Archive for the ‘Funky16Corners Radio’ Category

Funky16Corners Radio v.77 – Get Ready!

December 13, 2009

Example

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

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

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Funky16Corners Radio v.76 – One for the Kids

November 15, 2009

Example

Artwork copyright 2009 – Miles Grogan (age 5)

Funky16Corners Radio v.76 – One For the Kids – Funk and Soul for Children of All Ages

Playlist

Rufus Thomas – Do the Funky Penguin Pt1 (Stax)
Shirley Ellis – The Clapping Song (Congress)
Village Soul Choir – A-B-C’s (Abbott)
Freddy & the Kinfolk – The Goat (Dade)
Electric Company feat Morgan Freeman and Bill Cosby – Jelly Belly (WB)
Banana Splits – Doin’ the Banana Split (Kelloggs)
George Semper – Shortnin’ Bread (Imperial)
Bill Doggett – The Worm (Columbia)
Schoolhouse Rock feat. Grady Tate – I Got Six (Capitol)
Guitar Ray – Patty Cake Shake (Hot Line)
King Coleman – The Boo Boo Song Pt1 (King)
JC Davis – Monkey (Chess)
Jerry O – The Funky Chicken Yoke (Boogaloo)
Okie Duke – Chicken Licken’ (Ovation)
Jackson Five – ABC (Motown)
The Philly Four – The Elephant (Cobblestone)
The Unemployed – Funky Rooster (Cotillion)
Lucky Peterson Blues Band – Good Old Candy (Today)
The Portraits – Three Blind Mice (Tri Disc)
Maggie Thrett – Soupy (From Tha Soul)

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

Greetings all.

I know this may seem a little early for the arrival of the next Funky16Corners Radio podcast, but sometimes it’s just like that.
The roots of this mix go a long way back (maybe a couple of years?) to a suggestion by a regular reader (who’s identity has been lost in the depths of my e-mail account, raise your hand if it’s you…) that I put together a mix of funk and soul tunes for the kids out there (I have two of my own, and I’m sure a lot of you have your own too).
I thought that this was – in the words of the sage Gomez Addams – a capital idea, but like so many of those, it had to bounce around in the back alleys of the windmills of my mind for a while before I finally buckled down and started rummaging around in the crates to make it a reality. The 40th anniversary of Sesame Street kind of gave me a nudge to get this together as well.
Though the idea seemed simple enough, the realization of the concept took a little bit of thought. There were a couple of obvious selections (some of which made it into the mix, some fell by the wayside for a variety of reasons), but I really needed to go through the archive so that inspirado might finally take hold.
The tunes I was looking for needed to be things that would catch the ear of an actual kid (everything herein has been road tested with my three and five year old sons), and would also need to be “safe”, i.e. free of anything obviously inappropriate (please let me know if I missed anything….). I also wanted the contents of the mix to appeal to the young at heart as well, so that if you are so inclined you could cut a rug alongside your progeny.
Back when the theme was first suggested, the first (and at the time, only) record that came to mind was King Coleman’s ‘Boo Boo Song’, a 45 that sent my son into apoplexy the first time he heard it, and I suspect that it would have the same effect on most people, not just kids. When I hit the crates – as is always the case – I leaned in the direction of overkill, pulling all kinds of stuff that I thought might appeal to the younger set. As I worked through an imposing stack of wax – my sons at my side, some things went by the wayside, either because they ended up containing inappropriate content, or because they failed to elicit a positive response from the “focus group”.
Some of it, like the Electric Company and Schoolhouse Rock fell into the ‘purpose made’ category, their soulful and/or funky attributes merely a happy coincidence.
A couple of things in the mix were in fact performed by actual children (the Jackson Five and Lucky Peterson, who was actually five), and several others were based in kids nursery/playground rhymes. Others were just plain fun (the ‘animal’ themed numbers went over especially well with my kids).
I should also mention that the artwork for Funky16Corners Radio v.76 was created by my five year old son Miles. He drew it before I started working on the mix, but I felt it fit the vibe perfectly. With any luck he’ll whip up some covers for future editions of the podcast.
Listen closely for some blasts from your own childhood (anyone else ride for Captain Kangaroo??), and drop me line to let me know how the mix played with the kids in your life. Make sure you pull down the mixed version so you get all the ‘bonus’ material.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back later in the week with something more traditional.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PPS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for some late-period Monkees

PPPS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Fifth Anniversary Celebration Pt2 + F16 Radio v.75

November 3, 2009

Example

Example

Playlist

Overton Berry Trio – And I Love Her (Jaro)
Gary McFarland – Here There and Everywhere (Skye)
Vince Guaraldi – Eleanor Rigby (WB)
Bola Sete – Golden Slumbers (Paramount)
Ray Charles – Yesterday (TRC)
Shirley Scott – Because (Atlantic)
Brian Auger & the Trinity – A Day In the Life (Atco)
The Pair Extraordinaire – And I Love Her (Liberty)
Lonnie Smith – Eleanor Rigby (Blue Note)
David ‘Fathead’ Newman – Yesterday (Atlantic)
Stan Getz – Because (MGM)
Frank Wess – The Fool On the Hill (Enterprise)


To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive
Greetings all.
As promised, I have returned with the second mix of Beatles covers, aka Funky16Corners Radio v.75 – Golden Slumbers. I menitoned on Monday that this is a much mellower affair than F16C Radio v.74, more suited to dark nights or quiet afternoons than for anything resembling a party.
There are some old faves in the mix, as well as some more recent discoveries.
You can listen to the older Beatles covers mixes via the links below, and to catch Radio v.74 you need only scroll further down the page.
Thanks to everyone who sent along their good wishes on the fifth anniversary of the blog.

I hope you dig the mixes and I’ll be back next week with more of the stuff you love.

Peace

Larry

Hit the previous mixes  here:

Listen/download Funky16Corners Radio v.28 – Rubber Souled Pt1

Listen/download Funky16Corners Radio v.29 – Rubber Souled Pt2

Listen/download Funky16Corners Radio v.30 – Rubber Souled Pt3

Listen/download Funky16Corners Radio v.54 – Come Together
Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some mid-60s German pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners Fifth Anniversary Celebration!!

