Get You Into My Life (Motown)
El Chicano – Eleanor Rigby (Kapp)
Junior Parker – Tomorrow Never Knows (Capitol)
Bill Cosby – Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (WB)
Soulful Strings – Within You Without You (Cadet)
Bud Shank – I Am the Walrus (World Pacific)
Soulful Strings – Hello Goodbye (Cadet)
Soulful Strings – The Inner Light (Cadet)

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

Greetings all.
I hope all is well with everyone.
I’ve been hard at work for a couple of weeks, selecting, digi-ma-tizing and mix-o-fying so that I might bring to you an epic in the style of the late, great Cecil B DeMille, featuring a cast of thousands, spanning the globe, crossing the Seven Seas…and…uh….well, not exactly.
But I have been working hard.
What we begin with this edition of Funky16Corners Radio (volume 28 to be exact) is something new, in that it is a podcast composed of three parts, all related, which I will be whipping on you over the next three weeks (my apologies for the less than brilliant title…).
Sometime back, inspirado hit me as a result of two things.
First, Danny over at the mighty Office Naps blog – once again – hepped me to an amazing track that I had never heard before, which oddly enough you will hear in the mix before you. That tune, bluesman Junior Parker’s reading of the Beatles ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, as well as a thread over at Soulstrut inquiring about covers of tunes by the Beatles, got me started on a mental inventory of my crates in search of same.
When I actually moved that search into the corporeal world, it proved both daunting and enlightening. I found a bunch of cool stuff that I had either passed over the first time, or forgotten about and became reacquainted with some old favorites.
This vinyl safari proved so fruitful in fact that I decided that the planned edition of Funky16Corners Radio would have to be spread out over two (ultimately, three) podcasts.
I have to take a moment to let you know that during my formative musical years, the music of the Beatles (who had just then dissolved) had a profound effect on me. They were in many ways my first musical “love”, and the records they made played an important part in the way I hear, and appreciate music today.
A cultural phenomenon in a pre-internet age (in a way the world of today can’t even imagine), the Beatles  – who’s appearance on the scene coincided with the explosive growth of McLuhan’s ‘Global Village’ – influenced virtually all parts of the musical landscape, with their stylistic innovations, but more importantly with their songs. It’s no coincidence that so many of them have achieved the status of “standard”, still being recorded and re-used (how about those Target commercials with ‘Hello Goodbye’?).
That many of the people hearing these songs are doing so for the first time, and are probably unaware of where they came from is beside the point.
The first Beatles record hit the streets 45 years ago, so a certain generational disconnect is to be expected, but how many artists from the 60’s can boast of having so much of their music (and their images) still such a strong element of the zeitgeist 35 years after their dissolution?
These Funky16Corners Radio podcasts are more of a reflection of the Beatles ubiquity in their own time. The cuts I decided to include– like just about everything else I feature in this space – come from the worlds of soul, funk and jazz, and for the most part (but not exclusively) from a period coinciding with the release of the Beatles originals (give or take a year here and there). The selections are lined up not in their own chronological order, but rather in the order the LPs were released by the Beatles.
The tracks in this first installment come mostly from Rubber Soul, Yesterday and Today, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour. These mixes are by no means comprehensive and the playlists are based solely on the contents of my crates (and even then I excluded a couple things, mainly to avoid redundancy).
Things get started with a cut from an early Billy Preston LP (on the Exodus label, which I think was a Vee Jay subsidiary). His lively take on “Eight Days a Week” gets things off to a rocking (Hammond, of course) start.
Next up is a cut from the studio group The Music Company, which recorded the LP ‘Rubber Soul Jazz’ for the storied Mirwood label. Composed entirely of LA studio musicians – many of whom were regulrs at Gold Star studios with Phil Spector – the disc pretty much escapes “easy” territory with some very nice soul jazz covers, including ‘The Word’.
The first ballad of the mix comes to you courtesy of Philadelphia’s own Bunny Sigler. His epic reading of ‘Yesterday’ comes from his 1967 Parkway LP which also included the Soulies (and my pal Haim’s) fave ‘Girl Don’t Make Me Wait’. ‘Yesterday’ is probably the Beatles song most often covered, and Sigler does a fantastic job making it his own, giving it just enough soulful flavor (with just a touch of gospel).
Stevie Wonder’s version of ‘We Can Work It Out’ has long been one of my fave singles by the genius. The hard hitting drums, alongside fuzz guitar and keyboards make for a nice bit of proto-funk, not to mention Stevie’s waling harp.
The Vontastics – one of my fave Chitown soul groups, with a couple of smoking 45s to their credit – drop by with their biggest hit, a storming cover of ‘Day Tripper’ (also done with great success by the mighty Otis Redding). I really dig the horn chart here.
The next cut comes courtesy of a recent Funky16Corners visitor, Miss Chris Clark. Hailing from the same LP (‘Soul Sounds’) as ‘Love’s Gone Bad’ is her version of ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’. Oddly enough, the tune which found the Beatles at their most soulful, ands up heading a little more into pop territory in the hands of the fine folks at Motown. Clark is of course in fine voice.
El Chicano, best known for their 1970 cover of Gerald Wilson’s ‘Viva Tirado’ offer up a very nice rendering of the mournful ‘Eleanor Rigby’. Dig the organ and Latin percussion here, as well as the Wes Montgomery-goes-East LA guitar. Do yourself a favor and track down a copy of the ‘Viva Tirado’ LP which features this cut, the title track and a whole lot more.
We head into psychedelic territory here, with the aforementioned Junior Parker cover of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, which in my book goes down as one of the great intersections of artist style and material. The tune appeared on his 1970 LP ‘Outside Man’ (as well as the flip side of his version of ‘Lady Madonna’). Parker strips the song down to its framework, almost chanting the lyrics over a very spare backing. The effect is amazing, and oddly lysergic for a recording almost completely removed from the spychedelic landscape.
If that was a little too dirge-like for you, enter Doctor Cosby to lighten things up a touch. If you stop by here on the reg you know I dig Cosby’s musical efforts, and while this isn’t the funkiest thing he ever did, I still dig it. The LP ‘Bill Cosby Sings Hooray For the Salvation Army Band’ (the title tune of which is the weirdest “cover” of ‘Purple Haze’) also features the excellent ‘Funky North Philly’ and yet another version of ‘Get Out of My Life Woman’.
Another Funky16Corners fave is the great Richard Evans. His group, the Soulful Strings recorded many Beatles covers, often going in interesting directions in both song choice and arrangement. The first example in this mix is a reworking of George Harrison’s ‘Within You Without You’ which features an amazing string arrangement, as well as sitar and tabla (natch), which also appeared as the flip side of the legendary ‘Burning Spear’.
We head back to the West Coast for a cool cover of I Am the Walrus’ by Cali-jazzbo Bud Shank. Shank (who played sax and flute) worked in many styles, recording some of the earliest jazz takes on Brazilian material, as well as moving over into the worlds of pop and rock. This cut comes from his LP ‘Michelle’ which also includes cool covers of ‘Flying’ and ‘Blue Jay Way’.
The Soulful Strings return with another cut from Magical Mystery Tour, that being ‘Hello Goodbye’. The tune starts out hewing pretty closely to the original, before the drums drop in and take things in an entirely new direction (as they so often do in Evans productions). This tune (and the next one) appears on the Soulful Strings LP ‘Another Exposure’.
We close things out with the Soulful Strings taking a second dip in the raga pool with a cover of perhaps the most obscure track in the mix, ‘The Inner Light’. The song, which originally appeared as the b-side to ‘Lady Madonna’ was yet another Harrison side-trip to the subcontinent, and as such includes lots of sitar (electric this time) and droning strings.
That all said, I hope you dig the mix.
I’ll be taking the rest of the week off – time for a little family vacation – and will return next Monday with Part the deuce, in which we survey the landscape from the White Album to Let It Be’.

