The Soulful Strings - The magic of Christmas

December 23rd, 2012

The Soulful Strings - The Magic of ChristmasTHE SOULFUL STRINGS

  • The magic of Christmas
  • Cadet Records
  • 1968
  • USA

Let’s start with Richard Evans. This 1976 deceased producer, arranger, bassist and songwriter was one of the key figures behind Cadet records in the 1960s. During his relatively short career he produced and arranged plenty of big names such as Marlena Shaw, Terry Callier, Dorothy Ashby and Woody Herman to name a few. Despite the wide range of music he produced, he is however best known for is his own band The Soulful Strings, and particularly his masterpiece of a song “Burning spear”, later covered by S.O.U.L., Jimmy Smith, Kenny Burrell and many others. The whole idea behind The Soulful Strings was to answer to the growing “beautiful music” boom that rose during the 1960s. Together with some pretty famous musicians of the time - Charles Stepney (vibraphone, organ), Billy Wooten (vibraphone), Phil Upchurch (guitar), Cash McCall (guitar) Cleveland Eaton (bass), Lennie Druss (flute) and Morris Jennings Jr. (drums) among others - they recorded seven albums in six years. Although the music was quite close to the easy listening stuff, it was still very different. The heavy feel of funky jazz was always there with their music.

One of the seven albums released was called The magic of Christmas. It was released in 1968 and as you can tell by the name, it was filled with covers of traditional Christmas standards. While half of the tracks are very mellow and occasionally hava a quite strong easy listening feel in them, there’s several funky and groovy takes too. The opening track “The little drummer boy” for example. It’s a track that for some reason is playing in my head every Christmas, but still I like it. And the version on this album is among the best released. The version of “Santa Claus is coming to town” is a pretty good one too. The cover of “Sleigh ride” has a nice funky beat in it and the “Jingle bells” take even has a fat break in the beginning. The last track “Parade of the wooden soldiers” is worth to mention as well. Along the Joulusoitto album by Esko Linnavalli, The magic of Christmas is clearly one of the best “traditional” Christmas albums ever made.


The little drummer boy


Santa Claus is coming to town


Sleigh Ride


Jingle bells


Parade of the wooden soldiers

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 20.00

Jimmy Takeuchi - White X’mas

December 22nd, 2012

Jimmy Takeuchi - White X'masJIMMY TAKEUCHI

  • White X’mas
  • Toshiba Records
  • 1970
  • Japan

1930 born Jimmy Takeuchi (real name Wasaburo Takeuchi, ジミー竹内) is no doubt one of the best known and most loved jazz drummers in Japan. In fact he’s often referred as the image of the jazz drumming in the post-war Japan. He started his drumming career as early as in 1948 and it continued over 50 years until his final retirement in 2002. Although he’s propably best known for his 12 years lasting Drum drum drum series that were usually about the cover versions of contemporary songs, he also played with a whole bunch of Japanese jazz cats including Nobuo Hara, Shigenori O’Hara, Shoji Suzuki, Susumu Watanabe, Yuzuru Sera, George Kawaguchi, Hideo Shiraki and many more. Since 1967 Takeuchi also had his own group called Jimmy Takeuchi & His Exciters.

In 1970 was released the album White X’mas - in the mentioned Drum drum drum series. It’s an album full of traditional Christmas songs with heavy arrangements by Kunihiro Suzuki. There’s tracks that appear on most of the Christmas song albums like “Jingle bells”, “Santa Claus is soming to town”, “White Christmas”, “Rudolph the red nosed reindeer”, “Here comes Santa Claus” and so on. Only this time they are not that traditionally arranged. The album is full of psychedelia, fuzz guitar, wailing organs and heavy drumming with breaks - and still with that certain Jimmy Takeuchi jazz feel. Even though the cover is bit cheesy I can humbly recommend this one to be a part of everyone’s Christmas soundtrack.


