Funky16Corners Radio v.70 – Daddy Rollin’ Stone
Gentleman June Gardner – It’s Gonna Rain (Emarcy)
Turtles – Buzz Saw (White Whale)
Promenade Hits Band – She’s Looking Good (Promenade)
Albert Collins – Don’t Lose Your Cool ( TCF/Hall)
Derek Martin – Daddy Rollin’ Stone (Crackerjack)
Alvin Cash & the Crawlers – The Barracuda (Mar V Lus)
Frank Frost – My Back Scratcher (Jewel)
Nat Kendrick & the Swans – Dish Rag (Dade)
Sam & Dave – I Said I Wasn’t Gonna Hurt Nobody (Stax)
Billy Lamont – Sweet Thang (20th Century)
Billy Preston – Let the Music Play (Capitol)
Bobby Powell & Jackie Johnson – Done Got Over (Whit)
Willie Mitchell – Respect (Hi)
Carl Holmes & the Commanders – I Want My Ya Ya (Parkway)
David Rockingham Trio – Soulful Chant (Josie)
Emperors – Got To Find My Baby (Mala)
Johnny Copeland – Wake Up Little Suzy (Wand)
Harvey Scales & the Seven Sounds – The Get Down (Magic Touch)
Mickey Murray – Hit Record (SSS Intl)
Lewis Clark – Dog (Ain’t a Man’s Best Friend) (Brent)
Scatman Crothers – Golly Zonk! It’s Scatman (HBR)
Don Gardner – People Sure Act Funny (Red Top)
Earl King – Trick Bag (Imperial)
Little Joe Curtis – Your Miniskirt (Alshire)
I’d like to welcome one and all to the 2009 edition of the Funky16Corners Blog Pledge Drive.
This is the third year that I come to you, asking for donations to help keep the Funky16Corners Blog (and family of associated blogs) and webzine up and running (at least as far as interwebs based storage in concerned).
As it stands, in addition to all the standard graphics and individual sound files, there are now 79 mixes in the Funky16Corners Podcast Archive (more to come as I gather and post all the non-Funky16 mixes I’ve done for other sites) and another 25 in the Iron Leg Digital Trip Archive. As has always been the case, I pay for dedicated server space where I store all these files, and as has always been the case, this costs a little bit of money. Back in the olden days I was able to depend on free space, but thanks to some hot linkage back in ought-six the blog underwent a sudden and sustained increase in traffic that necessitated moving into paid digs.
If you’ve been following the blog with any frequency you’ll know that this year the situation is a little more critical since yours truly is no longer gainfully employed. This is not to say that I’m not working, since I resigned my position so that I could remain home to care for my two sons, but aside from the fringe benefit of spending lots of quality time with the kids, the pay is – how do you say? – non-existent.
That said, the blogs will continue unabated, since this is what I do. If you count the Funky16Corners web zine, I’ve been at this since 2001. The Funky16Corners Blog will celebrate its 5th anniversary on the interwebs this November (Iron Leg will be two years old at the end of June).
If you dig what we do here, and have the means and the will to throw a couple of bucks into the operating budget (as it is), you need only click on the Paypal links below and do so (special thanks to those of you that contributed between the drives) . If you don’t want to, or can’t afford to, that’s cool too. Times are (really) tough all over, and if the music that I post here makes you happy, or soothes your soul in any way at all, pass it on to a friend and spread the good vibes.
NOTE: If you’ve been having any trouble going through the donation process at Paypal, make sure to click on the blue “update total” button to complete the process. – LG
I was just ruminating the other day on the idea that blogging (at least on my end) has really changed the way that I listen to music. Digging out and exploring individual tracks in depth, especially on headphones, which creates a kind of closed loop wherein one can really get inside of a record, moving around the back alleys of an arrangement, finding all manner of hidden wonders that are overlooked in a casual/passive listening environment. This is probably true for anyone who consumes the majority of their music via headphones, in my case through the almighty iPod. One of the reasons I started doing the Funky16Corners Radio mixes was – aside from a compulsion to gather and frame music in a thematic fashion, which goes back to the earliest days of mix-tapes – so that I could sit down and dig into a group of songs.
As has been stated in this space several times in the past, I make these mixes as much for myself as I do for you folks. The Funky16Corners Radio playlist has verily burned a hole in my iPod, providing the lions share of my listening when I was chained to a desk, and almost as much when I find the time during the day. That someone besides me gets some enjoyment out of the enterprise is a (very) happy by product.
