Monday, March 3, 2014

Frankie Beverly - Color Blind

I rarely play out much these days, but I did last night. And, maybe I'm getting old, but getting outta the car last night I realized my ears were ringing like a motherfucker. But, it was well worth it. I played alongside two fantastic bands last night and the soul and funk was alive and well in Oakland.
It was incredible really. Gene Washington and The Ironsides were incredible. Both slow soul and dance floor funk done to perfection without a blemish. The singer Gene Washington, could still really belt out his notes and did so with an amazing authenticity and true sincerity, he brought a humble realness to his performance.

Then, the Grease Traps hit the stage. Looked to be an instrumental band, and I hear that's how they started..but, then the man known only as Gata hit the stage and literally set the club on it's ass end. They tore it up. Gata was the man!
Gene and the Ironsides covered Dyke and The Blazers, and did some excellent originals. The good homie Oliver Patches, of Lower Bottoms, told me March was official Dyke and The Blazers month. I like the sound of that! When Gene got into 'Let A Man Be A Man' we all realized how amazingly similar he sounded to Dyke. Grease Traps covered everything from 'I Believe In Miracles' (Jackson Sisters version of course), another Dyke song, 'The Funky Bull', and all the way to this song, 'Color Blind' by Frankie Beverly. Which, by the way sounded EXACTLY like the original. Im' sure this is not an easy feat to accomplish. Those harmonies, that break, those horn riffs. Wow, let's just say I was blown away.

Gene Washington And The Ironsides

It was an incredible night all around. 'Lower Bottoms' and 'Where It's At' DJ's playing in the first level, these two incredible bands playing upstairs. With Fernando and his 45's and yours truly playing all 45's in between the bands. It was also the 'Where It's At' 1 year anniversary and the 1 year anniversary of the Legionnaire, which by the way is turning out to be a fantastic spot. Last night was proof. And, that's coming from me, and I don't get out much these days.

The Grease Traps

The Traps playing 'Color Blind' had special meaning to me. Aside from it still being incredibly relevant of a message, it's one of my all time favorite Bay Area funk 45's. The two early Frankie 45's that I have speak volumes for what they were like as a band, and what it was like with them in the Bay Area. Of course I can't find it now, but I recently snagged a pick off of Facebook with Frankie Beverly listed as playing a weekly spot at the Keystone Club in Berkeley. The Listing read 'Frankie Beverly's Raw Soul, and to imagine them playing 'Color Blind' in Berkeley in 73-74 is just awesome. Well, you could say my dreams came partly true. When Grease Traps did this song completely and efficiently and with a whole LOT of soul, myself and the entire club were elated and with happy feet.

A heartfelt, sincere and electric performance from Gene Washington

Funny thing, the guitar player Kevin O'Dea came up to me, with a copy of their set list, before they took the stage, and said 'Try not to play any more of these' and there was 'Color Blind' at the encore location on their set list. Oops. My bad guys, I honestly did not know a few, that you guys are fuggin incredible, two, that I would be so stupid to play THAT tune, of the TWO Frankie Beverly 45's I brought, and three.. that you guys, the Grease Traps, would have the eloquence and dexterity to cover that song. And, let me say again, to perfection.
Now, the singer for Grease Traps goes by the name of Gata. Lemme just say this man brings it. If you're gonna see the Grease Traps, you are gonna see that Gata man, and you better get your wig on tight, 'cause he's pure dy-no-might. If you give him enough room on stage this cat might just turn back-over flips. Stone cold solid soul performance. all. the. way. 'round.
They also covered another big tune that I almost brought, those of you who actually read these posts (rather than just download everything) will know I just recently acquired it, but 'Bold Soul Sister, Bold Soul Brother' is another hefty tune to cover, at least well. So, hats off to both the Grease Traps and Gene Washington and The Ironsides. For funk and soul to be in Oakland, like that... in that way last night, was a sincere TREAT.

