Thursday, August 27, 2009


On Forte Records outta Kansas City, Missouri, this was one of two releases by Lee Harris on the label.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Born Umpeylia Marsema Balinton, Sugar Die DeSanto was given her stage name as well as her recording debut by rhythm and blues ubermensch Johnny Otis. He dubbed her "Little Miss Sugar Pie" in 1955, and not because she had a sweet tooth or liked to bake. "While we were in the studio he named me Sugar Pie," DeSanto recalled in an interview, "Because I was so little. I wore a size three shoe and I weighed about 85 pounds. I was very tiny." She's a half-pint in size, true, but in talent or voice assuredly not. Although typecast as a blues singer, she also takes care of business on the soul end of things and is a convincing jazz vocal stylist as well. That would be enough to gain most singers a reasonable slice of glory, but DeSanto also happens to be a hilarious comedienne, a show-stopping dancer, and a superb and highly original songwriter whose compositions have been cut by Fontella Bass, Billy Stewart, Little Milton, Bobby McClure, Minnie Riperton, Jesse James, the Dells, and the Whispers.

Otis discovered her performing at the Ellis Theater, the venue which she feels was sort of a birthing ground for her musical style. Otis dropped by one of the venue's regular talent shows only to observe DeSanto walking off with first prize. He promptly offered her a contract to come to Los Angeles to cut her first record ever. From the late '50s onward she performed regularly at rhythm & blues havens such as the Apollo in New York, the Regal in Chicago, and the Howard in Washington, D.C. At the Apollo she made quite an impression on the so-called "Godfather of Soul," James Brown, leading to her becoming his opening act for two years.

In 1964, DeSanto was the only female performer on a touring American Folk Blues Festival bill with a lineup that would make a blues fan soak the concert program with drool, including Willie Dixon, Sleepy John Estes, Clifton James, Sunnyland Slim, Hubert Sumlin, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Sonny Boy Williamson II, also known as Rice Miller. She has written some 100 songs and prefers to perform her own material. DeSanto's on-stage workout has always totally bypassed her record releases in terms of creativity and intensity, and her advancing age isn't stopping her from continuing to expand her talent base: she recently branched out into country & western.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Jan Bradley (born Addie Bradley, July 6, 1943, Byhalia, Mississippi) is an American soul singer.

Bradley grew up in Robbins, Illinois. She was noticed by manager Don Talty (who also managed Phil Upchurch) at a high school talent show. After graduating, she auditioned for Curtis Mayfield, and soon recorded the Mayfield-penned "We Girls", which became a hit regionally in the Midwest. Several singles followed, and another Mayfield song, "Mama Didn't Lie" (b/w "Lovers Like Me"), was released nationally in the U.S. by Chess Records in 1963 and hit #8 R&B and #14 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2]

Following the single's success, Mayfield and Chess got into a legal battle over the publishing rights to Mayfield's songs, and as a result Bradley was no longer able to work with him. She started writing her own songs and released several further singles on Chess. "I'm Over You" hit #24 R&B in 1965; other Chess releases included "Just a Summer Memory" b/w "He'll Wait on Me", "It's Just Your Way", and "These Tears" b/w "Baby What Can I Do". Bradley continued working with Talty after her arrangement with Chess ended, releasing singles for Adanti, Doylen, Spectra Sound, and Night Owl.

Bradley stopped singing professionally in the early 1970s; she raised a family and became a social worker. She resides in the south suburbs of Chicago and has two children. She is also the grandmother of three and continues to sing in her church choir. Her records remained popular among devotees of Northern soul. (Courtesy Wikipedia)

Below, an MP3 of "Mama Didn't Lie," a quintessential slice of A-Plus Chicago soul in the early 60's.

You will need FLASH installed to see the audio player.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Back from the vaults and recently exhumed from its slept-on status is another robust and hearty broth of Radiophonic Oddities and Dusty Nuggets, guaranteed to both quench your musical thirst and satiate your carnal hunger for only the finest vinyl that your discerning ears have come to demand. It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it.

Once again, buckle the f*ck up, and get ready to feel somethin stirrin.


