Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The standards are great but just because it's the holidays doesn't mean we don't need soul. Here are handful with soul to sprinkle on your egg nog. Good God!
James Brown: Soulful Christmas
The Godfather's holiday thank you to his fans.
Donny Hathaway: This Christmas
I guess you could call this a classic by now. It's certainly one of my favorites and you won't find a voice much smoother than the great Mr. Hathaway. From the 1971 self titled release.
Ike & Tina Turner: Merry Christmas Baby
We lost Ike Turner this year and as tribute I give you one of the toughest, in-your-face versions of this Baxter-Moore classic (see previous post). That beat is relentless and Tina really belts it out.
John Legend & Stephen Colbert: Nutmeg
I don't know how many of you saw the Stephen Colbert Christmas Special, but I'm still laughing! A definite highlight was John Legend's Al Greenesque jam to his favorite spice.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
How many blues artists remained at the absolute top of their game after more than a half-century of performing? One immediately leaps to mind: Charles Brown. His incredible piano skills and laid-back vocal delivery remained every bit as mesmerizing at the end of his life as they were way back in 1945, when his groundbreaking waxing of "Drifting Blues" invented an entirely new blues genre for sophisticated postwar revelers: an ultra-mellow, jazz-inflected sound perfect for sipping a late-night libation in some hip after-hours joint. Two of Brown's biggest hits happened to be Christmas songs and they are the first in our series holiday posts. Pour some egg nog, kick back and enjoy!
Charles Brown: Merry Christmas Baby
Composed by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore, this tune has grown to be a standard at Christmas time and nobody delivers it better than Charles Brown.
Charles Brown: Please Come Home for Christmas
This Brown penned 1960 classic will always be one of my favorites. You can find both of these tracks here.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
It's hard to comprehend that 28 years have passed since the tragic killing of John Lennon. His music and the music of The Beatles are still very much alive and with next year's eventual release of the remastered albums and digital release there are no signs of slowing. Here are a few soulful covers as tribute to my favorite songwriter.
Joe Bataan: This Boy
Arguably one of Lennon-McCartney's first "great" songs cooly delivered by the amazing Joe Bataan. That bridge gets me every time. Get it on Bataan's 1972 release Sweet Soul
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's sweet vocals captures the nostalgia of the lyrics. You can find this track on Trojan's uneven Beatles Tribute Box Set.
Donny Hathaway: Jealous Guy
A touching rendition of one of John Lennon's greatest solo tunes. Get it on Donny Hathaway's 1972 Live release or also on fellow blogger Oliver Wang's Soul Sides, Vol 1 compilation.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
The Babymaker, The Quiet Storm, Slow Jamz Vol. 1.....call it what you will but if you can't seal the deal with this mix then you have problems. It's a story of love lost and then found in just over 67 minutes. Enjoy it with that special someone and if you have any ideas for what to call this beast please let me know in the comments and you just may receive a limited edition CD. Close the door, dim the lights...hit play...be gentle.
The Dramatics: In The Rain
Teddy Pendergrass: Love TKO
Marvin Gaye: I Want You
Barry White: Dreamin'
Isaac Hayes: Something
The Isley Brothers: Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
Willie Hutch: Gimme Some of That Good Old Love
Minnie Riperton: Inside My Love
Staple Singers: After Sex
Marvin Gaye: Since I Had You
Curtis Mayfield: P.S. I Love You
Al Green: Livin' For You
Earth, Wind & Fire: It's All About Love
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Curtis Mayfield: We Got to Have Peace
Idealistic anthems were the norm in 1971, but leave it to Curtis to make it something special. Get it on Roots.
Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes: A Chance For Peace
Smooth, funky soul-jazz with a message. Get it on 1975's Visions of a New World.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The Wailers: Thank You Lord
A classic bit of soul ska from Bob & the boys' early days. Find it on many compilations...I recommend the great Bob Marley box set Songs of Freedom.
Sly & The Family Stone: Thankful N' Thoughtful
Subtle funkiness from the legendary Sly Stone. Get it on 1973's Fresh.
Love: Be Thankful For What You Got
One of my all time favorites. Most well known by it's composer William DeVaughan, this version moves forward at a brisk pace but still manages to keep the laid back groove. Get it on 1974's Reel to Real.
One Blood: Be Thankful For What You Got
Get it on Hustle! Reggae Disco
Monday, November 24, 2008
The original and arguably the most powerful, Bill Withers' 1971 classic still has the ability to send shivers. Stark and solitary the strings absolutely drip off the record. Here is proof that sometimes the simplest songs can be the most moving. Get it on Just As I Am.
Freddie King: Ain't No Sunshine
Freddie King is too often overlooked in my opinion. Super funky, a killer guitarist and a monster vocalist Mr. King makes you weep with his cover. The guitar break at 1:55 is as bad ass as anything you'll ever hear. Get it on 1972's Texas Cannonball.
Ken Boothe: Ain't No Sunshine
The bright reggae beat doesn't make this tune any less heartbreaking thanks to Ken Boothe pain fueled vocals. There's even a tinge of anger in his voice creating an altogether new interpretation of our hurt hero. Find this track on the stellar 2001 compilation Darker Than Blue: Soul from Jamdown (1973-198o)
Buddy Guy: Ain't No Sunshine
Say what you will about Buddy Guy's output in recent years but you cannot fault his choice of covers especially on 2005's Bring 'Em In. Buddy's vocals are soulful as always and his punctuating guitar stabs are gold. Even Tracy Chapman manages some real emotion on her 'I know, I know, I knows'.
Stryke: Ain't No Sunshine
The jury's still out on this ambient cover. Dub rhythms make it a perfect late night track, but have we gone too far from the soul of the man? I'm not feeling his pain...I'm actually quite relaxed! Oh well, it sounds nice! Get it on the Frequent Flyer: Kingston Jamaica compilation.
Kashmere Stage Band: Ain't No Sunshine (J. Rocc Remix)
Even further removed this funky remix definitely has the groove. Get it on Now Again Re:Sounds Vol. 1
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Detroit band The Counts (also known as The Fabulous Counts) are one of too many overlooked R&B acts that were lost in the sea of 70's soul music. Their output was spotty at best but they did create some real fine funky moments. Here are a few tracks from there stellar 1971 debut What's Up Front That Counts. Thanks to Peter McG for turning me on to this LP.
The Counts: What's Up Front That Counts
A great intro. What a way to introduce this band to the world. Once that organ hits it's all over.
The Counts: Rhythm Changes
Deep funk here. A little Bar-Kays a little Ohio Players. I love the horn break at 1:24. Solid.
The Counts: Why Not Start All Over Again
A bit smoother on this track with a jazzy vibe and some of the best vocals on the entire album.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Taken from 1974's Promised Heights this track at once puts the listener at ease. Let the flutes wash over you.
Buddy Miles: Them Changes
On a much different track we have this Buddy Miles classic. Featuring the punctuating Memphis Horns Buddy's vocals rock with a raw energy. Get it on 1970's Them Changes.
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble: Change It
I can't believe I've never posted any SRV. Taken from 1985's Soul to Soul, Change It features Stevie's usual brilliance on guitar along with some of his most soulful vocals. Recorded at a time when he had to make some serious changes in his lifestyle or else die, Stevie was at a low point physically but he still delivers big time on this track.
Monday, October 20, 2008
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – Dee Dee Warwick, a soul singer who won recognition for both her solo work and her performances with her older sister Dionne Warwick, has died. She was 63.
Warwick died Saturday at a nursing home in Essex County, said Kevin Sasaki, a family spokesman. She had been in failing health in recent months, he said, and her sister was with her when she died.
Warwick had several hits on the soul and R&B charts in the 1960s and 70s, including "Foolish Fool," "She Didn't Know (She Kept on Talking)" and a version of "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" that was later covered by Diana Ross and The Supremes.
Warwick also was a two-time Grammy Award nominee and sang backup for Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and others before starting her solo career.
Warwick was the niece of gospel singer Cissy Houston and a cousin of Whitney Houston.
Born in Newark, Warwick was a teenager when she began singing with her older sister in the late 1950s. The two performed as The Gospelaires and also collaborated and sang with the Drinkard Singers, a long-running gospel group that also featured some of the Warwicks' aunts and uncles and was managed by their mother.
Most recently, Warwick provided background vocals for her sister's recent one-woman autobiographical show, "My Music & Me," which played to sold-out crowds in Europe this year. She also performed on the title song from Dionne Warwick's gospel album, "Why We Sing," released January 2008.
Dee Dee Warwick: She Didn't Know (She Kept on Talking)
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
I know I'm a little late with this post but I have to admit I still have Olympic fever. Maybe it's from lack of sleep. The underwhelming performance of the US track team is kind of upsetting but hey at least the Jamaicans are on fire. As a reggae fan I take solace in that and you gotta love Usain Bolt! And now I present some track inspired tracks just for you. Take your mark...RUN!!!!