November 1, 2009

Example

Example

Playlist

Lee Moses – Day Tripper (Musicor)
Booker T & the MGs – Lady Madonna (Stax)
Natural Gas – Eleanor Rigby (Firebird)
Memphis Soul Band – Get Back (Minit)
JJ Barnes – Day Tripper (Ric-Tic)
JEJ Ensemble – Sgt Pepper Medley (JEJ)
Jay Jackson and the Heads of Our Time – With a Little Help From My Friends (Mr G)
Pat Williams – Hey Jude (Verve)
Dobby Dobson – Carry That Weight (Jaguar)
Ramsey Lewis – Sexy Sadie (Cadet)
Supremes – Come Together (Motown)
Verona High School Jazz Ensemble – Let It Be (private press)
Mongo Santamaria – Day Tripper (Columbia)
Ramsey Lewis – Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except for Me and My Monkey (Cadet)
Doc Severinson – Abbey Road Medley (Command)
Gap Mangione – The End (Mercury)


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

Greetings all.
I write this sitting at the dining room table, looking out the window as my sworn enemies – fall leaves – drop to the ground. I am currently under attack by some kind of sinus problem, which makes the thought of taking the leaf blower and the rake out of my shed all the more painful.
However, there is something to celebrate, an occasion so momentous, so earth shatteringly earth shattering as to wipe away any and all afflictions by virtue of its world shaking stupendousness.
That’s right, the Funky16Corners blog is five years old.
It was the first week of November 2004 when I first stepped blindly into the blog-o-mosphere, spilling the contents of my fevered brain onto the interwebs via my computer keyboard. Back in the day, I had no earthly idea that I would still be at it five long years later. If you are son inclined, and you take a bracing dip in the Funky16Corners pre-Wordpress archive, you’ll also see that in the beginning, I didn’t really have a clear idea of what I was going to do with the blog.
The general concept is there, i.e. to ruminate on and inform about music, but as you’ll see the musical direction didn’t really take shape until the second month of the blog’s existence. There were traces of the Funky16Corners you know and love, but there was also a bunch of stuff that presaged the whole Iron Leg experience as well. You can go back to that first month and watch me as the divergent musical avenues of my mind do battle for supremacy.
That is now – as they say – a moot point. As I mentioned, a few years later I started Iron Leg to write about 60s pop/psych/garage etc, whittling down my free time even further. But by that time, “free time” itself was an outmoded concept as the whole blogging thing evolved from a pleasant diversion into something else entirely (still pleasant…).
If you’ve been a regular reader of either blog you’ll already know that my move into blogging wasn’t really new, in that I’d been writing about music, first in fanzines, then in newspapers, and ultimately on the interwebs for something like 25 years. What the internet allowed me to do was take a familiar format and give it new, multimedia dimensions.
When I started doing zines back in 84/85, it was all cut and paste with the rubber cement, plundering old books and magazines for artwork (or drawing it myself) and heading down to the old copy shop for duplication. From there, it was on to maybe 10 record stores – locally and in NYC – for hand-to-hand distribution and the dreaded consignment. Believe it or not, even then, via travelers picking up copies and the zine getting written up in other zines, international contact (in a decidedly more limited form) was made.
When the internet came along I took the opportunity (along with the most rudimentary HTML “skills”) and started zine-ing on the web. Out of that effort was born the Funky16Corners web zine, which grew over the course of four years to include a lot of long form articles/discographies and tons of shorter, capsule reviews.
The time came midway through 2004 that planning and executing the long-form web zine was starting to feel like a chore. My first son had arrived and my ability to expend the time and energy that it took to put a new issue together was dwindling rapidly.
I began to take a look at the blogging format, and it’s brevity and quick turnover appealed to me. I made the decision to change direction, concentrating more on single records. Within a couple of months things settled into something like the current format, where they stayed for another two years until the inception of the Funky16Corners Radio podcast in May of 2006. It was at that point that I started to put mixes on the web (god knows I’d been making them since I was first able to operate a cassette recorder), an enterprise that grew in diversity and sophistication to the point where the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast and Guest Mix archives now hold close to one hundred different mixes (as well as almost 30 more over at Iron Leg).
When I look back on those early days of paper-blogging, and see how many people now check in to the blog from all over the world, it genuinely blows my mind. We truly live in McLuhan’s global village, and at least in this circumstance I see it as a good thing. Soul and funk fans from all points of the compass gathering to share information and (more importantly) their love for the music.
There are those among you for whom a lot of the music posted here is new, and of course many dyed in the wool soulies for whom much of it is old (yet wonderful) news. If the Funky16Corners blog has a “mission”, it is bringing those two ends of the spectrum closer together, united by a love and respect for the music and the people that made it.
To mark the fifth anniversary of the blog, this week will see two more entries to that list with the fifth and sixth mixes of soul/funk/jazz covers of Beatles songs.
The Beatles were my first musical love. The first record I ever bought with my own money was a copy of the VeeJay LP ‘Introducing the Beatles’, and their music still stays with me as an important part of my life. When I put the first Beatles covers mixes together back in 2007, I hadn’t planned any sequals. However, as time went on I started making it a habit to record and put aside any Beatles covers that I found, and eventually all of the ensuing mixes came together.
Hit them here:

Listen/download Funky16Corners Radio v.28 – Rubber Souled Pt1

Listen/download Funky16Corners Radio v.29 – Rubber Souled Pt2

Listen/download Funky16Corners Radio v.30 – Rubber Souled Pt3

Listen/download Funky16Corners Radio v.54 – Come Together

The first mix this week will be more upbeat, the second (posted on Wednesday) a much mellower exercise for those late night, meditative listening sessions.
I won’t go into much detail on either mix, aside from noting that both of them have contributions from lots of old favorites as well as some unusual stuff.
I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of the ongoing Funky16Corners blog-sperience, including all the regular readers, my fellow bloggers and DJs (big ups to DJ Prestige and the Asbury Park 45 Sessions Crew and DJ Birdman in DC!) and especially those of you that have participated in the yearly fund drive that helps to keep this thing going (especially the Podcast Archive, by far the most heavily trafficked part of the site).
With any luck we’ll all be here for another five years (or longer), unless there’s another paradigm shift in the technology that takes us in another direction entirely.
I hope you dig the mixes and I’ll be back next week with more of the stuff you love.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some mid-60s German pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

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

September 6, 2009

Example

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)


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

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

August 2, 2009

Example

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)

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

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Funky16Corners Radio v.71 – Getting the Corners

June 28, 2009

Example

Funky16Corners Radio v.71 – Getting the Corners
The Highlighters Band of Indianapolis, Indiana!

