Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas in Motown


Here are a few classics from the heyday at Motown that are a must at your next holiday party.


The Temptations: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer


Jackson 5: Santa Claus Is Coming to Town


Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: Christmas Everyday

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Have a Blue Christmas

Here are a few more tracks for those who can't make it home for the holidays

John Lee Hooker: Blues for Christmas

A very raw recording by the boogie king from 1960.

Roy Milton: Christmas Time Blues

A 1950 single on the Specialty label

Charles Brown: Please Come Home For Christmas

Everybody knows this track, but it's always been one of my favorites. No Eagles comments please!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ike Turner Dead at 76

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rock 'n' roll pioneer Ike Turner, whose achievements as one of the founding fathers of the genre were overshadowed by ex-wife Tina Turner's claims that he regularly beat her for almost two decades, died on Wednesday at his home near San Diego. He was 76.
His cause of death was not immediately known, said his manager, Scott Hanover.
After years of obscurity, Turner was on a comeback trail of sorts. He won his first Grammy in 35 years this past February for an acclaimed blues album and had been collaborating on musical ideas with producer Danger Mouse, one-half of the pop-soul duo Gnarls Barkley.
The one-time disc jockey arguably invented rock 'n' roll with his 1951 song "Rocket 88," and he enjoyed huge fame in the 1960s and 1970s as the Svengali behind Ike and Tina Turner, a R&B revue that dazzled audiences with high-energy performances of such tunes as "Proud Mary" and "River Deep Mountain High."
But Ike Turner was also a violent man, according to his ex-wife and others including Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, who said he saw him pistol-whip a fellow musician.
"Ike acted like a goddamned pimp," Richards told Vanity Fair in 1993.
Tina Turner's memoir, "I, Tina," and a 1993 biopic "What's Love Got to Do With It" turned Ike Turner into one of the most notorious villains in the music industry.
The singer said her ex-husband regularly abused and humiliated her for 16 years, and drove her to attempt suicide in 1968. He cracked her ribs, threw hot coffee in her face, burnt her with a cigarette and punched her in the nose so often she had to have surgery, she said.
Ike told a New York news conference in 1993, "I only punched her with my fist once. I have slapped her, and the times where I slapped her were when she was looking sad."
A spokeswoman for Tina Turner, who lives in semi-retirement in Europe, said, "Tina is aware that Ike passed away earlier today. She has not had any contact with him in over 30 years."


Ike & Tina Turner: Nutbush City Limits and Sweet Rhode Island Red both from 1973's Nutbush City Limits and countless Best of compilations.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tis The Season

It's that time of year to post some of my favorite Christmas tracks so here are a few to hang on your tree! Fa La La La La!

Clarence Carter: Backdoor Santa

This is one of my favorites from Muscle Shoals great Clarence Carter. This funky twist on the idea of the backdoor man was popularly sampled on the Run-DMC track Christmas In Hollis.

The Staples Singers: Who Took The Merry Out of Christmas?

The Staples aren't too happy with the state of Christmas on this track from 1970's We'll Get Over.

James Brown: It's Christmas Time

They say that the suicide rate goes up during the holidays. James Brown tells us why on this 1969 single.




Saturday, December 1, 2007

New Classic Video

I've been fairly busy with (paying) work so here's a great new video from Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings to curb your appetite.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More Potatoes, Please

I've been stretching my belly all year in preparation for the marathon of gluttony that is Thanksgiving. Starting early with Bloody Marys and copious amounts of tryptophan will ensure I'll be asleep on my brother's couch by 6 pm. Because I'll be too busy chewing, I present my Thanksgiving post today with a spotlight on my favorite side dish. Have a great holiday!

Big Bill Broonzy & Washboard Sam: Diggin' My Potatoes

Ok, I know in the blues world "potatoes" are rarely potatoes but this is just slightly more subtle than "squeeze my lemon 'til the juice runs down my leg". Performed with a classic skiffle style this version can be tracked down on the 1953 Chess release Big Bill Broonzy & Washboard Sam.

James Brown: (Do The) Mashed Potatoes, Pt. 1

Here's and early jam from James Brown in tribute to his favorite dance at the time. Recorded at an outside record label (Dade) in 1959, the track was credited to Nat Kendrick & The Swans to avoid contract issues with Mr. Brown's King label. Local DJ Carlton "King" Coleman is screaming the specials of the day which was overdubbed to hide JB's original vocals although his "Yeah"s are still audible. If you don't have Star Time by now I feel for you.

