Tuesday, December 30, 2008

R.I.P. Freddie Hubbard

I really wasn't planning on putting up another post for 2008 but in this case, I felt duty-bound to make this exception so that I could acknowledge the loss of another legendary artist.

Jazz luminary Freddie Hubbard has passed away.

According to spokesman Don Lucoff, the 70 year old musician died at Sherman Oaks Hospital, in Sherman Oaks, California, this morning. The cause of death was from complications of a heart attack he suffered on November 26.

A renowned trumpeter and composer who helped define the 1960s jazz era, Hubbard played with artists John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Bobby Hutcherson, Oliver Nelson, Andrew Hill, Eric Dolphy, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner and countless others.

He was recorded on over 300 albums as a leader and a sidesman on various record labels such as Impulse!, Columbia, Elektra, MPS, Music Masters, Telarc, Blue Note, Atlantic and CTI Records.

I'll wrap up this post with an outstanding rendition of one of Freddie's signature compositions; Milt Jackson's 1972 recording of "Little Sunflower" (redubbed "Sunflower" for this release) featuring guest appearance by Hubbard himself.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Quickie: Ohio Players - Happy Holidays

You know how sometimes you feel a little tickle in your throat, and in the back of your mind you know it's probably a warning sign that you're about to be sick? Well I had that feelin' this past Friday morning and stupidly let it go, unchecked and untreated, all weekend long. As a result, I submit this Monday morning post from a sick bed as I shove copious amounts of over-the-counter cure-alls down my gullet to try and get well enough to go back to work tomorrow without infecting everyone around me. Anyway, my drugs are starting to kick in so I'll make this brief.

Today's offering is a small dose of Christmas holiday cheer served up by the legendary Ohio Players. This single-only release is long out of print but has resurfaced on various OP collections over the years. Sadly, most of those appearances only offer up the A-Side (Pt. 1) of the tune; so if you're trying to find the complete song you've only got 2 options: you can search here and try to find an original 45 pressing or, alternatively, you can try to get your hands on a copy of the Players' recently remastered Funk On Fire collection here.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Dizzy Gillespie - Soul & Salvation

Okay, now that Thanksgiving '08 is out of the way I've got a small window to get a few posts in before I get knee deep in prep for Dec. 25th. I pulled this one from the crates a few weeks ago but didn't get around to ripping & cleaning it up until tonight. Dizzy Gillespie's 1969 Soul & Salvation album released on the indie, New York-based label, Tribute Records. With masterful arrangements by Ed Bland, this set features stellar performances by sax man James Moody and trumpeter Joe Newman.

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, band leader, singer, and composer. He was born on October 21, 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina, the youngest of nine children. Dizzy's father was a local band leader, so instruments were made available to Dizzy. He started to play the piano at the age of 4. Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz.

With Charlie Parker, Gillespie jammed at famous jazz clubs like Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's Uptown House, where the first seeds of bebop were planted. Gillespie's compositions like "Groovin' High", "Woody n' You", "Salt Peanuts", and "A Night in Tunisia" sounded radically different, harmonically and rhythmically, than the Swing music popular at the time. One of their first (and greatest) small-group performances together was only issued in 2005: a concert in New York's Town Hall on June 22, 1945. Gillespie taught many of the young musicians on 52nd Street, like Miles Davis and Max Roach, about the new style of jazz. After a lengthy gig at Billy Berg's club in Los Angeles, which left most of the audience ambivalent or hostile towards the new music, the band broke up. Unlike Parker, who was content to play in small groups and be an occasional featured soloist in big bands, Gillespie aimed to lead a big band himself; his first attempt to do this came in 1945, but it did not prove a success.

After his work with Parker, Gillespie led other small combos (including ones with Milt Jackson, John Coltrane, Lalo Schifrin) and finally put together his first successful big band. He also appeared frequently as a soloist with Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic. He also headlined the 1946 independently-produced musical revue film "Jivin' in Be-Bop".

In 1956 he organized a band to go on a State Department tour of the Middle East and earned the nickname "the Ambassador of Jazz".

