Archive for the ‘funky ass funkity funk’ 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

Example

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

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

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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

Example

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Bobby Freeman – Do You Wanna Dance, 1970

October 18, 2009

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Mr. Bobby Freeman

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Listen/Download -Bobby Freeman – Do You Wanna Dance, 1970

Greetings all.
How’s by you?
By me it’s raining for the third day in a row, and I’m sitting here writing an entry for a funk and soul blog while listening to Von Suppe’s ‘Light Cavalry’. Lest you think I’m making a move into the classical realm, this exalted fare is in response to my five-year-old who was galloping around the house singing the ‘William Tell Overture’, asking if it was a real song. Fortunately I just happened to have a disc of Von Suppe and Rossini overtures on hand.
But wait!
Next time you’re out digging, and discover such a record, grab it and take it home.
“Why?” you ask, shaking your head in disgust.
Because my friends, the overtures of Rossini and Von Suppe are perhaps the greatest classical source for cartoon music, having been plundered by Carl Stalling and others and planted into decades worth of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig cartoons like a time-release culture bomb.
How many among you were wandering aimlessly in a record store or coffee house when a familiar sound grabbed your ears, only to make you think of carrots and cartoon violence? You can thank those two great 19th century composers (and Raymond Scott, among others) for making your Saturday mornings a little more meaningful.
But enough eggheadery….
The tune I bring you today is another Asbury Park 45 Sessions discovery that leapt into my skull fresh out of the crates of Mr. Pat. James Longo. Truth be told, I had been forewarned that he might attempt to blow my mind with something funky by an artist not generally associated with drum breaks and what not, but I could not have been prepared for what was about to happen.
Mr. Longo took to the tables, whipped that familiar yellow and black Double Shot label out and dropped the needle on a sweet, sweet break, followed by a truly funky update of a song from the 1950s.
The artist in question was Bobby Freeman, and the song was ‘Do You Wanna Dance, 1970’.
Now, as any record collector worth his/her salt will tell you, the world of funk and soul is riddled with such updates, in which an artist tries to play on his previous success by reworking old material and slapping the current date on the end of the title so the fans would be able to distinguish the old from the new. This scheme, more often than not, resulted in sub-par work, marking the very moment a performer sailed off the end of the world into obscurity.
This is only partially true in this instance.
Bobby Freeman first hit the charts in 1958 with the original version of ‘Do You Wanna Dance’, returned in 1960 with ‘I Do the Shimmy Shimmy’ and then had his biggest hit in 1964 with the Sly Stone produced stormer ‘C’Mon and Swim’. He moved from Autumn to Loma in 1966, eventually landing at Double Shot (home to Brenton Wood and the Count Five among others) in 1969.
‘Do You Wanna Dance, 1970’ opens with en extended break, moves on into the soul clapping and then busts out into a hi-test reworking of his first hit.
It’s definitely one of those “how did I not know about this” records, which of course is a moot point because I know about it now, and once you pull down the ones and zeros, so will you.
I hope you dig it.

Peace

Larry

Example

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for podcast looking at the career of sunshine pop legend Curt Boettcher

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Another Guest Mix!

October 15, 2009

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A very cool poster made up by the guys at Soul:Good…


UPDATE: Download an MP3 of the entire show here…

Set List:

Curly Moore & The Kool Ones – Funky Yeah (House of the Fox)
AB Skhyy – Camel Back (MGM)
Bill Sha Rae – Let’s Do It Again (Triple B)
Funkadelic – Super Stupid (Westbound)
Dramatics – Get Up and Get Down (Volt)
Sod – Too Loose To Get Tight Pt 1 (Decca)
Buena Vistas – Kick Back (Marquee)
Johnny Griffiths – Do It (Triple B)
War – Me and Baby Brothers (UA)
ST-4 – Funky (Scepter)
Marvin Holmes & the Uptights – Ride Your Mule (Revue)
Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers – Raw Funky (Tower)
Marva Whitney – Things Got To Get Better (King)
Cymande – Fug (Janus)
Donald Austin – Crazy Legs (Eastbound)
Woody Guenther & Cheaters – Bang Dangin’ Time (Shout

