Friday, December 31, 2010

Gabor Szabo - Galatea's Guitar

Not only is Gabor an amazing guitarist and prolific jazz musician, he was an incredible innovator. He started experimenting with eastern sounds and innovating very early on. I got sucked into the Gabor world pool with his Jazz Raga LP. That was the first 'real' Szabo ticket for me. Back in my mod days I'd always try an album with a girl on a scooter, throw a sitar in the mix, then I was really sold.
Turned out to be more that just a cool cover. An LP rich with texture and feeling, stopping throughout the world to pick up varied influences. It began my 'branching out' into other areas, and I've gotta thank Gabor for that. Time to delve right into a nice Chai tea on a rainy day and peep a Fellini movie. And, I think Gabor still represents that for many with his music. His eastern influences and Hungarian descent set his path and direction for virtually all of his magnificent career.
So, here's the real bread winner. Later on, a friend turned me onto this 'Dreams' LP by Gabor. This tune 'Galatea's Guitar' is a major mood setter. Much of Gabor's music is this way. But, in particular this tune just seems to open up, right into an oasis of head nodding trippy jazz funk paradise. The intro is a bit long, the tune doesn't really start until about 1:44. But, like I said the mood is being set and the wait is well worth it. It is perhaps the closest to a 'dream' tune.

 I'm going to include my two favorite tracks from 'Jazz Raga' as well. Both 'Walking On Nails' and 'Raga Doll' are fantastic and an excellent starting point if you've yet to travel to Szabo-town.
Originally from Hungary, Gabor has a long and prolific catalog, but never got the appreciation he felt he deserved. He once publicly complained about never getting credit for a well known George Benson song. His claim was that 'Breezin', a huge success for Benson, was basically 'his' song. Thing is, most of us DO appreciate this man and have the highest regard for him. There was a huge resurgence and flow of popularity for him and the likes of Cal Tjader. Those two men started the Skye record label and those releases are also hugely regarded amongst us 'Rare Groove', 'Acid Jazz' and 'Latin' connoisseurs. Thumbs up Gabor, and Rest In Peace!

Gabor Szabo - Galatea's Guitar
Gabor Szabo - Walking On Nails
Gabor Szabo - Raga Doll

The Poppy Family - There's No Blood In Bone

A few of you may already know that my line of work, or rather that my day gig is 'moving'. The other day I worked my first 27 hour day. Probably highly illegal to work that long, but in this 'biz' 8 to 10 hour days are the 'norm', and 12, 16, and 18 hour days are not unheard of. But, this was truly a first for me. The amount of 'drivetime' alone included 16 hours. So, this particular day was a first.
It was also a first for observing our customers with quite possibly the deepest taste in tunes. It was a first that our customer was listening to The Poppy Family AND on vinyl. This was truly NOT an everyday occurrence. It's rare that anyone is listening to music when we show up. A good sign of course, but listening to music on vinyl is a step further and completely unheard of. When I first stumbled upon this LP it was in shiny mint condition. I knew that if I heard it and it was remotely good it would suffice for picking it up. The picture alone on the cover was worth the fare. A voluptuous blond in a serious hip bad ass bodysuit. A Poncherellie (Erick Estrada) lookalike in a western shirt. An Indian dude in a Turban. And, the world's first mutton chop serial killer. A bunch that looks like something truly good is in store. I thought even if the LP completely sucked, I would still be stick with this awesome cover.

Low and behold, this album turned out to be killer. A merging of pop, heavy psych, folk and country. Seemingly influenced by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood, the Combo of Susan and Terry Jacks (pictured from left to right) wrote this amazing material. They later went on to make several solo efforts including the genius soft rock classic 'Seasons In The Sun'. The Poppy Family were incredible. The blending of congas, sitar, lush strings, heavy guitar all in an LP chock full of brain melting goodness. I believe they had one other LP after this. But, only two or three releases under Susan and Terry Jacks after that.'There's No Blood In Bone' is probably the best tune on this LP, but the rest of the album is still awesome too. I believe this song was sampled by someone familiar, though at the moment I can't place it. That would be hard to resist considering the banging relentless drums in this tune. There are many other tasty sounds on this one, and I would highly recommend picking it up. This is a great and obscure psych-pop LP and thanks to our customer I was reminded of it's brilliance.

The Poppy Family - There's No Blood In Bone

Captain Beefheart - Diddy Wah Diddy

So sad to hear of this man passing away. It has truly been a landmark year for the passing of our musical heroes. One right after another from all fields of music. Big bummer, but always an ample opportunity for adjusting the spotlight in their direction.
I first heard this tune on KALX 90.7 FM waaaaay back in the day. There was some kinda special on 60's music. I must have been 16 or 17 years old. It was many years later until I knew who exactly it was that had blasted through the radio. I had never heard anything so heavy and nasty and this blues R&B number had never sounded tougher. I think Bo Diddley would approve of the treatment.

Blazing with some of the baddest harp and fuzz guitar I had ever heard, this track seriously, seriously rips. It rips through your ears like a chainsaw. Captain Beefheart has forever been bad ass in my eyes. All of his huge catalog has been entirely entertaining to discover. From his fuzzed out R&B antics to the hybrid strange rock sound they had later on. My homie Kool Kyle pointed out to me, that if you were searching for where Nerd got their choppy syncopated production sound, it might rest right in a few of Beefheart's tunes. Purely coincidence? Possible. But, the Captain was well know for innovation and adversity.

Their brand of rock and roll infused jazz, soul, punk and garage. They seemingly had no commercial interest. They were even so experimental that any momentum they had acquired by this 'hit' single, dissipated by 1974 and drove the group to break up. They eventually formed again and put out three more albums. But, Beefheart has never been a sell out. Far from it. Or, seemed to have any interest in 'success' other than doing things a bit different. But, that odd touch, that different approach did yield them quite a bit of acclaim. Rolling Stone praised 'Trout Mask Replica' as a masterful piece of work. And, fans like myself are all appreciative of the things that the 'Magic Band' laid down.
The Captian's real name is Don Glen Vliet. He was truly an innovator and pushed the envelope in his music. To that we say Thank YOU. Enjoy this slab of 60's punked out R&B be you caveman or cavewoman.

Captain Beefheart - Diddy Wah Diddy

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fonzi Thorton - I Work For A Living

In spirit and celebration of the new Nile Rodgers presents The Chic Organization: Box set ... comes this offering from the lesser know soundtrack to 'Soup For One'. It's only available in this soundtrack. This track by Fonzi Thorton 'I Work For A Living' is some of the finest work by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. It's really a well hidden secret Chic track. The bass and guitar work together like rapid fire machine guns. I don't think the Chic sound was played this hard or with this fury as it was with this particular track. It's only made even more special by featuring Fonzi who only had a brief glimpse of a recording career. Mostly Fonzi was hidden from the limelight and probably could have been a bigger star. Although he could have had much success on his own, he provided many with excellent backing vocals and gave his time to tour with Chic. This is solid anthem material here... a working class anthem to boot. The other really tasty tune on this soundtrack is the mellow 'Soup For One' title cut by Chic. It too is amazing.
I have to say I was un-impressed by the Chic box set. Disappointed really. I think many of us, huge fans of this particular track, had hoped for a nice edit or re-working at some point. I had (as I assume many others had also) hoped that the re-edit or extended version of 'Work For A Living' on this collection was going to be the grail I had always waited for. But, it falls a bit short. The drum tracks are a bit disco-y (or rather house style.. u know.. um sist um sist um sist) and in fact sound as if they used a drum machine. So, a bit of a bummer for me. Perhaps I'll get around to extending it myself. But, somebody should do it justice. Maybe some of you know of a better edit or version. But, still this tune is a monster. Sooooo good. Further on the Box set....what!? no crazy 'Good Times' extended rhythm tracks or outtakes?? Crazy right? Maybe in Volume Two, they'll go there. They really SHOULD.

You'll be happy to know this rip is from the Original Soundtrack LP and NOT the box set. But, you should still go out and get it too. See if you like the treatment. Anyone out there seen this 'Soup' movie?

Plustwo - Stop Fantasy

Seemingly the most lethal weapon in my Italo arsenal. Like I said before, we're talking about 1 in 200 records before you get anything remotely hot. This killer double sider has classic Italo traits and good groundwork for the origins of house music. The use of drum machine high hats and snare and (what could be) the Tb-303 bass machine makes a strong case heading in a Detroit inspired direction. It even has the whirlwind of the Latin tinged almost 'salsa' sounding bridge. At least I remember a few house records having that same Latin turnaround rhythm. 
This record also has the common Italo occurrence of chipmunk singing. Not sure if they sung as high as possible or speed the tape up. But, the other side 'Melody', has actual chipmunk (sped up) silly vocals. So, if this tune is too much for you..dare I flip it over?

Be aware: this kind of Italo stuff is aquired taste. Meaning, you may NOT dig this entirely. But, keep an open noggin, and understand that this may be the roots of music that you DO love, and we had to have Plustwo before we could what was next.

I know nothing about Plustwo, and that's usually the case with the rare 1 in 200 tunes I find. I do know that this track is rare enough to have taken some time to find. A few Italo dealers wanted over 1,000 euros for it and then it vanished into thin air again. All I had was a YouTube clip in the beginning. I actually ran into a gentleman from the UK in a local record store who of all things said he was looking for this same record. Oddly, I have found it cheap. Very cheap. Both copies. With some luck, but also super big thanks to a friend.
7 inch version
A big shout to Francesca aka Disco Bambina who actually directed me to my initial 7" copy of this. I've turned up the 12" now and she gets the 7" as a finders fee. Let that be known to many of you...if you know I'm looking for a record and want to get hooked up..send it my direction. I take care of my peeps. 
I'm currently looking for the heavyweight tunes... The Charmells 'As Long As I've Got You', Ron Richardson 'Oo Wee Babe', and the Rob LP with 'Make It Fast, Make It Slow'. But, right...who isn't looking for these tracks?
I've ripped from my own 12" of this tune and it's the full version unavailable anywhere else. It's a Soundboutique exclusive. Like I've said before, we work hard to bring you the goodies.
Plustwo - Stop Fantasy

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gasfire - Is Our Life

I got into an Italo kick a few years back. Along the way my hunger was fed in little bites by the likes of the incredible 'Ago' and 'Tom Hooker' but, the pieces of real heat were few and far between. In every web posting, sound sample or needle drop the amount of crap I had to endure was massive. Most of the tracks to me where utter garbage. It made my research almost un-bearable. But, that one in 100th tune was simply new, unusual, and different on every level to me. Many of those rare finds were strangely funky. Italo combines so many great elements and was influenced by many different worlds.

The freshest part about Italo is it joins nu-wave, disco, and soul into one world. For example, during the same time in America nu-wave and R&B were worlds apart. Italians took these different influences and molded them together. The limits and parameters simply just didn't exist over there like they did here. Not to mention the huge, massive in fact, influence through the popular use of synthesisers. They pioneered that shit big time. Thank goodness for the Italians and their modified disco.

This particular catch by Gasfire only further proves this point. These cats are in converse shoes, performing on the street, and even have skateboards. Awesome. This song is like a hybrid of funk-punk, new wave and disco, all topped off with poorly pronounced English lyrics. That's a major appeal to Italo as well...hearing lyrics pronounced as only Italians can do it.
The synths and echo on the vocals make this a tasty cosmic offering as well. The best part of this is the breakdowns later in the song. All the different kooky sounds they mix up into it, All held together by this killer bass romp. I'm really hard pressed to think of a group that remotely sounds anything like them. Complete with fat synth bass and a mini sax solo. I bet you were wondering when that guy was gonna come in. Classic Italo genius and this is what going through a million horrible records is all about.
The tune chugs along morphing a few times breaking down into interesting little bits. Man, seriously! Take a listen to those sweet bridges with the sweeps! Freak-art-disco for sure. Kinda all over the place and plenty rewarding in a few different genres. Both sides of this unknown groups twelve inch are pretty good. I'll 'up' the other one at some time too. But, for now just enjoy the poor grammar that is "Is Our Life"....

Gasfire - Is Our Life

Yello - Bimbo

A went foraging into vinyl the other night, and turned this tune up again. I had met with Yello's music many years ago. Someone gave me a tape with Yello on it, and with a hit of acid I was changed forever. Deep into a future of electro and the bizarre I went. I think Kraftwerk gets a lot of credit for shaping modern electro music, but lesser bands like Yello played important roles as well. They frankly deserve more than just being the band with the Ferris Bueller claim to fame. That tape that rocked my world, welcomed me into the future, and had in it a dark and soulful world of electronic music. Entire LP's layered with synth and drum machines were hardly organic, but still unveiled worlds of possibility for me. Yello are a unique band of freaks and their music is unlike most bands I'd ever heard.
Still this group trips me up with how silly and strange they are.

I picked up this 45 the other night at the opening of Vamp: A music art & consignment shop. My friend Fernando has opened this spot and it has a LOT of potential. He's going to work to get a good supply of vinyl in there. I went to the pre-opening sale and found fairly tasty goodies. A lot of great r&b and soul 45's, plenty good re-issues, loads of mod related stuff, and a few punk, art-disco, and power pop things. That's where Yello came in..right between English Beat 45's and UK Punk classics.
Check out VAMP
at 547 Athol St. in Oakland, CA
You may want to call first. I'm not sure of the hours and I don't have the digits.
legwork. do it.

This cut is an excellent example of Yello's fury. Deep demonic voices, Sid Vicious sounding shouts, and a killer array of huge synths. The whole thing changes throughout the tune, and goes simply without classification. On Ralph records, home of other fantastic 'out' artists like Fred Frith, The Residents and Tuxedo Moon. Overall an impressive catalog and an impressive first 7 inch from Yello in 1980.

Yello - Bimbo

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lemi Aso - The Beginning

This track is some serious business.

This is pay dirt. The real deal as far as juicy nuggs are concerned.

In a slow deep KMEL announcer voice..."Here's another world premier Soundboutique exclusive..."

Again, you won't find this ANYWHERE else. I was hard pressed to even find a smidgin' of a trace of this on YouTube. Sadly searching for Lemi yielded little or no results. Who knows, she could be a household name in Japan, but Lemi Aso Lp's are hard to find. I'm not sure they ever came out in the states. I think there may be one or two, or perhaps this was the only one. If you know more about her, please share this info with us. I do know she was in the Japanese psych rock band 'Flowers' and that group is even harder to track down. Her American music history is seemingly non-existent.

This is the only 'really' interesting tune on the LP, but it is a complete head cracker. Different from anything else on the LP. Mellowed out hippie funk with a slow space funk back drop. The percussion, the robust bass groove, the synths, the treatment of special effects, it all floors me. I remember when I first heard it, I just about lost my shit. It's ripe for some sample treatment for sure. I can imagine a few hip-hop producers would love to flip this. Even might'a been Dilla material. It's strong point however being it's not just a sample and holds its weight as a banger from start to finish. A quality chune on it's own. More in a funk rock or psych vein than soul but really not lacking in any department. While it's tempo leaves room for only a enthusiastic head nod, it'll be on my play list for some time. Destined to be a soundboutique classic I hope you enjoy this exclusive jam just for you.