Maurice Simon And The Pie Men: Sweet Potato Gravy

Another instrumental to help with digestion. Find this on BGP's 2002 compilation SuperFunk3.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Coffy Is The Color

A blaxploitation masterpiece on par with Curtis Mayfield's Superfly and Isaac Hayes' Shaft, Roy Ayers' soundtrack for the 1973 Pam Grier vehicle Coffy remains one of the most intriguing and evocative film scores of its era or any other. Ayers' signature vibes create atmospheres and textures quite distinct from your average blaxploitation effort, embracing both heavy, tripped-out funk (Brawling Broads) and vividly nuanced soul-jazz (Aragon). The vocal numbers are no less impressive, in particular the rapturous opening cut, Coffy Is the Color. Richly cinematic grooves, as inventive and cohesive as any of Ayers' vintage Ubiquity LPs. Check It Out!

Roy Ayers: Coffy Is The Color

Roy Ayers: Aragon

Roy Ayers: Brawling Broads

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Hang On In There

Mike James Kirkland: Hang On In There

Released in 1972, Kirkland's epic track strongly echoes Marvin Gaye's What's Going On released just a year earlier in both subject and sound. This too often overlooked singer soars on this his second of a masterful pair of releases for MCA. You can find the re release by Luv N' Haight here.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Spooky Time

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted anything here. I've been having some storage/download issues. The blog's getting more popular than I expected which couldn't make me happier.
Halloween is my favorite times of year and I've got a few tunes to spice up your Halloween parties. Dig these!

Dusty Springfield: Spooky

You gotta love Dusty's cool delivery on this track from 1968. Originally recorded by Classics IV, I think Dusty's version is the definitive one. You can find it on the re-release of Dusty....Definitely.

Nina Simone: I Put A Spell On You

Something about Nina Simone's voice makes this cover completely eerie. While the Screamin' Jay Hawkins original is comical, this version is dead serious. Supposedly The Beatles got the bridge for Michelle after hearing this tune. You can find this track on Nina's great 1965 release I Put A Spell On You.

Frank De Jo Jo: Turn Off The Lights

This cover of the Larry Young's 1975 sexual classic takes on a whole new scary vibe at Halloween. This track is taken from Ubiquity's first Rewind! compilation.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pledging My Love

Here's a special happy birthday post for my wife Alisen.

Aretha Franklin: Pledging My Love/The Clock

Here's one Alisen hasn't heard yet. It's a beautiful cover from the brand new Rhino collection entitled....(take a deep breath)...Aretha Franklin Rare & Unreleased Recordings from the Golden Reign of The Queen of Soul. This collection a real treasure and a must own for any fan of soul music.

James Brown: For Once In My Life

One of my wife and my's many favorites taken from JB's 1970 big band explosion Soul On Top. It's tough to beat Stevie's original but Mr. Brown sure comes close.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Soul of John Lennon

There is no greater tragedy in music than the loss of John Lennon in 1980. His music and message of peace and love will go on forever as will his remarkable musical legacy. Today would be his 67th birthday and I've selected just a few soulful covers to show the wide influence his music has had. John Lennon is truly missed and the world was a better place with him in it.

Junior Parker: Tomorrow Never Knows

One of John's first "trippy" songs from 1966's Revolver LP is soulfully covered by Memphis bluesman Junior Parker. You can find this haunting rendition on 1971's Love Ain't Nothin But a Business Goin' On.

The Brothers Johnson: Come Together

Here's a somewhat slick, but definitely funky cover of John's Abbey Road composition. You can find this track on The Brothers' 1976 LP Look Out For #1.

Jackie Robinson: In My Life

This is a tune I often turn to to remind me of John Lennon's genius. It never fails to move me and Jackie Robinson sweet vocals captures the nostalgia of the lyrics. You can find this track on Trojan's uneven Beatles Tribute Box Set.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Rainy Day with Ms. James

Leela James: When You Love Somebody

Leela James' 2005 debut LP A Change Is Gonna Come is stellar. Singing well beyond her years Leela lets it all out on this heart ripper.

Etta James: Take It To The Limit

This track from 1994's Live From San Francisco proves what a great singer can do. I'll honestly tell anyone who asks "I HATE THE F_in' EAGLES!" but what Etta does here is simply astonishing. She actually makes me rethink my entire anti-Eagle lifestyle....Then I hear Hotel California and I realize I was right!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Everything Is Possible...In Brazil

Here's a few fairly popular laid back grooves from Brazil to get everyone set for the weekend.

Wilson Simonal: Nem Vem que Não Tem

Though a seminal force in the development of Brazilian popular music, singer Wilson Simonal remains largely unknown outside of South America — the architect of the sound that dominated Brazilian charts during the late '60s, he was the nation's first black pop superstar, but his career never recovered from accusations that he was a police informant. Here's one of the highlights of his career from his 1967 LP Alegria, Alegria!!! but you'll have an easier time finding Gilles Peterson In Brazil from 2004.

