Archive for the ‘Sly Stone’ Category

Bobby Freeman – Do You Wanna Dance, 1970

October 18, 2009

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Mr. Bobby Freeman

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

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

Peace

Larry

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Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

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

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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Sly & the Family Stone At Woodstock

August 16, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

I mean GODDAMN!

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

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

Peace

Larry

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

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

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook