Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Archie Bell - I Can't Get Enough of Your Love

Not that there's any required weather for certain music, but when the sun is out certain songs come to mind. I have been waiting to post this song for a while now. Now, that it's warmer and the endless rain has ceased, it's seems fitting to match this gorgeous day with a brilliant tune like this. Most folks are familiar with Archie Bell And The Drells, everybody knows the 'Tighten Up' and the famous rap about Houston, Texas. But, less people are familiar with their later material. They actually continued on quite well later in their careers. Some of their late 70's LP's are quite nice like this 'Strategy' album from 1979.
I first heard this song on the ever famous 'Death Mix' by Afrika Bambaataa. I can't remember how long ago it was when I first heard 'Death Mix' on cassette tape, but when I revisited it 5 or so years ago, when I bought a vinyl re-press, I realized this was the one tune that I never found out who it in fact was. Local DJ Kool Kyle played a strange compilation that featured this and a few of the other 'Death mix' breaks called 'Voodoo Death Breaks' if I remember correctly. I set out, like I always do, to find out who this tune was by like my life depended on it.
I asked teems of local and non-local DJ's, those with endless knowledge and those just starting out learning. I left no stone unturned. I was quite disappointed that a lot of my 'break' collecting peers and elders didn't know. Ultimately NO ONE seemed to know. Perhaps a few knew, but fell back on an older more secretive code of ethics. At last, Joe Quixx suggested that it was Archie Bell. I didn't even play it for him, I just referenced Bambaataa's mix and described the break with my own spin on beat boxing. Not something under normal circumstances anyone should be subjected to. Well, like the true hip hop pioneer and 'old-school' sound genius that he is, he was right on the money.
It took a little while to track down which song this was, and from what album, but here it is now for you. Every other Archie Bell LP that I've found have all been great. Truly these guys kept the soul alive even throughout the darkest disco hour.

Joe Quixx has been a huge inspiration to me. From the days of his Wake Up Show involvement, to the trenches of the 5-7 day a week club schedule he keeps to this day. He made me proud blasting Tom Scott's 'Today' and 'The Bird' By Jimmy McGriff on FM signal boosted commercial radio waves waaaaay back in the day. He was schooling folks back then, and is a integral part of Bay Area Hip Hop history. Also a member of the Oakland Faders. But, above all else, Joe is just a good dude. Hats off to you Joe Quixx...the original 'Latin Soul Brother' Make sure you click on this photo to get his 'Heavy Duty' mix. It's ironic, but we both named a mix we did 'Heavy Duty' minded brothers I suppose.

I could not help but to edit this a little tiny weenie bit. It's not something I do often on this blog and always lean towards posting the original track, from original vinyl as it first came out. But, in true 'Ultimate Breaks And Beats' fashion I've worked the breaks to be just a little bit longer. It sells the song that much better. Those of you that download all these songs and use them on your Serato...well, now you have a convenient edit to use. Thank me by selling me your old records.

Archie Bell - I Can't Get Enough of Your Love

Friday, March 25, 2011

Gregg Jolly - Love Is

A pretty simple formula here for this disco bluesy number. Gregg Jolly, on the other hand is anything but simple. And, anything but known, discovered or appreciated. His few and extremely rare releases are hard to come by. All of them except for this one have still evaded me. This is one of his most available recordings. I often wonder what other recordings he was a part of that didn't feature his name. His vocal style boasts that he can hang with the likes of the great Al Green. He's been showcased and endorsed by the rare groove king Tommy Stewart on another elusive 12 inch and this release saw assistance from the great Bobby Robinson and his hip hop founding label Enjoy records. It's no wonder that this had such a disco feel, and the open drum break in the middle is ripe for classic Ultimate Breaks And Beats style editing.

Half way into the song Gregg really dips into his vocal soloing and almost goes Al Green ballistic. Even the title 'Love Is' feels as though it's an homage. But, even though he had less than a handful of records, he etched out his own brand of disco and funk. The drums are brutal and relentless throughout making me scratch my head thinking is that a drum machine or did they loop it? Clearly this drummer earned his keep in the studio. This oddly sounds more like 1976 than it's release date of 1981, but further proof that the blues was alive and well in the early 80's. If you are Gregg Jolly, know his whereabouts, or had anything to do with his recordings please let us know. We're madly obsessed with G-J and will do just about anything to track him or his records down.