Os Mutantes: Baby (1971)

Os Mutantes were one of the most dynamic, talented, radical bands of the psychedelic era — quite an accomplishment during a period when most every rock band spent quality time exploring the outer limits of pop music. Os Mutantes recorded Baby twice, once with some serious psychedelic fuzz guitar and organ in 1968 and this more mellow acoustic version from 1971 featuring Rita Lee on vocals. Find it originally on the LP Jardim Eletrico or more likely on the Luaka Bop release Everything Is Possible: The Best of Os Mutantes.

Raul Seixas: Metamorfose Ambulante

Raul Seixas was a fundamental rocker in Brazil. I have to admit I don't know too much about this recording but you can find it on many Brazilian compilations. I strongly recommend the City of God soundtrack from 2003. By the way the movie is great as well!


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Brother Ray

It was never my intention just to celebrate birthdays on this blog, but they've been coming fast and furious these past few weeks and I cannot ignore the fact that the great Ray Charles was born on this day in 1930. I don't think I need to go into the importance of Brother Ray. Anyone who frequents this blog knows why he's great through his nearly 50 years of recording and we've all seen the movie. His demand for perfection in the studio resulted in some of the greatest recordings of the last century. On a personal note I don't think there is another male voice in all of music that can stir emotion in me quite like Ray. I also tend to agree with his philosophy on labeling music just two ways : good and bad. Hell, I even named my dog Ray Charles! So enough of my yakkin', here's a few funkier selections from Ray that you may or may not have heard. Here's to The Genius.

Ray Charles: Living For The City

This groove is arguably deeper than Stevie's original. Released as a single in 1975, you can find this track on The 1997 Ray Charles box set Genius & Soul: The 50th Anniversary Collection.

Ray Charles: The Jealous Kind

You may be familiar with Joe Cocker's rendition of this Robert Guidry tune, but I think Ray really nails it. Released on his out of print 1977 LP True to Life. The album that includes an array covers from Johnny Nash to Lennon/McCartney to Gershwin.

Aretha Franklin & Ray Charles: Spirit In The Dark (reprise)

This one's a real treat also found on Genius & Soul. An outtake from Aretha Franklin's legendary show at the Fillmore in 1971. Even though he's not too concerned with the lyrics at the start their chemistry is undeniable as Ray takes over offering the hippie crowd a lesson in soul their sure not to forget. "I CAN FEEL IT!!!"

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Soul of a Man

While known the world over as the undisputed King of the Blues, B.B. King at his best bears his soul with his underrated vocals and deep lyrics. At the same time his guitar Lucille can rip out your heart with a single note. Always a gentleman with an incredible life story (I strongly recommend Blues All around Me: The Autobiography of B. B. King ), B.B. is a national treasure not to be overlooked. Born on this day in 1925, I give you a few soulful classics from the ever humble King.

B.B. King: Hummingbird

Here's Bee's soulful rendition of a Leon Russell staple. Heartfelt vocals and searing fret work lead up to a triumphant gospel choir. Find this track on one of B.B.'s best, 1970's Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

B.B. King: Ghetto Woman

Eager to repeat the success of his crossover hit The Thrill Is Gone, B.B. seemed to try the same formula for several years to no avail. One result was this moving, though string heavy track co written with Dave Clark from the 1971 In London LP.

B.B. King: I Like To Live The Love

One of my favorite B.B. soul tunes from 1973's To Know You Is To Love You. Backed by the same Philly rhythm section that powered The O'Jays, The Stylistics, & The Spinners B.B. lays a smooth infectious groove.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Give Me Fever

·Sharon Cash: Fever
A very groovy and desperate cover of the Eddie Cooley standard from the early 70's. Find it on the Ace compilation Living in the Streets, Vol. 2.

·Horace Andy: Fever
Classic 1970 Studio One track. Find it on many best of's. Why not try 1997's
Skylarking

·Jingo: Fever

Relentless Afro Beat from the Last King of Scotland soundtrack.

·Toots & The Maytals: Fever

Toots at his soulful best on the 1976 gem In The Dark.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Keep a Thought for Bo

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Ailing rock 'n' roll pioneer Bo Diddley suffered a heart attack while undergoing a medical check-up, and is in stable condition in a Florida hospital, his spokeswoman said on Tuesday. The 78-year-old musician, whose distinctive rhythms and guitar style influenced rockers from Buddy Holly to the Rolling Stones and U2, felt unwell during a check-up last Friday at North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla. He was transferred to the emergency room where he suffered the heart attack, spokeswoman Susan Clary said in a statement.
He underwent surgery so that a stent could be fitted to help blood flow to his heart. He was moved from intensive care to cardiac care on Tuesday morning, Clary said.
Diddley, whose real name is Ellas Bates [actually Ellas Otha Bates McDaniel:BWM], suffered a stroke in May. It left no physical disability, but it impaired his speech and speech recognition, his manager said at the time. In recent years he also lost some toes to diabetes.
Diddley helped lay the foundation for rock 'n' roll in the mid-1950s when he developed a syncopated "hambone" beat -- known as the "Bo Diddley" beat -- that was aped by Holly on "Not Fade Away," the Who on "Magic Bus," George Michael on "Faith" and U2 on "Desire."
He topped the charts in 1955 with the song "Bo Diddley" and went on to enjoy such hits as "Mona" (covered by the Rolling Stones), "Who Do You Love," and "I'm A Man."
He also cut an imposing figure on stage, sporting a pair of thick spectacles and playing a rectangular guitar. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, alongside bluesman Muddy Waters, and soul icons Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye. But he never received the same sort of mainstream recognition as his peers, and frequently complained that he never received a royalty check.

