Funky16Corners Radio v.47 – Cosmic Sea


To infinity, and beyond!

Funky16Corners Radio v.47 – Cosmic Sea


Mystic Moods – Cosmic Sea (WB)
Miles Davis – Spanish Key (45 Edit) (Columbia)
Jackson 5 – I’ll Bet You (Motown)
Miles Davis – Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (45 Edit) (Columbia)
Jose Feliciano – Light My Fire (RCA)
Herbie Mann – If I Were a Carpenter (Atlantic)
BB King – Ghetto Woman (ABC)
Herbie Hancock – Tell Me a Bedtime Story (WB)
Ramsey Lewis – Slipping Into Darkness (CBS)
Brother Jack McDuff – Flat Backin’ (Blue Note)
Freddie McCoy – Salem Soul Song (Prestige)
Johnny Hammond – Rock Steady (Kudu)
Dorothy Ashby – Soul Vibrations (Cadet)

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

Greetings all.
I hope the new week finds you all well.
I’m posting this a little bit early today becausemy allergy related headaches are still kicking my ass (head, whatever) and I expended much of my available energy digging at the local record fair, stockpiling a bunch of funk and soul for here and garage and psyche for Iron Leg. I’ll be digi-ma-tizing it all soon, so there’ll be a lot to look forward to.
Today I bring you a new edition of the Funky16Corners Radio podcast, number 47 to be exact; ‘Cosmic Sea’.
Like some of the previous mixes I’ve laid on you, this was less a pre-planned “theme” effort than the product of inspirado crossed with several fairly random piles of records (45s and LPs). This is not to say that once things got going I didn’t hit the crates looking for a specific side to throw into the pot, but that what came out at the end was somewhat different than what I started with.
This has a lot to do with a couple of recent acquisitions. The landscape of my record room is a cluttered maelstrom of vinyl that no one – not even myself – understands completely. On the desk adjacent to my turntable and computer – wherein all the digi-ma-tization takes place – there are several rotating stacks of wax; a mixture of things that I’ve put aside for future use (either individually or as part of a mix), newly dug records and – of course – lots of stuff I haven’t gotten around to putting away yet.
When I hit the Asbury Lanes record swap a few weeks ago I picked up copies of a couple of things that I’d been looking for on vinyl (the Jackson Five, Ramsey Lewis and Johnny Hammond LPs especially). These got me in the mood to get a mix together, thus the internal formulation began. Then, a few days later the mailman brought me my shiny, minty copy of ‘The Cosmic Sea’ by the Mystic Moods and things really got rolling.
I decided then that I was going to go for something that started with a bang but quickly relocated to downtempo territory, with an emphasis on the groove. A few hours later and I had all of the raw material for this particular mix burned to disc, and set it next to the ‘podcast lab’ (i.e. the laptop in the living room) for use the following night.
When I began assembling the mix a few of the tracks I had recorded ended up on the scrap heap (at least temporarily) and I grabbed a couple of things from the hard drive.
When the mix was finished I was definitely pleased (as I hope you will be as well) and have been listening to the mix repeatedly for the last week and a half (I like to stagger the mixes on my two blogs, which is why it hasn’t been posted sooner).
Things get rolling – after a sound bite by the late great Carl Sagan – with the aforementioned Mystic Moods 45. I have to admit that I was largely ignorant of this record until recently. I had certainly heard of it, but it wasn’t until my man DJ Prestige let it rip during his last Asbury Park 45 Sessions set that I knew I had to have it. Fortunately for me a copy came up for bid on E-Bay shortly after that and I bagged it. The Mystic Moods made a bunch of easy/mood LPs during the 60’s and 70’s. Knowing that, the sounds on ‘Cosmic Sea’ are a solid kick in the head, sounding as if DJ Shadow hopped in the Waybac Machine and whipped a little funky turntable action on the squares. This is a stone killer, with the funky breaks, the clavinet and the soulful wailing in the background (not to mention a synth sound that would be resurrected by no less than Rush a decade later).
Things get a little darker with the first of two Miles Davis 45 edits from the Bitches Brew LP. I found this record years ago and have wanted to use it on the blog for a while. The first tune, ‘Spanish Key’ is the more offbeat of the two, and a testament to the editing abilities of Teo Macero. You have to admire the chutzpah of a man who could wade into the mountain of tape that became ‘Bitches Brew’ and squeeze two 45 sides – less than three minutes apiece – out of it.
Emerging from the Miles trumpet comes an unusual side by the Jackson Five. One of the many versions of the Funkadelic classic ‘I’ll Bet You’ (some – like Theresa Lindsey and Billy Butler –  recorded before Funkadelic), the Jacksons version may not be quite as freaky as Mr. Clinton and his pals, but it’s WAY freaky for little Michael and his brothers, with the fuzz guitar, the moaning and the crazy screams.
We segue back into the other side of the Miles 45, ‘Miles Runs the Voodoo Down’ which is a touch more peaceful, showing (distant) traces of his earlier electric work on ‘In a Silent Way’.
Getting mellower yet, Miles gives way to one of my favorite records of the 1960’s, Jose Feliciano’s cover of the Doors’ ‘Light My Fire’. Feliciano’s vocal is nothing if not soulful and the arrangement, with his acoustic guitar balanced/blended with the string section is a little bit of magic.
Bare-chested flute wrangler Herbie Mann was a seriously prolific artist during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Say what you will about jazzers going pop, but I have a grip of Herbie’s LPs and they all have something very groovy to recommend them. His subdued 1968 take on Tim Hardin’s standard ‘If I Were a Carpenter’ opens with a great, throbbing bass line by Miroslav Vitous and runs on with lots of flute and the ringing vibes of Roy Ayers.
Despite the fact that B.B. King’s 1971 ‘Ghetto Woman’ was recorded in the UK with an all-star group of rock performers, the Dave Clark who co-wrote the tune is not THAT Dave Clark. Nonetheless, ‘Ghetto Woman’ is a wonderfully dark and moody record with King’s classy guitar soloing under a periodically heavy (dig that echoed string bass) string section.
‘Tell me a Bedtime Story’ is another track from Herbie Hancock’s 1968 ‘Fat Albert Rotunda’ LP. Whereas the track I used in the last mix was on the funky side, ‘Tell Me..’ sees Herbie working his Rhodes magic in a mellow groove alongside a great horn section.
Yet another Asbury Lanes find, Ramsey Lewis’ version of War’s ‘Slipping Into Darkness’ is a fantastic, downtempo electric piano feature with bass by Cleveland Eaton and drums by Morris Jennings Jr. Ramsey really stretches it out here for a smoky, late night feel. It’s a funky funk, but a slow funky funk, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
How does one follow a long, groovy track by one of the keyboard masters of the jazz age? How about an even longer track by another master? ‘Flat Backin’ (clocking in at over 10 minutes) is another track from Brother Jack McDuff’s amazing 1969 ‘Moon Rappin’ LP, one of the most innovatively played and arranged organ dates in the history of the Blue Note label (or any label for that matter). Though much of the album has a free-form (but never “out”) feel, you just have to sit back and marvel as Brother Jack and his band (including drummer Joe Dukes) slip in and out of the funk. Sit back, relax and wait for a very tasty break in this one.
Freddie McCoy made some wonderful albums for the Prestige label in the 60’s. They’re hard to come by, so I grab them wherever I can. ‘Salem Soul Song’ appears on the ‘Soul Yogi’ LP, alongside his stellar cover of the Beach Boys ‘Pet Sounds’.
Johnny Hammond Smith’s 1971 cover of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Rock Steady’ is, like the Ramsey Lewis track earlier on a great example of slow funky grooves, with an excellent break by none other than Bernard Purdie. There’s a lot to recommend on this LP, maybe the finest on the Kudu label.
As I mentioned before, I pulled a track off of the hard drive, and Dorothy Ashby’s ‘Soul Vibrations’ is it. I previously included it as part of a guest mix I did for the Souled On blog, but when I was thinking of what tune to finish up this podcast with it came to mind immediately. Ashby’s Richard Evans-produced Cadet records are all wonderful, but ‘Soul Vibrations’ is positively sublime, mixing wild elements like theremin with solid beats and – of course – her harp. It’s all worth hanging in for the last ten seconds of the record which are absolute perfection.
That said, I hope you dig the mix.
I’ll be back later in the week.


