Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Because there's only so much of "Monster Mash" and "Thriller" you can take, Dusty Nuggets ventures into Halloween territory with a devilishly delightful soundtrack for your costumed adventures.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Originally released in 1970 on Montreal’s Trans-World label, Strawberry Soul is a rare and amazing instrumental deep funk album released by African-American ex-pat trumpeter Billy Martin. Martin also released an album called I Turn You On via Onion Records where his hit “Funky Feelin” also appeared. He was a local star on the Canadian R&B scene for a while, but disappeared without a trace after this amazing release. (Courtesy Music Direct.)
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Originally released in 1970 on Montreal’s Trans-World label, Strawberry Soul is a rare and amazing instrumental deep funk album released by African-American ex-pat trumpeter Billy Martin. Martin also released an album called I Turn You On via Onion Records where his hit “Funky Feelin” also appeared. He was a local star on the Canadian R&B scene for a while, but disappeared without a trace after this amazing release. (Courtesy Music Direct)
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
This pseudo-Japanese concept album was the brainchild of prolific French production duo Jean Kluger and Daniel Vangarde. Based on a dance named the "Yamasuki", it was originally released in very small quantities on the independent label Biram in 1972, inadvertently becoming a useful educational tool for French students keen to learn Japanese. "Yamasuki" is a collection of beautiful pop songs, sung by a Japanese choir, offset to pounding drum patterns, vibes and fuzz guitar work-outs. The hip-hop-esque beats of ‘Yama Yama’ and ‘Kono Samuri’ have made the original LP a highly sought after relic for break collectors, the hip-hop market and beatmakers.
The amazing crew at Finders Keepers Records reissued this gem, and to them: big thanks.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
The Emotions are an American all female soul, disco, and R&B singing group. The group was formed in their current hometown of Chicago, Illinois in 1968, and originally consisted of the three Hutchinson sisters, all the children of Joseph and Lillian Hutchinson.
Their 1971 Stax LP, Untouched, features the classic break "Blind Alley," sampled hundreds of time, perhaps to best effect by Big Daddy Kane in "Ain't No Half Steppin."
We had this in the bins at Hall of Records for a whole ten minutes before a lucky customer snatched it up.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Greg Perry was one of major staff writers for Invictus/Hot Wax and co wrote most of the hits of Chairmen of the Board, Freda Payne etc. His first solo album, originally released on Casablanca in 1975, was called One for the Road. It is now regarded as one the best soul albums of all time.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Two true masters of French jazz - Michel Colombier and Ivan Jullien - teamed up in 1970 with other well known musicians from the French scene to record this excellent album at the famous Barclay Studios in Paris. The music was composed and played by Colombier and Jullien together with an allstar ensemble of finest studio players. Famous drummer Andre Arpino can be heard aswell as hammond master Eddy Louiss, Maurice Vander on piano, and Raymond Gimenez on electric guitar. Riviera Sound No.1 stands out as one of the perfect moments in French jazz funk, never reissued before and remaining on top of collector`s lists since years. There are not many facts to be found about this vinyl artifact, although nearly everybody of the featured musicians earned himself an excellent worldwide reputation.
The ten piece horn section delivers a great funky big band style from start to finish; wicked jazz funk is mixed with soundtrack or drama library sounds, like "Opening", that was also released on an impossible to find 45 single in the same year. "Crescendo" tears up every dancefloor, while "Talk" provides a monster open drum break at the beginning. Softer titles like "Edith" or "The Looser" draw their inspiration from cool jazz, modern jazz or pop music of the time. "I Remember Otis" is a soul and funk infused tribute to Otis Redding in a delicate Majestics or Mohawks style and the perfect groover "Wake The Monster" was re-recorded by Ivan Jullien later on for the always in demand Italian mod beat band "I Pyranas".
