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!