Archive for October, 2009

Put On Your Travelling Shoes….

October 7, 2009

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…and head on over to the Hook and Sling blog (as of Wed AM UK time…) to check out a little mid-tempo funk exercise that I assembled in honor of their second anniversary.
If you fall by Funky16Corners on the reg you’ll already know I dig the Hook and Sling crew (could they have named themselves after a cooler song?) since I’ve hopped into the “guest mix” bag for them a couple of times already (see Guest Mix Archive for results).
DJs Hoppin’ John and Mr. Double Down have a good thing going over  there (in the UK clubs as well) and I was honored to once again put a little something together.
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Friday.

Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for some fuzzed out folk rock.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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The Four Seasons – Beggin’

October 4, 2009

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The Four Seasons

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Listen/Download – The Four Seasons – Beggin’

Greetings all.
I hope all is well on your end of things.
I was doing my standard ‘look into the digi-ma-tization archive and see what I like’ exercise, and while selecting musical wonderment to pass on to you via the ones and zeros on the interwebs and what not I happened upon something I picked up earlier this year. The song in question had been on my radar for a while (in a once removed kind of way, but more on that in a minute) and the artist even more so.
Having had my pop music horizons expanded, nay blown the fuck apart back when I was a kid by an ‘oldies’ station, the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons has been hovering around my ears for decades, but it wasn’t until rather late in the game that I started to actually give it a listen.
Back in the day the music of the Four Seasons, though ubiquitous, was rather alien to me. I always had a hard time adjusting to Valli’s falsetto gymnastics, and the Four Seasons’ sound was an odd amalgam of things that I was too young and inexperienced to grasp. As the years went by and my musical vocabulary expanded drastically, I began to encounter Four Seasons records with what was basically a new set of ears.
What was once a jumble of seemingly incongruous parts started to come into focus. Once I understood the group’s modern adaptation of doo-wop style harmonies, and gave their records a “deeper” hearing I started to realize that what I was listening to was a bridge of sorts from the pop stylings of the early 60s and the new sonic playground of the mid-60s. I started to hear fuzz guitars, stomping feet, unusual keyboard sounds and what was in essence a tightening (focusing) of the Wall of Sound within a small group context.
This had a lot to do with group member – as well as producer (with Bob Crewe)  and main songwriter – Bob Gaudio, who would eventually leave the performing end of the Four Seasons to work exclusively behind the scenes. The AllMusic Guide entry on the band by William Ruhlmann is an excellent appreciation of the band and places them firmly in the ranks of major American bands of the 60s.
That said, I came to appreciate and respect the music of the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (even indirectly via the Walker Brothers cover of Valli’s ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’). The ‘once removed’ group I mentioned above was the UK freakbeat/blue eyed soul band Timebox who’s cover of today’s selection ‘Beggin’’ made its way into my ears long before I knew it had originally been written and recorded by the Four Seasons. The Timebox version has a certain amount of cache with the Northern Soul crowd, and though there are those that will tell you that it is superior to the original, I (and a recording of the latter) am here to tell you that they are incorrect.
When I finally got my hands on the Four Seasons 1967 LP ‘New Gold Hits’, I rushed home to give ‘Beggin’’ a spin, and was pleasantly surprised. There’s no question that the Four Seasons had a soulful side (with records like ‘You’re Ready Now’ and ‘The Night’ spun frequently on UK dancefloors) , but it really comes to the fore in ‘Beggin’’.
The song’s arrangement, opening with an arsty, neoclassical flourish, soons break open into a Four Tops*-ish dancer with a thumping bass line, layered with piano chords and strings. The chorus, with Valli and the Four Seasons in harmony with a ringing, sitar-like guitar and clapping hands takes ‘Beggin’’ over the top.
If this isn’t getting soul night spins, then it certainly ought to be. I know I’ll be packing in my record bag.
In 2007 the French DJ Pilooski did a re-edit of ‘Beggin” that eventually went to #1 on the UK dance charts. It has since been used in a commercial for the Adidas.
I hope you dig he song, and I’ll be back with something cool on Wednesday.

Peace

Larry

*The Four Seasons would eventually sign with the Motown subsidiary Mowest

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Willard Burton & the Pacifiers – Warm the Pot (Till It Gets Good and Hot)

October 1, 2009

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Listen/Download – Willard Burton & the Pacifiers – Warm the Pot (Till It Gets Good and Hot)

Greetings all.
I hope the end of the week finds you all well.
I’m sitting here, multi-tasking, writing, digi-ma-tizing vinyl, e-digging, and generally just being an all around good guy (or trying).
I’m also freezing my ass off. What the hell happened? I took the little Corners out to wait for the bus(es) this morning and immediately realized that this would have to be the last day they’d be dressed in shorts. It had to be in the high 40s (if that). I understand that it’s Fall, but it all seems to have happened rather abruptly.
It’s not like I don’t dig the crisp Fall air, but the change is yet another indicator that time has indeed been flying, and I’ve been too occupied with the doings of real life to pay enough attention. It’s as if instead of waltzing in on a wave of red and gold, Fall crept up behind me and smacked me in the head.
In an abstract musical attempt to turn up the heat, I dipped into the crates for a very tasty bit of late period funk from the one and only Willard Burton.
It’s safe to say that although I cherish the few Willard Burton 45s I carry in my DJ box (the other being the excellent ‘Funky In Here’, included in Funky16Corners Radio v.12 Hammond Funk #1) I have never really been able to nail down much in the way of biographical information.
I can say with certainty that Burton recorded a number of 45s through the 60s and 70s for labels like Peacock, Money, Capitol, Ala and Genie, leading groups like the Funky Four, the Firemen and in the case of today’s selection, ‘The Pacifiers’.
‘Warm the Pot (Till It Gets Good and Hot)’*, released in 1976 was the final single on the long running (22 years) West Coast R&B/soul label Money records (Bettye Swan, Don Julian and the Larks). As I described it earlier, ‘Warm the Pot’ is “late period” funk, just this side of the synthesizer drenched call of the YEOWWW. The bass and guitar riff has just a hint of the O’Jays ‘For the Love of Money’ to it, and I dig the Funkadelic vibe in the guitar solo. There’s not much in the way of the Hammond of ‘Funky In Here’ (I always assumed that Burton was the vocalist and keyboard player), but the overall vibe is very cool on the stoner funk tip.
The A side of ‘Warm the Pot’, ‘Let me Be Your Pacifier’ was covered by both Tyrone Davis and Garland Green
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for some PNW sunshine pop.

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