PS Head over to Iron Leg for some local 60’s Punk.


22 Responses to “Funky16Corners Radio v.47 – Cosmic Sea”

  1. Mixdigger Says:

    Hee there,
    I building a blog spot to post your update`s of your mixtape`s, mixes, shows, dj mixes ect.

    I just post your latest update`s on my blog spot,
    if you don`t mind?
    If you mind, let me know.

    In the future you can post your update`s your self and i will post them on my blog.
    I`m only post the link to your side.

    And when you support me you can put a back link on your site
    Thx and keep up the good work.

  2. funky16corners Says:

    That’s a cool idea.

  3. Tony C Says:

    Really enjoying this nice calming mix Larry. I think I know where your coming from with this one.
    Look out for The Mystic Moods-Honey Trippin on Songbird, Nice double sider.
    Cheers Tony.

  4. funky16corners Says:

    Thanks Tony
    I’ll look out for that one. I can’t imagine that ‘Cosmic Sea’ was a completely isolated incident.

  5. tylerw Says:

    thanks, larry! this one looks great! keep up the GREAT work.

  6. Groovin' Dan Says:

    REALLY groovin’ on this one, man! Well done…

  7. Vincent the Soul Chef Says:

    it seems like headaches are plaguing more and more bloggers these days; could it be a curse…? Believe me, I feel your pain.

