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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, filed under asia, christmas, jazz | 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 »

Matti Oiling - Happy jazz band

November 29th, 2011

Matti Oiling - Happy Jazz BandMATTI OILING

  • Happy jazz band
  • Finnlevy
  • 1970
  • Finland

Happy jazz band was the debut album of Matti Oiling’s band Oiling Boiling. Well, at this point they still called themselves Happy Jazz Band. Although the album is credited to Matti Oiling, it’s clearly an Oiling Boiling album. It’s very similar to their second album Oiling Boiling but somehow more raw and primitive. In a good way of course. In 1971 they did one soundtrack 45 to a movie called Saatanan radikaalit under the name Matti Oiling’s Happy jazz band. Right before they changed their name to Oiling Boiling. The line-up is pretty much the same as in Oiling boiling, although there was some changes and some additional musicians playing at the latter album. There’s a tight small combo playing in this one. Matti Bergström on Fender bass, Paroni Paakkunainen on saxophones, flute and African finger piano, Nono Söderberg on guitar, Tuomo Tanska on organ and Matti Oiling on drums and percussions.

Here are the sleeve notes from the album

Can you imagine a lathe-hand who does lathing in his time off? Or a brick-layer who lays bricks for relaxation after his day’s work? Hard to picture, isn’t it? But I do know a number of professional musicians who relax by making music after a hard and sometimes quite exhausting session at the studio. But the difference lies in what you play in your leisure time. The musicians performing on this record have found a musical form that brings satisfaction and variation and gives them the chance to experiment and to create something new and still untried. That’s real work therapy.

Matti Oiling - a first-class drummer - has gathered around him a number of fellow musicians whose vision and musical comprehension are harmonious and whose ways of thinking run parallel. They are all musicians of the young generation, to whom pop music and jazz music are equally close and whose artistic resources provide them with an opportunity of blending these musical elements. And when they want to make music, the music they make is pervaded by a sense of cheerfulness and humour. You’ll really enjoy this LP. Matti Oiling’s solo - something he cooked up himself - is called “Oiling Boiling”. The recipe, with spices, is provided by Matti himself. The “sound” idea is produced on a Lesley accessory. Paroni Paakkunainen’s soaring imagination is a triumph. His musical skill, uninhibited and humour-imbued, is full of surprises and a wicked Mephistophelean laughter pops up in his performances. Among his many instruments is the Bengal flute - featured in the piece by that same name. He has an impressive range of musical color. Matti Bergström - apart from his Fender bass - introduces his Bascello, which lends its very “different” sound to the item entitled “Stratosphere Inspiration”. Nono Söderberg performs his solo “3/8 Of Nono” on his 1-Watt guitar amplifier - not to save the ears of the rest of the group but just to produce the right instrumental color. Tuomo Tanska - organist, pianist and arranger - also appears on this disc as a composer. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (Setä Tuomon tupa) is his musical vision of a classic work. Thanks to this record I have spent a very rewarding forty-five minutes - and listening to it, one can only feel a gluttonous delight in its surprising and revitalizing musical ideas. Pop and jazz fans will find something that distinguishes this LP record from other LPs - a terrific dose of happy music.
- Ossi Runne, Conductor, Finnish Broadcasting Company TV1

