Monday, March 31, 2008

For Those in Madison...

...especially in District 5, don't forget to get out and vote tomorrow in the local elections. In celebration of this day, The Wyndham Manning campaign will be holding a party at the Project Lodge at 817 E. Johnson Street. It will begin at 7:30 and will feature the stylings of Thought Embargo, Yours Truly, and one of my favorite local bands, Steez. You should all try to make it there for a funky good time. My set will start at 8:15 and go till around 9, and, as always, I will bring it like it's never been brought before. Below is a preview of what you will hear tomorrow night.

Hope to see you there.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Donny Hathaway Live!!!! Plus Some Other Fun Stuff.

Today's post is dedicated to one of my favorite live R&B albums and possibly one of the most talented musicians/singers of the 1970s. Donny Hathaway began his music career in 1948, at the age of 3, when he sang in his local choir (amazing I know!!!). Around that time, he also picked up the ukelele and started playing the piano after seeing Liberace playing the instrument on television. After attending Howard University, Hathaway went on to write songs and record with some of the greatest names in the music industry. Before working with such artists as Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin, and The Staple Singers, he worked for Chicago's Twinight Records. On a sidenote, The Numero Group put out a wonderful Twinight compilation which I reccomend to all of you. It is also available on itunes. Below is one of the more famous Twinight sides "Is It Because I'm Black" by Syl Johnson.

Anyhow, after leaving Twinigh Records, Hathaway became a producer at Curtis Mayfield's Curtom records where he had his first single, "I Thank You Baby." In 1970, he released his first album Everything Is Everything. In 1971, he released Donny Hathaway and a duet album with Howard classemate Roberta Flack. Below is the track 'Where Is the Love" which proved to be their biggest hit together.

Also in 1971, Hathaway contributed some piano parts to the Sam Moore (as in Sam & Dave) solo album Plenty Good Lovin' which was not released until recently due to the untimely death of King Curtis the week after the album was finished. Below is the title track from Moore's hidden gem.

Now that you have all of the background information, we can go onto the really good stuff. After recording two solo albums and working on countless other albums, Hathaway released Donny Hathaway Live. The album featured one Hathaway original, "The Ghetto," and the some covers. Side one of the album was recorded at The Troubadour in Hollywood and side two was recorded at The Bitter End in Greenwich Village, NYC (the same place where Curtis Mayfield recorded his classic live album). Both of the songs below are taken from The Troubadour concert.

Above is Hathaway's version of the Marvin Gaye Hit "What's Going On." I especially enjoy this song as it is more upbeat than the original. His ungodly vocal don't hurt either. Below is Hathaway's reading of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend." This seems to be the defining version of this song. Dig the angelic vocal accompaniment of the choir at the end. I think that might just be the audience singing with him. Amazing!!!


How can I make a post about Donny Hathaway's live album without including some live concert action. The tune is called "Put Your Hands in the Hand." This tune comes from Hathaway's self titled album and is a cover of an old gospel tune. This cut really sheds some light on the dynamic nature of his performances. Here, he takes a gospel song and transforms it into a funky r&B cut.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Afrika Bambaataa's Favorite Breaks

This list was published in the British magazine Blues and Soul in the year 1988. Here, he lists his favorite break beats and jams that can get a dance floor pumpin. I wanted to add this because I could not believe how similar this list is to my own. Amazing. If you don't have most of these songs, I suggest you pick them up ASAP. This list is published in the book Ego Trip's book of rap lists.