Gillespie was also involved in the movement called Afro-Cuban music, bringing Latin and African elements to greater prominence in jazz and even pop music, particularly salsa. Gillespie's most famous contributions to Afro-Cuban music are the compositions "Manteca" and "Tin Tin Deo"; he was responsible for commissioning George Russell's "Cubano Be, Cubano Bop", which featured the great but ill-fated Cuban conga player, Chano Pozo. In 1977, Gillespie discovered Arturo Sandoval while researching music during a tour of Cuba.

Unlike his contemporary Miles Davis, Dizzy essentially remained true to the bebop style for the rest of his career.

Gilliespie died of pancreatic cancer on January 6, 1993, at the age of 75 and was buried in the Flushing Cemetery, Queens, New York. He was survived by his widow, Lorraine Willis Gillespie; a daughter, jazz singer Jeanie Bryson; and a grandson, Radji Birks Bryson-Barrett. Dizzy had two funerals. One was a Bahá´í funeral at his request, at which his closest friends and colleagues attended. The second was at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York open to the public.

Soul & Salvation has never been reissued on CD but you can usually find a few collectible, original vinyl pressings alongside the more affordable, unofficial repressings right here.

Featured cut: "Stomped & Wasted"

Listen to the full album here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Silk - Midnight Dancer

What's good people? This week, as promised, I bring you part 2 of last week's Anglo Saxon Brown/Silk post. Not gonna get too wordy on this one since I covered the bulk of the info on this band in Part 1.

As of this writing, Midnight Dancer is loooong out of print, but If you want a copy to call your very own, you can try finding one here.

Featured cut: "I Can't Stop (Turning You On)"

Listen and n-joi!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Anglo Saxon Brown - Songs For Evolution

Originally formed in Philadelphia, PA as Anglo Saxon Brown, the group released their first LP, Songs For Evolution on the Atlantic label in 1976.

After a few personnel changes, the outfit reinvented themselves as Silk releasing their 1979 follow-up album, Midnight Dancer, for Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International imprint.

Both albums possess the same key elements; slick production, superb vocal & instrumental arrangements plus that unmistakable Philly sound thanks to backing by MFSB. With all this going for 'em it's really hard to see why these projects weren't able to capture greater commercial success.

Usually, I try not throw up more than one piece per post but since I still wanted to showcase both of these albums, I'll do it this way instead. This week I bring you ASBs Songs For Evolution album and sometime over the next week or so I'll add Silk's Midnight Dancer into the mix.

Singles from both albums are have turned up on various compilations over the years but both LPs in their entirety are still on the OOP list. As usual, you can find copies of each just waiting to be snatched up here and here.

Featured cut: "ASB Theme"

(u can also hear ASB's "Call On Me" in the jukebox)

Listen to the full album here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


"Everybody look around, 'cause there's a reason to rejoice you see..."

11-04-08...America...Voice Your Choice!!!

Poster design: Josh Higgins, San Diego, CA

Get out and VOTE!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Quickie: Sweet Thunder - Everybody's Singin' Love Songs (Disco12" Mix)

Who said you can't get discovered by mailing out a tape? That's how Sweet Thunder, a four man band from Youngstown, OH landed their deal with Philadelphia's WMOT (We Men Of Talent) Productions in 1976. The members were Charles Buie (vocals/lead guitar), Rudell Alexander (bass), Booker Newberry (vocals/keyboards), and John Aaron (drums). They didn't have a name when they submitted their tape to WMOT so an executive at the company came up with the "Sweet Thunder" moniker. WMOT, then distributed by Atlantic Records, released the band's first album Above The Clouds that same year.

By the time the band's self-titled second album was ready, WMOT had inked a distribution deal with Berkeley, Califnornia based Fantasy Records. The album's standouts were the uptempo dance cut "Everybody's Singin' Love Songs" and the Top 40 R&B ballad "Baby, I Need You Love Today."

The band's third and final album, Horizons was released in 1979 to lackluster sales and went virtually unnoticed. Buie and Alexander continued in music as session musicians and vocalists, Aaron became a producer and Newberry went on to pursue a solo career.

