Friday, July 30, 2010

Funky Fridays: G.L. Crockett - "Watch My 32"

It's the end of the work week, for most at least, and we all need to get just a tiny bit funky to prepare for the weekend. I'm bringing you a ominous little slab of funk that I picked up in NoLA (thanks NoLA). The artist is G.L. Crockett, short lived singer whose discography spans just four 45s. The song is "Watch My 32," a promissory message from Crockett that you better not forget about him and his 32. The lyrics are an explicit response to some of his contemporaries: J.R. Walker and The Sharpees.

This song is so damn killer and I don't understand how it isn't talked about more frequently and why it doesn't really go for any serious dollars. The song literally starts out with a blast, immediately you're shot in the head with the drums and a blaring sax solo. The guitar immediately falls in with a staccato-laden riff that is nothing short of hypnotizing, this continues as the song evolves around the riff all the while G.L. croons his cautionary note to watch your back. There's a haunting quality to G.L.'s voice that hovers of the song like a ghost. I'm a huge fan of this one and I hope y'all can dig it too. Enjoy the week and I'll be back soon with some more jams.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Please tell me so before I go crazy

Hello mis amigos, como estan? Been meaning to post this one for a while now. I'm trying to keep the posts regular and quality so I hope you're all following me here. If you dig what I'm doing on here please feel free to drop a comment or subscribe to the blog.

Here's a cut from Little Jerry Williams aka Jerry Williams aka Swamp Dogg coming straight out of 1966 on Calla. It's a nice little Northern Soul heater. I really dig how the chord progressions in the verses are ascending and the bridge and choruses descend, it creates a nice little bit of dynamic tension in the song. The horn charts in the bridge are kind of somber sounding and at times the song seems a little melancholic. Some nice guitar work going on in there too if you pay attention.

Hope you guys enjoy it, be well.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two-for-Tuesday: Two Covers- from Truman Thomas

Like the aliteration in today's title? Me too. First thing's first, this post goes out to my buddy Kevin who is so graciously allowing my woman and I to steal his newly set up internets. Also I got the scanner workin' so I can continue providing you with tasty scans of the labels.

Today's post brings you two superb covers done by organist expert Truman Thomas. According to Mr. Funky16Corners Thomas is a Texas native who got his start playing in Jackie Wilson's band and eventually set off on his own to drop some great funky sides.

I bought this record because I'm always intrigued when I find a song that intersects two unlikely genres/artists (i.e. a soul player covering a rock song and vice versa). With The Band being one of my all time favorites I found it absolutely necessary to own this record. The Band themselves crossed over and combined so many different genres and styles of music, hell they even wrote a couple straight up funk songs, "Up On Cripple Creek" and "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" just to name two. Thomas' cover of "The Weight" is just such an awesome take on the song. It has everything you could ask for: electric piano, organ, blazing-treble-induced guitar work that would make Robbie Robertson sweat a little bit, some blaring horns for good measure, and very tastefully implement soul-sister backups to compliment Truman's work on the keys. I'm in love with this version.

The second cover is less surprising, a fantastic version of Edwin Starr's "Twenty-Five Miles." Thomas' version stays pretty close to the original with the only major difference of the substitution of Starr's vocals for Thomas' blazing work on the organ. He definitely shows his chops on this one and it makes for an excellent version of the song. Again, I like the tasteful use of backup singers to accent Thomas' playing and to keep a little something of the original in the cover. Two great tracks.

Be good my friends.

Truman Thomas - "The Weight"

Truman Thomas - "Twenty-Five Miles"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Two-for-Tuesday: Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces featuring Chico - "Try My Love" & "Go Ahead and Burn"

First off I went to express my deep grief upon hearing the news regarding the loss of original Big Star bassist Andy Hummel, and only four months after Alex Chilton passed away. Big Star's influence over rock and roll often goes unspoken but it's undeniably substantial. The band's influence on my life has been larger and more important than any other single musician or band. Another terrible loss.

On a more upbeat (literally) note I'm bringing you two smokin' tunes coming straight out of 1966 from Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces featuring Chico. The group released a plethora of quality singles, with "Hey Mr DJ" often being considered the pinnacle of their discography. I beg to differ though as I present you with today's two-sider with the tracks "Try My Love Again" and "Go Ahead and Burn."

I don't care what you tell me, "Try My Love Again" is a reggae song. Everything about the track boasts the characteristics of mid-to-late 60's reggae, the only difference is Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces were from Georgia and not Jamaica. I happen to think this is an outstanding tune and could have probably fit somewhere on "The Harder They Come" soundtrack. I love the completely off beat drums at a minute into the track. Great tune

The other side is just as killer. A very funky dance track called "Go Ahead and Burn." The song churns about in a slow and smokey way with very minimal instrumentation and vocals. This two-sider is a great example of the band's ability to slip in-and-out of different styles while still maintaining a vibe that's all their own.

