Archive for the ‘disco’ Category

Funky16Corners Radio v.78 – Forbidden City Funk

December 27, 2009

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Funky16Corners Radio v.78 – Forbidden City Funk!

Playlist

Parliaments – Good Ole Music (Revilot)
Marlena Shaw – California Soul (Cadet)
Soulful Strings – Zambezi (Cadet)
Mystic Moods – Cosmic Sea (WB)
Bobby Byrd – I Know You Got Soul (King)
Willie Smith – I Got a New Thing (Genuine)
Louie Ramirez – Do It Any Way You Wanna (Cotique)
Willie Tell & The Overtures – Kick-Back (Chess)
Hoctor – Gold Coast (Hoctor)
La May – Free the Soul Man (SPQR)
Incredible Bongo Band – Apache (Mr Bongo reissue)
Melting Pot – Kool and the Gang (Ampex)
Danny Delaney – Stop and Think (Palmetto)
Cymande – Fug (Janus)
Chuck Carbo – Can I Be Your Squeeze (Canyon)
Louis Chachere – The Hen Pt1 (Paula)
David Batiste & the Gladiators – Funky Soul Pt1 (Instant)
Nanette Workman – Lady Marmalade (Pasha)
Laura Lee – Crumbs Off the Table (Hot Wax)
James Brown – Hot Pants Pt1 (People)
Lyn Collins – Think (About It) (People)
Roger & the Gypsies – Pass the Hatchet Pt1 (Seven B)


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

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The view from behind the decks at Forbidden City

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Getting ready to pull the trigger on Hoctor’s ‘Gold Coast’.

Greetings all.

The end of another year is at hand, and I thought I’d try something different this year. The fam and I are hitting the road for some relative-related visitation, so this will be it until the New Year.
Last Wednesday I had the honor of sharing the decks with my Asbury Park 45 Sessions cohort DJ Bluewater at his new Master Groove night at Forbidden City in Manhattan (the evening’s other guest selector was none other than the mighty M-Fasis). Forbidden City is a chill venue with some very cool people, and despite the holiday traffic and huge heaps of snow in the street I had a great time.
A couple of folks (specifically members of the Funky16Corners group on Facebook) requested a set list for the night, and while I was recovering from the Christmas festivities I thought it might be a cool idea to record the evening’s selections in a new edition of the Funky16Corners Radio podcast. The only real difference between this and any other edition of  F16C Radio, is that the tracks herein were selected on the fly, as I DJ’d. Certainly there was a level of selection inherent in what went into my DJ box (which holds about 75 singles) but the set itself was assembled on the spot at Forbidden City.
What you’ll be listening to is just over an hour of hot funk 45s (many breaks within) including a couple of new arrivals that will most certainly be blogged about separately in the coming months.
The evening was marked by an interesting (thought certainly not unprecedented) incident toward the end of my set. While the bar wasn’t packed, there was a crowd, including a particularly lively group of young ladies who came in right before I started spinning and proceeded to whoop it up with several rounds of drinks. Nothing out of control, but they were clearly deep in the holiday spirit(s).
About 45 minutes into the proceedings, one young lass approached me and informed me that she had come from an entire table of flamenco dancers (I was worried for a minute that she was going to request actual flamenco music, a genre that I rarely carry with me). She then asked me – right in the middle of a set of tight, slamming funk (see above list for confirmation of same) if I might “play something dancey”?
Now, in situations like this, I always try to maintain my icy veneer of cool. I’m certainly not averse to taking requests, as long as they are – how do you say – of an ‘appropriate’ nature. I’ve seen some weird ones, i.e. a kid requesting anything by KISS during a set of Northern Soul, and I’ve also dealt (as almost any DJ has) with surly, drunken booth-monkeys who seem to feel that it’s OK to crawl on/into the DJ booth, bumping/placing their drink on the turntables, causing the tone arm to jump as they demand something specific (which I immediately counter with a demand that they remove themselves from my immediate vicinity with the greatest possible haste).
This particular girl was polite, but I couldn’t help but recoil slightly at the idea that a self-proclaimed dancer could not find it in themselves to move to any or all of the records listed above.
I mean, honest to god, funk is, by definition, funky, a state of being that gets its name by its ability to cause people to move in a rhythmic fashion, often described by observers as “dancing”. Not everyone who feels compelled to move by these records is a good dancer, but they are all dancing. Even those wallflowers who are prevented – by timidity, inebriation or physical infirmity (or a combination of any or all of the above) – from dancing usually react to the power of the music by some seated version of the dance, with the foot-tap, the head-bob, the seated-shimmy or something else along those lines. Anyone confronted by a 45 like Bobby Byrd’s ‘I Know You Got Soul’ who doesn’t move at all, should be checked for a pulse.
That said, I was in a festive mood, so I dipped into my DJ box and pulled out my number one slice of guaranteed Becky-bait, Nanette Workman’s French language version of LaBelle’s ‘Lady Marmalade’, which gives them all the easily recognizable Top 40 vibe they can handle while simultaneously allowing me to save face by offering quality funk to those in the know. I followed this with some James Brown (‘Hot Pants’), Lyn Collins (‘Think About It’) and since my time was just about up, I whipped a little Roger & the Gypsies on the assembled masses, figuring if that wasn’t “dancey” enough, there was nothing anyone of my powers could do, and HO HO HO, and what the fuck, and “Good evening ladies and gents!” and what not.
Happily, after I sort of/kind of answered her request, these people actually got up and danced, to four 45s that were in essence EXACTLY the same as the sixteen others that preceded them, proving once again that human nature is a funny thing, and sometime giving the people what they want is exactly the same as giving them what they need, and everyone walks away from a night at the pub with a wobble in their step and more importantly, a smile on their face.
It is in that spirit that I wish you all a Happy New Year, and the best of all things in Twenty-Oh-Ten (man, who saw that coming???).