Wanna own a copy of this? If yes, then vinyl is your only hope since this mix hasn't seen a CD release yet. But the good news is that the supply is so plentiful you wont end up spending a fortune just to claim a copy. Pick one up here.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Quickie: Diana Ross - Muscles (Extended Version)

After "Mirror Mirror" from her 1981 debut RCA LP, Why Do Fools Fall In Love, this is possibly my favorite RCA-era Diana Ross cut. Penned and produced by Michael Jackson, "Muscles" was the lead single from Ross' 1982 Silk Electric album. I yanked this one from a $2 bin a years back, I own the LP, cassette & 45 but never heard the 12" version. The vinyl was kinda beat up but after a few minutes on the Nitty Gritty and some restoration in Audition it cleaned up pretty nicely.

If you're tryin' to find a hard copy of this extended mix to add to your stacks at home, ya better have a turntable in yer life 'cause this one never made it to any comps (none that I know of anyway). The good thing is, it's pretty easy to find without spending too much dough. You can try your luck here.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

R.I.P. Dee Dee Warwick

*SIGH* More bad news to share, I was shocked and saddened to hear that we've lost one more soul legend. The phenomenal Dee Dee Warwick has passed away.

Dee Dee Warwick, a soul singer who won recognition for both her solo work and her performances with her older sister Dionne Warwick, has died. She was 63. Warwick died Saturday at a nursing home in Essex County, said Kevin Sasaki, a family spokesman. She had been in failing health in recent months, he said, and her sister was with her when she died. Warwick had several hits on the soul and R&B charts in the 1960s and 70s, including "Foolish Fool," "She Didn't Know (She Kept on Talking)" and a version of "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" that was later covered by Diana Ross and The Supremes.

Most recently, Dee Dee provided background vocals for her sister's recent one-woman autobiographical show, "My Music & Me," which played to sold-out crowds in Europe this year. She also performed on the title song from Dionne Warwick's gospel album, "Why We Sing," released January 2008.

For more info on Miss Warwick, check out my Dee Dee post here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

R.I.P. Levi Stubbs / Four Tops - Still Waters...

Sad news yet again, Levi Stubbs, former lead singer of the mighty Motown vocal group, The Four Tops has passed away.

Levi, born June 6, 1936 as "Levi Stubbles", began his professional singing career with friends Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton to form the Four Aims in 1954. Two years later, the group changed their name to the Four Tops. The group began as a supper-club act before finally signing to Motown Records in 1963; by the end of the decade, the Four Tops had over a dozen hits to their name. The most popular of the Four Tops hits, all of which featured Stubbs on lead vocals, include "Baby I Need Your Loving", "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)", "It's the Same Old Song", "Reach Out I'll Be There", "Standing in the Shadows of Love", "Bernadette", "Still Water (Love)", and "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)".

Although Stubbs was a natural baritone, most of the Four Tops' hits were written in a tenor range to give the lead vocals a sense of urgency.

As an actor, credited as Levi Stubbs, Jr., he provided the voice of the carnivorous plant "Audrey II" in the movie version of the musical Little Shop of Horrors (1986) and the voice of Mother Brain in the animated TV series Captain N: The Game Master (1989). Stubbs has also guest starred in a number of TV shows as himself.

Stubbs and his wife Clineice were married from 1960 until his death, and had five children.

::- Four Tops - Still Waters Run Deep -::

The Four Tops began life in 1953 (some accounts say 1954), when all of the members were attending Detroit-area high schools. Levi Stubbs and Abdul "Duke" Fakir went to Pershing, and met Northern students Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton at a friend's birthday party, where the quartet first sang together. Sensing an immediate chemistry, they began rehearsing together and dubbed themselves the Four Aims.

Payton's cousin Roquel Davis, a budding songwriter who sometimes sang with the group during its early days, helped them get an audition with Chess Records in 1956. Although Chess was more interested in Davis, who went on to become Berry Gordy's songwriting partner, they also signed the Four Aims, who became the Four Tops to avoid confusion with the Ames Brothers. The Four Tops' lone Chess single, "Kiss Me Baby," was an unequivocal flop, and the group moved on to similarly brief stints at Red Top and Riverside. They signed with Columbia in 1960 and were steered in a more upscale supper-club direction, singing jazz and pop standards. This too failed to break them, although they did tour with Billy Eckstine during this period.