It's just another slice of funkiness I wanted to share, and as I track down his other records I will post them here. If and when I can find them, as they are stupid rare.

Gregg Jolly - Love Is

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Professor And The Efficiency Experts - I Gotta Stand For Something

Long story on this one. I first heard about this song way, way back from my friend Seth Roehl who played it for me over the phone. I hassled him about this 'white label' deep funk test pressing, trying to get him to trade it to me throughout the years. At that time most folks knew this as an obscure and rare funk test pressing. Some, like ourselves, knew nothing about it other than it sounded like the heaviest shit we had ever heard. A few years later, I found out that this was in fact a white label re-press done by none other than Skate Master Tate.

Still at that time, it was coveted among funk collectors and still remained a high dollar record, even as a bootleg. I was lucky enough to find the original yellow label Stanson 45 in a shop in L.A. for a measly 5 bucks. I was so overjoyed to separate it from it's sleeve with that certain look and feel that it hadn't been touched before. Finally a conquest for this 45 had ended with a stock unplayed copy.

So, jump down the time line now 10-15 years later when my friends Jon Erickson and Bart Davenport gave me a call and asked if I'd meet them at Wally Sound Recording Studios. They were in the middle of recording a few songs for an upcoming Greyboy album. They were using old equipment and getting a vintage sound, trying to replicate a few original songs that DJ Greyboy had sent them. Jon and Bart insisted I sing with them on one of the tracks and they said I would love the song. As soon as I heard the whistle and crowd noises from the beginning of the record I knew exactly what it was and knew all of the lyrics by heart. I gave it my best shot and still to this day you can hear faintly in the background backings vocals from yours truly. Now, of course Sharon Jones took hold of this track with the lead vocals, but this was an experience of a lifetime for me. Just my ultra tiny little claim to fame, and like my friend Xan said, I was 'high on lead singing' even if the end result had our vocals father away in the mix. Still, incredible to be a part of one of my all time favorite funk 45's and see it evolve into current times and be featured on this LP.  Me and Sharon Jones baby!

This was also issued on 'Funk Spectrum II' compiled by Kenny Dope and Keb Darge. It's listed on that compilation as simply 'Undiscovered Break' with no other information. Oddly my friend Seth did finally give up his copy of this record almost 20 years later, so now I have both the white label bootleg and original now. Go figure.

This is a beast of a funk track. Probably one of my most favorite deep funk 45's. The constant and underlying fuzz and feedback coated guitar really stings like a bee. It's a guitar sound that's straight out of some seedy biker exploitation flick. The drums slap and knock along like a dirty fight that rolls and crashes from the bar out into the street. Check out the wicked fills and rolls..this drummer was serious business. All together wrapped up with speckles of horns and a ever growing party in the studio. Sounds like numerous folks are getting down on the lead vocals. Like a true 'pack' of funkateers. This track is the perfect example of nasty garage funk. Just how we like it.

Professor And The Efficiency Experts - I Gotta Stand For Something

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bill Moss And The Celestials - Keep On Using Me Jesus

Good morning and happy Sunday to ya. In the tradition of our Sunday posts we're gonna ride the soul train to gospel town again. So, let's call it 'Sanctified Sunday' and get down to business.

Bill Moss is an artist that bounced back and forth from commercial efforts to gospel recordings throughout his career. Some of his early 45's were some of my first coveted rare groove records. He was founder of the Capsoul label which provided me with many of my favorites. 'Sock It To 'Em Soul Brother', 'Number One', and my personal favorite from that label 'Hot Grits' by Elijah & The Ebonites are heavy percussive funk treats.

Bill was married to Essie Moss and they started The Celestials, very much in the direction of the Staple Singers. This song, 'Keep On Using Me Jesus' is very much in a Staples vein. Bill is also related to one of the most well known soul/gospel groups The Clark Sisters. Mr. Moss died at the age of 76 from emphysema but before he passed he was inducted in the Gospel Music Hall Of Fame in 2004.

Cheers, Bill we love you here at Soundboutique and your funky break embedded song is perfect for this day. Hoping I'm ushering out this cold or flu or whatever the heck it is, and this song has got me singing my own version...Keep On Healing Me Jesus!

Bill Moss And The Celestials - Keep On Using Me Jesus

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Baba Yaga - Too Cool To Be True

Killer funk jam by this 70's era all women's band. Sounds a bit Afro influenced with these heavy horns piercing through the mix. This one was fit for the club both now, and then according to the lyrics. Swarming to the disco with those uniform denim blues. Look out. These ladies are fired up. Lead by a heavy break in the front, it's charged up with the same shit that's still going on these days..growling stomachs, high gas prices, and people looking for work. This release was distributed by local woman's label Olivia and you can get comprehensive deets and pics here. Probably the tastiest women's funk club tune I can think of and reminds me of the 'all-girl' live performances I saw today.

Yes, I'm still sick from last week and feeling like shit, but I had to make the trek outside in the constant rain to see my daughter perform at the G.R.A.S.P. (Girls Rock After School Program) in downtown Oakland. Sick as I was, I was busy sleeping all day and if she hadn't called to remind me, I may have slept right through it. Daddies, stay on ya toes! It was great (and a great program) to see my daughter rock the drums in her own style and I'm glad I took her to see the Girl's Rock Movie 2 to 3 years ago. I saw a total of 15 groups play one song each, ages ranging from 6 to 16 years young. I was looking at the attendance and over all high head count and thinking there is definite potential for my evolving all ages Oak-a-go-go TV show idea, developed from Chicago's own cable access show Chic-a-go-go. Check out what they do.

While in downtown Oakland, I caught a facebook mention of a record sale. Of course I had to check that out. Sick or not, I was already out there in the rain. I'm in full support of Oakland record shows, and even better when they are in the afternoon or at night. Great little swap at the Spice Monkey Loft organized by Geraldine of and the new east bay multi-genre soul night called 'The Clearing' at the Kingsman's Ivy Room. It's held every third Friday, but April's date is scheduled for the 22nd. Heads up. Been meaning to re-stomp the Ivy Room and see the major re-vamping they've done since our crew was there so many years ago. Props to all those folks at the swap for toughing it out in the rain. Looks as though the Spice Monkey has some tasty food as well. Great idea..the wifey can grab a bite to eat, and I can chip away at our life savings on my compulsion with records.
So, all in all, a nice little day. Even though I felt like absolute crap. I hope I didn't infect anyone along my way. If so, my sincere apologies! Now I'm nestled back in our crib, nice and warm, hopefully nursing this very flu like cold on it's way out the motha-fuckin' door!

Baba Yaga - Too Cool To Be True

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Keith And Darrell - Kickin' It Around

I came across this 45 in a pile of records that had already been pillaged by a few serious local collectors and record dealers. Don't know why the hunters passed it up, but I'm glad. Perhaps it's really only a 25 cent 45. My interests in somewhat 'obtuse' sounding stuff and indie soul has for me, paid off yet again. Just goes to show there are still treasures even in the most covered territories.  You just have to be willing to hear something dope and new in something that's far from the norm. For me, that's always been an area that has been my strong point. Often you may have to face a little ridicule, but I've learned over the years that same ridicule is a sign of progress and genuinely shows you're headed in the right direction. Anyways, I was late in the morning to this spot and even though it had been well scoured, I still found a few treats. In fact, I think this is the same spot I picked up the 'Blue-eyed' soul record by the group Stratus. Not the one from Denver. The Stratus record had the notorious orange spray paint from Rasputin's, so I suppose it had been quadruple overlooked.
Anyways, back to Kieth And Darrell. These guys were in fact nephews of Smokey Robinson. They had somewhere around three or four releases including an attempt at boogie disco in 1983 with a tune called 'Work That Body' on a Motown twelve inch. Another 45 with the peculiar title of 'You're My Gardener' saw a similar release on a promo only 45. I wonder what that one sounds like. This tune for me fits best in a 'free soul' genre as it's kinda lazy, kinda cool, and a little bit hippie. It has that kinda yacht rock sunshine soul feel I'm always looking for.

