Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Soul Popcorn

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Here's another I recently bought off the 'bay from a guy in Mexico City, Doc Oliver's "Soul Popcorn" on Janus. A solid groove on this one, with Mr. Oliver's "enthusiastic" vocals over it. I like how it seems to start off so innocently, and then the vocals quickly get into it, and then get possessed by it. Have a listen to some of it here .

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thank You

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In hindsight, I probably should have featured this cover of the Sly Stewart original before the Thanksgiving holiday due to the title, but I was quite crazed by the Black Lightning 45 at the time. Anyway, here's guitarist Melvin Sparks' cover of "Thank You" from 1970, one of the few remaining Prestige 45s I am after.

Since Melvin was a jazz guitarist, this is a guitar-led version of "Thank You". It is a somewhat mellow tune that slowly builds. The drums slowly come up in the mix more and the organ gets more of a spotlight as well, but it is all about the guitar. And the guitar is spot on - just enough to convey the feeling thoroughly. Backing him up are Leon Spencer on the organ, Idris Muhammed on the drums, and Virgil Jones and John Manning on the horns. Nice tune.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Be's That Way

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A few months back I featured a 45 by Black Lightning entitled "Trouble". Tonight, I feature their other 45 on MCA, "Be's That Way", which is another great record.

Start to finish, "Be's That Way" is an intense tune. The vocals are nearly shouted, the band is pushing their instruments, the recording is nice and loud. They even throw in some fuzz guitar (which is something I would normally not get into, but it really works here). Listening to this tune, I'm nearly speechless. This is a tune I wish I could see performed live. I imagine it must have been mindblowing.

Instead of saying any more, and since it seems I've figured out the mp3 thing, I'm just gonna give you a link to hear the tune for yourself. Click HERE to be taken to a page where you can download the mp3.

Enjoy the tune & have a great Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Freeze

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Tonight, another 45 from the same CD that I included the Ray Barretto 45 on a few years back, Lifeforce's "The Freeze" on Smokeout Records (dig those hand drawn labels). This tune is 70's funk heavy on the horns (and features a bit of cowbell, too). "The Freeze" moves between tempos, from the mid-tempo backing while the singer makes his case to the building uptempo choruses. What really makes it stand out, though, are the lyrics - the song is about the correlation between a freeze on wages and, consequently, love. The lyrics are humorous, yet there are portions that you sing along to as well. Definitely one that gets under your skin.

Click on the song title for a soundclip: The Freeze.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Do You Dig It?

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It's Sunday night and my wife and I have the Sunday evening blues even though it's a short work week. Consequently, I've been playing this great uptempo boogaloo number that Ray Barretto released on the United Artists label, "Do You Dig It?". It's actually one of a few tracks that I recently re-discovered on a CD I made a few years back.

"Do You Dig It?" is centered around the following chorus:

Do you dig my groove? The Boogaloo
Do you dig my swing? The Shing-a-ling

These lines - backed by a smoking band - set up the tune, and then these lines are shortened to "Do You Dig It?", where someone takes the lead vocals and respond to this question and extorts the audience to get into the groove. Behind this call and response, that percussive-heavy, infectious boogaloo groove.....bliss. There are several hand-clapping breakdowns, which are an interesting touch. The band gets a short respite only to return and double their efforts. Simply amazing.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Good Thing

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Tonight, a 45 by Frank Williams Rocketeers that features Little Beaver on side 1. I have always been quite fond of the b-side, the instrumental side, but recently have been getting into "Good Thing (Part 1)". I really have to break my bad habit of not flipping records over now and again.....especially since I am quite a fan of Pearl Dowell's version of Good Thing on Saadia.

"Good Thing (Part 1)" is a organ-heavy soul tune with plenty of echo that moves at a real nice pace. It sounds somewhat distant thanks to the recording, but when the horns come in, it packs a solid punch. Part 2 is simply an instrumental of the A side, but the recording seems less distant, and the horns get the lead in the tune, with some vocals (most likely made up during the recording) thrown in to encourage the band to play. While I wouldn't label it as funk, it has a real nice groove.

Click on the the song titles to hear part of both sides: "Good Thing (Part 1)" "Good Thing (Part 2)".

Friday, November 18, 2005

Stony Island Band

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Here's one that's from '78, "Stony Island Band" by - who else but - the Stony Island Band on Glades. Later than I usually collect, but this 45 has a real strong groove and is a nice mover. Some may call this 'boogie', but since I am not quite sure what that sound is, I can't make the same conclusion.

What "Stony Island Band" has is a bass-heavy groovy, hand claps, plenty of horns, and great vocals. It's a feel-good dance tune. The male singer has some nice backing vocals from a group of ladies. It sounds great when they come in. I also like the guitar sound, plenty of picking, but with some slight effect. But I can't focus on all that too long, it's a party we're having here with the Stony Island Band......

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Wind Jammer

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I really like Mongo Santamaria 45s, especially the 3 I have found on Atlantic., "I Can't Get Next To You", "Hippo Walk" and "Wind Jammer". I could have picked any of the m to feature tonight ( each one is real solid), but "Wind Jammer" edges out the other 2 a slight bit for me.

"Wind Jammer" has a real strong groove heavy on the flute, bass, electric piano, and of course, drums. There are also other percussive elements, and some real nice horns (which sometimes have a call and response with the flute) on the record. It has the latin overtones that you would expect, but this tune features an especially heavy groove for Mongo. Heavier than the other 2 45s mentioned above. I would wager that if this tune were on an obscure label by a relatively unkown artists it would be quite sought after. Buy this one (any of the three, actually) on sight. Recommended.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Mama's Got A Bag Of Her Own

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I was playing an old CD in the car on the way home from work today, and this tune came on. I remember hearing this for the first time, being amazed, and immediately started tracking ot down. Aa I'm sure you figured out, this tune is an answer to James Brown's "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag".

"Mama's Got A Bag of Her Own" is a r'n'b shouter of the highest order. Nothing fancy, just Anna belting it out over a steady groove. I'm particularly partial to the piano behind her during the opening lines, but, when the horns come in, it really starts to pick up steam. Damn good.

Have a listen to some of it here.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I Can't Dance With You

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There was a time that I would have told you that the best group that ever existed was The Small Faces. And this 45 - one of their best tunes in my opinion - would be one of the first exhibits in my argument. Listening to this record tonight, I think I still stand by that statement. This tune shows the Small Faces at perhaps their most cacophonus: the bass is so up in the mix, the drums is all over the place, the organ flourishing between the bass and drums, and the guitar slashing through it all. And Marriott's delivery is often intense, yet a couple of times pulls back for a line or two. This sounds as good as ever.

The other side, My Mind's Eye, is more introspective, and a pop tune with some psychedelic leanings. Quite nice as well.

No sound clips here - do yourself a favor and buy a Small Faces LP or CD. You can learn more about the Small Faces here. Looks like the The Small Faces are going to return to my turntable for a while.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Mashed Potato, Pop Corn

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After a hectic couple of days, I'm able to present a 45 that I recently found, Freddie & The Kinfolk's "Mashed Potato, Pop Corn" on Dade. "Mashed Potato, Pop Corn" is one of those records where the group brings their own audience, and here it is a group of kids chanting the title throughout. The tune itself is a horn-led funker with the drums and bass up in the mix. It never strays from the groove that it establishes, and I guess it doesn't need to with the enthusiastic response of the crowd. In a word: fun.

You can hear some of it here.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Fifth Street

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Here's a tightly wound funker outta Lexington, Kentucky, the Mercy Men's "Fifth Street" on Bee Gee. The drumming is frantic, the organ is a bubbling cauldron, and the singer is really feeling the groove. The singer gets so into it he opens each chorus with a wail. The horns also come in and add that extra bit to push it over the edge. There's a nice moment early on when the singer takes it down and works with the guitar to bring it back up. There's a small break near the end of the tune, and the drummer sounds like he's working jackhammer, it's so fast-paced. And I don't want to forget the great sax sound that comes in at the end to take it home.

This side clocks in at nearly 4 minutes, and it's an intense workout.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Stuffed Pepper

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Here's a break heavy funk 45 by the Peppers entitled "Stuffed Pepper" on the Avalanche label from 1972. For some reason, even though there is a real nice texture to it, this tune seems fairly stripped down - perhaps that's due to the length of the breaks. There's no more than is necessary from the organ and guitar and horns; the groove is established, and no one - except for the percussive embellishments - strays from it. Nice one. Breaks collectors note.

Check a soundclip here.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Flute In A Quarry

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Somehow I had this 45 in my jazz box, but it's a bit more funk than jazz. This Shades of Joy 45 is taken from a soundtrack entitled "The Music of El Topo", which I understand is quite hard to come by. If "Flute In A Quarry" is representative of the sounds on that soundtrack, then it is definitely worth tracking down.

A mellow flute line starts it off, but then a chorus of horns kicks in to lead the group through alot of changes. The sax takes the lead for a good portion of the rest of the tune, But a lethal groove stands firmly behind it. When the horns come together, the tune becomes very dense, seeming to be layers upon layers. It's amazing how tight the group is through all the changes. Not to mention the soulfulness. Damn nice.
Here's a soundclip thanks to funk45.com, although the song title is different and the very beginning is missing. You certainly get a feel for the tune, though.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


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I've been suffering from a fairly intense sinus headache for the last few days, so I haven't really wanted to blog or even listen to music, for that matter. So I thought I would just share a 45 that I quite like, The Fantasies' "Mesmerizer - Part 2" on Whiz. It's a tightly wound, trippy, organ-led funker.....check a soundclip here.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Black House

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Another recent purchase, Soul Congress' "The Black House" on Bang. An uptempo, brass-heavy, piano-led groover with the drums up in the mix. Sounds like a late 60s soul instrumental.

The other side, "The Playboy Shuffle" sounds like an instrumental that could work on a northern soul dancefloor. An furiously paced stomper with some nice sax soloing on it.

Not a bad 2-sider at all.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Fat Mama

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A tasty bit of jazz funk tonight, Woody Herman's cover of a Herbie Hancock's "Fat Mama" Heavy on the groove, "Fat Mama" has plenty of brass (mucho brass), electric piano, and some wah-wah back there in the mix. And let's not forget the bassist who is spot on throughout. This tune sounds like it would be perfect for a volume of 'Pulp Fusion', if it's not already on one. But I digress.....this 45 is all about the interplay of the horns and electric piano over that dense yet tight groove. The electric piano grounds it while the horns reach ever higher.....what a pleasure to sit back and enjoy.......

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

How Long Shall I Wait

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Here's a great 45 out of New York, James Lewis Fields' "How Long Shall I Wait" on Top Pop. One I've been after for a while now. This tune was produced, written and arranged by Jerry Washington - wonder if that was the same Jerry Washington who released some great 45s on Excello?

Anyway, "How Long Shall I Wait" is an uptempo funker with propulsive drumming, punchy horns, and some fantastic scratchy guitar over the cymbals. Nothing fancy going on, just a straight-ahead funk number with some soulful vocals. Very nice vocals. Check the drummer, too, as he puts more weight on some hits to great effect.

Check the sound clip here courtesy of funk45.com