Peace

Larry

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NOTE: The Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive has been updated (see link in sidebar) , and all seventy seven previous mixes are now represented.

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PPS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for a year-end wrap up mix.

PPPS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

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Funky16Corners Radio v.77 – Get Ready!

December 13, 2009

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Wayne Cochran gets uptight!

Funky16Corners Radio v.77 – Get Ready!

Playlist

Andre Williams – Do the Popcorn (Checker)
Freddie Scott and the Four Steps – Same Ole Beat (Marlin)
Isley Brothers – Get Into Somethin’ Pt1 (T-Neck)
Wayne Cochran – Get Ready (Chess)
Bobby Byrd – If You Don’t Work You Can’t Eat (King)
Aaron Chico Bailey & the Family Affair Band – The Point Pt1 (Kris)
Booker T & the MGs – It’s Your Thing (Stax)
Dixie Cups – Two Way Poc A Way (ABC/Paramount)
Enoch Light & the Light Brigade – Pick Up the Pieces (Project 3)
Barkays – Son of Shaft (Volt)
Bohannon – Fat Man (Dakar)
Wilson Pickett – International Playboy (Atlantic)
Dave Baby Cortez- Twang Taang (Sound Pak)
Donald Austin – Nanzee (Eastbound)
Jimmy Preacher Ellis – I Gotta See My Baby (Round)
Nite Liters – Afro Strut (RCA)

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

Greetings all.

Here we all are again, getting our thing together with a little of the soulful stuff so that we may fill our ears and massage our tired brains as we embark on another trying week. This week is even more of a challenge because the holiday season is in full gear, meaning that the roads and shopping centers are choked with mobs of people brimming with “holiday spirit”, i.e. on the verge of killing one another so that they can spend a lot of money they don’t have (especially this year).
Why don’t you do your friends a favor and send them a Funky16Corners mix for Christmas? They’re free, and delicious, and will help fill from 45 minutes to an hour of their lives with the wonderfulness of funk, soul and jazz.
It is in that spirit that I whip upon you yet another edition of the storied Funky16Corners Radio podcast – the 77th in the series – entitled ‘Get Ready!’.
What are you getting ready for? How about 45 minutes of grooving funk (almost exclusively from 45s) engineered to liven up your wassailing and or eggnog guzzling, up to, but hopefully not including destruction of the pagan tree in the middle of the room (or the seasonal symbol of your choice). You can turn up the volume, but just make sure no one dances into a flaming yule log.
Things get started with taste from the catalog of the always groovy Andre Williams. Williams made a bunch of outstanding 45s in the late 60s for Chess and Checker, and ‘Do the Popcorn’ is one of his finest. Look for the flip of this one, appearing in this space soon.
The next track – by Freddie Scott and the Four Steps – already made such an appearance, but I couldn’t help but toss it into the pot this time around.
I have to thank my man DJ Birdman for turning me on to the Isley Brothers’ ‘Getting Into Something’ the last time I was down in DC. He spun the long version of the track (which includes the extended break in Pt2) and I was like ‘I know that sounds like the Isleys but I don’t know that song.’ And he hepped me to the title.
Wayne Cochran, the man who’s bouffanted visage appears on the cover for this mix was one of the truly great white soul eccentrics. His version of the Temps ‘Get Ready’ appears on the flip of a funky take on Muddy Waters’ ‘Hootchie Kootchie Man’ (sic).
Bobby Byrd! That’s all I have to say on the matter.
Aaron Chico Bailey and the Family Affair Band laid down their extended funk treatise ‘The Point Pts 1&2’ for Los Angeles’s Kris label. Other than the fact that this is a very cool side, I can tell you nothing about them.
Booker T and the MGs were of course the preeminent instrumental band in Memphis during the 60s (and they had massive competition by the American Studios group and the Hi Rhythm Section), charting many of their own hits and backing countless others in the Stax/Volt axis. Their version of the Isley’s ‘It’s Your Thing’ features Mr Jones working it out on the clavinet.
I won’t bother trying to convince you that the Dixie Cups’ 1965 ‘Two Way Poc a Way’ is true funk, but if those drums don’t put a dent in your cerebellum, I don’t know what will.
Next up is a bit uf funky disco from the master of all things easy (and occasionally funky) Mr. Enoch Light. Light had a crack outfit of East Coast sessioners at his disposal at all times, and their take on the AWB’s hit ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ is dance floor approved. If you need more proof head back to Funky16Corners Radio v.62 and check out their excellent version of James Brown’s ‘Hot Pants’.
The Barkays made some great records both before and after the disastrous plane crash that took many of their members (as well as Otis Redding). Their reworking/tribute ‘Son of Shaft’ doesn’t stray too far from Isaac Hayes’ OG, but it is funky.
Hamilton Bohannon returns to the Funky16Corners Radio scene with ‘Fat Man’, which is one of the funkier numbers on his 1974 ‘Keep On Dancin’’ LP.
The next cut is a track that I only discovered was a Wilson Pickett OG after I had already written up the cover by New Orleans belter Lee Bates. Had I looked at the writing credits on the label, I would have discovered that the song had Philadelphia origins, but sometimes I miss the forest for the trees. That said, the Wicked one lays it down hard and heavy making all sorts of claims as to his soulful powers. This is a killer, and the lyrics are hilarious.
Dave Baby Cortez has made many appearances on Funky16Corners, from his early days as an R&B organist, through his soul sides and right on into the funk. The selection in today’s mix – ‘Twang Taang’ – falls into the last category. It’s more of a vocal number than a Hammond feature, but I dig it anyway.
Donald Austin’s funky guitar feature ‘Nanzee’ was the flip side of the better known ‘Crazy Legs’. He drops the tempo down a little bit, but makes up for it with an extra serving of funky.
Jimmie Preacher Ellis laid down some real heat when he whipped up the psychedelic funk of ‘I Gotta See My Baby’, which featured the brutal ‘Put Your Hoe to my Row’ on the flipside.
The final cut in this edition of Funky16Corners Radio is a fairly well known – and accessible – 45 from the mighty Nite Liters, ‘Afro Strut’. Why I waited until I had 76 mixes under my belt to include it here is a mystery.
I hope you dig it all, and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.

