The U-F-O’s – Too Hot To Hold

UFOs - Too Hot To Hold

This week’s post will probably be a little bit shorter than normal as it’s a record that there isn’t too much information about. In this case though, it’ll be simply about letting the song do the talking and this tune doesn’t just talk it shouts at the top of it’s voice!!

My first introduction to this track came across a highly regarded compilation put together by one of our favourite djs here on Gazfunk (and a thoroughly nice chap to boot!) – the one and only Mr Keb Darge. This song featured on his “Legendary Deep Funk Vol 1″ comp released in 1997 and it became one of those records that I just had to get a copy of.

Fast forward some time when my record collecting levels were going through the roof and I finally managed to bag myself a copy. The tune was to prove so popular on the deep funk scene that one of our favourite labels from today, Germany’s “Tramp” records reissued a version of it a few years ago on the “Rising Tramp” label with an identical look to the original.

So what does this record bring to the party? Well it is undoubtedly a deep funk monster that kills the dancefloor. What is quite unique about it is just how raw it sounds, especially considering it is out of Philly – a lot of black music that came from the City Of Brotherly Love around this time has a slower, more produced sound – this however sounds like it could’ve been cut in New Orleans or the Bay Area. With swirling organ, saxophone, some nice guitar playing and sample ready drum breaks this is one tune to shake your rump to!! 


 

 

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The Crowns – Jerking The Dog

The Crowns - Jerking The Dog

After a few weeks away I’m finally able to return to my traditional designated Monday slot for my updates. I find there’s no better time to bring you a tasty piece of ear-candy than at the end of the first working day after the weekend.

So today’s selection is one where we’re veering into obscure territory -I’m sure you’ve probably heard a number of different versions of this track, but this one has to be one of the lesser known ones. Cut in 1968, you’ll notice that this was released on the Pama label – the U.K. based answer to Trojan and that other well-known reggae label, Island.

Pama will probably be familiar to you with the release of arguably the most sampled record ever – The Mohawks’ “Champ” (a track that we’ve previously featured the b-side of here on Gazfunk), not to mention the smash hit “Wet Dream” by Max Romeo. As for The Crowns – well that’s where I’m a little bit stuck. I believe they were a vocal group out of New York but that’s about all I really know about them, so if anyone can fill in the blanks…

Before I go, a little bit of info regarding the next event that I will be dj’ing at – Record Store Day 2014. Some of you may remember that last year I dj’d in-store at Head Records, well they’ve asked me back again to spin the discs at their new store in Castle Court in Belfast on Saturday 19th April, so if you are in town drop by and say hello. I’ll be joined by some of Belfast’s top vinyl collectors so there should be something to suit all tastes, as well as a plethora of  limited edition vinyl releases and some special offers. See you there! 


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Cold Blood – I’m A Good Woman

Cold Blood - I'm A Good Woman

When trying to think of what tune to bring you this week it came as a bit of a surprise that I hadn’t already featured today’s selection – in fact I had to look through all of my previous posts to be certain! Rest assured though, this is definitely the first time I’ve showcased this record.

Those of you who are big soul/r&b fans will be aware that this song was originally released back in ’66 by the legendary Barbara Lynn. Since then it has become hugely popular on the mod/soul scene. The version I bring you today (in true Gazfunk tradition) is a somewhat more funky take on the tune.

Cold Blood were formed in late ’68 and featured the fantastic vocal talent of Lydia Pense (she has often been compared to Janis Joplin with her powerful rock & soul vibe and it was in fact Joplin who recommended the band to Bill Graham who would sign them to his “San Francisco” label)

The band went on to release 6 albums and a number of live albums sometimes under the name “Lydia Pense & Cold Blood”. Like a lot of bands of their time they have endured many changes to their line-up over the years but this hasn’t prevented them from performing live even up to the present day. I hope you dig the groove of Cold Blood! 


 

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Professor Longhair – Big Chief Part 1

Professor Longhair - Big Chief pt1

Before I start with today’s musical offering I’d like to take a few seconds to thank Fatshoolaces for his excellent choice as our latest guest contributor- I’m sure you all enjoyed his selection as much as I did. I’ve another few guest selectors lined up and I hope to bring you these in the coming weeks/months.

So on to today’s track and what an absolute legendary artist and record we have for you. Professor Longhair was born Henry Roeland Byrd in Louisiana in 1918. His music career didn’t begin until 1948 and it was 1953 before he would have his first “hit” – the often covered “Tipitina”,which also become Longhair’s signature tune.

Longhair’s piano playing style was totally unique and instantly recognizable – rumour has it that this was due to him learning on a piano with missing keys. Nowhere is this more evident than on today’s track released in 1964 and composed by the legendary Earl King. I remember when I first heard this song and it absolutely blew me away. It has such a hard funk groove to it with the crashing drums and that wonderfully catchy piano riff, throw in the whistling which joins in halfway through and you’re on to a winner!

