Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It Ain't No Big Thing

A good mix tape (or CD) reveals itself over time; some tunes hit you straight away, while some tunes grow on your over time. If you find yourself skipping over the tunes you used to love, and consequently overplayed, to get to the new songs that have gotten under your skin, you have experienced this. And often, the second group of tunes challenge you in some way. Well, this Personal Touch 45 fell into the second group for me on a comp CD someone made me. I like a good 70s soul tune, but I generally stay away from disco. Personal Touch's "It Ain't No Big Thing" brings in a good bit of both, and mixes it just right.

Musically, "It Ain't No Big Thing" has several things going for it: that fantastic bass line that powers the tune, the booming interplay of the bass and drums during the chorus, and just the right tempo. And the lyrics are great, too: It's an angle of the end of a relationship that isn't often explored in song: it's over, and it ain't no big deal. As she states "You and I should have no fears / About leaving this unhappy home / This love affair we've both outgrown". Nicely delivered, too.

A belated Happy 2009 to everyone.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sissy Walk

I promised myself I would get back into the blog game by Thanksgiving, and just under the wire I offer Freedom Now Brothers' "Sissy Walk" on the All Brothers label outta Philly. After stating in my last post that I had pretty much sworn off e-bay, I must admit that this was an e-bay purchase.

"Sissy Walk" is a fairly well known funk tune, having been sampled years ago, as well as reissued with the fantastic Ann Robinson tune 'You Did It" on the flip. Still, it's a quality tune that is heavy on the horns as well as the drums.

From what I have been able to find on the internet, the All Brothers label was run by Philly DJ Sonny Hopson, and had only 3 releases:

42269 - Freedom Now Brothers "Sissy Walk / It's Our Thing"
61069 - Ann Robinson "I'm Still Waiting / You Did It"
72869 - Emanon's "Look In The Want Ads" / Emanon's Orchestra "Birdwalking"

I placed them in order of what seems to be their release number. If anyone has any additional details or information, it would be appreciated. If any more details come my way, I will update this post.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Love Gonna Pack Up (And Walk Out)

My modus operandi this summer has to been to lay off e-bay and the internet in general for records, and just go out and see what I find at records shows, flea markets, yard sales, etc....I've become lackadaisical about my hobby. It seems to be much more fun to see what I stumble upon instead of having a list of records I must own and seeking them out. It makes for some ups and downs, some surprises, as well as some serious disappointments.

Why do I tell you this? Because, upon hearing Sly, Slick & Wicked's "Love Gonna Pack Up (And Walk Out)" on a mix CD a month or so ago, I broke with my standard way of doing things and hunted down a copy off the internet pronto. The tune is stripped down soul of the highest order - no horns or orchestration, just the vocalists, the drums, and organ, and an occassional appearance by the bass and guitar players. Just those snapping drums holding everything together while the organist supports the vocal harmonies (and, when playing in between the vocals, adding a nice bit of moodiness to the tune). A special mention about the lead vocalist, who really tears up this tune by wringing the emotions out of the lines like "does it matter / whose fault it was?" by pushing the first half and pulling back on the latter half. Finally, the whole tune has a 'roughness around the edges' to it that works well for the subject matter. Fantastic stuff. More tunes like this, please.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Vinyl Record Day, 8/12/2008

I'm coming in on the tail end of Vinyl Record Day, but wanted to add my thoughts and well wishes for this celebration of all things round and meant to be played on a turntable.

This summer I've done something different and taken a break from my normal record collecting habits (focusing on soul, funk, jazz 45s), have given up on e-bay, and have just relied on the record I have been able to find at various flea markets, yard sales, thrift shops, as well as record shops and shows. It has made for some interesting listens, as I have bought obscure hip-hop 12s at a yard sale, someone's collection of chanting records from a thrift shop, psychedelic and early 70s rock LPs from the only box of records at a flea market at a church in Trenton. Basically, I have spent this summer buying records outside of my comfort zone, which has sometimes surprised me, sometimes disappointed me.

On this Vinyl Record Day I want to advocate something different: before you put on your favorite record, give something that hasn't quite clicked with you another chance. You just might be surprised.

There's a number of blogs celebrating Vinyl Record Day, and the full list of participants can be seen over at The Hits Just Keep OnComin blog.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

El Pito

Here's a latin scorcher that I bought for the flipside, a cover of Jr. Walker's "Shotgun", last year, and recently flipped over. Boy was I wrong about the side to listen to on this one. Anyway, "El Pito" is a cover (originally done by Joe Cuba) taken from an LP entitled "King of the Boogaloo" by Pete Terrace.

Opening with a a whistling interlude, this tune gets right down to it, and is fueled by hand-clapping over the groove. The handclapping never stops, no matter what the instruments do, and there are plenty of tempo changes throughout. And every time the tune begins to build again, there's that catchy piano line, and then the drums come in, and then vocals come in, and we're off.

This is probably one of those tunes that shouldn't be written about. This tune's purpose is very direct: get up off your butt and dance.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tell It Like It Is

Tonight's 45 is a record by S.O.U.L. (Sounds of Unity and Love) outta Cleveland, Ohio. S.O.U.L. released 10 45s and 2 LPs on the Musicor label in the early 70s, and their LPs are particularly sought after, as well as at least one of their 45s (who's got a copy of 'Burning Spear' for me?). I wish I could say that I'm always buying their 45s when I come across them, but unfortunately, it's not very often that I see them at shops or shows.

This tune is a solid groover that has plenty of changes throughout. The vocals are sung by a number of the members of the group, which gives the tune a "show band" sound to me. The vocals and thewah-wah of the guitar are up in the mix, bass and organ in a support role underneath. There's a couple breakdowns where everything falls away except the drums, bongos andwah-wah of guitar behind the vocals, the second breakdown features a separating of the voices before going into a piano-led outro. I dig that falsetto. Would have liked to heard more of that, but nothing to complain about here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Can't Believe You Love Me

I've been meaning to feature this great 45 by the Ambassadors that I bought last year, somehow misfiled, and only recently had the opportunity to really sit down and listen to. Like the Helene Smith 45 featured a while back, this was another record I pulled from a box ofunsleeved 45s at my local flea market (looking at unsleeved 45s being a practice I only really took to last year). Anyway, enough talk of my collecting habits, and, instead, let's talk about this fantastic slice of soul by The Ambassadors released on Arctic in 1969.

Opening with a steady beat, a lovely bit of jangly guitar, and ace harmonies, the song settles into it's groove and then when the lead vocalist comes in, the song really takes off. His vocals are spectacularly soulful. He consistently brings his vocals up out of the tune, and in the choruses, he works with, or juxtaposes against the backing vocals, sometimes finishing their lines to very nice effect. Lines like "When I speak your name in the sweetest tone, It's just as though I'm all alone" just knock me out. The production is quality, a rich sound of horns, piano, bass and drums grounding the vocals (especially like the bass sound of the horns as the vocals soar).

The more I hear on this label, the more I am impressed. Quality stuff.