Peace

Larry

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Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PPS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for some instro pop.

PPPS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners Radio v.72 – The Pulse aka the ‘Marvin’ Mix

August 2, 2009

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Funky16Corners Radio v.72 – The Pulse aka the ‘Marvin’ Mix

Playlist

Titanic – Sultana (CBS)
Santana – Jin-Go-La-Ba (CBS)
Simon Kenyatta Troupe – Soul Makossa (Avco)
Curtis Mayfield – Future Shock (Curtom)
Cymande – Bra (Janus)
Eddie Kendricks – Date With the Rain (Tamla)
Cold Blood – Valdez In the Country (WB)
Rufus – Half Moon (MCA)
Dexter Wansel – Life On Mars Part 1 (Philly Intl)
Hank Ballard & the Midnighters – Freak Your Boom Boom (LeJoint)
Kool & the Gang – More Funky Stuff (Dee Lite)
Disko Band – Pick Up the Pieces (Pickwick)
Gene Faith – Lowdown Melody (Virtue)
Barrett Strong – Stand Up and Cheer For the Preacher (Epic)
Gladys Knight & the Pips – Who Is She (And What Is She To You) (Motown)
Heatwave – Grooveline (Epic)
KC & the Sunshine Band – Get Down Tonight (LP Edit) (TK)
Sylvester – You Make Me Feel Mighty Real (Fantasy)

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

I’m back from DC, and though I’m tired as hell (I feel like I was dragged home behind a truck belching oily smoke) I’d be a liar if I said that I had less than an absolutely amazing time in our nation’s capitol.
First and foremost I have to offer thanks to my gracious hosts DJ Birdman and his lovely wife, who gave me a comfortable bed in which to sleep in addition to all manner of great hospitality.
I spent the better part of Wednesday afternoon in the Funky16Corners-mobile, making extraordinarily good time and arriving in DC a little on the early side. Naturally I took advantage of the hole in my schedule to fall by Som Records on 14th St to say hi to my man DJ Neville C and pick up some fresh vinyl for the upcoming gigs. If you’re in DC and you need a vinyl fix make sure you stop by and tell the man behind the counter that Funky16Corners sent you.
After that it was a quick turnaround to drop off my stuff and head back out with Birdman for the Jazz Corner of the World 5th anniversary party at Cafe St Ex.
I have to take a moment to say that I have been extremely lucky in my DJ travels this year. All of the venues have been next level, and St Ex and Marvin (the places I spun at this week) were no exception. Wonderful spaces, great staff (outstanding cuisine) and all around chill environments made for great experiences.
The Jazz Corner party was a subdued spin on off-the-hook-ness, giving me a chance to DJ alongside Birdman, DC Digga, Fatback, Neville C and a the rest of the crew. The sounds included everything from old school New Orleans jazz, right on through to hard bop and jazz funk (breaks included, natch).
We headed out on Thursday for some Virginia digging, ending up in Richmond where I scored some very cool 45s.
Friday morning we were out digging again where I scored some cool stuff that I ended up taking with me to Marvin that night.
If you make it down to DC, you absolutely MUST make it over to Marvin. I had been to Marvin once before to see DJ Birdman spin but split for my own gig early on. This time out Birdman and I split the night (one hour on/one hour off from 6PM to 3AM), keeping it jazzy and mellow for the first half and then turning up the heat around 10. My first heavy set was mostly funk and breaks, with the later set including a healthy selection of disco.
I got to spin Sylvester’s ‘You Make Me Feel Mighty Real’ over of a club sound system for the first time and it was a transcendent experience. As stated in this space before it is a positively explosive record, and quite frankly, if you aren’t digging Sylvester you need to get your ass out of the club.
Other highlights of the evening were the sister who lost her mind (she reached into the booth, grabbed me and then screamed!) when I dropped ‘Hot Pants’ by James Brown, everyone who danced (and there WAS dancing!) and the cute girl who asked if there was any chance I would play some Vanilla Ice, to which I responded politely:

No.
Never, under any circumstances.

I was actually able to fulfill a couple of requests (it helps when people request cool songs) and had an absolute blast. Big ups to Sheldon, who runs an absolutely incredible place.
Saturday Birdman took me to some more digging spots and It turned up some excellent stuff, including a couple of soul 45s that I’ve been chasing for a long time.
In honor of the folks at Marvin, I’m dropping this edition of Funky16Corners Radio that includes some of the stuff I played on Friday, some new finds and a couple of old faves. There’s over an hour of funk, disco, funky disco and disco-y funk. I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back later in the week with some breaks and what not.

Peace

Larry

PS You can check out some pics from Marvin over at the Funky16Corners Facebook Group

PPS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for some sunshine pop

PPPS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners On the Road (Again)

July 23, 2009

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Greetings all.

