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Archive for January, 2011

The Jimmy Castor bunch - Phase two

January 9th, 2011

Jimmy Castor bunch - Phase twoTHE JIMMY CASTOR BUNCH

  • Phase two
  • RCA
  • 1972
  • USA

In the same year, shortly after the release of their greatest success, It’s just begun, The Jimmy Castor bunch released another album called Phase two. It uses the very same formula as in It’s just begun - funk with social awareness, pop hooks, gonzo comedy, fuzz guitar and latin rock elements. Despite the occasional feeling of some uninspired moments - like in “Luther the anthropoid (ape man)” that sounds a lot more like a remake of “Troglodyte (cave man)” than a sequel - Phase two is still somewhat a great album. In the book “Stairway to hell” (Da Capo Press Inc 1998) Phase two was even voted as the #10 heavy metal album of all times.

Castor’s Leroy-saga continues with the fuzzed latin funk/rock song “Say Leroy (The creature from the black lagoon is your father)” that was a pop chart hit. There’s two massive rockfunk/percussion breakdowns in this track too. The socially aware bboy classic “When?” guides the listeners through the hard life of the ghetto and at the same time grooves with a fuzz guitar drenched breakbeat frenzy. Then there’s latin flavored “Party time” and two mellow tracks “Paradise” and “The first time I saw your face”. The last track is a tribute to the greatest rock guitarist of all times, Jimi Hendrix, that Castor befriended with in the late 1960s after his first album. “Tribute to Jimi: Purple haze / Foxey ladey” is a great medley of Hendrix classics with Castor’s uncompromising funk-style.


Luther the anthropoid (ape man)


Say Leroy (The creature from the black lagoon is your father)


When?


Party life


Tribute To Jimi: Purple Haze / Foxey Lady

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under latin funk, north america | No Comments »

Coke Escovedo - Comin’ at ya!

January 7th, 2011

Coke Escovedo - Comin at yaCOKE ESCOVEDO

  • Comin’ at ya!
  • Mercury
  • 1976
  • USA

Thomas “Coke” Escovedo was an Oakland born percussionist who became known playing in Carlos Santana’s band. Later he went on his own and formed the latin rock group Azteca with his brother Pete Escovedo. Coke started his solo career in 1975 and released three albums. This second one, Comin’ at ya! was propably the best result. It was meant to be an attempt to please the ever-growing disco demand, and he succeeded pretty well. Glenn Symmonds on drums, Frank Mercurio on keyboards and synthesizers, Abel Zarate on guitar, Mark Phillips on bass and Coke himself on percussion form a tight combination. There’s also featuring artists Gabor Szabo playing guitar on one song and Joe Henderson playing tenor sax on three songs.

The songs on this albums are a mix between latin percussion driven mid 1970s uptempo disco and latin jazzrock fusion. “Diamond Dust / Vida” with Gabor Szabo’s guitar work is a good example of that latin fusion with a lot of percussion while “The breeze and I” instead is a cool disco track. “Runaway” is a midtempo track that starts with a nice break and continues as a vocal discofunk number. Best track no doubt is the uptempo dancefloor filler “I wouldn’t change a thing” that starts with a tight bboy break and goes on and on with really nice percussion driven beat and catchy vocals. Both “Runaway” and “I wouldn’t change a thing” were featured on the notorious Ultimate Breaks & Beats series.


The breeze and I


Runaway


I wouldn’t change a thing

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under disco, funk, north america | 1 Comment »

Upsetters - Eastwood rides again

January 5th, 2011

Upsetters - Eastwood rides againUPSETTERS

  • Eastwood rides again
  • Trojan
  • 1970
  • Jamaica

Upsetters was a studio band of Lee “Scratch” Perry that was formed in 1968. It’s quite hard to find any infos about the musicians on this album, but supposingly the line-up consists of former The Hippy Boys members Alva “Reggie” Lewis (guitar), Aston “Family Man” Barrett (bass), Carlton Barrett (drums) and Glen Adams (organ). The musicians were changing constantly and there was three major line-ups. The Hippy Boys line-up was the second one formed for the Lee Perry’s European tour in 1969.

By the cover you can maybe assume that the album is about Jamaican reworks of old western themes. The title and the cover picture indicate a close relation to some Ennio Morricone type of stuff. But what do you know. Nothing. All the songs - except one - are instrumental reggae tracks strongly influenced by soul, funk and rhythm n’ blues. The only vocal track is “Baby baby”, credited to saxophonist Val Bennet. The album is a collection of tracks produced by Perry with his unique experimentation on new sounds and recording techniques. And there’s no weak songs at all. For example the haunting title track along the funky “Power pack”, “Red hot”, “Tight spot” and the Eddie Floyd cover “Knock on wood”. On this album is also the frantic drum frenzy “Popcorn” that is well known from the dancefloors. Eastwood rides again is clearly one of the funkiest albums that ever came from Jamaica.


Popcorn


Power pack


Red hot


Tight spot


Knock on wood

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under caribbean, funk, reggae | No Comments »

Various - Heavy Rock

January 3rd, 2011

Various - Heavy rockMIKI ANTONY & TOM PARKER / IRVING MARTIN & BRIAN DEE

  • Heavy rock
  • Bruton Music
  • 1978
  • UK

I bought this way back from a record fair for two euros. I bought it because it was cheap, it was published by Bruton and it sounded suspicious. Little did I know that there was actually a really great bboy track with breaks and all plus some other really great songs too. I guess one should never judge a record by it’s cover (or the title).

Bruton Music is a London based library music label that was founded in 1977 by Robin Phillips and is still functioning to this day. They have a really wide variety of music from action themes to classical and everything in between. Bruton Music has also a sublabel called Peer International, that have a small amount of releases and almost all of them are pretty good. Bruton Music was briefly owned (from 1982 to 1985) by the king of pop himself, Michael Jackson, who was a fan of their releases. Many of the releases by Bruton sounded like they’re straight from some British cop series from the 1970s with compositions minding of chase scenes and other action or dramatic sequences. But not this one. I’m not sure what they even meant when naming this album Heavy rock, because this ain’t even close to the term heavy rock as we know it. Although this was not originally brought up by Bruton, but it was first released by a small production library company called The Regency Line in 1975. Anyways, maybe back then in 1975 heavy rock meant guitar driven heavy groove, because that’s what this album is about. And that guitar work still disturbs me a little.

Miki Antony and Tom Parker were responsible for all the songs in side A. While Tom Parker is a pretty well known multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger, Miki Antony instead seems to be mostly a session musician involved mainly with library music only. Together they did anyways the best track on this album, magnificent rock’ish afrofunk track “Portugalia” with wailing fuzz guitars and a quite long percussion break in the middle. Other ones on the first side ain’t bad either, electric guitar driven funky library music in general. For example uptempo bboy/chase funk track “Tension in the city”, uptempo half minute percussion beat “The mysteries of Mars” and the midtempo funk groover “Dirty Rat”. All tracks except the last one on side B were composed by the accomplished library music duo Irving Martin and Brian Dee, who were involved with other library labels too. Their side is a little different from the A side. It varies more from bluesy and mellow easy listening to pace rhythms and even reggae. Their best track is fast beat track “Havin’ a ball”. There’s also one song composed by Norman Warren on the B side called “C for Charlie”, and what a song it is. Really cool and mellow funk track as a balance to this otherwise hectic album. The only minus is that most of the songs are only minute or so long as it’s normal for the library albums. At least six of the tracks from this album was used in the British police drama series The Sweeney.


Miki Antony & Tom Parker - Portugalia


Miki Antony & Tom Parker - Tension in the city


Miki Antony & Tom Parker - Dirty rat


Miki Antony & Tom Parker - The mysteries of Mars


Irving Martin & Brian Dee - Havin’ a ball


Norman Warren - C for Charlie

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under europe, funk, funkrock, library | No Comments »

Dave Pike set - Noisy silence, gentle noise

January 1st, 2011

Dave Pike set - Noisy silence, gentle noiseDAVE PIKE SET

  • Noisy silence - gentle noise
  • MPS
  • 1969
  • Germany

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Dave Pike started out his career backing for artists such as Dexter Gordon, Harold Land, Carl Perkins and so on. In the early 1960s he started playing vibraphone with flautist Herbie Mann. In the late 1960s his music became more experimental and his move to Germany started an era that produced some of the most original jazz recordings of the time. He formed the Dave Pike set with guitarist Volker Kriegel, drummer Peter Baumeister and bassist Hans (Johann-Anton) Rettenbacher and together they recorded several albums. From these Got the feelin’ (1969) and Noisy silence, gentle noise (1969) are clearly the most funky and grooving.

Noisy silence, gentle noise is a mixture between free jazz, soul jazz and bop with a hint of orient flavor due to the sitar work of Volker Kriegel. The best and at the same time the most well-known track is the sitar-banger “Mathar” that has been played and compiled million times all around. Of course there’s a pretty good reason for that, it’s one of the best sitar-funk songs ever made. After the 35 second sitar intro the song is banging all the way through with a breakbeat drums and psychedelic sitar sounds. There’s also some other pretty good jazz tracks. “I’m on my way” and “Walkin’ down the highway in a red raw egg” for example. Too bad this album is quite rare and mostly overpriced. Even the reissue from 2000 can fetch over 40 euro price tag nowadays. There’s also 45 of “Mathar” and several different format reissues around.


Mathar


Walkin’ down the highway in a red raw egg


I’m on my way

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under europe, jazz | No Comments »
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