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January Chart

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  • January Chart

    I guess I can add on a monthly set of reviews now that I finally have a scanner! Enjoy.

    45 REVIEWS:

    Big Nick/Cross My Heart (Peacock)
    James Booker was one of many fine artists to come out of New Orleans. Big Nick is the cut to check on this 45. It has plenty of organ over an upbeat Soul instrumental that has a bit of a loungey feel to it, plus some nice open drums at the beginning. The flipside is an instrumental ballad with more of Booker’s organ playing.

    Greatest Love/Hello Mama (Deesu)
    Willie West was yet another fine artist from New Orleans. Marshall Sehorn and Allen Toussaint produced this single, with Toussaint also carrying the song writing duties. Greatest Love is a nice upbeat love song that Toussaint also had Lee Dorsey record. Hello Mama is a little faster paced catchy Soul tune.


    Love’s Happening (Curtom 68)
    The 5 Stairsteps were a family singing group from Chicago who got their start in the late 1950s. They would score their biggest hit in 1970 with O—o-h Child. Love’s Happening saw the group connect with Curtis Mayfield’s company Curtom where he wrote and produced much of the album. You don’t hear Mayfield’s sound at first as the group opens with Stay Close To Me, which sounds like a poppy Motown cut. That doesn’t last for long however, as Don’t Change Your Love starts off with an oh so short drum break before launching into a beautifully arranged Soul piece with that Curtom sound to it. Love’s Happening, I Made A Mistake, Little Boy Blue are all in a similar mode with that mix of sweet Soul and the Impressions, making for a very nice listen.

    Advancement (Philips 60)
    Advancement was a group of Jazz musicians out of Los Angeles. The two band leaders, bass player Lou Kabok and percussionist Hal Gordon got their start with Gabor Szabo before breaking out on their own in 1969 forming Advancement and releasing this, their first album. The first two tracks, Juliet and Painful Struggle, are very dark sounding Jazz pieces, with the latter being the better of the two. Painful Struggle begins with some vibes playing, then a long bass bridge played with a bow, before picking up the pace for a Jazz piece backed by percussion. Grass Mass is even better with more vibes playing and a lighter mood to it. There’s also a long drum and percussion break in Moorish Mode. Hobo Express and Fall Out see the band venturing out into Rock. The former mixes Blues and Jazz with more standout vibes work, while the latter is on some Hard-Rock-Psyche tip, making it more to my liking.

    666 (Vertigo 72)
    This is one of those records that I’d always seen about, but never took the time to check out. 666 is a double record concept album put together by Vangelis based loosely around the Book of Revelation from the Bible, hence the title. It’s basically a 70s Prog Rock record. The Four Horsemen and Ofis have nice feels to them, but overall I didn’t find 666 to be my style.

    Together (Fania 70)
    Ray Barretto starts off Together with some hot Latin-Soul on the title track with his pounding percussion work. The instrumental Tin Tin Deo is more of that Latin-Soul fusion with a nice bass line coming in and out throughout the song. Really though, the heart of the record is a collection of nice Salsa dance cuts like Invitacion Al Son and No Olvido A Caracas, which probably has the most intense conga, bongo and timbales playing on the whole LP.

    Solar Funk (Source 79)
    I originally saw a picture of the cover of this LP on a Japanese site and stored it away in the memory banks. A trip to the local store months later turned up my very own copy. Biggs got his start playing keyboards for Isaac Hayes in the 70s. Most of Solar Funk is late 70s dance music with plenty of synthesizer. The track Tibetan Serenity, comped on the Dusty Fingers series, is the standout with a pseudo-Asian groove to it provided by some strings. It really is a catchy number.

    Genuis + Soul = Jazz (Impulse 60)
    Released in 1960, Genius + Soul = Jazz showed how far Ray Charles was ahead of the curve in modern music. Mixing a big band backing with some soulful playing on the organ, Charles did just what the title of the album implied. Charles got help from his long time friend Quincy Jones who did arranging on half of the tunes. The opening From The Heart is a perfect example of Charles’ fine organ playing and his Jazz background. Even better in that genre is One Mint Julep. I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town is the best vocal track, mixing a bluesy delivery with some Jazz. The rest is big band material.

    Harlem River Drive (Roulette 71)
    Harlem River Drive was led by Eddie Palmiere and made up of a host of Jazz and Latin players such as Charlie Palmiere, Jimmy Norman, Cornell Dupree, Bernard Purdy, and others. The album is really one of moods. First is the mildly paced title track groover with its distinctive organ line, then the soulful If, the funky Idle Hands, the spiritual Broken Home, and the upbeat Seeds Of Life. A really exceptional record from beginning to end.

    Reel To Real (RSO 74)
    I was sitting in a record store in New York City one day on vacation when on came a cover of Be Thankful For What You Got over the stereo system. I walked up to the counter and was surprised to see that it was by the Rock band Love. Reel To Real was the group’s last album and was difficult to put together as the members had actually broken up over drug abuse problems and leader Arthur Lee’s personality. Lee put together a brand new set of musicians and headed into the studio as Love With Arthur Lee. Musically, the record is mostly Soul numbers such as Time Is Like A River and the bluesy Stop The Music that has Lee sounding like Otis Redding. Be Thankful then, played very closely to the original, capturing the lush sound of William DeVaughn’s work, fits in with the rest of the LP. However, there are also some unsuccessful Funk and Rock tunes like Who Are You? Singing Cowboy, and You Said You Would.

    Evening Time (Studio One 68)
    Jackie Mittoo was the leader of the Studio One studio musicians, Jamaica’s most well known record label. Evening Time was his second solo effort. The record is a mix of Rock Steady and early Reggae sounds such as the title track, a rearrangement of Prince Buster’s One Step Beyond, Napoleon Solo, Love Is Blue, Booker T’s Hip Hug Her, Full Charge, and Hot Shot.

    Puttin In Time On Planet Earth (Blue Thumb 73)
    Pianist Ben Sidran recorded Puttin In Time On Planet Earth with the likes of Phil Upchurch, Tony Williams, and Clyde Stubblefield. Most of the record sounds like a lounge act as Sidran plays his grand piano and sings some ditties that mix light Jazz with Pop and Rock. That makes for a really bad mix for the majority of the album. Literally, out of nowhere then, comes Now I Live, a great piece of laid back Soul-Jazz with Sidran playing the electric piano and Upchurch adding some very subtle guitar lines over the top. It really helps that Sidran isn’t singing during most of the track.

    An Evening At Home With (Plumm)
    A recent trip to Las Vegas with the girlfriend turned up a copy of An Evening At Home With, which I had first heard about in NYC. There they always wanted around $15 for it, which I thought was too much. Las Vegas turned out to be more moderately priced. What catches your attention about the record at first is the cover that shows the two artists sitting on a lawn in front of a nice two story house, one with flowers, and the other with a rifle. The record itself was recorded live in Detroit and begins with the bass drum pounding away to lead into Today I Left For The Big City, a laid back Rock tune. Better yet is a cover of Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love with the same mild pace, but some nice Blues and Soul influences thrown in. That sort of sets the pace and mood for the entire album with other tunes like Woman Child, and Alright Mama with a drum break in the middle. The one exception is the upbeat closing of Bring It On Home Part I & II with plenty of organ.

    In The Dark (Island 76)
    Toots And The Maytals were one of the most soulful groups to come out of Jamaica. They got their start in the 1960s as a Ska/Rock Steady group and still play to this day. In The Dark is a collection of songs mostly released during the 1960s and 70s. The strength of Toots voice is heard immediately on tunes like Got To Be There, the title track, and Love Gonna Walk Out On Me. Having A Party and Time Tough with their funky guitar playing, I See You with its moody intro, the upbeat Fever, and of course there’s my all time favorite Toots song, 54-46 with the call and response “Yeahs” and the James Brownesque breakdown in the middle where he asks the band to give it to him, are all worthwhile. Really, you can listen to In The Dark from beginning to end.

    Day By Day (Myrrh)
    Vonda Van Dyke was a former Miss America winner who became a Christian singer. Day By Day is full of inspirational and Christian themed songs, half of which Van Dyke wrote herself. The only one of those that comes across half way interesting is the upbeat 60s swing of Hallelujah Brother with plenty of organ. There’s also a cover of I Just Want To Celebrate, which is sorta cheesy, but in a good way.


    America Eats Its Young (Westbound 72)
    America Eats Its Young is a double album monster by Funkadelic. Inside is one of George Clinton’s long rants about America and the Process – Church of the Final Judgement. Musically the record is less Rock oriented than the group’s earlier releases. Bernie Worrell gets to start things off with his frantic keys playing on You Hit The Nail On The Head that mellows out half way through with a little hint of Disco at one point. The slow grooves of If You Don’t Like The Effects, Don’t Produce The Cause, Pussy, Miss Lucifer’s Love with a drum break, and the instrumental A Joyful Process replete with strings are better. Wake Up is an upbeat number that borrows liberally from Sly Stone, Biological Speculation is the most soulful moment on the album, but the best-known track is the catchy Loose Booty.

    Best Of The Early Years Volume One (Westbound 77)
    Funkadelic never really sold that well while they were with Westbound. Best Of, released in 1977, was an attempt by Westbound to cash in on the group’s newfound fame after they’d moved on to a different label. It contains 10 tracks from all 6 of Funkadelic’s Westbound LP s. Here you get some of the cream of the crop with cuts like the catchy Funk of Cosmic Slop, Sexy Ways, Can’t Stand The Strain, and Wake Up, plus the Rock of Super Stupid, No Compute, which is a vehicle for one of Clinton’s long winding stories, Funky Dollar Bill, and I’ll Bet You that starts with a drum break.

    Connections & Disconnections (LAX International 81)
    Released in 1981, Connections & Disconnections was released by Fuzzy Haskins, Calivin Simon, Grady Thomas and Greg Errico after Parliamentfunkadelic had fallen apart over the financial shenanigans of George Clinton. These four former band members however, still laid claim to the Funkadelic name and recorded this album. Their distaste for their former bandleader is expressed on the back cover where it prominently states, “This album does not include any performances or creations by George Clinton.” The lack of Clinton’s creative input however is evident throughout the record. Too much of it sounds like Funk light with no real backbone to the tracks. The one reason to look for this record is the oft sampled tune You’ll Like It Too with its drum break. Still, the song only hints at what the full group use to sound like.

    Cosmic Slop (Westbound 73)
    Cosmic Slop saw Funkadelic really come into its own. The Rock influences weren’t as strong anymore, replaced with a funky-Soul feel to most of the songs. That can be heard on the catchy numbers like Nappy Dugout, You Can’t Miss What You Can’t Measure, Cosmic Slop, Broken Heart, and Can’t Stand The Strain. That’s not to say that there still isn’t a Rock edge left, such as on Let’s Make It Last and Trash A Go-Go that begins with a drum break. There’s also March To The Witch’s Castle, which is a slow and moody piece with social commentary about what I assume is veterans returning from the Vietnam War.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Motown67
    Big Nick/Cross My Heart (Peacock)
    James Booker was one of many fine artists to come out of New Orleans. Big Nick is the cut to check on this 45. It has plenty of organ over an upbeat Soul instrumental that has a bit of a loungey feel to it, plus some nice open drums at the beginning. The flipside is an instrumental ballad with more of Booker’s organ playing
    I have a Tuff City t-shirt which features a label scan of Booker's Smacksie on Peacock. The shirt is cool but I know absolutely nothing about the record. Thanks for giving me more of a clue.


    • #3
      Originally posted by sport casual
      I have a Tuff City t-shirt which features a label scan of Booker's Smacksie on Peacock. The shirt is cool but I know absolutely nothing about the record. Thanks for giving me more of a clue.
      think i might have a double of smacksie. I'll check.
      Hero No.9
      Last edited by Col Wolfe; 09-12-2009 at 10:37 PM.


      • #4
        Originally posted by SARGE
        think i might have a double of smacksie. I'll check.
        I'll trade ya for the greatest spoken word LP of all time


        • #5
          Shit you look like 3rd Bass cloned into one person.