Greetings all.
The end of the week has arrived, and so has another patented Funky16Corners guest mix.
A while back the good folks at Soul:Good over in the ex-USSR wrote and asked if I’d be interested in doing a mix for their radio show.
Naturally, I was psyched about spreading the funk 45 word over in the hinterlands, so I said yes.
The mix in question – which will drop Friday afternoon (around 1PM EST) – is on the heavy side, with some rock breaks, acid-funk and the like, all guaranteed to set your hair on end, get your ass off the sofa and set the volume to LOUD.
You can follow these links to check out the Soul:Good web presence and check out a short interview I did with them. After the show airs I’ll make sure to post an MP3 download link.

http://www.myspace.com/soulgoood
http://www.urbansoul.ru/staytuned/45rpm
http://lebowskisays.wordpress.com
http://vkontakte.ru/club5892799

You probably already get this, but it behooves me to warn you that a lot of the above is in Russian…

In other Funky16Corners news, the fifth (yes, FIVE years) anniversary of the Funky16Corners blog will be here in a few weeks. I’m planning a special two part mix, so make sure you drop by to check out the festivities.
I hope you dig the guest mix, and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

Example

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for some jangly garage folk

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Alan Hawkshaw & Alan Parker – Hot Pants

October 8, 2009

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Alan Hawkshaw – The Hawk Strikes Again!

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Listen/Download – Alan Hawkshaw/Alan Parker – Hot Pants

Greetings all.
This is gonna be short and sweet (just like today’s selection) on account of I have a ton of non-bloggy stuff on the agenda that has to take precedence.
The tune in question is something that verily blew my mind back in the early days of my funk jones.
Way back in the halcyon days of nineteen and ninety nine, just before the turn of the century I was sitting on my divan, head resting securely on the antimacassar with a snifter of carbonated beverage cradled in my hand, enjoying a program on the television machine. Suddenly, as the program I was watching took a break I was startled out of my reverie by the soundtrack to an advertisement.
Seriously.
The advertiser was the internet site CNET and the music in the commercial was a funky number with some absolutely fantastic flute action. My instincts told me that this was old music (as opposed to something newly created for the ad) so I started to search on what was then an admittedly a less robust version of the interwebs.
I came up snake eyes.
Then, spurred on by a serious NEED to track down the song, I tracked down the ad agency that had created the commercial and inquired directly as to the source of the music. The reply I received, i.e. ‘The song is called ‘Hot Pants’ from a KPM album.’ Was my very first introduction to the world of library music.
It was a while before I was able to wrap some context around my discovery, and a full ten years before I was able to secure a copy of the record, that being ‘KPM 1080: Flute For Moderns’.
The very groovy thing – a bit of the context I mentioned before – is that the majority of the record was composed and performed by none other than the mighty Alan Hawkshaw and Alan Parker (see Mohawks, Keith Mansfield, Rumplestiltskin etc).
Hawkshaw’s catalog is by and large the very definition of unfadeable, and while the emphasis here is on flute and not my beloved Hammond (of which Hawkshaw is an accepted past master), I still get a rush when I put this record on.
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

Example

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for a folk rock cover version from an unusual source.