·Bo Diddley: Gun Slinger

Monday, August 20, 2007

Black Moses' 65th

The most difficult part in celebrating Isaac Hayes' 65th birthday is having to pick just 2 or 3 tunes from his vast catalog to share. Isaac's influence on music in the 60's and 70's is unparalleled. The self taught musician started his career at Stax Records as a saxophone player for The Mar-Kays and a piano player for the Stax house band, but Isaac would truly shine as a songwriter. Along with his writing partner David Porter, Isaac Hayes penned over 200 songs for Stax including When Something's Wrong With My Baby, B-A-B-Y, Hold On I'm Coming, and Soul Man. With his 1967 release Presenting Isaac Hayes, he stepped out from the shadows launching his solo career that truly ignited with 1969's Hot Buttered Soul. With his clean shaven head (an oddity in 1967), omnipresent shades and gold chains Isaac became one of the most unique figures in all music. 1971 found Isaac Hayes at his peak winning the Oscar for his theme from Shaft which was a number one hit that year. Hayes never stopped making music and although he's probably more well known to many as Chef on South Park, the music he created is what makes him a legend.

·Isaac Hayes: Do Your Thing (edited version)
This is undeniably one of Isaac's baddest grooves from 1971's Shaft soundtrack. I'm presenting the radio edit but I advise you all to check the album version that clocks in at over 19 minutes long. Right on!

·Isaac Hayes: The Look of Love

I had to try to cram at least one epic love track in here so here's Isaac's rendition of Burt Bacharach's classic from 1970's ...To Be Continued. Sorry about the low bit rate, but at over 11 minutes and limited server space I had few options. I love the jam from 4:30 on.

·Isaac Hayes: Never Can Say Goodbye

It's a cliche to say "when someone sings a song they truly make it their own", but I think that expression was made just for Isaac Hayes. There's never a doubt who's performing this cover of my favorite Jackson 5 hit. Find it on 1971's Black Moses.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mmmmm...Fresh Tracks


There's hope for the future after all. Here's a few newly acquired nuggets I've recently been diggin'.

·Lyle Workman: Flashback Party Weekend

I know what you're saying..."who the heck is Lyle Workman?!" Well check out the soundtrack for the eagerly awaited film Superbad. Scoring a movie about two white suburban kids in the style of a Blaxpoltation film is comedy alone. But with the likes of Bootsy Collins, Clyde Stubblefield, Catfish Collins, and Bernie Worrell this is no laughing matter. Add classics from Curtis Mayfield, Rick James, Jean Knight & The Bar-Kays and you've got a rather solid soundtrack that's definitely worth a listen.

·Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators: If This Ain't Love (I Don't Know What Is)

Here's my new favorite retro soul queen. Do yourself a favor and buy Keep Reachin' Up. Amy Who-house.

·Prince: Chelsea Rodgers

The latest from an old favorite. Planet Earth is certainly not Prince's greatest album, but you can always count on at least one solid funky number. I dare you to sit still on this one.


Saturday, August 4, 2007

At The Dark End

Although James Carr never really became a household name, he is often condsidered to be in the same class as Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin & Sam & Dave when it comes to raw emotion and power in his vocals. His chronic depression became the main obstacle in his career derailing recording sessions as well as numerous comeback attempts. Carr hit his stride in 1966 with his now classic recording of Dark End of the Street. Despite his new found success, Carr couldn't handle the stress of touring where he would frequently wander off on his own. By 1968, his mental state had deteriorated greatly, making even recording sessions a challenge. He was able to complete a second LP, 1968's A Man Needs a Woman, but in Muscle Shoals for his last session for Goldwax Records in 1969, he simply sat at the microphone and stared into space, singing only one song (the Bee Gees' To Love Somebody). Not long afterward, Goldwax went bankrupt. Wary of the singer's instability, Capitol rescinded an offer to buy out his contract, and although Carr signed with Atlantic, he released only one single in 1971. James Carr released just a few more albums over the next 25 years including his 1994 effort Soul Survivor. He was soon after diagnosed with lung cancer to which he succumbed in 2001.

James Carr: Life Turned Her That Way

Released in 1968 on his A Man Needs a Woman LP, this track truly displays James Carr's vocal prowess. The song slowly builds to a masterful crescendo that echoes the Otis Redding classic Try a Little Tenderness.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ms. Shaw's Soul

Sorry it's been a while since I've had a chance to post anything, but work's got me fairly busy, so here's another quickie. I've got a couple smooth Marlena Shaw tracks for you to check out. I hope you dig 'em.

Marlena Shaw: Go Away, Little Boy

I've always loved this track. It's got a very laid back, easy way about it. Marlena tries to lay down the law, but caves at the end. Find it on her 1969 Cadet release Spice of Life.

Marlena Shaw: Feel Like Makin' Love

Here's an oozy sultry bit of soul jazz from Marlena's sassy 1974 release Who Is this Bitch, Anyway?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Buffalo West Essentials Pt. I

I can't believe how time flies. Were almost at August and summer is rapidly coming to an end. Our warm sunny days are numbered in New York and I haven't posted nearly enough Reggae for my taste so here I go. I present 3 tracks in no particular order that I quite simply could not live without. Enjoy.

Althea & Donna: Uptown Top Ranking

This track was the biggest hit for Althea Forest and Donna Reid reaching the top of the U.K. charts in 1978. Although most of their albums remain out of print and extremely hard to find, 2001 saw the reissue of the Uptown Top Ranking full-length on the Caroline label.

Lloyd Charmers: Darker Than Blue

I know I've just recently posted a pair Lloyd Charmers tracks, but I can't help it. I'm hooked on this heartbreaking cover of one of Curtis Mayfield's most powerful compositions. Backed by Third World, Charmers also sings the haunting backing vocals. This is the title track on the Blood & Fire compilation Darker Than Blue: Soul from Jamdown (1973-1980), a must for any music collector.

Steel Pulse: Roller Skates

This tale of a stolen boombox is a standout on Steel Pulse's 1984 release Earth Crisis.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I Ain't Superstitious


Today's Friday the 13th so here are a couple superstitious track for you superstitious sorts...

Let's be careful out there today!


Howlin' Wolf: I Ain't Superstitious

Taken from the 1971 London Howlin Wolf Sessions featuring Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts from the Rolling Stones and Steve Winwood. While generally panned by blues purists, this album was one of my first introductions to The Wolf and still one of my favorites.

Sergio Mendes & Brasil '77: Superstition

For most of the second half of the '60s, Sergio Mendes was the top-selling Brazilian artist in the United States, charting huge hit singles and LPs that regularly made the Top Five. Here he is with his 1977 Brasil incarnation performing one of three Stevie Wonder covers found on Vintage '74.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Mother Earth


Erykah Badu: Today(Earth Song)
Find it on 2001's Red Star Sounds

Memphis Slim: Mother Earth
Find it on the 1961 Chess reissue Memphis Slim

The Soul Children: I Don't Know What This World Is Coming To
Find it on the 1972 Wattstax soundtrack

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

America The Beautiful

















Ray Charles: America The Beautiful

This bicentennial track makes me forget all the problems we have in this country...at least for a few minutes. I miss Ray.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Pledge Allegiance

I was trying to come up with some great patriotic tunes to share on our country's birthday, but I couldn't get this funky gem out of my head. Maybe I'll get a couple USA tunes for you tomorrow! All rise.

Funkadelic: Grooveallegiance

This is as funky as it gets from Mr. Clinton and the gang's 1978 release One Nation Under A Groove. Funk Patriotism at it's finest! Mmmmm...that's tasty bass!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Charmer

'Lloyd Charmers' career (born Lloyd Tyrell) spans some of the most fertile periods of Jamaica's musical history. From the late-'50s era of Jamaican shuffle R&B and the subsequent ska boom, to the rocksteady and roots reggae of the late '60s and early '70s, Charmers made valuable contributions not only as a vocalist, but as a session musician and producer, as well. Unfortunately, not much is known about Charmers' whereabouts after his successful stint as a producer in the first half of the '70s. Whether he is still working or even still alive is a good question.' Here are a couple of his more soulful tracks.

Lloyd Charmers: Just My Imagination


Here's a very easy going cover of The Temps' classic. Charmers' voice is smooth and as sweet as guava jelly.
This track can be found on Trojan's Soulful Reggae box set.

Lloyd Charmers: For The Good Times
This Kris Kristofferson cover offers a desperate plea, 'Make believe you love me...'. Charmers voice aches on this one taken from the somewhat ridiculous Elvis Reggae compilation from 2006 All Shook Up: A Reggae Tribute to the King.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Listen Here

I've returned from my trip to NoLa with loads of goodies to share with you all. God bless The Music Factory on Decatur! Here is the first batch in no particular order.

