Friday, September 30, 2005

Dap Walk

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Tonight, Ernie and the Top Notes, Inc. 'Dap Walk / Things Are Better' 45 on Fordom Records out of New Orleans, Louisiana. Certainly one of the best funk 45s ever released. Thanks to the Soulstrut heatrock auctions for Hurrican Katrina relief, I threw down more cash for this 45 than any record I had previously bought. It is worth every penny.

If ever there was a record that doesn't need comment, this is it. Immediate and powerful, 'Dap Walk' speaks for itself. Simply amazing.

There is an interview with Ernie Williams on the Stones Throw website. Quite informative, especially the bit about the creaking from his wah-wah pedal. If you like this tune, you can purchase the song on their 'Funky 16 Corners' compilation, which is a solid collection of funk tracks, and is highly recommended by yours truly.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


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Spanky Wilson's brilliant "You" 45 showed up on my doorstep today. A record that I have been after for a while (and have bid on and lost a number of times on e-bay), it finally materialized thanks to a second chance offer.

There are a number of things that I like about this song, but the #1, the real reason this tune is a winner, is Spanky's vocals. She really belts it out. The music never strays from it's groove, seeming to wrap around and complement her delivery. The guitar gets an especially nice sound, scratchy yet loose. And those few times where everything drops away except the drums and the vocals, very nice indeed. Plenty of horns, too. Damn this sounds good on vinyl.

I just heard an mp3 of her version of "Sunshine of Your Love", so I may have to seek out the "Doin' It" album. I'm certainly ready to hear more.....

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hey Rugh Nut

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Perhaps the final 45 I'm gonna feature from the Allentown show, "Hey Rugh Nut" by the Zodiacs on C.R.S., a Philadelphia label. I've found a few 45s on the C.R.S. the past few years, and this is the best one yet.

As you can hear from the sound clip, "Hey Rugh Nut" is an organ and guitar -led instrumental that just moves. The bass and drums keep it steady on course. Horns come in for an occassional flourish. I really wish I was up on technology so you could hear the rest of the tune. The second half of the tune features vocals encouraging everyone to "do it like you wanna", and the horns come in to back him up. Saxophones and trumpets, and then the drummer adds a stutter step to his beat. It's like the band takes up a notch. What a quality tune.

I was able to piece together a bit of the C.R.S. label 45 discography from the 45s I have. Many thanks to Dave Brown for help completing it. The 45s released on this label were:
000001 - George Johnson & Mondells - Just Because You're You /
000002 - Bonnie Blanchard - You're The Only One / Andy Aaron & The Mean Machine - Right On Time
000003 - Bonnie Blanchard - A Real Good Loving Man / Part 2
000004 - George E. Johnson - The Penn Walk / Wake Me Up
000005 - Sherlock Holmes Investigation - Your Game / The Pot's Hot
006 - Zodiacs - Hey Rough Nut / Don't Change On Me
007 - Mitzie Ross - Man Hunt / Guarantee Me The Weekend
008 - Caprells - Every Day People / Which One Will It Be
009 - Midnight Madness - Gut Funky / Feelings
010 - Frankie Allen - Thinking Of You / Strong & Kicking Again
011 - Frankie Allen - Some Time Alone / Part 2
012 - Al "Sax" Berry - When You See What You Want / Part 2
102 - Misty Graham - Love Well Seasoned / Soul Energy

As far as I know, not much has been published on this label. I'll have to see what I can find out. Any information on C.R.S. (or any other Philly label) would be most appreciated.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Funky In Here

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I'm wiped out, so it's gonna be a quick post. Tonight's 45 is by Willard Burton and the Funky Four, "Funky In Here" on Capital. An organ lead instrumental that has a nice and hard drum sound. Wah-wah is pretty nice, too. Check out a bit of it here. The sound clip is sped up a bit.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Soul Drippins

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Here's a 45 (actually 2 copies) that showed up on Saturday, and one I'd been after for quite some time, The Interns' "Soul Drippins" on Julet (great label design, no?).

"Soul Drippins" is a mid-tempo r'n'b instrumental that features plenty of wah-wah and organ over a heavy dose of bass and a solid beat. Throw in a tambourine that doesn't let up, and you have the ingredients of this great proto-funker. The second half of this tune has the wah-wah take a break, giving the organ center stage. I've had this on a CD for several years, but it's amazing how much better this sounds on vinyl. And the wah-wah guitar, perhaps the best I've ever heard.

