The Staple Singers – I’ll Take You There [1972]
February 25, 2013

RIP Cleotha Staples

Its always sad to hear about the passing of yet another classic vocalist but when one of those is one of the Staples sisters, then its time to show some serious respect. The Staples were huge with an immense back catalogue of phenomenal unique cuts of Soul and Funk as well as enough covers to trample anyone in their path. Some of my favourite soul tunes of all time came on the end of the Staples ample pipes. “I’ll take you there” might have been forever consigned to the advertising hell that so many other classic Soul records wind up in had it not been so DAMN CATCHY. You will find yourself singling along to this, you will find yourself shuffling around the room and it’ll be in your head for days to come.

Rest in Peace Cleotha, I for one will be enjoying the Staples catalogue tonight!

Roy Ayers Ubiquity – He’s A Superstar [1972]
May 25, 2011

First off, religious connotations can be left at the door because Roy Ayers Ubiquity has a composition here that should be mandatory listening for people wanting to participate in the human race. Jesus gets mentioned, what, twice? The rest of the track is a Jazz Funk behemoth of epic proportions. How many riffs do you recognise? How many breaks to you recognise? Its a total, understated classic.

From Wiki
About Roy Ayers
Roy Ayers (born September 10, 1940, Los Angeles) is a funk, soul and jazz vibraphone player. Ayers began his career as a jazz player, releasing several albums with Arista Records before his tenure at Polydor Records, during which he progressed a new R&B style, slowly molding the new Disco genre. Ayers grew up in a musical family. At the age of five, Lionel Hampton gave him his first pair of mallets, which led to the vibraphone being his trademark sound for decades. The area of Los Angeles that Ayers grew up in, now known as “South Central”, but then known as “South Park”, was the epicenter of the Southern California Black Music Scene. The schools Roy attended (Wadsworth Elementary, Nevins Middle School, and Thomas Jefferson High School) were all close to the famed Central Avenue, Los Angeles’ equivalent of Harlem’s Lenox Avenue and Chicago’s State Street. On any given day, Roy would have been likely to be exposed to music as it not only emanated from the many nightclubs and bars in the area, but also poured out of many of the homes where the musicians who kept the scene alive lived in and around Central. Thomas Jefferson High School, from which Ayers graduated, gave to the music and jazz worlds some of its brightest stars, such as Dexter Gordon.Ayers was responsible for the highly regarded soundtrack to Jack Hill’s 1973 blaxploitation film Coffy, which starred Pam Grier. He later moved from a jazz-funk sound to R&B, as seen on Mystic Voyage and especially the title track from his 1976 album Everybody Loves the Sunshine. Other notable songs by Ayers include “Running Away”, “Searching”, and “Sensitize” (co-written by Ayers protegé Wayne K. Garfield).In 1977 Ayers produced an album by the group RAMP, Come Into Knowledge, commonly and mistakenly thought to stand for “Roy Ayers Music Project”.In 1980 Ayers released Music Of Many Colors with the Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti.In 1981 Ayers produced an by the singer Sylvia Striplin, Give Me Your Love (Uno Melodic Records 1981).

Patti Jo – Make Me Believe In You [1972]
May 3, 2011

Definately one of the rarest occurances in Soul music, someone who produced a better version than the legendary Curtis Mayfield. However, his 1973 cover of this track isnt a patch on Patti Jo’s buttery smooth voice. She manages to push an almost tangible longing into the performance, this isnt just a song, its a bang up request of the most personal. Whats not to love really about this track, its entire arrangement plays second fiddle to the vocal work, the bassline is pure perfection.

Speaking of pure perfection, Tom Moulton did a remix all the way back in 1975 for the movie “Torn”, extending the introduction some and added some additional bongo percussion. Its is almost as good as the original, my only criticism is that we dont get to Patti Jo quick enough!

Patti Jo – Make Me Believe In You (Tom Moulton Re-Edit [1975]

The Staple Singers – I’ll Take You There [1972]
February 18, 2011

Todays update comes courtesy of my father, who’s been pounding youtube for some classics and what a classic this is. Uplifting, funky with some of the best vocals of the time from the Staple Sisters. The whole beginning is lifted from The Liquidator from Harry J Allstars, before the main track kicks in and all hell breaks loose. Sadly, the track wound up being located in the audio library of almost every commercial company out there. Ive heard the track played more times on the TV than I ever heard it on the radio. But I guess thats just a testament to how great the track really is eh!

From Wikipedia
The entire song, written in the key of C, contains but two chords, C and F. A large portion of the song is set aside for Mavis’ sisters Cleotha and Yvonne and their father “Pops” to seemingly perform solos on their respective instruments. In actuality, these solos (and all music in the song) were recorded by the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. When Mavis Staples says “Daddy, now, Daddy, Daddy” (referring to “Pop’s” guitar solo), it is actually Eddie Hinton who performs the solo on record. Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section bass player David Hood performs the song’s famed bass line. Terry Manning added harmonica and lead electric guitar. Roger Hawkins played drums, Barry Beckett was on electric piano, and Jimmy Johnson and Raymond banks contributed guitar parts. The Memphis Horns played the signature soul horn lines.

