Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Al Escobar : Tighten Up

Al Escobar moved from Barranquilla, Columbia to New York City at a young age. After working with Tito Puente, Miguelito Valdes, and Vicentico Valdes, he led his own band in California, became musical director for Eartha Kitt, and played at the Stardust in Las Vegas. El Sonido Moderno de Al Escobar was recorded in New York City and is part of that city's boogaloo latin soul craze of the late 1960s. The album also includes the cover "Tighten Up" originally by Archie Bell & The Drells.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Barrio Jazz Gang : Choc A Blok Avenue

The Barrio Jazz Gang's debut album "Spectrum " released in 2001 reveals the band's crossover between elements of jazz and elements of club-dance music. A distinctive Mediterranean and Latin American touch colours the themes and melodies throughout the album. Roby "Jazzman" Colella and Stefano Micarelli are the two pillars of the band. Other members are Aldo Bassi (trumpet), Paolo Innarella (sax and flutes) and singer Paola Fortini, all established musicians from the italian jazz scene. Echoes of retro-jazz, of bossa-nova and of african rhythms make up the texture of this musical excursion, crossing a great deal of boundaries along the way.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fred Wesley and The Horny Horns : Four Play

One of the funkiest post JB's tracks written by George Clinton, Fred Wesley and Bootsy Collins !
Wesley signed with George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic in time for their seminal Mothership Connection LP. And unlike James Brown, Clinton encouraged his collaborators to pursue their own projects, even co-writing most of the songs comprising the trombonist's 1977 official solo debut, A Blow for Me, A Toot for You, credited to Fred Wesley & the Horny Horns.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ann Robinson : You Did It

Originally issued in 1969 on Sonny Hopson's All Brothers label.
A seriously rare Philly funk 45... The instrumentation backing is done by the Freedom Now Brothers who's instrumental version of this "Sissy Walk" was sampled by Fatboy Slim for one of his pop songs.
This is without a doubt one of those alltime classic sisterfunk anthems.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nuyorican Soul : I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun

Originally composed by Rotary Connection in 1971 and reworked by Nuyorican Soul in 1996.
Nuyorican Soul is the project of Little Louie Vega and Kenny Dope Gonzales, also known as Masters at Work. With Nuyorican Soul they worked extensively with top musicians like Roy Ayers, Vincent Montana Jr, George Benson, Tito Puente and Jocelyn Brown in a variety of styles including latin, jazz and disco.
This unique combination of musicians resulted in a masterpiece, a self-titled album under the name Nuyorican Soul, including original tracks as cover versions of the performers the duo were working with. A must have !

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ben Westbeech : So Good Today

BBC radio dj Gilles Peterson picked up this first single of Ben Westbeech and this lead to a record deal and the succes of Gilles Petersons new label Brownswood Recordings.
His debut album "Welcome to the Best Years of Your Life" was released in March 2007.
The result is a potent cocktail blended by, and filtered through, Ben’s creative and multi-talented musicianship. Rather than confine himself to the role of singer-songwriter, classically trained Ben also takes the credit for playing most of the instruments, and for much of the mixing and production of the album too.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sharon Jones : Keep on Looking (Kenny Dope Mix)

You can not imagine how much joy this record gave us until today ! Dancefloor bomb and pleasure guaranteed ! With a stumping rhytm section, tight rythm guitars, a fantastic horn section and superfunky bass the track catches a vibe so hot, blowing hard around the dancefloor !!
Nuyorican Soul Kenny Dope at work. Top Notch !!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Curtis Mayfield : Move On Up

If you're feeling a little bit down, this is what you'll need !
"Move on Up" is a song from the 1970 debut album "Curtis", the beginning of his solo career after he left "The Impressions".
The great Curtis Mayfield was a pioneering voice in the black pride movement. Mayfield's "We're a Winner", a Number 1 soul hit which also reached the Billboard pop Top 20, became an anthem of the black power and black pride movements when it was released in late 1967, much as his earlier "Keep on Pushing" (whose title is quoted in the lyrics of "We're a Winner") had been an anthem for Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

James Brown : The Boss

"Paid the cost to be the boss
Look at me
you know what you see,
you see a bad mutha"

"The Boss" is the background music where Tommy Gibbs is shot while crossing a street corner.