I may have mentioned some time ago that I was in the process of setting up my own youtube channel – well I’ve added a few songs none of which have been featured on the blog and most of which you can’t find anywhere else on youtube. There are some soul & funk tunes as well as some freakbeat, psychedelia & rare groove. Click the link to the right to launch the channel.


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Larry Birdsong – Every Night In The Week

Fatshoolaces

Greetings all! I’m slightly later than normal this week but hopefully today’s track as brought to you by our latest guest selector will make it worth the wait! So who is this guest contributor? It’s none other than Mr Fatshoolaces Wayne.

I’m guessing if you’ve ever done a search on youtube for pretty much anything funky, chances are you will have found your chosen song on his “Fatshoolaces” channel such is the depth of songs and variety contained within. As well as running one of the most popular funk & breaks channels on youtube, he can be found frequenting and dj’ing in dark, gritty rare funk & soul clubs like the excellent Empty Bottles and Different Strokes. But where did his musical journey start? Let’s hear from the man himself…

A fully fledged vinyl addict since the mid 80s, I first started collecting rap which soon progressed to rare groove, funk and then onto B-boy breaks. With a background in pirate radio, sound systems and DJ’ing at local club nights, It was a natural step to move into audio production, which is what I spent my time doing through most of the 90′s. Producing various artists and the resultant digging and hunting down of ‘new’ samples to use, all on original vinyl, led me deeper into the world of rare and obscure grooves… And that’s exactly where I am right now – Hopelessly addicted to searching out and championing lesser known sounds. It’s all about collecting and sharing great records for me, regardless of genre. As long as it’s tough and funky, I’ll be all over it!

After receiving a surprise invitation from Mr Gazfunk to feature a track on his most excellent blog, much frantic rifling of crates ensued! There are so many tunes that I would love to share but when I pulled out this particular 45, I just knew it was the one…

Larry Birdsong - Every Night In The Week

My choice is the 1967 remake of Larry Birdsong’s ‘Every Night In The Week’. Transformed from the original 1958 number into a funk/soul burner, it’s been a huge fave of mine for a while now and deserves more recognition in my humble opinion. It ticks all my boxes of what a mid-tempo funky should be: A full-on vocal, a bass line that shakes the floor and a horn section that can crack windows. Plus it gets right on down to the raw bones of the groove in the middle. The Buford Majors Band nail it. Perfect! I hope you dig it.

(Larry Birdsong’s output included various Doowop, Rock and Roll, R&B and Soul tracks from the mid 50′s to the early 70′s. Despite recording with various labels including Excello, Vee-Jay, Ace, Sur-Speed and Ref-O-Ree, major success seemed to elude him. His ‘Pleadin’ For Love’ (Excello) peaked at no. 11 on Billboard’s R&B charts in July 1956 but was sadly the only real dent he ever made). 


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The New Mastersounds – Two Note Brown

New Mastersounds - Two Note Brown

I hope y’all had a great weekend – mine certainly was! Dr Crippen’s was a blast as usual and it was cool to make my dj’ing debut at the club on Friday night. My old friends The Freedom 35s played a live set and it was funktacular as usual. Saturday night featured a live performance by Dave Lewis – the frontman behind a little known local psych group called Andwella’s Dream. He was backed by a number of friends of mine who also play in various local groups and who had only practiced with Dave once, an hour or so before the show started!! The band were fantastic and gave the impression they had been playing together for years. The night was rounded off by the usual array of Dr Crippen’s regular and some special guest djs. All in all a fantastic weekend was had by all those who attended – roll on the next one!!

It’s been a little while since I’ve brought you something “nu-funk” (I say nu-funk but this was released in 2003, still I’m sure you get my drift) so today’s the day to put that right. The New Mastersounds formed in Leeds in 1999/2000 when guitarist Eddie Roberts was running a club night called “The Cooker” which moved to a new venue with a 2nd floor and space for bands. Seizing the opportunity, Eddie set up a new band called the New Mastersounds (he had already played in a band a few years prior called “The Mastersounds”). The band’s first singles were released as limited edition 7s a short time later and to date they have released 8 studio albums and almost 30 singles.

As you may imagine, today’s selection follows nicely alongside some of the other pioneers of the “nu-funk” sound that we’ve featured before including Speedometer, Lefties Soul Connection and The Bamboos. So what do you get? Think heavy hammond, groovy guitar licks & pounding drums and you’re on the right track.


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The Voices Of East Harlem – Right On Be Free

The Voices Of East Harlem - Right On Be Free

Unfortunately this week’s update has come just a little too soon for our next guest contributor due to circumstances beyond mine (and their control) Don’t worry though it’s in the process and I hope to be able to bring it to you in the coming weeks.