Rolling Stone editor David Fricke described this song as the “epitome of the Muscle Shoals Sound”. It was recorded in Muscle Shoals, AL at the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, and overdubbed and mixed at Ardent Studios in Memphis by Engineer Terry Manning.

Sir Joe Quartermain & The Free Soul – (I Got) So Much Trouble In My Mind [1972]
August 3, 2010

There is literally NOTHING not to like in this classic from Sir Joe Quartermain. Its 100% funk, so huge it could destroy whole cities with that bassline. You’ve got funky horns, full force guitar solo’s, a breakbeat so massive it deserves its own astronomical classification and finally, Quartermain’s soulful vocals sewing it all together. I challenge ANYONE not to start tapping their feed and feeling this groove.

From SoundUnwound
Joe Quarterman, aka Sir Joe Quarterman, is an American funk and soul singer. Quarterman earned the title “Sir” in high school. His single, “(I Got) So Much Trouble in My Mind,” was also his biggest, reaching the R&B Top 30 in 1973, and was featured in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. After leaving the music industry, Quarterman earned a degree in architecture. His song “I’m Gonna Get You” was later featured on the breakbeat compilation “Ultimate Breaks and Beats”.

Sir Joe is from the then funk land before later being renamed (Go-Go) land of Washington D.C. where the hit maker Chuck Brown and the Soul Searcher were amongst the rival bands that played alongside Sir Joe Quarterman and the free soul. During the 70’s there were countless bands in the D.C. metro area; no other areas in the country except New York, Philly, throughout Ohio and Chi-town had as many bands.

One note to share was the remarkable talent of his then 5 year old son who played drums for Sir Joe’s band when the regular drummer would not show up for a show. His son once during about 1971 or 1972 play during at a concert on the mall outer grounds in D.C. where the monument stands in front of thousands of people. Sir Joe now resides in the D.C. metro area of Prince Georges co. Maryland.

Aretha Franklin – Rocksteady [1972]
August 3, 2010

Buried deep on Franklin’s seminal 1972 album “Young, Gifted and Black”, Rocksteady is a track that is hard to ignore. Taken on its own, its a great funk styled breakbeat belter. But seat this into a breaking set and you’ll see the place go mental. Its all about Aretha’s soulful vocals over those crackin breaks provided by drummer, Bernard Purdie. Absolutely legendary break specialist. Absolute corker.

From Discogs
The Queen of Soul delivers a truly stunning album that is surely her finest and one of the greatest pieces of Soul music ever made. Aretha’s vocals on this album are breathtaking and incredibly moving. From the powerful black Soul power of ‘Young, Gifted and Black’, and the sweet soulful funk of ‘Rock Steady’ right through to the stunning and mesmerising closing track that lifts your spirits through the sky ‘Border Song (Holy Moses). This is essential and timeless Soul music.

Toots & The Maytals – Louie Louie [1972]
January 24, 2010

Oh no you d’int! You cant just go dropping Grand Master Flash AND Toots & The Maytals in the same sitting. Thats too much stacked greatness for 1 blog to handle! But since we’re already here, lets go on a Maytals Marathon. Funky Kingston is probably one of the best reggae albums ive ever heard. Just enough soul in the proceedings to keep it from sinking under the weight of a thousand other reggae releases in the early 70’s.

I love this reworking of the Kingsmen track, done away is that iconic riff and dropped in instead is 5 minutes of blazing sunshine drenched reggae. Chuffin’ magic!

Toots & The Maytals – Pressure drop (1972)
January 24, 2010

Taken from 1972 Trojan 7 inch.

I cant stop playing this tune!

x5r

Bernard Purdie – Good Livin’ (Good Lovin’) [1972]
November 20, 2009

Fantastic Funk slice from one of the great session drummers, Bernard Purdie. Taken from his album Soul Is… Pretty Purdie. Purdie calls in all his session contacts to put out this seminal funk album such as Paul Martinez
, Norman Pride, Billy Nichols and Horace Knott. All great artists in every respect. The hook for this was lifted by Mr Liam Howlett for the track “3 Kilo’s”.

Joe Bataan – Theme From Shaft [1972]
November 9, 2009

Yeah, we all know Isaac Hayes original but here Joe Bataan, on of the fathers of Salsoul inject some extra latin funk into the tune.

Taken from the 1972 album “St Latin’s Day Massacre”, a genre defining mix of Boogaloo / Doo-Wop fusion. Shut yo’ mouth!

From Wikipedia
Joe Bataan (also spelled Bataán) (born 1942[citation needed] in Spanish Harlem, New York City) is a Filipino-American Latin R&B musician from New York. He was born Bataan Nitollano and grew up in the 103rd and Lexington part of East Harlem where he briefly lead the Dragons, a local Puerto Rican street gang before being sent to the Coxsackie Correctional Facility to serve time for a stolen car charge. pon his release in 1965, he turned his attention to music and formed his first band, Joe Bataan and the Latin Swingers. Bataan was influenced by two musical styles: the Latin boogaloo and African American doo-wop.