Ivan Jullien studied architecture and worked as a memorial inspector before he was sent to the Indochina war between 1952 and 1954. Back in Paris, trumpet playing became his main profession within the Paris jazz and variety scene of the time. He was soon playing in famous orchestras before accompanying big names like Johnny Griffin, Lester Young, Benny Bailey, Bud Powell, Dexter Gordon or Maynard Ferguson in the orchestra of the famous Olympia. In 1964 he was playing, arranging and recording for the likes of Johnny Hallyday, Francoise Hardy, Sacha Distel, Claude Nougaro, Charles Aznavour or Charles Trenet. All in all he did write thousands of arrangements for countless well known names from France and also started to compose and arrange big soundtracks like Claude Lelouche`s Un homme et une femme.
"Big Jullien" also started to lecture music analysis and music arrangement in 1983 and organized several big bands between 1965 and 1983. In 1993 he arranged "Carmen Jazz" featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater for the Vienna Festival, followed by special jazz arrangements of French chansons for Michel Leeb, finally performed by the Count Basie Orchestra in 2001. He received the "Prix Django Reinhardt" in 1971 and was also awarded with the "Prix Boris Vian" for his jazz adaption of "Porgy & Bess" together with Eddy Louiss. In 2003 he also received a "Victoires de la Musique" for his lifetime work. Moreover the man is "Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres", still working strong and arranging for his own big band today.
Michel Colombier learned to play the piano at the age of six, discovered jazz by eleven and soon performed or wrote for small combos and big bands. Later on he was playing and conducting the widest range of sounds from chamber orchestra to jazz band before being hired as artistic director for Barclay Records. The man stands out as one of the most important French music personalities of the 20th century. He not only composed music for more than 100 movies but also arranged some of the well known sounds by Prince or the first English album by Charles Aznavour, produced by Quincy Jones for release in the US. On the jazz scene he did write for many big names like Branford Marsalis. His classical works include titles for the Kronos Quartet aswell as various ballet musics. Michel Colombier passed away 2004 in Los Angeles.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
The album If was released on Nathan Davis’s tiny bespoke Tomorrow International record label in 1976 and only 1000 copies were ever pressed. Davis leads his super-funky group along the narrow path between jazz and funk that so many failed to navigate successfully in the second-half of the 1970s. It’s an album by an artist who is a musician’s musician. More importantly - it’s a killer LP.
Nathan Davis’s career has made him a connoisseur’s favourite and his records are all extremely collectable. In the 1960s Davis was drafted into the US army, and was based in Germany and France (working with everyone from Art Blakey to Donald Byrd and Ray Charles). Davis also worked as musical director of a TV and radio station, wrote film scores, studied anthropology at the Sorbonne and released a number of important records.
He returned to the US at the end of the 60s and continued to release a number of amazing jazz records – all of which have now been long out of print. His avoidance of the major record industry, working instead with various small independent labels with limited distribution has made all his releases very collectible. But have no doubt; Davis is one of the most important jazz artists of his time with a 50-year career span that continues to this day.
The early Tomorrow International releases, especially If, have become serious collector’s items, as indeed have most of Nathan Davis’s catalogue of recordings. Today, more people want these records than when they were first made and demand outstrips supply. Those who own Nathan Davis albums don’t sell them - and none more so than If.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Albert King's 1969 LP, King of the Blues Guitar, is a product of his most fertile period--his 1966-68 tenure at Memphis's Stax Records. Stax chief Jim Stewart had been reluctant to sign blues artists because he felt straight blues wouldn't mesh with Stax's patented Memphis soul. Ironically, the fusion of King's sharp guitar wails with the dynamic rhythms of Booker T. & the MGs--the Stax house band--was what set King apart from other bluesmen. The unique blend produced classic after classic: King's ripe and mellow vocals are a perfect match for the soul-drenched music while his dramatic string bends leap out.
Friday, July 23, 2010
More great library work, this time from Roger Roger Et Son Orchestre, giving us a brief, giddy, spastic two minute groove with a fantastic drum break. The track is from the legendary Chappell Music Library Mood Music series, Volume 24.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Eddie Russ was an impressive jazz keyboardist-composer-arranger who worked with numerous legends through several decades, including Sonny Stitt, Sarah Vaughn, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Roland Kirk, Hank Mobley, Cal Tjader, and Clark Terry, among many others. Russ came into his own in the 1970s with trend-setting excursions into jazz-funk that mirrored James Brown’s forays into hip-hop and dance.