It's easy to see why this flew under the radar, and one could suspect that Keith And Darrell were trying to gently elbow their way into the recording biz considering their bloodline. The fate of Keith Larnell Burston and Darrell Littlejohn was of limited push and belief in them by the record label and as a result they never fully broke out.

As far as I was concerned, from a digging perspective, this had ALL the right elements...produced by Smokey Robinson, from 1980, and was a promo only. It could be that this record never saw a full release and only came out as a promo. Some nice harmonies, an affectionate little premise, and some light and snappy drums. I was glad to pick it up, hope you enjoy it too.

Keith And Darrell - Kickin' It Around

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Joy - The Time Is Right

Joy was a gospel group from southern California, San Diego to be exact. They recorded this pearl of an album and that was it. This is about the strongest tune on the LP, but they showed tremendous potential. This tune is pure magic, straight up good gospel groove with a very simple premise of positivity and action. The lyrics boast 'It's time we treat each other like true sisters and brothers' and i couldn't agree more. We need more songs like this in our world today. Again they proclaim 'It's time we forget denominations and come to the realization that god just wants us to show our love' and 'It's time to be strong and take a stand, reach out your hand and help someone when they fall'. Just how silly new music these days can be, and how vulgar and negative it can be, it truly makes you appreciate songs like this. Very Stevie Wonder-ish sounding vocals, brilliant simple production, and a smart little bass and drum 'breakdown' from this perfect title cut from this album. In the gospel scene, bands like this in the late 70's and early 80's turned towards making more straight soul records and moved away from more traditional sounds. Packing up the Hammond, and subbing in the Rhodes. Putting down the Tambourine and replaced it with slapping the bass. Basically it's a pop/soul record and I'm thankful for this trend during that time.

This sat firm at the top of my want list for over three years and last year finally came to me in the mail. Do you understand how hard it was searching for the key words 'Gospel' and 'Joy' on the interweb! It took me forever to track this one down, and it was a frustrating journey. But, now it's here like a ray of sunshine. I had every intention of posting this when I got it, but sometimes things slip through the cracks and after a few plays out in the clubs it was filed away. So good to be giving it it's proper due and sharing here on SB. I hope that somehow the band finds this post and sheds a little light on how this album came about and what the San Diego Gopsel scene was like in the early 80's.

This is actually our first 'actual' request for a song. A fellow artist and enthusiast just recently told me 'more Gospel please!' and I'm very happy to oblige. It's you, our readers and followers of this blog that make all the difference in the world to this music and the artists, and give me purpose to searching high and low for good music . The fact that I'm getting feedback and 'requests' for gospel fabulous. So, here ya go...A special dedication to my homie Alika Cooper and hoping this track pleases her growing Soundboutique mix tape collection, and provides additional music for her while she's painting.

Check out her amazing work here...

Joy - The Time Is Right

Monday, March 14, 2011

James Bootie Tuten - This Is A Love Affair

Wished I could have made it to the city tonight, would have loved to go to the Lipo for Sweaterfunk. It would have been nice to see the crew. I love them folks. And, even better they love some good ass music. I was planning on going. But, I'm nursing my daughter back to health from a flu and as expected I've quickly caught her bug too. So, we're both home sick tonight. And, damn it turned out RAINY! As much as I bitch and whine about being sick, it just shows I still could do a better job taking care of myself. It also shows that the saying is true 'Kids are like germ magnets' and unfortunately I'm living that folklore to the fullest.

I've also been bitchin' and whining about getting tired of boogie too. And, although I say that, I'm still constantly playing it, buying it, and talking about it. Could be I just gotta find the 'right' tunes. Here's the example. This fine tune by James Tuten has been on my want list for a while and now that I picked up a copy it's been in the box and getting played out where ever I go.  If this proves anything, it's just the simple fact that I'm always desiring to discover something new, something fresh. Although at times I may gripe and groan, the music I keep playing speaks for itself. Let's just say that boogie will continue to be my 2nd baby. Or, is it third? Oh well, it's important.

