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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 »

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 »

Sound Prospect - Hit Man

June 22nd, 2012

Sound Prospect - Hit ManSOUND PROSPECT

  • Hit man
  • Peer International Library Limited
  • 1977
  • UK

Six years after the Bigroup album, Peer released an album called Hit man. It’s credited to a group called Sound Prospect - without a doubt another made up name for some group of session musicians strictly built for a library record.

Hit man starts with the funky uptempo title track “Hit man”, that sounds like it’s taken straight from some blaxploitation soundtracks. It’s actually just what the title says, a great chase funk track with some serious suspence feel and also the best track of the album. Next one is a midtempo track “Catcher” that sounds better by the name than actually is. After some decent and not so decent tracks comes “Even balance”, a funky midtempo jazz jam with some nice organ work. It’s followed by funky downtempo jazz track “Als blues” and more mellow sounding midtempo “Stevie bee”. Mellow but groovy “Mount calme” is also worth to mention aswell as the last track, “Latin -a go-go”. Hit man isn’t maybe one of the best library albums around but it still has it’s moments.


Hit man


Catcher


Even balance


Al’s blues


Stevie bee


Mount calme


Latin a go-go

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

The Bigroup - Big Hammer

June 19th, 2012

The Bigroup - Big hammerTHE BIGROUP

  • Big hammer
  • Peer International Library Limited
  • 1971
  • UK

Peer International Library Limited was a London based production music library company that was established in the late 1960s by Dennis Berry (aka Peter Dennis). It was closely affiliated with the other library company Southern, - which was also run by Dennis Berry. They often shared releases and that’s why certain titles appear on both Peer and Southern catalogue. This album here, called Big hammer, was credited to a band called The Bigroup, but without a doubt it was some studio musicians group with a made up name for the album. And it was also released on Southern.

The opening track “Big hammer” starts the album strongly. It’s a banging midtempo psych funk track with a hint of oriental vibe every now and then. A stronger oriental vibe comes with the next one, a downtempo sitar and flute driven mellow groover “Anna purna”. I’m not exactly sure if it actually is a sitar but sounds a lot of it. After the dramatic “Devil’s stronghold”, comes “Rolling”. It starts promisingly with a nice break, but then turns into a melancholic midtempo groover. Next up are two quite heavy downtempo psych funk tracks called “Beat norm” and “Heavy lift”. After them comes one of the best tracks on the album, “What’s coming”. It’s a strong upbeat track with heavy breakbeat drums and some wailing melodies on top. Then there’s again two mellow but psych heavy tracks called “Blow-suck blues” and “Gentle swell” before we get to the last track, “Bombilation”. “Bombilation” is a great midtempo organ driven psych funk groover with some electric guitar work (I’m still not a fan of those) and banging beats. All the songs are relatively long for a library record, all the tracks except one are over three minutes what makes it a more pleasant one to listen.


Big hammer


Anna purna


Devil’s stronghold


Rolling


Beat norm


Heavy lift


What’s coming


Blow-suck blues


Gentle swell


Bombilation

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

The Ben Bernard Group / The Paolo Zavallone Group - The ‘77 sound / Musical cocktail (no. 3)

May 29th, 2012

The Ben Bernard Group / The Paolo Zavallone Group - The 77 Sound / Musical Cocktail (No. 3)THE BEN BERNARD GROUP / THE PAOLO ZAVALLONE GROUP

  • The ‘77 sound / Musical cocktail (no. 3)
  • Bosworth Music
  • 1977
  • UK

Bosworth Music is propably the oldest production music library company around. It was established in London in 1892 for sheet music production. In the 1930s Bosworth moved to 78rpm production and finally in 1966 they started to produce 33rpm records. Despite the long period of production their output catalogue was relatively small. And although they were quite a small company, they had some well known musicians in their catalogue; Klaus Doldinger, David Snell, Syd Dale, Geoff Bastow, Johnny Teupen and Paolo Zavallone among others. Better known with his pseudonym El Pasador, Paolo Zavallone was born in Rome, Italy and did a career as a singer and a composer. I have no idea of his commercial doings, but his library stuff is pretty funky. He also did a bunch of soundtracks and some other projects under different names. Among these was a pretty good disco release in 1977, under a moniker Bimbo e i Milionari. Ben Bernard (also known as Benito Bernardo) instead was a pseudonym of soundtrack and library music composer Bernard Ebbinghouse. He was born in Germany but moved to England in 1935 at the age of eight. He did a long career and composed quite a large amount of soundtracks and scores.

This release was a split album quite typical for some library music companies where each group had their own side. A side was appointed to The Ben Bernard Group while The Paolo Zavallone Group got the b side. Ben Bernard starts his side with a midtempo groover called “Mister big”. It’s followed by a downtempo “Rings around Saturn” and uptempo “Slick Chick”, latter being actually a quite decent track. Then comes “Cockney character” and “Ducks ‘n’ drakes” that are both a way too jolly for me. Last one by Ben Bernard is called “Walkin’ easy” and it’s also a quite nice funky track. Paolo Zavallone’s side is clearly the better and more funky side. It starts with a track called “Gambling”. It starts with a nice percussive break and the same funky beat continues throughout the whole four minutes of this uptempo funker. Next up is a mellow piano driven “Patricia” followed by a little heavier cha-cha esque track “Friendly cha-cha”. Then comes the jazzy “Garden party” with a sort of a break in the end. Another good one is the last track “Subway music” that actually reminds me of their better known and compiled track “Yellow fever”. It starts with a nice break and has several other breakdowns throughout the song.


