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.