Since the 70s his commercial fame in England eclipsed that earned in the U.S., but his dedication and contribution to jazz in Michigan is a career highlight he cherished the most. Russ earned awards from the Michigan Council for Arts (1986), "Best Keyboardist" by Arts Midwest (1986), and his trio made a cameo appearance in the motion picture "American Beauty, Ltd.", winner of the 1990 Berlin Film Festival.
Russ, born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, started piano lessons at age 11 and made his performing debut at 14. His teenage music activities included sitting in at all the jazz clubs with almost any artist who came through town. A popular hangout came to be the Musicians Club, where he credited learning jazz from major name figures.
His career took a major turn for three years in Traverse City at the Park Place Hotel, playing with bassist Mike Grace and drummer David Koether. There, Russ honed his creative hand and developed a bankable collection of original compositions. After the Park Place gig ended, Russ journeyed back to Albion to form the group Mixed Bag, with Koether, bassist Ron Brooks, saxophonist Larry Nozero, guitarist Jerry Glassell, and drummer Danny Spencer.
Russ’s Mixed Bag playtime fortuitously created opportunities to record five albums with legendary alto saxman Sonny Stitt (then, a Saginaw transplant from Boston), including "Portrait of a Legend" (Jazz Masters), and three solo albums for the Monument label ("Take A Look At Yourself," "See The Light"). His seminal 1974 album, Fresh Out (Soul Jazz Records) with the hit jazz-funk single, "The Lope Song," took Europe by storm.
Russ died in 1996 after an extended bout with chronic kidney failure. Below, an MP3 of "The Lope Song."
(Courtesy the Eddie Russ page preserved online at the Flint Jazz Festival)
Monday, July 19, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
The Mad Lads were from Memphis, Tennessee, and were comprised of John Gary Williams, Julius Green, William Brown and Robert Phillips. Although not one of the premier Stax Records acts, this quartet enjoyed seven R&B hits between 1965 and 1969. After changing their name from the Emeralds, their first single, "The Sidewalk Surf", flopped, but the group placed three singles in the R&B Top 20 in 1965-66, the best-known being "I Want Someone". Their first hit, "Don’t Want To Shop Around", was curiously anachronistic, owing more to doo-wop than southern soul. Later releases, including the perky "Sugar Sugar", were more typical, but the group was increasingly obscured by its more successful counterparts. In 1966, Williams and Brown were drafted and replaced by Sam Nelson and Quincy Clifton Billops Jnr.
Their '66 LP, Mad Lads in Action, features some classic soul tracks like "Come Closer to Me." There's also a killer drum break on their version of "Get Out of My Life, Woman."
Friday, June 25, 2010
From DJ Mighty Mike's website:
The Ikenga Super Stars of Africa, led by Vincent Okoroego, a former member of Steven Osita Osadebe’s Nigeria Sound Makers were a leading Igbo “guitar highlife” group of the seventies and eighties in Nigeria. The Ikengas called their style of music “Ikwokilikwo”, a fast-paced form of highlife popularized by Oliver de Coque and Godwin Kabaka Opara of the Oriental Brothers, amongst others.
The band went on to record several LP’s, while establishing themselves as one of the most beloved Nigerian groups of all time, not only in their homeland but across Africa and in Europe as well. It has long been rumored that “Nkengas in London” was an Osita Osadebe master tape hijacked by Okoroego and other members of the Nigeria Sound Makers who defected in the early seventies. Absent any evidence to the contrary, this seems likely. “Nkengas in London” sounds not at all like other Ikengas recordings, for instance, “Ikenga in Africa.” The vocals, the instrumentation, even the spoken comments at the beginning of the songs, are all classic Osadebe.
The Ikengas have had numerous personnel changes and defections over the years and while they were basically an “Igbo” group, over time they took on a broader character, enlisting musicians from other ethnic groups and Cameroun.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sir John Phillip William Dankworth, CBE (20 September 1927 – 6 February 2010), known in his early career as Johnny Dankworth, was an English jazz composer, saxophonist and clarinetist.
After years of gigging with big bands, Dankworth began composing film and television scores around 1966. His soundtrack for the film Modesty Blaise is groovy and kitsch in places (in keeping with the wacky film), dark and menacing in others. Jazz and pop are blended in equal measure. And of course, there's that famous break and horn sample that Gorillaz later recyled for "Rock the House."
Saturday, June 19, 2010
YToussaint McCall (born 1934, Monroe, Louisiana) is an American R&B singer and organist.
His one major success was with the single and LP "Nothing Takes the Place of You", which reached #5 in the US R&B chart, issued on Ronn Records in 1967. Although further singles and an album followed, McCall did not repeat its success.
He continued performing and recording for local record labels, and in 1988 made a cameo appearance in the John Waters film, Hairspray, lip syncing to his hit song.
The entire LP is in a soulful vein and everybody who likes deep, strong, soulful music, and also features some very funky instrumentals like "Shimmy."
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Nino Nardini's Jungle Obsession is an album of production music recorded in 1971 and released for public consumption almost 30 years later. As the title suggests, all tracks have an exotic bent -- think Martin Denny; however, the '70s production adds a more solid bass-and-drums bottom end. Some tracks are more mellow and feature loads of strings while others have primitive electronics, vibes, wah guitar and organ.
Here's the track "Mowgli," which features some luscious, dreamy arrangements and instrumentation.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
François de Roubaix (April 3, 1939, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine – November 22, 1975, Tenerife, Canary Islands) was a French film score composer.
Roubaix did not receive any formal education in music, but began studying jazz on his own at age 15, forming a band and learning trombone as an autodidact. His father, filmmaker Paul de Roubaix, made educational films, and offered to let François compose scores for them. His first film score was for a 1961 film by Robert Enrico; through the late 1960s and early 1970s he scored films for Enrico, Jose Giovanni, Jean-Pierre Melville, Jean-Pierre Mocky, and Yves Boisset. Notable in his style is his use of folk elements, as well as electronic musical instruments such as synthesizers and early drum machines. Roubaix had a home studio where he would overdub parts until he was satisfied with the result. He died in 1975 in a diving accident; in 1976, his score for Le Vieux Fusil was awarded a César Award.
Here's a short piece from the score for the 1970 French film Les Levres Rouges.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Crammed with percussion-heavy stompers like the utterly astounding "Black Rite" and the splendid "Moon Goddess", Mandingo's The Primeval Rhythm of Life comes over like a top class KPM best of.
Recorded in the mid-'70s, using state of the art analogue equipment and techniques, this album was very highly regarded by Hi-Fi buffs world wide for its clarity, dynamics, sonic response and broad stereo spectrum. A groundbreaking mix of exotica, Afro Funk, and electric 70s production, this was Mandingo's first album of savage jungle electronics and the record's a landmark from the Brit easy scene, but it's also got an amazing Funky sound that sets it apart from anything else like it. There's heavy percussion, weird electronics, fuzzy guitars -- and incredible production throughout.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Jerry Goldsmith was a film and TV composer born in LA in 1929. He will be remembered for providing the soundtracks to many of the most popular films and TV series' from the 1960s onwards, including The Twilight Zone, Star Trek and The Omen.
Goldsmith studied music at USC before taking a job in the music department at CBS, working as a clerk by day and composer by night. His earliest work was for radio, before moving onto TV, where he scored The Twilight Zone, The Waltons and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He got his breakthrough into cinema when he wrote the music for John Huston's Freud, for which he received an Oscar nomination. This led to 20th Century Fox and that opened the doors to an array of big budget, high profile work.
