Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pointer Sisters - Having A Party

Hello 2 all!!

This is becoming way too often an occurance around here, yet another huge lapse in time between posts. Despite my best efforts, it just couldn't be avoided. I mentioned it some weeks back, Baby Slay'd touched down on April 24, 2009 and since his homecoming 3 days later, Mama & Papa are pretty much running on fumes since little man doesn't take to sleeping at nite. In addition, I've relinquished my mancave/project studio space to the new arrival and I'm kinda stuck in limbo for the time being.

So what does this all mean? What this means basically is I have almost no access to my the bulk of my collection, I've no workstation/computer at home ('cept for a laptop with hardly anything installed on it), and add to that, my archiving/needledrop/ripping station is now in pieces scattered across various corners of my house awaiting reassembly. Truthfully, as much as I want to put ev'rything back together and get back to my normal workflow, when I look at the pitiful amount of free-time I'm gettin' lately, I really don't see it happening anytime soon.

Still, none of this means I'm thinking of shutting down this blog or taking any further time off. What I've decided to do just to keep things goin' is scale things down a bit more and put more emphasis on the music alone. The "con" of this is there'll probably be alot less artwork and no write-ups accompanying each offering while the "pro" is that the lack of additional prepping will allow me to fire off a post much faster. I'm hoping this will only be a temporary thing.

So without any further ado...

Pointer Sisters - Having A Party

For some reason I've been on a bit of a Pointer Sisters kick lately, they've been on heavy rotation in the car and on the pod so today I bring you their 1977 ABC-Blue Thumb LP, Having A Party. This one made it's debut on CD a few short years ago thanks to the good folks at Hip-O Select and can easily be found here.

An original vinyl copy shouldn't be hard to come by either since these albums are plentiful as dirt, and almost as cheap last time I checked. Interested in the flat black plastic edition? Try here.

Featured cut: "Waiting On You"


Thursday, June 25, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson

There are no words.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gichy Dan's Beechwood #9 - s/t

I've had this thing (pics & audio) ready to go for quite some time now but just couldn't get the write-up done. Well, I found a few free moments today and tried to knock it out. N-joi!

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head, yet you didn’t know the artist, didn't know the title, didn't know the words and only had a vague recollection of a melody--but that melody was strong enough to keep you haunted, hunting high & low in a seamlessly never-ending, ... QUEST, to find it? Well folks, I did and this record was my "white whale" for years.

Now dig while I bore y’all with the details…

Back in the late 70s, my sister would wake me up for school every morning and the radio in our room was always set to either "WBLS" or "92 WKTU-FM" (thems iz NYC radio stations for the uninitiated). Both stations primarily spun R&B & Dance Music but I remember that the KTU DJs would always throw in some odd-sounding stuff during their morning shows. Now when I say "odd-sounding," I just mean odd to my ears at the time, since the tunes were usually novelty records and material they strayed far from their ordinary programmed playlist. I was 6 or 7, but I remember hearing stuff like the Waitresses' "I Know What Boys Like," Coati Mundi's "Me No Pop I", and "Eugene" by Crazy Joe & The Variable Speed Band.

One morning, I heard a song that caught my attention. They played it a few more times over the following weeks but I always missed the station ID breaks in-between sets where they'd back-announce the songs so I never got a title or artist to hang on the song. The few listens were all it took for the melody of the hook to get stuck in my brain. That unknown melody would randomly play on repeat in my head over the next 4 years before I finally decided to do something about it. The only problem was, by the time I’d decided I liked the song enough to want to own it, it had long since been dropped from rotation and the station's format had changed since I'd heard it in it's original form so I had no way of tracking it down or finding out who it was or what it was called

I don’t know how, but somehow I got the notion that the song I wanted was sung by Kid Creole & The Coconuts. Maybe it was because their stuff had the same kinda vibe as the track I was looking for…who knows. Still, being a kid with basically no income, it took a loooong time but I started buying up Kid Creole records one by one when I could afford to. I was usually semi-disappointed with each one because although each one was a gem in its own right, none of them had the song I wanted. I did figure out that this cat by the name of August Darnell was the common link between all the Kid Creole stuff I’d been buying and the Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band 45 of “Cherchez La Femme” fame I‘d already had at home and that kinda had that same sound. Armed with this nugget of knowledge, I began snatching up anything and everything with Darnell’s name on it. Over the years that followed, I wound up collecting all four Savannah Band albums as well as a bunch of material from Creole/Darnell offshoot projects like Coati Mundi, Machine, Don Armando’s 2nd Avenue Rhumba Band, and Cory Day. After all this I still was no closer to finding my mystery song and just about gave up the hunt cuz it was just costing way too much dough.

Cut to my freshman year of college, during which time I worked nights at a NYC record store where I met up with a “music connoisseur” who mentioned he was a huge Kid Creole fan. I sang him the melody and he said it sounded familiar but he couldn’t remember the title or artist but was sure it had something to do with August Darnell. I finally had some sort of confirmation that I was on the right track and with that, the hunt resumed. One night a few months later, during my lunch break, I stopped in to Bleecker Bob’s in Greenwich Village and rifled thru his “Kid Creole” section (they would sometimes lump related artists together in the same bin). I pulled up this colorful, self-titled album that I’d never seen before by a group I’d never heard of calling themselves Gichy Dan's Beechwood #9. I flipped it over and sure enough...BAM!...there was Darnell’s name all over the back of the jacket. I was already down to my last few dollars for the week but I couldn’t resist the gamble, so I walked out of the store that night, flat-broke with a new addition to my stacks tucked under my arm. I subsequently ran back to work, pulled my handy Mister Disc portable turntable out of my locker and dropped the needle on it….SUCCESS!!! The track was “Laissez Faire” and my search was finally over.

As I mentioned above, Gichy Gan's Beechwood #9 was a side-project of writer/producer/musician August Darnell while he was still part of Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band. The story goes that Darnell had written a number of tunes that Savannah Band wound up not using so he called upon the talents of Frank "Pago Pago" aka "Gichy Dan" Passalaqua and vocalist Lourdes Cotto along with a huge roster of musicians whose names would adorn many Darnell-produced album covers in years to come. In 1979, the ensemble delivered their sole LP on the RCA label. In the following year, Darnell would go on to release the first of many albums under his Kid Creole alias. In 1981, a single called "Cowboys & Gangsters" was released on Island Records' ZE subsidiary. This would be the last official Gichy Dan project.

Gichy Dan's Beechwood #9 is long out of print on vinyl and might give you a hard time if you're looking for a clean copy to call your own. Still, you can try your luck here. If the vinyl frontier isn't for you, fear not good people, because an official CD reissue of the album is slated for release sometime in the very near future. When it drops, you should be able to nab a copy here.

Featured cut: "Laissez Faire"

Listen to my vinyl rip here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I know I've said it before, but I'm really sorry it's taken me so long to get a new post up. I've been juggling a lot lately while gettin' ready for a new arrival at the Slay'd household. That's right folks, I'm happy to announce that "Lil' Slay'd" is expected to touch down any day now. To the visitors who've stopped thru and were kind enough to leave comments, I thank you all and promise new tunage is on the way.

Oh yeah, all the images will be back too. :)

Monday, March 2, 2009


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ms Sharon Ridley - Full Moon

I wish I had more to tell y'all about the artist featured in today's post. Sadly, there's no bio information or anything of the sort floating around anywhere where I could find it.

All I was able to drum up was a very generic-sounding blurb from her booking agency.


"Sharon Ridley has entertained worldwide for many years. Her performances have taken her to such far off locales as Japan, Russia, Belgium, Switzerland, and the USA gambling meccas of Las Vegas and Reno. Her performance style is smooth and sophisticated, and she captures the hearts of audiences wherever she performs. She is a musical delight."

It's really a cryin' shame that this woman has managed to deliver one the most beloved and hard-to-find singles of it's kind and nothing more about her is out there than that. Seems par for the course I'm afraid, even going back thirty years, there wasn't even a decent shot of Ms. Ridley on her own album cover. No inner sleeve, no line notes....nuthin'. Hell, it wasn't until I stumbled across the agency photo that I even knew what she looked like.

Sharon's single, "Changin'" was a staple at the famed Paradise Garage nightclub when legendary DJ Larry Levan would play the track as the night's closing song. The white label, promo-only extended mix of "Changin'" (mistakenly listed in the deadwax as "Changes") is highly sought after and commands obscene prices.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you Ms. Sharon Ridley and her 2nd full length album released in 1978 on Clarence Avant's Tabu label, Full Moon.

You know the drill by now, Full Moon has long been on the OOP list, but you can sometimes get a copy on the cheap here.