The end of the week is here, and I am once again a free man. The tube has been removed from my kidney (not as painful as I thought it was going to be) and I am back on the street again.
I’m a little bit behind the eight ball – confinement in a hospital room for the better part of a week kind of takes it out of you – but I fully expect to be up to speed in a few days.
I come to you empty handed at the end of the week because the wife and I spent the entire day on the road retrieving the two smallest Corners from their grandparents who were kind enough to watch them while I was ill. We had to drive to upstate NY, and then took a route home that initially looked like a smart move but turned into a long string of traffic nightmares. We only just rolled through the door about an hour ago, so there wasn’t really time to prepare something (you can always hit the archives and check out a mix you may have missed the first time out).
However, I have some news…
Next week I’ll be packing up the heat (LPs as well as 45s) in the Funky16Corners-mobile and rolling down to Washington, DC for a couple of nights of vinyl goodness.
Next Wednesday, 7/29 I’ve been invited to spin as part of the crew at the 5th Anniversary of DJ Birdman and DC Digga’s night ‘Jazz Corner of the World’ at Café St Ex, 1847 14th St NW in DC. If you dig the sounds of jazz (all kinds, from hard bop to rare grooves) you need to fall by since Birdman and DC Digga know how to do it up right, and there will be other special guests bringing the heat including Richmond, VA’s own DJ Fatback (who knows him some jazz). Things get rolling at 7PM and go all night long.
Then – yes there’s more – on Friday night 7/31 yours truly, Larry Grogan aka Funky16Corners will be working in long form over at Marvin (a very cool place) a few blocks up at 2007 14th St NW (in DC, natch) where I’ll be manning the storied wheels of steel from 10PM all the way to closing time. You can expect the usual funk, soul and rare groove with bits of disco and jazz (anything that moves the dancers) mixed in.
I’m really looking forward to working up a nice, long groove, and I know the folks in DC like to dance, so we should all get along swimmingly.
If you’re in driving distance try to fall by and make the scene one of those nights, and be sure to stop by the booth and say howdy.
That said, have a groovy weekend, and I’ll see you all back here on Monday.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for the Second Anniversary Mix! .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Sam Butera RIP

June 9, 2009

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Mr. Sam Butera

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Listen – Sam Butera and the Witnesses – Ode To Billie Joe – MP3″

Listen – Sam Butera and the Witnesses – Symphony For the Devil – MP3″

Listen – Sam Butera and the Witnesses – Pick Up the Pieces- MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope all is well on your end.
I come to you mid-week (and a little late) with a tribute to one of the great swingers and sax-o-mo-phone slingers of all time, Mr. Sam Butera.
Last week I was browsing the New York Times obit page (a consistently interesting source of interesting reading) and was saddened to see that Mr. Butera had passed away at the age of 81.
If you’re unfamiliar with the man or his music (which has been featured here a number of times in the past), Sam Butera is best known as the bandleader and arranger for Louis Prima’s backing group the Witnesses. Butera, like Prima was a New Orleans native and brought a big helping of that city’s raucous energy to his playing.
Among other highlights in a stellar resume, Butera is the man who arranged the original ‘Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody’ medley that was a hit for Prima, and then again years later for David Lee Roth.
Butera was also largely responsible for making sure the Witnesses were always a smoking band (including players like unsung organ legend Little Richie Varola), and that their book was always current. Today I’m reposting three tracks by the 70s edition of the band that have been featured here over the years, including a wild reworking of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, Bobbie Gentry’s ‘Ode to Billie Joe’ and a funky take on the Average White Band’s ‘Pick Up the Pieces’.
A number of years ago, completely by chance my wife and I were lucky enough to see Butera and the Witnesses laying it down in the lounge at Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City, NJ (the same place where we saw the Treniers a year later). Even then, when Butera had to be past 70 he was still killing it, leading the band as vocalist and with his horn. It was a sight to behold, and I consider myself lucky that we got to see him.
So, dig the tunes, remember Sam and I’ll be back on Friday with something funky.

Peace

Larry

NOTE: If you haven’t yet checked out the new funk 45 mix I did for Galactic Fractures, head on over there and pull down the ones and zeros.

In other important news, this Friday, June 12th sees the return of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions for the first, slamming all-45 banger of the summer. If you are in the vicinity, please fall by and say howdy.

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PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for some pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Eddie Bo 1930-2009: Eddie Bo and the Chain Gang – Disco Party Pts 1&2

March 26, 2009

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Bo on the 88’s

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Listen – Eddie Bo and the Chain Gang – Disco Party Pt1 – MP3″

Listen – Eddie Bo and the Chain Gang – Disco Party Pt2 – MP3″

Greetings all.

I’m sad to say that it’s time to bring our week of tributes to the mighty Eddie Bo to a close.
The Funky16Corners blog has been around for almost five years, and though I’ve made it a regular practice to mark the passing of great musicians, this is the first time that an entire weeks posting has been so directed.
I’m sure there are some among you who might question a decision like that, with what our French brethren saying Chacun à son gout and all, but this has been a special (and especially sad) occasion.
The whole Funky16Corners bag has always been set up around the idea that the world is full of great music and a lot of it hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. The catalog of Eddie Bo is an especially egregious example of this problem.
Bo was making records for well over 50 years, as a sideman, vocalist, composer, arranger and producer, and much of it was incredible, some of it, notably the records in his funk period, were game changing, laying down ideas and grooves that still have the power to make you take a step back almost 40 years down the line.
Yet today, very few outside of the collector world know who Bo was.
That’s never been a problem here, and as long as I’m still turning up Eddie Bo records, it will continue.
I’ve read that there’s going to be a tribute/gathering at the Rock’n’Bowl in New Orleans on April 1st, and it’s a certainty that at the Jazz Fest, and at the Poderosa Stomp his name will be called from many a stage. I only wish I could be there to hear it in person.
That all said, the passing of Bo leaves a huge space in the great river of sound (to borrow a phrase) that won’t soon be filled. According to Eddie’s official site, there will be no traditional funeral service, so any images of a New Orleans jazz funeral, with a strutting second line will have to be conjured up in your own mind as you listen to his music.
I’d like to close out the week with a record of Bo’s that doesn’t get much shine. Whether it’s because it carries in it’s grooves one of the more relaxed vibes in his catalog, or because it carries the word “disco” in it’s title, or more likely because like so many of his records it’s only known to the dedicated few doesn’t really matter, If you haven’t heard ‘Disco Party Pts 1&2’ before, you will have done so after pulling down the ones and zeros.
‘Disco Party’ – as far as I can tell the only record credited to Eddie Bo and the Chain Gang – has long been a fave of mine. I’ve carried it in my DJ box for a while, whipping it out when the mood hits, always to appreciative nods. I’m not sure of the release date, but I’d guess sometime in the mid-70s. It’s the second to last Bo Sound 45 (‘When Your Finger’s On the Funk’ being the last), and though I wish I had a cleaner copy to digi-ma-tize, I hope you dig it anyway.
Keep Eddie Bo and his family in your hearts and on your minds, and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