This song is completely bangin' and now one of my funk anthems. From the wicked huge open drums to the chant at the end, it satisfies me on a major level. So, out go my grievances right out the door. Those hard drums, space sounds, and the disco missile launching at the beginning only warm it up for the monster synth bass line. Then the deep commanding vocals come jumping out of the speaker. James should have been nick named 'brutal' as his voice so completely rocks this shit. Yeah, James 'Brutal' Tuten. So stoked to have it in my box, after a long wait. For the moment, it's a 'love affair' with this song.

James Bootie Tuten - This Is A Love Affair

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Homegrown Syndrome - Confrontation

Big ups to my man Renmin
Cardona. This is a Soundboutique exclusive courtesy of Renmin. Not only does he have the coolest name in the world, but he's truly one of the coolest cats I know. It's rare I come across someone so honest, so mellow, so cool, and with such a great sense of humor. So, I gotta give him dap. But, let's rub his thick cool cat coat of fur a little more...He's deep in the crates game and discovered this true gem of a song by Homegrown Syndrome. WOW! When he first told me about the title, I thought it sounded cheesy as hell. But, once his portable turntable got up to 45 rpm, I also got up to speed with this killer disco boogie cut. Such a aggressive disco burner, complete with tuff breakdown. Anybody that still unearths gems and digs deep until they find something new, get mad, mad respect from me.

He's been a crew member of Sweaterfunk for a few years and along side Proof has brought us two volumes of 'Night Shift', which was one of the earliest boogie mix Cd's floating around San Francisco. He's also my right hand man in busting out with our own pressings of vinyl. More to come in the future. Let's pedal backwards a little to his name, although understand this.. the name does not make the man. How cool is the name Renmin? I mean, you don't have to change your name for DJ flyers or nothin'! Sure, he gets the most amount of ad libs due to the 'Ren' and 'min' in his name...but, this guy is sooooo cool and soooooo mellow, he's usually crackin' the jokes on himself. A comedy style much like myself. But, his humbleness is in it's purest form I would say. My favorite is REN DMC, or rather the more fitting REN DJC. I noticed on his record box the other day it said 'Philip E. Knowles', as in 'Filipinos', truly a cool breeze of a brother in my eyes. So, in addition to the constant humor you have him to thank for discovering this nice little disco boogie funk track.

Sadly this was Homegrown's only offering. Even in 1981 bands got signed to majors like Arista and were dropped like hot cakes with or without a chance for a full length LP. In this case, without a full length album shot. There was an additional issue of this 45 released with the tune 'You And Me Baby' on the flip. It's rumored that this band was in fact a band called 'Home Grown Funk' that recorded with and were under the wing of Ike Turner. But, this can't be confirmed as of yet, it may have been a name for the band that Ike carried around with him for some time supplying it with whomever backed him up. There's an album called 'The Edge' by 'Ike Turner and Home Grown Funk' which appears to be the same group, but again it's not confirmed and hard to pin point.  Homegrown Syndrome were Los Angeles based and Home Grown Funk were from Memphis. It gets confusing with the 'Edge' album release as it's dated 1980, yet sounds more like 1973. Even more affirming is the appearance of Tina Turner's vocals on the 'Edge' album, probably just a marketing of previously unreleased material. Maybe Ike had a hand in helping to sign 'Homegrown' to Arista for the release of this 45.

Whoever Homegrown Syndrome were, if you're out there...we want to know you. We are thankful here on this blog for your music. Again, props are due to Renmin Cardona for discovering and sharing this great tune. Truly a Jedi in the music world and a cool dude to boot. A.k.a Philip!

Homegrown Syndrome - Confrontation

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Carol Fran - I'm Gonna Try

Here's a wicked, wicked little soul stomper. This gift of passionate soul magic by Carol Fran is lead by a sledge hammer snare and a few tickles of piano. The bold and beautiful brass ruggedly wraps up Carol's delicious voice. I love how this song starts from scratch and builds up into this frenzy, and then calms down, and fires up again. Just a brilliant 60's soul tune.