PS To those of you that just grab the zip file, download the mix and give it a listen.

I think you’ll dig it. – L


36 Responses to “Funky16Corners Radio v.28 – Rubber Souled Pt1”

  1. Alejandro Says:

    as usual, excellent. May I recommend 2 tracks for future “rubber souled” installments:
    1-WIlson Pickett’s rendition of Hey Jude
    2-Al Green’s rendition of I Want to Hold Your Hand (it emphasizes on the horny side of that so very lustful track)
    They’re not very obscure, but they sure are funky…. On another note I just want to mention how much I love the beatles. They even made some soul covers that turned out better than the original versions (in my opinion). Case and Point You really Got a Hold On Me and Mr. Postman. I truly, truly love the fabs’ versions.

  2. djack Says:

    Some faves of mine that would fit this mix: Roy Redmond’s “Good Day Sunshine,” Buddy Rich’s “Norwegian Wood,” Bobby Womack’s “And I Love Her,” Harvey Averne’s “I Feel Fine,” and a singer from Ghana named Charlotte Dada’s sublime cover of “Don’t Let Me Down.” The last two are hard to find but worth the search.

    For comic relief, Peter Sellers’ “reading” of “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

    Thanks, especially for the Junior Parker.

  3. funky16corners Says:

    I’m way ahead of you on the Pickett (watch for it soon). I don’t have the Al Green, but I’ll keep an eye out for it.
    Excellent point too about the Beatles soul influences.

    I’d love to find that Harvey Averne! There’s some Latin soul in Part Two (coming next week).

  4. Vincent Says:

    I’ll chime in… Stupid me, I snoozed on a copy of the Ramsey Lewis LP “Mother Nature’s Son” when I was digging on Saturday. Hopefully it’s still there when I go back in a couple of weeks. Suffice it to say that one’s chock full of Fab Four covers, but I’m sure you already have a copy. The track “Julia” is phenomenal.

  5. Vincent Says:

    I forgot to mention… another great selection, but you already knew this. I can’t wait for next week’s installment…

  6. funky16corners Says:

    Go get that Ramsey!
    Tracks from that one are in Pt2.
    Can’t wait to see you on 9/14.