The other Frankie Beverly 45 that I almost dropped on those ears and feet was 'People In The Know' another banger on the Gregar label. Equally rare, and equally potent. Another funk grinder, with higher message included. This version of 'Color Blind' that Grease Traps covered was the early version on Gregar which is much more raw and heavy compared to the later Maze version. The later Maze version is still good, incredible in fact, but no where near the insanity that is this 45. There's a sound of a revolution in this 45.

There's another Frankie Beverly And The Butlers 45 that I really want, on the Sassy label, 'If That's What You Wanted' which is equally hard edged as these two on Gregar, but tinged in a uptempo Norther dancer fashion. It's incredible too. All of Frankie's early shit must be incredible.
Imagining Frankie Beverly and Raw Soul being in the Bay Area way back then, in local clubs to be specific, playing the likes of these tunes is a funk collectors dream. To have bands in the Bay now playing Dyke and The Blazers, and Frankie's tunes is a blessing. Right on Bay Area, kudos to you then and now.

The Grease Traps are coming your way, check em out!
Important not to forget Colemine Records as both the Ironsides and Grease Traps have put out releases on their label. Colemine has brought a tough and solid broad spectrum of funk and soul acts to vinyl. We're thankful for all these new funk families, and as a example of what these bands can bring in the LIVE environment, last night at the Legionnaire, proof is in the pudding and the pudding' was TASTY. New funk is alive and well. Thanks Colemine, you are bringing the heat.

Colemine has an arsenal of new breed funk and soul. 

Check out these bands playing live here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Gene Washington And The Ironsides are playing 
The Starry Plough on March 8th
The Hopmonk in Novato on the 15th
Amnesia Bar in SF on the 20th

The Grease Traps are playing
19 Broadway in Fairfax on March 20th
  Alpine Meadows (12-3pm) & Bar of America in Truckee (9pm-1am) on April 5th
Amnesia in SF  April 17th
Off The Grid at Ft. Mason in SF May 2nd
 Boom Boom Room in SF (w/Sure Fire Soul Ensemble) on May 17th

And, enjoy this Frankie Beverly's Raw Soul offering 'Color Blind'

Frankie Beverly - Color Blind

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Movie Special - 20 Feet From Stardom

On the surface its a music documentary. But, once you get past the first layer of this onion its completely something different. In fact, its more like a surgical slice right through everything you know as music today. It dissects pop and soul music and examines the back bone of super star performers and countless recordings by looking at back up singers and their incredible stories, contributions, and roles they played. Yet, the layers run even deeper still... it offers a look into the political side of music, the roles of women in music and the personal stories of some contemporary artists. It truly is so much more than your average music documentary. It's just damn excellent.
Hearing the vocals isolated on multi tracks is the glass bottom on the fishing boat. I was floored to hear the backing vocals in ways I've never had the chance, yet heart broken to hear some of these stories. Some stories tragic and some incredibly inspirational.

The movie features Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Gloria Jones, Claudia Lennear, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill, The Waters Family, Tata Vega, Mable John, Janice Pendarvis, Lynn Mabry, David Lasley, Patty Austin, Edna Wright and fucking countless others. Now for us, more educated soul afficianadoes we know that technically these aren't all 'back ground' or 'back up' singers. And, some were parts of incredible groups like Parliament/Funkadelic or Honey Cone. But, it doesn't really matter, this story is about more than just that, it's about soul singers in general. That appears to be the 'backbone' of this story. It is more about the stories and paths of a handful of soul singers and some of them have been back up singers. Like I said before, more importantly its a look into the window of soul and rock and pop music.
Yes, that's Luther Vandross singing for David Bowie.

Luther honoring Lisa Fischer

The amazing Merry Clayton

The always bad-assiest Ikettes.

