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March Chart

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  • March Chart

    Here's a little selection of what I was able to listen to this month. A lot of these records I was introduced to by the recent VV CD swap.

    45 REVIEWS:

    I Can’t Believe I Ate That Whole Thang (Moonsong 72)
    It seems like in 1972 I Can’t Believe I Ate That Whole Thang was a bit of a trend as two separate 45s were released with that title. This one comes from Birmingham, Alabama sung by David Camon. The tune has a little funky Blues sound to it with brass backing it up. The best part is when Camon starts talking to his woman about all the Soul food he ate. Overall though, I like the Big Barney tune better.

    GI GI
    Daddy Love (Part 1 & 2) (Sweet)
    I heard about this 45 through a Vinyl Vulture CD mix swap. Daddy Love is a great Soul-Dance tune with a fast pace fueled by the horns and Gi Gi’s strong female vocals. Part 2 is mostly instrumental featuring the sax.

    Here It Is/Misty Blue (Malaco 75)
    I heard about this 45 through a Vinyl Vulture CD swap mix. For 1975, this is an amazingly strong Soul single. Here It Is has that deep southern Soul sound, with a bouncy rhythm, supporting horns and Moore’s strong vocals. Misty Blue is from the album of the same name, and is a slow love song.

    I Want To Take You Higher/Tightrope (Uni)
    I heard this single originally through a Funk 45 mix that Cosmo put together. It starts off to great effect with a cover of Sly Stone’s I Want To Take You Higher. Unlike most covers of the tune, Sylvanus is actually able to add a little edge to their version provided by a heavy rhythm section and strong female singing in the lead. The original Tightrope is just as good, starting off with a walking bass line before the drums and a cowbell accompany the female singer. As the song progresses it reaches a crescendo as the vocalist belts out the chorus over loud horns bursts. A very fine two-sider of a 45 to look for.


    Jan Jan (Cotillion 69)
    Internet friends are good things. I was watching this album on eBay since the day it was posted, but then towards the end of the auction when I was ready to bid I noticed that Davesrecords had beat me to it. Knowing him from the internet for years I abstained from going against him. After the auction I e-mailed him, only to find out that he already had the record! Well goddamn I thought! Things turned out for the good in the end, however as Dave graciously offered to sell it to me for just about what I was willing to bid on the original eBay auction. The Fabulous Counts of course, were an instrumental group from Detroit who released several singles on Moira and this LP before they would become just The Counts, and release three more albums. Richard “Popcorn” Wylie, a noted singer in his own right, produced the record. The first side is mostly covers like It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World and Soulful Strut. The only tune that really stands out however is a stripped down version of Simple Song with a little conga playing in the background. The second side is much better because it’s mostly original, fast-paced Funk tunes such as Dirty Red, Scrambled Eggs, Girl From Kenya, and Jan Jan. If you wanted to save yourself some money, you could buy all of these songs on 45.

    Rhythm & Blues (Vibration)
    I really like Merit Hemmingson’s quirky 70s Swedish Folk records, but Rhythm & Blues comes from an earlier, less interesting part of her career. At this time, Hemmingson was belting out mostly covers of pop hits of the mid-1960s. While Merit holds down the organ on ever track, none of them really stand out. Probably the best is Soul Bossa Nova. You’d be much better served with one of her later releases.

    Heavy Traffic OST (Fantasy 73)
    I’d seen this soundtrack plenty of times in stores, but never bothered to give it a listen. Then I received a CD mix with a cut off the LP and decided that it was about time that I gave this record a try. The album contains the laidback Scarborough Fair with some nice organ work in the middle by Sergio Mendes, the old standards Twist And Shout by the Isley Brothers, Take Five, which I didn’t realize starts off with a drum break, by Dave Brubeck, and Maybelline by Chuck Berry. The best and most prolific artist however is Merl Saunders. He comes with the funky Soul-Jazz of Scarborough Street Fair and Cards Theme backed by congas, with the former having a percussion break. What You Sow starts off the same way, but then in the middle a harp (?) and other effects come in over the top. Kay Shanklin’s big band number Heavy Traffic has a similar sound to Saunder’s tunes.

    Vibrations (Tele Music 72)
    For whatever reasons, I never really got into the Library Music trend when it was blowing up. Recently I heard a slew of Library tunes however via Vinyl Vulture and finally gave in and bought a couple. This, Vibrations by Bernard Lubat on the French Tele Music label, was the first. The record gets off to a silly sounding start with Mister Ghost that would go along with a circus or clown act. Burlesque Party begins in exactly the same fashion, but half way through gives way to a heavy Rock rhythm supported by some horns. That contrasts with the mellow and jazzy Slow Motion with its light vibes playing. The second side features two fast paced Jazz-Rock-Fusion tunes called Cameo Rock with scat singing and Rocket 1 with more vibes.