Goldsmith has applied his talents to projects across the spectrum of cinema with sci-fi (the Star Trek films), drama (Chinatown), horror (The Omen), westerns (Rio Lobo), and comedy (Mr Baseball). One of the things that set him apart from his contemporaries was his use of unusual instruments, or the use of instruments in unusual manners. The score for Alien used steel drums and the medieval 'serpent', plus some filtering techniques to produce new and interesting sounds.
Goldsmith was recognised by awards committees throughout his career. By the time of his death in 2004, he had amassed nine Golden Globes, five Grammys, and 16 Academy Award nominations.
His soundtrack to the 1971 film The Last Run contains some great work, with tracks like "Border Crossing" creating rich, deeply evocative, dramatic soundscapes that are inherently funky.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Tony "Toni" Tornado is an actor and Brazilian singer, born in Sao Paolo in 1930.
Toni Tornado is associated with the Black Power movement in Brazil. Along with people like Tim Maia, Cassiano, Hyldon, Jorge Ben, and Banda Black Rio, Tornado was just one of a group of artists in Brazil that were taking cues from black music in the US, which made them rather polemical at the time, culturally speaking. Embracing black music from North America was one way of shaking up this attitude and asserting a black identity in a place where people had always tended to aspire towards the ideal of whiteness, which is where and how social mobility happened. This musical community, like others in West Africa and elsewhere, was building an aesthetic of its own, embraced and celebrated by the DJs of the big parties of the favelas.
In 1970, Tornado won the national phase of the V International Song Festival with the socially conscious song "BR-3". One year after Toni won the Festival, Tornado released a very rare funk and soul-influenced self-titled album, accompanied instrumentally by the Tender Trio. deon Records/EMI re-released a CD of this landmark Brazilian album back in 2002, but original copies of the LP remain nearly impossible to locate. With heavy, sample-ready tracks like "Me Libertei," it's easy to see why this Brazilian record has remained a must-have for crate diggers.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Carolyn Ann Franklin (May 13, 1943 – April 25, 1988) was an American Gospel and Rhythm & Blues singer and songwriter.
Carolyn was born on May 13, 1943 in Memphis, Tennessee. She was the youngest sibling of Aretha Franklin, and the daughter of Detroit preacher C. L. Franklin and Barbara Siggers Franklin, a pianist and Gospel vocalist. Carolyn and her family moved to Detroit, Michigan while Carolyn was still a baby.
Carolyn Franklin recorded in her own right, releasing numerous albums throughout the 1970s and serving as one of Aretha's background vocalists for some years as well as writing some of her songs, including "Ain't No Way" and the 1973 #1 R&B hit "Angel."
Carolyn was living at her father's West Side home in Detroit, Michigan when he was shot in 1979. She appeared as one of Aretha's background singers in the 1980 movie "The Blues Brothers."
Having never married, Carolyn died in Aretha's Bloomfield Hills, Michigan home from breast cancer on April 25, 1988, at age 43. Just ten days prior, she was awarded a B.A. in Music Education from Marygrove College. Her oldest sister, Erma Franklin, died of throat cancer in 2002.
Carolyn - like her other deceased family members - is interred at Detroit's historic Woodlawn Cemetery on North Woodward Avenue.
Carolyn's 1969 LP, Baby Dynamite, features the track "What Now, My Love?", a heavy funky female scorcher if there ever was one.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Preston Love was a renowned alto saxophonist. The Preston Love Orchestra was the top orchestra in the Midwest for several years before Preston moved to California in 1962. While in California, he became a top studio woodwind player and made countless recordings and television shows with nearly every big name artist. As a leader of the West Coast Motown Orchestra, Preston was the regular bandleader for the following when they were on the west coast: The Supremes, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and others too numerous to mention. Prompted by his love for Omaha and the Midwest, Preston returned to live in Omaha where he recorded Omaha Bar-B-Q with Love's best friend Johnny Otis and Otis' regular band--which by this time included the blistering guitar playing of his 14 year old son-- a kid named Shuggie Otis.