Lemi Aso - The Beginning

Broken Glass - Rather You Than Me

Nuff props to my man Young Lou. Ever since Young Lou Skywalker, aka 'Two Step Lou', aka DJ Auto, has stepped aboard the 'Sweaterfunk' committee he has proven he's more than just a pad-won learner. He digs deep, deeper than most. And, he's done his share of hard work to unearth head spinners whether you're into modern soul or deep funk.
He's already brought the light of day to a few tracks that none have heard before, and is quickly etching himself into the ranks of Tom Noble and Andrew Morgan with the genius tunes he's been exposing. This tune by Broken Glass is one of them.

Please check out Lou's blog.
be sure to check all of his mixes.
There is dope stuff within his mixes. He's making waves as a real pioneer, by exposing tunes and pushing the boundaries of what's gettin' play. I've got to personally thank him for a hand full of real gems he's put in my greasy fiendy record collectin' hands. And, I think you'll find a wide variety of interesting stuff on his site and within his DJ sets. It's all too rare these days to find a cat that plays 10 tunes in a row that no one has 'hipped' him to, and rather that he's personally 'dug up'. Seriously Lou, hats off.  As many of us who know him have said, the force is strong with this one.

Broken Glass is Joe Egan and Gil Stone.
This funky rock chune is most definitely on a mellow late night vibe. I played it at the end of the nite at the now defunct "Fo Tha Funk Of It" that we were doing in Oakland earlier this year. Definitely 'late night' and seedy and smooth. Did a fine job of turning the crowd around on a mellow evening and I topped it off with a little 'Lakeside - Something About That Woman'. It may be hard to obtain this little 45, as the guys in the band have the only copies. Both of them still in the music production and recording biz, Gil Stone still does his own brand of indie-alt hybrid funk rock called Steep Hill.
Lou gave me this track, and without listening to it, I knew it was a winner. And, indeed it is an absolute BOMB. Anything with his stamp of approval, I won't even remotely question. Pure bred funk connoisseur he is. As Yoda would say.

Broken Glass - Rather Me Than You

Bobby Bland - I Wouldn't Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me)

Aside from being a strong runner for longest song title in the world, it's a tasty bit of bluesy funk from the incomparable Bobby 'Blue' Bland.
When I discovered his original version it knocked me down. You see, I had only heard the Rhythm Heritage's version, which was flip side to 'The Theme From S.W.A.T.'
When I was a kid growing up in San Francisco I had a small group of 45's. No more than a nine year old should have. A few I remember... 'More Bounce To The Ounce', 'Flashlight' and 'SWAT Theme'. I remember as kids popping and locking in the bathrooms at school to these songs. Perhaps only having exposure to a few 45's, I fell in love with 'treat you like a dog' even as an instrumental track. Their version is actually pretty sick too. It was something about the melody and hook. So, you can imagine 15 years later when I heard Bobby's smooth vocals my head just about shattered. Or, perhaps it was my pants that shattered? (thanks JB for the shitty visuals) But, nevertheless this tune is a swooner. Laid back urban funky groove from 'the man' of the blues himself Bobby Bland.

Bobby Bland - I Wouldn't Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Search - Is It Love

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah JUST A DAMN GOOD SOULFUL BOOGIE TUNE blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

No need for my usual wanderings here. Actually the guy that put me up on this great record is spinning tonight in the Mission SF, CA. If you're near, drop on thru. I'll be playing some tunage too. 1746 18th st. (the cross street is Carolin) in my child-hood Potrero Hill. Friday 9 til wheneva.

Oh, and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Search - Is It Love

Sweet Linda Divine - I'll Say It Again

In part to fulfill my promise to post this track and also a chance for a moment of deep recognition of Linda Tillery. I went with my daughter and my lady to see Linda at the free UC Berkeley show. It was amazing. Linda was as zesty, interesting and full of soul as one could be. She takes a sec to rap with the audience in between songs and her musical canvas is impressive and vast. Linda, three other women, and two men all sat around Congas and Drums in a semi circle. The scats and melodies that came from all of their vocals were impressive. The history of music that they shared and presented was educational. I highly recommend their show if you've got kids. It was funny enlightening and happy. When I showed Linda the LP for her to sign she was amazed to see it after some time. But, other fans had stories of living in her same block and memories of certain 'music houses'. I did get a change to tell her how much her music affected me, and what it meant to me now being influenced by the Bay Area music scene.
When I initially posted a bit about Linda I couldn't quite find this LP. Now, that it's here in my clutches once again, we've got to get it on here. So, here we go. Another choice Linda Tillery offering and another heavy concrete piece of Bay Area soul music.

Sweet Linda Divine - I'll Say It Again

The Bobbettes - Zoomy

Honestly I forget exactly how this came into the collection. But, never will I forget the Bobbettes. They are the best. The are crazy fun, hyper energy and oh-so soulful. I remember being majorly 'into' this 45 and madly searching for more like it. At the time I couldn't find what I was looking for, but later discovered more like it. Mostly it was within their own catalog. This is in part a sequel to my post about my wedding music cause the Bobbettes make me extremely happy. Plus burning around town in a drop top mustang for the week with these fine ladies playing out loud was a kick. I couldn't have picked a better soundtrack to our honeymoon. It's doo wop from the ladies and they ain't messin' around. Recording 'Mr. Lee' in 1957 that group was super young. The oldest being about 14 at the time of recording. They never had greater success than 'Mr. Lee' but the legacy they left is incredible. 'Zoomy' is their third single and released in 1958. Atlantic records dropped them fairly early in their career, but they pushed on well into the 70's and even have a few 80's joints on Sunnyview and again on Atlantic calling them the 'Bobbettes 1981'. These five girls from Harlem are incredible...judge for yourself. This is the creme of the crop for their excellent early sound. But, please check their entire catalog.

The Bobbettes - Zoomy

The Orlons - South Street

Let me first say,  I'm thrilled to be back at this. I've been busy beyond belief! Somewhere amidst my usual busyness I've found time to get married, take on a new business partner, grow my current business, and develop new biz endeavours. So, for me..things are hectic and my calender is packed. But, I get so much pleasure out of sharing tracks and appreciate so much the feedback we get here. So, I'm relishing in this moment and here we go... These have all been life changing things going on for me. Definitely the most 'life changing' was getting married. One thing that came to mind during 'getting married' was MUSIC. I literally woke up the morning of my marriage with the tune "Going to the chapel' in my head. I suppose that's not such a stretch considering what I was to partake in that day. But, it was remarkable the amount of these happy little 'fitting' tunes kept popping into my head. For some reason, the jingles from several 50's and 60's soul tunes were on my mind. I remember the last major life changing thing for me was the birth of my daughter, and that day too was blessed with music running through my mind. That time it was 'Lady' by Modjo. It was still being played on the radio and in the occassional car driving by at that time. 'Lady' is actually the brilliant Nile Rodgers and Chic masterpiece 'Soup For One' from the movie of the same name. That became the theme for my child's birth. So, this brings me to the story of how the Orlons became the theme music for my holy matrimony. From 'Going To The Chapel' to 'Don't Hang Up' the transition wasn't very hard. Actually it went...'Chapel' to 'Be My Baby' by the Ronettes and then 'Da Do Ron Ron' by The Crystals and 'The Wah-Watusi' by The Orlons. All within the tracks of my mind. lol. Yes, there is a strange 'Quadraphenia' thing happening here as well.
I pulled out (miraculous if you know me and my collection: I can NEVER find anything I want to play and hear) the several Orlons records I have. They're all so cute with pictures of them on the covers.  Wigs, white gloves, impeccable suits, and beehives several feet high. The more I dug through my 45's the more I dug the Orlons.
Most of their jams are full of energy and excitement. In fact most struck me as needing to be looped up and made into some kind of 50's and early 60's hip hop be-bop. The drums are punchy, horns tight, and vocals poppin. Everything is recorded nice and loud and all the elements are full and crisp.
The flip side here is 'Them Terrible Boots' another killer Orlons offering.