Isaac Hayes: Run Fay Run
I guess I'm still in Issac Hayes remembrance mode, but here's another brilliant piece by the master. You can find this along with a ton of funky stuff on the 1974 Tough Guys soundtrack repackaged with Truck Turner.
Delroy Wilson: Run Run
Gotta throw in some reggae for Usain. These lyrics are rather ominous but someone chasing you sure makes you run faster! Recorded for Studio One in the early 70's you can find it here.
Roy Ayers: Running Away (12" Version)
You all know by now that I'm very into Roy Ayers. Here's one of his most well known dance tracks from 1977. Doobie Doo, Run Run Run! I dare you to sit still for this one. Get it here.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Every once in a while you got to get a little freaky....LET'S FREAK OUT!!!!!
Roy Ayers Ubiquity: Freaky Deaky
Here's a piece of disco funk freak from jazzer Roy Ayers. This song is made to boogie and it does just that. Find it on 1978's Let's Do It or the more readily available Evolution: The Polydor Anthology.
Betty Davis: He Was a Big Freak
If you want to know what 'gettin' freaky' is all about check out the cover to Betty Davis' 1974 album They Say I'm Different. Just listen to these lyrics and let your mind wander.
Funkadelic: Freak of the Week
I've really been listening to a lot of Funkadelic lately and I'll have to give Mr. Clinton and crew a dedicated post very soon. Funkadelic is dirty, scary, funny, heavy and always freaky. I think some of their heavier tunes are what Jimi Hendrix might have been up to had he lived through the 70's. Here's some groovy lowriding disco from 1979's Uncle Jam Wants You.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Prince: The Ballad of Dorothy Parker
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Diddley died of heart failure at his home in Archer, Florida, his management agency, Talent Consultants International, said in a statement.
"One of the founding fathers of rock 'n' roll has left the building he helped construct," the statement said.
Diddley suffered a stroke during a concert in Iowa in May 2007 and was hospitalized in Omaha, Nebraska. In August 2007 he had a heart attack in Florida.
Garry Mitchell, a grandson of Diddley and one of more than 35 family members at the musician's home when he died at about 1:45 a.m. EDT (0545 GMT), said his death was not unexpected.
"There was a gospel song that was sang and he said 'wow' with a thumbs up," Mitchell told Reuters, when asked to describe the scene at Diddley's deathbed.
"The song was 'Walk Around Heaven' and in his last words he stated that he was going to heaven."
In a career spanning more than five decades, Diddley composed a substantial body of rock classics, including "Who Do You Love," "Bo Diddley," "Bo Diddley's a Gunslinger," "Before You Accuse Me," "Mona," "I'm a Man" and "Pretty Thing."
He cranked them out on a signature rectangular guitar, setting many of them to rumba-like rhythm of his "Bo Diddley beat" that gave rock 'n' roll a powerful rhythmic foundation.
Along with such contemporaries as Chuck Berry and Little Richard, he was among a pioneering group of black recording artists who crossed the American racial divide with music that appealed to white audiences and was emulated by white performers.
Although Diddley recorded relatively few chart-topping hits, his seminal role in the formative years of rock music was recognized by his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and with a Grammy lifetime achievement award in 1998.
Born Ellas Bates in 1928 in McComb, Mississippi, he took the last name McDaniel from his adoptive mother, and played classical violin as a boy.
'FIRST DUDE OUT THERE'
He was given the nickname Bo Diddley as a teenager after moving to Chicago, where he started playing music on street corners in the 1940s.
Inspired by blues musician John Lee Hooker's classic "Boogie Chillen," Diddley used his violin skills to craft a guitar sound that laid the basis for the funk music of the 1960s.
He found fame in the mid-1950s with his signature song "Bo Diddley." Even among the first wave of rock music, the song stood out with its tremolo guitar, maracas and trademark beat.
Diddley's unique guitar playing and rhythm influenced generations of rockers from Elvis Presley to Bon Jovi. Keith Richards and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones and Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi made guest appearances on his records and Diddley played with the likes of The Clash and The Grateful Dead.
Arguably the greatest mainstream success of a song with the Bo Diddley beat was Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," recorded in the 1950s and which saw renewed success when it was covered by the Rolling Stones in the 1960s.