NOTE: I just saw this over at the B-Side:

A bank account for the Eddie Bo Memorial Fund to help cover funeral costs has been set up. Those who wish to help can send contributions to:

Eddie Bo Memorial Fund
P. O. Box 57175
New Orleans, Louisiana 70157-7175

Joe Bataan – Latin Strut

January 15, 2009

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Joe Bataan

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Listen – Joe Bataan – Latin Strut – MP3″

Listen – Deodato – Super Strut – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope the end of the week finds you well.
I stand before you on the cusp of some major (I think positive) changes in my life. I won’t go into too much detail today, on account of not having a whole lot of time today, but I will explain at length come Monday. Rest assured that these changes should not affect the blog(s) in any negative way. If anything the supply of good vibes is likely to expand.
That said, I’ve enjoyed serving up the sizzling Latin soul this week, and the tune I’ve held for last is a banger.
Though this was the ‘Week of Boogaloo’, today’s selection falls far outside that time period. Though not technically ‘boogaloo’, it is certainly Latin soul, so my hope is that once you pull down the unos y ceros you’ll dig the connections (and the tune).
As I’ve said before, I’m in no way an expert on Latin sounds, but I am a big fan. My Latin crates aren’t particularly deep, but I like to think that they contain a fair amount of quality. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff (not “new”, but new to me), and today’s selection is a fairly new addition to the Funky16Corners arsenal.
Last year, thanks again to a sale list from my man Haim, I happened upon a copy of Joe Bataan’s ‘Latin Strut’. This is one of those records that I’d never heard, but certainly heard about for a long time. As soon as I checked out a sample, I slapped down the semolians and before long the disc found its way through the mail slot and the air in things at the Funky16Corners compound were a little bit groovier.
Joe Bataan is one of the major movers and shakers of Latin soul, from the early years of boogaloo and coining the term Salsoul in the 70s.
It was on the album bearing that title in 1974 that he dropped today’s selection, ‘Latin Strut’.
Now, if you’re a regular reader of Funky16Corners, you know that I’m the kind of nut who spends at least as much time reading record labels as I do spinning the records. Oddly enough, I gave ‘Latin Strut’ a grip of spins before I stopped to scan the label, so imagine my surprise when I look under the song title expecting to see the words ‘Joe Bataan’, and instead the name Deodato pops out at me.
“Huh?”, says I, seconds before I set to Googling and discovered that ‘Latin Strut’ was in fact a cover of a Eumir Deodato tune entitled ‘Super Strut’. Naturally, it wasn’t long before I grabbed a copy of the OG (it was but a pittance) because I couldn’t very well tell this particular tale without including both 45s.
Deodato’s original is certainly “Latin” in it’s conception, if a tiny bit jazzier with the Rhodes laid on thick (which is cool). Joe Bataan cranks up the Latin percussion, amplifies the tempo a touch for the dancers and opens things up with a very sweet flute solo. It also helps that about two thirds of the way through ‘Latin Strut’ there resides a very nice drum/bass breakdown.
Though apparently (according to the excellent book ‘Love Saves the Day’) ‘Latin Strut’ didn’t make a big impression on the Latin audience, it should come as no surprise that its pre-disco vibe was a major hit on the dance floors of New York City.
I hope you dig the records, and I’ll be back on Monday with something nice.
Have a great weekend.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for some 6T’s Canadian rawk…

PSS Check out Paperback Rider which has finally been updated.

Funky16Corners Radio v.61 – Focus On Lou Courtney

November 23, 2008

Example

Funky16Corners Radio v.61 – Focus On Lou Courtney

Playlist

Professional Lover (Imperial 45)
I Watched You Slowly Slip Away (Philips 45)+
Skate Now (Riverside 45)
Do The Thing (Riverside LP version)
You Ain’t Ready (Riverside 45)
I’ve Got Just the Thing (Riverside 45)
If the Shoe Fits (Popside 45)
It’s Love Now (Popside 45)
I Need You Now (Riverside LP Track)
Me & You Doing the Boogaloo (Riverside LP track)
Hey Joyce (Popside 45)
I’m Mad About You (Popside 45)
Do the Horse (Verve 45)
Rubber Neckin’ Chick Check’n (Verve 45)
You Can Give Your Love To Me (Verve 45)
Tryin’ To Find My Woman (Buddah 45)+
Lou Courtney & Funk Junction – Hot Butter’n’All (Hurdy Gurdy 45)
Beware (Rags 45)
The Best Thing That a Man Can Do For His Woman (Epic 45)
Lou Courtney & Buffalo Smoke – Don’t Stop the Box (RCA LP track)

