Thursday, April 30, 2009
Uschi Brüning is a German-born jazz singer and songwriter. Her professional breakthrough came in 1970 after teaming up with Günther Fischer, a well-respected pianist, bandleader, and composer.
It was with Fischer that she crafted 1974's otherworldly-dope "Hochzeitsnacht" with a huge break at the top.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
A great, spacey jazz/funk break from Medeski, Martin & Wood's Radiolarians 1.
The project is unique among studio albums because, in a reversal of the typical recording process, the band decided to compose and then develop the songs through a series of tours before recording the music in the studio.
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was a demi-God of 20th Century jazz, pioneering the revolution that was be-bop. And he was still pushing out the boundaries at Perception Records from 1970-71, fusing jazz and funk in breathtaking style. This 1971 set features: Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet); Eric Gayle, George Davis (guitar); James Moody (tenor saxophone); Mike Longo (piano); Nate Edmonds (organ); Paul West (double bass); Chuck Rainey, Phil Upchurch (bass guitar); David Lee, Otis Candy Finch, Bernard Purdie (drums).
Below, the track "Matrix," sampled by Beatnuts ("World Famous") and LA Funk Mob ("Suspence.")
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The Harmony Cats were a female vocal quintet formed in Sao Paolo, Brazil in the late 70's.
Originally dubbed "The Bandits of Love," the band was rechristened "The Harmony Cats" by producer/artistic director Helio Costa Manso. His idea was to have the quintet perform disco versions of rock songs, themes from classic films, and Broadway musicals.
The band went on to great success in disco-era Brazil. Once disco fizzled out, however, the band wasn't as fortunate. By 1985, the band was finished.
Not much else is known about them, but they left a dancefloor classic behind with 1977's "Cat's Theme." Kon and Amir included this gem on their Kings of Diggin' compilation.
Monday, April 27, 2009
"No one seems to recall much detail of Inell Young, a New Orleans vocalist whose legacy rests on a handful of late ‘60s 45s and the undying obsession of soul collectors. Even the irrepressible Edwin Bocage (aka Eddie Bo), the New Orleans institution who arranged and composed two of Young’s three records, seems to have been somewhat nonplussed by Young, remembering her in Wax Poetics (2004, issue no. eight) as a troubled creature, and suggesting she succumbed to a drug overdose.
The chaos of Inell Young’s lifestyle was belied, though, by the exceptionally finessed vocal on 1969’s “The Next Ball Game,” the one and only release on the Big-9 record label. Like all of this week’s selections, there’s also a bit of Motown-style emotional pathos around the edges of Young’s voice, even when you can’t quite understand her. Was this Eddie Bo’s bid for a pop record? The sensibility is there, sure, but whatever Bo’s aspirations, there’s no getting around where this record was made: the sun rises in the east, the Mississippi River flows into the Gulf of Mexico, and so, too, for every New Orleans record will there be syncopated horns and colossal rhythm.
These particular colossal rhythms were in fact the handiwork of James Black, a versatile drummer who played on many of Eddie Bo’s house releases. 'Next Ball Game' exemplifies the way Black could dominate a song; he took the blank spaces normally found between other drummer’s beats and filled them with skittering wallop and his own boundless enthusiasm.
No surfeit of praise is too much for Eddie Bo, either, the composer and creative soul behind The Next Ball Game' and countless New Orleans gems. Eddie Bo is a true hero of the city’s recorded music, his groundbreaking recordings, production and arranging credits, and compositions (not to mention his talents on the keyboard) read like a condensed version of several decades (1950s-‘70s) of post-War New Orleans R&B, soul and funk..." (Courtesy Officenaps.com)
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
"One of three Donald Byrd albums from 1967 (the end of his hard bop period), this recording features the trumpeter/leader with altoist Sonny Red, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Walter Booker, and drummer Billy Higgins. The six tunes (five of which are originals by Byrd or Red) are all quite obscure and to one extent or another quite explorative. One can sense that Byrd wanted to break through the boundaries and rules of hard bop but had not yet decided on his future directions. Byrd and Red in particular are in excellent form throughout the date."