Featured cut: "Changin'"

Listen to the full album here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Marlena Shaw - Just A Matter Of Time

Born Marlina Burgess in 1942, Valhalla, New York. Marlena Shaw began her singing career in the 1960s and is still singing today. Her music crossed genre boundaries and was enjoyed by people of all races. Her strongest fan base was in the African American community. Her music has reached out and touched all forms of music, and is still seen today as samples in hip hop songs, and in commercials on TV. Her uncle, Jimmy Burgess a jazz trumpet player, first introduced her to music. In an interview with the New York Times, she told the reporter "He introduced me to good music through records---Dizzy [Gillespie], Miles [Davis], a lot of gospel things, and Al Hibbler, who really knows how to phrase a song."

In 1952, her uncle Jimmy brought her on stage at the Apollo Theater in Harlem to sing with him and his band. This was her first performance, and the audience loved her. Shaw’s mother did not want her daughter to go on tour with her uncle at such a young age and refused to let her go. Instead, she enrolled Shaw into the New York State Teachers College in Potsdam (now known as the State University of New York at Potsdam) to study music. She later dropped out of school, got married, and had five children. She did not give up on her singing career. She began to make singing appearances in jazz clubs whenever she could spare the time. This most notable of these appearances was in 1963 when she worked with jazz trumpeter Howard McGhee. She was supposed to play at the famous Newport Jazz Festival with McGhee and his band, but left the group after getting into an argument with one of the band members. Later that year, she got an audition with legendary Columbia label talent scout John Hammond. John Hammond had discovered talents including Billie Holiday, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, and Bob Dylan. Shaw did not perform well during the audition because she was too nervous. Undiscouraged, she continued to play at small clubs in 1964 until 1966. Her career took off in 1966 when she landed a gig with the Playboy Club chain in Chicago. It was through this gig that she met with representatives the music label Chess Records, and soon signed with them.

Shaw was discovered by Chess Records in 1966. Her first two albums, 1967's Out of Different Bags and 1969's Spice of Life were released on their Cadet subsidiary.

She moved to Blue Note Records in 1972, and became their first female artist. That year, she returned with Marlena, the first of five albums Shaw would record for the label.

In 1977 Shaw, left Blue Note and inked a deal with Columbia records. She churned out a total of 3 albums during her stint with the label leading off with Sweet Beginnings, followed by Acting Up in 1978 & Take A Bite in 1980. Beginnings featured of her most successful singles to date, her unique rendition of "Yu-Ma/Go Away Little Boy."

Over the next two decades Marlena recorded albums for a variety of labels including South Bay, Verve and Concord Jazz.

In 2000, her tremendous overseas popularity led to Anthology, a splendid collection from London’s Soul Brother Records. Two years later, Marlena released her Live In Tokyo set.

The following year she recorded Lookin' For Love. Like her previous to albums, Lookin'... was issued in the United States by 441 Records.

Shaw still performs and records today, you can keep abreast of her tour dates and other info via her MySpace page here.

Just A Matter Of Time is, of course, out of print and has yet to be reissued but an original vinyl copy of your own should be easy to track down for a good price here.

Featured cut: "Think About Me"

Listen to the full album here

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Stovall Sisters - s/t

Sorry it's been so long since my last post, my 2K9 got off to a hectic start, but I'm not gonna bore you good people with the details. Let's just get into this post.

For a brief moment in 1971, Warner Bros.Records' Reprise imprint took sometime out from promoting Frank Sinatra,Sammy Davis, Jr., and Lola Falana records to spread the gospel via the electrifying music of the Stovall Sisters. Lillian, Netta, and Joyce Stovall were all born in Indianapolis, Indiana. They were the last three of ten children born to Della Stovall. Four older sisters sang as a church group for years until they married and settled into domestic bliss. The three younger girls sang in churches too as the Little Wonder in the 1950s, but by their teens had changed their name to the Valley Wonders. Della managed the group and booked their concerts. She also snagged them a record deal with a small label.

In 1964,the family moved to Oakland,California, where they finished high school, sang in church as the Stovall Sisters, and took on 9-to-5 jobs. They began to see that there was little money to be made in singing gospel, to they added secular music to their repertoire and started getting nightclub work around the city, lying about their ages because they were still underage. "We were with Ike & Tina Turner for a while," Lillian said in a 1971 press release. "I think we were the 18th set of Ikettes. We did a lot of recording sessions, too, but mostly it was club work. We were [known as] the Sisters Three when we did rock and roll, but we'd still record for the gospel label as the Valley Wonders or the Stovall Family."

Things weren't happening fast enough for their careers, so they took out an as in the Oakland Tribune that read, "Three Black Girls Looking for a Caucasian Band to Sing With." They got a lot of weird calls, but the only decent response from the ad was a keyboardist named William Truckaway. "He came right in and sat on the floor like we'd been knowing him for year," Joyce said back then. Through Truckaway, they did background vocals on "Bluegreens." He also introduced them to his musician buddy Erik Jacobsen, who decided to use them as the background singers on Norman Greenbaum's song "Spirit in the Sky." The song went to No. 3 on the pop charts and became the label's bestselling single up to that time.

Everyone enjoyed the sisters so much that Greenbaum's label, Reprise, decided to record a self-titled LP on them. Reprise issued three singles in 1971 including "Hang On in There," "Spirit in the Sky," and "The World Is in a Change," but none of them took off, The sister' sound was gutsy gospel wrapped in a rock music package and should have been a huge seller. Of particular interest was "Yes to the Lord," a brilliant gospel reworking of Martha Reeves & the Vandella's "My Baby Love Me." Also notable were the powerful vocal punches in the ballad "I'm Ready to Serve the Lord" and the sweet " The World is in a Change." Philip Baily briefly served as their music director before he eventually joined Earth, Wind & Fire. In the meantime, they did background vocals on Greenbaum's follow-up albums Back Home Again and Canned Ham. They did the same on Tom Fogerty's Myopia (1975) and Truckaway's LP Breakaway in 1976.
Bio source: Bil Carpenter's "Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia"

To find out what's going on with the Stovall Sisters today, you can visit their MySpace page by clicking here.

Their self-titled LP is long out of print but with some luck and lotsa patience you may be able to find an affordable vinyl copy here or sometimes here...I did.
The album was also reissued on CD back in 2005 and can be found here & here.

With things bein' as rough as they are lately, it's kinda cool to be able to find some solace within the lines of a song. Stay up y'all... Hang On In There.

Featured cut: "Hang On In There"

Listen to the full album here.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Jose Feliciano - And The Feeling's Good

Happy 2009 everybody, here's hoping the new is a damn sight better than the old.

Lemme kick off the new year with a new post. Read, listen and enjoy!!!

One of the most prominent Latin-born performers of the pop era, singer/guitarist Jose Feliciano, was born September 10, 1945, in Lares, Puerto Rico. The victim of congenital glaucoma, he was left permanently blind at birth. Five years later, he and his family moved to New York City's Spanish Harlem area; there Feliciano began learning the accordion, later taking up the guitar, and made his first public appearance at the Bronx's El Teatro Puerto Rico at the age of nine. He reputedly sat by himself in his room for up to 14 hours a day to listen to 1950s rock albums, classical guitarists such as Andrés Segovia, and jazz players such as Wes Montgomery. He later had classical lessons with Harold Morris, who earlier had been a student of Segovia 's.

While in high school, Jose became a fixture of the Greenwich Village coffeehouse circuit, eventually quitting school in 1962, at the age of 17, in order to accept a permanent gig in Detroit.

In 1963, after making his rounds with live performances in pubs and clubs around the country, he was signed at RCA Victor. In 1964, he released his first single "Everybody Do The Click" and followed with his first full-length release, The Voice & Guitar of Jose Feliciano. Later, in 1965 and 1966, he released his next two albums, The Fantastic Feliciano, & A Bag Full of Soul. Both were folk-pop-soul albums that showcased his talent on radio across the USA, where he was described as a "10 finger wizard."

In 1966, he went to Mar del Plata, Argentina, to perform at the Festival de Mar del Plata. There, he impressed RCA Victor officials who requested he stay there to record an album in Spanish. They weren't sure what they wanted to record, but Feliciano suggested they record bolero music. The resulting album spawned two smash hits, "Poquita Fe" and "Usted."

After two more successful Spanish albums, Feliciano, now a household name all over Latin America, moved to Los Angeles where he teamed up with producer Rick Jarrard, who was at the time working on projects with Nilsson & Jefferson Airplane. This new pairing gave birth to the album Feliciano! and featured a soulful Latin-tinged cover of The Doors' "Light My Fire." When released as a single in 1968, "Light My Fire" was an immediate success, reaching number 3 on the charts that summer. The buzz from the single launched Jose him into the mainstream pop stratosphere and he immediately followed up with another Top 20 U.S. hit, a reading of Tommy Tucker's R&B hit, "Hi-Heel Sneakers."

In 1968, at the height of protests against the Vietnam War, Feliciano was given the opportunity to perform The Star-Spangled Banner at Tiger Stadium during the World Series. His highly personalized, slow, Latin jazz performance proved highly controversial. He accompanied himself on an acoustic guitar. The rendition was released as a single, which charted for 5 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #50. Feliciano's "Star-Spangled Banner" took place 10 months before the more famous Jimi Hendrix rendition at Woodstock. In 1969, Jose took home Grammy Awards for Best New Artist of the Year and for Best Pop Song of the Year. The same year he recorded three LPs — Souled, Alive Alive-O, and Feliciano 10 to 23, but never again equaled the success of "Light My Fire."

In 1970, he wrote and released an album of Christmas music, "Felíz Navidad," and this has probably become his most famous recording. Each year during the Christmas season, the song receives heavy airplay and has been recognized by ASCAP as one of the 25 all-time most-played Christmas songs in the world. In 1971, Jose traveled to Italy to participate in the San Remo Music Festival, singing the song "Che Sarà" in Italian, earning second place in that contest, as well as a standing ovation from the audience. He later recorded the song, which became a popular favorite not only in Italy, but throughout much of Europe, including the Iron Curtain countries, as well as in Asia. Feliciano later recorded the song in Spanish, as "Qué Será," which became an enormous hit in Central and South America, and in English, as "Shake A Hand," a monster seller in Scandinavia.

Throughout the 1970s Feliciano remained an active performer, touring annually and issuing a number of LPs in both English and Spanish, including 1973's Steve Cropper-produced Compartments. Jose wrote and performed the opening theme song to the 70s comedy series Chico & The Man, sung the show's closing theme, "Hard Times In El Barrio" and released songs on his 1974 RCA LP, And The Feeling's Good.

Drawing on his immense popularity, Feliciano was able to dabble in the world of television and film, lending his talents to big and small screen projects both behind and in front of the camera. He did a number of cameos on such TV shows as Chico & The Man, McMillan & Wife, Kung Fu, and served as composer for the 1975 Gordon Parks film "Aaron Loves Angela."

In 1980, Feliciano was the first performer signed to the new Latin division of Motown, making his label debut with an eponymous effort the following year. Throughout the 80s, Feliciano recorded and released albums for RCA, EMI, and Capitol, netting four more Grammys for best Latin performer by the end of the decade.

In 1995, Feliciano was honored by the City of New York, which re-named Public School 155 the Jose Feliciano Performing Arts School. In 1996, he had a short cameo role in the film Fargo.

In 2003 "Guitarra Mía", a special tribute to Feliciano, was produced by the Banco Popular de Puerto Rico and aired in Puerto Rico and in cities with large Latino populations in the United States. This television special (and its attendant soundtrack) featured Feliciano and many Puerto Rican and international stars singing some of his most famous songs, along with his personal favorites from other artists.

On December 6, 2006, Feliciano's new Spanish album, José Feliciano y Amigos was released by Universal Records, featuring duets with many other Latin American stars, including Luis Fonsi, Lupillo Rivera, Luciano Pereyra, Rudy Perez, Cristian Castro, Marc Anthony, Ramon Ayala, Alicia Villarreal, Ricardo Montaner and Raúl di Blasio. A special edition was later released and featured Ana Gabriel and Gloria Estefan.

In 2007, Feliciano released an album called Soundtrack of My Life, the first English-language album completely composed and written by him. Feliciano is married to wife Susan; they have 3 children: daughter Melissa and sons Jonathan and Mikey.

And The Feeling's Good is OOP and inexplicably hard to to find but with a little luck and some patience, you can grab an original vinyl copy here at a good price.
Back in 1997, BMG Japan reissued the album on CD as part of the Free Soul series. That CD is now, as usual, out of print and hard to find at a reasonable price. However, if you really want one to call your very own and money is no concern, you can drop coin here and have one arrive at a mailbox near you.

Featured cut: "Golden Lady"

Listen to the full album here.