I'm still tripping on how this cat in the Orlons gets that voice so deep. Still also tripping that now I'm hitched. But, just another thing to thank the wife for...getting such lovely music stuck in my head.
I highly recommend getting a best of the Orlons LP or just plain downloading that shit. It's strikingly DOPE and fresh sounding even to this day.

(Actually the last time I had the energy and intent to 'up' a new post here on this blog, my trustworthy 'mediafire' site was not working. So, now that things are right again...)

The Orlons - South Street

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

General Johnson - Don't Walk Away

Earlier this month the great General Johnson passed away. It's been a tough year, many of our soul and funk heroes have passed on. Just a reminder I suppose that if we love our 'old school' artists we should show them, honor them and see them perform while they are still around. Just this month alone we've lost the great Gregory Isaacs, Ari Up from the Slits died at the early age of 48, and General Johnson died of Lung Cancer. It's been a bummer to hear about such great artists passing away. Everyone from the wholesome to the exploitative... from Leave It To Beaver's Barbara Billingsley to Penthouse photographer Bob Guiccione...they both passed in October as well. It's a bit much!

Out goes General Johnson as well. General Norman Johnson is probably best known for being in The Chairmen Of the Board. From the well known '(Gimme) Just A Little Time' which charted quite well, to the soul anthem of 'Gone Fishin'' the Chairmen 'brought it' to the soul fans. '(Gimme) Just a little more time' is classic soul by the chairmen, and additionally the General penned 'Want Ads', and 'One Monkey Don't Stop The Show' for Honeycone.

He started out in 1961 performing and writing with The Showmen, known best for 'It Will Stand' on Minit Records. Then with the Chairmen Of The Board cut several records for Invictus. One of which was recorded in a very heavy Funkadelic fashion with Bernie Worrell and Eddie Hazel called 'Skin I'm In'. Mr. Johnson has an impressive catalog and recorded just about every style of soul music possible from 1961 to his death this month. An incredible artist with so many contributions to soul music.
This tune in particular is a classic nice little stepper from his self titled solo LP released in 1976. This is excellent soul music. One of my absolute favorite soul tunes EVER.

I guess why I'm personally affected by these deaths is that I'm heavily entrenched in the eras of the past. It would feel different if we had staples of artists today that were making waves like the ones before. Just a lot happened that was important and vital in musics history. Like, how many pop bands these days perform with any instruments? Probably very few. Certainly fewer compared to those of the 60's, 70's, and even the 80's. And, the same goes for talent. General Johnson had an immense amount of talent and skill. I hope you enjoy this sophisticated soul number done by the man who now chairs the soul council in the sky!

General Johnson - Don't Walk Away

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Metros - Since I Found My Baby

It's funny, the first thing that came to mind for me when I posted "Since I Lost My Baby' by The Temptations was this tune. While the Tempts are hugely well known, the opposite can be said for The Metros. Although they were lesser known, the influence of the budding Motown sound is clear. From the sharp arsenal of instruments and the full production, you can tell Motor city had it's affect on The Metros.

This tune from their 1967 RCA LP "Sweetest One" is a marvel of a tune and a smokin' hot soul dancer. I've been wanting to retread or back step into my DJ material from my years as a mod. No tune better exemplifies the sound that I was into at that time. It's an essential northern soul tune. I like to call it secret agent soul. It's slick, smooth, polished and ever so deadly. Reminds me of the crisp 'big boy' sound system at 330 Ritch Street back when Kitty, Kirk Harper and I (and frequent guests) would DJ the soul nite called 'In and Out' once a month. Things like this tune always sounded so incredible on that huge sound system. Although, I was mostly known for playing funkier and more southern type stuff, I had my moments of glazing the soul donuts too. I was just as happy to button the fourth button and break out the talcum power when it came to numbers like this. It was a great period for me, expanding my interests in 60's and 70's club soul, be it funky or northern, pop or underground.

The Metros were Percy Williams, James Buckman, Robert Suttles, and Arthur Mitchell. All incredibly talented vocalists. Produced by Jack Ashford (Hotel Sheet) and Joe Hunter, also known as the Pied Piper production team. This song also features a young guitarist known as Dave Hamilton. Sadly this was their only full length LP, and only book cased it with a few 45 releases. They formed in 1966 and quickly separated late the next year.
Too Bad, The Metros had such great potential. 

That's two 'Since I ____ My Baby' tunes in one week! But, I'll spare you all from my horrific 'blanked my baby' jokes. Just glad that now, what was once lost, is now found. Cheers.


The Metros - Since I Found My Baby

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Temptations - Since I Lost My Baby

Speaking of slow burners, here's one from the emperors of sweet soul. I haven't listened to this for a great length of time. Probably since my mod days back when we constantly played The Actions' version. I had been thinking about Motown lately as I had just watched the Tammi Terrell special on 'Unsung'. The Tammi Terrell story is simply an incredible one, and you should do whatever you can to see it.

Just today I came across this LP, 'Temptin'' by The Temptations at a thrift store. It has all the classic elements of Motown production..  clean and crisp piano, elegant strings, drums that crackle like a great northern soul storm, and topped with a silvery coating of vocals. It's a great underplayed song. Just a genius, sincere and heartfelt tune about bitter loss.

I actually give The Action a lot of credit for doing a fine cover of this song. They had the chance to do it over, giving it strength in new parts of the song. But, the Tempts are still kings in my book and no one can hold a flame to the arsenal of beautiful music they put out. This being just another fine example of what they and the Motown squad had to offer in 1965.

The Temptations - Since I Lost My Baby

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dynasty - Adventures In The Land Of Music

Absolute classic 80's mid tempo stomper here. A tune I have a serious love affair with. I have to admit, the first time I heard it was thanks to the folks in Camp Lo. They were up on sampling 80's stuff way before most. Fortunately this LP was in every dollar bin across the entire bay area. I think I pick it up every time I see it. Probably have ten of 'em at this point. This song just makes you want to move slow and throw your hands in the air. So slow it's almost like moving through water. The string and horn arrangements are among the most powerful I've ever heard. This tune carries an amazing presence that even when played out, regardless of its drippingly slow tempo still gets heads nodding and lovers and slow dancers getting to a grind. Classic stuff here. This song from the album of the same name, was just one of many offerings by Dynasty. Dynasty gave up so many tunes for the Solar label during the late 70's and far into the mid 80's. All dope shit. Solar is a label I loved way back as a kid. I used to buy the 45's right off the rack in the record store. Here now, off the SB rack for you to enjoy.

Dynasty - Adventures In The Land Of Music

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kevin Johnson - You Walked Out On Me

Here's another example of a straight up anthem of mine. It's just indie enough for me to have a strange personal love affair with it. Something so incredibly 'home-spun' about it yet funky as all hell. One song that I sing along with word for word. And, one you can always see me air-keyboarding the funky synthesizer riff to. The deep funk bass line and tight drum machine make it probably the earliest possible appearance of true g-funk sound. Not to mention the vocals sound like the blueprint for Nate Dogg's entire style. It'd be a kick, and totally make sense if this was his relative. From the beginning slow backwards slap of the snare right into heavy funk, it's a serious bomb track. Part of it's appeal is Kevin's total lack of excitement. His lackadaisical approach sets the tone for this ridin' anthem. He's slow and steady and it's a 'ha-ha I told you so...good ridance' kind of vengeful break up song. He simply asks... after you leave, close the door. But, the little bit of melodic scatting he does at the end is priceless. Quality modern soul funk 45 by Kevin Johnson who perhaps never got to record any more. A song that makes you wanna bump it driving in your car, in the summer, with the windows down.
I struggled with this one quite a bit. It wasn't cheap. But, it just was one of those that wasn't turning up for me EVER. So, I had to take the plunge. Couldn't wait to have it any longer. More hard earned dollars going straight to Mr. Craig Moerer. But, I simply just had to have this. Now, you can benefit from my purchasing power with this limited mp3. Wow, I'm watching too much late night TV while writing these posts.