I must say that Happy jazz band is a one truly great album and well worth to get. It’s kind of a mix between 1960s soul jazz, funky drumming, jazzfunk fusion, contemporary jazz sounds and traditional songs with a twist of Slavic melancholy and some weird vocals. And it’s strong from the beginning. The opening track, maybe some kind of a theme song, “Oiling boiling” starts with a banging break with additional tumbas played by Martti Metsäketo. There’s over a minute of drum-tumba breakbeat with some really weird vocals, then a short bridge and then the breakbeat continues again to the full almost two and half minutes length. Great song although it’s still quite unclear to me what are they talking about. As said in the sleeve notes, “Setä Tuomon tupa” (literally “Uncle Tuomo’s cabin”) is a composition of Tuomo Tanska, and you can hear that. It’s almost six minutes long midtempo organ driven r’n'b flavored track with heavy organ improvisation of Tanska that remind me somehow of the works of Jimmy McGriff and Jimmy Smith. “Baron’s beat” is a strong soul jazz track with really nice organs. It’s just too short, only two and half minutes. “Africa” instead is over seven minute jazz track with some great guitarwork of Nono Söderberg and really groovy drumming. The last track, “Pässi ja porkkana” (”A ram and a carrot”) has a quite slow start but turns into a great uptempo jazzfunk track with heavy breakbeat drumming of Oiling, wild guitars of Söderberg and wailing saxes of Paakkunainen. In the middle there’s a sort of a hectic break too. While the original is pretty rare and fetches serious prices around hundred euros, there’s a reissue from 2002 that should be more easily obtained.


Oiling boiling


Setä Tuomon tupa


Baron’s beat


Africa


Pässi ja porkkana

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

Geraldo Pino & The Heartbeats - Let’s have a party

November 26th, 2011

Geraldo Pino - Let's Have a PartyGERALDO PINO & THE HEARTBEATS

  • Let’s have a party
  • EMI Nigeria
  • 1970
  • Nigeria

Geraldo Pino was born in Sierra Leone, but moved to Nigeria via Ghana quite early. He was one of the originators of afrobeat in the early 1960s when he was mixing highlife, funk and jazz together in his music. Actually the often credited pioneer of afrobeat and the most famous musician that ever came from Nigeria, Fela Kuti, wasn’t playing afrobeat since day one of his career, but only after he was exposured to Pino’s styles.

This is how afrobeat legend Fela Kuti later recalled the situation

“I was playing highlife jazz when Geraldo Pino came to town in ‘66 or a bit earlier with soul - that’s what upset everything, man. He came to town with James Brown’s music, singing “Hey, hey, I feel all right, ta ta ta ta…” And with such equipment you’ve never seen, man. This man was tearing Lagos to pieces. After seeing this Pino, I knew I had to get my shit together. And quick!”

Throughout the 1960s Pino continued to perform highlife jazz and afrobeat until he slided more and more to afrofunk in the late 1960s. He was also more and more influenced by James Brown in music writing and in his performances. In 1970 was released one of the hardest afrofunk albums out of Nigeria, Let’s have a party by Geraldo Pino and his band The Heartbeats. As it was typical for the afrofunk records, there is only six songs on the album, but quality is what counts. And the length of the songs, which is also typical for the afrobeat and afrofunk songs. Although Pino was eventually overshadowed by Fela and other afrobeat stars, his legacy still lives throughout the few albums he made.

There’s no weak points on this album, not even any decent tracks. All the songs are really tough, uptempo English sung afrofunk with electric piano, organ, heavy percussion and guitar work. There’s even some bad ass breaks included here. I must admit that all the tracks sound quite much alike though. That don’t bother me of course, because I find them all very amusing. “Africans must unite” is the only song that starts as a quite mellow groover but soon turns into an uptempo afrofunk track in a way the rest of the songs are. “Let them talk” and “Power to the people” both have long and tough break in the middle. The original is practically impossible to find and the Soundway reissue from 2005 also fetches some prices, so grab it with no hesitation if you see it somewhere.


Africans must unite


Heavy heavy heavy


Power to the people


Shake hands


Let them talk


Let’s have a party

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

Sugar Loaf - Soul strutting

October 21st, 2011

Sugar Loaf - Soul StruttingSUGAR LOAF

  • Soul strutting
  • RCA International Camden
  • 1970
  • UK

Sugar Loaf was a small, tight funk outfit from UK. It’s sound was quite close to those great UK hammond funk acts like Mohawks, Ugly Custard or The Power Pack and of course the sound of the funky British library companies like KPM, Themes, De Wolfe and Boosey & Hawkes for example. According to the sleeve notes, they played mostly at the American air force bases to entertain the US troops located in UK during the 1960s and 1970s.