It's really about those folks that are just behind the limelight, have walked right beside it, and even been in it, but now still aren't household names. In a lot of ways it's a look at fame. It's a documentary about unsung singers, or lesser know heroes of music.
For that exact reason this movie gets the highest praise from us. Discovering singers or musicians on a big screen is a welcome thing, and why this movie completely won my heart. Plus I absolutely love these women soul singers that are speckled throughout the movie. They are indeed some of my favorites, worthy of worship, and damn deserving of some credit and shine!

Merry at an amazing moment listening to her isolated
backing vocals on 'Gimme Shelter'

Luther has always loved and valued backing vocals.

R&B's first action figures. 

For those of us that have 45's by Gloria Jones and Able Mable, and LP's by everyone from The Waters to Merry Clayton..they are ALREADY heroes in our world. We already know about these vocal beauties. We're already fans. But, this movie opens the door to a wider audience and folks that maybe don't know. Plus the artists get some much deserved respect and wider appreciation! You can't be mad at that. It does drift into a 'We Are The World' kinda vibe, and of course has the stereotypical 'oldies concert' feeling at the end. But, even though a bit mainstream, it's still a heart felt journey and a beautiful movie. It's few movies that get rated this high on Rotten Tomatoes and for good reason. Definitely gets the stamp of approval from Sound Boutique.
Go see this.

These backing singers got to fuel the 'sounds' of a revolution.

Bold Soul Sisters.

Phil Spector and Darlene Love - A complex relationship: Phil helped make
Darlene a legend, yet he also stole stardom from just outside her reach. 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nightwind - Why Can't We

This post is LONG overdue. You see, we here at Sound Boutique had made this track the first release for our record label. While that diverted some attention and energy away from this blog it was a necessary journey for me. And, a completely enjoyable and fascinating voyage for all involved. My right hand man in all of this, Luke Holton, the creator of Nightwind, can attest to the joy it's been for us.
It started with me scoring this Nightwind original 45 from a French record dealer. I liked this b-side so much I had to have it. It wasn't the normal uptempo funk or boogie bangers that I was usually after. But, it signified a newer development in my tastes and a direction that myself and the entire Sweaterfunk crew were taking... a turn to more mellow tempos, slower burners to break up the party rockers. Also happened around the time we started turning to two step and mid tempo jams. All greatly influenced by Dam Funk coming to share his mid-tempo jams, and spawned from his original mid-tempo themed night.

Nightwind circa 1981
It wasn't until later, actually after having the 45 for some time that I realized there was a fantastic uptempo party rocking flip side to this great record. Once I realized that this was golden either side you played, I started to try to track down the artists. Spoke with Fred Walker on the phone, yes he's the sax man on the beginning of this song, and he told me how to find Luke. Spoke with Luke next and he was thrilled to hear someone was into the music had made years ago. Once he told me the tapes were still laying around somewhere it was quickly decided to make it happen and put this song to wax once again.
Nightwind circa 1979

I set a date for release and so glad I did. If I hadn't, this re-release might never have seen the light of know, people get kinda takes over. Anyways, the date pushed everything along and made it happen. Also, Luke was once of the nicest guys you could do this kind of thing exceptional gentleman, a real sweetheart and a creative genius. So, without his kind, loving approach, and stamp of approval this would have never happened.
Loads of amazing and exciting things have happened since we first put it back out in November of 2011. First, we sold out within less than a year (and keep in mind, almost NOBODY knew of this record). Second, Luke discovered a video the band made for a local public access channel in St. Louis. Third, more tapes were discovered with MORE amazing Nightwind material..things like 'Spaceman', and multi-tracks with stuff like 'Mr. Silky's Rap'... be sure to check out the videos down below.

Leading lady Janet Savage and Nightwind
performing on a local public access TV show 

After a surprise guest visit at Lipo for Sweaterfunk, an interview with our fam and numero uno homie Ken Maxx (K-Maxx) on KPOO and people playing this song from New york to Australia, from France to Japan, it's official Nightwind is loved universal! Luke has also told me he has taken back up his piano playing and now regularly plays solo piano at a local club. Fantastic. This has been good for all of us. Now, we're about to press up the 3rd run of the re-issue, finally press the long awaited 'Spaceman', and working on a TON of other material all found on 10 multi-track tapes. It's a frickin' dream.