"Try My Love Again"

"Go Ahead and Burn"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Jay Berliner - "Stickball"

Hello all! It's still hot and disgusting in New York today so today's post is for all my fellow men and women who've been suffering through the stifling heat of the city. Hopefully you have some way to stay cool, or if not you've enjoyed yourself a nice cool beverage, a beer preferably, and found a slight reprieve from sweating like a dog.

Days like yesterday (I meant to post this yesterday but the stolen internet would not cooperate) fulfill my romanticized idea of what summer in the big city should be like: kids busting open hydrants and getting into other forms of mischief, ice cream men making their rounds peddling their cool treats, loud raucous music blasting from cars and apartment windows, and pickup games of basketball, baseball, and stickball. I have the perfect song for these days: Jay Berliner's "Stickball." If anyone would be able to create a song to provide a soundtrack of sorts for days like this it's Jay Berliner. Brooklyn native and guitarist extraordinaire. This track oozes and sweats tough swagger. The guitar tone on this song is killer and Berliner's playing is phenomenal. He totally rips it apart on this one. I don't know what's up with that bit reduction effect towards the end of the song but it works really well. Totally funky track to compliment the totally funky heat of the summer.

What's even cooler about this very particular copy is that it's marked with a sharpie with the name "Flowers." Flowers stands for Grandmaster Flowers, Brooklyn native and very early and influential pioneer of Hip-Hop. Google the name and see what comes up, the man practically gave birth to DJ culture and is often credited as one of the first DJ's to create mixes by playing different records sequentially effectively giving birth to the mix as we know it today. He opened for James Brown at Yankee Stadium and often threw block parties on the streets of Brooklyn where he would spin records, like the one today, and provide a killer soundtrack to some summer bashes. I have a handful of 45s that belonged to him and I love the history correlated with them in addition to the original music. Here's a live recording of a mix that Grandmaster Flowers did in 1979. Hope y'all dig the tune and the history.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

You turned a breeze into a hurricane.

I think we need to cool things down in here (and in NYC) after the other day's post. I have just the thing: a funky tune from Chicago's Ruby Andrews called "You Ole Boo Boo You." Out of all the 45's I have of Andrews this track is my favorite. This one was released later in her career, in '71 I believe, and is without a doubt the best representation of her talent as a singer. The track is a lot funkier than her earlier releases, some of which are Northern Soul favorites.

The music backing Andrews has some serious swagger, it's just plain badass. At first I though that horn accenting on the chorus was a sax but I'm 99% sure it's a harmonica. It has to be. I love the fact that a harmonica was implemented on such a funky tune, it adds a slight bluesy vibe to the song that takes it to an even higher level of badassness. I definitely dig this one, hope ya'll do too.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back with a serious bang: Marvelle & The Blue Mats "The Dance Called The Motion"

I'm back, kind of at least. Still working on getting the apartment together between working two jobs and trying to continue my lifestyle as a man of leisure at least part time. I've rigged it so I can temporarily make posts using stolen internet from a unknown and generous neighbor of mine and unfortunately I've been forced to revert back to using the camera on my computer to take pictures of the records until I get a scanner rigged. Most importantly though my method of converting records to mp3s is the same and excellent as always.

I'm coming back with a serious heater. This track isn't any particularly un-charted territory and a quick google search will reveal a handful of blogs, forums and mixes featuring the track. All that doesn't change how out of control the song is. There are funk songs that make you want to dance and then there are funk songs that make you want to dance so hard you bust through the floor, this happens to be one of those. The song starts with a monster drum break and a exuberant count from Marvelle until it explodes into a tremendous groove lead by a genius sax line. The sax solo mid way through the song is amazing and the drummer playing like crazy on the ride cymbal, so damn awesome. The record consistently fetches some serious dough on eBay, lucky for me I found this copy, which other than the label is in absolutely dead mint condition, for real real cheap while in New Orleans. Hope ya'll dig this one.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

America, sweet America.

Here's a post to tithe you over until I get settled into the apartment. The move is coming along decently. I've also been reminded of how much moving all of your stuff sucks, it's probably my least favorite thing to do. Anyway, I should be up and running soon enough with lots and lots of amazing records from my trip to New Orleans.

Here's one from Ray Charles today in honor of my country's independence. Beautiful song, beautiful country, and a beautiful day. Light some fireworks and drink some beer.