Sunday, September 30, 2007


"Message From A Soul Sister"
Written by James Brown
Produced by James Brown
Recorded September 9, 1970, King Studios, Cincinnati,OH.
Vicki Anderson (vocals)
Clayton "Chicken" Gunnels and Darryl "Hassan" Jamison (trumpets)
Robert McCollough (tenor sax)
Bobby Byrd (piano)
Phelps "Catfish" Collins (guitar)
William "Bootsy" Collins (bass)
Clyde Stubblefield (drums)

This track represents some of the funkiest female soul ever recorded. Vicki was one of the first female singers to work with James Brown--replacing the sweeter style of vocalist Anna King in the James Brown Revue of the late 60s, and setting the stage for better-known hard soul singers Marva Whitney and Lyn Collins in years to come. Vicki recorded some excellent singles with James and the band backing her up, all of which have been ruthlessly sampled by countless hip hop acts over the past 10-15 years.

Vicki's got a socking-hard sound that worked equally well with the early funk sound of the James Brown Band of the late 60s, as it did during her later recordings with the JBs and Bobby Byrd. "Message from A Soul Sister" is the essence of funky female soul--a hard-stepping and massively grooving nugget all the way through. This track has been sampled by artists like Big Daddy Kane ("Calling Mr. Welfare), GangStarr ("No More Mr Nice Guy"), and LL Cool J ("God Bless.")

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Tony Alvon and the Belairs, a Philadelphia funk group, have three records, the rarest of which is "Sexy Coffee Pot."Other records on Atlantic include "Philly Horse" (with "Don't Be a Drag (Giddy Up)" on the flip side) and "Stone Soul Candidate" with "Catch a Fox" on the B side. The late producer Paul C McKasty sampled the drum break to construct the music for Eric B and Rakim's "Run for Cover". The record was also sampled by Cypress Hill, Scarface and DJ Shadow, among others. "Sexy Coffee Pot" was written by J.C. Hill and J. Stiles, is a Virtue-Stiles production, and was recorded at Virtue Studios in Pennsylvania. (The Eric B and Rakim break is about 1:33 in.)

Erik B & Rakim's "Run for Cover":

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


The first release in a series of 7" reissues from this German (exotic upper Bavarian) label TRAMP RECORDS. The blenders are originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, and that's where they recorded this devestating double-sider. Both parts are killer funk tracks, probably the best examples of what deep funk is all about. Uptempo with wicked breaks split into two parts on the 7". Limited pressing, but you may find a copy here and there if you dig deep.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Back with that library flavor today with an album from the legendary Janko Nilovic. Born at the beginning of the forties in Montenegro, Janko moved to Paris in the sixties and never looked back, putting his multi instrument talents to use on a variety of projects and often working for up to ten hours a day, seven days a week. Prolific even by library musician standards, Janko produced over 30 albums in the seventies; this is just a brief example of this man's vast output, but hopefully it'll give you an idea of the range of music he produced.

"Soul Impressions" is one of the funkiest sets by Nilovic. This record definitely earns the "soul" in the title -- as Janko blends his usual mad mix of studio sounds with some heavier 70s elements -- including a fair bit of fuzzy guitar, funky beats, and some nice horn fills. About half the tracks on the album benefit from this sort of approach -- kind of across between blacksploitation soundtrack scoring and the tighter instrumental moods of work by The Duke of Burlington. The other half is more in Janko's usual bag -- nicely groovy jazz numbers, some with a slinky 70s edge. Below is an mp3 of the track "Crazy Enterprise."

Monday, September 24, 2007


Heavy heavy funk from the Louisiana scene of the late 60s and 1970s -- and a great collection that really gets past the dominance of the New Orleans sound. The set moves way past the Crescent City to uncover a wealth of great bits recorded in smaller studios located in Shreveport, Lake Charles, and a variety of tiny scenes in the southwest side of Louisiana -- and the result is a great batch of tunes with a really gritty, down-n-dirty sound.

There's a wealth of great funky styles in the set -- including James Brown-inspired jammers, southern soul burners, and some other great modes that show that Louisiana's got a heck of a lot more to offer than just New Orleans funk. The State has its own original take on black music influenced by New Orleans and tinged with the flavour of the area’s creole culture, which for a large part is separate and self-sufficient from the mainstream of American life; this makes many of these not only highly desirable, but impossible to find. The super-rare 'One Day’ by Tabby Thomas, that sells for nearly a $1000 on the infrequent occasion when it comes up for sale, is one of funk’s holy grails, and the low-down and dirty 'I Got A Groove’ by JJ Caillier also rarely surfaces.

But perhaps the rarest and nastiest track on this comp is "Soul Brothers Testify", performed with fierce intensity by Chester Randle's Soul Senders, and sampled by DJ Shadow on the track "Napalm Brain/Scatter Brain" (from his landmark album, "Entroducing.")

Friday, September 21, 2007


HIP HUG-HER is one of Booker T. and MG's strongest, most consistent studio efforts. Here, the band's sound gels completely, the grooves become more insistent, the sound more varied, yet the whole is smoother and more seamless. The addition of Donald "Duck" Dunn's loose, inventive bass lines (Dunn first appeared on AND NOW!, this record's predecessor) opens up the compositions to maximum groovability, as on "Booker's Notation", and the moody "Pigmy". As always, Steve Cropper's slicing guitar, Al Jackson's spare, punchy drumming and Booker T.'s juicy, soaring organ chops do exactly what they should.