Ken and Luke, the Night-Maxx connection.
Super big thanks to Ken and the legendary KPOO

The biggest thanks to Nightwind, Luke Holton, Fred Walker, Janet Savage and the music loving crowds at Sweaterfunk for loving this tune. These songs, and Nightwind in general championed Sound Boutique's existence as a record label, and now we're devoted to sharing more music via that channel.

Somewhat minor but important details about the release of these songs.
Absolute first pressing in 1982 is on Star City Records.
Second pressing on Sound Boutique is from 2011, has two styles one with center hole
punch, one without. Both are from same run in 2011. Pressing plant mistake that we went with just to see the differences.
Third pressing is a black and silver label from 2013.
Fourth pressing hopefully coming soon as the 2013 run is almost gone.

thee first pressing...and thee hardest to find.
Sound Boutique's proudest moment and first
release from 2011. 
Same as first batch released in 2011, but quantity
was sent back to pressing plant to have center holes
removed like originally designed. turns out we liked both!
2nd Sound Boutique pressing. We decided to
redesign to contrast from 2011 version
This second run was released in 2013

You can still get a copy of this record by going here... And make sure to peep all the videos here..

For the sake of still selling our track and Luke actually getting his royalty we're NOT sharing the mp3. You can hear the whole tracks via these youtube posts. We hope you will support Nightwind and Sound Boutique Records by buying a copy of the vinyl. thank you.

Oh yeah, and this test pressing of the 2011 version...

release deadline was so close to the record release party,
we only had the test pressings available! They are now ridiculous RARE!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Martin L. Dumas, Jr. - Attitude, Belief & Determination

Well, I finally, finally got a copy. It's a grail amongst the two-step and boogie crowd. It's also rare as shit. Harder to find than a mosquito dick. Even in Chicago this record has been known to be impossible to find. Our good folks from both far and near, from the folks at Cherries Records to Peabody's know this track doesn't turn up very often. Speaking of the Peabody's and Chicago this song is the mascot, if you will, of the amazing compilation by the Peabody's called 'The Real Side Of Chicago'. Most of you know about this comp, but until I had this glorious Martin Dumas 12 inch in my greasy hands the comp was the only way I had it.

The song is a serious mood setter, and epic at almost 10 minutes. It also has this awesome salsa or brazilian turn around that it plays with throughout the song. This is definite driving music, ripe for cruising around in a convertible or old school ride on a sunday. What I love most is it's positive message it's the kind we need more of in our world.

Martin L. Dumas, Jr. - Attitude, Belief & Determination

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ben - I Would Have To Be a Fool

This kinda ended up being a regular spin at Sweaterfunk. I don't know how it got into my crates but once it did, it was a staple. Rather nice record to have because it has the regular vocal version, and right after it the instrumental version. Even stranger that it's one sided 12 inch. We clearly needed another side from this guy. I don't know anything about Ben, but this record appears to be from the L.A. area. lol. Its just darn good quality indie-soul and this track is a classy boogie jam.
It somehow made it's way into Jon Blunck's crates as well, and played on the regular. With the two of us having it, that meant it was played a lot. I was just reminiscing about SF and how I haven't been able to make it in ages. Jon just recently assured me my membership was 'fo life' and after getting jumped in there's no escaping. I'm not going to push the subject any farther than that. After all, Jon is from Los Angeles, and dresses like a gang banger and I probably don't want to play around.. might end up in the bay with cement shoes on.

This track was just released on 'Under The Influence' number 3 compiled by the homie James Glass. Shit, I've known James for something like 20-25 years. We've gone from bugging out over Dorothy Ashby LP's to wigging out on Willie Wood and the Willie Wood Crew. He's been into disco much, MUCH, longer than I, but we've met in the middle somewhere called boogie. Good chap he is, and a deep digger with a lethal collection. Known for only holding stone cold mint copies of things, he also shows with this comp, his tastes are immaculate as well.