Kevin Johnson - You Walked Out On Me

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Frieda Nichols - Sweet Peter

How's about a fat juicy slice of sister funk? Straight up, no holds, knuckle up, dragged down to the bone, hassle free heavy funk from mama Frieda Nichols. Bold and Sassy funk with guitar sounds sliding up and down the neck and tickles from the Hammond. On The H & S record label out of L.A., but definitely of New Orleans inspiration. It has that flat footed drum stomp, tight snare and nice fitting tambourine. I can even can go far as to say it sounds as though could have been produced by Edwin Bocage. Love tunes like this, that at times sound as though they are played at the wrong speed. Or, perhaps she had a few hits of helium before the recording?

Not much info on this one, although it is from 1977 and credited as Frieda and Homer Brown and his group. Don't know diddly squat about Ms. Nichols or Mr. Brown. If you do, please let me know. Did I mention I love the comments section? Especially if you've got info to share.

Mind you, Sweet Peter is no carbon copy! Did she say 'photo-static'?? Holy crap!

Frieda Nichols - Sweet Peter

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tatsuro Yamashita - Solid Slider

The lovely DJ Mama Bear played a little Tatsu' last time I went a' Sweaterfunking. She bumped "Dancer" from his lovely 1977 LP called 'Spacy' on RCA. I was reminded just how sweet and mellow Japanese Boogie can be. This tune however is appealing to my interests in 'soft rock' funk. Half sung in English and Japanese it's feeding my developing ears into the realm of blue eyed boogie. It's turning out that many Japanese artists were right in pocket with the 'soul easy rock' bag. In fact they often capture the mood better than their 'blue-eyed' contemporaries.

Tatsuro Yamashita has a large catalog of great soul music. Still pumping out music to this day, and over 20 LP's released from 1972. Originally in the Sugar Babe Group, he then went and recorded a long list of solo LP's. His 80's stuff is great. Probably the best, most well rounded of the 80's Japanese Boogie artists.

This tune bears a stark resemblance to Boz Scaggs' "Low Down". Complete with similar pop bass, 'woo-ooh-ooooh--ah ooh' creepy backing vocals and overall sleazy mood. So, hats off to TY for out bow-tie-in' the bow tie funkers. And, honorary mention in the soft rock, soul funk hall of fame.

Tatsuro Yamashita - Solid Slider

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dennis Landry - Sing My Song

Something bout this tune just does my head in. One of my favorite funky 45's. Probably my preferred tune by Mr. Landry. He had one other pretty juicy 45 release, "Miss Hard to Get" b/w "M’m’M’m’ Good". That 45 may have been a year or two earlier. I faintly remember it being a reply to Mr. Big Stuff, at least of sorts. "Sing My Song" has all the treasured elements of great funky soul. Great Backings vocals, Smart Horns, subtle strings, and equipped and empowered by early synth soundings keyboards. Pure Genius. Starting off in New York City and finally givin' shouts to the 'Frisco Bay' Dennis was spreading his 'song' like a new dance craze. The flip instrumental version "Concentration" is equally banging. Just straight instrumental madness. Whatever that keyboard lick is..I just can't seem to get enough. Pressed in 1974 on Soul Unlimited records, it's one of those soul recipes that has all the tasty ingredients.

Dennis Landry - Sing My Song

Friday, September 24, 2010

Linda Tillery - Freedom Time

Linda has got a large catalog of interesting work. She is a huge part of the local Bay Area music scene history. More importantly, an integral part of the Women's Movement here. The Women's Movement and the emerging Women's Music scene were interwoven and a part of an ever growing and expanding network.

Linda Tillery in 1978
In the seventies The Feminist Movement was alive and thriving here in the Bay. From restaurants to record labels women were 'doing it' on their own and showing other women they could 'do it' too. Women were making landmark moves. The social and political scene was closely knit with the emergence of just as radical of a Women's Movement in music. The same revolutionary changes and energy of the Women's Movement was also flowing through the same veins of the music scene. I remember that the social and political changes that were happening in the Bay Area made it an awesome place to grow up for me.
Part of what still makes it awesome.

My mom stood beside a entire UPS facility full of men, and threw packages just like them, doing what was considered 'men's work'. She was delivering parcels, and next, being a part of delivering women into the workplace. Then, in the East Bay the experiences continued...The mother of my closest childhood friend was involved in an all lesbian owned and run breakfast spot. In fact, it was the 'The Brick Hut' and often was the local hang for the 'Olivia Records' gang. Olivia Records was right around the corner from 'The Hut'. We used to go to 'The Hut' as kids on weekend mornings after hitting the Ashby Flea Market.

Musically and socially a climate of change was blowin' about in the SF/Berkeley and Oakland area. Rewarding on so many levels to be a kid amidst the diverse and active community here in the Bay. Then and now, still to this day.

Linda with The Loading Zone

Linda Tillery started with local Oakland based group 'The Loading Zone'. She must have been 16 or 17 years old during that time. She earned her place in that band by singing her heart out. She's featured as the singer on several tracks on the LP and they are the better tunes. This was a favored LP among funk collectors for the instrumental number 'Can I Dedicate'. Its an LP that is drenched heavy in soul, blues, funk and obviously modeled after Sly And The Family Stone. Big production with heavy and loud horns it has a trademark sound that was emerging in L.A. and the Bay Area. After Loading Zone broke up, she recorded an album for Columbia under the moniker Sweet Linda Divine. A nickname she had been known by throughout the Berkeley and Oakland area. More heavy funk and powerhouse vocals throughout this LP. It features the wicked 'I'll Say it Again' which is a cover of the Sandpebbles' 'If You Didn't Hear Me The First Time'.

The Sweet Linda Divine LP

Although it's a great LP, she didn't really come into her own until 1977 when she released her self titled LP on the all women owned and operated Olivia Records. It's a fantastic fabric of work, and considered by many the most intricate and musically rich releases for the label. This self titled LP by Linda Tillery on Olivia made considerable waves. Olivia also did a lot for women's music within this area, and also had a large staple of artists and releases. Linda became a producer at Olivia and played drums on countless releases as well. There's two fabulous tunes on this S/T in particular that I love..'Markin' Time' and the excellent 'Freedom Time' which has been re-released by Ubiquity on the compilation 'California Soul'. 'Freedom' is a monster tune, wickedly soulful and powerful. It has a 1:45 minute intro, but when it finally kicks in it's pure heaven. Something truly to be said for the power of sultry soulful sister vocals over slick and funky riffs and melodies. Although, its hard for me to pick just those two...again, it is a generally texturally rich and layered LP throughout. A good listen from start to finish. Not to mention it's incredible cover art, a mix of textures looking like burlap and sandpaper among other things. During the 70's she furthered her singing, producing, playing drums, and continued to work at Olivia Records. In addition she worked with other Bay Area artists' Coke Escovedo, Lenny White, Santana, and Boz Scaggs. Later in 1985 she released 'Secrets' on her own record label. It is an LP renowned by avid soul collectors as her true genius work and well known in modern soul circuit. Seems as though many of her releases are indeed loved by many different groups on many different levels. A life's work well received it appears.

To this day she's active as the leader of the Cultural Heritage Choir.
They're playing a free show at Zellerbach Hall on U.C. Berkeley's campus. It's at 5PM, this Sunday Sept. 26th. I'm going to go.. you should too. I'm gonna take my daughter, show her just how important women in music can be.

In an interview in 1978 Linda was quoted as hoping her music would "give strength to other women as they too strive to attain the freedom that comes when restrictions based on race and sex are eliminated"
Linda was more than just a vocal powerhouse but a powerhouse of activism and inspiration.

