Much like last week, today’s chosen piece of wax falls into the type of category that I don’t often feature on Gazfunk – R&B. Now, it’s not that I’m not a fan of the genre (I do like it for what it’s worth) but I find that there are a lot of records out there that are too “samey” with very similar tempo and rhythm. Coupled with the rising cost of R&B records these days (due in no small part to the huge interest in recent years of the mod scene), this means my collection would be a bit light on the genre in comparison to soul, funk, hammond, latin etc.
The record I bring you today is definitely one of my favourites though and in my humble opinion is good as anything that I’ve heard that costs ten times the price. This is one of the staple tracks within the R&B/mod scene and may well be considered by some to be somewhat overplayed these days – I don’t mind though as it’s something a little different for me to share with you on the blog and variety is the spice of life, right? I’m sure you’ll all agree when you hit that little play button.
Just before I leave you this week, I have a little bit of news to share with you regarding some more upcoming gigs. I’ll be undertaking another U.S. Tour from late September through to early November with 5 or 6 shows lined up. I hope to be able to bring you a little tour poster next week with all the dates confirmed – and some of the events I’m really excited/honoured to be playing at! Watch this space…
It’s not too often that I dip into my collection and pull out a gospel record to feature, so today’s selection is something a little different from that which I normally bring you. Even though the track itself is a gospel song, it’s heavily drippin’ with funk and probably one of the best known/well respected tunes in the gospel funk genre.
The Stovall Sisters featured 3 sisters (Lillian, Netta & Joyce) who were born in Kentucky along with 19 other siblings – yes 22 children born to the one group of parents!! At one time or another pretty much all of the children had a stint as gospel singers but it was the aforementioned sisters who went off on their own to achieve recognition.
They had a career as both studio & touring backing singers where they performed with artists including Al Green, Ray Charles, Jackie Wilson, Etta James, Bobby Womack, Sam Cooke and countless other well-known acts in the r&b world. Few people knew, but they also provided the backing vocals to Norman Greenbaum’s massive ’69 hit “Spirit In The Sky”
The sisters growing profile and popularity encouraged Reprise Records to allow them to record an eponymous album in 1971 (their one and only album) This LP yielded three singles – one of which was a cover of Norman Greenbaum’s classic and the rest as they say is history…
For those of you eager to hear more than just one track, I’ve uploaded a new mix to my mixcloud page entitled “Funky Popcorn”. You can check it out here www.mixcloud.com/gazfunk (along with my other mixes)
Last week’s selection was something of a classic in the world of funk so this week I’m returning to something a little more obscure (but no less funky!) Jackie Harris & The Exciters were an outfit that (to my knowledge) only put out this one single. Strangely it was released on both the Black & Proud & Detroit’s Westbound label at almost the same time (1969).
When I first heard this I was hooked straight away – the heavy organ, pounding drums and choppy guitar mixed with the screams to “Do It, To It” come together to create a veritable pounding to the ears. The flipside of this record is called “Get Funky, Sweet A Little Bit” which is very similar to the A and for a while before I got a copy of the record I was actually confused as to which track was which.
Rather surprisingly, on the (very) rare occasions that this track surfaces it doesn’t actually sell for anywhere near as much money as I think it should given both it’s rarity and it’s quality. But as you know I gave up on trying to figure out why certain songs are more valuable than others a long time ago…
If you happen to be in Belfast over the coming days (I know, what’s the chances, huh?) I’ll be dj’ing tomorrow night in Voodoo right in the city centre for my buddy Pete who is on holiday. This will be my last week covering as he returns later this week so come on down and get your groove on with us – things kick-off at 9pm and it’s FREE IN!
We’re returning to an absolute stone cold classic in the world of funk music today with the fantastic Hip Drop by the Explosions. Those of you who know about your New Orleans music will know just how big this record is, written and produced by probably the funkiest of all the musicians from The Crescent City, Mr Eddie Bo himself.