Tracks vary from downtempo, gritty Memphis-funk to uptempo Brit-funk á la Alan Hawkshaw. Songs are mostly tough and funky covers of contemporary funk and soul songs and then there’s few original compositions by the Sugar Loaf headman Tony Evans. Especially “Hard down” (written by Evans) is a top class uptempo organ driven breakbeat track. Very similar is the organ driven cover of James Brown classic “Papa’s got a brand new bag”, a very funky version too. Third one to mention is the track called “Black”. It’s credited to be made by “Jackson” and “Love“, although I have no slightest idea who they are. Maybe members of the band or something. Last example song is the instrumental version of Barbara Acklin’s “Am I the same girl” called “Soulful strut” (originally recorded with that name by The Young-Holt Unlimited) that gets here a very nice treatment. I have to say this album is a really good one from the beginning to the end. Especially if you’re a fan of British hammond funk like me.


Black


Hard down


Papa’s got a brand new bag


Soulful strut

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

Guy Pederson & Raymond Guiot - Contrebasses

March 9th, 2011

Guy Pedersen - ContrebassesGUY PEDERSEN & RAYMOND GUIOT

  • Contrebasses
  • Tele music
  • 1970
  • France

Established in the late 1960s, Paris based Tele music may not be as famous as the bigger French production library companies like Montparnasse 2000 or Chappell, but it was equally good when it comes to funky library releases. Contrebasses from 1970 was a concept album composed by well known session musicians Guy Pedersen and Raymond Guiot. The musical scenery is built around the bass sound but there’s of course other instruments involved too than the double bass of Guy Pedersen - drums and percussion played by André Arpino and flute, piano and harpsichord played by Raymond Guiot.

Music in Contrebasses is pretty much what it should be when it comes to a library release. Quite wide variety of styles from downtempo drama to uptempo funky beat. There’s three tracks that go over the others. Midtempo groovers “Indian pop bass” and “Les copains de la basse” and uptempo “Bass session”. Contrebasses is definitely one of funky ones among those countless French library records that were released.


Indian pop bass


Les copains de la basse


Bass session

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under europe, library, rare groove | 1 Comment »

Doris - Did you give the world some love today baby

February 27th, 2011

doris-did-you-give-the-world-some-love-today-babyDORIS

  • Did you give the world some love today baby
  • EMI Odeon
  • 1970
  • Sweden

Gothenburg born singer Doris Svensson started her singing career in 1960 at the age of 13. Nine years and few projects later she went to the studio to record her forst solo album, Svenssons Doris!. In 1970 EMI released this second album called Did you give the world some love today baby. It wasn’t an instant success, not even close. But 26 years later when it was first reissued, it aroused a lot of interest and became very sought after album among funk music collectors. This album is not a funk album however. It’s more of a mixture of soul, pop and rock with a lot of funk touch. Most of the tracks were composed by jazz-pianist Berndt Egerbladh, who also did the big band brass arrangements and played the organ. The heavy drumming on the album was played by Jan Carlsson (of the Hansson & Karlsson fame), guitar by Bengan Karlsson and bass by Doris’ husband Lukas Lindholm. The backing band was called Heta linjen.

This LP marks the highlight in the career of a talented Nordic blond vocalist - Doris Svensson from Gothenburg, Sweden. It seems as though she’s finally managed to find and record a set of songs that suit her 100%. Maybe this isn’t surprising when you consider the musical genius that went into writing and scoring the album. Most of the material was written and arranged by TV producer, jazz-pianist, composer, “rarely-out-of-the-news-man-about-town” Berndt Egerbladh. Lyrical assistance was generously provided by a 6 foot kiltless Scottish giant, Francis Cowan. Francis also plays the cello on a few tracks which explains why he’s kiltless. Anyway, quite a combination which gave a fantastic result, with a little help from the producer Håkan Sterner. Incidentally, Håkan found the job so exciting that he was forced to retreat behind a beard after its completion.