Enjoy this Ben track..

Ben - I Would Have To Be a Fool

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Betty Padgett - Sugar Daddy

I owe a tremendous amount of praise and recognition to Andrew Morgan of PPU and Earcave. I've been buying records from his ebay account and his ebay store long before his label came about and long before his ear cave store...which if I remember correctly was originally called District Wax. He used to make monthly mixes to share with his customers. They used to be listed along side his auctions as actual 'for sale' items. It was a kind of genius idea, and I think he still is just that, genius.
He's helped me a tremendous amount with my collecting and my label and other endeavors. Now, I'm passing along the torch to others I can help.
One of his mixes, I think possibly one of the last few (as it seems he stopped them) had this incredible Betty Padgett song 'Sugar Daddy' and I bugged him about it quite a bit.

For a good while this did not show up. Then I jumped on the opportunity to nab an album of Betty's that has both versions of Sugar Daddy. I was at first, holding out for the 12 inch version which Andrew had hipped me to, but I couldn't bare to wait any longer and it never seemed to turn up.
So, after I got the album version, which fortunately has both versions of the song on it, I shared it with the Sweater Funk folks down in the basement of the Lipo Lounge. A year or two later it came out on Luv N' Haight records diguised in a sleeve very similar to that original 12 inch version. That kinda did me in, and my thinking then was it was going to elude me even more now that the 'world' would know about it.

Here's the bas ass Ultra release of Betty's Sugar Daddy

But, last year I finally got a copy of the Ultra 12 inch and its Beautiful. I realize now why it's a hard one to grab. It's a reoccurring problem with rare releases that the spelling can have you searching for an un-obtainable piece. A simple typo with an artists name and you'll NEVER find it. This was the case with Betty Padget, or Betty Padgett.

Here's the well cloned Luv N' Haight version

Betty's a small woman, but a power house singer. She's from New Jersey but somehow ended up in Miami and recorded some tunes with none other than Milton Wright. Betty has this incredible side of deep, deep Miami groove to show for her efforts, she even remembers this song being used in radio and tv commercials due to local popularity. She's remained in the Miami area over the last 30 years and performed with the McCrae's (George and Gwen) as well as Jimmy Bo Horne, Latimore and Little Beaver.

If you can't get the 12 inch, THIS is the album to get.
It's on the ALWA label

Betty is still alive and rocking.. has recent CD's and 'Sugar Daddy' is available now thru Luv N' Haight and via mp3 download.
Hats off to you Betty, I'm glad to finally have your 12 inch and will rock and share it where ever I play.

And, here's yet another issue of the 12 inch which I have never seen on the Space label.

Betty Padgett - Sugar Daddy

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Black On White Affair - Bold Soul Sister, Bold Soul Brother

Welp, I just spend the last 45 minutes hammering out a lengthy post here and good ole blogger didn't save and froze up. So, as I'm writing this 'second' version I don't know what you're gonna get. I'll try an replicate what I already said..but, coming into this over a year after having had a regular routine of posting here, I've forgotten that its best to work offline and post final product to avoid losing a great deal of time, effort and content.
Anyways.. I think I was saying.. This 45 had eluded me for quite some time. Surprisingly it never turned up for me, not even after several ventures up to the Seattle area where it hails. My Mom, rest in peace, was doing what she does..labor organizing to be specific..go mama! and I would visit her there and got to dig around Seattle. So, it's a marvel I had not put my hands to a copy yet.
Anyways, here it is FINALLY and I'm pleased. Two banging sides. Fudge dipped heavy funk from A to B side. Both sides are equal 'Monster Funk'. New category duly noted.

This song opens with some of the most lethal and crunchiest drums I've heard. This song also paves the way into 'Wheedle's Groove' a compilation of Seattle funk and soul. Wheedle's Groove was also the starting point for the Light In The Attic label and championing the West Coast funk and soul digging and collecting scene. I think once people learned there was a rich history and still so many nuggets to be found it kinda exploded.
The movie by the same name should be mentioned here as well, probably one of few if not the only documentary that focuses on the artists, the producers, the local history and the stories of discovery. It's amazing and if you haven't seen it, you really NEED to. I'm surprised I haven't mentioned it yet here at SB, but if I have then it most certainly deserve several rounds of praise and multiple mentions.

The Black On White Affair were an early incarnation of Robbie Hill's Family Affair, and the reason I mention it like that is I'd like to post a Robbie Hill song here as well. For those of you who know me, you may have heard about the theft of my records last year. One of the stolen 45's was my beloved Robbie Hill 'I Just Want To Be (Like Myself)' 45. Once I get that back into the collection, I will post it up here. But, definitely go see 'Wheedle's Groove' the movie and/or get this essential comp.

Both sides of this 45 are hard, mean dirty blues funk. From those completely devastating drums to that first brutal organ screech. Just devastating. Heavy deep funk at it's best. The flip instrumental is also a monster. Just so damn good. I've always liked and kinda grew up on the harder, meaner, ruffer, blues from the likes of Billy Boy Arnold and Taj Mahal.
Funny side story, I think a certain home-girl, good friend of mine Kitty, started a scooter club (or, girl gang ;)) of the same name, The Bold Soul Sisters. Maybe it was even BSS SC. Perhaps you might think she could have been referencing the Ike and Tina song of the same name, but inclusion on a early mix tape of hers, I'm pretty sure she was influenced by THIS song. They are of course COMPLETELY different. Both incredibly good, yet this one being a 100x's rarer and dare I say.. RAWER.
So the quest for this elusive slab of Seattle based funk is FINALLY over, and here for you to enjoy.

ALSO: worth mentioning is the 2007 issue of these same songs on the Sausage Records label...I think I will obtain one as well, and not have to bring out my original. And, much easier and cheaper for the rest of us. Special thanks to Nancy Soultastic for trading with me on this one. It will be cared for and loved.

The Black On White Affair - Bold Soul Sister, Bold Soul Brother

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Vaughan Mason - Rocking Big Guitar

Just scored two nice Vaughan Mason 45's for the collection. Well known bomb ass tunes that are dope to have in the 45 format. 'Rocking Big Guitar' and 'You Can Do It' are indeed classic party rockers in my book. Major plus that they are both picture sleeves.
Don't know why every time I hear 'Rocking Big Guitar' it sounds like to me they are saying 'feel my dick get hard'? You can ad-lib the rest of your own dirty lyrics if you want. Perhaps it was intended to be a vulgar jam.

These 45's are ripe for some upcoming gigs over the next two weekends. If you're in the Bay Area (Particularly the EAST BAY)  there's a few things to check out we here at SB approve of.
Perfect for the 45 loving crowd, Friday night, Feb. 21st in Oakland at the legendary '45 Sessions' and Saturday, March 1st for 'Where It's At' which is now a merger between them and Lower Bottoms. So, two nice parties, and sure to be loads of funk, soul and goodness...often on 45 only. Perhaps you will see or hear yours truly at one or both of these events. The Sweaterfunk crew is one of the guest for 45 sessions and the 'Where It's At' party has a solid line up of performers The Grease Traps and Iron Sides both on the already legendary Colemine label.

Known world wide 45 Sessions always comes thru with the epic parties,
and always features a record swap in a near by room, don't miss.

This particular Oakland Saturday night promises to be a good partay.

Im just showing off here... but, love this little 45!

And, the way...this Rocking Big Guitar is from the 12inch version and is an enormous file. So, may take a minute to download. Just a heads up. I decided to upload the LONGER and better 12 inch version. But, does NOT come in a sweet picture sleeve cover. lol. 

Vaughan Mason - Rocking Big Guitar