Wednesday, November 26, 2008

PLAYING CATCH-UP
posted by O.W.


1) The last covers-related mix I'll likely do for a while is now up as a podcast for Truth and Soul Records. Here's the tracklisting:
    1. Crowns of Glory: Ain't No Sunshine
    2. Joe Bataan: Under the Street Lamp
    3. Mark Holder: Mixed-Up Cup
    4. Karkey and Woodward: Dirty Old Bossa Nova
    5. Nancy Holloway: Hurts So Bad
    6. Smith: Baby, It's You
    7. Rhetta Hughes: Baby, I Need Your Loving
    8. Eduardo Araujuo: Baby, Baby Sim Baby
    9. Ray Barretto: Pastime Paradise (edit)
    10. Fruta Bomba: Che Che Colé
    11. Black Sugar: Valdez In the Country
    12. Monty Alexander: Love and Happiness
    13. Timothy McNealy: I'm So Glad You're Mine
    14. Candi Staton: In the Ghetto
    15. David Briggs: Son of a Preacher Man
    16. The Professionals: I Can See Clearly Now
    17. The Troubadours: My Sweet Lord
    18. Roberta Flack: Gone Away
    19. Alton Ellis: Ain't No Music
I will not be making this available in the short-term as a separately tracked mix (though I have something in the works). For those without iTunes access, here's a download alternative: http://rapidshare.com/files/168317017/final.mp3.

2) It's a Kanye-palooza! Here's my NPR review of 808s and Heartbreak and I had a few more things to say about it for my Side Dishes column.






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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

OUT OF THIS WORLD
posted by Eric Luecking



Mr. Chop: The Infinity Machine
From Lightworlds EP (Now Again, 2008)


Three years ago when you thought of Now Again, progressive wasn't the first word that came to mind. Sure, they have a different approach than the majors - sell what you would want to buy yourself, not what you think the consumer wants. That's the luxury of having a core audience who, at the very least, samples most of your releases because they respect your label. But when you thought of Now Again, you thought of soul reissues and lost treasures unearthed. It was like finding that $5 in a pair of jeans in your laundry basket and thinking, "Oh yeah, glad I found that again!"

With labels like Numero doing their own brand of stellar reissues, as well as the boys across the pond at Jazzman releasing some wonderful compilations, and Daptone forging their own way down Soul Street with retrosoul, you began to wonder where Now Again fit into the market. Although it's doubtful that they will abandon the reissue field altogether, they're looking to expand their sound.

Last year, we were introduced to the self-described "Out There" sounds of The Heliocentrics. This year - enter, Coz Littler, aka Mr. Chop. Featuring some of the same personnel from The Heliocentrics along with other UK session musicians, you're taken on a journey to the center of nowhere... and everywhere. And maybe even beyond that. It's too encapsulating to call it electronica because it blends the sounds of electronica with psychedelia and so much more

Malcolm Catto comes with some of the hardest hitting drums this side of the Milky Way and Jake Ferguson's bass is just as aggressive. On the opener "The Infinity Machine," it feels like a space chase. The sound is coming at you from all directions. With synthy strings and steady bass, you are taken on an epic sonic journey. "Zoid" has a slow build while "Conversations" is less song and more musical thought and tinkering, which is not to say "Conversations" is bad; it fits right in place with the rest of the EP.

Are you in a spy thriller? Have you been hit by a bus - or about to be? Have you been abducted by aliens? The answer to all three feels like a resounding yes. It's not that you feel like you're scared for your life; it's just that your heart is racing like it.


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Monday, November 17, 2008

MOTOR CITY BUMPS
posted by O.W.


Stevie Wonder: Send Me Some Lovin'
From I Was Made To Love Her (Motown, 1967)

The Marvelettes: Here I Am Baby
From Sophisticated Soul (Motown, 1968). Also on The Ultimate Collection.

Brenda Holloway: How Can I
From Cellarful of Motown (Motown)


I'm in another one of those "swamped by work" times but here's a trio of Motown tracks that have been keeping my spirits groovin' along of late.

The Stevie is one of the gazillion album cuts that he has that help you realize: dude was limitless in his talents in the '60s through '70s. Any given album would have all kinds of great songs that never made it to single (and those that did, usually became hits). Check out that ridiculously funky backing track the Funk Brothers lay down here.