  7. Alejandro Says:

    FYI the “I Want to Hold your Hand” cover by AL Green is from the all-covers LP Green Is Blues. There’s even a pretty good cover in there of “Get Back”!

  8. djack Says:

    The Harvey Averne is on the LP “Harvey Averne Dozen,” kind of a mixed bag, really, but it does have the great/crazy boogaloo “Never Learned To Dance.”

  9. AB Says:

    wonderful selection! “Tomorrow never knows” is really unique, and the others are all very enjoyable. Looking forward to the next installment(s)…

  10. H.Todd Says:

    Nice selection as always. I love anything by the Soulful Strings.

    Those Bud Shank songs you mention all come from the album “Magical Mystery.” “Michelle” is a different album, but also features the same formula of 60s pop cover tunes. I agree with you that “Walrus” is probably the best cut.

    Y’all check out Pat Williams’ everything-but-the-kitchen-sink version of “Get Back” on his album “Heavy Vibrations.” Niiiice.

  11. funky16corners Says:

    You are correct sir, and what kills me is that I have both of those LPs, and could have included something from the ‘Michelle’ LP. D’oh!
    I’ll have to keep an eye out for that Pat Williams.

  12. H.Todd Says:

    RE: Pat Williams’ “Get Back”
    It is the most successful marriage of calliope music, marching band, funk and jazz that I’ve ever heard. All three of the albums Pat recorded for Verve in the late 60s have something special on them. Now that I think about it, all three of them have Beatles covers on them!

    Can’t wait for the second Beatles installment. Thank you.

  13. Tim Says:

    Interesting mix…just listening to this while at work. On first pass, I’d have to say that the Cosby track kinda sticks out like a sore thumb, but maybe it’ll grow on me over time. Thanks again, Larry. Looking forward to the follow-on posts.


  14. djack Says:

    Wow, Pat Williams, thanks for reminding me of him. Sort of a missing link between Blue Note and the Baja Marimba Band. Is any of his Verve stuff even in print?

  15. W Says:

    Another brilliant mix. Thanks! I’m particuarly enjoying Billy Preston’s take on Eight Days A Week., but then this is the blog for pumping organs!

  16. balabusta Says:

    My son, who is four, loves your playlist sooooo much. (Direct quote there!) He’s a big Beatles fan, and because of how he first heard the Beatles he considers Billy Preston one of them. He knows they were called the Fab Four, but you know, Billy Preston is very important to him! When I started playing the mix, he heard the first track and said, “That’s Billy Preston.”

    I’m so proud.

    I am so pleased that I found you! Can’t wait to hear the other two podcasts.

  17. Dan Says:

    GREAT mix, Larry – thanks!

  18. Aaron Says:

    I’m really enjoying this – I found your blog today from Metafilter and am having a great time listening to everything you’re posting. Thanks!

  19. andy s Says:

    great about some booker t and the mgs,dorris troy and some more chris clark.keep up the good work with the blog

  20. Kool-S Says:

    Great mix Larry – you’ve opened a BIG can of worms here! I think the only Beatles cover I can remeber hearing before these was Ramsey Lewis’ “Back in the USSR” – great stuff

  21. ixmay » Blog Archive » Funky16Corners Radio v.28 - Rubber Souled Pt1 Says:

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  23. Johnny Says:

    WOW !!!!!


    I can’t wait the Pt. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…….


    John Blure

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  26. Tom S Says:

    Im digging this hard. The Junior Parker cover is almost spooky while listening unders at night.
    Eleanor Rigby version totally caught me off gaurd, it’s so Santana. I love it.

    Bill Cosby has my thumbs up miles and miles. Tickles me pink.

  27. michael giliker Says:

    Try Donny Hathaway’s live version of ‘Yesterday’ for size – if it doesn’t get to you i don’t know what will……

  28. Terry Says:

    I was a big fan of the soulful strings from back in the day as a kid,I still listen to “Listen Here”the guitar solo is still airtight,you never hear their stuff on any jazz radio.By the way,I never hear mention of Dennis Coffey’s mean cover of the Isley bros.”It’s your thing”from back 1969.Peace,no one ever heard of Donny hathaway and June Conquest”Thank you”.It was a jam back in 1972 here in detroit.Peace

  29. Mack McCoy Says:

    Great mix.

    A very soulful (and uptempo!) version of
    “Yesterday” is the Pic & Bill version. It’s on
    a 1967 Smash 45, but there’s a nice Charly
    UK anthology LP that spares you the footwork
    and has a grip of other mega scarce tracks.

  30. paul altobelli Says:

    Very cool idea! I’d add one from Booker T and the MG’s. Their funky rendition of “Something.” It’s totally fab.

  31. Jay Says:

    Just wondering if you would have Herman Kelly & Life’s “Dance to the Drummers Beat” ?
    Love that song

  32. funky16corners Says:

    I do (I included part of the break in the Funky16Corners 45 Beats mix (see podcast archive). I’ll make sure to pull it out of the crates for future inclusion in the blog.

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