The Chili Peppers – Chicken Scratch

Chili Peppers - Chicken Scratch

Today’s selection continues on from where last week’s choice left off, with a banging funky dancefloor tune. Whilst last week’s platter was very much on the side of funky soul, today’s is one hell of an instrumental groove. Some of you may have heard this track before – it is essentially the music that was used in Betty Barney’s “Momma, Momma” but of course with no vocals, the instrumentation is a lot higher in the mix.

This has become pretty tough to track down an original of these days, however if you so desire you can pick up a copy courtesy of our friends over at BGP where you get not just one but two stonking tracks (the aforementioned “Momma, Momma” by Betty Barney on the flip). It’s also available on the BGP comp “Superfunk Vol 4″ if you want even more bang for your buck! However, if you’re just like me and prefer your o.g’s then you’ll just have to dig a little harder in order to turn one of these guy’s up!!

The Chili Peppers are probably a name that means nothing to you – in fact, I’m not aware of any other release under that name, but I do know that the band are actually another act well-known in funk circles – The Pazant Brothers. If you dig this groove and want to check out more tracks by this group I recommend starting off with “Chick A Boom” and digging from there!

Henry Ford – I Love You, And Need You

Henry Food - I Love You, And Need You

This week’s selected track is one that itsn’t too well-known and because this blog is all about bringing you under-appreciated/rare funk & soul, it inevitably transpires that there is little information about some of the artists. Some of you might think it’s a blessing that you are saved from my weekly ramblings every now and then however! Therefore this post will be pretty short & sweet…

Since I don’t have anything really to say about this record (apart from letting you know that it’s a storming funk tune!!), I’ll just take a little bit of time to let you know about another couple of mixes that I’ve uploaded to my mixcloud page. One is rare sitar funk and the other is a selection of some of my favourite Brazilian tracks from the 60s/70s. You can follow the link to the page here where you’ll find plenty of other mixes including guest mixes I did for radio stations etc

Kool & The Gang – The Frog

Kool And The Gang - The Frog

We’re returning this week with a track by arguably the most well-known group I’ve ever featured here on the blog, however I guess this particular track may be one that isn’t familiar to all but the biggest funk fans among you. This song was cut as the b-side to the single “Good Times” which was the title track of their 5th studio album of the same name. Initially starting out life as a song called “Electric Frog” (of which there were 2 parts) on their previous LP entitled “Music Is The Message”, it was renamed and released as the flip to Good Times.

What we get here is Kool & The Gang at their absolute funkiest. Most of you probably remember the band for hits like “Cherish”, “Ladies Night”, “Celebration” and “Get Down On It”, however the funky seeds were sewn a good 10 years previous when the group formed back in 1968. Alongside James Brown, Parliament/Funkadelic & Sly Stone, they were considered to be one of the pioneers of the funk sound that was to become so prevalent during the late 60s/early 70s. Songs like “Funky Stuff” & “Jungle Boogie” became hugely popular on the funk & rare groove scene of the late 80s and have both featured extensively in films & music compilations.

Like many bands of their era, their line-up changed many times over the years but they can still occasionally be caught performing at different festivals around the globe. The strange Moog-y type vibe and bongos mixed with that funky flute that you know I’m a big fan of, makes this one hell of a groover! Dig!

Syl Johnson – Different Strokes

Syl Johnson - Different Strokes

So…… I’m back from my trip to Krakow and just about recovered enough to be able to bring you this week’s update. If you’ve never been I highly recommend it – plenty of things to see & do and if you are visiting from the U.K. or the U.S. you’ll notice how much cheaper everything is than back home. I don’t want to go into too much detail about it as this is a funk & soul blog – not a travel blog!!

On to today’s song selection and this is probably one of the most well-known tracks I’ll ever feature on the blog as it’s been very popular among soul & funk collectors for quite a few years now and has been sampled in a number of hip-hop tracks over the years too. The inspiration behind this choice came about as I’ve been confirmed to dj at the “Different Strokes” event in Manchester in early September – you can check out the event details here:

I’ll do a very quick bio on Syl as he’s been responsible for so many songs that he’s either written/produced for himself or other artists that to go into detail would take a lifetime!! His first single was released in ’67 and entitled “Come On Sock It To Me” which went on to become a top 20 R&B hit. His 2nd single was today’s choice and also made the R&B top 20 which yielded a string of other R&B chart hits though pop success was to elude him unfortunately.