Likewise, the Marvelettes song is one of their funkier outings; a smoky, mid-tempo stepper that shows off some of the group's multi-harmony magic.

Vocally though, it's hard to beat this incredible Brenda Holloway song that comes from the unreleased vaults of Motown. Absolutely stunning arrangement and performance from Holloway (and those back-up singers put the icing on).


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Saturday, November 15, 2008

MAYER HAWTHORNE: WORK THIS OUT
posted by O.W.


Mayer Hawthorne and the County: Just Ain't Gonna Work Out
From 7" (Stonesthrow, 2008)


Ok, let's go through the checklist of this debut 7" single by Stonesthrow's newest artist:

White soul singer who likes to croon falsetto? Check.
"Tramp" drums underneath a sublimely sweet ballad? Check.
A heart-shaped 7"? Check.


So what you waitin' for? Cop this.


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Thursday, November 13, 2008

SALE SALE SALE ON DAPTONE CATALOG
posted by Eric Luecking

Per Daptone newsletter:

Daptone Catalog on Sale!
For a limited time, the entire Daptone Records .mp3 catalog is on sale at Amazon.com for $6.99 each. You can also download a FREE sampler featuring a track from every one of our full-lengths.
Daptone Records Digital Sampler on Amazon.com. Click here.

1. The Sugarman 3 Feat. Naomi Shelton "Promised Land"
2. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings "100 Days, 100 Nights"
3. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings "Pick it Up, Lay it in the Cut"
4. The Budos Band "Chicago Falcon"
5. The Mighty Imperials "Thunder Chicken"
6. The Budos Band "Up From the South"
7. The Daktaris "Eltsuhg Ibal Lasiti"
8. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings "How Long Do I Have to Wait for You?"
9. The Sugarman 3 "Chicken Half"
10. The Sugarman 3 "Turtle Walk"
11. The Poets of Rhythm " More Mess On My Thing"
12. Bob & Gene "I Can Be Cool"
13. The Como Mamas Feat. Mary Moore "Trouble In My Way"
14. Menahan Street Band "Make the Road by Walking"

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

EVOLVER: THE (R)EVOLUTION OF JOHN LEGEND
posted by Eric Luecking



John Legend: If You're Out There
From
Evolver (Columbia, 2008)

John Legend: Pride (In The Name Of Love) (cover of U2)
From
Evolver (Wal-Mart Exclusive Version) (Columbia, 2008)

Recently I had the opportunity to chat with John Legend about his new album Evolver as well as where he's been and where he's going.

EL: It's great to see a superstar artist in this day and age who is multi-talented. You can write, sing, and play instruments. Why do you think there aren't more artists that labels can promote as superstars like they have with you?

JL: Every situation is unique. This is a difficult business. Some times it's the choices that the artist makes. But the labels are chasing what the consumer wants, and that doesn't always line up with the type of artist who can do all that.

EL: How do you balance artistic expression with both fan and label expectations. For John Legend, where does music meet business and still come out honest?

JL: First and foremost, I have to be proud of the music and make the best music I can. If I'm excited about it, the label is going to be excited about it. I try to think of the fans, because I want them to be pleased, more than thinking about what the label expects of me.

EL: So album #3... Evolver has a more pop, radio-oriented sound. You stated during an interview with Chris Douridas for New Ground last year, "By not sticking to the script for the second album, it allows me to not stick to the script for the third." Talk about why you decided to present an album such as Evolver as opposed to a more conventional, soul album.

JL: I just want to keep pushing and challenging myself. Making the same album over and over gets boring. The world keeps moving, and I want to keep moving with it.

EL: I think "If You're Out There" off the new album is a great call to power song and might be more fitting as a theme song to your Show Me Campaign than what "Show Me" is/was. It's like the 2008 version of "We Are The World" without the oversaturation of artists in the song. Can you talk about your inspiration for this song and how it resonates with the average American's psyche right now?

JL: It's perfect for now. I think there is a hunger for change, and you have to inspire people to move. People got out to vote who hadn't previously. People got involved. But I also hope that people are inspired to get out to work with charities and get informed with decisions that their congressmen are making.

I think that "If You're Out There" is a more fitting song for the campaign, but "Show Me" was a big inspiration to start it.