I don’t really know who exactly The Explosions were – obviously Bo is all over this one and the singing is led by Juanita Brooks who isn’t credited on the record but rather strangely is credited on another of the Explosions releases – “Garden Of Four Trees”. Why is that strange you might ask? Well, Brooks isn’t actually the singer on Garden Of Four Trees, that distinction goes to another New Orleans artist, Marilyn Barbarin (who you might know courtesy of the equally excellent “Reborn”). I wonder how she felt about being named on the record that she didn’t sing on but is missing from the one that she did – curious indeed..
Anyway, I’m sure you’ve probably heard this one before but it is worth returning to the classics every now and then, especially when it’s as dope as this!
Just before I go I want to let you know that if any of you happen to be in the Belfast area this week, I’ll be dj’ing in Voodoo covering for my buddy who is on holiday. I’ll be spinning the type of stuff you have come to expect from the blog. Things kick off at 9pm and it’s FREE ENTRY, so drop by and get your funk on one time.
Unlike last week’s featured tune I can’t remember when/where I first heard today’s choice but I do know that it was some time ago. The reason I’m only bringing it to you today is that I only just last week managed to source a copy after more than a decade of trying so I’m pretty happy to score this one off my wishlist!
So what is this rather weird song and who indeed is “Mickey Lolich”?. Well as it turns out Mickey Lolich was a baseball player of some renown who had a career spanning 17 years with the majority of that time spent playing for the Detroit Tigers. As was a lot more common than you might imagine back in the 60s/70s there were a number of “novelty” records cut by various “groups” celebrating the sporting prowess of either their favourite player or team (and even on some occasions their favourite sports commentator!)
Unfortunately I don’t know anything about who “The Fans” actually were. So if you have any info on that score please drop me a line…. Anyway, this is one of those tunes that has a very heavy break and I’m rather surprised that no-one out there has sampled it (unless someone has that I’m not aware of). Enjoy!
The record I bring to you today was a track that I first heard some time ago courtesy of my fellow Belfast DJ David Holmes. This song was featured on his Come Get It, I Got It compilation/mix alongside a plethora of other rare and now collectable funk and soul tracks. Immediately upon hearing it I wanted a copy and some time later managed to find one for myself.
The group released two singles both in 1972, this and another song called Write Me A Letter though neither track became a hit. Shortly after this release, Crawford (Caroline Crawford) left the group and went on to have a solo career spanning 7 singles whilst the rest of the group carried on as a trio releasing a further 12 singles and 4 albums before calling it a day in 1979.
There’s not a lot to say about this week’s record choice as it’s one of those obscure ones yet again so this post will be pretty short & sweet!
J.C. Davis was a Saxophone player out of Ohio who released (I believe) 8 singles from 1959 until the early 70s. A couple of those singles were issued by Chess Records around the time when Davis played with James Brown. This cut was released towards the end of his career and is certainly much heavier (and funkier) than his early output.
In recent times this record has been one that collectors have started to take an interest in and thus has pushed the value up from what I was able to buy it for. If you’re on the search for one, you’ll probably have to pay £60 – £100 for one – not mega expensive by any means, but probably out of the reach of the more casual digger. Enjoy!
So I’ve returned from a great weekend in London where I got to see two of my favourite artists of all time – Mr Booker T Jones & Stevie Wonder. I also managed to spend some time dj’ing with my soul sister Corrina Greyson in Joe’s Bar, Camden which was a thoroughly enjoyable evening of music & dance and highly recommended if you’re in the Camden area of a Sunday evening.
So onto today’s selection and for the first time in a while a cool little piece of nu-funk courtesy of Brighton’s Baby Charles. Some of you might know of the band due to their 2009 cover of The Arctic Monkey’s “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” which received regular radio airplay. The band released 4 singles (3 of which were on one of our favourite modern labels – Record Kicks) between 2006 – 2009 as well as an eponymously titled LP in 2008.