    Once again, you’ve blessed us with a bona fide WINNER! Did you get that J5 track from a 45 or the OG album because the mix sounds better than my CD reissue from 1986, much warmer and trippier. As always, thanks for the share.

    Peace and blessings.

  8. funky16corners Says:

    It’s a rip from the OG LP. I scored it at the last Asbury Lanes Record Swap. I have the CD re-ish from a few years back, and I’ll have to dig it out and compare. The older Motown CDs are notoriously shoddy in relation to remastering and the source tapes used, so that might explain the difference.
    I don’t know if their version came out on a 45.

  9. michael jennings Says:

    […] 45 Edit Columbia Jackson 5 ?? I??ll Bet You Motown Miles Davis ?? Miles Runs the Voodoo Down 45 Edit approves Jennings nominee Albany Times UnionNick D’Antonio will lead Albany Department of […]

  10. Richard Lay Says:

    Enjoying this relaxing mix while @ work. I especially applaud you for including the Jose classic, even though it would not be considered rare or obscure. I’m of the age where I remember the summer where that cut hit the airwaves & I couldn’t get enough of it – so much soul put into a cover of a ‘so-so’ song by the doors.

    Keep up the good work.

  11. funky16corners Says:

    Thanks Richard
    I try to post tunes here in relation not to their obscurity – though there are often obscure records here – but to their quality. Hopefully the Feliciano track fits that description.

  12. Brian Says:

    LOVE YOUR SITE, Larry. It’s my school for jazz/funk/soul/etc. What is your recording process, or rather, “digi-ma-tization”? Phono, needle/cart, preamp, software, plug-in, process. I would like my wax to sound as fresh.


  13. funky16corners Says:

    Thanks for the kind words.
    I record all records on a Stanton turntable, through an old Sony tuner with a line running from the tuner into my sound card on an older Dell PC (maybe 8 years old now??). I use the old version of Roxio which has a feature called SpinDoctor to record the signal from the sound card. I record the files to a CD and then rip MP3s from Windows Media Player and WAV files (which I need to make the mixes) in Music Match Jukebox. I create the mixes in ACID, using Audacity to record/edit the interstitials/drops.

  14. jaaahws Says:

    Wow, sounds like a lot of work. I’m confused why you have to rip to a CD if you’re recording onto your PC anyway? Archive purposes perhaps? In any regard, as for your recording process, do you set your input level to “unity” and then adjust/amplify in post or do you try to get as close to peak before clipping. Your recording, imo, sounds superb. Keep it up!
    Thanks, Larry.


  15. funky16corners Says:

    It’s not that much work, at least in that it’s become routine. I record to CD so that I have a hard copy to work with. When I record I try to push it right up to the red without going into it and back off a tiny bit.
    When I make the podcasts I can equalize the levels of the tracks in ACID.
    The process has become kind of instinctive at this point. I know there are much more sophisticated programs/processes out there, but since I don’t have the time or inclination to re-learn a new process (though I may have to if I have to upgrade my OS), and I like the way the tracks sound, that’s the way it has to be.
    I actually listen to the stuff I digitize – especially the podcasts – all the time, so the time invested isn’t just for the blog, but for my own listening pleasure, that I take the time to digitize the vinyl.

  16. b Says:

    I agree. Sounds great! Put those Regas and Clearaudio purists to shame.
    Bless you, you funky-funky man.

  17. Parabellum Says:

    Thanks Larry. This is my favorite F-16 mix to date.

  18. Ian Says:


    This mix is right up my alley, I love it.

    Keep it up.

  19. r gould-saltman Says:

    Well, just listened twice to both the “Spanish Key” and “Miles Runs” 45 edits; except for the fades at the end, they’re note-by-note, second-by-second, the album versions. Doesn’t mean that it wasn’t and isn’t an amazing 6 minutes of music. I remember listening B’s B, the LP version, in Kent,Ohio in 1970; wore two copies of the sucker out playing all four sides over and over again, night after night. I believe there’s a John Hassell tune built around a sample of the first thre or four SECONDS of “Miles Runs”.

    On the other hand, Jeremy Steig was getting WAY funkier than Herbie Mann by the late ’60’s…

  20. Vincent the Soul Chef Says:

    It took a while, but I finally scored a copy of the J5’s ABC on OG vinyl. The track is indeed a whole 50 some seconds longer than the CD reissue. Sounds a million times better on vinyl!

  21. Funky16Corners Radio v.56 - Solar Heat « Funky16Corners Says:

    […] 1972 ‘Upendo ni Pamoja’ LP, which gave us his cover of War’s ‘Slipping Into Darkness’ (featured in Funky16Corners Radio v.47) also included the mellow take on the Thom Bell and Linda Creed’s ‘People Make the World Go […]

  22. Rachel Maxi Says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog while looking for Dorothy Ashby, and what a great mix this is. I am listening to it a second time. Thanks for sharing!

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