Valorie Keys: Listen Here

I've absolutely fallen in love with this tune. It may be the easy going swing or the fluttering flute or maybe it harkens back to my childhood watching The Electric Company. This 1967 cover of an Eddie Harris track can be found on the BGP UK import FunkSoulSisters.

Bo Diddley: Ooh Baby

This 1966 Checker release is a house party favorite. The creativity Bo so often displayed is inspiring. He truly did his own thing with glorious results. Check out Bo's collection The Chess Box.

T.K.O.s: Fat Man

I guess I'm in an easy going mood this morning because here's another swinger. I don't have too much info on this piano driven track. If anyone has some insight please share. The liner notes list its release 1967, but the track list says 1965. Lets call it 1966 and just dig it!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Going Back To New Orleans


Well folks, I'm off to New Orleans for a few days and I hope to return with a slew of new music for you all. Until then, here are a couple gems from an Excello compilation that I picked up on my last visit to New Orleans. Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Kip Anderson: You'll Lose A Good Thing

Actually recorded in South Carolina in 1967, this single broke the Billboard R&B Top 40 charts. Unfortunately his heroin addiction forced Excello to drop Anderson a couple years later. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1977 where he formed a gospel group. He later hosted a a daily gospel show on an AM radio station.

Jerry Washington: Right Here Is Where You Belong

I love the scene acted out at the start of this track recorded in 1972. This was a minor hit for Excello but the biggest hit for Washington.

Both of these tracks can be found on The Excello Story, Vol. 4: 1961-1975

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New Summer Playlist Launched


Are you ready for the summer? You are now! The Buffalo West Music Summer 2007 playlist has been submitted for your approval. Just click the big green play button to the right ===>, crank your speakers, go outside, light the grill, crack open a cool beverage of your choice and enjoy these sweet and soulful summer classics courtesy of your friends at Buffalo West and FineTune. ==========>

Friday, June 8, 2007

Prince Rocks!


Never pigeonhole Prince. Just when you think you've got him figured out, he throws you a curve ball. It seems that lately he's been having more fun being Prince than ever before. As a student of music's history, he embraces the past all the while pushing his sound forward creating music that is pure Prince. Constant creation of music has left a back log of recordings that will last for years after he has left this world. Here are a few rarities from various bootlegs and DVD's of Prince putting his own twist on some rocking classics.

Prince: Honky Tonk Woman

Opening with a super crunchy guitar, Prince still manages to keep it funky on this Stones cover.

Prince with Lenny Kravitz: Fly Away

This track is taken from Prince's 2000 New Years Eve show and features Larry Graham's thumping bass. "Don't hurt nobody, Larry!"

Prince: A Whole Lotta Love

I was shocked when I first saw this Led Zeppelin track listed on Prince's Live at The Aladdin DVD. I'll call this one interesting and leave it at that. The concert is great, but the DVD features horrible video quality and worse audio. You may have to turn up your speakers for this one.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Curtis!

Happy belated 65th birthday to the great Curtis Mayfield!

It's Alright with The Impressions in 1965...


Freddie's Dead around 1973


People Get Ready with Taylor Dayne & David Sanborn in 1989

Friday, June 1, 2007

It was 40 years ago today...

...Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play
They've been going in and out of style
But they're guaranteed to raise a smile.
So may I introduce to you
The act you've known for all these years,


Jimi Hendrix: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

One of Jimi's favorites to play live. He premiered his cover of this song at a show attended by Paul McCartney the very week that Sgt. Pepper was released.

Natalie Cole: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Originally appearing on her 1978 LP Natalie Live! this edited version can be found on her 2000 greatest hits collection

Wes Montgomery: A Day In The Life

This track was recorded the same month as Sgt. Pepper's release. It is the title track of the guitarist's 1967 release.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Seaching for Summer




The weather is heating up, Memorial Day is upon us and the summer vibe is in the air. As a result I give you Summer Madness and some music that it inspired. Kool & the Gang's Summer Madness has haunted me for years. It's the tune that Rocky Balboa puts on the first time we see his apartment in 1976, but it does not receive a listing in the credits. I'd been trying to figure out what this song was for years with no luck. It was my friend Andy aka DrewLove (and I believe his brother) who finally tracked it down for me some 10 years later. Since then I give this track a spin about once a week and can't believe I went so long without knowing it. I have since discovered a number of tracks that borrow elements from this soul classic. Dig it.

Kool & the Gang: Summer Madness

Here's the 1974 original found on the LP Light of Worlds. A late night groove that's as funky as it can be. That piercing synthesiser gets me every time.

Bill Conti: Reflections

My search initially led me to this track that is featured on the Rocky soundtrack. While it borrows many elements from the Kool track, it was not what I was searching for. Still, a great groove.

