Archive for the ‘Samples’ Category

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

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

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Funky16Corners Radio v.61 – Focus On Lou Courtney

November 23, 2008

Example

Funky16Corners Radio v.61 – Focus On Lou Courtney

Playlist

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

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

Greetings all.

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

Example

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

See you all next week.

Peace
Larry

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

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

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

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

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

PSS Check out Paperback Rider as well

Jimmy Bo Horne – Let Me Be Your Lover

September 14, 2008

Example

Jimmy Bo Horne

Example

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

Greetings all.

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

Peace
Larry

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

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