"Chili Mac" is my favorite cut from the album; greasy in all the right ways, it's a great blend of party-oriented, danceable funk and rootsy improvisation.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Into the Wind marries a unique blend of ancient tradition with studio trickery. Eschewing all notions of superficial "Asian-fusion," this uplifting, genre-bending sound clash, recalls the afro centric harping of Dorothy Ashby and hypnotic spiritual jazz of Alice Coltrane. With Lee adding equal doses of hip hop, electric jazz, and soul sensibility to the backing tracks, the captivating sound of Bei Bei’s Guzheng (a 2000 year old Chinese string instrument) comes alive on peaceful mellow joints as much as it does on Kung-Fu flavored funk tunes.
Monday, April 26, 2010
A classic 1970s Chicago soul group led by singer Bill Brown along with vocalists Christopher Allen (aka Chris Bernard), Charles Scott IV, and Earle Roberts, Shades of Brown began as the Fortrells, changing their name to the Mentors during a short stay at ABC Records (they recorded two singles -- four tracks in all -- for ABC but none of this music was ever released), and became Shades of Brown when they signed to Chess Records subsidiary Cadet Records. Working initially with producer Billy Davis, the group really found its stride when Dells maestro Bobby Miller took over the producer's chair, and Shades of Brown, helped by marvelous musical arrangements from Richard Evans and Charles Stepney, released three wonderful singles and a LP, S.O.B., for Cadet, none of which had much commercial success. Leaving Chess, the group recorded some material for producer Clarence Johnson (which, again, was never released) and then issued a final single (produced by Calvin Carter), "How Could You Love Him" b/w "He Ain't Heavy," in the early '70s on the On Top Records imprint before calling it quits. Shades of Brown had a wonderful, almost Motown-like (via the Dells) Northern soul ensemble sound, and their lack of commercial success is baffling, although their sole album has become a samplers favorite in recent years, particularly on the opening drum break on "The Soil I Tilled for You." (Check out "Excursions" from The Low End Theory for further listening).
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Milan Svoboda founded his first jazz big band during his studies at the Prague Conservatory in 1974. The ensemble was called The Prague Big Band and quickly made its name among the best Czech jazz groups and gained renown abroad as well. In the beginning the Orchestra drew inspiration from the big bands of Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis, Buddy Rich and Don Ellis. But soon original compositions completely took over the repertoire. During the first decade the ensemble featured Jiří Stivín, Michael Kocáb, Ondřej Soukup, Zdeněk Šedivý, Rudolf Ticháček, Michal Gera and others. The modern sound of the Prague Big Band brought fresh air to the Czechoslovakian jazz scene in the late 1970s. The group regularly won polls as the Best Jazz Orchestra and frequently received high ratings also in European jazz magazines.
In 1978, the band released their classic and highly sought after LP Portrait. The album remains a high watermark for Eastern European jazz in the 70's, as the Prague Big Band effortlessly interweaves between funk, fusion, and swing.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Henry Mancini was an award winning film score composer best known for The Pink Panther theme.
Mancini learned to play the flute and piano as a child, and went on to formal music education at the Julliard School of Music, although being drafted during the Second World War interrupted his studies. After the war he worked with the Glen Miller Band, although it was his move to Universal Studios that marked the beginning of the career for which he is renowned. During his time there, he worked on "Creature from the Black Lagoon," "This Island Earth," "The Glenn Miller Story" and over one hundred other films.
He set up his own writing company, and was approached by film director Blake Edwards to write for the TV series "Peter Gunn." This was the beginning of a long term partnership, and Mancini would go on to write for most of the directors output, including "Breakfast at Tiffany's", "10" and "The Pink Panther" series of films. He also wrote for other directors, with "The Glass Menagerie" and "The Great Waldo Pepper" amongst his credits.
The track "Here's Looking At You, Kid" comes from one of his coolest records--The Return of the Pink Panther. Grand Puba sampled this track for "I Like It."