Since the inception of the Funky16Corners Radio thing back in 2006, there have been all kinds of mixes, many themed geographically (i.e. New Orleans and Philadelphia), a number of Hammond organ mixes (you know how I roll), lots of general soul and funk mixes and in the last two years a bunch of jazzy collections (which are some of my faves) (over 1,000 tracks in the mixes alone).
Since this is the 70th edition of Funky16Corners Radio, I thought that the time was right for a return to the roots with a collection of straight ahead soul. There’s some R&B, and a touch of the funk here and there, but by and large what you get in Funky16Corners Radio v.70 is a soundtrack for what has been referred to here in the past as your next ripple and potato chip party. Get your friends together with a large quantity of alcohol (or the intoxicant of your choice), slap this one on an MP3 delivery device, sit back and watch things get out of hand. By the end of the (nearly an) hour, the floor is going to be littered with cans, bottles, articles of clothing, someone’s going to have locked themselves in the restroom (doing God knows what) and that guy from the office will be out on the deck wondering how he burned off his eyebrows with the barbecue grill.
I slapped on my miners helmet and descended into the darkest corners of the Funky16Corners warehouse, fireproof gloves and tongs in hand, to bring back a selection of rough and ready bangers. A couple of these numbers may be familiar to long time visitors of the blog, but reframed properly, in a new and exciting context, the old and familiar will soon reveal hidden charms.
So, things get underway with what is probably my all time favorite New Orleans instrumental, Gentleman June Gardner’s ‘It’s Gonna Rain’. Believe it or not this is a cover of a Sonny & Cher song (the flipside of ‘I Got You Babe’).
Keeping things on the incongruous Sunset Strip 1960s tip, I bring you the Turtles (?!?!?) with ‘Buzz Saw’. Known far and wide to crate digger types and Hammond aficionados, ‘Buzz Saw’, which is unlike anything else the Turtles ever recorded, is a positively slamming and extremely greasy organ workout. My suspicion has always been that the organist on ‘Buzz Saw’ was someone outside of the band, but if anyone knows different, drop me a line.
The next track is a cover of Rodger Collins’ ‘She’s Looking Good’ as performed by the wholly anonymous Promenade Records band (they’re not actually given any name at all on the record). This originated on a two-EP set (with a cool picture sleeve) composed of covers of then contemporary tune (rock and soul) that I found at a record show. Going by the Newark, NJ address, my assumption is that this is related somehow to the Peter Pan childrens record company, which released a couple of non-kids exploito cash-in collections over the years. Whoever the singer is, he does a pretty nice job.
Albert Collins is a huge personal fave of mine. Though he is most often associated with the blues, mainly due to his later career when he recorded for the Alligator label, Collins spent most of the 60s recording a series of genre-bending 45s for a variety of labels. The sounds he made touched on soul, garage, surf and pure rock’n’roll, even getting funky when he signed up with Imperial in the late 60s. ‘Don’t Lose Your Cool’ is one of his TFC/Hall 45s and swings like 60 from the git go.
The cut that gives this mix its name, ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ by Derek Martin is indisputably one of the great soul records of the 60s. Need I say more?
‘The Barracuda’ is yet another in a long line of similarly burning, lo-fi and blazing numbers laid down by Chitown wonders Alvin Cash and the Crawlers. Like the mighty Jerry-O, Alvin and his pals managed to take a formula, work it to death but doing so in a way that keeps you coming back.
Speaking of good and greasy, when you’re working in the sonic universe things just don’t get any moreso than when Frank Frost plugged in his git-box and kicked up some juke joint dust with the mighty ‘My Back Scratcher’, wherein Slim Harpo and Mongo Santamaria fall under the wheels of a speeding bus, get scraped up off the road, tossed in a blender, served over ice with a twist of Dixie Peach. Try not moving to this one.
I don’t know much about Nat Kendrick and the Swans, other than the fact that they recorded for Henry Stone’s Florida-based Dade imprint, and that there is a distinct possibility that this is in fact an extra-contractual James Brown-related side. How does one do the dish rag???
Sam and Dave said they weren’t going to hurt nobody. They LIED!!!! This track is a killer.
Billy Lamont was an R&B/soul journeyman when he went into the studio in the mid-60s, with a freaky young cat by the name of James Marshall Hendrix and recorded the brutal ‘Sweet Thang’. Heavy stuff indeed, though not as heavy as Jimi would get a year or so down the pike.