Here's two tracks from Linda..
I Can't Please You by The Loading Zone
Freedom Time from her S/T on Olivia Records
But, bottom line is her entire catalog is highly recommended.
I couldn't find my copy of 'Sweet Linda Divine' but, when I do..I'll post it up.

The Loading Zone - I Can't Please You

Linda Tillery - Freedom Time

Special Edition - Thunder Soul Movie

Thunder Soul
Just came back from seeing this at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland, Ca. and all I can think about is how awesome it was. On the way home all I could do was keep saying over and over again in my head..'What an incredible story, What an incredible story, What an incredible story!' There's still a chance to see it this Saturday morning at the Oakland Underground Film Festival. I would NOT miss it if I were you. Those of you who know, and have read my reviews, know that I don't give away 'spoilers'.. so it's quite safe to read on...

Those of us rare soul and funk enthusiasts know that when we have a chance to see our heroes on the big screen it isn't that often. We're apart of such a minute crowd that we've learned to enjoy small tokens of our world represented on the big screen. Everything from Snoop Dogg pulling up in a ride listening to 'Bumpin' by Groundhog in that god-awful remake of Starsky and Hutch, to footage of 'Soul Train' in Spike Lee's Crooklyn. 'Thunder Soul' is quite a bit more. More than just sacred footage or soundtrack validation, it's the real story of a band and the people in it, affected by it, and lead into it.

The Kashmere Stage Band 1973
Very few people know about the high school funk of The Kashmere Stage Band. Those lucky enough to have found their incredibly rare records know just how treasured they are. When a frenzy of re-issues brought them to the lime-light everybody wanted a piece of the action. They quickly became one of the most sought after bands in the funk circuit. But, this is more than a obsession of a obscure group, it's a great story. A story that stuck in my head the entire drive home and made people in theater laugh, cry, and clap. Myself included.

 Conrad 'Prof' Johnson
The movie is based on the incredible story of Conrad Johnson school band leader (and teacher, aka 'Prof') and the incredible students that made up The Kashmere Stage Band. The footage is great, sounds nice and loud on the big screen, and the filmmakers did an excellent job. I appreciated the graphic design and special effects. It's a nicely done documentary, both informational (who knew their re-issues topped out at number three on amazon!) and inspirational (a truly hear felt story about a great group of people).

There's a bunch more interesting movies that are a part of the 'Oakland Underground Film Festival' including Bolivian female
wrestlers, hip hop dance battles, electronic music, and Rock Steady reggae.
It's a calender that is heavily devoted to music this year.
These are also the same folks that brought us 'Black Dynamite' last year.
check the schedule and additional information here...

Read more about this movie and where to catch it in your town...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Herb Geller - The Power Of A Smile

From the fantastic Herb Geller LP 'Rhyme And Reason'. This tune 'The Power Of A Smile' and 'Space A La Mode' both feature the amazing Mark Murphy on vocals. This tune works on so many levels for me. It's jazzy, it's danceable, spacey and down right SICK. It's epic in proportion and length and has a big band feel. It traverses through many different levels including genius horn arrangements and amazing percussion arrangements yet brings it back to the same groove it started with. It stems from the world of vocal jazz, in the realms of Eddie Jefferson and Gil Scot Heron to name a few. It brings me back to the days when I was being educated by the Acid Jazz comps coming from the UK. The days of 'New York Afternoons' by Richie Cole and 'Chicken Lickin'' by Funk Inc. I was just beginning to sink my teeth into that sound and went from Acid Jazz to Rare Groove like some kinda wildfire. So, I've always had an affinity for this sound. I think those comps were on the 'Street Sounds' label. Anyone remember those?

I think I came into this LP via trades with the legendary Beni B. Way back in the day, when we worked at KALX together, long before he embarked on his own hip-hop label. That was a good time for trading and learning amongst peers for me. Beni turned me onto a small handful of grails. So, not sure exactly..but thanks to Beni for possibly putting me up on this ages ago. I may have obtained some not so rare, pretty common pieces in my dealings with him too. But, I learned my lesson. And, a few of you out there have learned your lesson via trading with me as well. All a part of the game I suppose.

The tune takes us on a voyage through several landscapes. A bed of samples for any Rhodes, guitar and sax fan. I hardly post up jazz stuff, so this is long overdue 'cause I am indeed a fan. I like the positive feel and 'Cosmic' approach that this LP has, and it's apparent in 'Power Of A Smile'.
In searching for more info on Mark Murphy and Herb Geller I found two interesting blogs...
lovingly called.. 'Happy as a fat rat in a cheese factory'
which seems dedicated to Rhodes Electric Piano.. Man, do I miss mine!

These blogs are both chock full of information and have tons of other related LP's. So, rather than repeat that info, you can seek it out. Please search those sites for this entire LP and many other interesting albums. Just start by searching for Mark Murphy or Herb Geller, and go from there. Wow, I've really outdone myself. Like you need me to teach you how to search for music. Next I'll be giving instructions on 'how to use the internet'. That'll be the day. But seriously. I'm not trying to be the final word or an expert in any genre, so I'll leave that to the other folks. I just love music. Some of this and some of that. As I've said before..this is just my experiences with music..and a kind of ever evolving mix tape with hopefully an open conversation.....

Herb Geller - The Power Of A Smile

Heaven And Earth - Feel The Spirit

Extraordinary female psych offering here. It's quintessential hippy tunage too. This is a haunting song that starts slow and works itself into a frenzy. In fact this shit is down right creepy. You could say it might be right for the next Dario Argento witch trilogy.

Before I found this LP 'Refuge' on Ovation, I think I became aware of it via some kinda comp, can't remember the name though. It may have been 'Folk Funk', I don't honestly remember. But, I do know that since then it's been comped several more times, been featured on quite a few mixes, and may be in the works for a full re-release from the master tapes. Seems like they could have opened for Fifty Foot Hose or something back in the day. It's some of the best femme folk psych I've laid ears on. This track is amazing. Steady hypnotizing guitar chords, great string arrangements, a touch of staccato strings with just the right amount of delay, and all nicely wrapped up with only the finest in head melting, psychedelic lyrics. Then, they work it all up into a drug induced rave up storm complete with flute echoing throughout. Would you like snowflakes that sing? Sure, why not. Right? What a tasty little treat. I hope you enjoy.

Heaven And Earth - Feel The Spirit

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cuby And The Blizzards - Your Body Not Your Soul

More Dutch punk. War torn Europe created a multitude of teenagers with displacement, angst and anger, and in the Netherlands in particular it just so happens they created some of the best garage punk in the world. Cuby And The Blizzards are a prime example. This could arguably be one of the best dutch punk 45's ever. It's definitely one of my all time favorite garage punk tunes. Plain and simple, its got all the right elements. It's not even 2 and a half minutes long, but the havoc done will leave you wanting more. The drums are relentless and crash with a savage fury, the guitar wails throughout, and that tambourine comin' in just at the right time...oh, it's so bad ass. The rest of their offerings are in the Pretty Things and Dutch Outsiders vein. So, you know where they're coming from..heavy blues fuzz and raw sixties punk.

Interesting little side story and claim to fame I have surrounding my copy of this 45.... It was featured on Nuggets vol 2 : Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond.
Alec Palao of Ace/Big Beat gave me a call and asked if he could use my copy for a photo of this 45 for the release. Sure, of course I said. Now, I flip through that CD compilation and can say..'that's MY record!' Actually I think it may only be on the outside of the box in the back..No wait.. the booklet, it's in the booklet!! but, pretty cool right? Now I gotta figure out how to really get my record collection to pay for itself!

That's my shit!