Jingle bells


Douce nuit


Joy to the world


Santa Claus is coming to town


Greensleeves


White Christmas


Blue Christmas


Winter wonderland


Auld lang syne

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00

No To Co - No to co

August 31st, 2012

No To Co - No To CoNO TO CO

  • No to co
  • Мелодия
  • 1973
  • USSR

No To Co (in English something like ’so what’) was a folk, skiffle and psych rock combining band from Poland that had a certain funky twist in their music. The band was formed in the late 1960s by Piotr Janczerski, the former lead vocalist of the group Niebiesko-Czarni. Their first public appearance was in a television program called Po szóstej (’after six’), although they didn’t even have a name yet. They soon decided to call themselves Grupa Skifflowa No To Co (skifflowa mean skiffle music), or shortly just No To Co. They started as a band that combined traditional Polish folklore to a skiffle music but after the guitarist Jerzy Grunwald left the band in 1971 and lead singer Piotr Janczerski in the following year they started to move more and more psychedelic hard rock and at the same time lose they popularity. Skiffle is a type of music that started to popularize in New Orleans in the 1940s and 1950s. It’s music played with homemade or improvised instruments - such as combs, washing boards and pots as well as banjos, harmonicas and kazoos - and it has influences from jazz, blues, folk and roots.

The album No to co was released in USSR on national label Melodiya in 1973. I’m not sure when it was released in Poland and what name it had there since all the titles here are in Russian. The first track “Червона рута” (Chervona ruta) is a nice vocal psych track with nice drums and a groovy organ solo in the end. “По ту сторону озера” (Po tu storonu Ozera) instead is a downtempo, more simple track, but still has very funky drums and nice organ work. It’s followed by “Играй, что умеешь” (Igraĭ, chto umyeesh), a midtempo seven minute instrumental psych funk monster that starts with a short break and has several different breaks all over the songs. It reminds me strongly of certain Santana tracks from way back. Then comes the funky vocal psych number “Зеленый мосточек” (Zelenyĭ mostochek) followed by another vocal track, flute driven “Зеленая лужайка” (Zelenaya luzhaĭka). Then after the short polka track comes another two pretty decent tracks. The midtempo “Дими” (Dimi) and the uptempo beat track “Год тебе не пишу” (God tebe ne pisu)” with it’s nice organ work followed by the last track, the heavy vocal number “В боскресенье” (V voskresene).

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-y2X0jf9pk
Chervona ruta


Po tu storonu Ozera


Igraĭ, chto umyeesh


Zelenyĭ mostochek


Zelenaya luzhaĭka


God tebe ne pisu


V voskresene

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00

Geza Vegh och Hans Musiker - Jazzbalettrytmer

August 15th, 2012

Geza Vegh och Hans Musiker - JazzbalettrytmerGEZA VEGH OCH HANS MUSIKER

  • Jazzbalettrytmer
  • TBV
  • 1970s
  • Sweden

There’s not much info about Geza Vegh nor his musicians, but we know that he did at least this one album, Jazzbalettrytmer (jazz ballet rhythms). It’s one of the several jazz ballet albums released in Sweden during the 1970s and 1980s. Since it’s strictly intended for jazz ballet, all the tracks are very danceable although they vary in pace. And they’re danceable not only in jazz ballet studios, but in bboy cyphers too. The monotonic tracks are great in rhythm although they mostly lack all the melodies and horn stabs that the regular funk music have.

Side a starts with a midtempo latin track and is followed by an uptempo drum frenzy one. Next up is two midtempo drum tracks, first jazzy one, then more funky with a good breakbeat and some piano works and then another jazzy one. Then comes a downtempo song before the last track on side a, which is another uptempo breakbeat drum frenzy. Side b opens with clearly the best track on the album. A strong bboy breakbeat track that actually is just one long three and half minute break. It’s followed by another mellow piano driven track and a latin flavored downtempo track. next is another long four minute midtempo drumbreak. then comes yet another piano track before the last track, a two minute jazzy one. There is no track names and it’s also hard to figure out the sides since Jazzbaletrytmer is a whitelabel. There’s BB and CC scratched on the dead wax and that’s how I choose what’s side a and what’s side b. Jazzbaletrytmer is an interesting album and pops up quite scarcely. Pick it up if you can.


A1


A2


A3


A4


A5


A6


A7


B1


B2


B3


B4


B5


B6

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00

Roots - Pussyfooting

August 12th, 2012

Roots - PussyfootingROOTS

  • Pussyfooting
  • Music De Wolfe
  • 1982
  • UK

Roots was yet another studio band who worked for the production music library company Music De Wolfe and it’s sublabel Rouge Music. They recorded several albums, so this time we’re not talking about a one off band. Their 1982 released album was called Pussyfooting and what you can expect from the year, it was pretty much disco oriented. All the tracks were composed by the well known library composer duo Chris Rae and Frank McDonald.

