Funky16Corners Radio v.55 – Soul On
Billy Larkin & the Delegates – Little Jr. Detroit (World Pacific)
Leon Haywood – Soul On (Imperial)
Merl Saunders – Soul Roach Pt2 (Early Bird)
Hank Jacobs – Heide (Sue)
Wildare Trio – Cruising (Brunswick)
Tall Paul Hankins – I Did It (Pop Up)
Magnets – The Swingin’ Organ (Keys)
Bill Black’s Combo – But It’s Alright (Columbia)
Johnny Hammond Smith – NYPD (Prestige)
Andre Brasseur – Special 230 (Palette)
Brother Jack McDuff – The Vibrator (Blue Note)
I hope all is well on your end, and that you enjoyed this years Vinyl Record Day post (as well as checking out all the other posts in the blogswarm).
Today’s edition of Funky16Corners Radio, volume 55 to be exact is the first all-Hammond edition thereof since January of this year.
I was tossing around ideas for the podcast, and I just happened to be leafing (flipping) through some discs of raw material, and just happened to grab a few discs of Hammond 45s. So I started the ripping, and the tagging, and then the arranging and the mixing and before you know it I had the mix you see (hear) before you today.
This time around we jump between the soul, and the funk, and the old-school tavern swing, so there’s something for everyone (at least everyone who digs them some Hammond organ).
Things get started with ‘Soul Sister’ by the Four Gents. From what I’ve been able to track down, the Four Gents were a Motor City combo who recorded locally for the SVR label. Like labelmates the Unrelated Segments and the Tidal Waves, their record (which was a local hit) was leased to, and released nationally by the HBR label (as in Hanna-Barbera, the cartoon guys). ‘Soul Sister’ is a real party starter, with some jamming drums, wailing sax, and of course the organ.
West Coasters (Pacific Northwest to be more specific) Billy Larkin & the Delegates have appeared in this space (and this context) before. The sinuous ‘Little Jr. Detroit’ is a 1966 side that was released twice by World Pacific Jazz, both times as an a-side.
We stay on the Left Coast with one of the Hammond organ’s best kept secrets, Mr. Leon Haywood. Known to most for the superb sweet soul vocals of ‘It’s Got To Be Mellow’, Haywood was an accomplished keyboard man who placed organ (and occasionally piano) instros on the b-sides of some of his 45s, as well as a number of LP tracks (the “It’s Got To Be Mellow” Lp features a very cool, two-part version of ‘Ode To Billie Joe’). ‘Soul On’ was one of the aforementioned b-sides, with a somewhat abrupt opening.
We head on up the coast for the Bay Area giant Merl Saunders. Saunders recorded a grip of excellent 45s for Galaxy (and one rare album). ‘Soul Roach’ was the one 45 that Saunders recorded for the short-lived Early Bird label (which I believe has some connections to the Fantasy/Galaxy organization).
Hank Jacobs is a fave of Hammond hounds as well as Northern Soulies (for ‘Elijah Rockin’ With Soul’). He recorded a number of outstanding piano/organ sides for the Sue label, as well as guesting with the TKOs on Ten-Star. ‘Heide’ is the 1964 flip of ‘Playboy’s Penthouse’.
If the Wildare Trio is not a familiar name, you might be more familiar with their organist, a certain Reuben Wilson (who went on to record some very funky stuff for Blue Note among other labels). The group recorded a number of 45s and a rare LP for Brunswick. ‘Cruising’ is one of their more swinging tracks.
Tall Paul Hankins is one of those 60s Hammond wranglers that I’ve never been able to get much info on (aside from the fact that he appears to have been born in Alabama). I have a number of his 45s (one, a duet with Freddy Robinson), and the style would indicate that he recorded mostly in the early to mid 60s. ‘I Did It’ is a slow burner on the Pop Up label.
I don’t know nuthin’ bout the Magnets, other than the fact that ‘The Swingin’ Organ’ is (not surprisingly) swingin’.
Interestingly enough, bassist Bill Black (who got his start with none other than Elvis Presley) may not in fact be playing on the version of JJ Jackson’s ‘But It’s Alright’ by Bill Black’s Combo. Though Black died in 1965, victim of a brain tumor, the combo that bore his name kept recording and performing for many years after his demise.
Johnny Hammond Smith is one of the legends of the soul jazz organ. His 1967 recording of the theme from the TV show ‘NYPD’ features a septet that included tenor sax man Houston Person (who would also lead dates for the label).
It wasn’t until I completed this mix that I discovered that I already used the next track, Andre Brasseur’s ‘Special 230’ way back in Funky16Corners Radio v.9 Hammond Internationale. I figured it couldn’t hurt to run it again, mainly because it’s a groover, but also because I don’t have the energy to go back and redo the mix. My apologies…
We close out this edition of Funky16Corners Radio, with another track by a personal favorite, the mighty Brother Jack McDuff. ‘The Vibrator’ was recorded for his 1969 ‘Down Home Style’ LP, and is a killer. If you ever happen upon this album grab it, on account of it contains not only this track, but the positively sublime ‘Theme from Electric Surfboard’ (also score-able on a 45).
That all said, I hope you dig the sounds, and if Hammond is not your bag, rest easy because there’s already another Funky16Corners Radio volume in the on deck circle.
Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday.