Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Funky Booty

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"Funky Booty" by The James Young Blues Band shares a sound similar to Jean Knights' "Mr. Big Stuff".....but with a bit more bounce. The bass has this plucking quality to it, and those drums, pretty frisky. Throw in the horns and you have a winner.

Have a listen here.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Can I Feel It

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Here's another 45 that's returned to the playlist after a couple of years, Al Trahan's fantastic funk outing from '76, "Can I Feel It". Sounding like it should have been made several years prior, this is one hell of a tune. And one of those 45s that's worth the full price.

Starting off with tough drumming, some raw wah-wah guitar joins in to set the groove & let Al have his way. No horns, no other instrumentation, just the drums, bass & guitar - in other words, straight up funk. My favorite part is when the tune changes, and it seems custom tailored for the dance floor, as Al tells an audience he has 'some raw funk for ya', and then has his band break it down. And then they just bring it on home.

Quality tune, which you can hear a clip of here.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Come Down Baby

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Lately I've been playing CDs I made a few years back, and there are a couple of tunes that have re-captivated me. One is Beginning of the End's "Come Down Baby - Part 1" on Alston. Beginning of the End formed in Nassau in the Bahamas, and had a hit with "Funky Nassau" (and released an LP of the same name).

The song starts off with some jangly guitar and then the drums and bass come in with it's tricky yet captivating rhythm. All kinds of percussive elements make up the groove (love the flecks of conga I can occassionally pick up). And some glorious horns ebb and flow to punctuate portions of the song. Little bit of organ in the mix, too.

What really sets 'Part 1' apart is the vocals, where the singer extols the beauty of Bermuda, his home, and so soulfully I am convinced. Lines like:

Come where the water is so nice
Come on down sail on the water
Come on down, swim in the deep blue sea

But my favorite line out of it all, in the midst of him describing the pink sand, the dancers in the street, the music, the gambling, and the good times, is this line sung with a slightly different timbre:

Come where every man can be what he wants to be

Now how can you argue with that? A 45 to buy on sight.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Jerk Loose

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The funny thing about recording collecting is that you never know what tune will really grab you when you buy blind. And when buying blind, you really can't go wrong with the name Oliver Sain (some bio info here) on the label.

"Jerk Loose" is best described as a soul instrumental. A nice goove, a solid guitar line, horns that come in with plenty of punch, and a fantastic saxophone solo. Straightforward and clean.....and proper stuff.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Soul Talk (Part 2)

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One of the things I'm trying to do in early 2006 is knock off the few remaining Prestige 45s that I am after. Johnny "Hammond" Smith's "Soul Talk" was one of them, which happened to show up today. This 45 is from his album of the same name, and the featured players were Rusty Bryant, Wally Richardson, Bob Bushnell, and Bernard Purdie.

Now I like both sides of this 45, side A featuring the organ, but Mr. Purdie's extended drum solo on part 2 just eeks by the organ-led soul jazz that makes up part 1. Side 2 opens with a solid groove, but then that all gives way to Pretty Purdie, who pretty much takes it all the way to the end. The solo is quite amazing, so amazing I can't do it justice (you can barely hear someone yell 'oww!' in excitement in the background during the middle of it). The organ comes in for a nice flourish here and there, but it is all Purdie's show. Then group comes back in to finish the show, re-establishing the tune featured in part 1. Great 2-sider.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Some Lonely Heart

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Tonight, an interesting release on the Fania label. My exposure to this label has been latin sounds, primarily boogaloo, but Ronnie Marks' "Some Lonely Heart" is a straight soul record, and a good one at that. Fania collectors - any other quality soul 45s I'm missing out on? If so, please enlighten me.

What I really like about this tune is that it seems to envelope the room, the wah-wah guitar almost overwhelming everything. The horns come in to punctuate the mood, strings crawl in the small spaces they can. Layers upon layers, and then a few more. Ronnie's voice is in all of this, solid and strong. The bass player is tight, yet all over the neck of his guitar. A quality tune.

If there is a drawback to this record, it's that it seems that the pressing is not very good. The vinyl looks like it is in excellent shape, but, unfortunately, it plays with noise. But what a tune.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I Do The Jerk

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After a record-free week spent at a trade show for work, I'm back with a few new 45s. While many collectors (records or otherwise) are completists, I, for the most part, am not. I do not need to own every release by a paricular artist or label. Why do I bring this up? Some funk collectors chase every James Brown-related record, and this happens to be one of them. From what I have been able to find out about this 45, it was recorded by the Original Drifters in December 1964, even though it is only credited to Bill Pinkney, who was the bassist.

The tune itself is a rough, early soul dancer, almost having a "frat" garage sound, perhaps due to the guitar having the lead. And when the guitar comes crashing in with the horns, it's plenty good. The backing group repeat the dance in a simple mantra: "Jerk, Jerk, (quick pause) Jerk, Jerk" while the singer screams the steps to the dance. It's the kind of tune that one could imagine would have been jaw-droppingly intense when performed live.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

(Can't Help It, Baby) This Is My Thing

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The holidays have come and gone, the new year is here, and I am looking forward to things returning to normal. Unfortunately, I am going out of town this week for business, so I guess I'll have to wait a bit longer.

Anyway, I thought I'd present another great 45 that just so happens to have a gold label, Tommy Bass's "(Can't Help It, Baby) This Is My Thing", which was released on Soulful Records out of New York. Not sure if there were any other releases on this label, but this 45 certainly lives up to the label name.

"This Is My Thing" is a gritty funky soul tune. Tommy's delivery is amazing, moving through a range of emotions as he lays out his heart to the woman that's left him. The music is straightforward, drums, bass & guitar with horns coming for occassional flourishes. Straightforward is the perfect description here, as everything is put right out there. Fantastic stuff.

Have a listen to some of this tune here.