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

October 1, 2009

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

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

Peace

Larry

Example

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

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Funky16Corners Radio v.73 – Vanishing Point aka the Return of Super Soul

September 6, 2009

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Funky16Corners Radio v.73 – Vanishing Point aka the Return of Super Soul

Playlist

Booker T & the MGs – Chicken Pox (Stax)
Buddy Miles – Them Changes (Mercury)
5th Dimension – Shake Your Tambourine (Bell)
Shirley Bassey – Spinning Wheel (UA)
Dorothy Norwood – Soul Train (GRC)
Bo Diddley – High Again (Checker)
Buena Vistas – Soul Ranger (Marquee)
Labelle – Lady Marmalade (Epic)
Sisters and Brothers feat Sister Geri – Chained (Calla)
Hoctor – Gold Coast (Hoctor)
Bobby Byrd – If You Don’t Work You Can’t Eat (King)
James Brown – Hot Pants Pts 2&3 (People)
Jimmy McGriff – Shaft (Groove Merchant)
Ken Munson – Rocks In My Bed (Paramount)
Mickey & the Soul Generation – Chocolate (Maxwell)
Bohannon – Truck Stop (Dakar)


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

Greetings all.

I hope all is well on your end of the interwebs.
As stated on Friday, it’s been a very busy period here at Funky16Corners headquarters, with the two sprouts headed to school, many (MANY) appointments on the books and general life type stuff piling up around me.
Among the items on the “to do” list were a new mix for this very blog, as well as an upcoming guest mix for somewhere else, as well as a rash of digi-ma-tizing and filing new arrivals and future mix contents.
Before we get started with the latest edition of the Funky16Corners Radio thang, it behooves me to note that there is a minor change in the blogroll. Last week the fine Echoes In the Wind blog was officially discomblogulated by the bureaucrats over at Blogger (one of the many reasons I abandoned that service a few years back for the elysian fields of WordPress) and he was left – as the kids say – with his cheese flapping in the wind. Not one to let tragedy get him down, Greg has reconstituted his blogging space as Echoes Again (at WordPress, natch) and the least I can do is send you good folks over his way to help him get restarted. Make sure that you click on over this Tuesday (9/8) for the grand reopening.
The mix I bring you today is something I’ve had cooking on the back burner for a while. If you follow the comings and goings here at Funky16Corners, you know that no matter how many times the Funky16Corners Radio mixes enter the realm of high concept, I always find the time to take a step back every once in a while to whip some straight ahead funk and soul on you good people.
Today’s selection, ‘Vanishing Point: The Return of Super Soul’ – aka Funky16Corners Radio v. 73 – sees us taking some very solid funk (some familiar, most not so much) and wrapping it up in bits and pieces of one of my all time favorite movies.
Things get off to a rousing start with what I would say is the greatest Meters song neither written or recorded by the giants of the Crescent City. When one thinks of someone copping a little of that Meters juice, you would imagine the suspects to be some obscure, one-off group from the funky hinterlands, instead of perhaps the greatest of all 60’s instrumental soul bands, that being Booker T & the MGs. Coming from their last LP in 1971, the incredible ‘Melting Pot’, ‘Chicken Pox’ is one of those tunes you’d just love to spring on the heads in some kind of blindfold test. The first time I heard it, ‘Chicken Pox’ made my head spin. The opening second of the song sound as if they were lifted from any early Meters 45, and when Al Jackson comes in on the drums (with Booker T joining him almost simultaneously on the organ), and Steve Cropper whips out that big, rolling guitar riff, it’s kind of hard not to imagine the boys from Memphis didn’t feel Art, George, Leo and Zig snapping at their heels. How I wish this was available on 45….
Next up is a cat (and a song) that ought to be familiar to regular visitors to this space. Drummer/singer Buddy Miles was literally and figuratively a giant, who managed to mix rock and soul as well as anyone. His best known song ‘Them Changes’, covered countless times – heard here in its original form –  is a hard charging freight train of a record, with fat, fuzzy bass, blazing horns and of course Buddy’s vocals up on top.
If you haven’t read the set list yet, give the next song a listen and see if you can figure out who it is. Were you thinking of the 5th Dimension? I actually bought the album that this song appears on for another cover (which turned out to be a completely different song than I was looking for), but when I heard this wild version of Bobby Marchan’s ‘Shake Your Tambourine’ I knew my money wasn’t wasted.
Now, if you saw the name Shirley Bassey and did a double take, listen to her take on Blood Sweat and Tears ‘Spinning Wheel’ and be reassured. It’s one of those songs that produces interesting cover versions in incongruous sources, and this is no exception. Opening with an odd bit of swirling orchestration, it’s only a few seconds before some solid bass drops in, followed by funky drums, fatback guitar and Ms. Bassey’s reliably hot vocals.
It was the night of the last Asbury Park 45 Sessions when I scored the next 45, right out of my man DJ Prestige’s sale box. Dorothy Norwood is one of the biggest gospel stars of the last 40 years, but also has the distinction of having toured with the decidedly secular Rolling Stones. I grabbed ‘Get On Board the Soul Train’ mainly because I pick up ‘Soul Train’ records wherever I find them, but this one had the extra benefit of a very funky backing (dig that guitar riff) and a very soulful vocal my Ms Norwood.
Bo Diddley’s ‘I’m High Again’ is another find from that night, coming from Mr. Pat. James Longo. One of Big Bad Bo’s wilder numbers from his late 60s period (sought after by the crate digger types in your neighborhood), ‘I’m High Again’ sees the mighty Mr. Diddley namechecking LSD over a funky beat and some wild flanged guitar in a performance guaranteed to flip the wig of anyone that never listened past the early 60’s.
A couple of weeks back I layed the absolutely deadly funk of the Buena Vista’s ‘Kick-Back’ on you, and I promised that I’d be bringing you it’s very tasty flipside in the coming weeks. Well a promise made is a promise kept, so unzip your ears and let a little bit of the ‘Soul Ranger’ slide into your sound hole. It’s got breaks, a taste of Roy Ward’s ‘Horse With a Freeze’ and some very funky, wobble-legged guitar running through the whole thing. If there ever was a solid two-sider you needed for your record box, this is it my friends.
Last week when I dropped Labelle’s version of the Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ I made mention of the fact that I always pack three versions of ‘Lady Marmalade’ in my DJ box. Two of them – by Nanette Workman and Mongo Santamaria – are relatively obscure. The third is of course the OG, which in the language of the streets is completely and utterly unfuckwithable. Featuring production by the mighty Toussaint, and backing from the Meters, it is, despite however much overexposure you might associate with the song, a burner of the first order, and very, very funky.
