A lot of the time I bring you a record it’s because it fits a theme at that particular moment in time or (as is becoming more common these days) as a tribute to an artist who had recently passed away. Today’s selection fits neither category – it’s just a damn good song courtesy of a legendary soul star.
I’d probably be insulting you somewhat to go into a whole biography of the “Wicked Pickett” such is his popularity, so I’ll give it a miss. What I will say is this particular 45 is arguably one of the funkiest tracks he ever cut. Released in 1970, this song featured on the album “Wilson Pickett In Philadelphia” and perhaps unsurprisingly was produced by the legendary Gamble & Huff partnership, so you know full well it’s gonna have a groove!!
Happy New Year to you all. I hope 2017 finds you in good health. I’m personally glad to see the back of 2016 as there were quite a number of negative events during the year for me personally. Hopefully this year is a bit more settled.
Whilst I’m not really someone who dwells on the previous year, I’d like to bring you a record from last year that was to my ears, one of the best releases of 2016, courtesy of the mighty Lee Fields.
I’m sure many of you are aware of the history of Lee Fields – from his early releases in the 70s and his return to prominence in the early 2000s as a member of the Daptone family. This release came out on Big Crown records, a label I had never heard of before but they really deliver the goods on this funk banger! I’ve decided to feature the instrumental b side as it’s just a little bit heavier and funkier, but the a-side still kicks ass! Hope you dig this one!
As has been the trend this year, the last few days has seen the passing of a number of well known figures in the music and entertainment world. One that may have passed under the radar however, is the subject of today’s update – Alphonse Mouzon.
Alphonse was a highly respected stick man who performed alongside such luminaries as Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton and Chubby Checker among others.
As well as featuring alongside the aforementioned artists, he also released a number of albums on the iconic Blue Note label including 1974’s Funky Snakefoot from which todays 45 was taken. The hip-hop fans among you may recognise the sample used in a number of Beastie Boys tracks and more obscurely by the British rapper MC Duke.
Condolences to the friends & family of one of the funky drummers.
You’ve probably noticed that I’m a little later with the update this week, unfortunately that’s due to the fact that my home was burgled over the weekend and I’ve had a lot of things to sort out over the last few days.
As well as the stress of the burglary the fact that I had my laptop stolen (among other things), has made bringing you this week’s track particularly challenging since I’m creating this update via my mobile phone.
So given that, this one will be a bit shorter than normal. It’ll hardly be a surprise (given the title) that this one is pretty much just a cover of James Brown’s “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” with the lyrics slightly changed. No bad thing of course…
Happy bloody Christmas!
The record that I feature for you today is a track that you can listen to on my GazfunkBlog Youtube channel (the only resource to hear it on the net). Since it’s such a great record and I know that some of you don’t really bother with youtube that much (now that I have to post youtube links due to wordpress’ ridiculous changes), I thought I may as well give my own channel a little bit of promo!
This one exists in the library marked extremely rare and took me a rather long time to track down. I actually took this with me during my recent U.S. Tour but it didn’t get an airing as I thought it just too heavy and fast for the dancefloor (imagine that!!). If you like your funk with heavy organ and driving guitar played at 100mph, then this is the record for you. Just don’t break anything while trying to dance in time to it!!!
Before I start talking about this week’s selection, I’d like to just take a moment to thank Pete Isaac for his excellent guest contribution last week – it was certainly one of our most popular to date. If you missed out, just go to the archives and you’ll be able to listen again. As I mentioned last week, I hope to bring more groovy selections from the crates of our friends on a more regular basis, so watch out for that!
So on to today’s post and a song that may well win the award for the longest title we have ever featured here on Gazfunk! This one comes by way of Ernest Van Treose – an organ player of some renown who guested alongside such luminaries as BB King & Ray Charles. This particular track features none other than the sadly departed legend that is The Mighty Hannibal – so you known darn well it’s gonna deliver on the funkiness!!
Some of you may have noticed that the posts have changed in recent times – previously I used to upload the song clip from the record so you could just click the little play button. Unfortunately, WordPress decided to charge extra to upload song files right in the middle of my annual subscription, so I was left with no choice but to add the youtube clip of the song instead. As you probably know, this blog is a not-for-profit labour of love and costs me time and money to put together and I don’t recoup any money through advertising on the site, so I’m sure you can all understand why I was reluctant to pay this extra charge. Anyway, you can still enjoy the excellent music I have on offer with the added potential of a nice video/graphics to go along with it! Enjoy this week’s post and I’ll catch up with y’all next week.
As you know, periodically we here at Gazfunk like to take a little break every once in a while and hand over the blog to one of our friends to write a guest post for us. Over the years we’ve had many djs, bloggers and vinyl enthusiasts give us a little insight into the type of tunes that gets their juices flowing. This year it’s been a little thin on the ground and not as regular a feature as I would have liked, however starting this week I hope to bring you more frequent guest contributions.
So then, on to today’s pop-picker and we’ve got a very special guest digging into their crates for us – Mr Pete Isaac. As some of you are aware, Pete is one half of 45 Live http://www.45live.net/?feed (the other half being Scott Hendy aka Boca 45) which is a collective of some of the UK & Ireland’s top 45 collectors/djs as well as a blog, record label and events organiser.
Pete’s own musical journey started out in 1993 with the launch of Jelly Jazz www.jellyjazz.com – a seminal club night based in Plymouth. The club’s success enabled them to attract guest djs like Gilles Peterson, Mr Scruff, Norman Jay, Quantic, Andy Smith and a whole cast of some of the most respected djs in the U.K. As well as the guest djs, Jelly Jazz also regularly featured many live acts who went on to forge successful careers for themselves some of whom played their first ever U.K. shows at the club.
Well then, I think it’s about time I passed over the baton to Pete. Over to you mate…
The Perfect Circle ‘The Hands Of Time’ (Inner City)
Gaz kindly asked me to write a piece about a record in the collection recently, which I did, but I had replicated one that had already been done before, should have checked I guess! The focus of that story was about the journey a piece of music can take you on, how far that might be and of the connections and impact that a humble record can make. It was ‘Acid Jazz Vol. 1’ on BGP by the way.
So take 2, and I’ll keep to the sentiment of the other piece and focus on the way music unites. Way back in my early days as a promoter/DJ in ’94, I used to call up Soul Jazz Records in London every Tuesday morning to buy as many records as I could to drop the following night at Jelly Jazz in Plymouth. On the other end of the phone a young chap called Chris Goss who quickly became my go-to guy to ask for, he got me sussed quickly and was able to play breaks and grooves down the phone that I would invariably buy. He must have sold me thousands of pounds worth of records over those first few months! Naturally I would tell him stories of our midweek club night deep into the SW, and a DJ booking for Chris soon followed. I wasn’t that far out of art college at this time so was living in somewhat modest conditions, i.e. a tiny room in a shared house with loads of muso’s and hippies, and Chris got to stay on some cushions in a rough-as-you-like basement lounge. But anyway, we didn’t care about such conditions, youth was still on our side!
Typically, the club that night was rammed to the rafters with a bonkers mad-for-it collections of hippies, ravers, musicians and students. We enjoyed that rare commodity of an audience that just lapped up everything and anything you threw at them. This was obviously years before the internet so obscure American funk etc etc etc was just not so easily accessible, so those calls to Soul Jazz each week were invaluable. But the best way to discover music was of course to hear it in a club, so when Chris and a few others like Bunny from Acid Jazz came down with bags of records we’d never seen, Wednesday nights were always punctuated with mindblowing moments. One of the comments we most heard from punters at the time was something along the lines of “damn, what is this music? Where the hell do you get it?”, I pretty much said the same myself to those early guest DJs we had! Chris dropped a killer set that night with hip hop, jazz, jazz-rock etc, but when he dropped ‘The Hands Of Time’, it was one of THOSE moments. Both myself and fellow Jelly resident DJ Griff flew up to the decks to find out what it was before rejoining the packed dancefloor to literally go nuts. What a monster of a track, fusing the best of jazz, funk and disco into a relentless groove punctuated with stuttering breaks and spaced out instrumentation, a phenomenal track from a killer LP. (Sometimes, don’t you wish you could hear something for the first time again?) Of course I had to obtain the record and eventually procured an original copy, signed by the main man George Semper too for added niceness!
Chris pretty much cemented himself as a regular with that drop and set and fast became our favourite guest DJ and played almost every month for years and years, as well as becoming great family friends. Any old school Jelly Jazz fans will well know the regular ‘Goose Fever’ sessions, where Chris would play all night for a few weeks if I was away from town. These days he has of course gone on to run the world’s biggest D&B label, Hospital Records, but for me, he’ll always be the guy that dropped ‘The Hands of Time’! That and our Tuesday morning record purchasing created a lot more than the sum of their parts, a connection through music that became a fantastic friendship and shared passion for records, especially for things like The Perfect Circle, Brian Auger and the like, we both appreciate a damn good red wine too!