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 all had a most excellent weekend.
My world – on the other hand, is a bit chaotic and stressful right now. As a result, after the mix I’m dropping today, I’m going to take the rest of the week off. I need to relax a little and get my head screwed back on correctly.
Of course, working at a newspaper, there are few weeks as stressful as the one leading up to Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday), so maybe this isn’t the best time to try and chill, but my addled brain can only concentrate on so much at any given time. Right now, in addition to the normal work stress, yet another major layoff is looming, and I have lots to concentrate on in my non-work life.
This mix ought to keep you busy, and if that’s not enough, you can always dip back into the podcast archive and whip a little soul on the gang while you’re stuffing your face with turkey, taters and pie.
In the history of the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast (this being the 61st edition thereof), I’ve only done a couple of ‘single-artist’ mixes (Lee Dorsey, James Brown, Eddie Bo, Jerry-O, Soulful Strings). The reason for this, is that this has always been that very few of the artists we cover in this space have ever generated enough material for a mix of their own, and those that have, probably already have compilations on the market. The ethos here being – after all – that what you dig here ought to get you out and digging for more of the same on your own.
However – big however here – as in the case of the Soulful Strings – sometimes I have an artist that I dig a lot, and there is almost nothing available in reissue.
The mix I bring you today is another example of someone like that.
I remember the very first time I pulled a Lou Courtney 45 out of a box and put the needle to the wax. I was out digging with a buddy at a once great spot out in the hinterlands, and I happened upon a grip of 45s on the Riverside label by an artist that I’d never heard of before. Despite the fact that I knew Riverside as a jazz label, a quick look at the titles suggested to me that these were soul 45s. As soon as I sat down to preview the records on the store turntable, my suspicions were confirmed.
That first one I played was the mighty ‘I’ve Got Just the Thing’ by Lou Courtney.
That was probably close to 10 years ago, and that record remains a big fave. It was the beginning of a long search for more of his records, and as you’ll hear in this edition of Funky16Corners Radio, that search was consistently rewarding.
There is however , a catch…
Though I’ve been digging up his records for close to a decade, I’ve never been able to turn up much information on the man. Suitably enough, the little I have found is confirmation that over the years, Lou Courtney let his music do the talking.
Courtney was born Louis Pegues in Buffalo, NY in 1944, and appears to have laid down his first 45 for Imperial in 1963. He recorded fairly steadily, for a variety of companies for the next 15 years.
During that time, while he wrote and recorded some absolutely spellbinding soul and funk 45s, he was also writing for, and producing other artists. The really interesting thing is, that at least in the beginning, he was having as much success as a pop/rock writer as he was as a soul singer.
During the British Invasion years, he and his writing partner Dennis Lambert* wrote songs that were recorded by Freddie & the Dreamers, Leslie Gore and the Nashville Teens among others. On the soul side of things, Courtney went on (often with Robert Bateman) to write for Mary Wells, Lorraine Ellison, Gloria Gaynor, Dee Dee Warwick, the Webs** and Henry Lumpkin.
Though he clearly spent a lot of time working for other artists, he was (at least in my opinion) saving his best material for himself. Though Courtney’s Imperial and Philips 45s are rousing soul sides, by the time he hooked up with Riverside (and its Popside subsidiary) he had crafted a dynamic sound. Courtney had a wonderful voice with a flexible range, as adept with hard edged soul as with a gentle ballad. That he was also a talented songwriter makes his relative obscurity all the more hard to understand.
I’ve gone on in this space before about ‘journeyman’ performers, who managed to record and perform through the classic soul era without ever breaking through to a larger success. Unlike many of those artists, Lou Courtney had more than enough talent to be a much bigger star, yet for any number of reasons was unable to get to that level.
Much like another favorite of mine – Chuck Edwards – Lou Courtney had a knack for mixing pop and rock sounds into his soul. As a result his records have both pop hooks and a heavy edge, forceful enough for the dancefloor but with enough pop savvy to keep the dancers singing along.
Between 1966 and 1968, Courtney recorded an LP (‘Skate Now and Shingaling’, both rare and excellent) and a number of 45s (some of them with amazing non-LP tracks) for Riverside/Popside. Many of the cuts from this era have become prized by both soul and funk DJs. During this period he created storming Northern style cuts like the brilliant ‘Me & You Doing the Boogaloo’ (try not dancing when you hear this one), pop-edged soul like ‘If the Shoe Fits’ and Motown influenced fare like ‘It’s Love Now’.
His Riverside/Popside discography demonstrates that Courtney was an important transitional artist, bridging the gap between soul and funk. There’s not better example of this than the crate digger’s fave ‘Hey Joyce’ (its famous break sampled by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist) It’s important to keep in mind that Courtney was working in a variety of styles during this period, continuing to record mainstream soul and ballads as well as funk.
He moved on to the Verve label by 1968 (for two singles), where he continued to craft danceable soul (like the dance craze ‘Do the Horse’), ballads ( a cover of the Bacharach tune ‘Please Stay’) and edgy funk like ‘Rubber Neckin’ Chick Check’n’.
He laid down one single for Buddah in 1969, the smoking ‘Tryin’ To Find My Woman’. Here (again) Courtney works both prominent guitar and combo organ into the mix, along with blazing, soulful horns.
Sometime in the next few years (1971, I think) he recorded one of the most slamming funk 45s I’ve ever heard, the manic (borderline insane) ‘Hot Butter’n’All’. This is one of those records that’s so powerful it just about makes may hair stand on end. The track was also used by Donald Height (also on the Hurdy Gurdy label) for the song ‘Life Is Free’***.