1. Intro
2. Time Capsule/Weldon Irvine
3. Crustaceatron/John Medeski and Billy Martin
4. Truth & Soul
5. Slim Jenkin's Place/Booker T. & The MG's
6. Struggling My Way/Calypso King
7. Creation/El Michels Affair
8. Freddie's Dead/Young Holt Unlimited
9. Sitting Duck/The Three Sounds
10. Skimming the Skum/Lefties Soul Connection
11. Soul Heart Transplant/Ebony Rhythm Band
12. Bold Soul Sister/Ike & Tina Turner
13. Killing/The Apples
14. La Valle/Bronx River Parkway
15. Stretch Your Rubber Band/The Meters
16. Hot Pants Road/James Brown
17. Fat Mama/Herbie Hancock
18. Feel Good Inc./Cookin' On 3 Burners
19. I'm Thankful/Spanky Wilson & Quantic Soul Orchestra
20. It's Your Thing/Cold Grits
21. Rock Steady/The Marvells
22. Cheney Lane/Nostalgia 77

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


While gospel was a key influence for many of the great voices of '60s soul, few artists brought the spiritual and the secular together with as much skill and emotional gravity as Solomon Burke (no great surprise, given that he became a preacher later in life). However, Burke's influences went beyond gospel. He had a real gift for country influenced material, and his "Just out of Reach (Of My Two Empty Arms)" scored significant airplay on Southern C&W radio; there was plenty of raw blues in his recipe; and he had a potent sense of drama (the man's knack for a recitation was unequaled) as well as a subtle but keen wit (who else would record a dance tune called "Stupidity" and make it work?). While Burke made worthwhile records for a number of labels (and continues to do so at this writing), his strongest body of work remains his Atlantic Records sides that represent the crème de la crème for anyone with a taste for Southern soul. (Courtesy Mark Deming of Allmusic)

You will need FLASH installed to hear audio.

Monday, August 17, 2009


From New York City, The Sandpebbles were comprised of Calvin White, Andrea Bolden and Lonzine Wright. White had been a member of the Gospel Wonders in the early 60s and he brought some robust gospel-style singing to the Sandpebbles when he formed the group. Under the aegis of New York producer Tony Vann, the Sandpebbles enjoyed big hits with "Forget It" (number 10 R&B, number 81 pop) and "Love Power" (number 14 R&B, number 22 pop) for the Calla label in 1967. The Sandpebbles changed their name to C & The Shells in 1968, and produced by Jerry Williams, had a hit with a softer-styled "You Are The Circus" (number 28 R&B) in 1969. C & The Shells left Cotillion in 1970, and joined the tiny Zanzee label, where they recorded with little success. The last release by the group was in 1973.

Here's their classic 45 "Forget It."

You will need FLASH installed to see the audio player.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


If you're a reader of this blog, it should come as no surprise that I'm a huge fan of both The Beatles and funky, and occasionally obscure, cover versions of Beatles songs.

While this track certainly isn't obscure to an Ike and Tina fan, it is definitely one of the funkiest moments in their career, and is one of the best versions you'll ever hear of Lennon's classic. Drenched in delay, echo, and fierce attitude, here's Ike and Tina.

You will need FLASH installed to see the audio player.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Back by popular demand, here's another mix from 2006 of funky oddities and rare gems, mixed lovingly for your pleasure.

Initially distributed in a limited run of 250 CD's, this expansive set quickly became one of the most requested volumes in the Radiophonic Oddities series.


Friday, August 7, 2009


Rafael "Lito" Barrientos was a renowed musician from El Salvador who created and formed the famed "Orquesta Lito Barrientos International."

He got his start as a trombonist and marimba performer in the 1940's with the group Alma India. Over the next 20 years, he would continue to tour in countries like Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and other regions of South America, where he expanded his musical palette. When he formed his famed Orchestra, the band signed a contract with legendary Colombian record label Discos Fuentes; the Orchestra became famous for one of the most famous cumbias of all time, “Cumbia En Do Menor".

Barrientos passed away last year at the age of 93.

You will need FLASH installed to see the audio player.