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
That newspaper you see up on those windows means we've been quite busy lately getting Hall of Records ready for our April/May grand opening.
Needless to say, I've been neglecting the blog the last few weeks. Hang in there while we finish up some construction. Priority #1 is Getting Our Store Open.
And once we do, we promise it'll have been worth the wait.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
There's hardly anything "soft" about Lavell Kamma's little-known Afro Soul Review, judging from this rare 45 on the Tupelo Sound Label out of Mississippi. From what we know, Kamma was an R&B/jazz alto sax player and produder who built up a strong funk following in Florida, of all places.
The song features an insistent, funky mid-tempo groove, a punchy horn section, and plenty of "Good God!" shouts from Lavell Kamma himself. Needless to say, the Afro Soul Review seemed to be absorbing a lot of fellow southerner James Brown's deep funk sound.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
If you were to tear a hundred pages from Pamela Des Barre's 'I'm With The Band', a fistful of anecdotes from 'The Abba Story', and the most titillating tales from Marianne Faithfull's biography and staple them all together you may well find a mutant monograph which is brave enough to hold a flickering candle to the story of Sarolta Zalatnay.
The protective packaging of this, first ever, compendium of Zalatnay's crown jewels would not provide anything close to the adequate ink space for a worthy account of her life in the Hungarian public eye (which has previously and periodically been documented in a series of autobiographies which are unlikely to ever benefit an English language translation).
After ten successful albums, drawing together a veritable who's-who of Hungarian progressive and psychedelic rock and utilizing some of the toughest dancefloor friendly metronomic drum breaks and a hard funk-rock sound years ahead of their Western European counterparts, the decline of communism in Hungary Western music, literature and cinema predictably infiltrated Hungarian culture overnight and the young record buying public began to turn their backs on home grown music and many faithful Eastern European artists were demoted to mum and dad's record shelf like musical photo albums. Don't worry though - Gal Costa is a huge name in Portugal but not many Portuguese people have heard 'Tuareg'. The youth of Hungary certainly know who Zalatnay is... but how many of them have heard that break at the start of "Hadd Mondjam El"?
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The Village Soul Choir were an obscure R&B act from New York City. Their guitarist, Edward Arrington, Jr., was a one-time Motown studio musician. Not much is known about the band, other than that they recorded a classic children's album in the late 60's when they released Soul Sesame Street.
The group are a vocal quintet with a solid harmony sound, initially recasting versions of Sesame Street hits, but eventually moving into some of their own numbers on the second side of the album. Highlights include the group's own funky classic "The Cat Walk."
Friday, January 15, 2010
For 1974's brilliant action film, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, composer David Shire used a funky multicultural rhythm section for "Main Theme." He intended to evoke the bustle and diversity of New York City, and his dense, funky composition has become an unofficial theme for the 6 subway line (the local Lexington Avenue Line that is depicted in the film). Shire received two Grammy nominations for his work on the film.
One of our favorite soundtracks ever--and the track has been sampled by Mixmaster Mike, Showbiz & A.G., and Xzibit.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I don't know much about Russia's shadowy "Gunshot Orchestra," which, according to beat-digging lore, was a collective of Soviet rare groove musicians who recorded TV and film library music in 70's Moscow. Others have told me they were a hardworking Psych/Funk band originally from the Ukraine--in fact (if you believe the legends), the band was so hyped, they played a single, sold-out show (with a full orchestra, natch) at a club in London--and then never performed live again.
The producer/arranger--and the only one credited on this bizarre 12"--is Faddei Vladik Kozlov, a multi-instrumentalist and widely respected Russian producer who was responsible for some devastating library work that came out of the Iron Curtain. He was also the owner of SRG Studios, a recording studio and vinyl pressing plant on the outskirts of Moscow. (Kozlov's father, Grigory, was part of the Bolshevik Red Guard.)
I've never heard another track by the so-called "Gunshot Orchestra"--maybe I never need to. Sometimes one track is enough, and the legend IS the story.