Playlist

Highlighters Band – The Funky 16 Corners Pt1 (Jazzman)
Richard Marks – Funky Four Corners (Roulette)
Tommy Wills – (Funky) 4 Corners (Airtown)
Lee Dorsey – Four Corners Pt1 (Amy)
Willie & the Mighty Magnificents – Funky (8) Corners Pt1 (All Platinum)
Jerry-O – Funky Four Corners (White Whale)
Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs – The Four Corners (Veep)
TSU Toronadoes – Getting the Corners (Atlantic)
Willie & the Mighty Magnificents – Funky (8) Corners Pt2 (All Platinum)
Lee Dorsey – Four Corners Pt2 (Amy)
Highlighters Band – The Funky 16 Corners Pt2 (Jazzman)

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

Greetings all.

Here’s hoping that everyone is finally enjoying their summer.
It’s been a busy week hereabouts, less to with the blog than the real world moves. Nothing serious, just stuff.
That said, by the end of the week things – blogside – got quite busy as I foolishly sat down and decided to put together (and write up) two podcasts, one for Funky16Corners and one for Iron Leg (If you dig fuzzed out 60s pop, make sure you check it out). As a result I find myself here (on Saturday) marching through a marathon writing session, all the while digi-ma-tizing new vinyl arrivals and keeping an ear peeled for the napping three year old in the other room.
The new edition of the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast that I bring you today – the seventy first – started to come together a month or so ago when my man Tony C hepped me to the quality of a record that I had heard of, but never actually heard, that being ‘The Four Corners’ by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. Now, as is evidenced by the title of this very blog, I have an interest in the “corners” sub-genre of funky 45s, so much so that I’ve endeavored to pick them up wherever I find them.
Oddly enough, of all the funk/soul dances namechecked in the records of the day, the execution of ‘The Four Corners’ (and all exponential variations herein) wasn’t all that mysterious, being a fairly simple hip-thrust to the points of the compass, multiplied when deemed necessary by the man on the record. In addition to the records included in this mix (and some I’m sure I have yet to hear) that use a ‘corners’ dance in the title, there are scores of others that drop the name of (usually) ‘The Four Corners’ in the standard listing of the popular dances of the day, a list that almost always included the Boogaloo, Philly Dog, Camel Walk, Boston (or other regional) Monkey on and on ad infinitum.
Having christened this blog after one of the truly great funk 45s, ‘The Funky 16 Corners’ by the Highlighters Band, in which the original dance is squared (though not a square dance), I bring you today a collection of variations on the theme (as the longhairs once said), every last one a seriously funky record.
Things get started (of course) with the Highlighters Band and the original (though not an original 45…I wish*) and ‘The Funky 16 Corners’. This is nothing if not a virtuoso performance by the band, led by vocalist James Bell, who having decided to double down (and then again) on the corners, absolutely tear up the joint. One can only imagine the looks on the dancers in the room when they went into that sixteen hit breakdown near the end of part one, many of them sprawled on the floor with lower back injuries. The mix is set up so that with all the two part records (there are three of them), you get the first part, and then the second part drops at the other end of the mix in descending (ascending??) order (i.e., the Highlighters Band Pt1 is first, and Pt2 is last), so stay tuned for the rest of the record.
Next up is Atlanta area funkster Richard Marks with the ‘Funky Four Corners’ on Roulette (originally on the ATL label Tuska). ‘Funky Four Corners’ was the second of his four 45s for Tuska (and as far as I can tell the only one to be picked up nationally) , and while I haven’t heard the other three, I can’t imagine they all kick ass as soundly as this one.
I have a couple of 45s by Ohio saxophonist Tommy Wills in the crates, but his ‘(Funky) 4 Corners’ is a recent discovery. According to the Buckeye Beat web site, Dayton (and later Richmond, IN) based Airtown was Wills label. He recorded four 45s for the label, releasing ‘(Funky) 4 Corners’ in March of 1968. While the fidelity may not be high (is there such a thing as “half-a-mono”?) energy and funk are in high gear. The flip side of this one is a nice version of Aretha’s ‘(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone’.
The next record has appeared in this space before, but honestly, could I do a mix like this and leave out Lee Dorsey’s unfuckwithable ‘Four Corners’? Written and produced by Allen Toussaint, and rumored to feature none other than James Black on the drums (how about those breaks?) ‘Four Corners’ is one of the great New Orleans funk 45s. I mean, in addition to all those drums, you get to hear Lee testify with the “SHAKE-A MAKE-A BREAK-A HULA” and the “FOUR CORNERS BABY!”. It bears mentioning that ‘Four Corners’ is one of a couple of 45s in this mix that owe a serious debt to Archie Bell and the Drells’ ‘Tighten Up’. Whether this has to do with that particular record being especially suited to doing the “four corners”, I cannot say for sure.
Next up is New Jersey’s own Willie and the Mighty Magnificents, taking things to the next level with the ‘Funky (8) Corners’. Led by Willie Feaster, the Mighty Magnificents laid down some very tasty 45s (and a couple of LPs) for All Platinum between 1968 and 1972. ‘The Funky (8) Corners’ opens up (and continues) with some heavy drums, sampling once again from the ‘Tighten Up’ template, with a very tasty horn chart and all manner of dance floor/craze jive from Feaster and company.
If you fall by here on the reg you already know that I ride for the work of Mr. Jerry Murray (known to his friends as Jerry-O) in a big way. His entire career was built almost entirely on dance craze records, and ‘Funky Four Corners’ is the funkiest and most storming of them all. His White Whale era (most of which were originally issued on Murray’s Boo-Ga-Loo imprint) is by far his heaviest stuff (including a funk version of Paul Williams old school R&B chestnut ‘The Hucklebuck’) and should be grabbed whenever located in the field.
Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs made their first, biggest (and almost only) assault on the charts in 1960 with ‘Stay’. Of course if you’re only going to hit once, it helps if you do it with a certifiable rock’n’roll classic. They kept recording through the 60s for a variety of labels (including the New Orleans imprints Deesu and Sea-Horn), recording ‘Four Corners’ for Veep in 1969. The funk of ‘Four Corners’ is light years beyond ‘Stay’, with a whole lot of grit and the complete absence of falsetto vocals.
The ‘Tighten Up’ connection gets a whole lot closer, with a number by the band that provided the (uncredited) backing on the original Archie Bell hit, the TSU Toronadoes. ‘Getting the Corners’ is a not so distant cousin of the original “source document” with a somewhat funkier beat. They namecheck the ‘four corners’ throughout with some nice drum breakdowns and a horn line that borrows from ‘The Horse’
The final three tracks in the mix are the second parts of the Willie and the Mighty Magnificents, Lee Dorsey and Highlighters Band 45s, all significantly lighter on the vocals than their respective a-sides, all worth grooving to.
I hope you dig this edition of Funky16Corners Radio, and I’ll be back on Friday with something to close out the week.