Another taste of Louisiana, is the funkier side of the Sisters and Brothers Calla 45, ‘Chained’. While not as heavy as ‘Yeah You Right’ (on Uni), ‘Chained’ is a great bit of southern funk.
The next cut is a record that I’d been chasing for a long time. I’ve had a copy of the Hoctor version of the Meter’s ‘Cissy Strut’ for years, but for just as long the cut ‘Gold Coast’ has eluded me. Until, that is, it showed up in Mr. Longo’s sales stack at the 45 Sessions and I agreed to pay him whatever he thought fair in order that the record should return with me to my lair. Fortunately for me he suggested a more than acceptable price, I dug into my change purse and we made the exchange. ‘Gold Coast’ is – to coin a phrase – funky as year-old gym socks, with two distinct grooves which switch rather abruptly in the middle of the song. It pains me to think of all the time I was walking around without a copy of this 45. It’s all better now.
Speaking of 45s that I pick up whenever I come across them, the works of Mr. Bobby Byrd are high on that particular list. I dig his many collaborations with the Godfather of Soul and drop the needle on them whenever I stand behind  the wheels of steel. ‘If You Don’t Work You Can’t Eat’, with its fantabulous intro of ‘Hello jocks and friends!’ is from the socially conscious side of the JB menu, and has a churning beat, with some great guitar and electric piano bubbling up from underneath.
And how can you drop some Bobby Byrd without paying tribute to the Godfather himself? When I was down in DC last time I whipped ‘Hot Pants Pt1’ on the crowd (to great acclaim I must say) so I figured I’d flip the disc and offer up Parts 2 and 3 for your delectation.
No Funky16Corners mix is complete without a taste of Hammond, so I bring you a little something from Mr. Jimmy McGriff. If there’s a bad version of the ‘Theme From Shaft’ I have yet to hear it. Listen as Mr. McGriff and his band vamp on that famous riff, until they get to bust out into the second part of the tune. Very groovy indeed.
I’m a nut for some funky flute (I have something along those very lines jamming its way to me via the intertubes that I simply cannot wait to whip on you) and Ken Munson’s ‘Superflute’ album is a solid source thereof. Sought after by beatheads for the break in the title track, the LP has much more to offer, including some cool covers and a couple of nice originals. The tune I bring you today is in the latter category. ‘Rocks In My Bed’ is a solid slice of Blaxplo-style groove.
Mickey and the Soul Generation are best known for the mighty ‘Iron Leg’, one of my all time favorite funk 45s. If you wish to sample another very tasty groove, you need only flip that 45 over for a taste of ‘Chocolate’. Not as organ heavy as the a-side, there’s some very tasty guitar and horns on ‘Chocolate’, as well as a propulsive groove. The whole thing’s not too far removed from an early Kool and the Gang vibe.
The early 70s Dakar recordings of Hamilton Bohannon are often cited as ‘disco’ records, but that has more to do with the fact that they were played in clubs (especially overseas) than any relation to what you might think of as a disco style. ‘Truck Stop’ from the 1974 LP ‘Keep On Dancing’ is a fantastic example of his very funky, groove oriented style in which the band digs into a riff and keeps digging for several minutes. I’m definitely going to be posting more by Bohannon in the future, so stay tuned.
That’s it for this edition of Funky16Corners Radio. I hope you dig the funky sounds, and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.

