Thursday, March 31, 2005

Brass Construction "Take It Easy" DOCC 501

After a month of waiting, this 45 shows up today, and it's a big brassy number full of percussion. Non-stop bongo in the background, which is great. The drummer is throwing in occassional flourishes, and at points it sounds as if there are several drummers - a couple playing anything they can get their sticks on....definitely more than 1 at points. But there's more to the song than that. Rich horn section, wah-wah guitar, a healthy dose of bass, and everything is tight. It bears repeating: Tight. And there's section where everyone relaxes while not slowing down, just enjoying the groove, and a flute appears for a few bars. Then they're off again until the percussion leaves everything behind and finishes it out.

Kinda like 70s show band funk, which I'm always happy to find. Stuff like Rayfield Ray & The Supernaturals "Stick Shift" and others that I can't seem to name (apologies for my poor memory at the mo', it's been a long day). Scacy & Sound Service's "Sunshine" I'd put near this, too, but that 45 has such a unique element to it I find it hard to lump it with anything else.

This is an early release by the Brass Construction that went on to release a couple of LPs, and they must've been fairly successful, as I've seen their LPs on numerous occassions. I've never bought one, but I may just have to next time if they kept this sound.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Bebbe & The Hitmakers "Ooh-Cha-Lue" Mammon 101

I'm always trying to find any locally released funk 45s, locally being Philly, but NJ as well. This 45 is a Philadelphia release, but no details on the label save for an address, 8100 Rugby Street. Requires further investigation.

The side that's a winner here is 'Ooh-Cha-Lue', a feel good funk number that kicks off with a catchy horn and heavy bass line. They work together so well I was won over very early. The vocals are low, almost being drowned out by the musicians, but they lyrics sound pretty nonsensical, so that may be by design. Nice dense sound with alot of my favorite instruments thrown in: organ, bass, various percussive elements, and those lovely horns. The guitar bits, or flourishes, remind me almost of the Stax guitar sound. And there's a nice percussive break where everyone slows down, even the "ooh-cha-lue" is spaced out so you don't miss the meaning....heavy....and then that bass and horn line come back in. Very nice.

Another evening spent mostly on e-bay. But did find a couple of interesting 45s that'll hopefully be on this blog within 2 weeks.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Lillian Hale "Don't Boom Boom" Fretone FR-011

Uptempo sister funk cut here. Starts out so nice and straightforward: gutar, bass, drum. Kinda nice there's nothing else. Reinforces the directness of Lillian's sentiment. Then the electric piano (?) and horns come in.....and then the backing vocals and a touch of organ underneath. The band cooks throughout, 100 mph almost, and Lillian never takes a breath while she's stating the facts. Nice ending, too, when she sings over drums with organ accompaniment.

Just a quick entry tonight, as I've spent most of the night on e-bay & the one TV show I follow is about to start. I found a great 45 on e-bay that will be featured here that is a bit out of the normal funk sound I collect, but so, so good. OK, I have time to listen to one more 45 before my show....decisions, decisions....Samson & Delilah's 'Living In A World of Trouble', I guess.

Monday, March 28, 2005

50 cent 45s

I ended up taking the weekend off, so I guess this isn't going to be a daily log of 45s......Anyway, tonight I have some 45s I recently found for 50 cents each. There's still some good 45s to find for cheap, and I have three that I specifically bought to resell, but it now seems they're staying with me.

First is Mongo Santamaria's "Cold Sweat" on Columbia. I have many Mongo 45s, and I thought I was done buying his stuff, save for "Crazy Lady" on Vaya (anyone have a spare?), but then I put this one on the turntable to grade and I got hooked. What it is is that Mongo always has plenty of percussion to go around. Here (and I hate to say it), but the break is what really gets me. It's friggin' loud! Mindblowingly hot, actually.... and I like how the piano and other percussion take it from there. Not rare, but Mongo's 45s are always worth checking out.

Next up: Friends of the Family "Can't Go Home" on Smash. Never heard of this group, but sounded like an interesting late 60s release when I played a minute of it at the record shop. It's a real nice pop psych tune that moves along & doesn't get hung up on itself. Harpsichord, flute, vocal harmonies, and dare I say soulful to boot? Real dense, textured sound, somewhat like a Billy Nichols (UK) song. Highly recommended 45 if you're into in that sound.

Finally, The Groovin' Strings and Things "You" on Cub. I have a version of this same tune by Shirley Scott on Atlantic, which is a killer organ funk 45. Totally different vibe here: a sax-lead, bass up in the mix, 4 on the floor stomper. Throw in an odd, almost creepy organ sound, a bit of fuzz guitar, and you come up with the Groovin' String and Things version. And how about that name? I'd like to see a 21st century band with a comparable name get down like they do.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Sly "Buttermilk Part One" Autumn 14

An early 45 by Sylvester Stewart aka Sly Stone of Sly & the Family Stone, 'Buttermilk' was cut in 1964 for the Autumn label after he joined as a songwriter & producer. Part 1 features a bass heavy groove with a swinging organ & a wailing harp. And the slighly jarbled vocals of "Have a glass of Buttermilk" where he seems to exhale on the 'milk' syllable. This song always ends much too quickly. Part 2 throws the drumbeat and the bass in your face - there's actually some bass soloing going on - before returning to the groove featured on side one. I don't recall side 2 being this good. That big beat and the nutty bass playing are allright.

As for how to define the sound - proto-funk? mod instrumental? soul instrumental? - I have absolutely no idea how to classify it. Which is exactly why I like it so much. It's good fun.

I've actually owned this 45 for a few years, but recently came across a better copy for $3 so I had to upgrade. Part One of this 45 has a special place in my heart, as I used it as my theme song when I was a DJ....DJ Buttermilk, as a matter of fact (I somehow got to Buttermilk through some odd logic coupled with my twisted sense of humor). It was great starting off the set with a 45 saying 'Have a glass of Buttermilk'.....

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Ernie Hawks & the Soul IG's "Soulful Trip" Nite Club 001

A recent release, this is the best funk 45 of 2005 thus far. No fuss, funky drumming with a touch of echo, strong organ lines, bass up in the mix, a bit of guitar plucking that complements the groove, and then the horns appear about a minute into the tune. Lovely set-up. But there's more...a mid-section featuring percussion with the drums and bass (nice), throw in some flute (real nice)....before all the original elements return to finish together. A very nice trip, indeed: gritty without being poorly recorded, tight while seemingly relaxed.

Part 2 leaves the organ at the door, and the guitar gets to tastefully play a bit over the groove. I hadn't played side 2 as much as side 1, but it's strong in it's own right.

From the Timmion family of labels who never seem to fail to produce solid funk tunes. A run of 500 that probably has already sold out, this 45 is destined to be a future funk classic. I actually bought 2, as I had to have the demo and the stock release.I'm looking forward to burning this to a CD this weekend so I can play it in the car & listen to it more often.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Valentinos "I Can Understand It" Clean 60005

Switching it up tonight & enjoying some quality 70s soul, The Valentinos' fantastic mid-tempo effort, "I Can Understand It". Truly phenomenal. What really gets me is the singer's slighty raspy voice contrasted with the smooth vocal harmonies. And the horns, I'm such a sucker for well placed horns that add a punch. Soul so good I'm nearly speechless. I consider this 45 my poor man's Hamilton Movement.

The song is written by Bobby Womack & performed by his former band (I can't find anything on the internet that says Bobby is actually the vocalist). Side 2, "I Can Understand It Part II", is a continuation of side 1, and not as strong in my opinion.

I've actually been spinning Bobby Womack's "Lookin' For Love Again" LP every night the past week. It's been the 'late night put on the headphones & turn up the volume' choice. Of course, there is the almighty "You're Welcome, Stop On By", where Bobby is trying to get a woman he loves to question her feelings about another man and come to him. It's delivered over a fine groove, but the vocals, the delivery are what really get me. OK, that little bit of squeaky guitar underneath it all, too. There's also "Don't Let Me Down", a harder, funkier number. Hell, I am even getting it "You're Messing Up A Good Thing", which is akin to sweet soul. I need to get beyond these three songs and listen to the rest of the LP......but these three songs so captivating, it's hard to get beyond them.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Pigmeat Markham "Pig's Popcorn" Chess 2087

OK, tonight a 45 by an artist that there is some information available for: Pigmeat Markham. Pigmeat was a comedian known for his phrase "Here Comes The Judge", which became so popular it landed him a 45 of the same name on Chess. It was a top 20 hit. He released a number of additional 45s & some LPs (not sure if the LPs were comedy or music), but never acheived the same fortune.

"Pig's Popcorn" is a later 45, a straight-ahead tune with a hard, hard beat (I'm talkin' ferociously hard) & some nice organ flourishes. Best bit is when the organ gets to take centerstage over the drums in the middle of the song. Very nice. Pigmeat is singing about the things he likes....but nothing compares to popcorn, which is a reference to the popular late 60s dance, not the food, I believe. The other side "Who Got The Number" has more a novelty feel, singing about running numbers, but that funky drumming is ever-present.

There are several Chess 45s that I have found with such a hard drum sound that I have to listen to anything on the label whenever I stumble across a title I don't know. As soon as the needle dropped and I heard those drums, I knew this 45 was a keeper....Pigmeat, more popcorn, please.....

Monday, March 21, 2005

Burning Cities "Spoons" Channel One 45

One very sinister funk 45 featuring wah-wah guitar, tight drumming, and the horns just killin' it. There are these lines that the guitar, bass, and horns follow and then stop, leaving nothing but the drums, which consistently pleases. While that seduces you in, what is that slightly audible growling sound in the background that gets louder and louder??? Definitely lends to the dark sound of this track......a 45 for the headphones......

Only details I could find on Burning Cities via the internet is that they were a white rock group from the Detroit area, which is pretty much confirmed by playing the other side of this 45 (well, it's definitely in the rock vein, although there's no leads on where the group is from). I was wondering today at work (yes, at work I'm thinking of music) if the disparity of the songs on this 45 was a conscious effort to get this record played on both rock and soul radio stations......

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Floyd Morris "A Mellow Mood" BBS 0578

This is why I collect records: No idea who Floyd Morris is, can't find anything out about him on the internet (save for some funk DJ's playlisting this 45 or some record dealers listing it for sale), and a few weeks back I stumble across this tasty 45 with a bright red label.

This 45 has a big funk beat, akin to the drums featured on Dorothy Ashby's "Soul Vibrations" 45: a heavy groove textured by a tambourine. This track also features a piano over the top (that has a nice bit of drama to it) & a scratchy guitar bits that gets a tasty little solo. I normally don't go for much guitar in my funk, but the guitar here is spot on, perhaps the best 'scratch' I have heard.

The other side, "Bee Que", has a laid back, more r'n'b, goove. More bass in the mix, some additional percussion. Nice, but not the stormer that is found in "A Mellow Mood".

at 45 rpm

Simply stated, the reason behind three-sixty-five45s blog is to give exposure to some very deserving artists/bands whose 45s never got their due. No hits, top 100, probably not many artists that most people have ever heard of, will be featured here. Instead, it will be funk, soul, jazz, etc. artists whose 45s I come across in the next year. I'm a record collector that primarily focuses on 45s in these genres, although I have been finding plenty of LPs at cheap prices as of late (much to my wife's chagrin), so they may occassionally creep in as well.

The goal is to present a 45 a day, but that may not always happen due to work and other schedules. It may be more a patchwork during the week (presenting a 45 & saying why I like it so much), and filling in more details later. If you have any comments or details about the 45s I list, please let me know.

Oh yeah, my name is Dave.