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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, filed under christmas, jazz, north america | No Comments »

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 »

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, filed under europe, rock | No Comments »

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, filed under disco, europe, library | No Comments »

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, filed under funk, jazz, latin, south america | No Comments »

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, filed under disco, funk, north america | No Comments »

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, filed under afro-cuban, caribbean, europe | No Comments »

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 »

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 »

The Button Down Brass - Firedog!

July 13th, 2012

Button Down Brass - FiredogTHE BUTTON DOWN BRASS

  • Firedog!
  • DJM records
  • 1976
  • UK

The Button Down Brass’ Firedog! is somewhat the UK equivalent to the Cop show themes. The sound is quite similar and there’s four songs that appear in both albums. The Button Down Brass was one of the top notch British easy listening / lounge bands. In their 21 active years they released dozens of albums, participated in production library records and other projects. Too bad most of their recordings are very uninteresting lounge cheese. Luckily there are some exceptions to that. The Button Brown Brass was led by one of the foremost musicians in UK, Ray Davies - not to be confused with The Kinks frontman with the same name. Within his over 50 year career, Davies has worked with pretty much everyone worth to mention; The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Liza Minelli, Burt Bacharach, Quincy Jones, Henry Mancini and so on. So when The Button Down Brass were recording all the covers they did, Davies was the man to do the arrangements and he also conducted them. Ravies was of course doing some original compositions too.

The 1976 released album Firedog! is one of the best The Button Down Brass ever recorded, along with the other album from the same period, Funk in hell, it’s also the most funky. Although the slight easy listening cheesiness is creeping in time to time. Albums starts with the “Theme from Police story”, the theme from the NBC crime drama Police story, originally composed by Jerry Goldsmith. With some weird moog sounds and funky horns it’s a nice uptempo detective funk track. Next up is Morton Stevens composition “Hawaii 5-0”, It’s quite similar to original first, but then there’s a funky middle part with a percussion break that makes it interesting. While “Hawaii 5-0” is better than the Henry Mancini version, the next one also on both albums, “Theme from Police woman” is not that banging than the one in Cop show themes. But despite the slight lazyness, the melancholic trumpet and the lack of the opening break, it’s still somehow a little funkier than the Mancini take. Next one is the an original composition of Ray Davies called “Firedog!” and it’s among the best tracks of the album. Funky wah-wah, percussions, horns and a tight break in the middle makes it almost a perfect detective funk track. It’s followed by a little light, but still funky “Theme from the Rockford files”, originally by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter. Last track on side a is “Mc Cloud theme”, an uptempo take of the David Shire original from the NBC police drama McCloud with western styled guitars and nice horn stabs. B-side opens with a nice version of Billy Goldenberg’s “Kojak”. It’s followed by the theme by Harry South from the British television police drama The Sweeney, also ok version. Next comes another standout track, “Quiller”, originally written by Richard Denton and Martin Cook taken from the British drama series Quiller. It starts with a nice break and is overall a very good version. The last three tracks are the ones I like the least. First the Glen Larson written theme from the US detective series Switch, then another Ray Davies composition “Theme from Kiss of blood” and finally the “Columbo theme” originally by Billy Goldenberg. Despite the few weak tracks, Firedog! is one of the best kept secrets of the British detective funk cover albums.


Theme from Police story


Hawaii 5-0


Theme from Police Woman


Firedog!


Theme from the Rockford files


Mc Cloud theme


Kojak theme


The Sweeney


Quiller


Switch theme


Theme from Kiss of blood


Columbo theme

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