Before I start with this week’s selection I’d just like to say a big thanks to Shane Walsh for being our most recent guest contributor last week. I’m sure you’ll all agree with me that Shane picked a top track to feature. I hope to be able to add in more guest contributors over the next few months as it’s been somewhat “neglected” recently. Anyway, on to today’s pick and a cracking song it is too.
Many of you will doubtless be aware of George McCrae for his huge hit in 1974 “Rock Your Baby” which went on to top the charts in both the U.S. & U.K. and racked up almost 11 million sales in the process. Rock Your Baby was arguably the first hit record for the emerging disco scene and still remains one of the biggest selling singles of the 70s.
Today’s selection is from the same year and one of 5 singles released from the Rock Your Baby LP. This one is much more to my taste though as it has a funkier (albeit smoother) vibe to it and has been sampled heavily over the years by artists including Pete Rock, Snoop Dog & 50 Cent. Dig the groove!!
It’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to bring you a guest contributor and I’m delighted to put that right with this week’s update thanks to a storming bit of gospel soul courtesy of Mr Shane Walsh.
Shane Walsh is an original vinyl collector and DJ from Dublin, specialising in Soul, Funk, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, Reggae and Ska. He can be heard doing his thing at clubs like Pow City, For Dancers Only, Reggae Got Soul, B Sides and Afterglow amongst others. He also hosts a regular radio show and podcast called Twine Time. Check out the best of the Twine Time radio show here…. https://www.mixcloud.com/shane-walsh2/ As if that’s not enough he plays drums with Dublin beat combo Beatfink who gig regularly. Busy man indeed! But that’s enough from me – over to you Shane….
I’d like to thank Gazfunk for asking me to review a record for his blog, and my choice is Bobby Lee Fears- Exodus, on the Forward label. I picked it because it’s a recent purchase of mine and it’s on heavy rotation at the moment. I was lucky enough to find it with its original company sleeve too. I do trawl the internet looking for new (to me) Soul, Funk and Reggae tunes, but I first heard this one in a club spun by SteveBohs and I was straight up to the decks asking about it. I fall in love with tunes the most when I hear them played on the big speakers. It sounds like a live recording, but it may not be, there’s crowd noise at the start which adds to the “preacher man” effect. It sounds like a 1971 record; it’s a very big sounding record quite typical of its time. There’s a nice flowing funky beat, with a bell ringing in the background (which being a drummer myself instantly drew me in), there are congas, brass stabs, guitar solo and a beautiful choir which make the record sound Gospel right from the start.
At the moment I am listening to a lot of the early 7t’s hard edged Gospel tinged music, probably as a direct result of the type of clubs I’m attending lately. I buy a lot of records because I like the music, but I rarely know anything about the artist or industry facts about releases etc, so this has prompted me to do a bit of homework.
Ok, Bobby Lee Fears. Who is he? I have to do a search to find out. According to Discogs he only released two solo singles, one of which was Exodus on Forward records and the other one is Let’s Get Together on Bell, and that he died in January 2007. They also suggest that he recorded under the names Bobby Brown and Bobby Dixon, but not a huge outfut there either. I had never realised that he sang with Ohio Players in the 6t’s, while they were on the Compass label, and Ohio Players were in fact part of the Compass label house band. I assume he sang on the Soul Club classic “You Don’t Mean It”, and that the deep lead vocal belongs to him.
In a nutshell; I can’t provide a huge amount of information on Bobby, and that is kinda typical of me anyway. I rarely know too much about the singers of my favourite records, and then when I’m asked to look for some information, I can’t find any!
However, this marvellous slab of Gospel Funky Soul is a great tribute to the man. Enjoy!
Every now and then I think it’s worthwhile to return to some of the classic artists and that’s exactly what we’re doing with this week’s selection. Ike and Tina Turner were probably one of the most iconic (and notorious) couples in music history as a result of some hugely popular songs as well as their much publicised relationship “issues”.
I’m sure everyone has heard “River Deep, Mountain High” and their take on “Proud Mary” many, many times so I though I’d feature a composition that’s a little less well known and probably sees the duo at their absolute funkiest. Released in 1969 “Bold Soul Sister” as the name suggests sees Tina take on that sister-with-an-attitude role that fits her powerful vocal style and with an arrangement not too dissimilar to Sly Stone’s “Sing A Simple Song” you know you’re on to a winner.
As much as people believe that Ike was one bad soul brother, you don’t doubt upon hearing this record that Tina really means it when she says she’s a bold soul sister. Enjoy!
Today’s post is sadly something of an obituary to a legend of black music who passed away yesterday after a short battle with liver cancer, Miami’s Clarence “Blowfly” Reid. He was 76.
Reid’s career spanned over 50 years and incorporated r&b, soul, funk and hip-hop. As well as releasing his own music he wrote many hits over the years for other artists like Sam & Dave, Jimmy “Bo” Horn, K.C. & The Sunshine Band and personal favourites Betty Wright’s “Clean Up Woman” & Gwen McCrae’s “90% Of Me Is You”.
It was however to be Reid’s alter-ego “Blowfly” that saw him gain notoriety with his sexually explicit take on well-known pop songs.The Blowfly “Super-Villain” persona began in 1971 with the debut album release entitled “The Weird Wild World Of Blowfly”. By the early 80s, the style had developed into a proto-rap and was to prove hugely influential for may rap acts including Ice T & Public Enemy. Over the next 30 years Reid played many gigs in his Blowfly guise right up until a number of months before he passed away.