Written for the blaxploitation film "Black Caesar" in 1973 and appears on spot 5 of the soundtrack. Written with the help of Fred Wesley, who made his first steps into filmmusic industry with this one.
The song has countlessly been sampled by several producers : for Ice-T's "You Played Yourself", and also for Trick Daddy's "Take It To Da House". More recently, by The Alchemist for Prodigy's album Return of the Mac. The song is also sampled on Nas' album God's Son on "Get Down".

Monday, December 14, 2009

Marvin Gaye : What's Goin' On (live)

This live performance comes from the long out-of-circulation 1973 film, "Save The Children" with James Jamerson on bass.
"What's Goin' On" is the tenth studio album by Marvin Gaye released in 1971. The album is told from the point of view of a Vietnam War veteran returning to the country he had been fighting for, and seeing nothing but injustice, suffering and hatred.
What's Going On was the first album on which Motown Records' main studio band, the group of session musicians known as the Funk Brothers, received an official credit. Featuring introspective lyrics about drug abuse, poverty and the Vietnam War, the album was also the first to reflect the beginning of a new trend in soul music. What's Going On was both an immediate commercial and critical success and has endured as a classic of early-1970s soul. In worldwide critics/artists and public surveys, it has been voted as one of the landmark recordings in pop music history and is considered to be one of the greatest albums ever made.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ramsey Lewis : Wade In the Water

"The great performer" is the title that Ramsey carried with him along his musical career, reflecting his incredible performance style and music selections, somewhere in between gospel, classic and jazz.
By 1966, Lewis was one of the nation’s most successful jazz pianists, topping the charts with interpretations of songs "The In Crowd", a song written by Billy Page, and the old spiritual "Wade in the Water". Many of his recordings attracted a large non-jazz audience. In the '70s, Lewis often played electric piano, although by later in the decade he was sticking to acoustic and using an additional keyboardist in his groups. The album has been certified gold in the US.

"Wade in the Water" :

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Stevie Wonder : Superstition

"Superstition" is immediately recognizable for its opening drum beat, which was performed by Wonder, complete with a noticeable bass-drum pedal squeak throughout the track. Its notably iconic funky clavinet riffs was also performed by Wonder. The song also heavily features brass instruments and saxophones, notably a trumpet lead by Trevor Laurence, and the electronic Arp and Moog synthesizer sounds that Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff helped to create for the album.
Wonder's music had been undergoing a marked change from his earlier Motown pop to a more personal style. This shift had been evident on his two prior albums, but it was Talking Book, and "Superstition" in particular that brought the new style to the awareness of the public in general.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fred Wesley : House Party

During the 1960s and 1970s he was a pivotal member of James Brown's bands, playing on many hit recordings. His slippery riffs and pungent, precise solos, complementing those of saxophonist Maceo Parker, gave Brown's R&B, soul, and funk tunes their instrumental punch. In the 1970s he also served as band leader and musical director of Brown's band the J.B.'s and did much of the composing and arranging for the group. He left Brown's band in 1975 and spent several years playing with George Clinton's various Parliament-Funkadelic projects, even recording a couple of albums as the leader of a spin-off group, The Horny Horns.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Kutiman : Music is Ruling my World

Our respect for the things that Kutiman sends out to the world is deep ! What a talent !
He blew everyone away with his Thru You project earlier this year, a compilation of songs created with unrelated youtube video samples. If you haven't seen this you should definetely go here : you'll be amazed !
Music is Ruling his world indeed ! He only started releasing music since 2006. Music is Ruling my World came out in 2007... later that year came his debut album.
Kutiman is probably working on his second album right now, we are looking forward to that !!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bar Kays : Soul Finger

The Bar Kays were a backing band for Stax Records chosen in 1967 by Otis Redding for his band. Soul Finger was their first single released earlier that year on April 14th and topped the Bilboard charts. The children shouting "Soul Finger" in the track, were caught from the street next to the studio... The idea of letting them sing "Soul Finger" came from Isaac Hayes and David Porter. The band paid them with Coca Cola.
Unfortunately, Otis and his band died in a plane crash in December that year...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Jackson Sisters : I Believe In Miracles

A rich rare groove classic, a legacy thanks to their wholly unique blend of soul and amazing harmony vocals! The Jackson Sisters were essentially a soul vocal group, but with a style that tended to skew hard and gritty. Occasionally, that grit dipped into full on, furious funk, the arrangements are quite raw and hard!