    Music From Free Creek (Famous Charisma Label 73)
    According to the liner notes, Music From Free Creek was an almost spontaneous recording session featuring dozens and dozens of musicians who met by chance in Manhattan and went over to Madison Square Garden and were able to record there with a recording truck left over from a Grand Funk Railroad concert recording two months previous. Whether you believe that or not is up to. What can’t be denied is that a lot of musicians did appear on this double album including Todd Rundgren, Roy Markowitz from Janis Joplin’s band, Moogy Klingman from the Vagrants, the horn section from Buddy Rich, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Woody Herman’s Band, Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Mitch Mitchell from Jimi Hendrix, Jazz bassist Chuck Rainey, Buzzy Feiten from Paul Butterfield’s Blues Band, Harvey Mandel, Jimmy Greenspan from Three Dog Night, Doctor John, Red Rhodes from the Byrds, Bernie Leadon from Flying Burrito Brothers, and many others did get together and record 18 cover songs to make up Music From Free Creek. The reason why I was interested in the session was that it opens up with a fine rendition of Cissy Strut that captures the funkiness of the original with the addition of some blasting horns. That’s followed by a nice bluesy rendition of the Jazz standard Freedom Jazz Dance. A little percussion and drum break leads into a bass line and Sympathy For The Devil with another short break in the middle. There’s another drum break during On The Rebound. Heavy organ playing by Moogy Kingman and Bob Smith, backed by the pounding drums of Markowitz mark an instrumental take on Working In A Coalmine. Lay Lady Lay, Hey Jude, and a nice laidback and bluesy Getting Back To Molly with singing by Dr. John are also worth a listen. Who woulda thought this record would be so good, especially given the cover art.

    Sound Foundation (Smobro)
    Sound Foundation was originally from Las Vegas. This was not only their first release, but also the first on Smobro Records, founded by the famous comedy team the Smothers Brothers. The record starts off sounding like Flaming Ember with a mix of Soul, Rock and Psych. The musicianship is fine, but the lead singer’s voice isn’t strong enough to carry many of the tracks. The group doesn’t really put it all together until the funky Rock of Clean Up Your Act. Also worth listening to is a re-arrangement of Aquarius with a heavy emphasis on the instrumentation that’s been sampled before, and Bruised, with its great bass and drum intro. The best cut is the fast paced and hard hitting instrumental Soul Foundation, which of course benefits from the fact that it has no singing on it! Plus it features three drum breaks.

    Genesis (Inner City 76)
    I continue my quest to find interesting songs that I heard on a Vinyl Vulture CD swap with the purchase of Genesis by trumpet player Charles Sullivan. The album was originally recorded in 1974 in New York City and White Plains with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sonny Fortune, Stanley Cowell, Alphonse Mouzon and others, but took two years before being released on Inner City. Most of Genesis consists of mellow Jazz pieces. That stand out track is Field Holler with its upbeat Soul-Jazz sound and Sullivan blasting away at his horn. The title cut is a monster funky Fusion track clocking in at over seventeen minutes with a nice fast paced open bass line at the beginning and a Jazz drum solo towards the end, although it might be a little too long.

    Sweet Sweet Soul (Atlantic 70)
    The Sweet Inspirations got their start as back-up singers in New York City, working with dozens of singers and groups including Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Wilson Pickett, and others. On Sweet Sweet Soul, Atlantic wanted a change of venue for the recording so they went South to Philadelphia where the group worked with MFSB, the song writing of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, plus the production talents of Ugene Dozier. The group and their new surrounding cast hit it off well with upbeat tunes like Shut Up, Give My Love To Somebody, and Them Boys, plus the laidback Two Can Play The Game

    Mr. Fantasy (United Artists 68)
    Traffic was a Prog-Rock group from England featuring Steve Winwood who had earlier been part of the very successful Spencer Davis Group, and would later have continued success as a solo artist. Mr. Fantasy was the band’s 1st album, originally released on Island in England, and later on UA in the U.S. The record was actually repackaged for its American release as a band member had left and U.A. insisted that the band’s singles be included. The best cut is Heaven Is In Your Mind with its light, yet catchy mood.

    Traffic (United Artists 68)
    Traffic was an English Prog-Rock group famous for its leader, Steve Winwood, who would go on to have a successful solo career. Traffic was the group’s second album. After kicking out member Dave Mason and recording their debut, Mr. Traffic, the group brought back Mason for this record, only to give him the boot immediately afterwards! Traffic is an eclectic recording varying from the poppy You Can All Join In, to the bluesy Pearly Queen. My favorite cut is the laid back, yet grooving Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring, which I originally heard on a mix by Twoply. Of course the LP is also remembered for their hit Feelin Alright? that has been covered numerous times by various artists, usually to better effect than the original, which lacks the energy and power of some of the more famous versions.

    Waters (Blue Note 75)
    This is another fine record I learned about through Vinyl Vulture. Despite recording for Blue Note, Waters were a four piece vocal Soul group, featuring two men and two women. They come with a nice, lush sound on tracks such as Trying Hard To Look Inside and Motherland, having recorded with a full string section. Blinded By Love, written by Allen Toussaint, is another good Soul tune, but the group really steals the show with the head nodding rhythm of My Heart Just Won’t Let You Go with a prominent bass line. Good stuff.


    One Nation Under A Groove (Warner Brothers 78)
    By the late-1970s, Funkadelic and Parliament had basically merged into one with a similar sound. One Nation was supposed to mark Funkadelic’s arrival on the charts. To help with that process, newest member Walter “Junie” Morrison, formerly of the Ohio Players, helped write most of the material. Gone was the mix of Rock, Funk and Soul, and in was a party-dance-Funk sound. That wasn’t so bad on songs like the title track, but after that, most of the album consists of slow jams like the Caribbean sounding Groovallegiance, Into You, and Promentalshitbackwashpsychosis Enema Squad. Those are all okay, but nothing great, making this one of my least favorite Parliamentfunkadelic LPs.

    Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On (Westbound 74)
    Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On saw Funkadelic at their height. They had their crazy mix of Rock, Soul and Funk down pact as evident on the fast paced Red Hot Momma, a remake of an earlier Parliaments’ tune, the Psyched out Alice In My Fantasies, and the title track. There are also the slow grooves of I’ll Stay, another old Parliaments’ song originally released as I’ll Wait, and Sexy Ways, and Jimmy’s Got A Little Bit Of Bitch In Him, plus one of Clinton’s long drugged out speeches on Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts. This is definitely one of Funkadelic’s more consistent LPs.

    Tales Of Kidd Funkadelic (Westbound 76)
    Tales Of Kidd Funkadelic was the group’s last record for Westbound. Like the forthcoming changes in labels, the band itself was changing. Longtime guitarist Eddie Hazel had left the group over disputes with Clinton. The sound by this time was similar to Parliament, yet there were still strong Rock influences. Butt-To-Buttresuscitation is a perfect example with Bernie Worrell’s keyboard effects dominating the first half, while the second has a searing guitar solo. Let’s Take It To The People shows that Funkadelic could still deliver some Funk. There are also the Clintonesque slow jams such as Take Your Dad Ass Home! and Undisco Kidd. After this hopeful start however, the second side falls off with three uninteresting tracks, including the thirteen minute long title cut.

    Uncle Jam Wants You (Warner Brothers 79)
    Uncle Jam Wants You is by far the best cover that the band ever put together. It has Clinton sitting in a big wicker chair ala Black Panther leader Huey Newton, with a flashlight and the bop gun, two devices that had become synonymous with Parliamentfunkadelic. At this time, the group was at its peak, with both bands reaching the charts. Uncle Jam cemented that position with the huge hit Knot Just (Knee Deep) that continued to have fans into Hip Hop’s early heyday. After that though, the songs aren’t as consistent with Freak Of The Weak being the only song that really stands out. It seems while climbing up the charts Funkadelic had lost much of the edge of their earlier years.

    Forecast (Kudu 73)
    Jazz guitarist Eric Gale was joined by Bob James, Idris Muhammad, Ralph MacDonald, Randy Brecker, John Faddis, Joe Farrell, Hubert Laws and a full string section to record Forecast for KUDU in 1973. The result is a bit too slick and cheesy on tunes like a cover of Killing Me Softly, but Gale is able to redeem himself with the very slow and mellow Dindi with some nice drumming by Rick Marotta. The second side is much better with the upbeat White Moth, the Reggae influenced Tonsue Corte, and the title track, which is the best of all with its laid back groove.

  • #2

    I’m most definitely a big fan of this OST.
    Hardly every gets talked about but its far better than a lot of OST’s that catch buzzes.
    The tracks based around ‘Scarborough fair’ are amazing, and that percussion/drum break is HUGE


    • #3
      I'd seen that OST a lot over the years, but never bothered to even look at it. Then I got a mix CD through the VV swap and it had a song by Merl Saunders from it, and I decided to finally go look for it.