Thursday, June 30, 2005


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Keith Mansfield is one of the big names when it comes to library records (to read more about library records, you can go here). I am no authority on library records, but I do know they were made to be used as incidental music for tv and radio. I also know that some of it is quite good.

Starting off heavy on the bass, a sultry-voiced female chorus soon begins cooing "Boogaloo"....immediately addictive...what I imagine sirens may have sounded like. What really does it for me, though, is the horns. Especially the trumpet blasts (with a dash of flute underneath) that really sets everything in motion. Funky cowbell and some fierce organ bits take us through the middle portion, until those horns come back to signal the start of the close of the tune.

A top notch 45. Basically, take the funky drums and mix in a healthy amount swinging London 60's pop and you have this tune. Timely title, too.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I'm So Glad I Found You

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As I said a few days ago I've really been in a soul 45 mood. Could be the sound files I was listening to at Hitsville Soul Club over the weekend. One of the records featured in their reviews section was Linda Jones & Whatnauts "I'm So Glad I Found You". This is one of the northern soul 45s I had found in the late 90s before I delved headfirst into freakbeat and jazz and funk. And what a great tune it is.

The production on this 45 has a big 4/4 beat that grounds the tune, but also some gorgeous strings that lifts everything up. And then there are the vocals. The male lead opens with a delivery that is just stunning and supported by a high-pitched male chorus. Then Linda takes over and takes it up a notch when she repeats the sentiments. The production is quite stellar. I've listened to this song a number of times now and each time I hear something new.

I have more to add, but I'm exhausted and I fear I will venture into incoherence if I continue typing......

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Everything You Feel Is Me

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Here is an obscure 45 that I have been meaning to put up here. It is a record that has remained a mystery, and it is one of my favorites: Toni Mathis "Everything You Feel Is Me". But how do I describe this 45? If ever words will not do a song justice, this will be the one.

It sounds late 60's, the time when various musical styles and instruments were freely mixed together. A piano leads off, followed up by a hard-hitting funky beat and some well-placed wah-wah guitar over it. Sinister horns, a wall of bass guitar, and an organ that sounds like it's playing bits from a sermon round it out.....funky psychedelia if I really had to pigeonhole it. The vocal delivery is intense, building with the music to a chorus of moaning (there's gotta be a better word for it, just not coming to me at this time). A chorus of testifying? It is quite an experience.

I can't leave without sharing the lyrics (figured out as best I can):

Every time I drink the water
I take a sip of you
You know you might just be a cloud
Where do you think we come from, go to?

Every time I breathe the air
I take a hit of you
You know you might just be the sky
Where do you think we come from, go to?

Everybody's Jesus, and everyone's in ?????? (jail?)
Everybody's Jesus, and everyone's in ?????? (jail?)

Every time I go to sleep
I have a dream of you
You know you might just be a star
Where do you think we come from, go to?

You might just be a star....
You might just be a cloud....
You might just be the sky....

Monday, June 27, 2005

I've Got To Space

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I've really been in the mood for some soul lately. I'm blaming it on this 45 that I found this weekend, Georgianna McCoy and the Classetts "I've Got To Space" on Ultra-Class. A feature and information on this label and it's parent label, Mod-Art, can be found at the funkandsoul blog link I have listed under "Links". Highly informative & some other scans from the label to boot.

"I've Got To Space" has a great bouncy groove that is buoyed by the bass and percussion. The horns drift in and out, and then rise to punctuate the chorus. Actually, all the instruments are pretty much up in the mix (except maybe the drums), resulting in a nice loud recording. But the spotlight firmly belongs to Georgianna, nothing drowns out her vocals. Nor can the male chorus claiming they love her get her to change her mind, her declaration "to space". Her delivery plus the production really makes this a keeper. Plus it's the first soul tune I've heard where they rhyme the word crap. And it works.

The few tunes I've heard from the Mod-Art stable have really caught my attention. They seem to have indiosyncracies that really make it interesting. I'm looking forward to more.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Think Drink

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Since today was such a humid day in the greater Philadelphia area, I thought I'd throw on an appropriately titles latin tune, New Swing Sextet's "Think Drink". Oddly, up to this point, I haven't featured any latin 45s. I also collect latin 45s when I can get my hands on them, focusing on the obvious favorites: Fania, Cotique, and the major labels that feature good latins sounds (UA comes to mind for some Ray Barretto 45s). Some collectors like perfection, but I quite like when a 45 has seen some visible play on it. This 45 has a little noise on it, and it makes me think that someone enjoyed the 45 prior to me. Here, someone has actually noted on the label that it is an "upbeat" instrumental.

"Think Drink" is actually a mid-tempo instrumental that features, as is often the case with latin records, a dense, percussive groove. There's some real nice vibes throughout with someone whistling a theme over the top of it. Infectious as the whistling is, the vibe solo is really where it's at, though. Nice.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Jazz 45 finale: Up Above The Rock

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I couldn't forget to represent the Chess family of labels during jazz 45 week. Just saving some of the best for last. Originally I had chosen Odell Brown & The Organizers "The Weight", which is a great (one of the best, actually) jazz funker. I changed my mind this morning when I played a reference CD of 45s I had found last year. Ray Bryant's "Up Above the Rock" grabbed me immediately. It was actually quite an elusive 45. I eventually ordered it from a UK dealer only to find a second copy for $2 at a flea market a few months later......

"Up Above the Rock" is sought after because it starts with a drum break, but if that is the only reason someone bought this 45, they're missing out. I really get into piano over a funky drumbeat, and this tune has the added bonus of stellar horns throughout. When the horns come in, they start off subdued and bring up the theme. The horns disband after the second "chorus" part, and a piercing trumpet nearly drowns out everyone else. The drummer fights to be heard, banging the hell out of his kit. The piano accents are steady. This part of the tune is simply amazing. It all simmers down again, returning to the original piano lines and drumbeat - albeit heightened - to finish out the piece. And a nice way to finish out the week.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Jazz 45: Gigin

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Great 60s r'n'b/jazz 45 here from Mr. Hindal Butts - "Gigin". I believe Hindal Butts gets more press for his great funker "In The Pocket", but this is a real solid tune in itself. Not one to please jazz-funk fans, though.

"Gigin" is a piano-led, drum heavy mover. The bass and horn players are present, but this is really all some hot r'n'b piano playing and Mr Butt's heavy-handed drumming that has this great hollow sound. It is really amazing. I've not heard another recording with the same drum sound like this now that I think of it. I think that has something to do with the recording, but it really helps to make the individual sound of this 45.

Hindal Butts played drums on a number of Detroit 45s in the 60s. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a place on the internet that lists all his individual 45 releases. I did see on on Wheelsville. Anyone know anything his release on that label?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Jazz 45: Doin' What I Wanna

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Here we have a top notch jazz 45 from the Atlantic label, Clarence Wheeler & the Enforcers' "Doin' What I Wanna". It's a funky soul jazz number....perhaps the best soul jazz tune that was never released on Prestige. Now if only they had the foresight to release "Right On" on a 45.....

A groovy jazz number, "Doin' What I Wanna" has these great horns and an everpresent organ player that is spot on. The saxophone, trumpet and organ players each get some solo time, and it's just the right length of time. The organ player comes in and flourishes during the other solos. Real nice touch. The theme laid down by the group though, those powerful horns that open and close the tune, that's really where it's at. That's really where the soul is.......

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Jazz 45: Sittin' Duck

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Tonight's jazz 45 is one from the Blue Note catalog, The Three Sounds' "Sittin' Duck". When I first got into jazz 45s, the Blue Note catalog didn't do much for me. I was firm believer of the soul jazz sound of Prestige. That was the only sound for me. Well, that all changed when I bought the mod-jazz killer "Collision In Black" 45 by Blue Mitchell. My eyes have (thankfully) been opened.