The vinyl is undoubtedly bootlegged/private press. This particular track name is untitled, and features a bizarre mix of drum breaks, spacey synths, chaotic orchestral noise...and of course, gunshots.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Lee Mason’s infamous, elusive and decidedly sleazy ‘Shady Blues’ has finally been brought to justice courtesy of Jazzman Records. A track that’s downright dangerous; that’s been sampled dozens of times; that’s appeared on numerous dodgy bootlegs and has had record hounds tracking its scent for years - has finally been nicked and locked down to wax. The story started in the mid-‘90s when library fever was about to grip the nation, and the good libraries still rubbed shoulders with the bad.
But the time soon came when the good ones just disappeared, leaving the shite behind… where did they all go? Collectors, DJs, dealers and producers (Madlib, The Outsidaz) and are all responsible for removing these records from our midst, but few of them ever even saw the elusive UK Chappell library LP Lee Mason & his Music, let alone capture one for themselves. The bootleggers released ‘Shady Blues’ and named it after Peter Moore to throw people off the scent, but now after all this time, reproduced from the original studio mastertapes, you can hear the ultimate combination of ultra fat drums and awesome flute in all its naked glory.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Sad news today out of Memphis, Tennessee.
Willie Mitchell, a record producer and musician who worked with Al Green and dozens of others, has died. He was 81.
Mitchell's son, Lawrence Mitchell, said his father suffered a cardiac arrest on Dec. 19 and died at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis at 7:25 a.m. Tuesday.
Mitchell was born and raised in Ashland, Miss.
At the age of eight, he began to play the trumpet. While in high school, he was a featured player in popular local big bands. He later formed his own combo, which from time to time included musicians such as trumpeter Booker Little, saxophonists Charles Lloyd, and George Coleman, and pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr. A trumpeter and bandleader in his own right, Mitchell released a number of popular singles for Hi Records as an artist in the 1960s, including "Soul Serenade."
Mitchell landed a job with the Home of the Blues record label as a producer, then left to join Hi Records as both a recording artist and a producer. When the founder of Hi Records, Joe Cuoghi, died in 1970, Mitchell suddenly found himself in charge of the label. What could have been a turbulent transition turned out to be a smooth one: a year before Cuoghi's passing, Mitchell had signed an up-and-coming soul singer named Al Green to the label. Under the guidance of Mitchell, Green's career would soon skyrocket and he became one of the '70s top soul artists with Mitchell co-producing and engineering all of Green's albums from 1970 through 1976 (the singer's most successful period), as well as such classic Top Ten hit singles as "Tired of Being Alone," "Call Me (Come Back Home)," "I'm Still in Love with You," "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)," "Let's Stay Together," "You Ought to Be with Me," "Look at What You Done for Me," "Let's Get Married," and others.
Known at the recording studio as "Papa Willie", Mitchell earned his nickname by taking over the reins of Hi Records in 1970 and guiding it through its most successful period. Mitchell's productions have been much noted for featuring a hard-hitting kick drum sound (usually played by pioneering Memphis drummer Al Jackson, Jr. of Booker T. and the MG's).
For further (and highly recommended listening), check out The Hi Masters.
Rest in peace, Willie. Here's a good track to remember him by: 1965's "The Champion (Part I)," a fierce Northern Soul workout.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Erasmo Carlos, born Erasmo Esteves on June 5, 1941, in the Tijuca area of Rio de Janeiro, is a Brazilian singer and songwriter. A core member of the Jovem Guarda ("Young Guard") scene of 1960's Brazilian pop-rock, Erasmo often appeared on television, in magazines and feature films with fellow teen idols Roberto Carlos and Wanderléa.
In contrast to his simpler pop-rock early sound, Erasmo went on to produce several of the more moody and introspective MPB records of the 1970s, including Sonhos e Memorias, which featured the classic track "Grilos." The album is often considered just plain psychedelic, but it actually mixes an eclectic blend of smooth Latin-jazz, dreamy pop-psych, afro-Brazilian funk-soul and electro-acoustic folk-rock.