Cuby And The Blizzards - Your Body Not Your Soul

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Shocking Blue - Inkpot

The Shocking Blue are one of my all time favorite bands. Originally hailing from the Hague, in the Netherlands they were one of few bands to become a pop success outside of their native homeland. They had their feet firmly planted in both the 60's and 70's and made an impressive catalog of tunes. From the first LP "At Home" on Pink Elephant in 1969 to this 1972 track it's all quality stuff.

Originally formed by Robbie van Leeuwen in 1967 they only had minor success until Mariska Veres took over the vocals. Her powerful voice lead them to a number one single with 'Venus' and commandeered their strong and passionate sound. Most Shocking Blue tracks rage with an unstoppable fire. Simple melodies, clear separation of elements and always with hard drums. The production on all of their material has a serious bite. Everything is loud in the mix and you can plainly hear each individual instrument, making it that much more powerful when things come together. For Shocking Blue it often does come together, and the end result and final package is hard rock with serious soul. If you like your rock and roll with fury and a punch, they're the band for you.
In the eastern melodies, regular use of electric sitar, and tablas, they laid the groundwork for an evil web of rock 'n roll. A sound that later would be harvested by groups ranging from Black Sabbath to Nirvana. Not to mention they became a favorite of beat diggers, funk collectors and rare groove DJ's world wide. Based on snappy drums, breaks, and general potential as a rock group to be sampled, they became even more desired.
Mariska's vocal talents are unbelievable, her vocals soar throughout each number. Those like myself that have an affinity for poorly pronounced english and unusual accents will be pleased with their material. As is the case with a lot of Dutch rock, some words sound even better when pronounced differently. It's not so much how it's said that's important, but what they say. And, there's a LOT of cosmic content to the lyrics here, referencing the sun, the moon and the stars. The lyrics are often heavy with metaphors and imagery.
I also became obsessed with them visually, collecting every 45 release and strange Japanese LP issue just for another cool pic of them. They do look super fab. Sporting the best threads and blending 60's swingin' London with the bright and colorful platform of the 70's glam trip.

This particular track is a light number with a bugglegum or pop feel, yet hardened up with wicked sitar and wah-wah electric sarod. They got a positive message here, and it's one of their less dark tunes..although you can still hear that it dips into that spooky feeling a bit too. The 'Shoe-be-do-wah' lyrics might lose a few customers here, but will more than make up for it with the eastern grooves and bangin' drums. It's psychedelic pop in it's purest form. The changes and grooves laid herein is a small sample of what Shocking Blue are all about.

I highly recommend ALL of SB's material. If you're already familiar with them, you may think why 'Inkpot'? It's partly because it's one of their under-played tunes. I'm a fan as much of this as I am of the smashing 60's punk fury of 'Long And Lonesome Road' Again, all of the Shocking Blue is good. 'Rock In The Sea' which sounds like an early Cure song, is another one from this same year that's incredible as well. There will be many more to post from them in the future. They've got so much good stuff, you could really begin anywhere. I'd start with the first LP, or any compilation of all of their singles.

The Shocking Blue - Inkpot

Hugh Prestwood - Like A Children's Song

A few moons ago I played with Big Eagle at The Uptown in Oakland. They made quite an impression on me. They endeared me by covering one of my most favorite 'pop country' records by a female artist. It was 'I Don't Want To Play' by Ellen McIlwaine. A lesser known song, but I've got Ellen high on the 'to-do' list for a future post on this site.

Big Eagle was simply awesome.
You can check for yourself here.

Anyways, the first song that came to mind was 'Like A Children's Song' by Hugh Prestwood. Something I'd want to share with Big Eagle. Perfect tune for them to cover. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll get to see Bart and Robyn singing the sweet harmonies in this song. It's a sincere country romp that somehow fell into my clammy lil' hands. Hugh's got a rather strange tone to his voice, but it works beautifully in this song. The co-singer is uncredited but also amazing. The drums are ever present and snappy as hell and perhaps, that's what drew me in. It charges along much like the song says.. 'like cold water makin' the river sing'. In general the lyrics are heavenly. The song is a simple one, but of utter beauty and appeal. As far as I'm concerned this is the kind of genuine quality that makes country music so lovable to me. So clear is the heartbreak, the sorrow, the love, the faithfulness, and the sincere feeling in the tune.

Hugh's been a man behind the curtain and done quite well selling a few tunes here and there. He's penned songs for Judy Collins, Crystal Gayle, and Randy Travis. I'm quite surprised this tune is so completely unknown and even more flabbergasted that Hugh Prestwood didn't become a household name. Perhaps he didn't want too... In fact, this song isn't even listed on his website.
Maybe his vocal stylings weren't appealing to 'radio' audiences. Maybe it was just the record executives. Welp, they all missed out.
I did track down a few other recent recordings by him. It seems he may have been so sincere and genuine in his music that he himself eluded any 'real' exposure. The lyrical context of his new stuff is so unconventional and un-pop that it's almost 'country underground'. At one point in one of his newer songs he declares 'I don't write these song to make a living' something my uncle laughed at when I played it for him. He said 'Well, that's pretty obvious..hehe...' Even a bluegrass lover like my uncle scoffed at it. Go figure. Sometimes real honesty in music takes people a back. But, if that's your thing, I suggest you seek him out. It may be just as hard to find his material today as it was then, back in 1972. I'm proud to say I'm a Prestwood fan. He has many of the elements I look for in this style of music. The flip, 'Louisiana Woman' is pretty good too. But, 'Children's..' is the bread winner here. We love ya Hugh Prestwood.

Hugh Prestwood - Like A Children's Song

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fat Back - What Do You Want From Me / Take Your Time

Another Soundboutique Exclusive

You won't find this anywhere else...

Probably one of the best little 'rock' 45 rpm discoveries I've ever turned up. And, a good example of just how awesome the 45 format is. An example of how intricate and diverse a groups sound can truly be within the confines of the 3 minute art form.
I'm not sure which side I like better. They are both completely brilliant. I found nothing about this band 'Fat Back' other than both websites and people confusing them with the funk group 'The Fatback Band'. It proves frustrating when you hope for more offerings from a group of this caliber. They're funky as hell and prove they have some serious chops. From the sweet and pleasant harmonies to the sax solo they illustrate not only a rad take on things, but the skills of execution as well.
It's obvious they were inspired and influenced by Chicago, Grand Funk, The Guess Who and many others, yet they put their own stamp on it too. Back and forth with soft rock melodies to hard funk without a care in the world. Truly campy lyrics from a skewed psychedelic perspective. All of it makes for a hell of an odd ball experience. The musicianship is tops as far as I'm concerned. So much thought went into the production. A long lost era of music, nothing like it is made these days.
Let's take a closer inspection...

1. What Do You Want From Me
Part garage, part soft country, with a dash of hippie funk.
It starts off oh-so kinda sweet and soft. A perfect melody to trick us right into a seemingly angry little chant?! Early Bee Gee's style backing vocals. Amazingly tight and perfectly mixed horns..Excellent lyrics..'had a chance but I was a fool', and 'a paper tiger lives in a cage, rosey words perceived in a rage' Huh?? What the fuck! I love it. Honestly, I can barely make out what they're saying most of the time, but what I can pick up is fantastic. Scat whisper drum fills?? I'm truly floored by this number. Fades out with a goofy trumpet solo!? my goodness gracious thinks (with this outro) they may have out 'Chicagoed' Chicago. I gotta say I wanna know who the hell was behind the production on this one..because it's really incredible.

2. Take Your Time
oh good lord. Bell Bottom funk rock really hits like a ton of bricks. Almost thuggish intro, the singer pauses with a lazy bass voice 'yeah'. OK, this is all kindsa badassyness. Instantly the lyrics reference 'breakin' records' as if speaking about the DJ in the next room. Again, the production is massive. Congas, a wicked vibraslap, deep baritone sax, and is that Moog I hear in there?? Holy shit y'all!! I love the chorus.."Sometimes the hill's too steep to climb, sometimes it's hard to find a sign, you've got to learn to take the time". I'm not a huge sax solo lover, yet I love this one. More tasty psychedelic lyrics.. 'All the distortion you see along the way' well, they are truly on one. And, I love 'em. Dear Fat Back, I wished I knew which shelf your entire unreleased masterpiece LP was sittin' on.