The track has been sampled dozens of times by artists like Common and Third Eye.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
"Levert Allison, apparently christened Leevert, never had as successful a musical career as his brother Gene. However, among the rather small number of singles that he released there are some real gems – and his voice, a high expressive baritone, was very fine indeed. Like Gene, he was primarily a Nashville artist, and recorded for local R & B entrpreneur Ted Jarrett...
Allison is perhaps best known as one of the lead voices for the Dynamite Dixie Travellers gospel group who cut several LPs for the T-Jaye Label..." (Info courtesy Sir Shambling's Deep Soul Heaven.)
Below, one of his funkier 45's, "Sugar Daddy," with a killer 2 bar drum break around the 1:38 mark.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Gorgeous, smooth soul from Miami courtesy of singer Lynn Williams. This track made a prominent appearance on the late, great J Dilla's Donuts album, and was also included more recently on the Numero Group's sublime Outskirts of Deep City compilation.
While Lynn may not have had the luck or timing to top the charts outside of Florida, but there's no questioning the sincerity of her performance. Fans of hard-to-find soul, take heart.
Monday, April 20, 2009
"Bobby Williams was often dismissed as a 'James Brown clone', even by his own label. There's little denying it though: from the opening strains of title track 'Funky Superfly (pts. I & II)' there's little doubting just how strong the influence of the great man was on Williams, but hey, props to the band, who are on tremendous form throughout. Actually, props to Bobby too, who at least knew his lot in life, and it's not like he does himself a disservice on this 45: the performances couldn't be any more fully committed and boisterously delivered, and much credit is due for that."
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
These articles by Gabe were written for the now-defunct Big Daddy Magazine.
(Clink on the images to zoom in and not hurt your eyes!)
(Clink on the images to zoom in and not hurt your eyes!)
"Allen Toussaint is one of those figures in the world of Soul and Funk who never had a career in the full spotlight. He rather chose to be behind the curtain writing and producing. In doing so Toussaint was a major force behind the development of the Crescent City Sound in the sixties. Although he had something of a solo career in that decade he didn't get it properly started until the seventies. Life, Love and Faith followed the beautiful From a Whisper to a Scream, both being Toussaint's first proper album efforts. Releases before that were aimed at the 45 market as most of the R&B material of the sixties. It wasn't until people like Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes and Stevie Wonder started to produce records that were meant for the album market that hit big R&B would be taken serious as an album producing field.
Where From a Whisper still leaned heavily into material he originally written for others, Life, Love and Faith would be Toussaint's first album that stood on its own. Instead of producing for the Meters, the legendary funk band became his backing group on this outing adding a horn section...."
Below, an outtake from the Life, Love & Faith sessions with Toussaint on piano and the Meters backing him up with a greasy, unbelievably funky halftime groove.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The Voices Of East Harlem were a vocal group formed in the early 70's. The Voices were, an often, 20-member ensemble whose ages ranged from 12 to 21. They worked with producers Leroy Hutson and Curtis Mayfield on their recordings for the Just Sunshine Records label.
They are best remembered for Leroy Hutson's song / production 'Cashing In' from a 1973 album The Voices Of East Harlem. Also on the album was 'Wanted Dead Or Alive', a single released in the UK by the Low Fat Vinyl label in 1988. Their 1970 album Right On Be Free also featured contributions from Ralph McDonald on congas and Richard Tee on keyboards.
Below, their spirited take on Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth."
Friday, April 10, 2009
1-Martin Cohen Loves Latin Percussion/Sabu Martinez
3-Low Rawls Monologue
4-Party on 4th Street/Black Nasty
5-If You Don't Get It Yourself/Gloria Lynne
6-Wack Wack/Maynard Ferguson
7-Do Your Thing/Ugly Duckling
8-Number Two/The Apples
9-(Title Unknown)/Mofongo Para El Alma
10-V2/Lefties Soul Connection
11-25 Miles/Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
12-Botte De Cuire/Chapeau
13-Blue Masses/Tommy Guerrero
14-So Glad I'm the One/Instant Funk
15-Across the Board/Big Daddy Kane with Connie Price & The Keystones
16-Untitled/Cut Chemist and Andy Smith
17-Ego Trippin' (MC Ultra Remix)/Ultramagnetic MC's
18-Unlabeled 12-inch/Super Single
19-Gimme Some/General Crook
20-Now You Know/Niko & DJ Babu
21-Quiet Village/Dome City Rock Orchestra
22-Another Day/Ray Goodman & Brown
24-Ska Dee Wah/Byron Lee
25-Stranded In Your Love/Dap Kings (Cold Calm Pete-Sweet Nothing Remix)
Monday, April 6, 2009
Uncovered from the crates this past weekend @ the Hall of Records Wax Broker Riot: A 1970's soundtrack LP to a Japanese cop show called "Howl to the Sun" released on Polydor. Heavy funk breaks throughout. I will post some audio ASAP.
The cover is just too badass for words.
The De Wolfe Library (or Music De Wolfe) was started in 1909 by Meyer De Wolfe to cater for silent movies, but quickly established its high reputation with the advent of TV and radio. In the 70's, De Wolfe demonstrated their uniqueness from their rivals (KPM and Chappell) by employing composers who are considered the true musical innovators of their time (Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker and Nick Ingman to name a few) to experiment with new studio techniques. Amongst others, their music was used on the classic British TV series' The Sweeny and Whodunnit.
Bite Hard makes for essential listening for people who love their 70s soundtracks. The tracks featured on this impressive compilation have been dusted down from the vaults of Dewolfe Music, who in their prime during the 1970s used to supply incidental and backing music for a whole range of British produced television programmes. Tons of cool dark-blaxploitation/crime soundtrack stuff - fuzz guitar funk, funky-as-hell beats, early synth and even a lovely ambient track from 1980. This LP is absolutely essential.
Below, Jack Trombey's simply named "Rock Bed 1" with some SICK drum breaks.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Seatrain was an American roots fusion band based initially in Marin County, California, and later in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Seatrain was formed after the breakup of the Blues Project in 1969. The group, which recorded four albums, disbanded in 1973.
Their one semi-hit, "Flute Thing," was a bit out of character too, relying on bassist Andy Kulberg showing off his classically-trained flute skills.
Below, here is a rare 45 version of "Flute Thing," sampled by the Beastie Boys in "Flute Loop" and MC Serch in "Scenes from the..."
Friday, April 3, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
"...Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals went through a few distinctive eras of rhythm sections: the one that became most famous was the 2nd incarnation - they were the ones who, for example, worked on Aretha Franklin's debut Atlantic album (and were at the center of the drama that went down between Fame, Atlantic, Aretha and her then-husband/manager Ted White). After the fall-out, almost all of the rhythm section left Fame to go found Muscle Shoals Studios across the street.
When Rich Hall rebuilt the rhythm section, the 3rd incarnation became known as The Fame Gang that that included a scorching Junior Lowe on guitar (he was the lone stay-over from the last Fame section) and Clayton Ivey slapping it down on organ. It says a lot about how deep talent was out in Alabama that Fame could lose most its studio staff and then rebuild just as good as ever. It's also notable that the Fame Gang was far more integrated; 5 of the 8 new members were Black unlike the previous generation which was all white...
...The Fame Gang isn't just a title for whatever musicians happened to be available on a given day. It was eight special players plus arranger-producer Mickey Buckins. They liked Rick, Rick liked them, and they all had a thing for the music they played. That's the reason it worked out so well. The Fame Gang cared … they didn't do it for the money alone. Primarily, the Fame Gang backed-up singers like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Clarence Carter, Bobbie Gentry, Etta James, Candi Staton, and many more of the best." (Courtesy of soul-sides.com)
Below, one of their funkiest tracks, "Soul Feud."