General Crook – Do It For Me

General Crook - Do It For Me

Apologies for being a little bit later with my update this week – it was my birthday yesterday and I took some time out to relax and have some nice food and a few beers so I wasn’t in the best frame of mind to try to put a blog post together!! I’m going on a little break to Krakow this weekend to celebrate properly so that’ll mean next week’s update being a little later too as I don’t return home until late on Tuesday. I’m sure you’ll manage for a few days somehow…

So – on to today’s select cut. Now I have to admit that tracks that have a James Brown style vibe about them normally make me switch off – it’s not that I dislike J.B. (far from it), I just think too many records are very formulaic and just miss that magical ingredient that the Godfather had in spades. Today’s song is one such rare occasion where there is an undoubted J.B. flavour goin’ on (not least in vocal style) but the track is still good enough to stand up in it’s own right – maybe it’s the additional strings on the record but I’m not 100% sure, it just works.

This record was released in 1970 after Crook was dropped from the Capitol label where he had released 2 45s that flopped. The Down To Earth label was based in Chicago but seems quite obscure as I don’t think I’ve ever seen another 45 on the label apart from another couple of Crook singles. His stay with Down To Earth only lasted for 4 singles before he moved to join the Wand label where he was able to cut his own LP for the first time in 1974. If you can track down a copy of the album it’s well worthwhile and has a great photo on the cover. So go on, do it for me, make it funky now…

Divine Light Assembly – The Right Way

Divine Light Assembly - The Right Way

It’s a Bank Holiday today so to celebrate I’ve got something very special for you to get your ears around this week, an extremely rare new piece of dancefloor funk courtesy of the “Divine Light Assembly” a.k.a. my good buddy Fatshoolaces.

After slaving away on this track for what seems like years (but what was in reality probably only a few months) we finally saw a limited private press drop through the letterboxes of the lucky few a number of weeks back. Mixing an uptempo funk instrumental with spoken word gospel preachings we’ve got ourselves one heck of a groove going on here and a record that has started to gain serious recognition from some of the world’s biggest funk collectors.

However, there were only 200 copies pressed and once gone they will not be available again so don’t sleep in! I have been advised that there a very limited numbers still available to buy, so if you are interested in a copy, follow this youtube link and register your interest in the comments section of the video As I said, this one is starting to go big so don’t miss out as it could be worth 3 figures in a matter of months and you don’t wanna end up peeved when it becomes as rare as hen’s teeth!

Following on from this release I should just tell you that I will be dj’ing this Friday night in Belfast as part of the second installment of “Revenant”  – a new monthly event showcasing the best local bands & djs. The first one was held at the start of May and was a great night with a live performance from “The Echo Raptors” and Ghost & myself providing vinyl only dj support – this week’s edition promises to be just as good with live music from “The Couth” and will be the only place in Northern Ireland that you will be able to hear the aforementioned “Divine Light Assembly” in a club, so worth attending for that alone! You can visit the official Revenant facebook page here and I’ve attached a copy of the poster below. So enjoy the track and I hope to see some of you on Friday! Revenant Flyer 29 May

Marie “Queenie” Lyons – See And Don’t See

Marie Queenie Lyons - See And Don't See

Funk & soul music of the late 60s and early 70s has rarely yielded any albums that have been highly regarded by music fans in comparison to those released by rock bands. Sure, What’s Going On, Hot Buttered Soul, Innervisions & Maggot Brain have all received plaudits over the years but those records are the exception rather than the rule. What is perhaps even more conspicuous by their absence is the complete lack of respect given to albums by female soul artists and today’s artist is one such soul sista who certainly deserves a lot more recognition for her album.

Recorded in 1970 and released on the James Brown King/Deluxe label, Soul Fever is the perfect example of an LP that has been massively overlooked by the general music fan but which has gained a huge respect from the funk & soul collectors – so much so that an original copy sells for around £300 – £400, which is a huge amount for an original soul LP. Thankfully though, for those who can’t afford the price tag the reissue is available for around £15 and in my opinion is an absolute essential purchase for any fan of that late 60s funky soul trip.

So what do you get for your money? Well, there’s everything from mid tempo groovers, fantastic ballads, uptempo funk and huge vocal screamers in there. Sadly Ms Lyons only recorded the one album but I suppose we can think of it as a case of quality over quantity. The song I have selected to feature for you today is the album’s opener and is backed with the second song on the record “Daddy’s House”. This 45 has always been popular among soul & funk djs and much like the LP has become quite valuable – copies regularly sell for £100 – £150. So tune in to the fantastic sound of Marie “Queenie” Lyons.

Mike Curb Congregation – Mickey Mouse March

Mike Curb - Mickey Mouse March

I’ve probably mentioned before that I’m partial to songs that I suppose you could call “quirky”, you know what I mean, tracks that have kids singing or were put together for some tv ad or as a promo item for a particular product. With that in mind, you’ll probably recall a few months back a record that I featured which very much falls in to the “quirky” category – The Bunny Hop by Bugs Bunny. Well it’s only right then that I should turn to a song celebrating Disney’s biggest and most well-loved character – Mickey Mouse.

This track isn’t like The Bunny Hop in so far as it doesn’t actually feature Mickey Mouse unlike Bunny Hop that really does have Bugs Bunny singing along. As you can see from the label, this song was released on the “Buena Vista” label which was owned by Walt Disney and was an off-shoot of the Disney Record label set up specifically at the time for the recordings of the Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello. The label further expanded to cover soundtrack recordings and other selected releases and today’s feature comes from 1974.

What marked this out to the attention of funk collectors is the insane opening drum break. This is one heavy break for what is a pretty cheesy record but it ended up being featured on one of the “Dusty Fingers” compilations which at last count ran to volume 17!! These comps composed of tracks many of which were sampled in well-known (and some lesser-known) hip-hop tracks. This is certainly one for the kids & parents to groove along to!!

The Unemployed – They Won’t Let Me

The Unemployed - They Won't Let Me

On this May Day Bank Holiday, a day that is traditionally thought of as a day for “the workers” I thought I’d dedicate today’s selection to those unable to find work – The Unemployed (see what I did there??) I’ll be honest – I don’t really know anything about The Unemployed (the band, not the people out of work!) so this update is going to be one of my shorter ones!

Anyway what I do know is that they were from New Orleans and this record was cut back in ’71 and released on the Cotillion label which was a subsidiary of Atlantic Records (one of many). Beginning in ’68 it’s primary focus was on releasing blues & soul records – indeed the debut release on the label was Otis Clay’s “She’s About A Mover” and featured songs by the likes of Brook Benton, Young Holt, Jean Knight and The Fatback Band. However as the 70s moved along the label moved in a slightly different direction cutting tracks by The Velvet Underground & Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The label folded in 1985 leaving behind a catalogue of collectors items in the process.

So the song I’m focusing on this week is probably rather unsurprisingly a nice little slice of funky soul with a sound that typified that era. This is certainly one to groove along to – oh, and it can be found for cheap too!!

Gazfunk Guest DJ Slot – Friday 1 May, Menagerie Belfast

Super Furry Animals - Northern Lites

Just a very short update to advertise a gig that I’ll be guesting at tomorrow night (on the off-chance any of you are in the area). I’ll be dj’ing in The Menagerie in Belfast as part of a new series of nights showcasing some of Northern Ireland’s best bands alongside my old friend Revenant Presley. This will give me an opportunity to dig into my collection and pick out some stuff other than my usual funk & soul that I feature here, including some indie, 60s garage & psych, swamp rock and 1 or 2 other little oddities (I’ll still sneak in some soul & funk though!).

For more info, you can visit the event page on Facebook here Here’s a little taster of the type of thing that you can expect to hear on the night:


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