The Ben Bernard Group - Mister big


The Ben Bernard Group - Slick chick


The Ben Bernard Group - Walkin’ easy


The Paolo Zavallone Group - Gambling


The Paolo Zavallone Group - Friendly cha-cha


The Paolo Zavallone Group - Garden party


The Paolo Zavallone Group - Subway music

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under europe, library | 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 »

John Schroeder - Gangster movie vibrations

September 27th, 2011

John Schroeder - Gangster Movie VibrationsJOHN SCHROEDER

  • Gangster movie vibrations
  • Polydor
  • 1972
  • UK

UK born John Schroeder is propably best know of his work as an easy listening composer, arranger and producer. During his career he did a lot of covers of contemporary hits and of course some original material too. As a creative guy, he did not only produce easy listening hits after hits with his own name, but also with several pseudonyms and with an instrumental pop outfit called Sounds Orchestral, together with his fellow countryman, Johnny Pearson - best known for his work with various production music library companies.

During the early 1970s Schroeder did various “vibrations”-albums - including Party dance vibrations, Latin vibrations, Tv vibrations, Love vibrations and this one, Gangster movie vibrations. Of those, Gangster movie vibrations is propably the strongest one. Despite the continuous easy listening feel, there’s few good ones here. The very dramatic orchestral take of John Barry’s legendary Bond-theme “Diamonds are forever”, Quite airy but funky version of Isaac Hayes‘ Shaft-track “Cafe Reggio” and a very strong version of Gordon Parks’ “Blowin’ your mind” from Shaft’s big score. The last one being even better than the original. If these are not enough for buying, the real treat is still yet to come. The best track is a strong bboy friendly version of Quincy Jones‘ “Money runner” - originally from the $-soundtrack.


Diamonds are forever


Cafe Reggio


Blowin your mind


Money runner

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

Paul Kass / Simon Haseley - Prototype

September 21st, 2011

Paul Kass / Simon Haseley - PrototypePAUL KASS / SIMON HASELEY

  • Prototype
  • Music De Wolfe
  • 1972
  • UK

Established in 1909, Music De Wolfe is the originator in production music library business. They started releasing their recorded library records in 1927 with the advent of ‘Talkies’ and the company is still active in the production music scene. With it’s over 80000 titles it’s one of the main players in the industry. During the 1960s and 1970s it was also among the funkiest production music companies, together with KPM, Themes International and Peer International. Music De Wolfe had also several sublabels for production library music such as Hudson Music, Rouge Music and Sylvester Music.

In 1972 composers Paul Kass and Simon Haseley made an album called Prototype. It’s one of the funkiest among all the funky library records. It’s full of breaks, funky rhythms, groovy organs and banging beats from funky easy listening to jazz funk, funk rock sounds and beyond. For example “Filibuster” by Paul Kass starts with a break and continues as a midtempo rockish heavy funk tune having another tough break in the middle. Another great song by Paul Kass is “Causeway”, again starting with a break and continuing as a bboy friendly uptempo library funk track with heavy breaks, some percussion and nice breakbeat rhythm. And there’s more to mention. “Heavy Mob” and “Fast burner” are great funky library tracks too. Although Simon Haseley’s side is not as funky as Paul Kass‘, it still has some really great tracks. Midtempo “Hammer man” is a cheerful but at the same time quite heavy track with its funky banging drums. The last track “Response” is clearly the best one from Haseley. Funky drums and organ along the driving wah wah guitar makes it a great library funk track. What’s also nice compared to most of the production music library records around is, that most the songs are full length instead of those one to two minute themes there usually are on this type of records.


Paul Kass - Filibuster


Paul Kass - Causeway


Paul Kass - Fast burner


Simon Haseley - Hammer man


Simon Haseley - Response


Simon Haseley - Prototype

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under easy listening, europe, funk, jazzfunk, library | 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 »

Alan Hawkshaw / Alan Parker - The rock machine

January 19th, 2011

Alan Hawkshaw / Alan Parker - The Rock MachineALAN HAWKSHAW / ALAN PARKER

  • The rock machine
  • Themes International Music
  • 1973
  • UK

Alan Parker and Alan Hawkshaw both did a long and prestigious career as library music session musicians, composers and arrangers for numerous labels. They were also both playing in various bands. Alan Parker in Blue Mink, CCS, Philamonics and Ugly Custard, and Alan Hawkshaw in Shadows and most notably in the legendary British funk band The Mohawks to name a few.

Themes International was a London based library music label, founded by Alan Parker in 1973. Unlike most of the other library labels, Themes was quite strictly concentrating on music for television and movie scores. It’s also one of the funkiset around. They released around 50 releases between 1973 and 1987. The rock machine was their eleventh release and it’s a mixture of midtempo and uptempo funk. All the tracks are quite heavily guitar driven very similar to Bruton’s Heavy rock. And these rock guitars slightly disturb me. All the tracks are actually good too, there’s no fillers on this one. The funky uptempo breakbeat groovers “Outburst”, “Bulldozer”, “Brainstormer” and “Flashpoint” from Alan Hawkshaw with the midtempo “Monza Straight” and uptempo “Trailblazer” from Alan Parker are the highlights of The rock machine. No breaks but a lot of bboy friendly music and the wailing Hammond B3 of Alan Hawkshaw, that’s what it’s all about.


Alan Hawkshaw - Outburst


Alan Hawkshaw - Bulldozer


Alan Hawkshaw - Flashpoint


Alan Parker - Monza straight


Alan Parker - Trailblazer

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