EL: What does it mean to you as a person and as an artist to be able to be the opener for a presidential nominee national convention to sing "If You're Out There"? That's not an honor bestowed upon many.

JL: I am honored to be a part of history. It was great to back a candidate who I think was the most qualified.

EL: Back to Evolver... The Sunday Times, a UK publication, reviewed Evolver and had the following to say:

"...his contemporary soul, lovely though its melodies are, suggests facility rather than passion, skill instead of instinct.... You suspect Legend aspires to be a modern Stevie or Marvin. He has ended up as the 21st-century Lionel Richie."

How do you respond to that?

JL: Well it definitely sounds like a diss, but it's their right to make that assessment. While I'm not as familiar with Lionel's work as I am with Marvin and Stevie's, Lionel has written some great material. So while they're trying to make it sound like a diss, I feel like my work stands on its own.

EL: You've written your own songs as well as for others, much like Isaac Hayes. It seems like the singer/songwriter tag has been lost on the black artist when being spoken about by mainstream publications. Do you consider that a disservice to you and other black singer/songwriters?

JL: I don't see it as a slight. Some times they do label me as a singer/songwriter but not necessarily in the sense of a guy who picks up a guitar and sings folk songs. I think they use it as a genre categorization. So, no, I don't see it as a slight.

EL: The lost artform: the original movie theme song. The AP wrote a terrific article last year about studios/directors selecting previously recorded material to create their soundtrack as opposed to having artists create new works to set mood throughout the film. You've recorded some very beautiful, yet below-the-radar material for the 2007 films Pride and August Rush, both of which you either wrote or co-wrote. Why do you think original songs have become less common? Is a full soundtrack something you'd be interested in doing?

JL: Right now, the market for soundtracks is down so studios don't want to spend as much money commissioning an artist for original works. Plus, movies sell better when they use a more familiar song during the commercial. It comes down to what the studios want to spend.

A full soundtrack is definitely something I'd be interested in if the right project came along.

EL: You're one of the few artists that I've heard who can seamlessly switch from a full band show to a one-man band show. Some examples include the Knitting Factory live CD and a show from the Jazz Cafe that the BBC broadcast online before the Get Lifted album came out, both of which were just you and a piano. Have you considered releasing an acoustic album of either new material or compiling acoustic versions of previous material such as some of the Live At VH1 sessions?

JL: I definitely want to do it and have had a lot of requests from the fans for an album like that; so look out for that in the future.

EL: You performed a cover of "I Won't Complain" on Oprah a couple of years ago. Any chance you'll pull a reverse Sam Cooke and go from pop (back) to some gospel roots?

JL: Anything can happen. I'm comfortable with a lot of styles, and "I Won't Complain" was a lot of fun to perform.

EL: Is there any album session you wish you could have been a part of as a session writer or musician, oldies or current?

JL: The first thing that comes to mind is the "What's Going On" album. It's such a great album.

EL: With all the soul greats essentially dying off year by year (Barry White, Ray Charles, and James Brown a couple of years ago; Isaac Hayes, Norman Whitfield, and Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops this year), each having left his indelible mark not only on soul music, but popular music in general, what mark do you hope to leave on popular music and how will you go about approaching it?

JL: I just want to be remembered as a great songwriter and performer. I'd like to be remembered as an artist who made some classic songs. Hopefully I'll continue to perform for a long time.

EL: Speaking of performing, I've seen you live a couple of times - from your Get Lifted tour in 2005 and this past summer at Indy Jazz Fest in addition to your DVD releases. I've noticed you've gotten more comfortable with being out front dancing and not necessarily being tied to the piano.

JL: I have become more comfortable with being out front. It's an expression of the music, I think, and the fans come to connect with you. So I want to connect with them. Some of it, too, is that certain songs don't call for a piano, and so it wouldn't make sense to just sit there behind a piano on them.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Q-TIP: THE VIBE IS BACK
posted by O.W.


Q-Tip: Won't Trade + Believe (feat. D'Angelo)
From The Renaissance (Motown, 2008)

Ruby Andrews: You Made a Believer Out Of Me
From 7" (Zodiac, 1969). Also on Casanova.

