Archive for the ‘Blue-eyed soul’ Category

Shorty feat. Georgie Fame – Somebody Stole My Thunder

November 12, 2009

Example

Clive gets his suave on….

Example

Listen/Download -Shorty feat. Georgie Fame – Somebody Stole My Thunder

Greetings all.
I hope the end of the week finds you well.
I for one couldn’t be happier that the work week is over, so that I might once again hang with the fam in a relaxed setting. There’s nothing worse than coming directly off a vacation and jumping right back into work/school/routine. It almost makes you think twice about vacationing in the first place (almost…).
Of course, had I not gone away last weekend I wouldn’t have found the LP from which today’s selection originates (as well as a grip of other future Funky16Corners and Iron Leg tunes).
The song in question is the ‘live’ version of the sought after ‘Somebody Stole My Thunder’ by the mighty Georgie Fame.
Surely some of you are familiar with the former Mr Clive Powell, especially those of you with roots in the world of Mod where Mr Fame is nothing less than the equivalent of a smooth, Hammond wrangling holy man.
Fame was, from the early 60s –  where he mixed equal parts Fats Domino and Mose Allison with the sounds of the beat era –  a singular talent, transcending his birth in Larry Parnes’ teen idol factory to become an icon of swinging cool.
He had a couple of hits in the US (’Yeh Yeh’ in 1965 and ‘Getaway’ in 1966) but was a major star in the UK through the 60s and early 70s. The LP ‘Shorty: featuring Georgie Fame’, which was released in 1970 seems in hindsight to have been an effort to apply an edge, or at least a festival/ballroom era veneer to Fame’s career, remaking him from a ‘personality’ and presenting him as part of a band (thus Shorty…). The project was short-lived (though the band did tour the US, appearing at the Fillmore West on a bill with Lee Michaels and Rod Stewart), and a close listen to the album reveals that ‘Shorty’ were less of a distinct band identity, pretty much sounding like Georgie Fame with a backing group.
Bassist Brian Odgers had played in Sweet Thursday, guitarist Colin Green had played on previous Fame LPs, drummer Harvey Burns played with Cat Stevens and Al Stewart and saxophonist Alan Skidmore was a veteran of the London R&B scene, having played with both Alexis Korner and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.
The ‘Shorty’ album includes a couple of tunes from the previous year’s ‘Seventh Son’ LP as well as a reworking of the chestnut ‘Parchman Farm’.
‘Somebody Stole My Thunder’ is a funky, dancefloor mover with a sharp guitar line, churning Hammond and sax, and of course a stylish vocal by Georgie. It’s a little more diffuse than the studio version (popular on dancefloors the world over) but it still packs a wallop.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back on Monday with something groovy.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

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

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

The Four Seasons – Beggin’

October 4, 2009

Example

The Four Seasons

Example

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

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

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

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

The Babies – The Hand of Fate

September 24, 2009

Example

The Babies

Example

Listen/Download – The Babies – The Hand of Fate

Greetings all.
At long last the work week is grinding to halt and we can all get ready to let loose on the weekend.
It’s been a busy week hereabouts, filled with both real world moves and unreal (i.e. records) escapades.
If you’re a longtime follower of the Funky16Corners blog you might remember a few years back when my father-in-law brought me a gigantic stash of 45s that he found when he was out searching for antiques. I spent the better part of a summer going through those records, finding everything from Hammond funk to twee pop.
I was down in the basement the other day doing some laundry and I spied the last few boxes of unexplored 45s up on a shelf and decided to have a sit down to see what I missed on the first go-round.
I managed to pull about a dozen interesting pop/rock discs, and two very cool soul 45s, one of which I bring you today.
When I pulled a disc by a group called the Babies out of one of the crates, I didn’t expect much, but since it was a mid-60s Dunhill release (and had been arranged by the great Gene Page) I figured it was worth a spin, so I put it on the keeper stack and brought it upstairs.
I checked out one side and it didn’t do anything for me. However, when I dropped the needle on ‘The Hand of Fate’ what I got was a very tasty slice of Northern style soul. I set off to the interwebs to see what I could dig up.
As it turns out, the answer was “not much”.
However (again) what I did find was intriguing. It turns out that the Babies tune did in fact have a certain amount of popularity on the Northern Soul scene in the UK. ‘The Hand of Fate’ was released by Dunhill in 1967. In a promotional ad I found (see above) it shows that the Babies were in fact a white group, and that Dunhill tried at least once to tie them in to the success of the Mamas and Papas.
I was able to locate a personal reminiscence of someone that remembered the group. They named one of the members as Rita Hurtzberg*, and said that although she and the other girls in the group hailed from Beverly Hills, California, they worked the R&B side of the street, opening for the likes of Cannibal and the Headhunters and Thee Midnighters in East LA.
The legendary Gene Page was an LA-based arranger who had in fact worked with the Mamas and Papas, but was best known for his work with soul artists like Dobie Gray, Solomon Burke and several Motown artists.
‘The Hand of Fate’ has a great four on the floor beat wrapped in the kind of classy strings and vibes that the Northern Soulies love so much. The lead vocal (Ms. Hurtzberg??) is really quite good, sounding like a slightly deeper-voiced Lulu. The real star of the show however is Page’s arrangement, which is pure, stylish, urban soul at it’s best. Had the record been marketed as such, it may not have been a hit, but it would surely be better known than it is. As it stands, it’s something of a lost classic of blue-eyed soul. The Babies had one other single on Dunhill before passing on into the dark caverns of obscurity.
Thank God for the Northern crowd**, and for the concept of heading back into a neglected stack of 45s. There is definitely something to be said for leaving no stone unturned.
I hope you dig the record and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

*I’ve found references to a Rita Hurtzberg singing backup on an album by one of the members of Rhinoceros.

**It’s interesting to note that while this record is all but unknown over here, in the UK it’ll run you about $40

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some great 1967 LA folk pop

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook