Archive for the ‘Boogaloo’ Category

Joe Cuba Sextet – Psychedelic Baby (You’re Psychin’ Up My Mind)

January 13, 2009

Example

Example

The always stylish Joe Cuba Sextet

Example

Listen – Joe Cuba Sextet – Psychedelic Baby (You’re Psychin’ Up My Mind) – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope the middle of the week finds you well, and that you all found Monday’s selection as groovy as I did.
The tune I bring you today comes to you courtesy of the purveyors of a couple of the all-time great Latin soul/boogaloo cuts. The group: The Joe Cuba Sextet, the tunes; ‘El Pito’ and ‘Bang Bang’.
Today’s selection is a cut from the JC6’s 1967 ‘My Man Speedy’ LP, and is a cool little window into the outer reaches of the boogaloo landscape where the overall reach for popular crossover – for what is boogaloo is not one of the great crossover movements of the 60s?- is amplified lyrically, in this case (as in many cuts on the competing Cotique label) using the term ‘psychedelic’, employed largely out of context, yet not without charm. I make that particular point not to damn the JC6, but to point out that in a era where every record company suit with a fat stogie in his mouth was stapling the word ‘psychedelic’ to everything on wax, the JC6’s use of the term, in that context, can hardly be considered offensive.
The tune in question, ‘Pyschedelic Baby (You’re Psychin’ Up My Mind)’ was written by Bobby Marin, who also wrote the oft sampled ‘I’ll Be a Happy Man’ for the Latin Blues Band. The cut has a pop edge with a nice repeated piano/vibes riff. There’s also a nice little timbale breakdown (with some echoey vocal effects) in the middle of the tune as well, followed by a nice vibes solo by Joe.
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Friday with something very nice.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a garage band soul cover

PSS Check out Paperback Rider which has finally been updated.

The TNT Band – The Meditation

January 11, 2009

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Example

Tony & Tito of the TNT Band

Example

Listen – TNT Band – The Meditation – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope all is well on your end, and that you’re all ready to get down with a week full of Latin soul.
If you want to immerse yourself in something a little more long-form, you can always hit the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive and take a soak in Funky16Corners Radio v.51 Spanish Grease. I wasn’t ready to jump into another mix, but I did pull a couple of sweet boogaloo 45s out of the crates, so I thought I’d share them with you this week.
I’ve related the story here a few times, of how some years ago my most righteous father-in-law drove down from the hinterlands and dropped something like 3,000 45s on me, which I spent the better part of a summer going through. I pulled a grip of 45s for my own crates, a couple of boxes to sell/trade, and weeded out several hundred that ended up going to the landfill (though the percentage of quality vinyl to crap was exceedingly high).
One of the disc that caught my eye instantly was the only Cotique label 45 in the lot, ‘The Meditation’ by the TNT Band. It was pretty well rinked, but I put it aside in a box of to-be-listened-to stuff, where it sat for months. When I finally got around to checking it out I was blown away. I was also pissed off, since (as I mentioned) the record looked like it had been holding up the short leg of a kitchen table, and sounded like the TNT Band had recorded the song during a hailstorm. It was way too damaged to DJ with (or to record, listen to, or blog).
Naturally – as is always the case in these situations – ‘The Meditation’ went onto my want list, where it remained for a good long time.
Last summer I happened upon a much nicer copy (still not mint, but I won’t stand on ceremony), immediately digi-ma-tized it, and placed it into the to-be-blogged folder, where it sat waiting for some company (the rest of which you’ll be hearing this week).
The two T’s in TNT were Tony Rojas and Tito Ramos. Ramos had previously sung with both Johnny Colon and Joe Bataan. ‘The Meditation’ was released in 1969, charted regionally and was reportedly a big dancefloor hit in New York.
Aside from the fact that it’s a very groovy side, it falls into that particularly interesting subset of soulful records that find their inspiration in the model put forth by Archie Bell and the Drells’ ‘Tighten Up’ (there are a grip of those and someday I will assemble many of them for a Funky16Corners Radio feature).
The TNT Band recorded a handful of LPs for Cotique (also home to the La-Teens, Lebron Brothers, Chollo Rivera and the Latin Soul Drives, and oddly enough several records by “break-in” king Dickie Goodman) in the late 60s before fading away (sadly) like the rest of the boogaloo craze.
‘The Meditation’ is a stone classic that brings us a taste of summer in the cold air of January.
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Wednesday with something caliente

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a garage band soul cover

PSS Check out Paperback Rider which has finally been updated.

Merl Saunders RIP

October 26, 2008

Example

Merl Saunders
1934 – 2008

Listen/Download – Merl Saunders – Soul Groovin – From Funky16Corners Radio v.35 – Soul Organs Pt2 – MP3

Listen/Download – Merl Saunders – Soul Roach Pt2 from Funky16Corners Radio v.55 Soul On – MP3

Listen/Download – Merl Saunders – Julia – from Funky16Corners Radio v.24.5 The Beat Goes On – MP3

Listen/Download – Merl Saunders & Heavy Turbulence – A Little Bit of Righteousness – from Funky16Corners Radio v.53 Ain’t It The Truth- MP3

Greetings all.
I had something entirely different already written up for the beginning of the week, but unfortunately I just heard that one of my fave organists, and one of the truly interesting lights of the Bay Area music scene, Merl Saunders, had passed away at the age of 74*.
Though I’m sure I knew of Saunders during the few years I was going to see the Grateful Dead – Saunders had recorded with various members of the band, especially Jerry Garcia – I didn’t really start to get into his music until I dug up one of his Galaxy label soul jazz sides.
Merl Saunders was born and raised in the Bay Area, and before he started grooving with the hippified element, he fronted a slamming organ combo, recording for a variety of west coast labels, including Galaxy and Early Bird.
Though I managed to find most of his early 45s over the years, it was only earlier this year that I finally scored a copy of the rare ‘Soul Grooving’ LP by the Merl Saunders Trio and Big Band.
Saunders had a fantastic touch on the Hammond, working soul jazz, funk and rock with equal facility. His organ stylings have been a repeated part of the Funky16Corners Radio experience, appearing in no less that four different mixes.
The tunes I’m posting today range from his earliest soul jazz efforts right through to some of his funkier sounds.
The first cut is my personal favorite, the cut ‘Soul Grooving’, which features Saunders on both organ and electric piano. Dig the thumping bass and groovy guitar solo on this one.
The second tune is the flip side of his 45 for the collectible Early Bird label, ‘Soul Roach Pt2’, which is as pure a piece of soul jazz organ shuffle as you’re likely to come across.
The third track is another fave, and very unusual in the Saunders catalog, a version of the theme from the Diahann Carroll TV series ‘Julia’, another cut on which he doubles on organ and piano. I love the electric piano solo on this one. Very groovy indeed.
The final cut is one side of the 1970 45 recorded by Saunders with the group Heavy Turbulence. I’ve heard that the funky ‘A Little Bit of Righteousness’ features none other than Mike Bloomfield of the Electric Flag on guitar. Saunders went on to record an album called ‘Heavy Turbulence’ in 1972 which featured both Garcia and Tom Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival.
In the 70s, Saunders went from working a soul groove to laying down a jamming groove as a part of the extended Grateful Dead family, recording with the Dead, and on solo albums by Garcia and Robert Hunter , and eventually recording the classic ‘Blues From The Rainforest’ LP.
He was felled by a stroke in 2002, and it was reportedly complications from that ailment that took his life this past week.
He will be missed.
Peace
Larry

*I know that the blog is starting to look like the soul/funk obituary page, but when someone of note passes, it’s important to honor their memory. I’ve always thought that the obit page was the last stop for many interesting people before passing on to the great beyond of their choice. With any luck, if you’ve never heard anything by Merl Saunders, and you dig what I posted, you’ll continue to investigate his work, keeping his music alive.

PS Make sure to head over to Iron Leg for a new edition of the Iron Leg Digital Trip Podcast devoted to 60s pop.

Funky16Corners Radio v.59 – Hammond Madness!

October 19, 2008

Example

Funky16Corners Radio v.59 – Hammond Madness!

Playlist

Dave Baby Cortez – Twine Time (Roulette)
Georgie Fame – The In Crowd (Imperial)
Jackie Ivory – Thank Heaven (Atco)
Mark 3 Trio – Mr G (Downhill)
Al Kooper – Soul Hoedown (UA)
Bill Doggett – Fingertips (Columbia)
Leon Haywood – A River’s Invitation (Convoy)
RD Stokes – Partying Groove (II Bros)
Art Jerry Miller – Mod Strut (Enterprise)
Doc Bagby – Mix It Up (VIM)
Gene Ludwig – Sticks and Stones Pt1 (Atlantic)
Hollis Floyd – Everything Is Everything (Silloh)
Keith Mansfield Orchestra – Moanin; (Pronit)
Richard Groove Holmes – 1-2-3 (Prestige)
David Rockingham – Little Davie (Dee Dee)
Odell Brown – Hard to Handle (Cadet)
Bobby Emmons – Blue Organ (Hi)

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

Greetings all.

I hope the new week finds you well, and ready to download, reload and grease up the joint with a steaming plate of Hammond.
The mix I bring you today is the tenth Hammond-theme edition of the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast. Since Funky16Corners Radio v.8 (Hammond Internationale) back in August of 2006, we’ve covered funk, soul, R&B, long players, and the Hammond stylings of James Brown (to date the only single-artist Hammond mix). If you don’t know by now, that I ride hard for some Hammond*, you haven’t been paying attention.
The mix we bring you today, F16Rv.59, has some unusual things by some old faves, a couple of rarities and as always, a surplus of groove.
Things get started with a smoking version of Alvin Cash’s ‘Twine Time’ by the great Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of DBC’s mid-period Roulette stuff, but it does contain some gems, and this track is a case in point.
Georgie Fame has appeared in this space many times before. Known best to fans of British Beat, Fame was a great Mose Allison/Jon Hendricks influenced vocalist as well as a killer organist. His albums always included a couple of instrumental workouts (including one of my all time faves ‘El Bandido’), and his version of Dobie Gray’s ‘The In Crowd’ is a great example.
I don’t know much about Jackie Ivory. I was first hepped to his playing via a mix sent to me by a friend, and eventually picked up a jukebox EP of his on the Atco label. His sound was a lot more jazz than soul, but groovy nonetheless.
The Mark 3 Trio is one of my personal Hammond ‘white whales’. As far as I can tell, there were probably two different organ trios working under that name. The first, recorded for IN, Atco and Wingate. The other (the one in this mix) recorded an extremely rare LP at (and released by) a ski lodge, and featured none other than a young Grover Washington Jr. on sax. The fidelity on the LP is very poor, so forgive any weakness in sound quality.
Al Kooper’s ‘Soul Hoedown’ is a track from his soundtrack to a very cool film, ‘The Landlord’. Though the tune is short, it does sport a drum break, and some great playing by Kooper.
Bill Doggett was one of the greatest masters of soul jazz organ, recording classic sides for many labels, including the crate diggers staple ‘Honky Tonk Popcorn’. He recorded a couple of LPs for Columbia, including 1963s ‘Fingertips’. The title track, a cover of the Little Stevie Wonder classic is a swinging killer. If you can find the album, grab it as it also includes ‘The Worm’.
Leon Haywood is best known as a singer of sweet soul like ‘It’s Got to Be Mellow’ but those in the know will tell you that he was also an organist, often placing instrumentals on the B-sides of his vocal 45s. Prior to his establishment as a vocalist, he recorded a number of instro-only 45s for a variety of labels. His cover of Percy Mayfield’s ‘River’s Invitation’ is one of the best.
I can’t tell you anything about R.D. Stokes, other than that he recorded two 45s, and that he’s my second favorite organist from Watts, following Labert Ellis. While ‘Partying Groove’ may lack the ferocious attack of ‘My Sandra’s Jump’ (which appeared in Funky16Corners Radio v.23.5, Old School Hammond) but it’s still very cool.
Art Jerry Miller is another one of those shadowy figures whose name pops up here and there on a number of Memphis recordings. He apparently worked with Willie Mitchell (he wrote the slamming ‘Up Hard’), prior to recording a 45 and an entire LP for the Stax subsidiary Enterprise, which included the track ‘Mod Strut’.
Doc Bagby was an old school Hammond player of the first order, laying down a long string of wax for many, many labels through the 50’s and 60’s. He never really made it into soul jazz (or out and out soul) but recorded some outstanding R&B, of which ‘Mix Up’ is my personal favorite. It’s one of those records that sound like its recording produced a strain on the equipment in the studio, needles in the red, vibes verily jumping from the grooves.
Gene Ludwig is the epitome of the Hammond aficionado’s favorite. Not well known to the rank and file, yet treasured by those in the know, Ludwig has been a master of the keyboard for six decades. He recorded for a number of small labels (and a few nationals like Mainstream and Atlantic). His version of Ray Charles ‘Sticks and Stones’ is ond of his finest.
Other than the fact that he hailed from Philly (like so many great organists), and got his start working alongside Philly legend Johnny Styles, I can’t tell you much about Hollis Floyd. Though I’m partial to his swinging cover of the Chi Lites ‘Have You Seen Her’, the tune in today’s mix, ‘Everything is Everything’ (the flip of the sought after ‘Black Poncho is Coming’) is excellent.
Keith Mansfield is one of the kings of the UK Library music field. His version of Bobby Timmons’ soul jazz standard ‘Moanin’ hails from the ‘All You Need Is Keith Mansfield’, which also included the original version of ‘Soul Thing’ (the one with the snappy break). I’m not positive, but I suspect the organist here is none other than Alan Hawkshaw (he of the Mohawks).
Richard Groove Holmes is another one of the accepted past masters of the soul jazz organ. His very groovy version of Len Barry’s ‘1-2-3’ has a nice, swinging Latin vibe that I dig very much.
David Rockingham recorded one of my all time fave organ sides – ‘Soulful Chant’ – one of several tunes he recorded for the Josie label. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that he recorded sides for a few other labels, including the grinding ‘Little Davie’ for the Dee Dee imprint.
The great Odell Brown (and his Organizers) were the subject of an extended feature back at the old Funky16Corners web zine. Following his extended run with the group, he went on to record two albums under his own name, one for Cadet and one for Paula. His version of ‘Hard To Handle’ comes from the Cadet LP, a tribute to Otis Redding.
This edition of Funky16Corners Radio comes to a close with a track that has actually appeared here before – featured as a single track – Bobby Emmons’ ‘Blue Organ’. Emmons was a stalwart of the American Studios crew, playing keyboards on countless rock, soul and country sessions during the 60s and 70s. ‘Blue Organ’ is one of his more soulful efforts, and can be scooped up on either 45, or on the LP ‘Blues With a Beat With An Organ’ (great title, huh?).
That all said, I hope you dig the mix, and I’ll be back later in the week with something unusual. Stay tuned as well. The fourth anniversary of the Funky16Corners Blog is approaching rapidly, and it will coincide with the 60th Funky16Corners Radio Podcast. I have something very cool planned, so watch for that in a few weeks.

Peace
Larry

*I’m sure that somewhere in this mix, and definitely in a few earlier ones there have been more than a few organ sides that were created on some other make of organ, but since the vast majority are Hammond, I figured I’d go with that.

PS Make sure to stop by Iron Leg for some great UK R&Beat…

PSS Check out Paperback Rider as well

Funky16Corners Radio v.55 – Soul On

August 13, 2008

Example

Funky16Corners Radio v.55 – Soul On

Playlist

Four Gents – Soul Sister (HBR)
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)

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

Greetings all.

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.
Peace
Larry

PS Make sure to stop by Iron Leg for a prime US 60s psyche 45

PSS Check out Paperback Rider as well

Funky16Corners Radio v.51 – Spanish Grease

June 15, 2008

Example

Funky16Corners Radio v.51 – Spanish Grease

Playlist

Mongo Santamaria – We Got Latin Soul (Columbia)
Joe Cuba Sextet – El Pito (Hit/Tico)
Armando Peraza – Wild Thing (Skye)
Harvey Averne Band – Runaway Child Running Wild (Uptite)
Fred Ramirez – Hold On I’m Coming (WB)
Latinaires – Camel Walk (Fania)
Rene Bloch & the Afro Blues Quintet – There Is a Mountain (Mira)
Willie Bobo – Spanish Grease (Verve)
Tito Puente – Oye Como Va (Tico)
Ricardo Ray – Stop Look & Listen (Alegre)
Jimmy Castor – Ham Hocks Espanol (Smash)
Ray Barretto – Love Beads (Fania)
Joe Bataan – Shaft (Fania)
Harvey Averne – Stand (Fania)
Latin Blues Band – (I’ll Be a) Happy Man (Speed)
Grupo Guerra 78 – Soul Makossa (Disco Lando)

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

Greetings all.

I didn’t think I was going to get it together (or set aside the time) to finish this mix and get it uploaded to the interwebs, but providence (and some Fathers Day related free time) stepped in and here you go.
I’ve been wanting to do a Latin soul mix for a loooong time. Why I never did has more to do with my haphazard record filing “system” than anything else, with a number of my fave Latin 45s in my DJ box and the rest scattered in various and sundry crates. I did try to put them all in one place, but after doing so promptly forgot which box I had put them in. A couple of these tracks have appeared on the Funky16Corners blog over the years, but this is the first full length Latin mix I’ve done.
Anyway, I have, since almost the beginning of my record obsession been a big fan of Latin jazz, and as the years went on and my knowledge of Latin soul and boogaloo expanded thanks to digging, info from friends and reading (reading after all being fundamental). I won’t front and tell you I’m some kind of expert on the genre, but I know what I like and there are a number of sides in this mix that I could listen to all day long without getting bored (not to mention a bunch that I did not include here which I’ll have to put in a second volume). It’s also the beginning of what promises to be a long, hot summer, and this is definitely summer music.
My love for Latin sounds has a LOT to do with the fact that I was for many years a drummer (I haven’t played regularly for a long ass time) and if you dig rhythm and percussion you can’t go wrong with wave after waves of congas, bongos, timbales, and all manner of shakers, bells and wood blocks, which you will find in surplus herein.
Some of the folks in this mix were the premier congueros (Ray Barretto, Joe Cuba, Mongo Santamaria) and timbaleros (“El Rey” Tito Puente) of their day.
Things get started with one of my fave 45s by Mongo Santamaria, his cover/reworking of Dyke & the Blazers ‘We Got More Soul”, retitled ‘We Got Latin Soul’. Mongo – like many of the players in this edition of Funky16Corners Radio – first came to prominence in Latin Jazz, playing with Cal Tjader among others. He broke on his own with his famed cover of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Watermelon Man in 1963 (one of the first major crossovers of the early boogaloo years) and went on to record a long series of popular albums for Columbia, Atlantic, Vaya and other labels in the 60’s and 70’s.
Joe Cuba’s 1965 ‘El Pito’ (built on a chant borrowed from Dizzy Gillespie) is a personal favorite. Cuba had a number of crossover hits including the oft covered ‘Bang Bang’ and the sublime ‘Que Son Uno’. Check your pulse if you don’t end up singing along with this one.
Armando Peraza is another percussionist who broke through as a sideman on the jazz scene (for George Shearing) and went on to play for Santana (with whom I saw him play on 1979). By the late 60’s he hooked up with Gary McFarland and recorded an LP for the Skye label which included his boogaloo-ization of the Troggs ‘Wild Thing’.
Harvey Averne was – like the great Larry Harlow* and DJ Symphony Sid Torin (a major popularizer of Latin sounds)– unusual in his prominence on the Latin scene, because unlike so many of his contemporaries who were either of Puerto Rican or Cuban descent, Averne was a Jew from the outer boroughs. He started playing Latin music as a teenager (as ‘Arvito’). He recorded some of the finest Latin soul records of the 60’s, going on to be a major player in the world of Salsa. His cover of the Temptations 1969 hit ‘Runaway Child Running Wild’ on the Fania subsidiary Uptite is a groover of the first order (More from Harvey later…).
I picked up Fred Ramirez’ cover of Sam & Dave’s ‘Hold On I’m Coming’ on a hunch some years ago (pre-portable) and as you’ll understand once you hear the record, I was very pleased with myself for doing so. I haven’t been able to discover much about Ramirez, other than he seemed to be a studio musician (playing both piano and vibes). Not only does this record start out with a nice break, but Ramirez’ piano swings.
I wish I could say that I owned an OG of the Latinaires’ ‘Camel Walk’ (this and the Latin Blues Band track are taken from reissue LPs), because it’s a killer. As it is, I’ll have to keep digging, but that shouldn’t stop you from appreciating the tune.
I’ve never been able to get the whole story on the Afro Blues Quintet, other that the occasional suggestion that at one time the group included members of War. I don’t know if their collaboration with saxophonist/flautist Rene Bloch extended beyond this 45. The tune we feature in this mix is a great cover of Donovan’s ‘There Is a Mountain’ (also nicely covered by Herbie Mann) with some cool interplay between the flute, piano and vibes.
Percussionist Willie Correa, started out as a translator for Mongo Santamaria (with who he studied the congas). Pianist Mary Lou Williams gave him the nickname ‘Bobo’ and it stuck. As Willie Bobo he recorded some of the finest Latin soul/jazz of the 60’s (even laying down some tasty funk) for the Verve label (that’s Bobo you hear singing on Cal Tjader’s ‘Soul Sauce (Guachi Guaro)’ ). My fave Bobo track is by far the driving ‘Spanish Grease’ clearly the inspiration for Santana’s ‘No One To Depend On’ (Santana would also cover Bobo’s ‘Fried Neckbones and Some Homefries’).
Back when I was a wet behind the ears high school kid I was lucky enough to see ‘El Rey’, the mighty Tito Puente play on stage alongside jazz legend Max Roach, In addition to my shock when Tito opened his mouth and a New York accent came out (like a first class rube, I assumed he was from the Caribbean) I was simply in awe of his playing. A few years later, when I unsleeved my copy of Santana’s ‘Abraxas’ LP and discovered that my fave Santana song was in fact a cover of a tune by Puente, I developed a whole new level of respect for the man. Though I still dig the cover, there is simply no substitute for Puente’s 1963 original. This is one of those records that just grabs your soul and lifts it, building over and over again. Brilliant.
Ricardo Ray, along with his sidekick Bobby Cruz was another of the greats of Latin soul. If you haven’t heard his BLAZING cover of ‘Nitty Gritty’, do yourself a favor and find yourself a copy of the 45 because it’s a killer. ‘Stop Look and Listen’ is cut from his 1967 ‘Jala Jala y Boogaloo’ LP. Ray is another artist who went on to become a giant of Salsa, eventually becoming a born again Christian and moved into the whole new genre of’ Christian Salsa’.
Singer/saxophonist Jimmy Castor is another non-Latin purveyor of the Latin sounds. He got his start writing and singing doowop, moving on in the mid-60’s to have a big hit (R&B Top 20, Pop Top 40 in 1967) with ‘Hey Leroy Your Mama’s Calling’. The instrumental ‘Ham Hocks Espanol’ is the flipside of that record. Though he went on to have hits in the funk genre, Castor kept Latin flavor in his records.
Another towering figure on the Latin scene, who also had a number of pop hits in his time was the legendary Ray Barretto. A master conguero, Barretto first hit the pop charts with ‘El Watusi’ in 1962. Barretto got his start as a sideman for Tito Puente, eventually moving on to a major career as a session man on countless jazz and Latin albums, and a place as one of the great innovators of Latin soul and funk. His 1968 ‘Acid’ album is a landmark of the genre featuring the brilliant ‘Soul Drummers’ and ‘A Deeper Shade of Soul’. Also coming out in 1968, ‘Love Beads’ was the flipside of the driving ‘Hard Hands’. Barretto went on to be the musical director of the Fania All Stars.
Joe Bataan is one of the kings of Latin soul, having recorded all manner of soul (hard and sweet) funk, salsa, disco and even rap in his 40+ year career. One of the funkier sides in his discography is his cover of Isaac Hayes’ ‘Theme from Shaft’.
We return to the sounds of Harvey Averne with his cover of Sly & the Family Stone’s ‘Stand’. This is one of my favorite Latin soul 45s, featuring a fantastic balance of sounds (I love the vibes on this track).
If the ‘(I’ll Be a) Happy Man’ by the Latin Blues Band featuring Luis Aviles sounds familiar, it’s because a sample from the record was the basis for Christina Aguilera’s hit ‘Ain’t No Other Man’. The tune features a driving beat and a fantastic horn chart.
I’ve never been able to find out anything about Grupo Guerra 78. I grabbed the 45 at a record show years ago because I’ll grab just about any over of ‘Soul Makossa’ that I can get my hands on. The label hails from Venezuela, but there are lots of South American pressings of Latin records from elsewhere. That said ‘Soul Makossa’ was popular with the Latin audience, which can be seen in the film of Manu Dibango playing the tune with the Fania All Stars at Yankee Stadium in 1973.
That all said, I hope you dig the mix (throw it at a party one of these hot summer nights and watch the crowd groove). There will definitely be another volume in the future, and I’ll be back later in the week with some more funk.

Peace
Larry

*Larry Harlow became known as El Judio Maravilloso (aka the Marvelous Jew).

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some Aussie 60’s pop

PSS Paperback Rider has been updated