Example

As far as I can tell, Courtney didn’t record again until 1973 when he went into the studio with Jerry Ragavoy to record for the latter’s Rags label. The funky ‘Beware’ was written by Courtney, produced by Courtney and Ragavoy and arranged by Leon Pendarvis.
The following year Courtney would record the album ‘I’m In Need of Love’ for the Epic label. The lone ballad in this mix, ‘The Best That a Man Can Do For His Woman’ comes from that album, once again co-produced by Courtney and Ragavoy, and arranged by Pendarvis.
Lou Courtney would record one more LP, ‘Buffalo Smoke’ in 1976. By this time he was working on the funkier side of disco. My favorite cut from the LP ‘Don’t Stop the Box’ is a great example of the kind of polished, funky grooves that Steely Dan was clearly listening to at the time (dig the electric piano on this one). Buffalo Smoke would go on to have a disco hit in 1978 with a cover of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Stubborn Kind of Fellow’. It was during that year that Lou Courtney would join a later version of the Fifth Dimension, during the period when Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. were out having hits on their own.
I haven’t been able to track down anything on him after that point, other than a few mid-70s sessions as a backing vocalist on other people’s albums (Bonnie Raitt, Michael Boothman). The trail goes cold.
Where is Lou Courtney?
Though ‘I’m In Need of Love’, (highly regarded by modern soul fans) has been reissued, and several early tracks have appeared on compilations over the years, most of his finest work is available only to those willing to head out into the field and dig for vinyl.
This is nothing less than a crime.
Certainly there are countless soulies and crate diggers out there (myself included) who cherish his records, but Courtney’s was no ordinary talent, and is deserving of commemoration. I can offer up this mix, but I suspect that it’s so much ‘preaching to the choir’. Someone out there (Numero, Sundazed) ought to get to work on something (maybe a disc of his own recordings and a disc of his work with other artists?).
I hope you all dig the sounds, and if you’re still out there Lou, know that your music is still loved.

See you all next week.

Peace
Larry

+ I wanted to represent something from all of the labels Courtney recorded for, but have as yet been unable to get vinyl copies of the Philips, or Buddah sides. The versions here were digital copies I found online, so the sound quality may be a touch substandard. My apologies.

*Lambert went on to write a number of huge hits, including ‘She’s Gone’ (Hall & Oates), ‘Baby Come Back’ (Player), ‘Night Shift’ (Commodores) and ‘It Only Takes a Minute Girl’ (Tavares)

**The Webs were one of the few acts besides Courtney to appear on the Popside label

***The song also appears as an instrumental (by ‘Mr C & Funck Junction’) on the flipside of ‘Hot Butter’n’All’)

PS Make sure to stop by Iron Leg for an entire album side of freakout

PSS Check out Paperback Rider as well

Sylvester – You Make Me Feel Mighty Real (and Epilogue)

October 23, 2008

Example

Sylvester

Example

Listen – Sylvester – You Make Me Feel Mighty Real – MP3″

Listen – Sylvester – You Make Me Feel Mighty Real (Epilogue) – MP3″

Greetings all.
I hope all is well, and that you’ve got your loins girded (or un-girded as the case may be) for the weekend.
I decided to bring the week to an end with one of my all time favorite disco tracks, and a tune that I’ve loved since it came out.
If you’ve followed the Funky16Corners blog, you’ll already know that despite the funk and soul-osity of this blog, my musical tastes range far and wide, and have evolved considerably over the years.
To go back to the statement (no doubt a paraphrase) generally credited to Duke Ellington, there are two basic kinds of music, good and bad, and despite the fact that there are many folks out there that would question my taste – this being a chaque’un a son gout monde, mon freres – I like to think that I get it right a lot of the time.
To those of you to whom the term disco is poison, I ask you to bear with me. To the rest of you, I request only that you make sure that your dancing shoes are on securely.
I’ve broached this particular subject before, but for the many who do not have the time or inclination to hang on my every word, I’ll recap briefly. Like many of my ilk and age group, I was loathe to like much disco, and double-extra-loathe to admit what I did like, through an unpleasant combination of teenage homophobia, warped suburban rockist class consciousness and a misguided longhair’s purism.
As the years have passed, and I have matured (somewhat anyway) I have shed most of the aforementioned stupidity in favor of what might be considered a somewhat more enlightened frame of mind.
As I have also related, back in my teens, when it was all but unheard of among my antisocial circle to like disco, let alone make mention of the fact, there were a couple of records that absolutely blew my mind. ‘You Make Me Feel Mighty Real’ by Sylvester is one of those.
Back in the day, when – despite the fact that there weren’t too many cartoons I was interested in on Saturday mornings – I still remained fastened securely to the couch, eyes glued to the television set, with substandard broadcast fare still a superior option to getting up and wandering out into the light of day.
One byproduct of the couch-potato-ness, was the fact that American Bandstand would pop on around noon. Now, as byproducts go, American Bandstand ranks right up there with the kind of things corrupt manufacturers use to stretch dog and cat food. However, in between the Shaun Cassidys, and the Leif Garretts there appeared the occasional gem, like the Fleshtones, and one boring Saturday morning, Sylvester.
Now, I was probably glued to the sofa with a bowl of soggy Captain Crunch, half paying attention, when the polyester form of Dick Clark introduced someone who I’d never heard of, the synths started pumping and Sylvester boogied out onto the stage. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that the studio audience of California teens were as surprised as I was, when what looked like a great big woman (He did say ‘Sylvester’, right?) danced out on the stage and started to tear it up.
I was transfixed.
When I first heard ‘You Make Me Feel Mighty Real’, I was probably 20 years away from hearing the term Hi-NRG, but I think I grokked it anyway, because there is no better example of a genre that carried a name like that than this song.
Oddly enough, I already owned another (maybe the first) example of the genre, in the 45 of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’, produced by Giorgio Moroder. Moroder created many hits with the Hi-NRG sound, using electronic keyboards and percussion, and his American counterpart was none other than Sylvester’s producer Patrick Cowley.
Sylvester James got his start in show business as part of the legendary drag troupe the Cockettes, and went on to record a couple of albums with the Hot Band for the Blue Thumb label in the early 70s. By the middle of the decade he had signed to the Fantasy label, and started making some of the most infectious records of the disco era.
‘You Make Me Feel Mighty Real’ appeared on his second LP ‘Step II’ in 1978. It made a minor mark on the pop charts, but held the Number One spot on the Billboard Dance chart for six week in the summer of that year. It went on to become an anthem of sorts, and was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2004.
Bottom line is that ‘You Make Me Feel Mighty Real’ is a hard driving record, not only as disco, but as soul. It’s often forgotten – since so much mainstream disco was so formulaic and awful – but there were a lot of great singers, songwriters and producers working in the genre (as well as the many DJs that helped to shape the sound), and Sylvester was in the first rank of vocalists. His singing in general, but especially on this record is a thing to behold, filled with joy and daring, his falsetto soaring over the pulsing beat. It’s hard to listen to ‘You Make Me Feel Mighty Real’ and keep from moving. Whether you shift surreptitiously on your seat, or leap up with your freak flag flying high, there is no denying the power of a record like this.
Sadly, Sylvester had a tough time of it, peaking just as the genre was beginning to decline, under pressure from his label to tone down his image, and most tragically succumbing to AIDS at the age of 40 in 1988.
Do yourselves a favor, rip this one to CD, take it out to your car, pop it into the player and drive around with the windows open, playing it at full volume (you’ll probably make the stiffs in your neighborhood a little uneasy, which is always a good thing). You’ll feel a lot better, and you’ll be sending a little Sylvester back out into the ether.
See you on Monday.
Peace
Larry