The album is described as modern group moods featuring electric piano and brass. It starts with midtempo disco funk jam “On the job” with funky beats but a slightly cheesy saxophone. Next up is “Gringo”, the type of disco that doesn’t move me that much. It’s followed by a midtempo disco track “Human spirit” with a hint of reggae on it’s beat. Then comes another uptempo disco take, the title track “Pussyfooting”. Next up is a cosmic disco track “The force”. The elctro funk sounding “Borderline” ends the side a. It could’ve been a great track if there wasn’t this annoying synth ruining the song. B-side starts with a nice disco-funk track “Grafter”. It’s among the best songs on this albums. It’s followed by a percussive uptempo “Jackpot” with a strong Love boat feeling and a hint of some jazzfunk sounds. Next is mellow downtempo “Happy event” followed by jazzy midtempo disco track “Happy hour”. After them comes the standout track, almost five minute long banging uptempo disco funk cut “Party people” with a nice long percussion break and catchy horns. Then comes another dull uptempo disco track “Fun house”. Dark, heavy and spacy electrofunk track “Cliffedge” finally ends the album. Pussyfooting is maybe not a great album as a whole but at least there’s one really great track worth buying the album for that track only and several good and decent tracks to follow.

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00

Raulzinho & Impacto 8 - International hot

August 9th, 2012

Raulzinho & Impacto 8 - International HotRAULZINHO & IMPACTO 8

  • International hot
  • Equipe
  • 1968
  • Brazil

1934 born Raul De Souza - actually his real name is João José Pereira De Souza - is a well known trombonist from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. He started his career in the mid 1950s and has played with many of the key figures in the Brazilian music scene. In the mid 1960s he released his first solo album - using his pseudonym Raulzinho (little Raul) and the second album with his group Impacto 8 was released in 1968. Within his career, Raul De Souza has played with Sergio Mendez, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Milton Nascimento, Sonny Rollins, Cal Tjader among countless others. After spending great share of his career in United States he has returned to his home country Brazil. Not to rest though, as he’s still active composer and trombonist today.

The album starts and ends with the same song, a heavy latin take of Herb Alpert’s “Treasure of San Miguel” here named “Teasuro de Sao Miguel”. It’s very dancefloor friendly with banging breakbeat drums and catchy horns that follow quite strictly the original. The only minus is the length, it’s only one minute and fortyfive seconds long. The second song on side a is a heavy Portuguese version of “Spinning wheel” with nice organ work. Originally recorded by Blood, Sweat & Tears, it’s somehow similar to Doors hit “Light my fire”, almost all the versions are good. Then comes a funky uptempo boogaloo track called “Boogaloo Bill no. 2″ with two very short but really banging breaks that somehow remainds me of the legendary “Amen” break of The Winstons. Next up is the uptempo latin track “Two beat manchild” followed by uptempo breakbeat latin jazz take “Fried bananas” and a nice version of Brenda Holloway’s “You’ve made me so very happy”. B-side opens with heavy organ driven midtempo soul jazz version of Marvin Gaye hit “Mercy Mercy”. It’s followed by a mellow groover “Hello Monalisa”. Next is a heavy downtempo take of Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe island”. Then comes another highlight of the album, an uptempo and funky take of “I’ve got the feelin’” with raw vocals of Raul De Souza. Needless to say it’s a very dancefloor friendly with tight breakbeats and catchy horn stabs. Finally comes uptempo “slick” before the replay of “Teasuro de Sao Miguel” ends the album.


Teasuro de Sao Miguel


Spinning wheel


Boogaloo Bill no. 2


Two beat manchild


Fried bananas


You’ve made me so very happy


Mercy Mercy


Hello Monalisa


Cantaloupe island


I’ve got the feelin’


Slick

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00

The Eliminators - Loving Explosion

August 6th, 2012

The Eliminators - Loving ExplosionTHE ELIMINATORS

  • Loving explosion
  • BRC
  • 1972
  • USA

The Eliminators was first formed in the early 1960s as a school band in Atkins High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Ten years later, the original members were all playing in different groups in Winston-Salem area, but were unsatisfied. They started to seek old friends from the high school times and finally reunited to start their musical career again. They cut this one album together and it was released on BRC label in 1972. They are widely credited as the baddest and the funkiest band ever come from the Winston-Salem area. Apparently they got so popular in their area that the record was later released also on BRC’s parent label Brunswick to get a wider distribution. That didn’t work out very well, or then the band was so loved that people listened their records to pieces as the album is very rare and seldom seen. They toured actively before their split in 1976. Although it looked totally impossible since, the glad news in Winston-Salem Journal few months ago tells us that the band was again reunited after being separated for 36 years.

The Eliminators is a good example of soulful funk with a hint of disco. There’s very fat sound on their playing, with loads of percussion and tight funky drumming without any cheesyness. The title track, funky soul track “Loving explosion” starts the album. It’s followed by another disco’ish funky laidback soul track “Get satisfied” that reminds me of B.T. Express‘ first albums. “Love your woman” is a similar tune too, although it has a little more pace. Then comes one highlight of this album, uptempo percussion heavy disco funk jam “Give it up”, with some guitar work that I’m not that fond of. The mellow ballad “Try, try, try” ends the first side. Side b starts with socially aware “Blood donors needed (give all you can)”, which is a grooving midtempo disco funk track with a conscious message in it. After a ballad “Taking love, and making love” comes another two highlights, Funky percussive midtempo flute driven instrumental take of the second track called “Get satisfied (pt. 2)” followed by an uptempo disco funk track “Loose hips” with a massive percussion break in the middle. Last one is again another mellow but funky soul tune “Rump bump”.


Loving explosion


Get satisfied


Love your woman


Give it up


Try, try, try


Blood donors needed (give all you can)


Taking love, and making love


Get satisfied (Pt. 2)


Loose hips


Rump bump

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00

Merit Hemmingson - Plays

August 3rd, 2012

Merit Hemmingson - PlaysMERIT HEMMINGSON

  • Plays
  • RCA Camden
  • 1968
  • Sweden

In the mid and late 1960s there started to appear soul jazz recordings in Scandinavia. One of those was Merit Hemmingson’s Plays. 1940 born Merit Hemmingson is an organist, composer and arranger from Sweden, who started her career as a jazz pianist. In the early 1960s she had her own jazz group with four black American female jazz artists, the group was called Merit and her Girl Stars and they toured Sweden in the beginning of the 1960s. In the late 1960s she changed the jazz piano to Hammond B3 organ and started to tour with her newly reformed band The Meritones. In 1967 they recorded her first album with that group. Merit Hemmingson is propably better known for her early 1970s folk-funk albums Huvva, Trollskog or Bergtagen but this soul jazz album from 1968 is definitely worth to be brought up.

Album starts strongly with a good midtempo take of Beatles classic “Lady Madonna” followed by the mellow Louis Armstrong standard “What a wonderful world”. Next up are Cliff Richards‘ Eurovision song contest 1968 entry “Congratulations”, Bob Dylan’s “Too much of nothing” and the latin influenced Chico Buarque’s “A banda”. Then comes a midtempo take of the 5th Dimension hit “Up, up and away” followed by a pretty good downtempo version of Tim Hardin’s “If I were a carpenter”. B-side starts with more heat. First up is pretty funky version of Bar-Kays‘ hit “soul finger” followed by Evert Taube’s mellow tune “Så skimrande var aldrig havet”. Next is a another Bob Dylan song, “Mighty Quinn”. I have heard several better versions, but this ain’t that bad either with it’s tight funky drumming and grooving organ. Next is a banging uptempo breakbeat take of Miriam Makeba’s “Pata pata”. For me it’s clearly the best track of the album. Then comes another pretty good track, funky percussive uptempo groover “The letter” originally by The Box Tops. Last two tracks are heavy percussive take of Frankie Valli song “Can’t take my eyes off you” and a groovy take of “La la la”, which is a 1968 Eurovision song contest entry from Spanish singer Massiel.


Lady Madonna


A Banda


Up And Away


If I Were A Carpenter


Soul Finger


Mighty Quinn


Pata Pata


The Letter


Can’t Take My Eyes Off You


La La La

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00

Grupo Irakere - Chekere

July 31st, 2012

Grupo Irakere - ChekereGRUPO IRAKERE

  • Chekere
  • Cuba
  • 1976
  • Finland

1973 formed Irakere is no doubt one of the best known groups that ever came from Cuba and they’re one of the most influental bands too. They created their own style with mixing together almost everything rhythmic they heard; jazz, funk, rock and traditional Cuban rhythms. They were busy with album recordings and even more busy with travelling around the world. They also used to record albums wherever they were performing and that was the case in Finland too. Irakere visited Finland in 1976 to play at the Turku Jazz festival and at the same time they visited the Finnvox Studio in Helsinki to cut an album that was then released on Finnish Love Records‘ Cuban music oriented sublabel Cuba. Otto Donner produced the album by the way. The time they visited Finland they weren’t yet known in the United States and they were playing with their original tight line up with Oscar and Chucho Valdés, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Jorge Alfonso and Enrique Plá among others.

Album starts with one of the best version I have heard of their standard “Chekere son”, a great funky son track with tight start and a nice break. Then comes two mellow tracks “38½” and “En nosotros”. They’re followed by another funky uptempo one, the magnificent studio version of “Juana 1600″. Side b opens with similar sounding uptempo Cuban funk track “Moja el pan”. It’s followed by Chucho Valdes‘ piano track “Este camino largo”. Then comes “Xiomara” that starts with a heavy beat and continue as a groovy midtempo vocal number. Last track is the horn driven Cuban funk track “Illa” with some serious fuzz guitar, heavy percussion work and a sort of a break.


Chekere son


38½


En nosotros


Juana 1600


Moja el pan


Este camino largo


Xiomara


Illa

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00

Stevie Wonder - Journey through the secret life of plants

July 28th, 2012

Stevie Wonder - Secret Life Of PlantsSTEVIE WONDER

  • Journey through the secret life of plants
  • Motown
  • 1979
  • USA

Times have passed with this blog and a quite big amount of posts have been released during the few years. To celebrate the record post number 100 I’ll bring up the very first bboy related album I have ever bought. Or at least this was the first one strictly intended only for playing for bboys back in the late 1990s.

As a soundtrack score to a document about plants, Journey through the secret life of plants is exactly what you think it would be. Mostly ambient sounds mixed with occasional melodies and strange vocals, almost if it was a new age recording. It was originally made only for the documentary film, but later Motown decided to release the score as a new Stevie Wonder album. It was supposed to be kind of a sequel album to much praised Songs in the key of life. I guess fans back then were as confused as I am still about this album, it’s so different from the previous material what we used to hear from Wonder. Journey through the secret life of plants was by the way the first album where digital sampling synthesizer, Computer Music Melodian, was used.

Wonder created the film score through a complex process of collaboration. The film’s producer, Michael Braun, described each visual image in detail, while the sound engineer, Gary Olzabal, specified the length of a passage. This information was processed to a four-track tape (with the film’s sound on one of the tracks), leaving Wonder space to add his own musical accompaniment. The result is an underscore that, at times, closely mimics the visual images on the screen.
(Wikipedia)

Among the subtle ambience of the underscore tracks can however be found a true gem. The first track on side d, “A seed’s a star / tree medley”, is one of the best of these so called less known Stevie tracks. It easily moves people on dancefloors everywhere with it’s hypnotic uptempo groove. I think I’ll never get bored to this song. From the background chanting at the end you can hear repeatedly the name of another interesting track on this album, “Kesse ye lolo de ye”. It’s a track with raw drumming with several different percussions, kora melodies and chanting. Not typical Stevie at all. And that’s not all. Downtempo dramatic “Power flower” is also quite a good track and the hypnotic eight minute uptempo disco track “Race babbling” is the last one the mention. The rest of the album is that documentary score type of strange music with titles like “Earth’s creation”, “The first garden”, “Venus’ flytrap and the bug”, “Black orchid”, “Ecclesiastes” and so on. This album is quite common and really undervalued musically in general. Every home should have a copy of it…


Power flower


Kesse ye lolo de ye


Race babbling


A seed’s a star / tree medley

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00
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