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.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jeff Lorber Fusion - Galaxian

With a smooth sound bringing together elements of funk, R&B, rock, and electric jazz, keyboardist Jeff Lorber helped pioneer a genre of fusion later formatted under such names as NAC and contemporary jazz. Born in Philadelphia on November 4, 1952, he began playing the piano at the age of four, and as a teen performed with a variety of local R&B bands.

In 1972 Lorber formed his first group, The Jeff Lorber Fusion, released their self-titled debut album in 1977. Supported by a revolving cast of musicians including longtime drummer Dennis Bradford, Lorber recorded five studio albums under this moniker. These early releases showcased a funky sound influenced by other jazz fusion practitioners like Herbie Hancock, Weather Report and Return to Forever, the latter's Chick Corea appearing on several noteworthy Fusion cuts. Like his contemporaries, Lorber performed on multiple keyboard instruments including piano, Rhodes piano, and various analog synthesizers, often favoring the Minimoog and Sequential Circuits Prophet 5.

The followup Fusion album, Soft Space was issued by Inner City Records in 1978 and in 1979, Lorber & Co. moved to Arista Records and released one album per year for the next four years. 1979's Water Sign, 1980's Wizard Island, 1981's Galaxian and 1982's It's A Fact which served as Lorber's first outing after Fusion's breakup.

Lorber, who followed up Fact with 1984's In the Heat of the Night and 1985's Lift Off. Later that same year, Lorber teamed up with influential R&B production duo David Frank and Mic Murphy, otherwise known as The System, to produce his most successful effort to date, Step By Step. The synth-driven title track rose to number 31 on the R&B charts.

Jeff didn't release his first proper solo LP until 1991's Worth Waiting For, remaining both a prolific performer and producer for the rest of the decade. His subsequent albums continued to evolve in a smooth jazz direction. He recorded for Verve and Zebra in the '90s before moving over to Narada in the 2000s.

Two greatest hits compilations, The Definitive Collection and The Very Best of Jeff Lorber, were released in 2000 and 2002 respectively.

To date, he has recorded a dozen solo albums, among his most recent releases are 2005's Flipside which was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category and 2007's He Had A Hat recorded for Blue Note in 2007.

Lorber has done extensive production and session work for other artists including Dave Koz, Eric Benet, Herb Alpert and Laura Branigan. In addition to his recording and performing, Lorber also hosts his own show on Sirius Satellite Radio.

If you're in the market for your own copy of Galaxian you should be able to track down a vinyl copy for under $10 here. It's also available as an import CD right here.

Featured cut: "Night Love"

Dig my vinyl rip here.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Broken promises and Re-UPs

Big holiday weekend underway, so I'm probably not going to get a chance to work on a new addition for a bit. So to compensate, I give to you the official ORIGINAL SOUL4Life RE-UP!!!!

Yeah, I know I said I'd never do this but since I've been less than timely with the new posts lately, I figured I'd re-up a few links from older posts that have been in demand.

Back online for your listening pleasure are...

The Lovelites - With Love From The Lovelites
Cliff Nobles & Co. - The Horse
Major Harris - Jealousy
Johnny Bristol - Bristol's Creme

Get 'em while you can cuz after a few weeks they might be gone forever. Wondering why? I covered that answer ages ago right here.