You can listen to some of it here. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


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I was listening a CD of 45s that I had bought in the fall and winter and last year, and this tune got me again. I just love the 70's 'show band' sound Rayfield Reid and the Supernaturals have on "Stick-Shift". That full, late funk sound used to introduce a 'new thing', and with some creative instructions for the dance steps: "Step on the clutch", "Put it in gear", etc.

Kicking off with a bit of wah-wah, the group settles into a dense groove accompanied with some fine horns. The guitar has a tidy little wah-wah line, and working with the bass and drums, that groove is kept tight. The horns are sometimes punchy, sometimes adding another layer. The whole package is just fantastic.

This 45 was released on the JSJ label out of Nashville, but Rayfield Reid is from North Carolina. I haven't been able to turn up many other details at this time. But you can hear a bit of this tune here.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Big Time Operator

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Last promo for the week, "Big Time Operator" by Zoot Money's Big Roll Band on Epic. A UK group, Zoot Money and his group were responsible for some quality releases, and I'm very happy to have a copy of this tune now in the collection. I really dig the UK 60's sound, from r'n'b to freakbeat to (a bit) of psych, and I especially dig US pressings.

The tune itself has a big 4/4 beat, a chorus of punchy horns, and it's just an uptempo, feel-good dancer. I pulled it out of a dealer's soul box, and I never thought of it that way, but it really is a blue-eyed stomper. That's probably the best description anyone could ever come up with. The lyrics are pretty cheeky, too, all the job titles rhyming off of the word 'operator'.

The b-side, "Zoot's Sermon", is something I never heard before, and it's a nice piano and organ led groover. You get to hear the guitar and more percussive elements here. Perfect for a smokey club early in the evening.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I'm A Junkie For My Baby's Love

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Here's one from Mr. Hank Ballard, "I'm A Junkie For My Baby's Love", on ever-surprising Chess label. Another promotional 45, and from what I understand it's a tough one to locate. On this 45, Hank is making a comment on drugs, saying that if people need to be a junkie, be strung out on your partner's love.

The tune itself is a tough mid-tempo funker, seeming to tense and build, and then find that solid groove again. The tension is built thanks to the horns, which are quite stellar. Throughout the tune is a decent amount of fuzz guitar, which, although sometimes almost drowned out by the sheer volume of the bass, gives a grittiness and toughness to the tune. It actually works quite well, even incorporating a small solo.

Overall, quite an interesting release from Hank. This is certainly not his King sound, but more a experimental, almost 'rock' sound. The flip is quite nice, too.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Getting Uptown (To Get Down)

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Another Atlantic promo, and another Atlantic winner bought at the Allentown Record Show, United 8 "Getting Uptown (To Get Down)". Whereas last night's 45 was a raw 60's track, this one is straight up 70s. Much more polished, but still funky as hell.

"Getting Uptown" delivers punchy horns, some lovely jangly guitar, and a bit of organ over a solid rhythm section. There's a real nice bit early on where the guitar and the horns do a bit of call and response. About two-thirds the way through, they thrown in a saxophone solo over the top, and then return to the groove that has propelled the tune. Nothing outrageous, just a tune that is there to help you 'get down'.

Really nice tune. Check those horns and that guitar here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


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Here's another 45 found at the recent Allentown 45s & 78s show, Valerie and Bobby Capers' "Wildcattin'". Looks like it's from '67, and it's certainly another winner on the Atlantic label. One thing is for sure: whoever distributed this had a good ear, as they crossed out "Plug Side" on the other side of this record & marked up "Wildcattin'". The only details I've been able to find out about Valerie and Bobby was that they were a brother and sister act, their careers mainly in jazz.

"Wildcattin'" is certainly not jazz. Gritty & raw, this uptempo proto-funker just burns all the way through, slowing down to feature what seems to be a reed instrument (I can't place it). Otherwise, it's drum and bass that nearly overtake the vocals. Throw in some horns and some organ bits near the end, and this is truly one for the dancefloor. And loudly recorded, to boot. Before you think it's odd I mention vocals when the record label says 'Instrumental', the vocals are Bobby repeating "Let's do the Wildcat, Baby", and Valerie and some friends singing "Wildcat".

Highly recommended.

Monday, September 19, 2005


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Another quality tune that had been on the wants list for a little while and I managed to find recently....Hodges, James, Smith & Crawford "Nobody". Usually I'm after the uptempo stuff, but this laid-back groover has really knocked me off my chair. That's not to say to say this 45 doesn't bring the funk. It kicks off with some tasty drumming, a lithe guitar line moving over it. Then the ladies take over, and the rest of the song is theirs. Their vocals are quality, so soulful and the phrasing is really nice. The groove courtesy drumming and guitar (+ bass) never faulters, and when they get the spotlight again, it's quite a nice contrast to the layers of the ladies' vocals.

Like last night, words are somewhat failing me. That can happen when I pluck one off the wants list....I can be mesmerized. You can't hear much of the vocals, but you can hear a small bit here on funk45.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

There's A Break In The Road

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Tonight, a New Orleans tour-de-force, Betty Harris' "There's A Break In The Road" 45. Released in 1969, this record features The Meters backing her, and what a phenomenal job they do. Their playing is raw, full of feedback, almost sounding like it's gonna fall apart. But it is the intensity of The Meters combining with the brutal honesty of Betty's vocals that makes this record special, not The Meters themselves. I mean even the female backing chorus have lost the normal veneer of backing vocals.

This is one of those tunes that words fail in describing. You would need to hear the directness and intensity to understand what I'm on about. Have a listen here. Brilliant.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Thunder Chicken

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Well, I'm nearly at the end of my salute of the animal-related 45s, and I've finally pulled one out that references the chicken, The Impacts' "Thunder Chicken" on Marmaduke. Perhaps the most referenced animal in the soul/funk 45 arena, the chicken has made countless appearances on labels and sleeves. I haven't heard them all, but "Thunder Chicken" is a favorite of mine.

"Thunder Chicken" is an unrelenting, uptempo soul tune. It establishes the rhythm at the start and doen't take a breath. The drums are the catalyst, gritty and up in the mix. They are complemented by handclaps just as unyielding. The guitar and the saxophone share the spotlight equally, each getting solos and coming together for the main theme. It's comparable to a raw jazz 45, interjecting plenty of r'n'b to keep your feet happy. Definitely one for the mods, yet raw enough for the funk scene. Quality tune.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Judge and the Alligator

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Actually the other side of this 45, "The Alligator", is more fitting for my small survey of animal related 45s, but I'm much more partial to "The Judge and the Alligator". Whereas "The Alligator" is a dance tune that sings about the dance entitled the alligator, "The Judge and the Alligator" is an instrumental (mostly) of the flip and packs much more of a punch. Besides, where else have you seen two different dances on the same label.

"The Judge and the Alligator" is a soul instrumental that starts out by introducing the judge who promises 'anybody can't do the alligator gonna get some time', and then the drums, the bass, and especially the horns take off, building until they seem to burst and return to the participants. Then the judges says he's gonna do the alligator himself ('who says the judge can't do the alligator?'), and the tune again builds, but this time doesn't just fades out with the judge seeming to expire. The passing of one dance to another?

If you find this one for a few bucks, definitely don't pass it up.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Turtle Walk

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Keeping with the animal theme, here's a brilliant cover of a Lou Donaldson original, "Turtle Walk", courtesy of Sugarman Three. And while you may think of a turtle walking slow and clumsy, this tune is anything but. It has all the ingredients of a top tune: hard drumming, plenty of organ, horns and more horns, and all of it served up tight as hell. The horns and the organ player each get a bit of the spotlight, and they are just the right length. Nothing over the top, just hard hitting and leaving you wanting more. And that fantastic drum-heavy refrain that they continue to return to, they certainly are giving the drummer some.

There are some real great 45s on the Desco label, a couple of which may be more coveted than this one by collectors, but this really is a monster record from start to finish. And for what it costs, it certainly is the best one for the money. Have a partial listen here.