"Hip-Hug-Her" is arguably the highlight of this record, a snarling, bareboned jazz-funk groove sampled by Das EFX on "Looseys", Ice Cube's "Givin' up the Nappy Dug Out," Heavy D's "Don't Curse," and ODB's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya," to name only a few. A masterstroke of less-is-more minimalism.

Ice Cube's "Givin Up the Nappy Dugout":

Thursday, September 20, 2007


It’s almost impossible to get an original copy of Arthur Monday’s ‘What Goes Around’. Only a handful of copies are known to exist, and the lucky few who possess one do not want to sell. It’s a very rare record. This huge difference between supply and demand means the price is high – an original copy of Arthur Monday was recently sold at auction and for $4293 – easily the highest price EVER PAID FOR A FUNK 45.

This 45 was first issued back in 1969, and, as far as the music goes, there are few recordings that have captured the very essence of the deep funk sound as this. Sure it has all the usual ingredients of sweaty drums, rumbling bass, sharp horns and impassioned vocals, but what this record has that so many others lack is a certain spirit, mystery and vitality that few 45s possess. There was attitude in the studio the day that record was cut. The track is a raw hybrid of tightly clapping and snapping trap work, punchy horn blasts that are reminscent of the Art Ensemble of Chicago's frayed, funky blasts of the period with a wicked style, propulsive bass and scratchy guitar washes.

Despite huge efforts to this day, Arthur Monday has never been found. What was it that inspired him to create such an astounding beast of a record? Well now here is your chance to hear what all the fuss is about. As The World’s Most Expensive Funk 45, surely it deserves a listen.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


"Heavy, deep, raw soul from Charles Bradley, a funk legend backed by the unbelievably-retro sounding Menahan Street Band. "This World (Is Going Up In Flames)" might be the best track yet from Bradley. (Which is saying a lot, because his prior 45 with the Bullets, "This Love Ain't Big Enough for the Two of Us," was explosive.) With backing by the Gospel Queens, the groove is dark and hazy, given a deeper feel thanks to some piano in the mix, with a rubbery bass line. As Charles bares down with his first wrenching moan, it is clear that this is not going to be a record made of empty gestures." (Courtesy

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


This next nugget comes from Ike Turner & The Kings of Rhythm. First released in 1969, "A Black Man's Soul" (the album this track was pulled from) captured Ike Turner & His Kings of Rhythm at their funkiest. Armed with songs written by Turner, his St. Louis colleague Oliver Sain and more, Ike & His Kings combined R&B with funk, rock and gospel and created an album that showed off the wide spectrum of black music. At the 1969 Grammy Awards, "Thinking Black" was nominated in the category of Best R&B Instrumental while Tina made the list of nominees for Best Female R&B Singer. (Can you imagine a track like "Thinking Black" getting nominated for a Grammy in today's day and age? They don't make them like they used to, folks.)

I can't recommend Ike's and Tina's late 60's/early 70's work enough to all of you, especially you beat-junkies. "A Black Man's Soul" features some of the finest and most sought-after examples of Ike Turner's funk artistry, including the DJ breakbeat jewels "Funky Mule" and "Getting Nasty," which Jurassic 5 sampled on their track "Concrete Schoolyard."

Monday, September 17, 2007


The first track is a brand new song by Staten Island's finest afro-soul group, the Budos Band. Featuring members of contemporary warhorses like Antibalas, Sugarman 3, and the Dap Kings, the Budos concoct a intoxicating brew of resonant and ethereal Herculean rhythms, staccato horn blasts, and effortless, funky precision. Recorded at the now-legendary Daptone studios in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Stunning.


Ladies, Gentlemen, Friends, Romans, Countrymen:

It's time to get funky.

About two years ago, I was offered the opportunity to program a channel of Live365 radio. At the time, Live365 was trying to diversify their programming, especially in the areas of funk/soul/jazz. My boss, knowing I was a huge fan of old, rare funky records, recommended me to one of the higher-ups. I was given carte blanche, so to speak--a blank canvas, hundreds of megs of upload space, and a potential worldwide audience for anyone craving real, organic, raw, criminally underappreciated, how-has-this-not-been-sampled-yet, grooves and breaks. (Or, more precisely, I-Never-Knew-That's-Where-It-Got-Sampled-From.) The idea was: what would a radio station that I wanted to hear sound like??

I spent weeks ripping some of my favorite gems from 45's and 12-inch records I had accumulated since moving back to LA in 2000. I ended up with a playlist just over 10 hours long, launched it, and let the internet do the rest. With absolutely no promotion (aside from some word-of-mouth amongst my friends), the station became one of the top-rated funk websites in the Live365 universe. Tracking my geo stats, I found that I suddenly had regular listeners in countries like Japan, Germany, Britain, Brazil, and Estonia. (Estonia? Really?) Many of the listeners were kind enough to send emails thanking me for opening their ears (and eyes) to these forgotten little gems--or, as i liked to call them--Dusty Nuggets. It was really gratifying.

These are the songs that time, and an-often cruel, indifferent industry, has largely forgotten. Many of these tracks have never even been available on CD. So keep checking in for some of my all-time favorite funky gems, from classic Meters stuff to more contemporary releases, straight from the crates. Enjoy, tap your toes, and let the groove move you.