Thursday, January 31, 2008


Drummer Hamilton Bohannon's "Stop and Go"--released in 1973 and often widely considered his finest record--concocts sensuous funk grooves from daring arrangements boasting tripped-out wah-wah guitars, punishing basslines, and massive drum breaks. In short, a sampler's wet dream. While later Bohannon discs would veer too far into the realm of up-tempo disco, "Stop and Go" favors slower, sexier rhythms. The end result is an uncommonly lush and tactile funk/soul record.

"Save Their Souls" has been sampled by Jay-Z ("Cashmere Thoughts"), Kool G Rap ("F U Man"), and by one of my personal faves, Ugly Duckling ("Introduckling").

Ugly Duckling's "Introduckling":

Friday, January 25, 2008


I'll be honest, folks--I don't know a thing about the Young Gents, except that they licensed a few 45's for Buddah Records, like the one below from 1973. A google search proved rather fruitless (although you will find some copies of the 45 flotating around for about $60). I found this for $7 in a used bin. Gotta love it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


The Five Stairsteps, known as The First Family of Soul, were an American Chicago soul group made up five of Betty and Clarence Burke Sr.'s six children: Alohe, Jean, Clarence Jr., James, Dennis, and Kenneth "Keni", and briefly, Cubie. They are best known for the 1970 song "Ooh Child," listed #392 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

"Don't Change Your Love" is one of the most sampled drumbreaks ever. It has been sampled by A Tribe Called Quest, Big Daddy Kane, Blackalicious, Chi-Ali, Chubb Rock, Common, De la Soul, Del, Edo G, Goats, House Of Pain, Ice Cube, LL Cool J, Masta Ace, Naughty By Nature, Nice And Smooth, Organized Konfusion, Pete Rock, Percee P, Slick Rick and many others.

Naughty By Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray":

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Unlike some of the Pickwick knock-off albums from the time, this blacksploitation effort by Cecil Holmes is top-shelf all the way -- as Cecil was one of the best funky bandleaders of the early 70s. The large group on the album features funky keyboards by Pat Rebillot, plus plenty of wah wah guitar, and enough strings to make the album rank up there with the soundtrack feel of the day. Randy Brecker also appears on the record. Includes versions of "Superfly", "Slaughter", "Freddie's Dead", "Across 110th Street", "Trouble Man" and a wild cover of the "2001" theme, below. A must have for DJ's--the opening breakbeat is as nasty as they come.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Mississippi-born Billy Ball and various incarnations of his backing band, The Upsetters, released a slew of singles on Starday affiliated labels. Based in Indianapolis, Ball and his cohorts toured the country, backing acts such as Rufus Thomas and Dee Dee Warwick. Their most famous release, "Tighten Up Tighter" is one of the most sought-after funk 45's ever, and "Sissy Walk" isn't far behind.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Proto-disco funk by the six man crew of Miami, one of the best 70s combos working in the Sunshine State -- and their original records are filled with tasty funky grooves. The breakbeat classic "Chicken Yellow" is a good primer of their overall sound, and features a fat, chunky breakbeat that opens up for a four-bar monster early into the song. Neneh Cherry later sampled this break in "Buffalo Stance."