Check those Sugarman Three 45s on Daptone as well. Quality stuff.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Grove Penguin

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Keeping with the animal theme after last night's chicken discussion, here's Excell Wonsley's "Grove Penguin" on the Golden Beam label. For some reason I thought this was from Louisiana, but it's not listed as such on the label, nor could I find anything on the web. Also, I believe - and as you can probably guess - that the label is supposed to read "Groove Penguin". The backing vocals often sing "It's so groovy baby", so I imagine there was a typo somewhere. Doesn't detract in my opinion. In fact, it makes the tune all the more individual.

The tune is somewhat bluesy to my ears, but with plenty of dancefloor appeal (as it should, since it's extolling the latest dance). Whatever the dance requires, I'm convinced of it's merits, so infectious and heavy on the r'n'b is the groove. The drums almost take a back seat to the bass and the tambourine. The guitar plays these cascading lines that really complement what the others are doing. Nothing fancy, mind you, just a solid groove with no faults. And some of the lyrics are great, the best line being "The Penguin is sassy" with "Snake's Bait!" quickly interjected afterwards. I just love how that phrase is thrown in there.

Have a listen here. So that's an elephant and now a penguin. I'll have to see what else is around....

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Elephant (Part 1)

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Here's a great 45 that shouldn't cost you more than $10, The Philly Four "The Elephant" on Cobblestone Records. I wouldn't call this a funk track, but a soul instrumental, and a real quirky one. For instance, several times their is an elephant's 'roar' (for lack of a better word). Now I know that this is an instrumental entitled 'The Elephant', but there were plenty of instrumentals with some reference to the chicken in their title, and I don't recall any of them featuring clucking. Now that I think about it, that might've been pretty interesting if they did.......sounds like we may have an animal theme 45 week on our hands......

A mid-tempo number, 'The Elephant' features some tasty organ playing over a snapping drum beat. On top of this add some well-placed punchy horns and a guitar player who is restrained with some sharp little flourishes, and it's a recipe that simmers. The guitar works especially well with the drumming.

I'm quite a big fan of the horns on this tune, but the organ is catching my attention tonight. It's quite nice. But those horns, spot on.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Pearl, Baby Pearl

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Even though I had a fruitful weekend and found several 45s, I'm still going through some 45s that I've had for a while and scanned last week. Tonight, a monster mod funk instrumental outta Detroit, Benny Poole's "Pearl, Baby Pearl (Latin Boo-Ga-Loo)" on Solid Hit. This is the kind of sound I was really into before I fell under the funk 'spell', quality 60s soul instrumentals.

"pearl, Baby Pearl" has plenty of r'n'b throughout, courtesy of that saxophone. Throw in some crisp as hell drumming, the lovely conga bits, and the organ playing, and it's one hell of a groove.

So good it's quite understandable why this would dod the business at either a funk or a mod night. Have a listen to this fantastic tune here.

Friday, September 09, 2005


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I've been going through the boxes the last few days and playing some 45s I haven't had at the top of the playlist for a while. Tonight, a quirky funky jazz tune, "Abscretions" by Music, Inc. The record seller I bought it from found it in a bunch of 45s he bought in a garage in Arkansas, if I remember correctly.

"Abscretions" has alot of changes, building and crashing throughout, primarily through the horns, which are excellently played. The trumpet player especially kills it. Sounds like they're using a stand up bass, too, which gives the tune a really nice sound. Have a listen here.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hesitate One Time For Me

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Here's a tough funk track, "Hesitate One Time For Me" by Lynn Minor and His Band on Tammy Records outta Youngstown, Ohio. Not tough as in hard to find, but tough as in hard funk. This track starts off by knocking you down, and you can't get up.

The label says INSTRUMENTAL, but Mr. Minor exclaims, screeches, pushes his band, and talks to the ladies in the audience throughout the song. Even though the entire band is intensely playing, this song truly belongs to the drummer. I don't ever recall hearing someone bashing their kit with such ferocity. By the end of the song, it ought to be in tatters. The guitar playing is sharp and raw, and the bass player is trying to keep up with the groove. The horns, well they're just simply everywhere. Love the sax solos over the top of this tune. Some r'n'b flavor added to the funk.

3:29 of perfection. Very highly recommended 45. Have a listen here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Three People In Love

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Here's one from 1970 courtesy of Mack Rice, "Three People In Love". You may remember Sir Mack Rice's version of "Mustang Sally"....well, this is the same gentleman. And unfortunately, I paid a bit more than the 50 cents written on the label. No worries, though, as this 45 has been pretty difficult to turn up. Probably thanks to it's inclusion on the 'Brainfreeze' mix a few years back.