I love the way any record will have it’s immediate story, but you can always consider it’s influence further and be surprised at what direction it ultimately leads you in. Chris and I get to DJ together on the odd rare occasion these days, so next time, through these hands of time, I’ll urge him to drop it again, it will be a perfect circle.
This week I had planned to bring you some more pictures from my U.S. Tour but events on Friday night/Saturday morning put paid to that with the news filtering through of the passing of Sharon Jones at the age of 60.
It’s with a heavy heart that I write this tribute as it’s something I hoped I wouldn’t have to do, especially not for a long time anyway given Sharon’s young age. Even though I knew that the cancer that Sharon was diagnosed with back in 2013 had returned, like many of you I hoped and believed this strong woman with her indomitable spirit would prevail for a second time. Sadly it wasn’t to be as she slipped away on Friday surrounded by her family and most of the Dap-Kings.
So today rather than feeling sad, I’d like to remember her for her amazing ability, not just as a performer but as a person who lit up any room she entered and always remained happy and positive no what matter the circumstances. She leaves an enduring legacy that won’t have failed to connect with any fan of funk or soul music and a catalogue of songs that ensures her place in the pantheon of the all time great soul artists.
My first introduction to the world of Sharon Jones (and her Dap-Kings) came way back in 2002 with the uber funky “Pick It Up Lay It In The Cut”. This track had everything I was looking for at the time with a fantastic beat, groovy guitar and a horn section coming together to evoke the sound of The J.B.’s. I have to admit – at that time, I didn’t actually realise that what I was listening to came from a modern band – the sound was so true to the 70s funk style that I was starting to immerse myself in that I just assumed that it was from some obscure act from that time.
Shortly after that (maybe a year or so) I heard another of the band’s songs – their groovy take on Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” (a record that we have previously featured here on Gazfunk.) I remembered that this was the same artist who recorded “Pick It Up Lay It In The Cut” and so I set out to find out more about the band. To my surprise I found that they weren’t some obscure 70s funk outfit, but indeed a modern day band from Brooklyn who started out in 1996 as The Soul Providers (releasing a series of singles on the now defunkt Desco label) before joining forces with The Mighty Imperials to create the Dap-Kings, the house band on the new Daptone label.
I quickly bought both singles that I had heard and over the next decade or so bought most of the band’s single and album releases and spent a lot of time extoling the virtues of Sharon and the band as well as regularly dropping some of the 45s into my dj sets.
With the group being from New York and me living in Belfast, opportunities were few and far between for me to catch one of their legendary live shows until 2014 when they appeared at the Roundhouse in Camden. Finally a near decade long ambition had been fulfilled!! I was able to catch the band a couple of times after that and despite her illness, Sharon always performed like the true professional that she was.
So the record I’m going to feature for you today (it really could be any one of a dozen or more) was something that was only given away to a limited number of people who bought a special pack of the “Give The People What They Want” LP. The track is called “People Don’t Get What They Deserve” and perhaps is a fitting tribute to a supremely talented lady who never quite enjoyed the success she deserved. R.I.P. Sharon and deepest condolences to your family, friends and the Daptone family. X
As you know last week was the first update since I arrived back from my U.S. Tour, so this week I’m going to bring you a tune that went down particularly well at the first stop on the road – Funky Sole in L.A. I’ve also got some pictures of the night to share with you during this post to give you a bit of an idea of the club in case you’ve never seen it or indeed haven’t been before.
There’s also a video from the night which you can see on the official Gazfunk Facebook page (wordpress doesn’t allow me to post videos!) by going here : https://www.facebook.com/gazfunkmusic/
In the meantime enjoy this absolute banger from Chubby Checker – something you wouldn’t expect from him at all – and I’ll be back next week with yet more tales from my tour and of course another quality piece of wax. Peace!
So I’ve finally returned from my U.S. Tour and that means I’m able to bring you an update for the first time in about a month. Apologies to those who looked forward to my weekly updates but for a variety of reasons I wasn’t able furnish you with a funky piece of wax, though don’t worry – now that I’m back on “home turf” there’ll be no missing out again – promise!
At some point over the coming weeks I’ll upload some of the pictures from my various gigs and also attach some of the cool flyers but for now I’ll just focus on today’s selection.
This track is a little bit of a strange one – firstly, upon hearing it you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s a female singer (if you didn’t look at the artists’ name of course), also it has a few styles going on in there, a touch of r&b, a smattering of Northern Soul, a little dab of funk and a pinch of garage rock. Hope you enjoy it and glad to be back (sort of!!)