Peace

Larry

*Though my Jazzman reissue is autographed by two members of the band, so that’s cool too…

PS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for new fuzz pop mix

PSS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners 2009 Pledge Drive b/w Funky16Corners Radio v.70

May 31, 2009

Example

Example

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

Funky16Corners Radio v.70 – Daddy Rollin’ Stone
Gentleman June Gardner – It’s Gonna Rain (Emarcy)
Turtles – Buzz Saw (White Whale)
Promenade Hits Band – She’s Looking Good (Promenade)
Albert Collins – Don’t Lose Your Cool ( TCF/Hall)
Derek Martin – Daddy Rollin’ Stone (Crackerjack)
Alvin Cash & the Crawlers – The Barracuda (Mar V Lus)
Frank Frost – My Back Scratcher (Jewel)
Nat Kendrick & the Swans – Dish Rag (Dade)
Sam & Dave – I Said I Wasn’t Gonna Hurt Nobody (Stax)
Billy Lamont – Sweet Thang (20th Century)
Billy Preston – Let the Music Play (Capitol)
Bobby Powell & Jackie Johnson – Done Got Over (Whit)
Willie Mitchell – Respect (Hi)
Carl Holmes & the Commanders – I Want My Ya Ya (Parkway)
David Rockingham Trio – Soulful Chant (Josie)
Emperors – Got To Find My Baby (Mala)
Johnny Copeland – Wake Up Little Suzy (Wand)
Harvey Scales & the Seven Sounds – The Get Down (Magic Touch)
Mickey Murray – Hit Record (SSS Intl)
Lewis Clark – Dog (Ain’t a Man’s Best Friend) (Brent)
Scatman Crothers – Golly Zonk! It’s Scatman (HBR)
Don Gardner – People Sure Act Funny (Red Top)
Earl King – Trick Bag (Imperial)
Little Joe Curtis – Your Miniskirt (Alshire)

Greetings all.

I’d like to welcome one and all to the 2009 edition of the Funky16Corners Blog Pledge Drive.
This is the third year that I come to you, asking for donations to help keep the Funky16Corners Blog (and family of associated blogs) and webzine up and running (at least as far as interwebs based storage in concerned).
As it stands, in addition to all the standard graphics and individual sound files, there are now 79 mixes in the Funky16Corners Podcast Archive (more to come as I gather and post all the non-Funky16 mixes I’ve done for other sites) and another 25 in the Iron Leg Digital Trip Archive. As has always been the case, I pay for dedicated server space where I store all these files, and as has always been the case, this costs a little bit of money. Back in the olden days I was able to depend on free space, but thanks to some hot linkage back in ought-six the blog underwent a sudden and sustained increase in traffic that necessitated moving into paid digs.
If you’ve been following the blog with any frequency you’ll know that this year the situation is a little more critical since yours truly is no longer gainfully employed. This is not to say that I’m not working, since I resigned my position so that I could remain home to care for my two sons, but aside from the fringe benefit of spending lots of quality time with the kids, the pay is – how do you say? – non-existent.
That said, the blogs will continue unabated, since this is what I do. If you count the Funky16Corners web zine, I’ve been at this since 2001. The Funky16Corners Blog will celebrate its 5th anniversary on the interwebs this November (Iron Leg will be two years old at the end of June).
If you dig what we do here, and have the means and the will to throw a couple of bucks into the operating budget (as it is), you need only click on the Paypal links below and do so (special thanks to those of you that contributed between the drives) . If you don’t want to, or can’t afford to, that’s cool too. Times are (really) tough all over, and if the music that I post here makes you happy, or soothes your soul in any way at all, pass it on to a friend and spread the good vibes.