I remember initially laying his down at the Ivy Room in Albany, California. Not long after scoring this 45, I played it at Soundboutique. Quite some time ago, and maybe father back than most can remember, or even know about for that matter, the name of this blog represented a Thursday deejay dance night at the Ivy Room. Those were seriously good times and the owners truly gave us the freedom to play what we wanted. This tune packed the floor the few times I played it, and we had prosperous run for that night. I'll always remember my conversation with the owner when we played Prince and AC/DC in the very beginning when the club was still empty and he said 'I think this is great...keep on doin' it' with a laid back satisfied look. They really did let us branch out and play what ever the fuck we wanted to. It was pop, commercial, underground, hip hop, soul, funk, rock, electro, nu-wave...whatever. Anything you could think of. Whatever our guest DJ's felt like playing. As long as you could dance to it. And, yes a lot of stuff like this Carol Fran 45. After all, I was involved so you could always count on a soul fix. We knew the owner had our backs when he paid to replace the blown sub woofer after our roasting of it with 'Under Mi Sleng Teng' by Wanye Smith.
That sub sonic bass is brutal even on a set of Meyers!

Carol Fran - I'm Gonna Try

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Julian Covey - A Little Bit Hurt

From hard rock to hard organ blazin' mod soul. This little slab of boogaloo swingin' action has been in my mod 60's soul box ever since Alec Palao played it when we DJ'ed together many years ago. It's a hand clap groove with the simple addition of bass and piano. Once the organ sets in, it's hell fire to spark with mod shing-a-ling dance moves.

This track, a double breasted pin stripe suit and some talcum powder and you've any mod committed to the dance floor like nobody's business. It's a little over 2 minutes of pure fire.

From this heavy rhythm guided groover it's easy to tell that Julian Covey was a drummer. Julian's real name is Philip Kinorra. He's played with British organ and groove kingpins Graham Bond and Brian Auger. Right along side McDuff and McGriff, Graham and Brian ushered in my introduction to organ, fresh from the mod days right into acid jazz and rare groove. Hard to deny the underbelly of a Latin groove with that bad ass conga and stand up bass. In fact it's a hybrid of true Latin soul that somehow meets Spencer Davis' 'I'm A Man' somewhere in the middle.

I'm a little bit hurt by just what a monster tune this is. Hope you agree.

Julian Covey - A Little Bit Hurt

Monday, March 7, 2011

Giorgio Moroder - Underdog

From a really fun album by Italian disco grandfather Giorgio Moroder.
At this time he was known simply as Giorgio. These tunes pack the same glam rock - bubble gum punk punch as 'Police On My Back' by Eddy Grant. I know Europe was a killer place to be in 72. I'm just saying.

Giorgio was of course one of those pioneers of analog circuitry in pop music and it shows immensely in this early stuff.  Leading the way in early italo sound and pioneering the synthesiser like no one else. He's been behind everything from Donna Summer to Electric Light Orchestra. On film he's set a fantastic mood for everything from Scarface to Flashdance, Midnight Express to Metropolis.

This album is lesser know in the public eye, yet loved by at least two groups I can think of that are both worlds apart. It's liked by fans of early glam and bubble gum as a decent pop dance record and B-boys know this LP for the epic break beat organ number 'Tears' sampled by DJ shadow. Both of these songs (and any from this LP) could easily be the missing music for a dance club scene in Clockwork Orange. It's groovy and silly yet extremely enjoyable. This bubble gum pop with heavy fuzz and early use of synthesisers is brilliant in overall production sound. One could easily see that Giorgio was well on his way to becoming the huge music mogul we now know so well. His earlier work like 'That's Bubblegum - That's Giorgio' is more straight forward bubble gum pop. This album branches out into cosmic, the roots of italo and psych rock. Brilliant stuff.