Peace

Larry

NOTE: Funky16Corners gets a nice namecheck from no less than the great Nick Hornby (author of ‘High Fidelity’ among others) on the Guardian UK website. Thanks Nick!

PPS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for some garage psyche

PPPS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Friday Recycling – Funkadelic – Super Stupid

September 3, 2009

Greetings all.
I had something else planned for today, but to borrow a cliche, I am currently up to my ass in alligators, and really do not have the time to get a new post together. I’m in the middle of a serious load of real world moves, as well as falling behind on all things bloggy.
There is literally not enough time in the world right now to do everything I need to do, so this repost from a few years back (almost exactly three years ago) will have to do.
Fortunately for all of us, the song involved is perhaps the most undeniably ass-kickingest, head-spinningest, eye-popping, mind-blowing yadda yadda yadda, etc etc…
I have just one thing to add to what I wrote below: It’s all in the kick drum.
See you on Monday.
Peace
Larry

Originally posted September 2006

Example

FUNKADELIC

Example

Listen – Super Stupid MP3″

Greetings.


It’s Friday, which means it’s almost – practically – Saturday, which means despite the fact that I have to work all day, I have my eyes on the prize and no one – noBODY – is going to make me like it.
I guess I’m back to wrestling with the absurdity of working for a living, coupled with/compounded by irritation inherent in my job, nailed to the insanity of the “Protestant work ethic”-worship that’s been stinking up this country for the last 300 years, scotch-taped to the fact that my life is consumed by a pastime that has little or no remuneration associated with it (spiritual riches never having been enough to put food on the table or coal in the furnace, a flaw that’s never far from my mind).
Damn….
In the spirit of kicking a figurative hole in the sheetrock, I decided that today was the day where I was going to whip something on you that’ll make your face look like the test pilot guy on the rocket sled, i.e. eyelids peeled back, cheeks flapping in the wind, teeth and gums exposed to the world. While this might seem sadistic in the hands of lesser mortals, I do this because it has purgative effects, clearing the slate as it were and allowing the addled mind to regroup (defrag for my fellow IT folk) so that it might return to some semblance of normalcy (whatever that is).
So, grab something to cleanse your palate, hold on tight, and get ready for Funkadelic.
I remember very clearly the first time I heard today’s selection. Not too long after grabbing the first Funkadelic album, and having my mind blown by it, I returned – much to the consternation of my wallet – to the local record store and got my hands on the next two, i.e. ‘Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow’ and ‘Maggot Brain’.
As I worked my way through these albums, soaking up the soulful psychedelia therein, I thought to myself – “How could I have missed the boat on this band for so long?”.
I was certainly aware of the Parliament-Funkadelic “thang”, with the space ships, crazy tin-foil suits, platform boots, star-shaped guitars and all that, and I had a couple of Parliaments 45s, with the group harmony, conks, and the Northern soul and that whole bag, but I had never explored the dark area in between those two extremes.
It would be a mistake (or at least a foolish simplification) to describe the Funkadelic era (1969 – 1973) as transitional – which it kind of was – because that would suggest that there was some kind of logical progression – a bridge as it were – between ‘I Can Feel the Ice Melting’ and ‘Flashlight’. There might be one in theory, but when I finally settled down to feed my head from those first three Funkadelic albums, I had no idea how much of a stylistic left turn George Clinton and his merry band of maniacs had in mind.
When the Parliaments shed their matching suits, turned on and fuzzed out, they created something that was simultaneously too tripped out for the soul fans and too “black” for the rock fans. While there were elements of post-Experience Hendrix, and Family Stone-isms in orbit around Funkadelic, their sound was something else entirely.
I’m not going to go into the complexities of the “Black Rock” sub-genre here (with the mid-period Bar-Kays, Fugi, Chambers Brothers et al) but I will say that while Funkadelic were certainly on the vanguard of that particular mini-revolution, they were also taking their thing much further. They were light years ahead of their time, and like most “real” innovators, Funkadelic were far beyond the sounds of those first three LPs, and into a whole new bag, before anyone noticed.
The track I unleash upon you today, ‘Super Stupid’ quite literally shocked me the first time I heard it. When the opening fanfare started, my first thought was “Oh, this should be interesting.”. Then the song started – things getting interesting-er with every passing second, and then…and then….the verse started, producing an effect not unlike those films you see of a post-atomic blast shockwave, where everything gets sucked in one direction, only to be suddenly rocketed in the other.
WHOMP!
Eddie Hazel’s lead guitar opens up with a riff, over Bernie Worrell’s organ, and then all of a sudden the singing and the drums (courtesy of Mr. Tiki Fulwood) come in, and HOLY SHIT!
Those drums….
It’s like John Bonham and Clyde Stubblefield had a baby and the little bastard turned out to be a hard-hitting motherfucker.
I had to plug in the headphones, restart the song and crank up the volume to a level that I knew would leave my ears ringing.
In a period where I had just sold my Led Zeppelin CDs*, any regrets I might have had were no longer an issue because I was now hearing the heaviest music my ears had ever savored, and those drums – especially the bass drum which was hitting like some kind of syncopated locomotive – were freaking me out (they still do).
The next time some greasy haired, poorly tattooed hesher sidles up next to you and wants to hep you to something “heavy” (if he’s hip, Sabbath, if he’s sniffing glue, Slayer), take out the copy of ‘Maggot Brain’ you keep ready for just such an occasion and whip a little ‘Super Stupid’ on him. When it’s done, he will either have knocked you on your ass and jacked you for your CD, or will be laying in the gutter, sucking his thumb and crying for his mama.
Your basic win/win situation.

* Back in the early 90’s I was listening to a LOT of delta blues of 20’s/30’s vintage. As time wore on I began to realize just how much of the Zep catalog had been out and out stolen from long gone bluesmen incapable of taking those slackjawed, Crowley-worshippers to court and shaking every last sixpence from their embroidered jeans (though it must be noted that the mighty Willie Dixon was still around and just happened to have his attorney’s phone number handy, much to the consternation of Messrs Page and Plant). It was years before I could/would listen to Led Zeppelin again.