Dimitri from Paris: Encore Un Terlude

A short interlude from Dimitri's 1996 album Sacrebleu. We hear that familiar synth. I wish this track was about three minutes longer.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince: Summertime (Extended Club Mix)

Everyone knows this 1991 summer classic. Here it is in its extended form from the Summertime singles collection. All the clues were here for me even a mention of Summer Madness. Hindsight is 20/20!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Quick Treats

Time to get back to posting some soul, but I don't have too much time today so here's a couple nice ones in no particular order. Enjoy!

Bettye LaVette: Your Turn To Cry

This track is possibly Betty LaVette's greatest side recorded at Muscle Shoals in 1973.

Marlena Shaw: California Soul

Found on her classic 1969 LP Spice of Life, Marlena shines on one of my favorite tunes written by Ashford & Simpson.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Thank You Sabres


It was a hell of a run, but it had to end. It's been one of the more exciting years in Western New York thanks to our Buffalo Sabres, but unfortunately they were eliminated by the evil Ottawa Senators yesterday. Let's hope next season comes quickly and who knows maybe the Bills will surprise us!

From all of the fans...Thank you Sabres!


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Wonder of Stevie


This post is coming to you a little late, but you all know how busy things can get. Sunday was Stevie Wonder's 57th birthday and I definitely wanted to pay a little tribute to one of the masters. A true American icon, Stevie helped change not just R&B but all music in general by exemplifying the notion that songwriting can be a force to bring about social change in our world. Always exploring new avenues, Stevie's music, particularly throughout the Seventies, shaped the ideas of what modern day songwriting can accomplish all the while remaining true to his roots and creating some of the funkiest and most fun tracks ever recorded. He is a legend who's songs are sure live on forever.

Jose Feliciano: Golden Lady

A great version of Stevie's Innervisions song. Fellow blind musician Jose Feliciano adds his signature style and energy making this song his own. You can find this track on 1974's And the Feeling's Good.


Lionel Hampton: Where Were You When I Needed You

Here's a real smooth cover by the great jazz vibraphonist Lionel Hampton. Released on 1974's Stop! I Don't Need No Sympathy Hamp's often overlooked collection of soul arrangements.

Hugo Montenegro: You Got It Bad Girl

More well known for his movie and TV scores Mr. Montenegro does some mad Moog explorations on this track. Taken from his Stevie Wonder cover album from 1974 Hugo in Wonder-Land we're sent off into space...well, at least 1974's vision of space!


BONUS:

Stevie making Sesame Street the funkiest place on earth in 1972!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Nobody Loves Me But My Mother...

...And she could be jivin' too. Mother's Day is here again and I'm obliged to create a post for all those mama's out there, specifically MY mother and grandmother. Another fine job this year ladies. You're approval rating has gained another 12 points and nagging is on the decline. Here's a few fer me ma.

B.B. King: Nobody Loves Me But My Mother

One of my mother's personal favorites. B.B. shows the humor so prevalent in the blues. This is a demo version with a rare appearance of Bee on piano. You can find this track on his stellar 1992 box set King of the Blues. (Mine is autographed!)

Prince: Make Your Mama Happy

Here is Prince's outright impersonation of Sly & The Family Stone. Great stuff from 1998's collection of previously unreleased material Crystal Ball.

Sizzla: Thank You Mama

A self explanatory tune from Sizzla's 2006 release The Overstanding.

Monday, May 7, 2007

It's Gil Scott's World


More poet than singer, Gil Scott-Heron found success with his political and social observations and quickly became one of the strongest and most eloquent American voices in the 70's. As a forefather to rap, Gil Scott was angry, passionate and always brutally honest with his lyrics. Along with songwriting partner and keyboardist Brian Jackson, Gil Scott-Heron released some of the most powerful recordings of the decade. Here's just a couple.

Gil Scott-Heron: Winter In America

The title track from his 1973 album summarizes the events which ultimately lead to the dangerous situations in 1973 Watergate America. Powerful lyrics and soulful music with a killer flute makes this a Gil Scott classic

Gil Scott-Heron: It's Your World

This is definitely one of his funkier tunes from his 1976 double album It's Your World. There is an undeniable Santana-like energy from the start with an uplifting message. You are truly free.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Let The Brother Rap!



Soul Brother Number One, the Godfather of Soul, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Mr. Dynamite...There's nothing I can say about James Brown that hasn't been said a thousand times before. Any regular visitor of this blog is well aware of his importance to popular music. So in celebration of his 74th birthday I give you James Brown at his funky peak in 1971. Recorded at the Olympia in Paris, France, this is the only live recording with the original JB's. You can hear it all on the 1992 release Love Power Peace. 'Ain't it funky now'.