Though Billy Preston would spend the 70s as a major recording star, he spent much of the previous decade playing the organ behind other performers like Little Richard and Ray Charles. He also got a couple of opportunities to record under his own name, for a variety of labels (including Derby, Vee Jay and Capitol) many of which are stellar. The finest of these – at least in my opinion – is ‘Let the Music Play’ in which Mr. Preston is assisted ably by a young Sylvester Stewart, soon to change his name to Sly Stone. Do yourself a favor and slap on the headphones for this one and dig the stereo panning with the screams in the chorus. Very groovy indeed!
Louisiana-based singer Bobby Powell was featured here not long ago with a solid cover of the Staple Singer’s ‘Why Am I Treated So Bad’. The tune I bring you in this mix is a rollicking duet with singer Jackie Johnson (about whom I know nothing) entitled ‘Done Got Over’.
While I was prowling around in the crates compiling this mix I happened upon one of the many Willie Mitchell LPs I have and grabbed this groovy little cover of ‘Respect’. Give it a listen and I think you’ll dig it.
Another band from the list of folks that worked with (but sadly did not record with) Jimi Hendrix before he hit it big is Philadelphia’s own Carl Holmes and the Commanders. Holmes recorded consistently through the 60s for Parkway, Atlantic and other labels, laying down R&B, soul and a couple of slices of slamming funk. The Commanders ‘I Want My Ya Ya’ is one of their earlier sides, from the days when they were playing up and down the East Coast, and serving (according to Animal House writer Chris Miller) as one of the models for Otis Day and the Knights in ‘Animal House’.
The David Rockingham Trio are a serious presence in the Funky16Corners Hammond crates. ‘Soulful Chant’ is by far my fave number by the band.
The Emperors – who hailed from the Harrisburg area but recorded in Philadelphia – laid down some very hot soul sides for Mala and Brunswick. In addition to their smoking version of Don Gardner’s ‘My Baby Likes To Boogaloo’, they also recorded the killer ‘Got To Find My Baby’.
Johnny Copeland is another one of the great rocking bluesmen. I happened upon his version of ‘Wake Up Little Susie’, which stomps all over the original, sounding like Johnny and Huey P Meaux had the Everlys tied up and locked in the trunk of a car. It is without doubt the wildest version you’ll ever hear of this particular song.
If you were ever tempted to doubt the soulful pedigree of the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you might want to take a second and investigate the discography of Mr Harvey Scales and his Seven Sounds, who, it must me said, kick ass. A fine example of this ass-kicking power is the mighty – and appropriately titled – ‘The Get Down’, during which Harvey and the boys do indeed (get down).
Mickey Murray is best known for his wailing version of ‘Shout Bamalama’, but the funkier ‘Hit Record’ manages to be soulful and of instructional value at the same time.
I know nothing about Lewis Clark, aside from the undeniable fact that ‘Dog (Ain’t a Man’s Best Friend)’ is high quality, even higher octane soul. Clark recored for the Brent label, which also released some excellent garage punk 45s.
If you didn’t hear Scatman Crothers wailing when I first posted ‘Golly Zonk! It’s Scatman’ a while back, then open your ears and dig, because in addition to his Coolsville Hall of Fame turn as the voice of Hong Kong Phooey, Scatman absolutely BURNS on this one, on the HBR label, home to much wailing garage punk.
I mentioned Don Gardner earlier (in relation to the essential ‘My Baby Likes To Boogaloo’). Go back a few years before that and dig his smoking, Ray Charles-esque take on Titus Turner’s ‘People Sure Act Funny’. Gardner’s frequent partner Dee Dee Ford is mentioned on the label, but I don’t hear her in the mix.
We head back down to New Orleans for a certified classic by the great Earl King. King recorded a wide variety of bluesy sounds under his own name, as well as writing several classic tunes and performing on other people’s records, including providing the voice and whistling (and composition) on Professor Longhair’s ‘Big Chief’. ‘Trick Bag’ brings us a lyrical taste of the New Orleans voodoo culture, along with a great vocal by King.
Things close out with another odd bit of soul, this time by Little Joe Curtis. Taken from a compilation on the exploito Alshire label (where it appeared alongside some psyche by the Animated Egg and a couple of easy listening cuts), ‘Your Miniskirt’ borrows liberally from the Fantastic Johnny C’s ‘Boogaloo Down Broadway’.
I hope you dig this edition of Funky16Corners Radio and if you can afford it, toss something into the tip cup as you pass by. I’ll be back next week with more soulful goodness.