In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald in March 2007, Diddley insisted he was the real father of rock, saying: "Little Richard came two or three years later, along with Elvis Presley. In other words, I was the first dude out there."
Diddley frequently complained about not being paid royalties during his peak years, telling The New York Times, "Have I been ripped off? ... You bet I've been ripped off."
In 1955 Diddley appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and was promptly banned from further appearances because he defied Sullivan's instructions to sing a cover song and instead performed his own hit "Bo Diddley."
Diddley had harsh words for the direction black music had taken in recent years, telling Reuters that "gangsta" rap made his blood boil.
"I hate it. I call it rap-crap," Diddley said in a 1996 interview. "I can't seem to get my records played but they'll play all this garbage."
Diddley liked to help out in his local community in Florida. A father of five, he said he was deeply concerned about the direction of children in American society.
He worked with his local police department to warn teenagers about the dangers of drugs and gang violence.
Diddley was still touring and making records in recent years, not least because he said he needed the money.
His agency said public and private services are planned for this weekend.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
1. The Congos: Fisherman
2. Smith And Mighty: B Line Fi Blow
3. Thievery Corporation: Richest Man In Babylon (G-Corp. Remix)
4. Delroy Wilson: Better Must Come
5. Two Culture Clash: Save Me
6. Badmarsh & Shri: Signs (Dubplate mix)
7. Barrington Levy: Here I come (Dubplate version)
8. Foxy Brown: Oh yeah
9. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley: Catch A Fire
10. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley: Harder (Interlude)
11. Mutabaruka & The Observers: Dis Peom Burns Babylon
12. Thievery Corporation: The Outernationalist
13. Cutty Ranks: The Stopper (Richard Dorfmeister's Full Moon 6 Live dub)
14. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings: How Long Do I Have To Wait For You? (Ticklah Remix)
15. Bob Marley & The Wailers: Soul Rebel Remix
16. DJ Spooky & Rob Swift: Creation Rebel
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
James Brown: Mother Popcorn
Here's the mother of all popcorn songs. Recorded in 1969 the popping drum beat makes the title which came from the popular dance all too clear. Bandleader and frequent songwriting partner, Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis, came up with the rhythm for Mother Popcorn while waiting in line at a Cincinnati music store. This is a true soul classic. Go get Star Time.
Preston Love: Cissy Popcorn
Also recorded in 1969, Cissy Popcorn perfectly blends the JB groove with a Cissy Strut lope. Get this track on SuperFunk3.
The RDM Band: Butter That Popcorn
The pace gets wild on this rare jam. I have to be honest I don't know much about this band so I would appreciate some enlightenment. I found the track on the Josh Davis & Keb Darge compilation Funk Spectrum: Real Funk for Real People.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Wilson died Monday of kidney failure at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fontana, according to his son, Tony Wilson of Yucaipa.
"He was always singing," his son said. "He would call me in the middle of the night with a new song that he had written."
Wilson was born on June 19, 1939, in Meridian, Miss. He sang in the church choir as a boy and had his own spiritual singing quartet. His family moved to San Bernardino in 1958 and he found work as a mail carrier, office clerk and janitor.
He toured for four years with the group Johnny "Legs" Harris and the Statesmen before joining the Navy. Following a two-year stint, he moved to Los Angeles and played with the Jewels and their successor group, the Rollers. A drummer, he also worked with the instrumental group the Souls.
In 1966, he was spotted by manager Marc Gordon, who introduced him to singer Johnny Rivers, who signed him to his Soul City label. Wilson's first single, "The Snake" in 1968, was a hit and was followed by "Do What You Gotta Do."
"Show and Tell" was released in 1973 and the next year was No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100 chart.
Wilson charted with several other 1970s singles, including "La La Peace Song," "I've Got a Feeling (We'll Be Seeing Each Other Again)" and "Count the Days."
In later years he continued to tour clubs in Los Angeles and elsewhere
Al Wilson: Show & Tell
Here's the big hit we all know, but that doesn't make it any less great. First recorded by Johnny Mathis, Wilson's is the definitive version. Find it on all his greatest hit compilations.
Al Wilson: Somebody To Love
I absolutely love Wilson's rocking voice on this track taken from 1973's Weighing In. The backing vocals really send it home.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Friday, April 4, 2008
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 and vividly nuanced soul-jazz . 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: King's Last Ride
Roy Ayers: Escape
Roy Ayers: Exotic Dance