This week’s selection is inspired in no small part to a gig I’ll be playing this coming weekend – the 10th Anniversary Doctor Crippen’s Weekender. Dr Crippen’s is a psychedelic funk club run by 2 long-term friends of mine, Paddy & Sarge. Any of you who happen to know anything about the psych scene in the U.K. (or indeed Europe) will probably have crossed paths with the guys at one time or another. As well as running Dr Crippen’s, they have also dj’d at Le Beat Bespoke & Mousetrap in London and are regular visitors to Glasgow where they have also guested at Double Sight & Eyes Wide Open.

This will be my first time dj’ing at the club and my set will feature more of a psychedelic soul/funk vibe. For more information about the event you can visit the facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/575983695818254/ and you can listen to some of the tunes you can expect to hear at the night(s).

Any soul/funk fans out there will undoubtedly be aware of The Voices Of East Harlem. Their high energy gospel-style vocals are the stuff of legend and they featured up to 20 different vocalists between the ages of 12 – 21 at any one time. Today’s featured song is the title track from their debut LP released in 1970. The album also features great covers of tracks like For What It’s Worth & Run, Shaker Life. They recorded 4 albums in total, the final being released in 1974. In 1971 the group appeared at the Soul To Soul concert in Ghana where they performed this track and a rousing version of Run, Shaker Life. You can see footage of the show by doing a simple search on youtube… 


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Flame & The Sons Of Darkness – Solid Funk

Flame & Sons Of Darkness - Solid Funk

It’s quite a rare occurence that a record does exactly what it says on the tin (to coin a phrase) but today’s selection is one such case. The track is called “Solid Funk” and really couldn’t be any more aptly named. This is one of those songs that doesn’t have a “lead-in” – from the opening bars it tears out of the speakers in a cacophony of wah-wah guitars and pounding drums and continues on at break-neck speed through to the final (vinyl?) notes of the record.

As you might imagine given my description, this is most definitely one for the dancefloor – in fact it might even be too quick & heavy for some to groove on down to!! Due to it’s rarity there isn’t much info out there about this one. It looks like a bit of a small release and the “P&P Label” comes from the first names of the two producers. What makes this track even more remarkable is that the band responsible were only teenagers when the track was cut in 1972. Powerful stuff from ones so young! Another point of interest about the record is the interesting cover version of the huge Beatles hit “Something” (incidentally Frank Sinatra’s favourite song)

A little quick update on our next guest contributor – I hope to be able to bring you their selection next week so stay tuned for that. I’ve no doubt it’ll be a cracker!! In the meantime, dig some solid funk:


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Gene West – In The Ghetto

Gene West - In The Ghetto

I’m sure (like me initially) you’ve never heard of the artist I bring you in this week’s update. Upon further investigation into just who Gene West is/was it became apparent that he was a heavyweight (literally) in the soul world – step forward the Love Walrus himself, Mr Barry White.

Now when you listen to the song it becomes obvious due to the deep tone of the singer’s voice. I have to admit, I’ve never been a fan of Mr White – in fact he represents a particular brand of “soul” music that I particularly dislike. So why then you are asking, have I decided to bring you one of his tracks on the blog. Well you see, this is unlike any of the other cheesy lurrvvve songs that he’s renowned for.

This song was originally written by Mac Davis and become well-known for the huge hit that Elvis Presley had in 1969 – the single that gave “The King” a major comeback hit. I have to admit to not being a fan of Elvis either – but that’s another story. This track has been covered many times over the years by people like Bobbie Gentry, Sammy Davis Jr & Dolly Parton but this version is far and away my favourite. Any of you who listened to my “Straight From The Playbox” mix will recognize this as the opening track, for any of you who missed it you can listen again here http://www.mixcloud.com/beatsofmusic/gary-small-straight-from-the-play-box/


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Eric & The Vikings – Get Off The Streets Y’all

Eric Vikings - Get Off The Streets Y'allLike last week, I have a little bit of info to share with you before I bring you my song choice. I was recently asked to take part in a very interesting music project which featured 100 of the world’s top funk & soul djs digging into their collection for a selection of 10 records brought together as a mix.

So far there have been around 80 djs to take part including old friends of ours like HeavySoulBrutha Dave B, Larry Grogan from Funky16corners and arguably the World’s #1 Funk dj Mr Ian Wright. You can check out my mix here http://www.mixcloud.com/beatsofmusic/gary-small-straight-from-the-play-box/ and while you’re there, why not check out some of the mixes from the other selectors.

So on to today’s song choice. Sometimes having a lot of records to choose from can make the choice more difficult than if you just have a limited selection. In addition it can be hard to find out interesting information about the more obscure records. The track I bring you today is one such occasion – so I just have to hope that the quality of the song speaks for itself! What I do know about it is that it was produced by the legendary Richard “Popcorn” Wylie and the band themselves have played on a number of hits by legendary artists such as Marvin Gaye & Edwin Starr! So get down and get off the streets y’all!!


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