James Brown: Intro/Brother Rapp/Ain't It Funky Now



BONUS:
Mr. Brown tears up one of my favorites, Sunny

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Boogie King Gets Funky








When John Lee Hooker died in 2001 he left behind a musical legacy that includes an overwhelmingly huge discography having recorded under several pseudonyms for many labels. Throughout his nearly 60 years of recordings he always displayed the John Lee Hooker signature style. There is however one album that is dramatically different. Call it "John Lee Gets Funky",1974's Free Beer and Chicken has a more exploratory feel with flutes, violins, synthesisers and even an African kalimba. Unfortunately the complete list of guest artists has been lost when the record company skimped on including an insert credit list with the original release. There are known appearances by Joe Cocker and violinist Sam Rivers. Like Muddy Waters' psychedelic Electric Mud and Howlin' Wolf's hard to find This Is Howlin Wolf's New Album..., Free Beer and Chicken was universally panned by blues purists, but I find it refreshing to hear new interpretations by the master. I also appreciate knowing that John Lee was always open to push the envelope and explore in different directions with a wide variety of musicians. Many of the tracks are edited and feel much too brief. I would love to hear the uncut master tapes. Maybe someday an expanded edition will be released, but seeing how hard this CD or vinyl is to find I'm not holding my breath.

John Lee Hooker: Make It Funky

The title says it all. John Lee brings the funk.

John Lee Hooker: Homework

"Get Down...do that funky sh-t!" John Lee directs. Something tells me he's not talking about school.

John Lee Hooker: 714 Blues

This is the tail end of 713-714 Blues. I'm not sure why they chopped the 714 bit into it's own track. The tune fades as JL gets us ready for 715. Kinda makes me wonder how long the jam continued...768 Blues?!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Everybody Loves The Sunshine

Spring has finally come to Western New York. I never truly realized how much I appreciate the sun having taken it for granted for the past 12 years living in LA, but after my first New York winter in a long time I understand the sun's power. Trees are getting their leaves flowers are popping, but more importantly everyone seems to instantly be in a better mood riding their bikes, taking walks and working away in their yards. Right now I have to admit I'd rather be outside than sitting in front of my computer but I have a responsibility to my 8-12 readers. So I present to you 4 versions of my favorite sunshine song Roy Ayers' Everybody Loves The Sunshine. Listen quickly and then GO OUTSIDE!!!!

Roy Ayers Ubiquity: Everybody Loves The Sunshine

Here's the 1976 classic from the
album of the same name.

R.A.M.P.: Everybody Loves The Sunshine

This mellower version is taken from the hard to find German import Cafe del Mar, Vol. 2. Originally released on the even harder to find Roy Ayers Music Project's 1977 release Come Into Knowledge.

Roy Ayers: Sunshine (Demo)

A demo version featured on 2005's compilation of unreleased material Virgin Ubiquity II.

Roy Ayers featuring Erykah Badu: Everybody Loves The Sunshine

An appealing take with Ms. Badu from Kinkysweet's 2005 Midnight Soul compilation.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Little Royal's Funky Tales

Little Royal: Little Royal Freeze

Little Royal: Keep On Loving

These tracks by the mysterious Little Royal were previously unissued until they were found in the Excello Records vaults and released on 1996's Funky Tales. They were most likely recorded sometime in the mid sixties during the "Freeze" dance craze. Born in Durham North Carolina and raised in Washington DC, Royal Torrence started his career with his uncle's gospel group where he was discovered by James Brown and earned himself a spot on The James Brown Revue. James Brown's influence is apparent on these sides. Little Royal & The Swingmasters cut numerous sides for Tri-Us and Black Pride labels and had a moderate hit with the 1972 single Jealous. Subsequent recordings failed to reach the same heights but Little Royal continued to be a crowd pleaser for several more years.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tax Time




Gary Nesta Pine & Dollarman: Money

I hate gimmick records. For example, let's cover every track of Pink Floyd's 1973 classic Dark Side of the Moon, but with reggae artists. Sounds stupid, but 2003's Dub Side of the Moon is actually good. Here's the Easy Star All-Stars version of Money. The choice to replace the intro cash register with a bong is a little juvenile, but I definitely dig the rap break.

The O'Jays: For the Love of Money

It's a little overplayed and probably ruined forever by that hump Donald Trump, but I always liked this Gamble & Huff ode to all things greed performed by The O'Jays from their 1973 masterpiece album Ship Ahoy. Dollar bills y'all.

Prince - Money Don't Matter 2 Night

Prince's shot at Philly Soul from his 1991 album Diamonds and Pearls.

Dennis Brown - Money In My Pocket

Here's Mr. Brown's 1972 hit single. You can find it on about a thousand Best ofs and Reggae Hit compilations. One of my favorites is the 1993 box set The Story of Jamaican Music from Mango.