"Three People In Love" is a soulful funker featuring some gritty, tough drumming, incessant, noisy guitar work just behind it, and sometimes punchy, sometimes sinister, sometimes searching horns. And then there's Mr. Rice's vocals that builds as the tension rises in the story of the three folks who make the story. Obviously Mack is one of the three people, as he is constantly asking questions of & admonishing a woman he loves. And about the man she has affections for......

Top notch tune. Pick one up if you see it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Everybody Push and Pull

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Tonight, a feel good dancer, Judson Moore's "Everybody Push and Pull" on Capri. I happened to find this one last Friday in Philly. As you can hear on the soundclip, not overly funky, but the drumming really propels the song. Throw in those fantastic horns, and, what is perhaps my favorite, the backing vocals ("ooh" "ahh", "ooh" "ahh"), and how can you not have a good time? Quality stuff.

Have a listen here.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Lover And A Friend

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This past week I have had a hard time enjoying music. I completed my week of favorite local 45s, but my heart wasn't in it by the end of the week. After several hours of watching the news on Friday morning, I went to a record shop to try to take my mind off of it, but failed miserably. The natural disaster that occurred in New Orleans, and the subsequent catastrophe that people suffered at the hands of our government, has thoroughly disgusted me both as an American and a human being.

So, tonight, one of the few records I have from New Orleans, one that features a New Orleans legend, Eddie Bo. Accompanying him on the vocal duties is Inez Cheatham, and they put together a lovely little soul tune with some funky drumming, "Lover and a Friend". Because after this past week, many folks in the Gulf Coast area need a friend. Many don't have anything remaining but their loved ones or friends. And, unfortunately, some may not even have that. If I may borrow a line from the song, this is certainly the time when America needs to "open the door to [it's] heart".

Have a listen here. And if you haven't done so already, please give to a charity of your choice to help the victims of this tragedy.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Too Hot To Hold

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It seems that I may have saved the best for last in this week of "local 45s", but this one just arrived on my doorstep today. I actually didn't think it would make it here in time, but the post office came through, and so I present to you The U-F-O's "Too Hot To Hold". This record also happens to have the distinction of being the 45 I've spent the most money on.

"Too Hot To Hold" is, simply, a fantastic funk instrumental. Kicking off with an almighty drum beat, the other plays come in as follows: the heavy bass, the organ, the guitar with his clean lines, and finally the wailing saxophone. It's amazing how clearly you can hear each instrument while they're playing. When the break comes, it's like you're sitting right in front of the kit. It's amazing how powerful a punch is delivered for only 2:05. Someone had the good foresight to record this session nice and loud. And for this, I'm very appreciative.

Have a listen here. Check how the drummer's holding one of the counts.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Black Talk

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I've go on before about how much I love the Prestige label. Well, how could I go through this week of quality local 45s and not feature one that is on one of my favorite labels and also includes a great Philly jazz artist? I can still recall the excitement of finding this 45 several years ago....and it still ranks high up there with the best 45 releases on this label. And I would even go so far and say this may just be the prime example of soul jazz.

All the funk here is on the organ. Mr. Earland is just all over the place, 'tickling' at the start and then settling in the groove. The drummer is throwing down a steady 4/4 beat with hi-hat accents and an occassional fill. The soul is in the horns, those lovely horns. The sax solo on side one (my preferred side) is just spot on. And the guitar player comes in when the organ takes a break to play some great lines, nothing over the top, just something clean. Start to finish, what a class tune.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Color Blind

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One of my favorite 45s out of Philadelphia is "Color Blind" by Frankie Beverly's Raw Soul. From start to finish it knocks me out; it's fantastic both musically and lyrically.

The tune starts off a with a 1-2 punch courtesy of some horns, and then just kicks into a dense groove that carries the song. There's a tambourine and a conga going throughtout that sandwiches the percussion nicely. Lyrically, it's reflective as well as intense. And the vocal harmony breakdown in the middle....great.

The lyrics are still right on the money. As Frankie sings, "What color is harmony?".
Check out a snippet here.