Monday, December 16, 2013

William Onyeabor : Fantastic Man

William Onyeabor is a funk musician from Nigeria. His songs are often heavily rhythmic and synthesized, occasionally epic in scope, with lyrics decrying war sung by both Onyeabor himself and female backing vocalists. In recent years a number of his songs have appeared on various compilations. Some biographies claim that he studied cinematography in Russia, returning to Nigeria in the 1970s to start his own Wilfilms music label and to set up a recording and production studio. He was later crowned a High Chief in Enugu, where he still lives as a businessman working on government contracts and running his own flour mill. According to the Luaka Bop record label, Onyeabor "self-released 8 albums between 1978 and 1985 and then became a born-again Christian, refusing ever to speak about himself or his music again. By attempting to speak with Onyeabor himself, and by talking to people who seem to have firsthand knowledge, Luaka Bop has been trying to construct an accurate biography of him for the past 18 months... without success.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Pointer Sisters : Send Him Back

Here we find the Oakland group teamed up with Nola's Wardell Quezergue for this brilliant meeting of west coast and New Orleans soul. Special mention must be made of those heavenly sisterly harmonies and bass playing that deserves an award. Kind of rare 45 record from 1972, Atlantic pressed on both the east and west coast. All west coast pressings (from the Monarch plant) were styrene. Just about all the other plants Atlantic did business with offered exclusively vinyl pressings.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bobby Byrd : Hot Pants

Bobby Byrd recorded "Hot Pants - I'm Coming, I'm Coming, I'm Coming", released on Brownstone Records in 1972. This version of the song was also frequently sampled for its drum loop. Notable sampling songs include "Fools Gold" by The Stone Roses, "Papua New Guinea" by Future Sound of London and "Good Vibrations" by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. The song was featured on the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas soundtrack on the Master Sounds 98.3 station. Byrd's wife Vicki Anderson also recorded an answer song, "I'm Too Tough For Mr. Big Stuff (Hot Pants)", for Brownstone. The J.B.'s recorded the instrumental "Hot Pants Road" as the B-side of their 1971 hit "Pass the Peas".

Friday, December 6, 2013

Isaac Hayes : Do Your Thing

In early 1971, Hayes composed music for the soundtrack of the blaxploitation film Shaft, in the movie, he also appeared in a cameo role as the bartender. The title theme, with its wah-wah guitar and multi-layered arrangement, would become a worldwide hit single, and spent two weeks at number one in the Billboard Hot 100 in November. The remainder of the album was mostly instrumentals covering big beat jazz, bluesy funk, and hard Stax-styled soul. The other two vocal songs, the "Soulville" and the 19-minute jam "Do Your Thing," would be edited down to hit singles.
Later the track was succesfully covered by Lyn Collins on James Brown's Funky People Pt. 2 Polydor in 1972.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Meters : People Say

Opening track on "Rejuvenation", the fifth album of The Meters, released in 1974. In 2003, the album was ranked number 138 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Charles Wright : Express Yourself

"Express Yourself" is a 1971 single by Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. It was released in 1971 as the title song of their 1970 album, Express Yourself, and is their signature song. It reached 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was also their biggest hit on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, reaching 3.

Idris Muhammad : Loran's Dance

This is one of the reasons that Idris Muhammad is regarded as the drumming king of groove. Featuring the arrangements and keyboards of Bob James, the saxophone punch of Grover Washington, Jr., guitarist Joe Beck, trumpeter Randy Brecker, percussionist Ralph MacDonald, and the knife-edge slick production of Creed Taylor, this 1974 issue is a burning piece of deep, jazzy soul and grooved-out bliss.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Nathan Haines : Navarino Street

The follow-up to 2012's "The Poet's Embrace", Haines' 9th solo album produced by Mike Patto, "Vermillion Skies" was recorded at Auckland's famed York St Studios with the use of 'real room' reverb and with all band performances played live and together and in the same room. The Ampex 300A half inch tape machine was used once again, and Haines features on two-self penned vocals this time - the tongue-in-cheek "Navarino Street" about uber-trendy East London, and the psychedelic "single "First Light". Haines also wrote arrangements for the six-piece horn section, and the album closer "Lament" written by J.J Johnson as recorded by Miles Davis in 1958 was arranged by Wayne Senior and exudes a classy and lush sound rarely heard on modern jazz records. "Vermillion Skies" was released earlier this year on Warner Music in NZ and Australia.

Just Brothers : Sliced Tomatoes

Just Brothers was the American musical duo of the brothers Jimmy and Frank Bryant and several session musicians. Their song "Sliced Tomatoes" was a dancefloor hit in 1972, and was sampled in Fatboy Slim's "The Rockafeller Skank."