So the record I have chosen to feature is probably Reid’s most well-known solo record – “Nobody But You Babe”. This track bears more than a passing resemblance to the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing” and bears all the hallmarks of that late 60s funky soul sound that Clarence was renowned for. The world has lost a true legend, may his influence never be forgotten. R.I.P.
Happy New Year everyone. This is my first update of the New Year as I had a little visit to Glasgow for a few days last week so I didn’t get a chance to publish an update. Fear not though as this week’s return is an absolute corker.
Some of you may think this is more of a “60s” sounding track rather than soul or funk (which I suppose it probably is) but just listen to that hammond which is sooo damn funky. The other interesting thing to note about this record is that it was recorded by an artist who grew up near to me here in Northern Ireland – Mr Phil Coulter.
A native of Derry, Coulter’s career in music started out in rock and roll and he was hired to worked with Tom Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis and another local music icon, Van Morrison (for whom he co wrote “I Can Only Give You Everything” a hit for Morrison’s band “Them”)
As well as his work with Morrison, Coulter had perhaps his biggest hit with “Puppet On A String” a song that was to win the Eurovision Song Contest for Sandie Shaw in 1967. The flip of today’s selection is the original version of “Puppet On A String” also recorded in ’67. I hope you dig this hammond groover.
Before I go – I just want to remind you that my most recent show on Belfast Underground Radio (the first for a month) is now available to listen again at https://livestream.com/belfastunderground/tv/videos/108892576
Hello all – I hope you had a great Christmas. Unfortunately mine was terrible due to being struck down with flu. As today is the first day I’ve been able to get out of bed in over a week so I thought I’d endeavour to bring you an update since my illness last week meant that I missed out (I’m sure you all just about coped!!)
Whilst illness did it’s best to spoil Christmas, the gift of some vinyl did in some way try to compensate for how I bad I was feeling (some more records always help when you’re feeling down!) and so it’s one such gift that I bestow on to you today.
This is a nice little instrumental that has a bit of a slower groove and a bit of jazzy piano, but there lurks a killer break in the middle of this one and overall probably fits into the “mod funk” genre that I mention every now and then. I hopes you dig it…
Della Reese is a name that is probably best known in soul/mod circles with her release of “It Was A Very Good Year” which became hugely popular on dancefloors across the U.K. The song I bring you today is her take on the Gene McDaniels penned “Compared To What” made popular by Roberta Flack and covered by many other artists including Brian Auger, Ray Charles and Eddie Harris & Les McCann. In fact, there’s been well over 200 different artists who have recorded it!
This version has really funky, choppy guitars and a great horn section which when added to Della’s sultry vocals gives a very unique sound. This is probably about as funky as Reese gets on any of her 45s so if you can track down a copy (which shouldn’t really be too difficult) I’d strongly recommend you do!
Just a quick word about my radio show – the last show of the year was broadcast on Friday so if you missed out, you have an opportunity to listen again by following the link below http://livestream.com/belfastunderground/tv/videos/106782715 For the tracklisting of the show, please visit us at https://www.facebook.com/Soul-Party-425667467622294/?fref=ts and if you haven’t done already, give us a “like” while you’re there.
The record I bring you today comes courtesy of an artist that I featured way back at the very beginning of Gazfunk (5 years ago – wow!) – Mr Phil Flowers. You may remember the song I selected then, a rousing cover of Bob Dylans’ “Like A Rolling Stone”. Well,today’s pick is yet another cover, this time it’s his take on The Beatles classic “I Saw Her Standing There”.
Those Beatles fans among you will doubtless be aware that it was the anniversary of George Harrison’s passing last week, so I figured this track would be a fitting tribute to the man. I’m sure you’ll dig it!
This week also brings the last of my Soul Party radio show for the year as I’m taking a well-earned break over Christmas. With that in mind, it will be something of a yuletide special with Christmas themed songs by a variety of artists including James Brown, The Jive Turkeys, Binky Griptite and Clarence Carter. I hope you can join me (don’t worry, it’ll be a Mariah free zone!)
Sometimes there’s a track that you hear and it instantly connects with you – well today’s selection is a perfect example of that. I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes have difficulty trying to figure out which records sell for big money and why others are cheap and overlooked. Is this a case of collectors going for “big” tunes? I don’t know, but what I do know is, if you are into collecting funk & soul records, this song is a must own in my opinion (especially when you can pick one up for somewhere in the region of £15!!)
This fits in well with plenty of the other “sister funk” tracks I’ve brought you over the years with great vocals, uptempo, piano break and an absolute killer horn intro – oh and the backing vocals aren’t bad either! What’s particularly surprising about this piece of wax is just how short it is – it clocks in and around the 1min 30secs mark. Short and sweet indeed!
It’s been a while since I’ve had a guest contributor select a track for me and that’s something I hope to put right over the next couple of weeks (think of it as an early Christmas present).
The 5th Dimension seem to be one of those groups that have earned a reputation as something of a novelty act, which I suppose to some degree they probably are. However, that’s precisely one of the things that I like about them.
Sometimes soul & funk music can get a little too serious and I think that’s where The 5th Dimension play a role in lightening the mood a little. Their innocence and playful hippy style vibe is very endearing in my opinion and kinda reminds me of the fun side of music which can often get lost.
Yes o.k. it can get a little cheesy (see Up, Up and Away for example) but if you have ever seen the youtube clip of them performing a great cover (and probably my favourite track by them) of Nilsson’s “Rainmaker” on the Travelling Sunshine Show, you can’t help but smile a little. I hope you dig this one too!