Large Professor: For My People
From The LP (Geffen, unreleased, 1995)


Having sat with Q-Tip's new album for a few...I have to say, this is phenomenal. I know I may be biased - like many rap fans who grew up in the 1990s, Q-Tip and A Tribe Called Quest might very have been to us what the Beatles were to my parents' generation. Especially given that Q-Tip has been incognito now for the last 9 years, since Amplifeid dropped (and Kamaal The Abstract did not), Q-Tip's coming back into the game at a risky time. Young bucks don't necessarily know him and old heads might have too-high expectations after such a long hiatus.

I can't speak to whether The Renaissance is going to intuitively appeal to the same cats bumping T.I. and Young Jeezy (though, in T.I.'s case, maybe they are) but as an old head, The Renaissance not only reminds us why Q-Tip was one of our favorite MCs a decade but he's also - remarkably - improved in that time off. I can't think of too many other rappers who could claim that but Tip's upgraded his flow. It's more rhythmically complex, more in-the-pocket yet can play off the beat when it wants to. Listen to how he just darts effortlessly on "Won't Trade" - this is not the same laconic, breezy flow from the days of "Bonita Applebaum."

Personally, I was also tickled by the fact that Tip uses one of my favorite femme funk singles of all time: Ruby Andrews' "You Made a Believer" out of me. Andrews' original is ferocious - I think that's the Brothers of Soul backing her and they cook up a monster of a funk mover here.

Q-Tip's sample choice actually has some Native Tongues resonance since De La Soul used the same loop all the way back in 1989 for a bonus skit called "Brain Washed Follower."

However, as I just suggested, Q-Tip is still down with the Abstract Poet vibe, recreating some of the magic of the Tribe era with songs that have a rich, emotional resonance thanks to the soul and jazz stylings and accented by Tip's own philosophical meditations. A track like "Believe" (the album's penultimate song) embodies the same qualities that Tip's embodied throughout his career - putting the MIA D'Angelo in the mix only enhances the sweetness.

I was enjoying the track so much, I didn't notice this right away but it dawned on me that it sounded familiar and then it hit me - this version of "Believe" interpolates a very similar beat to what Large Professor cooked up all the way back in 1996 for his doomed solo debut, The LP. In some ways, the two men share more than just musical tastes - both had bitter label experiences resulting from unreleased projects. Though Large Professor's new Main Source hasn't garnered the same attention (or strong reviews), there's a nice serendipity to having the unreleased song from one man's album being remade for the comeback album of the other.

If you want to check out my radio review of this album, voila.
(This post originally written for Side Dishes).


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Monday, November 10, 2008

GOODNIGHT, MS. MAKEBA
posted by O.W.



Miriam Makeba, dead at 76.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

JAMES BROWN AND JOE BATAAN: DOCUMENTED
posted by O.W.


I Got The Feelin': James Brown in the '60s (Shout Factory, 2008)

Joe Bataan: Mr. New York Is Back (Vampisoul, 2008)


Finally took some time recently to look at two music-related DVDs.

The first is I Got the Feelin': James Brown In the '60s, a 3-DVD set comprised of two concerts (Boston Gardens, 4/5/68 & the Apollo Theater, 3/68), plus a documentary, The Night James Brown Saved Boston.

The latter is in reference to one of the astounding cultural moments of the turbulent late '60s: the day after MLK's assassination, Brown came to Boston and it was decided that not only would the show go on, but WGBH would broadcast the show throughout the city as a way to "keep the peace." To that degree, it was successful as Boston did not suffer the same levels of rioting or arrests as other major American cities.

Here's some video from one of the tensest moments from that evening:


The doc is by director David Leaf (same guy who made John Lennon vs. the U.S.) and I have to say; it's worth the price of the box-set itself. I thought the film did an excellent job of not just framing the events leading up to and following the April 5th show, but more importantly, it contextualizes the complexities and contradictions of James Brown as a civic, cultural and political leader of the time. I think there's a conventional wisdom that Brown was a shrewd opportunist - which he was - but in an era of such remarkable strife in America, Brown also tried to step up in the social realm as well and while he certainly wasn't the most consistent of activists (see: endorsing Nixon, oof!), is complexities help make him a richer character study; something this documentary drives how very, very well. To boot, it has superior production values and some incredible footage of the time.