"Sittin' Duck" is a fantastic mid-tempo piano led number with some heavy drumming. It starts off slow and bluesy, building nicely with some strings and flute, and then picks up the tempo a bit. Then it gets nicely textured, including some vibes, with the piano always out in the front...and the drummer making himself heard. The piano playing is just phenomenal, stretching out over that strong, steady drum beat. Lovely bit of r'n'b tinged jazz here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Jazz 45: Soul of a Village

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Don't really know much about this one. I picked it up with a number of other singles when digging through a seller's $3.00 box. Perhaps the best of what I pulled out of that box.

This tune has a nice funky drum beat. That remains steady. Then you have a strong electric piano bit, horns and strings coming in from all over the place & the occassional splash of sitar. It's a real head nodder of a track and a bit overwhelming. I think that's what I like about it so much: it seems to rise up and swirl all around you.

Definitely one that if I got out there and DJ'd again, it might be the starter 45.....something that's a bit outside of the normal, but very good as well.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Jazz 45: Soul Bird

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I'm not a huge collector of Verve sides, primarily because not many have come my way besides Jimmy Smith 45s. Tonight I'm featuring perhaps the best Verve 45 I own (OK, I highly recommend Kenny Burrell's 'Burning Spear' 45, too) or at least the latest one to wow me, Cal Tjader's "Soul Bird".

What really knocks me over is the bass playing - it's so strident, almost psychedelic. And it's real nice when the vibes make their debut soon after. The intensity of the bass recedes and reappears dependent on what the vibes are doing. When the rest of the band comes in, it bulds nicely. I especially like the piano and the percussion bits. The drummer really only stays on the cymbal, so the other percussion gets to handle the beat when it appears. But it's all about the interplay between the bass and the vibes. That really makes the tune.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Jazz 45 week: Boo-D-Doo

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This week is dedicated to jazz 45s. I will cover most of the big jazz labels (Prestige, Blue Note, Verve, etc), and throw in a few interesting small label jazz releases that I have been able to find. I tend to go for more of the club/mod jazz sound in addition to the funkier side of the jazz spectrum, which will be shown by the selections shown this week. Most of the 45s featured have been found in the last few months and all are highly recommended.

To kick it off, a 45 that floored me a couple of months back when I managed to buy a stack of Prestige singles, "Groove" Holmes' "Boo-D-Doo". An uptempo organ-led soul jazz number that has a stop and start rhythm. And every time the group stops (or slows down) there is some nice and steady conga playing that gets the spotlight. Of course, Mr. Holmes really tears it up. And the band is real tight, too, which makes it all work nicely.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I Need Love

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Tonight, a rare thing: a picture sleeve for a funk 45. Out of Flint, Michigan, Hunt's Determination Band "I Need Love" on Earwax Records.

"I Need Love" is a fantastic uptempo instrumental, featuring plenty of organ and wah-wah guitar. Even a bit of cowbell for you fans of that instrument.....

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Popcorn Baby

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Tonight's feature: "Popcorn Baby" by Freddy-Henchi & The Soulsetters on Tower Records. I just came across this 45 this weekend along with another on the Tower label, and it was the first Tower 45 I bought with a company sleeve. It looks pretty sharp.

I never really thought about it until tonight, but "Popcorn Baby" can be best summed up as funk with a psych-rock edge (acid funk rock?), heavy & uptempo with plenty of chugging guitar. There's a touch of wah-wah, and a saxophone that is unfortunately relegated to being in the background for most of the tune. But when he's brought forward, he blows that horn. Otherwise, the guitar, bass, and drums just go for broke and are in the front of the mix. "Popcorn Baby"!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Ninety Eight Cents Plus Tax

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This week, some interesting sleeves that house great tunes. Generally, the 45s I collect don't come with much artwork, save the record label. Occassionally, there is a company sleeve or, very rarely, a picture sleeve. To kick it off, a special 45......

Before I knew anything about funk - before I even liked funk as I now know it, I knew of the Detroit City Limits' 'Ninety Eight Cents Plus Tax' 45. I had it on a cassette that a friend gave me, a tape that I played nearly to death.

Simply put, it's a top notch r'n'b instrumental, if not one of the best. A straightforward theme consisting of a wailing sax and fine organ playing over a strong groove. A bit rough around the edges, gritty even, and a delight to dance to. A mod favorite, it just oozes cool. And still sounds as good now as when I first heard it many years ago....

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Elle M'Attend

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Great 45 courtesy of Ronnie Bird. "Elle M'Attend" is a tough cover of the Stones' 'The Last Time', a bit rougher, alot louder. The flip, "Tu Perds Ton Temps" is a cover of The Pretty Things 'Don't Bring Me Down', and while quite good in it's own right (again, tough musicianship and he growls throuogh the tune), it's not easy to do one better than the Pretties. Oh yeah, they're sung in French.

A great 45, especially since a French EP by Ronnie requires a good fight on e-bay.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Mouse

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Senor Soul's "The Mouse". One of those cheap 45s that just satisfies. Heavy funk business that features vocal incoherence due to someone feeling the groove and standing by the mic. Especially good is the sounds he vocalizes during the break. They get a great rolling groove going courtesy of the bass and drums, add some organ as well as piano, and then throw in some tasty wah-wah. Very nice one for under $20.

It's humid as hell today.....

Friday, June 10, 2005

Get Ya Some / Players Theme

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Last of the birthday 45s here, The Sound Stylistics EP, featuring 3 songs: "Get Ya Some", "Down Home Style" and "The Players Theme". From what I have read, this record was a promotional release only available at an event hosted by Bruton (a label that makes 'library' music). Considering that most of those who attended were not funk fans or even record collectors, these EPs probably hit the trash bin as the attendees left.

The Sound Stylistics are a collection of musicians from several current UK funk bands. Unfortunately, I can't find the details on the web. I know there's been a discussion of this release on the Funk45 forum, but the search feature on the site isn't very strong, so it requires a bit of wading through the posts.....

This EP has a couple of storming funk numbers. "The Players Theme" is a hard uptempo funker full of percussion, organ, occassional horn flourishes, that rich funk sound I really get into. The drums and conga work very well together, the timbre of the conga being just below the snare. Huge break, too, for those who are crazy for breaks. Nice and straightforward, and it doesn't seem to be nearly 5 minutes long. Good job of mixing it up and keeping the listener's interest.

"Get Ya Some" is the real winner. Vocal chants, flute all over the place(!), more horns, spot on drumming, and scratchy guitar. You know what the difference is here? More soul in this tune than "The Players Theme". Not as loud or uptempo or 'knock you over the head', but definitely more soulful. Would work nicely on a soundtrack. To hell with that, will work nicely in a club.

"Down Home Style" continues with the "Get Ya Some" groove, stripping it down to guitar, bass, organ and drums. The organ gets (most of) the spotlight here. Strong groover.

Some of the more recent releases are as hard to find as the late 60s / early 70s 45s.......

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Fire Eater

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Well known jazz-funk 45 here with that infamous break courtesy of Idris Muhammad, Rusty Bryant's "Fire Eater". A very desirable 45, and one I'd been hoping to come across for a while. Finally found one last weekend, and at a decent price compared to what it's selling for on the 'bay.

Being a jazz, funk, and Prestige 45 collector, this record is great on many levels. I like the rhythm that is established before the break, and would even argue it is better than the break. Now I'm not saying that Mr. Muhammad doesn't drop something serious on the drums (his playing is really quite amazing), I just really like the playing of the group as a whole.

Not a long post tonight. It's humid as hell, and I need to bring the air conditioner up from the basement. Also highly recommended is
Rusty Bryant's "Soul Liberation" 45, another great tune. More soul jazz than straight up funk, but a real winner.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Hard Headed Woman

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Tonight, U.S. Warren and The Genghis Pea "Hard Headed Woman" 45 on Chytowns Records. The two U.S. Warren 45s I own, "The Drop" and this one, both have a very distinctive sound. I remember a drum'n'bass fan inquiring about his 45s, as he heard a DJ spin one (I believe it was "The Drop"), and he thought the sound was great. These 45s are definitely drum and bass heavy, but I find the records somewhat minimalist. Perhaps it is the lack of horns or the production, but it just seems sparse.

"Hard Headed Woman" has a monster beat courtesy of the drummer hitting the hell out of the snare. Great sound. It's almost at odds with the rest of the tune. The vocals are not up front in the mix, the bass supports the drums, the organ adds a solemn texture. The only competition for the attention the drumming draws is a screaming blues guitar solo. But the drummer gets several small breaks to really hit it. U.S. Warren has some great lines, especially when his woman wants to teach him how to drive a car when she doesn't have a license or even knows how to ride a bike.....

You can hear part of this tune here: Hard Headed Woman . Check that drumming. Brutal.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Sweet Charles "Hang Out & Hustle" People PE 656

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Birthday Gift#2: Sweet Charles "Hang Out & Hustle" People PE 656
Courtesy of my sister, who generally refuses to give me money for records. Well, she's finally coming around, and I was able to purchase this great tune with some of the money.

Sweet Charles is Charles Sherrell, who joined the JB ranks in the late sixties as a bass player. In the 70s, he did some arranging and had a few releases on JB's People imprint. This track is more of a shuffler, unlike the uptempo 45s I ususally go for. As you can imagine, being on the People label, the playing is exquisite: the bass is riding it's own groove, the guitar is doing all types of perfectly timed small flourishes, the horns are untouchable, the organ pushes it all over the top. It's amazing how perfect the timing is between the instruments.

Charles' lyrics don't make much sense sometimes, but I've learned not to pay too much attention. Instead, I just enjoy what he's getting at and let the groove wash over me........(this tune - and several other People label classics - can be found on James Brown's Funky People (Part 3)).

Calvin Owens' Show "The Cat" Klondike 2226

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Birthday gift #1: a fantastic slice of big-band funk courtesy of Calvin Owens' Show. Ever hear a big band go for broke? Well, we have it right here. A straight-ahead theme featuring stutter-step drumming (with a healthy break) and horns-a-plenty. The bass is nice and loud, the guitar player has a simple scratch rhythm going that fits in perfectly with the percussion. Right when it all first comes together there's this "whaoh" that someone shouts far away from a microphone. That's the only voice you hear, and it's the right amount. Big and brassy!

Another great big-band funk 45 is The Soul Crusaders Orchestra's "Pretty "Lil" Mama", a 45 usually purchased for the heavy funk of the flipside, "Funky Jive". "Pretty "Lil" Mama" is a more uptempo number comprised of a hard drum beat accentuated with congas, and again, horns all over the place. I find the overall sound of this track a bit sinister...what that says about, or the perception of, a pretty "lil" mama, I'm not quite sure. A great cheapie here.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Barbara Mason "You Better Stop It" Arctic 154

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Today is my 35th birthday. What did I do? I attended a record show with some birthday money that I received as a gift. This week I will feature 45s I found today (a couple I managed to knock off the wants list) plus a few that my wife and mother gave me as gifts. Yes, I had them fund a few purchases and give them to me as gifts.....

Today, a 45 that I have listened to hundreds and hundreds of times since a friend put it on a CD for me last year: Barbara Mason's "You Better Stop It". Perhaps the best soul record I have ever heard, certainly the best soul 45 I own. I found this a few weeks ago for a fantastic price, so I bought as a gift for myself.

Words could not describe how phenomenal this 45 is: her vocals are amazing, the musicianship is outstanding, and I could go on about all the intricacies of this song, but then this would be extremely long. Instead, I wanted to link to a site where this could be heard, but I could not find a site. If I find one, I will update this posting later. Needless to say, if you see this 45 or a CD that features this song, buy on sight.