Example

Click Here To Donate via Paypal

NOTE: If you’ve been having any trouble going through the donation process at Paypal, make sure to click on the blue “update total” button to complete the process. – LG

I was just ruminating the other day on the idea that blogging (at least on my end) has really changed the way that I listen to music. Digging out and exploring individual tracks in depth, especially on headphones, which creates a kind of closed loop wherein one can really get inside of a record, moving around the back alleys of an arrangement, finding all manner of hidden wonders that are overlooked in a casual/passive listening environment. This is probably true for anyone who consumes the majority of their music via headphones, in my case through the almighty iPod. One of the reasons I started doing the Funky16Corners Radio mixes was – aside from a compulsion to gather and frame music in a thematic fashion, which goes back to the earliest days of mix-tapes – so that I could sit down and dig into a group of songs.
As has been stated in this space several times in the past, I make these mixes as much for myself as I do for you folks. The Funky16Corners Radio playlist has verily burned a hole in my iPod, providing the lions share of my listening when I was chained to a desk, and almost as much when I find the time during the day. That someone besides me gets some enjoyment out of the enterprise is a (very) happy by product.
Since the inception of the Funky16Corners Radio thing back in 2006, there have been all kinds of mixes, many themed geographically (i.e. New Orleans and Philadelphia), a number of Hammond organ mixes (you know how I roll), lots of general soul and funk mixes and in the last two years a bunch of jazzy collections (which are some of my faves) (over 1,000 tracks in the mixes alone).
Since this is the 70th edition of Funky16Corners Radio, I thought that the time was right for a return to the roots with a collection of straight ahead soul. There’s some R&B, and a touch of the funk here and there, but by and large what you get in Funky16Corners Radio v.70 is a soundtrack for what has been referred to here in the past as your next ripple and potato chip party. Get your friends together with a large quantity of alcohol (or the intoxicant of your choice), slap this one on an MP3 delivery device, sit back and watch things get out of hand. By the end of the (nearly an) hour, the floor is going to be littered with cans, bottles, articles of clothing, someone’s going to have locked themselves in the restroom (doing God knows what) and that guy from the office will be out on the deck wondering how he burned off his eyebrows with the barbecue grill.
I slapped on my miners helmet and descended into the darkest corners of the Funky16Corners warehouse, fireproof gloves and tongs in hand, to bring back a selection of rough and ready bangers. A couple of these numbers may be familiar to long time visitors of the blog, but reframed properly, in a new and exciting context, the old and familiar will soon reveal hidden charms.
So, things get underway with what is probably my all time favorite New Orleans instrumental, Gentleman June Gardner’s ‘It’s Gonna Rain’. Believe it or not this is a cover of a Sonny & Cher song (the flipside of ‘I Got You Babe’).
Keeping things on the incongruous Sunset Strip 1960s tip, I bring you the Turtles (?!?!?) with ‘Buzz Saw’. Known far and wide to crate digger types and Hammond aficionados, ‘Buzz Saw’, which is unlike anything else the Turtles ever recorded, is a positively slamming and extremely greasy organ workout. My suspicion has always been that the organist on ‘Buzz Saw’ was someone outside of the band, but if anyone knows different, drop me a line.
The next track is a cover of Rodger Collins’ ‘She’s Looking Good’ as performed by the wholly anonymous Promenade Records band (they’re not actually given any name at all on the record). This originated on a two-EP set (with a cool picture sleeve) composed of covers of then contemporary tune (rock and soul) that I found at a record show. Going by the Newark, NJ address, my assumption is that this is related somehow to the Peter Pan childrens record company, which released a couple of non-kids exploito cash-in collections over the years. Whoever the singer is, he does a pretty nice job.
Albert Collins is a huge personal fave of mine. Though he is most often associated with the blues, mainly due to his later career when he recorded for the Alligator label, Collins spent most of the 60s recording a series of genre-bending 45s for a variety of labels. The sounds he made touched on soul, garage, surf and pure rock’n’roll, even getting funky when he signed up with Imperial in the late 60s. ‘Don’t Lose Your Cool’ is one of his TFC/Hall 45s and swings like 60 from the git go.
The cut that gives this mix its name, ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ by Derek Martin is indisputably one of the great soul records of the 60s. Need I say more?
‘The Barracuda’ is yet another in a long line of similarly burning, lo-fi and blazing numbers laid down by Chitown wonders Alvin Cash and the Crawlers. Like the mighty Jerry-O, Alvin and his pals managed to take a formula, work it to death but doing so in a way that keeps you coming back.
Speaking of good and greasy, when you’re working in the sonic universe things just don’t get any moreso than when Frank Frost plugged in his git-box and kicked up some juke joint dust with the mighty ‘My Back Scratcher’, wherein Slim Harpo and Mongo Santamaria fall under the wheels of a speeding bus, get scraped up off the road, tossed in a blender, served over ice with a twist of Dixie Peach. Try not moving to this one.