So good in fact that I wasn't as invested in watching the actual show itself though, at some later point, I'll probably go back to it. The Live at the Apollo '68 footage was compelling as well, especially since it's intercut with segments of James Brown reflecting on the state of America while being filmed, walking around uptown New York. It's not, in my opinion, his most scintillating concert (you need to find his Olympia, 1971 show, holy mother of god) but it's shot and recorded well. The extra bonus footage of him performing with the Famous Flames from 1964 is especially killer. For one, his performance presence was well-honed from early on and second, his performance of "Out of Sight" is such a clear predictor of his future funk innovations.


The other DVD I watched was Joe Bataan: Mr. New York Is Back from Vampisoul, the Spanish label that released Joe's comeback album, Call My Name. I have to confess, much as I wanted to really like this - and I'm obviously a big fan of Joe - it does feel kind of slapped together. For one, the video relies on a single interview done with Joe with poor lighting and apparently, no boom mic so the sound isn't great. It's not unwatchable but it also doesn't feel particularly professional. Overall, the documentary has its moments, especially with all the vintage photographs that they dug up for it but especially having just seen The Night James Brown Saved Boston, the difference in production is easily seen.

Here's a trailer for the doc:


Second, the English version hires someone for whom English isn't his first language and while he's intelligible, his sense of English's spoken cadence and pronunciations is off enough that it proves to be a distraction.

Third, among the bonus material, there's a discography that's full of wrong dates and albums that aren't actually part of Joe's formal discography; sloppy stuff.

Ok: the good stuff? Also on the bonus material are two different videos, filmed in Europe I believe, for "Rap O Clap O," Joe's big hip-hop hit from 1979. Just as time capsule, both are great and can be enjoyed both genuinely and ironically. The bonus material also includes a somewhat poor recording of a 1995 show at S.O.B.s but also has better footage from a 2005 show in Spain (though again, the audio quality is notably thin).

Here's a bonus video (not one of the ones on the DVD) of one of Joe's European appearances:


In short, I'm glad something like this is out there but it also suggests that there's room for improvement for a future Joe Bataan documentary to tackle.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

RAPHAEL SAADIQ: THE BONUS ROUNDS
posted by O.W.


Raphael Saadiq: Kelly Ray
From The Way I See It (Itunes version)

Raphael Saadiq: Seven
From The Way I See It (FYE version)


Call it the gift that keeps on giving (well, ok, more like a smart marketing idea) but while Saadiq's new album has been gaining all sorts of fans with each passing week, he's helping maintain interest by putting up several bonus tracks on different versions of the album. (Thanks to Eric Luecking for keeping me up to date).

Both keep true, more or less, to the sound and style of the album itself, especially "Kelly Ray" which clearly nods to the aesthetics of the Hi Records Rhythm section (down to the that signature, heavy Al Jackson backbeat). However, I'm a bigger fan of "Seven," which doesn't hew so closely to any single style though the fuzzy guitar reminds me of something out of Motown's early '70s, psychedelic-influenced years. And unlike the light, pop-y lyrics of "Kelly Ray," this song is both personal and topical - powerful stuff.

More bonus cuts! Keep 'em coming.



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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Reagan Babies in the Age of Obama, Looking Back...
posted by murphyslaw

talkingheads-remain.jpg
more-songs-buildings3.jpg
crhidva76453.jpg


Talking Heads: Crosseyed And Painless and Born Under Punches
Taken from the album Remain In Light on Sire (1980)

And: I'm Not In Love
Taken from the album More Songs About Buildings And Food on Sire (1978)

And... Girlfriend Is Better
Taken from the album Speaking In Tongues on Sire (1983)

As a man who was born into the ignominious era of Reaganomics and Alf (among other things), it is easy sometimes to forget that I was also birthed into a exciting transitional period in American music. That as punk and disco were crashing and by most accounts burning; that while much of radio-played pop music bordered on the unlistenable (don't tell the revivalists--they might get upset); and even as many of the tried and true bastions of musical purity (see soul, see jazz) seemed to be pushing through uncomfortable growing pains... a unique climate was beginning to blossom. One that would allow the ushering in of some genuinely outsider music. The kind of explosive, subversive, bizarre and utterly enjoyable pop that probably would not have flown at all if the pervasive landscape had not been so barren.

