Wednesday, December 30, 2009


C.K. Mann is a guitarist originally hailing from Moses Kweku Oppong's band Kakaiku in the 1960s. In the '70s, Mann left Oppong and began his own band, Carousel Seven, in which he began composing his own songs and holding a basic osode beat with a solo guitar. The outcome of this combination was a mildly melancholy sound which was quite popular on the Ghanaian West Coast market.

Originals of this extremely rare LP have fetched over $350.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Jack Frost nipping at your nose? In-laws driving you crazy? Holiday travels stressing you out? Christmas season bringing you down?

Alas, my weary friends, we're here to help give Santa Claus a soul transfusion--and put a little extra kick into that mistletoe kiss.

Just in time for the impending madness of Christmas week and New Years, we're proud to present Volume II in our Let's Make Christmas Mean Something! series.

So thanks to all of you, dear readers, for another great year, and we'll see you in 2010! Big things to come.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009


After Les Baxter made his mark in the late 50s and early 60s with classic exotica albums such as Ritual of the Savage and Tamboo!, he contributed soundtracks for a bunch of B-movies, including some classic horror flicks like Black Sunday and Baron Blood. As a composer of genre flicks circa late 60s, early 70s, it should come as no surprise that Baxter did some biker flicks as well. Hell's Belles, a 1970 Maury Dexter film, features one of the many American International Pictures with Baxter's cinematic scoring.

The highlight of the record is a 90 second fusion of spaghetti western and fuzz-funk called "Hogin' Machine," featuring one of the all-time great drum breaks at about :40 or so. The track was sampled by MF Doom ("Doomsday") and ShowBiz & A.G. ("Never Less Than Ill.")

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Before Bob Seger's name became synonymous with the Chevy "Like A Rock" commercials, he was just another hard working singer-songwriter from Detroit in the 60's.

In 1966, after playing in dozens of local bands without much success, Seger formed a new backing band called The Last Heard, which ultimately featured musicians he would continue working with for a while, consisting of Pep Perrine on drums, Carl Lagassa on guitar, and Dan Honaker on bass. With the Last Heard, Seger unleashed a furious James Brown/Wilson Pickett-influenced Christmas 45 called "Sock It To Me Santa." If only all Christmas music packed this kind of gritty soulful punch.

Monday, December 7, 2009


The huge and comfortable sound of Ray Brown's bass was a welcome feature on bop-oriented sessions for over a half-century, playing with, and for, legends like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Bud Powell. Brown's quick reflexes and ability to accompany soloists in a swinging fashion put him near the top of his field. After playing with Jazz at the Philharmonic, he married Ella Fitzgerald (their marriage only lasted during 1948-1952), and for a time led his own trio to back the singer. Brown recorded with an early version of the Modern Jazz Quartet (under Milt Jackson's leadership), and then became a permanent member of the Oscar Peterson Trio (1951-1966).

After leaving Peterson, Brown settled in Los Angeles, worked in the studios, continued recording jazz, and worked as a manager of several artists (including the Modern Jazz Quartet and Quincy Jones). He played with the L.A. Four starting in 1974, did a great deal to revive the careers of Ernestine Anderson and Gene Harris, and recorded extensively for Pablo and Concord.

One of Brown's more peculiar and funky efforts in his discography is the soundtrack to the film The Adventurers from 1970, and it's a mouthful of an album title: Harold Robbins Presents the Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim: Music from the Adventurers with the Ray Brown Orchestra Conducted by Quincy Jones. Though the film was a commercial and critical flop, the soundtrack became immortalized when Bjork sampled the track "Go Down Dying" for "Human Behavior."

Brown continued touring up until his death, dying in his sleep while napping before a show in Indianapolis on July 2, 2002.