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Dillard Crume and The Soul Rockers - Singing the hits of today

July 25th, 2012

Dillard Crume And The Soul Rockers - Singing The Hits Of TodayDILLARD CRUME AND THE SOUL ROCKERS

  • Singing the hits of today
  • Alshire records
  • 1969
  • USA

Missouri born Dillard Crume knew already in his childhood that he wanted to be a gospel singer. That happened right after the family had moved to Chicago, Illinois when a gospel group was formed out of the Crume brothers. The Crumes did have a pretty huge family, there was eigt boys and two girls so forming a group wasn’t that hard. Six of the brothers formed the group and it was called - surprisingly - The Crume Brothers. That time young Dillard was only nine years old but still strongly into singing, as he was taught by his older brother A.C. Crume. The Crume Brothers did gain success and they became quite famous in their home town of Chicago. Ten years after the forming of The Crume Brothers Dillard was approached by the famous vocal group Five Blind Boys of Jackson, Mississippi to become their guitarist and backing singer. This was an offer not to be declined, so nineteen year old Dillard joined them and toured with them extensively throughout the United States. After the Five Blind Boys Crume became a member of the Highway QCs of Chicago, Illinois. That didn’t last long and he left the gospel scene for awhile playing r’n'b, rock n’ roll, blues, soul and whatever was popular, even calypso. Then in the late 1960s Dillard Crume formed his own band called The Soul Rockers. They did one album and toured all over the United States. After ten years of earthly life he returned to the gospel field as the lead singer of the world famous Soul Stirrers in 1976. Soul Stirrers was by the way the same group that brought up Sam Cooke years earlier. Dillard Crume has been an active singer to this very day and is still touring the world with his latest group Dillard Crume and the New Soul Stirrers.

This album by Dillard Crume and the Soul rockers is one of those popular cover albums released all over the world in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. It was released by the budget label Alshire. As said, the album is about soul, blues and funk covers from that era. There’s good versions of songs like Booker T & the MG’s‘ “Doin’ our thing”, Tony Joe White’s “Polk salad Annie” and The Isley Brothers‘ “That’s the way love is”. There’s three tracks that should be highlighted. The breakbeat driven funky soul number “Mini dress”. The Dyke & The Blazers hit “Let a woman be a woman let a man be a man”, also a good breakbeat driven dancefloor track with a nice break. And last but not least the best track on the album, James Brown hit “Mother popcorn”, here as a nice breakbeat version suitable for cyphers everywhere. Dillard Crume follows the original pretty strictly as he calls his horn player in the end “Maceo, c’mon, blow your horn”… On the other hand I have read rumors of Maceo Parker himself playing on this record so you never know. This album is really scarce except in Scandinavia. For some reason great share of the pressing was shipped to Finland and Sweden, although nowadays it pops out rarely even here.


Doin’ our thing


Polk salad Annie


That’s the way love is


Mini dress


Let a woman be a woman let a man be a man


Mother popcorn

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

Charles Williams - Love is a very special thing

July 19th, 2012

Charles Williams - Love is a very special thingCHARLES WILLIAMS

  • Love is a very special thing
  • EMI
  • 1975
  • Finland

Born in Columbus, Georgia, Charles Williams – not to be confused with the saxophonist Charles Williams who recorded for Mainstream records – started his musical career very early. He was only six when he had his first performance in a local church. Soon after a short period abroad, his family had moved to San Bernardino, California. Few years later, he started studying classical music at Music Teachers’ Association. By the late 1960s he had switched to rock and soul, and his first public performance from that period was in a religious concert in 1969 in front of 11000 people. And he got standing ovations. After a short period when he had a jazz trio called Sensations, he formed his own soul rock group called Manna. On that group was playing one Billy Carson, who followed Charles to Finland and later played drums and percussion with for example Jukka Tolonen and Timo Kojo. Billy Carson did by the way the first rap recording in Finland with Kojo in 1982 (it was released in 1983 on Kojo’s Time won’t wait album). They also recorded an album with Manna but it never got released - although the raw mix versions got some airplay in California. By the mid 1970s he had already recorded most of the tracks intended for his forthcoming album when he met a Finnish girl in Cali and followed her up north to Finland.