Giorgio Moroder - Underdog
Giorgio Moroder - Son Of My Father

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Arthur Lee - Just Us

Arthur Lee has been turning up in a few of my conversations lately and I thought I'd spotlight this excellent album from much, much later in his career. It shows that Arthur still had the unique charm and ability to craft thoughtful music just like he always had. For me, Arthur Lee was one of the greatest lyricists of our time and also recorded some of the most powerful, emotive, tuff and meaningful rock I've ever heard. From the early punk sounds to the completely crazy later years Arthur always had an incomparable finesse and unmistakable genius about him. His different approach, odd ball antics and innovation in delivery bench marked styles that would be inspiring music some 20-30 years later.

Arthur's unique spin on things was the power and innovation that he brought to rock. He made a deposit into the minds of rock musicians world wide and succeeded at 'forever changing' the way we think about pop composition. The tidal waves of creativity that he championed in pop music are still crashing on the shores of modern music still to this day.

Arthur Incorporated the same fire and power into what was commonly misogynistic cave man punk rock, but did it without the sexism and cliches. On the outside, sometimes the music sounded simple, and if judged too fast could get dismissed as typical rock. Yet, there was endless layers to this onion and he made you listen on a deeper level. He provided a more sensitive and emotional spin at times. He was the major component of the mid sixties L.A. based rock group Love. Along with Bryan MacLean that group created landmark records that combined jazz, acoustic folk, Tijuana tinged pop, and early proto-punk. They contributed the great "Forever Changes" LP which I feel gets left out of the conversation of evolving music in the 60's. A lot of comparisons are done between the Beatles and the Beach Boys on a album by album basis and how they were inspiring each other, but seldom is 'Forever Changes' even mentioned in that context. It, and Love's other albums are important pieces of music history. His solo efforts are also important pieces, and are basically Love albums. As time went on, he moved even farther out of the light of exposure. In fact, as a whole Arthur Lee and Love go unnoticed by the larger 'rock' world both then and now. Only later in life and during the early 2000's did Arthur start to see some mass appeal and adoration for what he did. Unfortunately Arthur died of Leukemia in 2006.

Interesting connection here between this and a previous post is that the treatment of the Bacharach and David's tune 'My Little Red book' was one of the first major notable records by Love. Apparently Bacharach hated this 'treatment' of his song, but it showed again that Arthur was light years ahead of his time. Arthur revamped his tunes several times throughout his releases and one of his last great performances was doing the entire 'Forever Changes' album live with a full orchestra.

Arthur Lee has always brought a different perspective to rock and roll. Whether that has something to do with him being African American is up for consideration. He certainly has a unique edge he brought to rock, yet he pushed a kind of individuality that went beyond race. He was after all, a black man in a mostly white rock world. Throughout his path he crossed with many that ultimately shaped who he became. He was inspired by Curtis Mayfield and in early Los Angeles days met and recorded with a young Jimi Hendrix. I believe that the souls of Curtis, Jimi and others that inspired him like Johnny Mathis and Burt Bacharach all made up the complex collage that was Arthur Lee. Arthur had a mixture of souls burning through him and his music and it collectively contributed to his unique fire.

I saw Arthur live in San Francisco not long after he was released from prison. It was an amazing show. Probably one the best live rock shows I've seen. He still had the pizazz, and my only regret was missing the 'Forever Changes Tour' approximately one year later. Aside from the perspective he brought to rock and roll, I feel as though he also felt the brunt and plight of being African American in the record industry and largely in the rock and roll world as a whole. He affirms this by his refusal to tour or leave L.A. during most of his career, opting to stay in his 'turf' where he felt more comfortable. The fact that he spent any time in prison was a complete mistake and inexcusable crime in itself. Arthur should have been locked in a studio and forced to record more music instead. I believe if that were the sentence we would have that much better of a world today. Arthur being locked up in prison was completely WRONG and illustrates that the music 'biz' ultimately did NOT have his back.

Back many years ago, at the height of the Napster craze I searched through a set of files that lead to a dialog and friendship with a woman that was in a romantic relationship with Arthur for some time. He was in jail at the time, but I wish I still had that contact info because now I'm sure she'd have some interesting things to say. We traded a few files and she spoke of intimate details about Arthur and their relationship. During that time I discovered an unreleased album called 'Black Beauty' from 1973.