In 1963, the Four Tops signed with longtime friend Berry Gordy's new label, specifically the jazz-oriented Workshop subsidiary. They completed a debut LP, to be called Breaking Through, but Gordy scrapped it and switched their style back to R&B, placing them on Motown with the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team. After a full decade in existence, the Four Tops finally notched their first hit in 1964 with "Baby I Need Your Loving," which just missed the pop Top Ten.

Early 1965 brought the follow-up ballad hit "Ask the Lonely," and from then on there was no stopping them. "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" went all the way to number one that spring, and the follow-up "It's the Same Old Song" reached the Top Five. The hits continued into 1966, with "Something About You" "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)," and "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" all coming in succession.

The fall of 1966 brought the group's masterpiece in the form of the virtual soul symphony "Reach Out, I'll Be There"; not only did it become their second number one pop hit, it also wound up ranking as the creative peak of the group's career and one of Motown's finest singles ever. During this period, the Tops also earned a reputation as one of Motown's best live acts, having previously honed their performances for years before hitting the big time.

The Four Tops kicked off 1967 with the dramatic Top Ten smash "Standing in the Shadows of Love," which was followed by the high charter; "Bernadette," "7-Rooms of Gloom" & "You Keep Running Away". Toward the end of the year, Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown over a financial dispute, which didn't bode well for the Four Tops' impressive hit streak.

Their next two hits, 1968's "Walk Away Renee" and "If I Were a Carpenter," were both covers of well-known recent songs (by the Left Banke and Tim Hardin, respectively), and while both made the Top 20, they heralded a rough couple of years where top-drawer material was in short supply.

The Tops enjoyed a resurgence in 1970 under producer Frank Wilson, who helmed a hit cover of the Tommy Edwards pop standard "It's All in the Game" and a ballad co-written by Smokey Robinson, "Still Water (Love)." The Tops also recorded with the post-Diana Ross Supremes, scoring a duet hit with a cover of "River Deep-Mountain High" in 1971.

When Motown moved its headquarters to Los Angeles in 1972, the Four Tops parted ways with the company, choosing to remain in their hometown of Detroit. They signed with ABC-Dunhill and were teamed with producers/songwriters Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, who did their best to re-create the group's trademark Motown sound. The immediate result was Keeper of the Castle, the Four Tops' first Top Ten hit in several years. They followed it in early 1973 with "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)," a gold-selling smash that proved to be their final Top Five pop hit. That year they also recorded the theme song to the film Shaft in Africa, "Are You Man Enough."

Several more R&B chart hits followed over the next few years, with the last being 1976's Catfish; after a final ABC album in 1978, the Tops largely disappeared from sight before resurfacing on Casablanca in 1981. Incredibly, their first single, "When She Was My Girl," went all the way to number one on the R&B charts, just missing the pop Top Ten. The accompanying album, Tonight!, became their last to hit the Top 40.

The Four Tops rejoined Motown in 1983, the year of the company's 25th anniversary, and toured extensively with the Temptations. They also recorded a couple albums of new material that failed to sell well, and wound up leaving Motown amid confusion over proper musical direction. Meanwhile, Levi Stubbs provided the voice for Audrey the man-eating plant in the film version of Little Shop of Horrors. The Four Tops next caught on with Arista, where in 1988 they scored their last Top 40 pop hit, the aptly titled "Indestructible." The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and continued to tour the oldies circuit.

In 1995, Stubbs was diagnosed with cancer, and later, suffered a stroke and stopped touring. In 1997, Lawrence Payton passed away due to cancer of the liver, which proved to be the only thing that could break up the Four Tops. After some consideration, the remaining members hired Theo Peoples to take Payton's place on tour. In 2000, Theo Peoples took Stubbs' place as the lead singer of the Four Tops, with Ronnie McNeir taking the place that Payton originally held. Benson died on July 1, 2005 and Levi Stubbs died in his sleep on October 17, 2008 at his home in Detroit from his ailments. He was 72.

JA PressI'm sure y'all know the routine by now, the vinyl LP is, of course, long out of print but you can fetch one here for little to nothing. Don't have a turntable?? No worries!!! If you prefer your Tops in a digital way, you can find Still Waters Run Deep on CD right here.

Featured cut: "It's All In The Game"

Listen to the full album here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Milt Jackson with the Ray Brown Big Band - Memphis Jackson

It's been a while since my last offering, I've been bogged down with work and other trappings of life and haven't been had the time to work on any new posts. To add to that, the place where I used to do most of my updating / post & prep work has decided to block access to blogger.com making it that much harder for me to find time to get things done.

[Sidebar: Did anyone out there even notice the lapse between posts? I don't mean to sound like a crybaby or anything but, to be honest, I don't know how many of y'all are even out there. Especially since the comments around here are practically non-existent with the exception of the valued few that spend the time to say thanks and drop a line without shamelessly trying to plug their own pages. Seriously, 80-something downloads and ZERO comments? C'mon man, what is that? It takes a lot of time and effort to keep this thing goin'. How much time would it take to stop and say a simple "thank you" before clicking that download link?]

Anyway, for those who appreciate what they find here and keep coming back to support, I thank you and hope you'll enjoy this one too. I was diggin' thru a tub o' wax in my basement and pulled out Milt Jackson's Memphis Jackson album recorded in 1969 with the Ray Brown Big Band for Impulse records.

Milt Jackson started on guitar when he was seven, and piano at 11; a few years later, he switched to vibes. He actually made his professional debut singing in a touring gospel quartet. After Dizzy Gillespie discovered him playing in Detroit, he offered him a job with his sextet and (shortly after) his innovative big band (1946). Jackson recorded with Gillespie, and was soon in great demand. During 1948-1949, he worked with Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Howard McGhee, and the Woody Herman Orchestra.

After playing with Gillespie's sextet (1950-1952), which at one point included John Coltrane, Jackson recorded with a quartet comprised of John Lewis, Percy Heath, and Kenny Clarke (1952), which soon became a regular group called the Modern Jazz Quartet. Although he recorded regularly as a leader (including dates in the 1950s with Miles Davis and/or Thelonious Monk, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, and Ray Charles), Milt Jackson stayed with the MJQ through 1974, becoming an indispensable part of their sound.

By the mid-'50s, Lewis became the musical director and some felt that Bags was restricted by the format, but it actually served him well, giving him some challenging settings. And he always had an opportunity to jam on some blues numbers, including his "Bags' Groove." However, in 1974, Jackson felt frustrated by the MJQ (particularly financially) and broke up the group. He recorded frequently for Pablo in many all-star settings in the 1970s, and after a seven-year vacation, the MJQ came back in 1981. In addition to the MJQ recordings, Milt Jackson cut records as a leader throughout his career for many labels including Savoy, Blue Note (1952), Prestige, Atlantic, United Artists, Impulse, Riverside, Limelight, Verve, CTI, Pablo, Music Masters, and Qwest. He died of liver cancer on October 9, 1999, at the age of 76.

Like so many other great albums, Memphis Jackson is currently on OOP status but every so often, you can find one here or even here.

Featured cut: "Enchanted Lady"

Listen to the full album here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Goodbye to Norman Whitfield

Yet another tremendous talent has slipped away. The legendary Norman Whitfield passed away at the age of 68 due to complications with diabetes. RIP Norman, thank you for the gifts you've given. You will be missed.

I'll leave you with this Whitfield treasure. The Temptations classic; "Masterpiece"

Friday, September 12, 2008

S4L Showdown III: "Tamiko Jones vs. Myrna Hague"

For the third round of my "vs." series, I thought I'd shine the spotlight on a tune penned by Johnny Bristol, "Touch Me Baby (Reaching Out For Your Love)," and masterfully performed for you by two vocal heavyweights.

In the left corner, out of Kyle, West Virginia, with an uppercut from her Arista LP, Love Trip, it's the tantalizing temptress, Tamiko Jones!!!