NOTE: The scan above, and the vinyl rip of this tune are from a 1977 ‘Best of the Early Years’ LP.

NOTE NOTE: Thanks to the folks at Soulstrut for inspiring me to post this one…

The Buena Vistas – Kick-Back

August 25, 2009

Example

The Return of the Mysterious Buena Vistas

Listen/Download – The Buena Vistas – Kick-Back – MP3

NOTE: I’m warning you porcupines…the opening to this 45 may very well give you whiplash. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Greetings all.
The record I bring you today is one that as soon as heard its roar emanating from the turntables (during a DJ Prime Mundo set at an Asbury Park 45 Sessions), I grabbed my pith helmet and elephant gun and headed out to the bush in search of my own copy.
The search yielded surprising results, on account of the record I was looking for, was ‘Kick-Back’ but the 45 it was clawing its way out of was by a group I’d never heard of before, named Willie Tell and the Overtures.
I started my search in all the usual interwebs nooks and crannies, and came up snake eyes.
Then I posted it as a want over at Soulstrut. Some kind soul offered me a copy for $100. I politely declined…
So I started trying to find info about the record, and stumbled across some very interesting information, that being that the Buena Vistas, a group (more like a “name”) which released a number of cool 45s on Detroit’s Marquee label, released a single with the same exact two songs on it, BEFORE Willie Tell and the Overtures (which Chess released in 1970).
Hmmmmmmm….
So, I dug a little further and found someone saying that the recordings were exactly the same.
A HAH!
I head on over to E-Bay, and find a copy for sale, bid promptly, and in a surprising twist, got it for about $16 (which for you kids is much less than $100).
A few days later the record fell through the mailslot, I slipped it on the turntable, put the needle down, and discovered that my investment had been a wise one.
Now I was really intrigued. ‘Kick-Back’ is a break heavy monster, with some funky guitar and organ that sounds absolutely fantastic when issuing forth from a nice, loud sound system. I was also happy to discover the the flipside ‘The Soul Ranger’ also has a break, sounding like a slightly funkier version of the New Orleans classic ‘Horse With a Freeze’ (an Eddie Bo joint).
Now we addressed the Buena Vistas here before, talking about their Mike Terry produced 45 ‘Hot Shot’. My guess – which I still stand by – is that the musicians heard on this record were in fact various and sundry Funk Brothers.
Someone posted a comment on that post, which said the following:

“The Buena Vistas are actually Kathy Lynn & The Playboys, well-known musicians from Buffalo NY who recorded three 45s for Swan in a variety of styles. They became the Buena Vistas on Swan and then moved to Detroit where they were on Marquee and Lla Salle, as well as recording on LaSalle as The Antiques and Lynn Terry. Check the names- Kathy Lynn Keppen, Nick Ameno, Carl Cisco. And sometimes Eddie Bently. Thye were managed by Shannon in Buffalo and in Detroit. And they also recorded a 45 that was released as by The Rockin’ Rebels. The kicker is that they were all white!”

I ain’t buying it. That may have been the group that went out on the road, but I have serious doubts that they actually recorded any of the Marquees’ 45s (at least not the ones I own). Here’s what I wrote then:

“The Buena Vistas recorded several 45s for four different labels (Swan, Marquee, BB and LaSalle) between 1966 and 1968. Mike Terry’s name is on several of them as arranger.
The songwriting credits on the labels point to the involvement of Tom Shannon, a disc jockey/record man from Buffalo, NY who along with Carl Cisco (another name on the label) relocated to Detroit in the mid-60’s. Shannon and Cisco were both involved in another act on Swan, that being the Rockin’ Rebels, another instrumental act that were a “band” in name only, and probably a revolving cast of musicians, or at least a few different sets of players over the years that the group was issuing 45s (see the AllMusic bio of the group for more info). I suspect that this was also the case with the Buena Vistas, where the “name” was little more than a vehicle for a string of attempted assaults on the charts by the people behind the scenes.”