Idris Muhammad "Super Bad / Express Yourself" Prestige 743

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Prestige is probably my favorite record label. Many amazing 45s were released on this label, and some of them really fit my mantra of "I like my jazz funky, and my funk jazzy". This 45 by Idris Muhammad is a pair of covers, James Brown's "Super Bad" and Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band's "Express Yourself". As you can see from the label scan above, "Super Bad" is only 2 minutes long, nowhere near the multi-part release like the original. It's stripped down and to the point: here's the groove, get down. The standout here is that crisp drumming in the right channel paired with the conga playing in the left channel. Percussion overload when I have the headphones on. The horns are great, too, so soulful. Also have to mention how the guitar player stays in his groove perfectly.

"Express Yourself " is a laid back affair, and, at first, it was overshadowed by "Super Bad". But this side is now becoming my favorite of the two. Perhaps it is the tambourine, perhaps the organ playing, perhaps it is the drum rolls when the horns and drums are doing a bit of call and response. These additions to the elements featured on the flipside make it a real winner. I have to mention that the horns are, again, spot on. Nice.

Both sides of this 45 are also featured on the "...Ain't It Funky Now" CD released by BGP. This CD features some fantastic Prestige sides, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The X-Citers Unlimited "Soul To Billie Joe" ABC 11029

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Another 45 I've been wanting to bump into (meaning I was waiting until I could find it for a nice price to buy it), and last Sunday was the day. No information on this one when googling the internet, so I don't have any background on the group. I have seen a few sales lists state that this is a 1968 release, but nothing to confirm that.

'Soul to Billie Joe' is an earlier sounding funk track, what I would call a soul instrumental. There's not really a groove you would expect with most funk 45s, more of a consistent stutter step rhythm. It's actually somewhat similar to 'Boogaloo Mardi Grass', although not as primitive as that record. The horns are fantastic, especially when they all come together. The sax, guitar, and trumpet get a solo, which is what gives the feel of a jazz record. But that is undone by the glorious roughness of it all. Jazzy + rough around the edges = a good thing.

The B-side is a mostly instrumental cover of 'Hang On Sloopy'. Plenty of - again great - horns grace this mid-tempo, hand-clapping, bass-heavy r'n'b funker. The slowing of the tempo and the bass up in the mix has really made this a nice and heavy instrumental. The horns actually give it a bit of a latin feel.

This 45 gets better and better with repeated listenings. If I knew it was as good as this, I would have chased it. A highly recommended record.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Plebs "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" MGM K13320

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I have been away for about 8 weeks or so thanks to a hectic development schedule (a lovely profession it is to be involved with software), but I have managed to sneak in a few 45 purchases, including a few that have been on my wants list for a couple of years. Before I was heavily into funk / jazz / soul 45s, I chased USA pressings of obscure UK and European bands from the 60's....r'n'b, mod, freakbeat (& occassionally psych) records. I managed to find many of the 45s on my list, but this Plebs 45 eluded me. Thankfully, I finally have this 45 in my record-collecting hands.

My copy is a yellow-label promo (anyone have a stock copy?), and in case you haven't noticed, the song is the same blues number that Led Zeppelin covered several years later. But they sound nothing alike. Released in the UK in 1964, The Plebs' version is a storming slab of British r'n'b. The band is so tight and straight ahead in their rendition, there are only a few subtle flourishes: every time the singer finishes a stanza, the drums are brought up in the mix, and a small organ solo in the middle. What I really like is that the singer has these soulful vocals that don't exactly follow the tempo of the band. He's a bit slower in his delivery, even somewhat mournful that he will leave....but he knows he will leave eventually. All of this is over in 1 minute, 53 seconds. And it's so damn good.

This is the only release by the Plebs, and can be found on the fantastic 'The R&B Scene" CD that Decca released in 1998. I highly recommend this CD as well as "The Freakbeat Scene" and "The Psychedelic Scene" volumes. Ever since this 45 has shown up these CDs have been back in heavy rotation. You can expect to see a more varied selection of 45s thanks to The Plebs. I already have a few more similar 45s on their way....