In the right corner, hailing from Jamaica, WI, and armed with a lethal blow from her classic Studio One LP Melody Life, it's "Jamaica's First Lady of Jazz," the mesmerizing, melodious Myrna Hague!!!

Ready to add Tamiko's take to your collection? You're in luck because, as of today, eBay is littered with priced-to-own copies of the 45. Need more Tamiko in your life than that? Okay, then you might be better off with her entire Love Trip album, which you can pick up on vinyl and CD right here.

On the other hand, if you found the Myrna version more to your liking and want a copy to call yer very own, you've got some options too. Hague's Melody Life LP is still in print and, with a little leg work, you can track it down. But of course, I've done the work for ya, so all you have to do is whip out that Visa and pull the trigger. If you can make it to Brooklyn, you can try your luck snagging a copy directly from the manufacturer at Coxone's Music City, located at 3135 Fulton Street.

If a trip to NY isn't in the cards, but you still want the LP, you can check the stock and cop one over here.

If that's not workin' for you either, not to worry; back in 2005, Myrna's rendition made an appearance on Studio One Lovers, one volume in a magnificent series of Studio One compilations assembled by the good people at Soul Jazz Records. You can lay your hands on your choice of the CD or vinyl edition right here.

Njoi! (password req'd)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Stanley Turrentine - Always Something There

A legend of the tenor saxophone, Stanley Turrentine was renowned for his distinctively thick, rippling tone, an earthy grounding in the blues, and his ability to work a groove with soul and imagination. Turrentine recorded in a wide variety of settings, but was best-known for his Blue Note soul-jazz jams of the '60s, and also underwent a popular fusion makeover in the early '70s. Born in Pittsburgh on April 5, 1934, Turrentine began his career playing with various blues and R&B bands, with a strong influence from Illinois Jacquet. He played in Lowell Fulson's band with Ray Charles from 1950-1951, and in 1953, he replaced John Coltrane in Earl Bostic's early R&B/jazz band. After a mid-'50s stint in the military, Turrentine joined Max Roach's band and subsequently met organist Shirley Scott, whom he married in 1960 and would record with frequently.

Upon moving to Philadelphia, Turrentine struck up a chemistry with another organist, Jimmy Smith, appearing on Smith's 1960 classics Back at the Chicken Shack and Midnight Special, among others. Also in 1960, Turrentine began recording as a leader for Blue Note, concentrating chiefly on small-group soul-jazz on classics like That's Where It's At, but also working with the Three Sounds (on 1961's Blue Hour) and experimenting with larger ensemble settings in the mid-'60s. As the '70s dawned, Turrentine and Scott divorced and Turrentine became a popular linchpin of Creed Taylor's new, fusion-oriented CTI label; he recorded five albums, highlighted by Sugar, Salt Song, and Don't Mess With Mister T. While those commercially accessible efforts were artistically rewarding as well, critical opinion wasn't as kind to his late-'70s work for Fantasy; still, Turrentine continued to record prolifically, and returned to his trademark soul-jazz in the '80s and '90s. Turrentine passed away on September 12, 2000, following a massive stroke and was laid to rest in Pittsburgh's Allegheny Cemetery.

Released in 1968, Always Something There was Turrentine's 4th Blue Note LP for the year and boasted no less than 7 covers of pop tunes of the day. Guest players included Herbie Hancock, Kenny Burrell Mel Lewis and many more. While the album may not win any critic's choice awards or hold the reverence of some of his more critically acclaimed efforts, Always Something There is still a fun listen and has it's share of noteworthy moments.

Always Something There is, of course, OOP but you can still find your own copy with very little effort or dough. Vinyl, cassette and CD reissues appeared back in the eighties on Applause records and can be found here. If you're not big on the reissue game and want an original Blue Note pressing of your own you can try your hand here.

Featured cut: "Little Green Apples"

Listen to the full album here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

'puter problems

We are Experiencing Technical Difficulties, please stand by.

I'm goin' thru it with this confounded machine at the moment so bear with me while I get my rig back up and running. New posts are coming soon.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Quickie: Betty Wright - I'll Love You Forever

It's really not like me to ignore a B-side but every once in a while one slips thru the cracks. I've owned the source LP along with multiple of instances of the A side appearing on various comps throughout my collection but never took much notice of this single's flipside until a few days ago while combing thru a box of battered 45s. No doubt you're already familiar with Betty Wright's massive '71 hit, "Clean Up Woman." but today, allow me to present to you the other side of Alston A-4601 (the catalog number...yep, record geekiness in full swing). I'm sure most of the crate diggers and collectors out there know this one already but for those of you that don't, listen and enjoy.

If you're looking for a 45 copy of your own, you shouldn't have too much trouble as one can usually find a super cheap copy right here. No turntable? No problem. Back in 2006, the good people at Water records saw fit to reissue Betty's 1972 album, I Love The Way You Love, on CD. You can fetch a copy by clicking here.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Isaac Hayes - Live At The Sahara Tahoe

A legend, pioneer and icon has slipped away.

This classic, as well as most of Isaac's body of work is still in print and easy to find in all formats. Do yourself a favor and pick up a CD here, or better still an original press LP here.

Featured cut: "Ike's Rap VI"


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose - s/t

With the economy being what it is and gas prices being what they are, my wife and I have decided to conserve funds and stick close to home this Summer in the hope of enjoying a series of "staycations". During our most recent weekend trip to nowhere, I found myself down in my basement where I rediscovered a tub full of records, most of which I'd forgotten I had even picked up. Out of the tub I share with all of you the debut album from a family group from Dania Beach, Florida -- Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose. The original members were siblings Carter Cornelius, Eddie Cornelius, and Rose Cornelius but, after awhile, another sister, Billie Jo Cornelius, was added to the fold.

The group hit the pop charts in 1971 with the single "Treat Her Like a Lady" (US R&B Top 20, Billboard Hot 100 #3) and charted again in 1972 with "Too Late to Turn Back Now" (US R&B #5, Hot 100 #2) both written by Eddie Cornelius. Issued on the United Artists label, Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose served as the source of two additional chart hits as "Don't Ever Be Lonely" and "I'm Never Gonna Be Alone Anymore" both reached the Billboard Top 40.

Working again with producer Bob Archibald, in 1973 the group relased their second LP, Big Time Lover. While the album did have it's moments, it simply wasn't able to match the success of it's predecessor.

Their final charting single was "Since I Found My Baby" in 1974, from their third and last album -- Greatest Hits.

The group broke up in 1976 when Carter joined a black Hebrew sect in Miami and adopted the name Prince Gideon Israel. He wrote, recorded and mixed the sect's music and videos for the next 15 years. He was working on a comeback song to return to the pop field when he died of a heart attack in November 1991.

As with their other two albums, Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose's debut LP is long OOP but, as usual, you can find a reasonably priced copy floatin' around over here.

Featured cut: "Too Late To Turn Back Now"


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Clarence Wheeler & the Enforcers - The Love I've Been Looking For

The second fantastic album from Chicago saxophonist Clarence Wheeler and his hard-hitting Enforcers combo -- a group who were one of the brightest lights in soul jazz at the start of the 70s, really helping to keep the genre fresh and exciting! The groove here is in the tenor/organ mode first popularized in the 60s -- but the overall sound is a lot more expansive, and filled with unusual time changes, complicated rhythms, and inventive solo work that go way beyond more familiar albums of this nature on Prestige or Blue Note!

Sonny Burke is the organist in the group, and he's got a touch on the keys that's a lot like Jack McDuff at his best -- filled with great sounds and unusual notes that always keep things interesting. Added to that is trumpet from Sonny Covington, guitar from Eric Gale, and tenor from Wheeler -- all vamping and grooving in an amazing way! There's a bit of the Charles Earland sound from the same period going on here -- and like Earland, the group have a great way of keeping things slightly funky, even when mellow!
Source: Dusty Groove America

The Love I've Been Looking For is still OOP on vinyl but with patience & persistence, you can find a copy here at a decent price.

On the upside, a Japanese CD reissue is available and you can get yer paws on it right here.

Featured cut: "We've Only Just Begun"

Listen to the full album here.