Now if you've ever been diggin' in certain areas of this good ole' u.s. in a. (as Borat would say) you'll find tons of records that look like incredible funk records. Yet, you throw them on only to hear Jethro Billy Bob bangin' out a country knee slapper. Now, I've got nothing against knee slappers or country music in general. In fact I hope to illustrate that on this here blog (yup, yup yessiree) but, when your expecting unknown funk holy grail madness and you get 'kuntray pickins' it can be a bit deflating. I'm only mentioning this because this may be the story behind this little 45. If I remember right, I think I picked it up in Denver, Co. of all places. It was of many country titles I flipped through hoping for nasty funkiness. It is however proof that my ears are indeed wide open. All of you that think I'm a country or roots music hater, be warned! Alright fuckit.....I'll start working on the next post right now....YOU'LL SEE!

1. Fat Back - What Do You Want From Me
2. Fat Back - Take Your Time

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Andy Kim - It's Your Life

Time to delve into rock and pop for a bit. Nothing more pop, or rather bubblegum I should say, than Andy Kim.
This little piece of psych soul does something unique for me. I call this a Saturday morning wiggle your toes on the front porch type of jam. It starts off as if it were made for looping up with several 4 measure bars ready to feed right into the MPC. This is in the vein of Crystal Mansion or label mates The Illusion. Both of which are 'hippie soul' and 'pop rock and roll' groups from the seventies. It's tasty hippie soul or folk funk either way you slice it. Just a lazy funky beat with all the right elements. It heads in a bit of a Hare Krishna direction but has grown on me through the years regardless.
Andy Kim grew up in Montreal but was of Lebanese descent. When he moved to New York to pursue a music career he hooked up with Jeff Barry of Steed records. His biggest claim to fame was having penned 'Sugar, Sugar' for The Archies. After Steed records fell apart he moved to MCA in 1974.

Not an expert on Andy Kim in the slightest, but the story around this one being in my arsenal is kinda odd. My copy of this 45 is actually a mis-print. Steed records put the label for Robin McNamara's 'Lay A Little Lovin' On Me' on it instead of Andy Kim's. For years I thought it was Robin, and then for many years after that..I knew it wasn't Robin, but couldn't figure out who the hell it was! Fortunately, a friend (who prefers to remain anonymous), ex-record store owner, and fellow bubblegum and pop collector told me it was for sure a Steed label mate of Robin's. Thank god. At last my mystery 45 was exposed. But, then years passed by again... oh shit. Who the hell was this again? I had forgot the real artist it was and who he had told it was. screwed. I forgot!! I had to rifle through the Steed label again just to confirm and present it here on soundboutique. But, here it is in all it's splendor. Fresh from the 'Greatest Hits' of Andy Kim, not from my dodgy mis-printed 45.

Andy Kim - It's Your Life

Shuggie Otis - Ice Cold Daydream

Whether in conversation or on this blog, I constantly reference Shuggie Otis. There's something truly beautiful and mysterious about him and his music. When I first scored his 'Inspiration Information' LP, I think I spent an entire week in my apartment with the headphones on. I was obviously blown away and affected, but it went even further than that. Somehow I had dreams those nights about Shuggie jammin' with the school band at Berkeley High. It was some kind of great hippie psychedelic soul jam session. I've often used that dream to describe his music, and although it doesn't encapsulate his 'sound' (as it's only my individual experience) Shuggie has created 'dream' music for his fans. He definitely left some kind of celestial imprint in my musical tastes.
In that LP he's etching out a new brand of 'Hippie Soul' (among other things) and with this LP he launched one of my all time favorite tracks EVER...'Strawberry Letter 23'.
This song 'Ice Cold Daydream' is on the flip of a 45 I have of 'Strawberry' and the opening tune on his 1971 'Freedom Flight' LP. This LP came out a year later than his previous more bluesy 'Here Comes Shuggie...' LP, but was light years beyond it. It was apparent that his sound was evolving and in 1974 when 'Inspiration' dropped it fell on deaf ears. Critics panned his moving away from the blues sounds and claimed he had lost his way. Years later it was of course discovered by soul enthusiasts, and heralded up there right along with other landmark Bay Area LP's like 'There's A Riot Goin' On' By Sly and the Family Stone. Then, it was re-released by Luaka Bop and it finally met with universal acclaim. As a result of his new found 'fame' I had to the chance to see him at Great American Music Hall in SF, but he was 'out of sorts' and almost canceled the performance. I had heard of people trying to reach him, and often knocking on his door with no response, or being told to 'go away' by Shuggie himself.
This is a sample of his more psych rock sounding stuff, but Shuggie is unconventional to say the least and his music knows few boundaries. In any instance of his music you'll hear vast varieties of both sound and mood and a bevy of unpredictable changes in the song writing. I'm posting this song 'cause i love it, but also I'll be heading down a 'rock' path in the next few weeks. There will be more Shuggie snippets to come in the future as I'm a huge fan. Thanks for letting me vent about my love for Shuggie, and have a happy Ice Cold Daydream.

Shuggie Otis - Ice Cold Daydream

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ananda Shankar - Streets Of Calcutta

From the synth boogie of Nigeria's Dizzy K to the break laden funk of India's Ananda Shankar, it's all in a days work when deep in the labs of Soundboutique.

When I first came across this LP, I had to pick my jaw up off the carpet of the record convention floor. Not that it's thaaaat rare, but for me at the time.. it might have been..well, a little 'grail-ish' let's say. It was in the box of a mostly rock and psych oriented seller. And as a result, he didn't really know why cats like myself sought after this particular LP. After engaging him in a lengthy conversation topped off with a little wheelin' and dealin' I took it off his hands. Nothing like a little charitable verbatim to grease the gears from one collector to another. It was necessary to wiggle a bit as his pricing was a bit high even though he blindly 'knew' about the record. It was priced high just because he could tell it was worth something. Not really knowing what exactly it was worth. Of course at the time, it was emerging in popularity on the rare groove circuit thus, climbing in price. I looked at it...yup, EMI India, yup, yup gatefold... that was it. I tried to keep it well concealed from other perspective buyers. We reached a livable price and now in the collection it sits.

Ananda has a staple of India funk and sitar bangers. His covers of 'Jumping Jack Flash' and 'Light My Fire' show his interest in The Doors, The Rolling Stones and other mainstream rock and roll in general. And, it was rumored he hung and played with Jimi Hendrix while in L.A. in the sixties. Ananda blended psych and sitar soul and did probably the best in his time at converging rock and eastern sounds.

Those familiar with Bollywood know the soundtrack sound and 'Streets Of Calcutta' is spot on. This is probably the best tune on the album, but it is an excellent LP and Ananda's best work. I'd say get the album if you can, its an enjoyable listen for sure.

Ananda became entirely less traditional than other sitar artists and chased a broader appeal for his music. He branched out with western 'rock' guitar and more 'pop' material. This LP, noted as his masterpiece, was recorded in 1975 marking his return to India from Los Angeles. He later gained exposure in London DJ circuits and enjoyed a considerable re-issue craze. His tunes have been featured on the Blue Note Break Beat comps and this LP has been re-released in a few formats. Hopefully making him a little more of a well known name and a lil' pocket change to boot. Before his death in 1999, he also enjoyed continued success blending sitar and eastern sounds with breakbeat and hip hop.

Please check out and enjoy this monster sitar funk track from Ravi Shankar's nephew Ananda Shankar... 'Streets Of Calcutta'

Ananda Shankar - Streets Of Calcutta