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.