I stand by that assessment, unless credibly informed otherwise.
The Buena Vistas to Willie Tell & the Overtures transformation/shenanigans only serves to push me further in that direction.
I hope you dig the song, and watch for the flip in an upcoming mix.

Peace

Larry


PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for another iconic Woodstock performance.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Sly & the Family Stone At Woodstock

August 16, 2009

Example

Sylvester Stewart gets down with half a million of his closest friends

Example

Listen/Download – Sly & the Family Stone – Woodstock Medley – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope all is well on your end as the summer creeps inexorably to it’s symbolic close.
I have returned from my travels, in which a family vacation was inevitably bisected (however briefly) with a digging soujourn (productive). Many good times were had, good food consumed (god bless the Vietnamese and their pho, as close to mother’s milk as soup has ever come) and waves of needless traffic fought bravely.
The tune(s) I bring you today are here in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock.

“Woodstock??!” you say. “On Funky16Corners?!?!?”
Yessireebob.

While it was by and large a rock festival, Woodstock featured one of the most unequivocally blazing Sly and the Family Stone performances ever committed to vinyl (or film for that matter).
There, in the middle (quite literally) of the second night, Sly and his gang took to the stage, faced a crowd of drowsy, mud-soaked hippies and blew their fucking ears off with a veritable tidal wave of funky love, which was at least in the context of Woodstock without equal.
You might want to start and consider how amazing a band Sly & the Family Stone were. Though they sometimes get overlooked in funk/soul circles for their rock-ish style and traveling amongst the longhairs, Sly and the band were without question a going soul and funk concern. There was a pop edge, but what music in that time period didn’t display such filigree?
I want you to pull down the ones and zeros and slap on the headphones and turn the volume way the fuck up and tell me if around the seven and a half minute mark, when the band rips into the ‘Music Lover’ riff you don’t get the stone (pun intended) tingles up and down your spine as a shit eating grin explodes on your face.

I mean GODDAMN!

When Sly gets all ‘I WANT TO TAKE YOU HIGHER!’ and the audience shouts back ‘HIGHER!’ over and over again, and again in a rapturous bit of call and response I get a headrush, and a footrush (on account of they’re tapping so hard) and I kind of get taken away, and it’s 1969, and I’m almost seven years old, a ghostly pale white kid on my way to second grade, and somehow I’m transported (without the knowledge or consent of my parents, natch) to the foot of the stage, with my eyes and ears all bugged out, my crew cut blown back in the hot wind emanating from the edge of the stage and then I snap out of it and realize I’m still sitting at the dining room table with my laptop, typing this stuff and a brief wave of disappointment that I wasn’t there sweeps over me.
The really groovy thing (as they might have said back in the olden days) is that no one knew when they showed up to play at Woodstock that it was going to end up being anything but another gathering of the tribes. The on-stage energy you see displayed by Sly in the movie is the kind of thing he and the Family Stone were accustomed to bringing wherever they went. I remember seeing a film of them absolutely tearing the house down at some cockamamie battle of the bands at the Ohio State Fair (check it out over at La Colmena de Humo)and thinking to myself how few of the performances I’ve seen in my thirty some year concert going career came within 1,000 miles of that show, and Woodstock is BETTER than that one.
Of course Sly burnt himself out a few short years down the line and never really came back.
That my friends is a serious loss, and a lesson in the cruel ways of fate.

Life’s a bitch like that sometimes.
Dig the Sly.

Peace

Larry

NOTE: Make sure to check out the Midnight Soulstice show from this past Friday which includes a mix from yours truly. It’s archived for streaming or download here.

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for another iconic Woodstock performance.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook