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.

Monday, November 30, 2009


This moody downtempo tune shows the influence of Latin styles and Jamaican reggae in early 1970's Trinidadian music culture. The theme is said to be derived from Venzuela and was adapted by rapper 50 Cent for his massive smash "P.I.M.P.". Chief Mocambo engineer Steven "Def Stef" Tantrum did a wonderful job in restoring the old 8-track tape and mixing the track.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Guaranteed For A Soulful, Funky Christmas®!

(When adding to your iTunes, make sure you sort by Album Title for proper sequencing. The opening track should read "Intro.")


Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Ah, fall: the leaves are changing colors and falling lazily to the earth, the darkness of early evening nips at the heels of a blustery afternoon, the deep exhalations of our breath become visible in bleary, midmorning dazes.

Lovingly, as always, we are happy to share with you another mix of Radiophonic Oddities and Dusty Nuggets, deeply mined from the crates for your aural pleasure. As usual, the music is admittedly a veritable smorgasboard reflecting wildly eclectic records, to say the least.

So hit this here DOWNLOAD button, and hey....consider yourself informed. (And entertained.)

Big ups to DJ Clarence Duffy for assistance.


2-The Dreaming Mind (Part 2)/Quantic & His Combo Barbaro
3-Jive Samba/Llan Thelwell
4-Fistfight in the Master Bath/Big Pimp Jones
5-The Empire Strikes Back Kenner Collection
6-No Sugar Tonight/The Shirelles
7-Madalena/Tania Maria
8-An Elephant Called Slowly/Howard Blake
9-Roy Rogers Quick Shooter Hat
10-Late Train/Ken Aldin
11-Pass the Pipe/Alliance
12-Rhyme Writer/Pete Rock
13-Fitch Shampoo
14-Don't Take My Kindness for Weakness/Soul Children
15-Latin Illusion/Natural Yogurt Band
16-Let's Get On Down/The Black Aces of Soul & The Eyes of Ebony
17-Paint It Black/Gil Scott Heron
18-Truth Spoken Here/Dorothy Ashby
19-Make the Most of It/Starfire
20-Losing You/Courtial
21-Goodyear's Magnificent Research Laboratory
22-Strip Club/Dudley Moore
23-How Good is Good/Mickey & The Soul Generation
24-Cissy Strut (Outro)/Sacramento Senior High School

Running Time: 55:53

Friday, October 30, 2009


Truly one of the odder and more obscure 45's from the rich, overwhelming legacy of Northern Soul, The Crow's "Your Autumn of Tomorrow" is a doozy; it's a daring, even somewhat disorienting blend of jazz, soul, funk, rock, and psychedelia. In 2 and a half minutes, it's packed with more ideas than some songs double its length, and, listening to it now, it certainly sounds like a product of the genre-blurring directions of black music in the late 60's. It's raw and gritty, yet has an unmistakable dancefloor heart pumping.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Preston Love--the famous alto saxophonist and bandleader from Omaha--once owned a record label with Otis Renwho, alongside his brother Leon, had owned the earliest black independent labels on America's West Coast: Exclusive and Excelsior Records. They later formed Class Records, scoring rock'n'roll hits in the late 50s. Leon's son Googie recorded for Class in the 60s, scoring with tracks like "Chic A Boo" and "Smokey Joe's La La."

In the mid 60s they set up another label, Soul Bag, which saw the release of the classic 45, Count Yates and the Rhythm Crusader's "At The Soul In." Produced by Googie Ren this is now an incredibly hard 45 to track down. Featuring some incredibly funky keyboards and a playful, rowdy atmosphere (not an unusual occurrence considering bands, especially soul and funk acts, actually used to record in the same room together), it's one of my favorite 45's of all time. It just has a great sound all its own.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


With his grinding guitars, distorted sound and fervid call-and-response of those and many other recordings made for the King and Federal labels, Hank Ballard helped define the sound of rock and roll. He also ushered forth one of its greatest dance crazes, having written and first recorded “The Twist.” By the early 1960s, he’d charted 22 singles on the R&B charts, including “Work With Me, Annie,” which was the biggest R&B hit of 1954. It sold more than a million copies and spawned more than 20 answer records (including Etta James’ “Roll with Me Henry").

By the late '60's, Ballard was working as a solo act, often with James Brown's revue, and 1968's "How You Gonna Get Respect (If You Haven't Cut Your Process Yet?)" was a minor R&B hit, and is one of the funkiest tunes from his catalog.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


La Kabala were a psychedelic funk/rock outfit from Mexico, who seemed to have only released one self-titled album. The LP is mega-rare and has gone for as high as $700 on Ebay.

"El Camiente Solitatario" opens with a single-note staccato piano and drum pattern before the rest of the band kicks in with flute, organ, guitar, bass, and great vocal harmonies. It's a great blend of psychedelia and funk, with a cool arrangement and a distinctive sound.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Dom Salvador is a renowned Brazilian jazz musician with extensive international experience as accompanist of MPB acts like Elis Regina, Quarteto em Cy, Jorge Ben, Edu Lobo, Rosinha de Valença, Sílvia Telles, and Elza Soares. His Rio 65 Trio had maybe the best Brazilian drummer of all time, Edison Machado, and bassist Sérgio Barroso. They performed around and recorded Rio 65 Trio in the same year.

It's one of the greatest, and naturally, rarest, samba LP's of the 60's (a decent copy will run around $250); a masterpiece of dynamic, adept playing that captured the essence of Brazilian samba and jazz.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Here's a good reason why working a day job pays off - Clarence Foster; a Philadelphia born IRS employee with a whole lot of funk in his trunk. Thankfully instead of continuing the theme and having song titles along the same lines, Mr Foster conjured up tributes to some of his favorite things: Frying chicken, hot pants, and basketball.

Just like it's hard to find an old school hip-hop rhyme without references to Superman, it's hard to find funk records that don't reference either Fried Chicken or Hot Pants, two of funk's finest staples. So why not combine them into one? Check the MEGA drum break that begins at :35. Grab it from Freestyle Records!

Monday, September 28, 2009


The Village Callers were one of the best bands in East Los Angeles in the late 60s. They were also arguably the first band with members with roots in the "Eastside Sound" of the early to mid-60s to utilize Latin percussion. Their repertoire was a mix of r&b, Latin, and Latin jazz. They recorded an album in 1968 for Eddie Davis' Rampart Records called "The Village Callers Live." The album included an instrumental with a Latin jazz feel named after their manager called "Hector," which did very well at the time and has become one of the Eastside Sound's classic recordings. It's been reissued on several compilations, used in movies, and sampled by artists such as Cypress Hill and the Beastie Boys. "The Village Callers Live" has also been reissued on the Vampisoul record label, which is based in Spain and internationally distributed, and on Barrio Gold Records, based in Japan. The Village Callers also have the distinction of having recorded a Latin rock version of "Evil Ways" before Santana.

The Village Callers were born out of a band in East L.A. called Marcy & the Imperials. Marcy Alvarado was a bluesy singer, guitarist, and band leader. (Marcy went on to get a masters degree from U.C.L.A, but passed away in the late 70s.) Gradually, Marcy & the Imperials evolved into the Village Callers, and the new members brought different influences into the mix. Ernie Hernandez (guitar) loved the music and style of guitarist Wes Montgomery. Johnny Gonzalez was into the blues organ style of Jimmy Smith. The music of Latin artists such as Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo were also added to the brew. With the new lineup in place they could play Latin, Latin jazz, rhythm & blues, and oldies but goodies. They became very popular in East Los Angeles, playing all the top venues such as the Big Union Hall, Roger Young Auditorium, and Montebello Ballroom. They also enjoyed a long run at the Plush Bunny nightclub in Pico Rivera, despite the fact they were underage. The Village Callers were an extremely dedicated band. They rehearsed five days a week, five hours a day. Already out of high school at this point, they also had a no drinking or smoking rule.

The manager of the Village Callers, Hector Rivera, knowing that the band was ready to record, invited producer and record company owner Eddie Davis to come and hear the band at the Plush Bunny. Eddie loved the band and wanted to do a "live" album recorded right there at the Plush Bunny where they were creating such excitement. The band's lineup on the record was Joe Espinosa (bass), Charles Masten (congas & sax), Johnny Gonzalez (organ & piano), Manuel Fernandez (drums & timbales), Ernie Hernandez (guitar), "Fuzzy" Martinez (sax), and Angie Bell (lead vocals). The Village Callers recorded most of their album, The Village Callers Live, in one night. It was recorded very simply with a few overhead microphones and a live mix. The band did go into a studio and record a few songs, including the classic break 45 "Hector." To add fatness to the record, the bass parts were tripled. The song wound up being so long that it was divided into "Hector Part 1" and "Hector Part 2" for the single. "Hector"-- with its hip Latin groove and Fuzzy's comedic spoken word contribution--caught on in East L.A. and began to get airplay on the big time am radio stations in Los Angeles.

Aside from the classic "Hector," the album also featured a heavy version of Willie Bobo's "Evil Ways," which was enjoying a lot of airplay, particularly in San Francisco. Word later got to them that Santana's producer heard their version on the radio and got Santana to record it. And that was that. (For further reading check out Mark Guerrero's website)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


"Love Gonna Pack Up (And Walk Out On Us)" was the second single by the Persuaders, following their huge hit, "Thin Line Between Love and Hate." However, what Sly, Slick and Wicked do with it is take out the electric guitar and replace it with keyboards instead and in softening up the edge of the song, it really brings out the sublime, sweet soul qualities of the song that improve on the sound that The Persuaders' introduced. It's not a radically different song on the surface but listen to them side by side and it actually sounds like the Sly, Slick and Wicked's version would be the original and The Persuaders' is the cover. (The lower-fi quality of SSW's version doesn't hurt).

(Just to be clear too: There were two groups in 1970s named Sly, Slick and Wicked. One was from Cleveland and recorded for Paramount and People. The other (above) were from Los Angeles. Just to make things even more confusing, there was the soul group called The Lost Generation who had a decent hit in the same era with a song called "Sly, Slick and Wicked"). (Courtesy Soul Sides)

The track also bears more than a striking resemblance to the opening cut on a recent release I adore, Lee Fields' My World. The Fields/Expressions tune, "Do You Love Me," is basically a rewrite of the Persuaders cut. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


When Isaac Hayes passed away, the fine folks at Truth & Soul in Brooklyn compiled a fantastic EP of covers, performed reverently by the crack musicians in El Michels Affair.

Their version of "Walk On By" is slow, seductive, and deeply funky, and is a fitting tribute to one of the most enduring songwriters of the 20th Century.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Hortense Ellis (18 April 1941, Trenchtown, Kingston, Jamaica - 19 October 2000) was a reggae musician, and the younger sister of fellow artist, Alton Ellis.

Her father worked on the railways while her mother ran a fruit stall. Hortense was just 18 years old when she appeared on the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour, then Jamaica's foremost outlet for young undiscovered talent. Her version of Frankie Lymon's "I'm Not Saying No At All" so impressed both audience and panel that she was invited back the following week. Hortense went on to enter many more competitions and showcases and she reached six semi-finals and four finals. In 1964 she was awarded a silver cup as Jamaica's Best Female Vocalist and went on to repeat this feat five years later.

During the sixties, Hortense toured Jamaica with Byron Lee and The Dragonaires and had begun recording with some of the island's top producers like Ken Lack ("I Shall Sing", "Hell And Sorrow" and "Brown Girl In The Ring"), Coxsone Dodd ("Twelve Minutes To Go"), "Ill Come Softly") and Duke Reid. Alton Ellis was also recording with Dodd at this time and the family connection was cleverly exploited by Dodd who produced "female" adaptions of some of Alton's hits (for Hortense to record) including "Why Do Birds" and "I'm Just A Guy". Dodd also paired Alton and Hortense in a run of classic duets such as "I'm In Love" and "Easy Squeeze".

The siblings toured Canada in 1970 but the following year, Hortense was back in Jamaica where she married Mikey "Junior" Saunders with whom she had five children in quick succession. Although her live performances suffered as a result, Hortense remained busy in the studio. Recording under the name Mahalia Saunders for producer Lee "Scratch" Perry, she cut several sides including "Right On The Tip Of My Tongue" and "Piece Of My Heart". Hortenese's biggest success came in the late seventies with a song cut for Gussie Clarke. "Unexpected Places" was a big hit in Jamaica and also in Britain where it appeared on the Hawkeye label.

For producer Bunny "Striker" Lee, Hortense became Queen Tiney for her "Down Town Ting" - an "answer" record to Althea and Donna's big hit "Uptown Top Ranking" which had itself been based on the rhythm of Alton's big hit "I'm Still In Love With You".

Around this time, Hortense recut many of her Coxsone/Studio One sides with Soul Syndicate, The Agrovators and the up and coming team of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. The rise of the Lovers Rock genre in the late seventies and early eighties led to Hortense cutting cover version of several popular soul classics including "Down The Aisle" (Patti Labelle) and "Young Hearts Run Free" (Candi Staton). Following her divorce from Mikey Saunders, Hortense spent much of the eighties living in New York and Miami. On returning to Jamaica in 1989, she began suffering health problems, but managed to carry on with occasional local live performances. She recovered sufficiently to make a private visit to New York in the summer of 1999 and then to Miami the following year where ill health finally caught up with her.

Hortense Ellis died in her sleep in a Kingston hospital on October 18, 2000 from a stomach infection. Below is her classic version of a soul-funk diva classic, "Woman of the Ghetto." (Biographical information courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Johnny Talbot was born in Texas and raised in the Bay area of California, to be more specifically, Oakland. While attending high school, he was involved in Doo-Wop bands, and like many musicians of the time, naturally graduated towards Soul, R & B, and in his case, Funk, as the times and tastes of music changed around him. He played guitar, and the bands he played in hit up the West Coast club and Bay area bar circuit. Eventually, Talbot went on to become the front man for De-Thangs, (the name given because no one could think of a thing to call the outfit ), and lay down some very funky stuff, earning him the nickname: “The Father of Oakland Funk”.

His turbo fueled mix of funky Texas style guitar and Rhythm Blues has inspired many Bay area artists including Tower of Power, and his bands backed up greats like Etta James and Marvin Gaye, plus other touring bands that came through town. Sort of like The Politicians from two weeks ago. This side was the first record put out on James Moore’s Jasman label, an Oakland based label that would go on to put out sides by Talbot and Sugar Pie DeSanto among others. He has gotten a bit of a resurgence in popularity since the 90’s, this time with a much younger crowd, from reissues by Ubiquity Records, courtesy of their Bay Area Funk compilations. (Via Flea Market Funk)

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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


(image courtesy Dan McPharlin)

Just in time to help you cool down a bit, as summer slowly winds its way inevitably down, is another volume in the continuously expanding universe that is the Radiophonic Oddities series. So clean out the wax in your ears, pour yourself a cold one, hell...invite the Boss and his wife over. Tell him how much you want that promotion. Tell him unless they make you partner, you walk.

We'll be back sooner than you know with another entry.

"Get ready to feel." -DJ Clarence Duffy

1-Intro (Hipsters)
2-Fingertips/Little Stevie Wonder
3-Modern Times/Midas Touch
4-Flintstones & Winstons
5-This Is My Country/Little Joe & the Latinaires
6-Black Beauty/Ike Turner & the Kings of Rhythm
7-Algo Mais/Os Mutantes
9-Take A Taxi/Etienne Cap
10-Hey Now Baby/Professor Longhair
11-I Got A Groove/JJ Callier
12-Beavis & Butt-Head/Gin and Juice
13-Cantinflas/Dom Salvador
14-Al's Tune/Kashmere Stage Band
15-Strung Out/Gordon Staples & the Motown Strings
16-Robin Harris Gives the Cops A Piece of His Mind.
17-Rhythm on Rhythm/The Sookie All Stars
18-The Horse/Marvin Holmes & The Uptights
19-Apache Talk/Luiz Bonfá
21-Up Above My Head/Al Green
22-Momma's Gravy (Yum Yum)/Calypso King & The Soul Investigators
23-Carry Me Back to Old Virginny/Ray Charles

Running Time: 54:41


Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Please make sure you have the most recent version of FLASH installed on your system to ensure you can hear audio.

The audio player is a simple flash player and should appear below the text.

Please email me if you still have problems:
dustynuggetsblog at gmail dot com.



Paul Kelly is best known for the soul songs "Stealing in the Name of the Lord", which was a major hit in 1970, and "Hooked, Hogtied & Collared". He also wrote "Personally", which has been widely-covered, and was a hit for soul singer Jackie Moore, as well as country singers Karla Bonoff and Ronnie McDowell. Other songs have been covered by gospel artists, including the Mighty Clouds Of Joy and The Staple Singers.

Kelly was born in Overtown Miami, Florida, the fourth of six siblings. Kelly was brought up by his grandmother. In about 1956, Kelly's brother Henry formed a vocal group, with Paul as lead vocalist. It only lasted a few months, before Henry left Miami to go to college. Paul then formed a group with school friends from 20th Street School — The Spades, later known as The Valadeers. Another member was Jimmy Cherry, who later sang with The Fantastics.

In 1960, Kelly went left the group to go solo, recording the standard, "I'll String Along With You" for Dade Records, which was never released, following a dispute between Kelly and the label. A Miami-based singer/songwriter/producer, Clarence Reid (who would later perform as Blowfly), heard Kelly rehearse and asked him to fill in on lead vocals with his group, The Delmiros, whose lead singer had laryngitis. Kelly recorded a single, "Down With It, Can't Quit It"/"Sooner Or Later", which was released on Selma Records in 1963, under the name Clarence Reid & The Delmiros. Kelly began performing the song live in clubs and became associated with the song. Reid asked him to join The Delmiros on a permanent basis.

Kelly's official debut solo single appeared on the Lloyd label in 1965, and featured the classic soul tune "The Upset (inspired by the surprise boxing victory of Cassius Clay over Sonny Liston.) The track features big, dramatic horn stabs, chunky rhythm guitar, and a compelling, bold arrangement that make it a standout from that era.

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Friday, July 17, 2009


Immensely catchy soul courtesy of a group that is pretty much UnGoogleable, "Turn to Me" is propelled by a simple piano line and fantastic vocal harmonies. It is just under 2 minutes of pure, early 60's soul songwriting perfection.

This one's been stuck in my head all week.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009


James Polk comes from one of the most musical of American cities: Austin, Texas. There was and still is stiff competition amongst the numerous bands and musicians in the town, and in 1969 James Polk managed to rustle up some of Austin's finest to create his band The Brothers.

Good enough for James Brown himself to ask them to open for him, they promptly won the local talent contest 2 years in a row! Polk then knew it was time to commit his sound to wax. In the spirit of many other funk 45s, Polk bypassed the local and major record labels to release his music on his own label, Twink Records.

Polk released two singles on Twink: "Power Struggle" and "Just Plain Funk," the latter of which is a loping head-nodding deep funk groove that'll leave you looking to the sky craving an explanation as to why this fantastic band didn't record more like this.

(Courtesy Jazzman Records )

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Friday, July 10, 2009


Jorge López Ruiz is a highly respected Argentinian arranger, composer and bassist. He played with a legendary quintet led by Lalo Schifrin in 1956-1957; the featured saxophonist was Gato Barbieri. López Ruiz had also been Schifrin's big band bassist along with Gato. López Ruiz always played with the best musicians in Argentinean jazz.

Originally recorded in 1971 under the LP title Bronca Buenos Aires, it was mysteriously re-released by the Catalyst label as Amor Buenos Aires. While the original album featured spoken word lyrics based on the writings of Jose Tcherkaski, the extremely rare Catalyst pressing interestingly featured only instrumental versions of the same songs.

Dusty Groove's review:

"...A great set [featuring] funky, cinematic big band swing and choral arrangements... featuring arrangements that range from big band with heavy horns and strings and a very late 60s/early 70s soundtrack feel, to intimate solo work from players that include Chivo Borraro on tenor sax and Fernando Gelbard on piano...It's got a lot of sweeping, cinematic funk things going on -- for great kinda early 70s soundtrack
jazz vibe!"


Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Conceived by label owner Adrian Gibson and made into reality by The Bamboos’ Lance Ferguson, the Black Feeling project is all about taking it back to the source to the music that has inspired, instigated and accompanied many a musical journey over the years. Following a sell out gig at the Jazz Café, band leader Lance rounded up a bunch of fellow minded musicians from the Aussie funk scene to collaborate on a covers album. Consisting of members of The Bamboos, Cookin On 3 Burners and many more guest musicians, listening to the tracks would give even the most discerning pair of ears the impression of a rare, lost-in-time album you would find digging in a Caribbean record shop or American thrift store.

One of the tracks on the record is a cover of a mysterious 45 called "Yo Yo" by the band Richard's People. "Yo Yo" features one of the sickest and most oft-sampled opening drum breaks in funk lore. The fine gentlemen at Funky16Corners did an amazing piece about the 45 in March of 2008 that I won't attempt to summarize.

Below is a killer version of "Yo Yo" by the Alvarado Rodriguez Trio that captures the greasy, raw spirit of the original.

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Friday, July 3, 2009


Come out and celebrate the 4th by hearing some great tunes by our partner-in-crime, Standing 8.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


When Lou Courtney is remembered nowadays, which isn’t too often, he’s usually remembered for early his 70’s smooth soul sound, which was sort of in the realm of Marvin Gaye or Donnie Hathaway. But in the mid-60s he was working a funkier, Staxy boogaloo dance craze style, similar to like Arthur Conley. A one-time member of legendary band The Fifth Dimension, Lou cut an absolute classic with the mega-funky "Hey Joyce."

The opening drum break has made this 45 quite a popular item in recent years.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009


The youngest of three brothers hailing from Orangeburg, SC, Charles Mintz would sing together with his siblings for friends and family until a cousin hooked him up with a band called The Majestics. Charles began to sing covers at record-hops, high schools, and college shows. His English teacher got on his case about his developing talent, she said, "If you use all that energy to sing someone else's songs, why don't you write and sing something of your own?" And that's how it all started. Charles wrote a song in school called "There's No Need Crying," and the young ladies would go crazy when he would perform. Charles moved to Philly in the late 60's and in the early 70's he met up with manager and producer Gene Lawson.

Mr. Lawson is best known as Otis Redding's Publicist, and also for recording Teddy Pendergrass, before joining Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes. In fact, Pendergrass sang background vocals on Charles' first recording session. Gene Lawson eventually introduced Charles to Otis Redding who took an interest in Charles's voice, and his writing ability. Otis Redding recorded one of Charles' songs called "Free Me" and wanted to bring him into the Stax record family, but fate would not let it happen. Otis Redding was killed in a plane crash Dec. 10, 1967.

Then Gene Lawson decided he wanted to start his own record label called UpLook Records, and he signed Charlez Mintz as his first artist. The first song was called "Since I Found You" and was written by Mintz. "Give A Man A Break", the second single, was written by Eugene Jones of the Volcanoes. (Courtesy In Dangerous Rhythm)

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Saturday, June 27, 2009


Arlester "Dyke" Christian was born in Buffalo, NY, in 1943, and by the mid-'60s was singing and playing bass with the O'Jays backing band, the Blazers. After a tour in 1965, the band was left stranded in the unlikely--and not altogether funk-friendliest city--of Phoenix, Arizona after the O'Jays could not afford to bring them back to Buffalo.

Relocating in Phoenix, the newly minted Dyke & The Blazers began to come together as a group, with Dyke taking role as the lead singer. The group were discovered by local producers Art Barrett and Austin Coleman of Artco records. The label put out a tune that Dyke had written to go with a dance he had also created called "Funky Broadway". The record had a rapid play in South west and was licensed by DJ Art "Oldies But Goodies" Laboe for his Original Sounds label in Los Angeles in 1966. Many of the musicians on the Blazers sessions would later play in the Watts 103rd Street Band (guitarist Al McKay would later be in Earth, Wind & Fire). According to Original Sound producer Art Laboe, most of the singles came from 15-to-20-minute jams that were edited down to a length that could fit on the 45 RPM format.

After Dyke signed with Original Records, he churned out hit after hit on the label. "Funky Broadway" was so popular that even Wilson Pickett released a cover version of the song and took it straight to the R&B and Pop charts in the summer of 1967. By 1969, Dyke & the Blazers had Top Ten R&B singles with "We Got More Soul" and "Let a Woman Be a Woman -- Let a Man Be a Man," and smaller sellers with "Uhh, " "You Are My Sunshine," and "Runaway People." Dyke Christian, sadly, was fatally shot on the street in Phoenix on March 13, 1971 over a reputed drug debt. Understandably, the band never recovered.

When Dyke & The Blazers sang "We Got More Soul," they MEANT it--you can hear it in their fiery performances. (Biographical information courtesy of Wikipedia and Allmusic)

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Nico Gomez was a Belgian orchestra leader with Dutch roots (born in Amsterdam, came to Belgium in 1947). He had his mark in Belgium where he lead a series of different bands (and recorded under his own name). Active during the 50's, 60's and 70's with latin flavoured big band jazz. Father of Belgian rocker Raymond Van Het Groenewoud.

His best known outfit were the Chakachas who scored a cult hit in the '70s with "Jungle Fever" (on Polydor no less) but he also headed up the El Chicles. There are few Belgium composers from that era with a more consistent track record for straight up funky and Latin-flavored tracks.

Recorded in the early 70s in Belgium, Ritual is a tasty batch of Latin funk grooves, with a deep Afro-soul sound thrown into the mix, and some slight Chicano rock touches, like fuzzy guitar and heavy organ. The conga sound is right up front, and the tracks roll along with a nice heavy funk beat that cuts across from a lounge/library groove to a killing super deep percussion battering vibe.

Here's the classic dancefloor jam "Lupita."

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Another 45 tangentially related to late Kashmere Stage Band director Conrad Johnson, Acres of Grass was a group featuring members from Houston legends TSU Toronadoes. Former Toronadoes drummer Dwight Burns claims the group was pulled together by guitarist Michael Spencer, not in the group, who studied under the tutelage of late Johnson. This gritty guitar-led instrumental (except a few shouts about doing the football, baby) is one hell of a 45.

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Monday, June 22, 2009


Here's a classic deep funk 45 from 1976 courtesy of Bubba Thomas & The Lightmen (moonlighting as an outfit called "Fried Chicken").

The Lightmen originally hailed from Houston, Texas and were led by their drummer Bubba Thomas, teacher of Ronnie Laws, and formerly a student of Conrad Johns who later directed the Kashmere Stage Band.

The track was recorded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at Deep South Recording Studios. Interestingly, "Funky D.J." is basically a note-for-note rewrite of Earnest Jackson’s “Funky Black Man” from 1974 (again on the Stone label, also produced by Ron Shaab).

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Recorded in September 1969, Jimmy McGriff's LP Electric Funk is, as the title would suggest, one of the funkiest records of his career.

It featured McGriff on organ, Horace Ott on electric piano (also writing the arrangements), and an anonymous band in support. The focus is all on Jimmy; the horns just play background section arrangements that would sound right at home on a Booker T & the MG's record with the Memphis Horns. The album is filled with stuttering drum breaks, lite fuzz guitars, elastic bass, smoldering organ and punchy, slightly incongruous horn charts.

Below, a classic 45 from that record, "Chris Cross."

Friday, June 19, 2009


One of the key innovators in Latin jazz, percussionist Frank "Machito" Grillo fused deep percussive grooves with high-intensity horn sections and work by some of the greatest soloists of his era. His bands of the 1940s were probably the first to achieve a fusion of powerful Afro Cuban rhythms and jazz improvisation.

Machito and His Afro-Cubans, to give the band its full name, was the first black-identified Latin band in New York. They inspired Dizzy Gillespie to create his Afro-Cuban bop fusion, but they're barely mentioned in most histories of big-band jazz -- which tells me jazz history needs rewriting, because they were one of the greatest big bands in the history of American music. This album was originally recorded for United Artists and is also known as Mucho Mucho Machito. Sample any four bars of rhythm section; when the horns drop out, there's space for a whole universe.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Barbara Acklin (February 28, 1944 - November 27, 1998) was a soul singer of the 1960s and 1970s. Her biggest hit was "Love Makes a Woman" in 1968 which reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Born Barbara Jean Acklin, she was an only child of Herman and Hazel Acklin. She began singing in church and then as a teenager in nightclubs while attending Dunbar Vocational High school in Chicago. Upon graduation, she was hired as a secretary for a local record label by her cousin, saxophonist and producer Monk Higgins. Her first release was under the name Barbara Allen on his Special Agent label. Later, Higgins used Acklin as a background singer on his Chess Records sessions with artists like Etta James and Fontella Bass.

In 1966, Acklin began working as a receptionist for record producer Carl Davis at Brunswick Records in Chicago. She persistently asked Davis to record her. Davis finally agreed but encouraged her to keep writing songs. Cornering Brunswick star Jackie Wilson, Acklin had him listen to a tune that she co-wrote with David Scott (formerly of The Exciters Band and later to join the Chi-Lites for a time). Wilson liked it and passed it on to Davis. Released in September 1966, "Whispers (Gettin' Louder)" went to number 5 R&B and number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song helped to re-launch Wilson's career and, returning the favor, he helped Acklin to secure a recording contract with Brunswick.

Her 1971 LP I Did It features the classic track "I Can't Do My Thing," which perfectly captures both the funky Chisoul sound and the magic of Acklin's voice.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Soul music does not come much more primal or raw than Robert Jay's "Alcohol, Part 1," an up-tempo guitar blues so tortured in spirit that Jay merits comparison to the legendary tragic blues singer-guitarist from Chicago, Hound Dog Taylor. "This is a true song. I'm an alcoholic," confessed Jay in 2005. "I could play a variety of styles but I loved the blues. Detroit blues was an upbeat style, not like the Motown sound, for me it's just the way I felt it."

A rare 45 if ever there was one, here's "Alcohol Part I" from 1973.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


We're loving all the emails as of late--
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Monday, June 8, 2009


Labi Siffre is an English poet, songwriter, musician and singer, whose 1975 LP Remember My Song is well-known amongst crate-digging hip-hop fans trying to get their hands on the track "I Got The..." (which Emimem/Dr. Dre eventually sampled for "My Name Is".)

While trying to become a full time musician, Labi worked in a warehouse, a filing clerk at Reuters in Fleet Street and as a cab driver and delivery man. In the early 60s, in a Jimmy Smith style trio, with Bob Stuckey on Hammond Organ and Woody Martin on drums, Labi, on guitar, played for nine months at Annie's Room, a jazz club fronted by the singer Annie Ross. He then toured as opening act and backing singer for Jackie Edwards, the Jamaican songwriter, soul and reggae star. Labi went on to form another three-piece group called Safari, playing London's Soho clubs. Then, though he didn't play folk songs, his first solo gigs came in Amsterdam at the folk club, Het Kloppertje, and at the then haven of psychedelic hippiedom, The Paradiso.

In 1969, while Labi was working in Amsterdam, friends sent a tape of his songs to the DJ, Dave Cash and music publishers Management Agency & Music Ltd. (MAM). Siffre soon signed a publishing and management contract with MAM. However, since the MAM Records label was not yet in operation Siffre's recordings were licensed to other labels. His first contract was with Festival Records. His recording debut in 1970 was released in the U.K. on the Pye International division of Pye Records. He had a "turntable hit" in 1970 with the single "Pretty Little Girl (Make My Day)/Too Late" which despite being heavily played on Radio Luxembourg never made it to the charts.

By 1975, he had charted some UK singles and had some ace musicians come to his aid: session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan took duties on lead guitar as well as co-producing, Brian Bennett of the Shadows on drums, and Chas & Dave who would become well known in their own right. Considering these players, it's surprising the album wasn't more heavily promoted.

Either way, "I Got The" remains a classic for a reason: great arrangement, awesome players, heavy breaks, and fantastic production. The break comes in around 2:10.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Jimmy "Bo" Horne, a singer from West Palm Beach, Florida, enjoyed some success in the 1970s, recording dance-oriented songs and novelty tracks for such labels as Alston and Sunshine Records. "Dance Across the Floor" was his lone R&B Top 10 hit in 1978, and ultimately became sampled by controversial Gangsta rap group Da Lench Mob for their 1993 song "Freedom Got an AK", as well as by DJ Cash Money & Marvelous in their 1988 song "The Mighty Hard Rocker."

Horne's 1978 song "Let me (Let Me Be Your Lover)" was sampled by the Stereo MCs in their 1992 song "Connected." It has since become a club staple, and holds up thirty years later as a quintessential underground disco-sleaze funk gem.

Monday, June 1, 2009


"Testify, Parts I and II" is a single released by the Isley Brothers in 1964. It is one of two singles to feature a young Jimi Hendrix on guitar, the other being "Move Over and Let Me Dance". Both singles failed to chart. It was their first of three singles from the T-Neck label.

Regardless, "Testify" marked a historic pairing of talent, and yielded a ferocious R&B workout, which is what the Isleys did best--energetic and danceable soul music to the core.