I don’t know much about Nat Kendrick and the Swans, other than the fact that they recorded for Henry Stone’s Florida-based Dade imprint, and that there is a distinct possibility that this is in fact an extra-contractual James Brown-related side. How does one do the dish rag???
Sam and Dave said they weren’t going to hurt nobody. They LIED!!!! This track is a killer.
Billy Lamont was an R&B/soul journeyman when he went into the studio in the mid-60s, with a freaky young cat by the name of James Marshall Hendrix and recorded the brutal ‘Sweet Thang’. Heavy stuff indeed, though not as heavy as Jimi would get a year or so down the pike.
Though Billy Preston would spend the 70s as a major recording star, he spent much of the previous decade playing the organ behind other performers like Little Richard and Ray Charles. He also got a couple of opportunities to record under his own name, for a variety of labels (including Derby, Vee Jay and Capitol) many of which are stellar. The finest of these – at least in my opinion – is ‘Let the Music Play’ in which Mr. Preston is assisted ably by a young Sylvester Stewart, soon to change his name to Sly Stone. Do yourself a favor and slap on the headphones for this one and dig the stereo panning with the screams in the chorus. Very groovy indeed!
Louisiana-based singer Bobby Powell was featured here not long ago with a solid cover of the Staple Singer’s ‘Why Am I Treated So Bad’. The tune I bring you in this mix is a rollicking duet with singer Jackie Johnson (about whom I know nothing) entitled ‘Done Got Over’.
While I was prowling around in the crates compiling this mix I happened upon one of the many Willie Mitchell LPs I have and grabbed this groovy little cover of ‘Respect’. Give it a listen and I think you’ll dig it.
Another band from the list of folks that worked with (but sadly did not record with) Jimi Hendrix before he hit it big is Philadelphia’s own Carl Holmes and the Commanders. Holmes recorded consistently through the 60s for Parkway, Atlantic and other labels, laying down R&B, soul and a couple of slices of slamming funk. The Commanders ‘I Want My Ya Ya’ is one of their earlier sides, from the days when they were playing up and down the East Coast, and serving (according to Animal House writer Chris Miller) as one of the models for Otis Day and the Knights in ‘Animal House’.
The David Rockingham Trio are a serious presence in the Funky16Corners Hammond crates. ‘Soulful Chant’ is by far my fave number by the band.
The Emperors – who hailed from the Harrisburg area but recorded in Philadelphia – laid down some very hot soul sides for Mala and Brunswick. In addition to their smoking version of Don Gardner’s ‘My Baby Likes To Boogaloo’, they also recorded the killer ‘Got To Find My Baby’.
Johnny Copeland is another one of the great rocking bluesmen. I happened upon his version of ‘Wake Up Little Susie’, which stomps all over the original, sounding like Johnny and Huey P Meaux had the Everlys tied up and locked in the trunk of a car. It is without doubt the wildest version you’ll ever hear of this particular song.
If you were ever tempted to doubt the soulful pedigree of the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you might want to take a second and investigate the discography of Mr Harvey Scales and his Seven Sounds, who, it must me said, kick ass. A fine example of this ass-kicking power is the mighty – and appropriately titled – ‘The Get Down’, during which Harvey and the boys do indeed (get down).
Mickey Murray is best known for his wailing version of ‘Shout Bamalama’, but the funkier ‘Hit Record’ manages to be soulful and of instructional value at the same time.
I know nothing about Lewis Clark, aside from the undeniable fact that ‘Dog (Ain’t a Man’s Best Friend)’ is high quality, even higher octane soul. Clark recored for the Brent label, which also released some excellent garage punk 45s.
If you didn’t hear Scatman Crothers wailing when I first posted ‘Golly Zonk! It’s Scatman’ a while back, then open your ears and dig, because in addition to his Coolsville Hall of Fame turn as the voice of Hong Kong Phooey, Scatman absolutely BURNS on this one, on the HBR label, home to much wailing garage punk.
I mentioned Don Gardner earlier (in relation to the essential ‘My Baby Likes To Boogaloo’). Go back a few years before that and dig his smoking, Ray Charles-esque take on Titus Turner’s ‘People Sure Act Funny’. Gardner’s frequent partner Dee Dee Ford is mentioned on the label, but I don’t hear her in the mix.
We head back down to New Orleans for a certified classic by the great Earl King. King recorded a wide variety of bluesy sounds under his own name, as well as writing several classic tunes and performing on other people’s records, including providing the voice and whistling (and composition) on Professor Longhair’s ‘Big Chief’. ‘Trick Bag’ brings us a lyrical taste of the New Orleans voodoo culture, along with a great vocal by King.
Things close out with another odd bit of soul, this time by Little Joe Curtis. Taken from a compilation on the exploito Alshire label (where it appeared alongside some psyche by the Animated Egg and a couple of easy listening cuts), ‘Your Miniskirt’ borrows liberally from the Fantastic Johnny C’s ‘Boogaloo Down Broadway’.
I hope you dig this edition of Funky16Corners Radio and if you can afford it, toss something into the tip cup as you pass by. I’ll be back next week with more soulful goodness.

Peace

Larry

Example

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PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg to check out my favorite mix from the Iron Leg Digital Trip Podcast Archive.

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Funky16Corners Radio v.69 – Jazz Trance

May 12, 2009

Example

Funky16Corners Radio v.69 – Jazz Trance

Playlist

Kool and the Gang – North East South West (Dee Lite)
Wes Montgomery – Up and At It (A&M)
Woody Herman – Light My Fire (Cadet)
Jay Jackson and the Heads of Our Time – Listen Here (Mr G)
Dorothy Ashby – Little Sunflower (Cadet)
Montreal – Summertime (Stormy Forest)
Junior Mance – Thank You Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin (Atlantic)
Peddlers – Impressions Pt1 (Philips)
Brother Jack McDuff – Mystic John (Blue Note)
Sonny Stitt – Heads or Tails (Enterprise)
Gabor Szabo – Fred and Betty (Blue Thumb)
Lonnie Smith – People Sure Act Funny (Blue Note)
Ramsey Lewis – Collage (CBS)
Doc Severinson – In the Court of the Crimson King (Command)
 

Greetings all.

I hope the middle of the week finds you well, and in the mood to open your ears to some downtempo grooves on a jazzy – and funky – tip.
I was going to drop this mix on Monday, but the 12” extended remix of post-op recovery got in the way, and was in a continuous loop (rocking doubles as it were). I don’t know how many among you have endured the wonders of anaesthesia and surgery (I just went through it for the sixth time in my life), but aside from the blissful ignorance of the operative pain (while the operation is happening, hopefully) the emergence from the experience takes a little while. That, and it always seems to take me a few days (often the better part of a week) to come out of the haze fully.
Good thing then that this is such a smooth, nighttime, get your head together as slowly as you like kind of mix. Aside from the banging soul party thing (prepare yourself for a killer coming soon) this might be my favorite kind of mix to put together, and yes, listen to.
Funky16Corners Radio v.69 is a counterpoint of sorts to v.68, with it’s downtempo yang grooving next to the uptempo yin of its predecessor. This is not to say that they should be listened to in sequence or anything like that, but rather a notification of sorts that they sprung from the same place in my fevered brain (and record collection).
Things get off to a moody start indeed with the electric piano, and sinuous groove of New Jersey’s own Kool and the Gang with ‘North, East, South, West’, sampled by none other than Quasimoto.
Next up is a track from an LP that I found when I was down in DC. I dig pretty much everything Wes Montgomery ever did. I love his guitar, but especially so in the many classy settings in which he played it during the 60s and early 70s. ‘Up and At It’ from his 1968 LP “Down Here On the Ground’ is a mellow killer, with a great arrangement by Eumir Deodato.
Woody Herman
has appeared in many a Funky16Corners Radio mix, due in large part to the excellence of the two LPs he recorded for Cadet in the late 60s. Herman was an authentic jazz master who did what he could to keep his band together during the lean times of the 60s. Though many a jazzy tried to stay contemporary, Herman excelled, with the help of Richard Evans. His choice of material was excellent (check out his take on Sly Stone’s ‘Sex Machine’), and the execution thereof as well. His take on the Doors’ ‘Light My Fire’ features excellent sax, trumpet and trombone solos.
I had never heard of Jay Jackson and the Heads of Our Time before I grabbed a copy of their 45 while I was down in Richmond, VA. Once I got it home I was glad I did, since both sides of the disc sport excellent cover versions. It turns out that the band on this 45 is the same group that recorded a couple of in demand funk/soul LPs under the name the Majestics. The hailed from Canada, and oddly enough, the group’s namesake, Jackson, was also its vocalist and does not appear on this most excellent version of the Eddie Harris soul jazz chestnut ‘Listen Here’.
The name Dorothy Ashby should be a familiar one to those who travel the back alleys of the universe searching  for grooves. The jazz harpist, whose Cadet albums are lost classics and worth every cent of their high prices (thanks in large part to the arrangements and production by the mighty Richard Evans), made some truly beautiful music in her day. One of my fave tracks by her is a cover of Freddie Hubbard’s ‘Little Sunflower’. Covered countless times by artists like Milt Jackson, Kenny Burrell and Hank Crawford, it has a breezy feel and a beautiful melody.
Montreal were (big surprise) a Canadian group that recorded one album in 1969 for Richie Havens’ Stormy Forest label. Coveted by crate diggers for its folk-psych goodness, the album also has a jazzy side. The finest example of this is their version of George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’. If the flute sounds familiar, it’s because it was played by none other than Jeremy Steig (Buzzy Linhart and Havens himself also guest on the album).
I’d heard of pianist Junior Mance before, but never actually heard any of his music before I scored the 45 with his version of ‘Thank You (Felettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)’. Not only does it start with a sweet little breakbeat (courtesy of Billy Cobham) but there’s some wild, fuzzed out guitar, and of course Junior’s piano rolling through the whole affair.
We follow Mr. Mance with another taste of the mighty Peddlers, with yet another segment of the tune ‘Impressions’ from their ‘Suite London’ LP. Nice drums, and especially groovy electric piano on this one. Short but sweet.
You know I ride for Brother Jack McDuff, exalted master of the Hammond groove, but even he has b-sides that I hadn’t investigated thoroughly. Case in point, ‘Mystic John’, which resides on the reverse of one of the greatest of all breakbeats ‘Hunk of Funk’. Here we get to hear Brother Jack work it out on both piano and organ, with a taste of harp in the beginning, adding to the spiritual vibe of the tune. Things pick up a little, but the overall vibe is contemplative.
Sonny Stitt is one of the really interesting cases of a serious jazz head who was forced to go the pop route to keep his head above water. He started out playing blazing alto sax in a Charlie Parker stylee, but then came the 1960s, when very few jazzers were making real coin. Stitt tried to rework his sound in a variety of settings, including recording sax solos over existing tracks for a couple of Wingate 45s (‘Agent 00 Soul’ and ‘Marrs Groove’), and recording a wide range of pop material. Until I found his cover of Booker T and the MGs ‘Heads or Tails’ I had no idea that he had recorded for Stax’s Enterprise subsidiary. It sounds like Sonny’s working it out on the Varitone sax (he used it a lot in the late 60s), and while the recording’s not earth shattering, it’s a great song and he does it justice.
Anyone hip to the jazz grooves of the 60s already has an armload of Gabor Szabo albums on labels like Impulse and Skye. However, Szabo did at least one, very nice LP for the Blue Thumb imprint. I’ve already featured the break from his cover of Charles Lloyd’s ‘Sombrero Sam’, but dig (if you will) the mellow sounds of the tune ‘Fred and Betty’.
Back in the day, when Lonnie Smith was not yet bearing the honorarium of doctor, and without his signature turban, he was still a formidable wrangler of the mighty Hammond organ. He recorded some very tasty stuff, including a version of a tune featured here a short while ago, Titus Turner’s ‘People Sure Act Funny’. It is of course an instrumental, and quite the little head nodder.
‘Collage’ is the closing track from Ramsey Lewis’ fantastic ‘Upendo ni Pamoja’ LP, one from which we’ve drawn before. While not as incendiary as ‘Slipping Into Darkness’, ‘Collage’ rolls along at a nice, relaxed groove, and seriously, I could listen to Ramsey work that Rhodes all day long.
This edition of the Funky16Corners Radio podcast closes out with something a little bit over the top, bot of course every bit essential. I speak of Doc Severinson’s epic treatment of the King Crimson’s ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’. Doc manages to remove the song from it’s super heavy, glue sniffing prog bombast, and refit it with a snappy new set of threads, making it a lot less “arena full of stoned grad students”, and a lot more “slightly cheesy version of the Concierto di Aranjuez”. When I say slightly cheesy, I only do so because there’s a certain loss of, how do they say “authenticity” when the leader of the Tonight Show band decides to try on this kind of material. That said, it’s very groovy in an LA 1970 studio jazz kind of way, which isn’t surprising when you take a look at the serious players on the session. I’ve been picking up Doc’s late 60’s/early 70’s stuff when I find it, and I have to say that most of the records have something cool to offer.
Remember, if you haven’t yet checked out the Funky16Corners feature at Dust and Grooves, please do so. Also, the Funky16Corners Radio Show at Viva Internet Radio will return once again this Thursday evening at 9PM.
I hope you dig the mix, and I’ll be back on Monday with something cool.

Peace

Larry

PS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg

PSS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners Radio v.68 – A New Note

April 12, 2009

Example

Funky16Corners Radio v.68 – A New Note

Playlist

Blackbyrds – Spaced Out (Fantasy)
1972 Verona High School Jazz Ensemble – Synthesis (edit)
Woody Herman – Smiling Phases (Cadet)
Doc Severinson – Footprints of the Giant (edit) (Command)
Lou Donaldson – Caterpillar (Blue Note)
Grant Green – California Green (Blue Note)
Backyard Heavies – Soul Junction (Scepter)
Gene Harris – Don’t Call Me N*gger Whitey (Blue Note)
1970 Ohio State University Jazz Ensemble – Far West Suite Pt1
Ernie Wilkins Big Band – Big Foot Blues (Mainstream)
The Peddlers – Working Again (Philips)
Lou Donaldson – (Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below We’re All Going to Go (Blue Note)

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

Greetings all.

I hope all is well on your end.
If things have gone as planned, as you’re reading this I’m up in Maine, hunting lobsters and vinyl, with my wife joining me on the former and diverging on the latter in search of her own obsession, that being things yarn and yarn-related.
Despite the current life situation changing the digging situation (careful distribution of funds related), I have managed in the last few months to get some nice stuff. This had a lot to do with taking my DJ earnings and rolling them back into the crates (always groovy) combined with a couple of inexpensive finds.
When I was down in DC, my man DJ Birdman was kind enough to hep DJ Prestige and I to a couple of cool digging spots, and then we get to Richmond and our host Troy just happened to have a nice stack of 45s that he was willing to part with. In addition to a great couple of nights behind the turntables, we both came home with lots of new records.
The mixes that I will be bringing you today (and again in a couple of weeks) are two sides of that haul, both jazzy. The first you see before you leans a little on the heavier side, the second on the mellower tip.
Things get started with a great DC area (all members hailed from Howard University) band, the Blackbyrds. ‘Spaced Out’ is one of the funkier cuts from ‘Flying Start’, the album that featured their biggest hit ‘Walking In Rhythm’.
The next cut was from an NJ find. The crate diggers of the world are always on the lookout for high school/college band records (i.e. bands from their music programs), since in a certain era they often contain funky sounds. The cut ‘Synthesis’ is from the Verona, NJ High School Jazz Ensemble, which actually traveled to Montreaux in 1972 and recorded their performance. The tune starts off with a weird, avant garde interlude, before descending into something that sounds like it belongs on a Lalo Schifrin soundtrack.
Woody Herman’s work for Cadet records has appeared in this space before. Herman led one of the truly great big bands in jazz history. The 1960s were not a good time to keep a large band going, but Herman managed it, in part by staying current. The two albums he recorded for Cadet (with the help of Richard Evans among others) feature some very cool versions of contemporary material, including the track included here, a wailing, uptempo take on Traffic’s psychedelic tune ‘Smiling Phases’.
To paraphrase Robert Plant, “Does anybody remember Doc Severinson?” If you’re old enough, and remember the Tonight Show back in 70s, Doc was the trumpeter, and bandleader on the Tonight Show, as famous for his garish wardrobe as he was for his talents as a Maynard Ferguson-esque high-note artist. His 1970 album ‘Doc Severinson’s Closet’ – the cover of which features several of the aforementioned suits – features a great band, including many Tonight Show bandmates, as well as the mighty Ray Barretto. This excerpt from ‘Footprints of the Giant’ moves along at a brisk pace, with some wild Varitone sax solos and a fantastic percussion breakdown.
Lou Donaldson’s 1971 ‘Cosmos’ LP includes covers of both Bread and Curtis Mayfield (more on that later). The album includes a hot band, with Idris Muhammad, Melvin Sparks and Leon Spencer, and a number of tunes with vocals. The best of those is the extremely funky ‘Caterpillar’.
Grant Green’s 1971 ‘Shades of Green’ session sees him in the middle of his ‘funky’ period, covering (and re-covering) a lot of contemporary material with a band that included several members of the Crusaders. ‘California Green’ is a great slice of funky soul jazz, with lots of Green soloing and some grooving clavinet by Emmanuel Riggins.
You can read more about the Backyard Heavies here, but suffice to say, they weren’t exactly a jazz group. That said, ‘Soul Junction’ would not be out of place on a Brother Jack McDuff album from the same period, with its laid back groove, and organ lead.
Gene Harris is best known as the pianist with the Three Sounds. Though he recorded under that name into the mid-70s, he also released some albums under his own name, including 1974s ‘Astral Signals’. The album features a number of excellent tracks (including an unusual cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Green River’), but the best (and the funkiest, natch) is a P-Funk-ish take on Sly & the Family Stone’s ‘Don’t Call Me N*gger Whitey’.
Speaking of college jazz bands, the last time I was digging in Upstate NY, I grabbed an LP by the 1970 Ohio State University Jazz Band. ‘Far West Suite Pt1’ is yet another cut that sounds like it was lifted from a funky early-70s detective movie soundtrack.
Ernie Wilkins was a sax player and arranger who worked with a number of bands (mainly Count Basie) through the 50s and 60s. He also recorded under his own name, and the finest of those dates is the LP ‘Hard Mother Blues’, one of the funkiest big band dates on the Mainstream label. ‘Big Foot Blues’ features a blazing horn arrangement, as well as some very funky guitar.
We dip once again into the catalogue of the mighty Peddlers with a cut from their 1970 ‘Three For All’ LP. ‘Working Again’ is a kind of a jazz take on the storied “road song”, with a solid vocal by Roy Philips who also brings the Hammond heat.
Lou Donaldson is back to close out this edition of Funky16Corners Radio, with a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s epic ‘(Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below We’re All Going To Go’. This time, in addition to his duties on the sax, Lou falls by with some vocals.
I hope you dig the mix. I won’t be back until next Monday, but if you get bored you can always bore into the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive and see what you dig.
Until then, stay groovy and I’ll see you when I see you.

Peace

Larry

PS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for a swinging 60s mix.

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