I'm not going to embark on a whole hoo-rah New Wave rant here. Partly because, truth be told, I'm not a particularly ardent fan of the New Wave writ large... (Certain exceptions exist obviously; Blondie comes to mind.) I did however grow up listening to the Talking Heads (my dad was a fan and had a "Best Of" or two laying around) and though I largely took them for granted in my youth, I've been recently re-inspired by the how-shall-we-say "unique" vision that David Byrne & Co. realized with their music. Let's put it this way: I just saw Stop Making Sense for my first time and, um, it was incredible.

(If you haven't seen it, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Witness real creativity. The film is less a concert movie than a profoundly exciting piece of performance art. Byrne and director Jonathan Demme did it so proper they even got Pablo Ferro [Dr. Strangelove, anyone? Look him up.] to do the opening/closing credit font; I swear that's only damn font I've ever seen that makes me want to weep for its beauty...)

But I digress... So I went online and downloaded every Talking Heads album from '77 right on through and have since been slowly wading through this very impressive body of work, unearthing plenty of gems that were completely new to me and re-embracing a few of the ones that I had forgotten about...

The songs here are ones that stuck out as particularly innovative or amazing or, as in all of their cases, struck me as highly danceable. But again, these are just a small taste of a prolific and incredibly diverse body of work.

"Girlfriend" is the only one of them that I really remembered from childhood and still occasionally drop in DJ sets. The others were all pretty new to me. And boy oh boy. What treats. Listen to Brian Eno getting CRAZY afro-beaty on "Crosseyed"... And how 'bout the BLISTERING dance-punk of "I'm Not In Love"? LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture? Recycled goods.

Art of real character and depth should be discovered and re-discovered. Music this good might just require your own personal journey into the known and the unknown.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

11/4/08
posted by O.W.





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Monday, November 03, 2008

SKYE REVISITED: THERE IS A NEED
posted by O.W.


Skye: Ain't No Need (Unity Mix)
Original version from 7" (Ananda, 1976)


I posted the "Dance mix" of Skye's rare disco 45 "Ain't No Need" back in September but more recently, I finally got my hands on an original copy (thanks Cool Chris!) and had a chance to hear the original version of the song. That's how I learned that the "Dance mix" is basically a long, five minute looping of the last two minutes of the original version and while it certainly is an incredible part of the song, I still like how the rest of the song sounds too so I did a simple edit that combined the two sides into one long, six minute song that includes both "halves."

Enjoy - seriously, this is one of my favorite songs ever.

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BLAZE IT UP: FUNK HEATERS
posted by O.W.



James Brown: The Chicken
From 7" (King, 1969). Also on Popcorn.

Sugar Pie DeSanto: A Little Taste of Soul
From 7" (Gedinson's 100 Wax, 1962).

John Ellison: You've Got to Have Rhythm
From 7" (Phil L.A. of Soul, 1970). Also on Funky, Funky Way of Making Love.

Lou Courtney: Hey Joyce
From 7" (Pop-Side, 1967)

Toussaint McCall: Shimmy
From 7" (Ronn, 196?). Also on Nothing Takes the Place of You.

Little Eva Harris: Get Ready - Uptight
From 7" (Spring, 1968). Also on The Spring Story.

Bonus: Mighty Mo: The Next Message (Version)
From 7" (Peace Find, 2007)


Today's pick six follows on the Latin Party Starters post I made a few weeks back; this time, I offer up a selection of funk tracks. I, by no means, have that impressive of a funk 45 collection but I tend to collect for efficacy rather than rarity.

That's why James Brown is such a blessing - much of his better material is easily attainable since he was so popular and prolific. "The Chicken" is a great example of his late '60s funk styles, more minimalist than his '70s output which tended to be more dense and involved. Something like "The Chicken" is such a clean, simple funk instrumental and no doubt, an inspiration to the dozens of bands who began to churn out similar funk tunes to this and other stuff off the excellent Popcorn LP.