“When I got here I soon realised that there wasn’t that much soul music in Finland. One day I heard Kirka singing his cover of “Living for the city” and it sounded nice to me. I contacted his label (EMI) and I told I had done such music myself. They took my music for listening and they liked it. So next I went to the Marcus Music studio in Stockholm to do the final mixing for the album. Why Stockholm? Because I knew Marcus Music was the place in Scandinavia.”

The band backing Charles Williams on this album (except on “Reason to make you smile”, that was backed by Finnish musicians) was called Psalm 150. They were all white gospel-rock band - although they called themselves funky gospel band. They recorded two albums in mid 1970s but the second one remains unpublished to this very day. Their only album that came out was called Make up your mind and it was released in 1974 by Manna music. It’s also released in Sweden by Pilot if somebody got interested. I guess by the time Love is a very special thing was released, Finland wasn’t ready for soul music as sophisticated as this was. The album sold poorly and the distribution was very minimal, thence the album is extremely rare and in some circles very in demand.

Musically Love is a very special thing is very soulful and calm toned with strings and Williams’ falsetto. It starts with the blaxploitation anthem sounding instrumental “Theme from long road” with strong percussion work by Greg Eckler, wistful strings and very catchy horns stabs. Williams had said that this tune came to his mind while driving his car on a highway. There was nothing good on the radio so he started to hum something he wanted to hear. For me it’s clearly the best track on the album. Next is a guitar heavy ballad called “Helen”. It’s followed by the reason why the record is in demand, the crossover soul track “Standing in the way” where Williams does himself his own backing chorus. “Standing in the way” was also released as 45, but it’s ever rarer than the LP. It was also reissued on 45 by Lifesaver records ten years ago. Last track on side a is another ballad, “Reason to make you smile”, the only track that was composed and recorded in Finland. B-side starts with another funky midtempo soul track “Change it”, which was also on the a side of the “Standing in the way” 45. According to Williams it wasn’t intended to be for dancefloors, it was a reflection of a person shouting ‘I wanna change it’. Next comes again another ballad, the title track “Love is a very special thing” followed by the instrumental of “Standing in the way” called simply “Standing”. Finally the last track, epic ten minute “Your life” ends the album. It’s a main theme from the film Too late to wait - although I’m not sure if such film was ever made. Overall Love is a very special thing is quite a nice album as a listening experience, though I personally don’t consider it worth the 200-300 euros people keep asking for it.


Theme from long road


Standing in the way


Change it


Standing


Your life

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

The Creations - Groovy Love

July 16th, 2012

The Creations - Groovy LoveTHE CREATIONS

  • Groovy love
  • Gallo
  • 1974
  • South Africa

I have to say I don’t know anything about these guys expect they come from South Africa and they’re funky. It appears that there’s absolutely no info about them on the internet - or at least I can’t find any. That’s a shame because their sound is pretty tight and the record is a true curiosity. For some weird reason they, or their label Gallo, have censored three tracks from the album by scratching the record on their tracks. I fixed one of those when digitizing the album, but the other two I left alone. Maybe because they weren’t that good at all.

The album starts very strongly. First track “Soul satisfire” is very funky midtempo jam with loads of wah-wah, organ and synth melodies and even sort of a break. Next one, the instrumental “Follow me” starts as a funky midtempo jam before having a very hectic middle part and then getting back to mellow funkiness. There’s again very funky wah-wah’s, wailing organs and tight drumming on this one. Then comes another instrumental, time to time a little cheesy, but still mostly very good “Groovy love” with some wild organ work and funky guitars. Last track on side a is the best one on the album, “Treat me right”. It starts with a drum-guitar break and continues as a midtempo funky jam with nice guitar riffs, organ and funky drumming. They could’ve left some of the dominating electric guitar out though, it kinda disturbs me. First one on side b is “You’re gonna lose it”. It’s followed by “We feel great”, again a quite nice funky track. After that comes another standout track, the funky wah-wah and organ driven uptempo groover “Organ grinder”. It’s followed by “Chain reaction”. The last on side b is the mellow but groovy “Soul unlimited”


Soul satisfier


Follow me


Groovy love


Treat me right


We feel great


Organ grinder


Soul unlimited

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under africa, funk, soul | No Comments »

Kirka - Kirka

January 16th, 2012

Kirka - KirkaKIRKA

  • Kirka
  • Scandia
  • 1969
  • Finland

Right after his first full length, a “live” album called Kirka keikalla, was released this second album of Kiril “Kirka” Babitzin simply called Kirka. It was an album of studio recordings but it wasn’t actually an studio album. It was a compilation of his earlier recordings that were originally released as 45s between 1967 and 1969. So if you’re not a format purist and accept only these quite scarce 45s, this is your choice to get the good ones. The sound quality of this album is pretty ok compared to some other Scandia releases from the same period.

The albums starts with the breakthrough song of Kirka career, “Hetki lyö”, originally released in 1967. It’s a cover of “Beat the clock”, written by Richard Gottehrer and Jonathan Stroll and released by the US pop rock group The McCoys in 1967. It’s more rock and at the same time more funk than the original and somehow always gets people moving whenever it’s playing. Next one is a funky country track “Okolona river bottom band”, a cover of Bobbie Gentry’s original from 1968. “Kellon soiton kuulla saan” (literally “I can hear the bell toll”) is a cover of “No help from me”, the b-side track from the biggest selling hit “Green tambourine” of the US psychedelic pop rock band The Lemon Pipers, written by their headman, Ivan Browne. Originally it was released in 1967, Kirka recorded this almost the same sounding version a year later. Next to mention is “Pitkän tien pää” (literally “End of the long road”). A pretty good cover of the 1969 original “Spinning wheel” by Blood, Sweat & Tears. it has hard drums, nice horns and all, but sadly no break. There’s however two tracks over the others on this one. “Yksinäisyys kolkuttaa” (literally “loneliness is knocking”), a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “Happy” from 1969, written by Lee Hazlewood. It’s a funky uptempo groover and in my opinion, it’s even better than the original. The wailing organ solo of Esko Linnavalli in the middle of the song is really amazing and reminds me of the Alan Hawkshaw stuff. In this album is also included four songs from the Jörn Donner movie 69, “Alku kaiken kauniin”, “Igor”, “Mr. wonderful” and “Voin haaveesi täyttää”.

In an interview Kirka tells that Jörn Donner was making a movie at that time and needed the music for it. So he rushed into the Scandia office and told that he needed a singer, a good one, and he knew Scandia had one. So Donner picked up Kirka to sing the soundtrack songs that were first released on a four track 45 ep and later on Kirka’s self titled debut studio album. Kirka also tells that Donner already had in mind some songs made by Claes af Geijerstam that were already recorded in Sweden and he wanted Kirka to sing them in Finnish.
- shapeoffinnstocome.blogspot.com

So Kirka did sing his raw vocals to these four tracks and the rest is history. Included in these four songs is the toughest track on the album, an uptempo funk track called “Igor”. It starts with an open break and soon the bass joins in. In the middle there’s a solo that sounds much like sitar and therefore “Igor” has been labeled widely as a psychedelic sitar funk track. But it’s actually not a sitar, it’a a regular guitar with really loose strings and they just made it sound like a sitar. Innovative huh? Jörn Donner also made an international release of his movie and he wanted an international version of the soundtrack too. So he took the same four soundtrack songs sung this time in English by the Swedish rock singer Tommy Körberg. And there was included of course “Igor the dog”. But that’s another story and I’ll tell you about it later. Nowadays Kirka album is quite hard to find and not that cheap. But it’s still an original and beats easily those youtube ripped mp3’s people seem to be playing in bboy jams these days.


Hetki lyö


Okolona river bottom band


Kellon soiton kuulla saan


Pitkän tien pää


Yksinäisyys kolkuttaa


Igor

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under europe, funk, pop, rock, soul | No Comments »

James Brown - Hey America it’s Christmas

December 23rd, 2011

James Brown - Hey AmericaJAMES BROWN

  • Hey America it’s Christmas
  • Polydor
  • 1970
  • USA

Of the three Christmas albums James Brown did between 1966 and 1970, Hey America it’s Christmas was the last. It was first released in 1970 on King records with a different cover and then a little later the same year on Polydor with this black cover.

There’s eight songs on this album and most of them are Christmas ballads, a little politically tinted at times of course. It was 1970, so it was natural to have political awareness. The title track “Hey America” starts the album with a funky uptempo breakbeat drumming and vocals about having a Christmas peace all across the nation and so on. Basic Christmas spirit stuff you know. The beats are not that heavy on the track but it’s still among the best on this album. Another good one is “Go power at Christmas”, a midtempo Christmas funk track with James talking about Christmas spirit over a horn breakdown in the middle. Third one worth to mention is “I’m your Christmas friend, don’t be hungry”, a midtempo funk track with a lot of horns. Don’t get me wrong, I like the rest of the songs too, they’re guaranteed James Brown stuff but still a little too mellow for me. “Hey America” was also released as an 45 and some versions of that single have “Hey America part 2″ on the flipside. So if you want this three and half minute instrumental of that track along the vocal version from the album, you need to get the 45 too.


Hey America (album version)


Go power at Christmas


I’m your Christmas friend, don’t be hungry


Hey America part 2 (7″ version)

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under christmas, funk, soul | No Comments »

Please - Manila thriller

November 20th, 2011

Please - Manila ThrillerPLEASE

  • Manila thriller
  • Telefunken
  • 1976
  • West Germany

Please was a band that consisted of bunch of Filipinos located in West Germany during the 1970s. The fellows Roy David (trumpet), Carlos David Jr. (guitar), Lito Cruz (trumpet and percussion), Manuel Santa Maria (trombone and percussion), Mariano Santa Maria (drums) and Roberto Vilegges (bass) formed this band that released two albums and several 45’s on German Telefunken label before vanishing into obscurity. The story does not tell how and why they were in Germany, but at least they did pretty good job when it comes to funky music.

Manila thriller was the second album of Please and it was released in 1976. I’m pretty sure the title refers to the legendary “Thrilla in Manila”, the heavyweight boxing championship fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier that took place at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Manila on October 1, 1975. The cover of the album also supports that, otherwise it would’ve been quite weird and disturbing. Although the main focus of the album seems to be on sweet soulful music, there’s some discoid funk business too. There’s midtempo funky soul such as “I’m gonna take care of business” and “Good stuff”, uptempo disco’ish soul like “Flaming lady” and then there’s also uptempo disco funk tracks like “Please yourself” and “Ego trippin’”, the latter having a nice break in the beginning and in the end.


Good stuff


I’m gonna take care of business


Please yourself


Flaming lady


Ego trippin’

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under disco, europe, funk, soul | No Comments »

The Rob Franken Organization - Ob-la-di ob-la-da

November 11th, 2011

Rob Franken Organization - Ob-la-di Ob-la-daTHE ROB FRANKEN ORGANIZATION

  • Ob-la-di ob-la-da
  • RCA Camden
  • 1969
  • Netherlands

1941 born Rob Franken was one of the key figures of all European organ players in the 1960s and 1970s. He was the first European to master the Fender Rhodes electric piano and among the first to handle the Hammond B3 organ. Although he was mostly obsessed with the Fender Rhodes throughout the late 1960s, the Hammond was the instrument he was best remembered for. Rob Franken started his career with the folk duo Esther & Abi Ofarim, then he moved to play with Klaus Weiss Trio in the mid 1960s. Soon after he formed his legendary own small combo, The Rob Franken Organization. The Organization released two albums - ‘Pon my soul in 1967 and Ob-la-di ob-la-da in 1969. He also played as a pianist of Toots Thielemans and a permanent organist / keyboard played for Peter Herbolzheimer Rhythm Combination and Brass. During his relatively short career, Franken played in over 400 records and was a very much liked person among session musicians. His sudden and unexpected death due to an internal hemorrhage at the age of 42 in 1983 ended his glorious career - only three days after his last recording session with the Rhythm Combination and Brass.

This second album by The Rob Franken Organization was fully an instrumental album. And it consisted of both covers and of original material. It’s mostly Hammond driven uptempo breakbeat funk in a strong Mohawks manner. During this second album the line-up was the following: Rob Franken on organ, Piet Hein Veening on bass, Joop Scholten on guitar and Louis Deby on drums. Let’s start with the title track “Ob-la-di ob-la-da”. It’s a very funky uptempo version of this well known Beatles track, although that song always reminds me of that tv-series called Life goes on. Other uptempo funkers include titles like “Black jack”, “Bottle blue”, “Catch fire”, “Hunky dory”, “Lucky strike” and “Scintilla. The only midtempo track is the rough funk cut “Hop toad”. Few downtempo soul instrumentals are also included. Overall this is one of the tightest albums ever released in the Continental Europe.


Ob-la-di ob-la-da


Scintilla


Catch fire


Bottle blue


Black Jack


Hop toad

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under Uncategorized, asia, europe, funk, soul | No Comments »

The spirit of Atlanta - The burning of Atlanta

October 24th, 2011

spirit of atlanta - burning of atlantaTHE SPIRIT OF ATLANTA

  • The burning of Atlanta
  • Buddah records
  • 1973
  • USA

Let’s start with a little history lesson to get the picture what’s with the name and meaning of this album. During the US civil war Atlanta was a very important hub of war supplies for the Confederacy. Therefore it was a main target for the the Union army. In 1864 general William Sherman took over the city after a four month siege and ordered all civilian population to be evacuated. After that he burned the city to ashes saving only churches and hospitals. Atlanta however rose from these ashes and the Phoenix bird has been the official symbol of the city since 1888.

In 1973 actor Ed Waller dropped by Lance-Arnold Recording Studios (owned by Herb Lance and Calvin Arnold) to see producer Tommy Stewart (of “Bump and hustle music” fame) who was at the moment producing several r’n'b and funk artists. With Waller was a gentlemen by the name of Bill Stokes. He was carrying a hand-sketched script of a proposed movie and he needed Stewart to write the musical score for his upcoming “The Burning of Atlanta Movie”. The movie would’ve been about the Atlanta underworld during the rise of the city after the 1864 burning. Stewart started to write the score right away and in May of 1973 and they premiered the musical score at the new Atlanta International Hotel with G.C. Coleman’s band - the band was renamed The Spirit of Atlanta before the premiere. G.C. Coleman is by the way the drummer behind the most sampled drum break in the history of music - the Amen break.

So there it was, a fresh panoramic scope of a classic blaxploitation soundtrack full of great tracks. But for a reason or another, the movie were never released. The supposed-to-be soundtrack was however released on Buddah records by the name The burning of Atlanta. As said, the music is very strong blaxploitation material that reminds me very much of the great Superfly soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield. There’s even an answer song to that soundtrack - intentional or unintentional, that I don’t know - called “Freddie’s alive and well”. You all remember “Freddie’s dead”, right? “Freddie’s alive and well” is an uptempo blaxploitation funk track with lots of wah wah, catchy vocals and a long drum break with some percussions. One of my all time favorite songs I should say. Another uptempo track, “Messin’ around”, is quite similar but instrumental funky groover. Then there’s “Hunter street”, another uptempo blaxploitation track with a strong chase feeling. Maybe it was intended to be placed on the movie’s chase sequence. Tommy Stwewart used to work part-time at Johnson’s Music Store on Hunter Street and that’s where he supposingly got the name for the track. Hunter Street was later named Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Clarence Carter was also involved with the album. He sung the vocals in “Buttermilk bottom”, a very funky soul tune with a strong classic blaxploitation feel in it. Buttermilk bottom was a crime ridden neighborhood considered by the city leaders as a slum. They decided that the entire neighborhood needed to go and it was torn down to make way for the Atlanta Civic Center, opened in 1968. Another mellow funky soul track is “Peachtree street”, and that street is the main street of the city of Atlanta. “Auburn avenue” instead is a midtempo funky soul track - again with a very strong blaxploitation feel. Auburn avenue in Atlanta include Sweet Auburn, a historic African-American neighborhood. Last two tracks on the album are “Vine city”, an instrumental downtempo funk groover and “Down underground”, a midtempo instrumental with catchy horns. I reckon this album among the best funk albums ever made, that’s how great it really is.


Buttermilk bottom


Auburn avenue


Down underground


Hunter street


Messin’ around


Freddie’s alive and well

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

Devils - 2 집

October 18th, 2011

Devils - 2DEVILS

  • 2 집
  • 아세아 (Asia records)
  • 1974
  • South Korea

founded in 1969, Devils was a six piece South Korean soul and rock band that released four albums between 1971 and 1977. Their second album 2 집 (Vol. 2) was released in 1974 and the band had already really strong orientation for funk and especially soul. The album was also known with the name 철창 (Behind bars), which the cover also reflects. During the times of this second album, the lineup was following: 홍필주 (Hong, Pil-Joo) on trumpet, 최성근 (Choe, Seong-Geun) on keyboards and tenor saxophone, 채완식 (Chae, Wan-Sik) on bass, 김명길 (Kim, Myeong-Gil) on guitar, 박문 (Bak, Mun) on tenor saxophone and 유기원 (Yoo, Gee-Won) on drums. Devils was sort of a trailblazer on the early 1970s soul boom in South Korea. You can hear that on their music. It’s very soulful with clear influences of the American soul and funk music. And it’s sung in Korean.

Among the soulful ballads there’s several midtempo groovers. Like “몰라요 몰라” (Mollayo Molla) - meaning “I don’t know, I don’t know” - with it’s horn stabs, funky soul beat and catchy lyrics is a very nice soul track. Another midtempo soul track with funky soul beat is “별들에게” (Byeoldeul-Ege). My favorite of these midtempo soul groovers is “괜찮아” (Gwaenchanh-a) - meaning “Fine” - with a quite strict beat, horns and some guitarwork at the end. There’s even a short break included. The album is of course not only about soul, there’s some funk too. “태양을 향하여” (Taeyang-Eul Hyanghayeo) - “Towards the sun” in English - is a cover of Kool & The Gang’s “Kool’s back again” from their 1969 debut album. Vol. 2 is in many ways a very marvellous album. With it’s Korean singing ja groovy ways of music, it’s also a very sympathetic one. It’s one of my favorite Asian records of all times.


Mollayo molla


Byeoldeul-ege


Gwaenchanh-a


Taeyang-eul hyanghayeo

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under asia, funk, soul | No Comments »

Boris Gardiner - Every nigger is a star

October 6th, 2011

Boris Gardiner - Every Nigger Is a StarBORIS GARDINER

  • Every nigger is a star
  • Leal
  • 1973
  • Jamaica

I have to say that when I first became aware of this record, I thought the name was at least a little bit controversially dubious. And it still is even though the n-word has established as a some kind of a ghetto standard. Every nigger is a star is a soundtrack to a totally forgotten 1973 Jamaican movie starring blaxploitation-smoochie Calvin Lockhart of West-Indian heritage. They propably tried to turn the meaning of the n-word upside down for the black population of Jamaica with this movie to make it more positive term. The film however flopped and sank into obscurity - maybe for good reasons.

Even though the movie more or less disappeared from the earth, the soundtrack didn’t. Handful of copies survived and were the grails of some hardcore collectors until last year, when Jazzman finally reissued the whole soundtrack. West Indian born Boris Gardiner made the whole soundtrack together with his brother Barrington Gardiner. The music is played by Boris’ band The Boris Gardiner Happening. It’s a fine cross-section of 1970s Jamaican music scene. The music varies from smooth soul ballads to sweet reggae songs and from Caribbean jazziness to heavyweight funk. The acoustic title track “Every nigger is a star” is a fine example the smooth side of the Gardiners. Uptempo classic “Ghetto funk” and downtempo “Funky nigger” instead represent the heavy Jamaican funk at it’s best. The great Caribbean jazz-funk track “Negril” is also worth to mention. For further reading, Boris Gardiner talks about the title track in an interview on The Gleaner.


Funky nigger


Ghetto funk


Negril

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