J.C. Davis – Coconut Brown

J.C. Davis - Coconut Brown

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!

 

Baby Charles – Jackson Fingers

Baby Charles - Jackson Fingers

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

Erma Franklin – I’m Just Not Ready For Love

Erma Franklin - I'm Just Not Ready For Love

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. 

Funkadelic – Hit It And Quit It

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.

bernie-worrell

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.

Funkadelic-620x471

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“.

Funkadelic - 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. 

 

Poets Of Rhythm – The Plan

Poets Of Rhythm - The Plan

I’m a little bit later with my update this week as I’ve had some problems with my internet connection over the last few days and it’s only came back online this morning so apologies for the delay (I know you all excitedly await my update every Monday/Tuesday!!).

With the EU Referendum taking place today, I thought I’d take the opportunity to tie it in nicely with today’s chosen piece of wax. Don’t worry – I’m not going to use this as a platform to convince you of the merits of leaving/staying – that’s not my style, rather to introduce to you a fantastic piece of funk by way of our German cousins – The Poets Of Rhythm.

This particular selection dates back to 1993 and has be issued on 45 for the very first time courtesy of the guys over at Mukatsuku. These are selling like hot cakes since the release a few weeks ago so if you dig what you hear, you would be well advised to head on over to Juno to pick up a copy before they all go. As an added bonus you also get the Wallace Brothers funk classic “What Cha Feel Is What Cha Get” – a track made popular by Mr Keb Darge that now sells for £500+ on original issue (if you were ever lucky enough to find a copy of course!)

I hope you dig the tune and don’t forget – if you are around the York area this weekend I will be dj’ing alongside the Dead Funk boys at the Apollo Festival Aftershow Party. I hope to see some of you there for what promises to be a great night.

 

The Soul Crusaders Orchestra – Funky Jive

Soul Crusaders - Funky Jive

After a couple of months in recovery mode after my knee op, I was finally able to make my long-awaited return to Belfast Underground for my Soul Party! radio show on Friday. I know some of you tune in to the programme so if you’d like to catch up with what went down you can listen again by going to http://livestream.com/belfastunderground/tv/videos/126225402

Today’s funky piece of wax is a track that featured on Friday’s radio show by way of a pretty obscure outfit called “The Soul Crusaders”. What I know about this band is that they released 2 singles sometime between ’69 – ’72, this one (which is actually the b-side, the a being a track called “Pretty Lil Mama”) and a slow instrumental take on Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour”.

This song is quite slow as well however it certainly is funky. There’s some nice piano work going on here and very heavy breaks with my old favourite funky flute. Maybe one to get your head nodding and foot tapping rather than showing your moves on the dancefloor but it’s cool having a nice slow groove every once in a while!

Just before I leave you this week, I want to let you know that I’m currently working on my next interview with a very well respected funk artist which I hope to bring you over the coming weeks – so stay tuned. In the meantime enjoy this Funky Jive.. 

The Mighty Flea-Ode To Billie Joe

The Mighty Flea - Ode To Billy Joe

Today’s selection is a track that I’d imagine you have all heard the original of many times – in fact Bobbie Gentry’s release in 1967 went on to secure 8 Grammy nominations (winning 3 awards) and was listed in Rolling Stone Magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs Of All Time”. Despite mainly being known as a country singer, Gentry’s vocals and arrangements made her one of the few white artists to find favour among the soul fraternity, especially with the flipside of Ode.. – Mississippi Delta.

This song has often been covered over the years including notable releases by Lou Donaldson, The Supremes and perhaps rather unsurprisingly, Tammy Wynette. This version is a little different with it’s horn led funky soul-jazz vibe going on courtesy of an artist called The Mighty Flea. Gene Conners was the real name of the guy who recorded under the name of The Mighty Flea and as you can see on the label, for this release he was backed by The Johnny Otis Show which isn’t much of a surprise really given that Conners often played trombone with Johnny Otis during the late 60s/early 70s. 

Just before I leave you I want to mention about my next upcoming gig. This one will take place in the beautiful city of York as the official aftershow party for the Apollo Festival alongside the Dead Funky boys. It’s gonna be a great event so if you’re in the area or anywhere nearby, drop by and get ready to dance!

Dead Funky Aftershow Party June

Obrey Wilson – Headman

Obrey Wilson - Headman

Hello soul fiends! (yes that isn’t a spelling mistake, though if you’d like to consider me a friend, I’m happy with that). It’s been a beautiful day here in Belfast – the type that only comes around 4 or 5 times a year so I’ve been taking advantage by relaxing in the sunshine with some tunes and today’s selection is a record that I haven’t listened to in an age but surfaced again during the aforementioned “chillaxing” session.

So, Obrey Wilson then. Well guess what – yep, he is another one of those artists that I don’t know a lot about. I know that he released a dozen or so singles starting in 1961 finishing in the early 80s. I’ve herd some of these records and to be honest, the only one that’s really moved me that much is “Headman”. You often find with some artists that they cut 1 track that is pretty different from their normal output and today’s pick is exactly that.

Released in 1968 during the Golden Age (I’m not sure that there is such a thing but for reference it’s that period from ’67 – ’72 that I’m talking about where soul music just got that little bit funkier). There’s some great geetar work on this one and about 1min 30secs in a fantastic break for anyone out there looking a sample. The funny thing about this track is that initially I thought it was a female singer – you’ll get what I mean when you listen to it. Enjoy the tune and the rest of your week – I’m off to offer up some gifts to the sun god in the vain hope this great weather will stay with us! 

 

 

The Seven Souls – Groove In

The Seven Souls - Groove In

With having a little bit of a break for a few weeks it’s very easy to fall out of the way of writing blog posts and the motivation to commit to writing something “interesting” every week can waiver somewhat. So bear in mind that it might take me a few weeks for me to get back into my stride again – but as they say, it’s all about the groove!

With that in mind, today’s selection couldn’t be more literal (I didn’t plan that – promise!!). The Seven Souls formed in the mid sixties in L.A. and were a multi-racial group who released 3 singles before disbanding in 1969. None of the records really gained much attention and they are still only really known by a few hardcore funk collectors.

In spite of their lack of commercial success The Seven Souls are notable for 2 reasons. Firstly, the performed at a talent contest that also featured Sly & The Family Stone (who won the competition) – I’m not sure where it was, but there used to be fantastic footage on youtube of Sly playing the Ohio State Fair which they won. Secondly, the band featured one Bob Welch, who was to later find huge fame as part of Fleetwood Mac.

This record has (as you would expect) a classic funk groove with the singer naming various towns & cities in the U.S. that are having a “Groove-In” – they aren’t going to win any awards for songwriting however it is quite cool how they manage to rhyme the names of many of these places “New Orleans, Sweet Port Louisiana, Moville, Montgomery, Birmingham Alabama!” Enjoy! 

 

 

Preston Love – Funky Chicken

Preston Love - Funky Chicken

Hello all, I’m glad to be back and able to bring you a fantastic piece of funk after almost 3 weeks of a break. As some of you may know, I had an operation on my knee some weeks ago and it was a pretty complicated (and painful!) procedure. I’m not quite back on my feet yet but I’m certainly on the road to recovery and of sound enough mind to bring you an update.

Today’s selection is a track that had been on my wants list for quite a long time. This is one of those records that you could easily play the a or b side due to the quality. Today though I have gone for the b side.

Preston Love is a saxophone player from Omaha whose recording career started way back in 1945 as part of Count Basie’s Orchestra. As well as writing some of his own records, Love was to become the bandleader for Motown which led to him working alongside artists like Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops and The Temptations. By the late 60s Love began making some serious funk culminating in the excellent “Preston Love’s Omaha Bar-B-Q” which featured the excellent guitar work of the legendary Shuggie Otis. I hope you enjoy today’s track and it’s not so long until my next update! 

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