Doris’ album provides 36 minutes of qualified musical jou guaranteed to satisfy all tastes. Discotheques will find that two numbers in particular, “Don’t” and “Beatmaker” are good box office draws. Jazz die-hards might even start visiting discotheques after digesting “I wish I knew” and “I’m pushing you out”. Note too an incredible ballad called “Daisies” and tell me if Sweden hasn’t produced a dangerous competitor for Melanie. Once again, this LP’s got something for everybody, the best of underground, jazz, rock and folk - not mixed up in one gigantic hotch-potch, but all in gentle harmony. Listen to Doris - a good time will be has by all.
(Liner notes by Roger Wallis)

First up is the funky downtempo pop-soul title tune “Did you give the world some love today baby” with some nice string and brass work. The country influenced but quite funky “Waiting an the station” and the psychedelic jazz track “You never come closer” are also worth to mention. The latter was very popular on the UK acid jazz scene of the 1990s. The best ones here however are the heavily funky soul-jazz tracks “Don’t” and “Beatmaker”, where the latter is definitely the winner in here with catchy lyrics and funky arrangements. Doris’ rough voice fits perfectly on these giving the reason to get this album whatever it takes. Can’t help it, I just got to love it.


Did you give the world some love today baby


Waiting an the station


You never come closer


Don’t


Beatmaker

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

Adam Best - Wall of sound

February 5th, 2011

Adam Best - Wall of SoundADAM BEST

  • Wall of sound
  • Fontana
  • 1970
  • UK

Who was Adam Best? Question that still remains unsolved to this very day. Back cover of Wall of sound tells us a story of him. He was an electronics student at college and built his own instruments from the scratch in his North London coal cellar. There is strong suspicions of his relations to Music De Wolfe sound libraries due the similarity in certain library records and this one, but nothing is proved. There’s even a picture of him in the back cover of Wall of sound. Or a picture of somebody, no one knows for sure. It doesn’t matter whether he was a real person or a product of somebody’s mind, the music is still the thing here. There’s five original compositions and seven cover takes of contemporary material. First track is an fast pace cover of “I’m a man”, originally recorded by Spencer Davis group in 1967. “High in grass” is an uptempo organ grinder despite its weed referring name. Similar but more psychedelic is the title track “Wall of sound”. “You shouldn’t say” is a nice midtempo funk track instead. The Edwin Starr cover “Twenty five miles” starts with a really hectic short break and continues as an uptempo organ driven dancefloor filler. Rest of the tracks are more or less cheesy easy listening stuff with no point of interest. An obscure little groover I should say.


You shouldn’t say


High in grass


Wall of sound


Twenty five miles


I’m a man

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under easy listening, europe, funk, latin funk | No Comments »

Billy Martin - Strawberry soul

January 28th, 2011

Billy Martin - Strawberry SoulBILLY MARTIN

  • Strawberry soul
  • Trans-World
  • 1970
  • Canada

Billy Martin was an American trumpeter immigrated in Canada (not to be confused with percussionist Billy Martin of the Medeski, Martin & Wood fame). He was kind of a star in Canadian r&b scene, but vanished without a trace after three released albums. This one, supposingly his third album, Strawberry soul, was released in 1970 on a Montreal based Trans-World label. It’s an all instrumental funk album with a lot of brass, wah wah and jazzy feelings. Songs on the album vary from laid back funk tracks to uptempo funk groovers. Good example of downtempo funkiness are tracks like “Egg roll”, “It’s your life” and “Funky feelin’”, which was a minor hit and can be found from his other album I turn you on aswell. There’s also a nice uptempo version of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon man” and two other dancefloor fillers “Phillie dog” and “Stax”. Overall Strawberry soul is a very strong funk album. The original is really hard to find, but it has been reissued few times.


Funky feelin’


Egg roll


It’s your life


Watermelon man


Phillie dog


Stax

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 16.43, filed under funk, north america | No Comments »

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 »
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