In my Opinion Arthur Lee was one of the greatest contributors to music. The impression he left on rock and pop music is largely under appreciated and under valued. He may be one of the best kept secrets in the recorded world, and a treat for anyone to discover over and over again. Arthur gave so much over such a long time, and what he brought to the table was sincere genius. He crafted a bevy of incredible psychedelic and introspective lyrics often focused on social and relevant issues. He also had a piece of himself in his music that was self analyzing, one to one personal and often existential. Listening to Love and anything by Arthur Lee is about as close to an 'out-of-body' experience that I can have listening to music. I love the first album and even this much much later album in 1981. Seeing him live was one of the greatest shows I've had the pleasure of witnessing.

Arthur with Jimi Hendrix

If anything this 1981 LP shows that Arthur hadn't lost a single bit of his touch, his attitude or his purpose. I'm throwing your way the best three tunes from this album, but if you're NOT familiar with Love or Arthur Lee, you seriously need to get down to brass tacks and git this doods shit.

This is really a minute bit about a man that needs pages more to tell his whole story. I just kinda threw this all together with the underlying purpose to expose these tracks from this LP. I think we here at Soundboutique owe a deeper more comprehensive post in the future. Arthur certainly deserves it, and there's a plethora of other tracks to share. In my efforts to gather more info about Arthur, I came across a number of interesting things...two blogs that have detailed info about Arthur Lee.
Have You Heard Of Arthur Lee?

And the movie entitled 'Love Story' which I still haven't seen, but hear that it is revealing and comprehensive.
Love Story Promo

These tracks are just a small taste...
Arthur Lee - Just Us
Arthur Lee - Happy Me
Arthur Lee - Do You Know The Secret

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Starbuck - A Fool In Line

This is probably my all time 'fave' dollar bin special.
These guys are better known for their AM pop tune success 'Moonlight Feels Right'. 'Moonlight' easily put them into the soft rock hall of fame. Their other LP's are vaguely reminiscent of 'Moonlight' except for this one.  None of the others albums are as interesting as 'Rock'n Roll Rocket' on a production level at least. This one, in my opinion stands out in epic format.

This one is strange. Wish we could know more of the story behind this one. There's an abundance of heavy synthesiser use on this album, and truck of load of trickery and even some drum machine. And yet it's a theme that's not carried along on either the previous or proceeding albums. It's strange that they got so into keyboards and drum machine on this album, but then those components are missing from the other albums.

This is indeed Starbuck's masterpiece in my eyes. It's rare to find an album like this. Trust me I'm constantly searching for stuff that sounds like it. Such great use of so many effects, such an interesting collection of songs, and it bounces about from bridge to chorus and from intro to turn around all morphing through some kinda hippie celestial thing.

Each song, as goofy as they might be on the surface, are all incredibly clever. The entire LP makes for a really great and curious listen, yet a few songs stick out considerably more than others. 'Fat Boy' has the pimpish feel of flossing around in a big 70's or 80's American car. It's a morality tale with nice harmonica and synth sounds basically about 'don't ya get too fat' either physically or mentally. Famous Starbuck quote '22 Slims Jim's never gonna slim ya down', yet I think Dr. Atkins would disagree. 'Call Me' has got amazing synth bass lines and killer Rhodes work and is also graced by a vibes solo, not just once but twice. Then 'Benny Bought The Big One' sounds like ELO and 10cc had collision with Sly and The Family Stone.

'City Of The Future' and 'Sunset Eyes' are also quite memorable. I'd say the LP is 80% strong. But,'s such a unique piece of work that you should definitely seek it out and give it a listen. Not hard to find at all. Just check the bay. Or, your town record store dollar bin.
This track, 'Fool In Line' is the creme de la creme. Fat synth bass line under belly. The lead moog is wicked, the guitar work is tight, and some of that backing synth sounds like theremin or something. Just genius production. This is the epicenter of blue-eyed boogie for me. The song that's on the 8 track player whenever your sailing about in the Bay, yacht rockin' it up. With this song, and Starbuck's whole relaxed soft rock approach you can see why this has been a secret obsession of mine.
Cheers, enjoy.

Starbuck - A Fool In Line