The Sugar Pie DeSanto cut comes from a few years earlier - it's a great example of "proto-funk," one of the many sides from the early 1960s which clearly foresaw the kind of rhythmic energy that the end of the decade would be awash in. Though this song appears on the James Brown's Original Funky Divas anthology, the Brown connection here is somewhat tenuous - he didn't produce the single but his former drummer Nat Kendrick did lead her backing band here. Also, the version here is the original 1962 release (which to me was far superior). The version on the comp was actually an alternate take from 1964 which was much faster but loses something in the trade-off. (Thanks to Cool Chris and the Groove Merchant for this one).

I first heard the John Ellison cut at Miles Tackett's long-running "Funky Sole" party and the first thing it reminded me was Don Gardner's "My Baby Likes to Boogaloo" because of that hard, gritty guitar line that comes in after the intro. That is so my sound. Ellison was one of the Philly soul/funk artists to come out on the Phil L.A. of Soul label but this one, alas, isn't as easy to catch as, say, the People's Choice. I'd love to get any recommendations for other stuff with "that sound".

Lou Courtney's "Hey Joyce" is one of those frustrating 45-only cuts from an artist who has quite a few LPs under his belt but didn't manage to put this song onto any of them. Between Pete Rock and Brainfreeze, this single has had a following for years and you can hear why; it's got everything - an opening breakbeat, killer horns, an absolute gem of a rhythm section and two sets of background singers. Are you kidding me? They don't get much better than this.

The Toussaint McCall might be one of the greatest funk instrumentals (outside of James Brown and Meters) that's so easy to come by, you should be asking yourself why you don't already have this (if you don't already have this). I mean - this thing has what? Two parts: organ and drums but it sounds like a monster.

The Little Eva Harris is probably something I first heard at Funky Sole as well - you know me and covers - the moment I heard this, I knew I had to have it. Seriously - she is killing the "Get Ready" cover and you medley-mix that with Stevie's "Uptight"? Holy s---, that's hot. Her backing band tears this whole track up. Great, great, great stuff.

For a bonus, I added this sort-of new 45 from Finland that Jared Boxx hepped me to last time I was in NYC. The A-side is a cover of Grandmaster Melle Mel's "The Message" but I'm actually partial to the "version" mix on the flipside. Even though the melody from "The Message" isn't as obvious here, the sparser approach appeals to me more but both sides bring down the hammer. Copies of this may be hard to grab still but do your best; you'll be happy you did.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

DJS O-DUB & MURPHY'S LAW PRESENT: RITMO DEL CAMINO
posted by O.W.


First of all, thanks to everyone who came out to the gig on Thursday night; we had a really great time - hope you did too.

Will (Murphy's Law) and I collaborated on our first official Boogaloo[la] mix-CD, Ritmo Del Camino (rhythm of the road). The idea behind the mix was to capture what our gig sounds like. As such, there's a mix of old and new tracks, a range of tempos and genres, but it's all meant to get people a'movin'. I haven't done a party mix in ages and hopefully, Ritmo will inspire me to go back to the lab to knock out another one of my own.

Here's the tracklisting:
    Chua Chua Boogaloo--El Gran Combo
    Tumbando Coco-- Los Tropicales
    Karakatis--Jose Maria
    Soupy--Maggie Thrett

    If you can want--Smokey Robinson
    100 Yard Dash--Raphael Saadiq
    You're Losing Me--Ann Sexton
    Sayin' It and Doin' It--SugaSwing Session
    Bomba--Hermanos Latinos
    Belleza Espiritual--Orquesta Zodiac
    Lupita--Perez Prado
    Cookies--Brother Soul
    Disco Function--Rare Function
    Anikana-O--Kongas
    No Nos Pararan--Charanga 76
    Dilo Como Yo--Chico Mann
    All I Do-- Stevie Wonder (U-Tern remix)
    I'm Your Pimp--The Skull Snaps
    One Way Ticket--The Real Thing
    Eso Se Baila Asi--Willie Colon
    Donde--Bronx River Parkway
    Baby--The Phenomenal Handclapping band
    Under The Street Lamps--Joe Bataan
Right now, we have copies available for digital purchase; we haven't made a firm decision on how many physical copies we plan to sell but there will be CDs made at some point (beyond the ones that we gave out last Thursday) for those who prefer the physical object. The only caveat is that the final CD will be of the same sound quality as the download (256-rate MP3s).

By the way, if you didn't get a copy last week, come back and holler at me or Will this week or next and we should still have copies.

If you want to download the full-res artwork, go here.

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