PS I’ve also included the Epilogue, which closes out the LP side that starts with ‘You Make Me Feel Mighty Real’.

PSS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for some storming Irish R&Beat

PSSS Check out Paperback Rider as well (just updated).

Jimmy Bo Horne – Let Me Be Your Lover

September 14, 2008

Example

Jimmy Bo Horne

Example

Listen – Jimmy Bo Horne – Let Me Be Your Lover – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope you all had an excellent weekend.
I won’t like to you and tell you that I come to you well rested, but I did get a lot done, especially in the blog-o-mazation department. I put the next chapter in the Funky16Corners Radio saga to bed (coming next Monday), as well as digimatizing the raw material for the one following that, as well as various and sundry single tracks for the time in between.
With every passing day it seems more and more that the passage of time has turned me into, if not a workaholic, certainly a blog-o-holic. I made a comment to someone a few weeks ago along the lines of, if my 15 year old self could see my 46 year old self his head would explode. I get more done in a day now, than I was likely to accomplish in a week back then. Part of that has to do with a renewed sense of direction, especially in creative pursuits, which – along with a body that bears the marks of the physical equivalent of roughly two-million (rough) highway miles, and of course the presence of two small children – finds me unwilling to partake in the kind of “recreation” I used to love so much. That, and the fact that in the face of a seemingly permanently shortened sleep cycle, when the house gets quiet early (like tonight, it’s around 10PM as I write this), I fire up the laptop instead of taking to my bed for a few, precious hours of extra sleep.
That said, the track I bring you today first arrived in my ears on one of those rare nights where I’m out after midnight, i.e. one of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions. Aside from the opportunity to spin pretty much whatever I want, and to hang with some very cool people, the AP45 thang is – as I mentioned just last week – a trainspotters paradise. The folks I spin with – regular selectors and guests – are veritable 45 gunslingers. Not a Session goes by that I don’t walk away shaking my head in disbelief in my newly lengthened want list.
It was just such a night, sometime last year, when DJ Prime took to the wheels of steel, and in the midst of a typically shit-hot set dropped the needle on something that was at once familiar and utterly new to me. It took me a second to figure out why I thought I knew it, and when I did I had to get up on the riser to check out the label.
The tune he was spinning – and that I bring to you today – was ‘Let Me Be Your Lover’ by Jimmy Bo Horne. If the title isn’t familiar, pull down the ones and zeros and give the song a spin. It ought to be almost immediately apparent that ‘Let Me Be Your Lover’ was the sample source for the Stereo MCs ‘Connected’, a song that I was previously unaware had used a sample.
Horne was a Florida based artist who had been recording since the mid-60s for Henry Stone’s Alston label (where he recorded the “answer” to Betty Wright’s ‘Clean Up Woman’, entitled – not surprisingly – ‘Clean Up Man’ in 1972). He laid down ‘Let Me Be Your Lover’ in 1978 during the heart of the disco era. Fortunately for us, the tune was written and produced by Harry Casey and Richard Finch, two gentlemen who wrote and recorded some of the funkiest disco records with KC & the Sunshine Band (Casey being “KC”), as well as tunes for George McRae (‘Rock Your Baby’) and Betty Wright among others.
‘Let Me Be Your Lover’ is positively swimming in bass, with a punchy horn section trading off with Casey’s electric piano. There’s a very subtle layer of strings, but they hardly make a dent in the record which seems engineered to take full advantage of the woofers in any club’s sound system. There’s a great section about one minute and forty seconds into the tune where the horns drop out and the keyboards (sounds like both an electric piano and a clavinet) are used to accent the vocal. I’m not sure if there’s a 12” mix of this tune (there would just about have to be, wouldn’t there??), but I’m betting it’d be killer.
So, I hope you dig the tune (props to DJ Prime), and I’ll be back on Wednesday with some more soulful excellence.

Peace
Larry

PSS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for something unusual from Simon & Garfunkel

PSSS Check out Paperback Rider as well (just updated).