The record I have chosen to feature today was released in 2008 and is the b-side of “Hard Man To Please” and featured on one of the excellent “Soulshaker” compilations also released on Record Kicks. This is a great instrumental funker perfect for the dancefloor, make no mistake.
Just a little reminder for those of you who might have missed it but my “Soul Party” radio show returned last Thursday night. For anyone who didn’t catch it live, you can listen again by clicking this link http://livestream.com/belfastunderground/tv/videos/129085621 or indeed if you would like to listen to the show as an mp3, you can download it by going to the soundcloud page here https://soundcloud.com/belfastunderground/gaz-funk-presents-soul-party-live-on-belfast-underground-radio-7-7-16-wwwbelfastundergroundradiotv
A little bit of a shorter update this week as I’ve a lot of stuff to do before the weekend. I’ll be back over in London catching up with the legendary Booker T Jones who is playing at the Brooklyn Bowl on Friday night. Saturday sees a trip to Walthamstow where I’ll be spinning a few tunes in The Warrant Officer with my pal Dr Kruger as part of a special event being held by The Vinyl Lab. Finishing things off on Sunday with a trip to Hyde Park to see the man himself, Stevie Wonder perform the entire Songs In The Key Of Life before a quick jaunt to Joe’s Bar in Camden where I’ll be hooking up with my pal Corrina Greyson aka Miss 45s and spinning all manner of soul, funk, latin & r&b.
Before I write about today’s update, I’ve one more piece of info for you – my radio show “Soul Party” returns tomorrow afternoon from 4pm – 6pm on www.belfastundergroundradio.tv I hope you can join me!
Anyway, onto today’s selection and a nice piece of funky soul courtesy of Aretha’s older sister Erma. We’ve featured another of Aretha’s sisters in the past, Carolyn so I figured it was time to turn the spotlight onto Erma. I hope you dig this one as much as I do.
So the last few days has seen 2016 continue on with it’s relentless crusade against some of the titans of popular music with the loss of Sir Mack Rice, best known for penning “Mustang Sally” & “Respect Yourself” – the highly respected songwriter passed away at the age of 82. As if that wasn’t enough, legendary Elvis Presley guitarist Scotty Moore was taken from us just yesterday at the age of 84.
Unfortunately the sad news didn’t end there with the tragic loss of another hugely influential musician in the shape of Parliament/Funkadelic & Talking Heads keyboardist Bernie Worrell also leaving this Earth at the age of 72 after a short battle against lung cancer. Today we pay tribute to all 3 here on Gazfunk with a particular nod to Bernie Worrell.
Bernie was born in New Jersey in 1944 and his musical legacy began almost before he was out of the womb with his first piano lessons coming at the age of 3!! By the time he was 8 he had written his own concerto – a clear sign of the child prodigy he had become. A meeting with George Clinton in the late 60s encouraged him to join a new musical ensemble that Clinton was putting together – Parliament-Funkadelic who were to record separately under both names.
1970 was a particularly busy year for both Worrell and Parliament-Funkadelic with the release of 3 albums – 2 of those (the self-titled “Funkadelic” and “Free Your Mind…. And Your Ass Will Follow“) coming under the Funkadelic name with the other (“Osmium“) coming under the Parliament name.
The following yer saw the release of the seminal “Maggot Brain” which was to receive huge praise from critics and go on to be regarded as one of the greatest albums ever made as well as a defining moment in funk music. It’s from this album that we bring you today’s selection – “Hit It And Quit It“.
This was to be one of 3 singles taken from the album but strangely was the only one not to chart. Nonetheless, there’s arguably no greater illustration of Bernie’s talent than on this single where his organ playing is very much to the fore and he also provides lead vocals on the track. As well as playing on every release by Parliament-Funkadelic for the next 10 years or so he also took time to join influential American rock/new wave group, Talking Heads.
I hope you enjoy the track and it serves and something of a legacy to an absolute great. R.I.P. Bernie, Mack & Scotty.