1. "Apache" - Incredible Bong Band (Pride, 1973)
-the break from this song is used in the Sugar Hill Gang tune "Jump On It."
2. "Jam on the Groove" - Ralph MacDonald (Tk, 1976)
3. "Theme From Star Wars" - Dave Matthews (CTI, 1977)
4. "Catch A Groove" - Juice (Greedy, 1976)
5. "Reach Out in the Darkness" - Friend and Lover (Verve, 1968)
6. "Minimum Wage" - Rock and Roll**
7. "Give It Up Or Turn It Loose" - James Brown (King, 1969)
8. "Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine" - James Brown (King, 1969)
9. "Sing a Simple Song" - Sly & The Family Stone (Epic, 1969)
10. "You're The One" - Little Sister (Stoneflower, 1970)
11. "It's Just Begun" - Jimmy Castor Bunch (RCA, 1972)
12. "Dance to the Drummer's Beat" - Human Kelly & Life (TK, 1976)
13. "Scorpio" - Dennis Coffey (Sussex, 1971)
14. "Ride Sally Ride" - Dennis Coffey (Sussex, 1972)
15. "Son of Scorpio" - Dennis Coffey (Sussex, 1972)
16. Willie Dynamite Soundtrack - J.J. Johnson and Various Artists (MCA, 1974)
17. "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" - Bob James (CTI, 1976)
18. "Let a Woman be a Woman (Let a Man be a Man)" - Dyke & The Blazers (Original Sound 1969)
19. "Funky Broadway" - Dyke & The Blazers (Original, 1967)
20. "The Champ" - The Mohawks (Cotillion, 1968)
21. "Tramp" - Otis Redding and Carla Thomas (Stax, 1967)
22. "Groove to Get Down" - T-Connection (TK, 1977)
23. "Get Off Your Ass and Jam" - Funkadelic (Westbound, 1975)
-this is the anthem of the Rare Grooves Society-
24. "Give the Drummer Some" - Little Milton**
25. "Get on the Good Foot" - James Brown (Polydor, 1972)
26. "Funky Drummer" - James Brown (King, 1970)
-the funky drummer on this track is Madison's very own Clyde Stubblefield-
27. "Keep on Doin' What You're Doin'" - Bobby Byrd (Brownstone, 1971)
28. "I Know You Got Soul" - Bobby Byrd (King, 1971)
29. "Think (About It)" - Lyn Collins (People, 1972)
30. "It's My Thing" - Marva Whitney (King, 1969)
31. "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved" - James Brown (King, 1970)
32. "Honkey Tonk Women" - The Rolling Stones (London, 1969)
33. "Hot Stuff" - Rolling Stones (Rolling Stones, 1976)
34. "Dance to the Music" - Sly & The Family Stone (Epic, 1968)
35. "Family Affair" - Sly & The Family Stone (Epic, 1971)
36. "Jam" - Grand Central Station (Warner Bros., 1975)
37. "Joyous" - Pleasure (Fantasy, 1976)
38. "Rock Creek Park" - The Blackbyrds (Fantasy, 1976)
39. "Happy Music" - The Blackbyrds (Fantasy, 1975)
40. "Africano" - Earth, Wind, & Fire (Columbia, 1975)
41. "Shining Star" - Earth, Wind, & Fire (Columbia, 1975)
42. "Power" - Earth, Wind, & Fire (Columbia, 1972)
43. "Ring My Bell" - Anita Ward (TK, 1979)
44. "The Funk Is On" - Instant Funk (Salsoul, 1980)
45. "Funky Stuff" - Kool & The Gang (De-Lite, 1973)
46. "Jungle Boogie" - Kool & The Gang (De-Lite, 1973)
47. "Flashlight" - Parliament (Casablanca, 1977)
48. "More Bounce to the Ounce" - Zapp (Warner Bros., 1980)
49. "Dancin' Kid" - Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes (Chelsea, 1976)
50. "The Breakdown" - Rufus Thomas (Stax, 1972)
51. "Do The Funky Penguin" - Rufus Thomas (Stax, 1972)
52. "Shakara" - Fela Ransom Kuti (Editions, Makossa, 1974)
53. "Brother Green (The Disco King)" - Roy Ayers Ubiquity (Polydor, 1975)
54. "Lonsome Cowboy" - Roy Ayers Ubiquity (Polydor, 1976)
55. "Yellow Sunshine" - Yellow Sunshine (Gamble, 1973)

It should be noted that these tracks are in no particular order. It is also interesting to note the prevalence of things related to James Brown (Bobby Byrd, Marva Whitney, Lyn Collins, etc.), and Miami soul (aka TK Records). The songs with "**" next to it are off of records that either do not exist or are so rare that Afrika Bambaataa is the only person who owns them. If any of you happen to stumble upon any of these recordings, please contact me immediately. That would be sweet.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Don't Worry, I'm Still Alive!!!

I know I have been saying that regular posts will be coming soon, but I am still with various activities although I have gotten a new computer since my last post. This post will reflect my recent musical tastes as lately I have been listening to a lot of Blue Note Material from the late 60's and early 70's. I encourage you all to check some of this out. There is an excellent compilation called Blue Funk which gives some basic groovers from the era. Below are a few of the artists that I have really been hot on recently. If you dig it, I encourage you to look into names such as Grant Green, Idris Muhammad, Lonnie Smith, Lou Donaldson, Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Smith, just to name a few. If you dig any of this material, you should check out the newest Blue Note comp, Droppin' Science. Not only does this include rare songs by many of the above artists, but a lot of these songs are recognizable as they are featured on popular hip hop cuts.

Jimmy McGriff:

Both of these cuts are featured on McGriff's funky 1969 outing Electric Funk. The above cut is Spear for Moondog Pt. 1 and below is the Bird Wave.

Lou Donaldson:

This cut is called Everything I Play is Funky (From Now On) and is featured on Donaldson's 1970 album of the same name. Featuring the playing of Idris Muhammad on drums, Melvin Sparks on guitar, Blue Mitchell on trumpet, and Lonnie Smith on hammond, this record is literally an allstar soul jazz group.

Idris Muhammad:

Known as the funky drummer of jazz, Muhammad is the featured drummer on many blue note rare grooves sessions. Although the record Power of Soul is from the 1974, it is one of Muhammad's most highly acclaimed recordings. The above cut is Piece of Mind and below is Loran's Dance.

Grant Green:

Last but not least is Grant Green, one of the kings of blue note funk. From straight up standards to blaxploitation soundtracks, Green does them all in his own unique and funky way. Throughout the late 60s and early 70s, Green was known for his funky output which included originals and various covers of popular funk tunes such as Jan Jan (featured above) originally by the Fabulous Counts. In addition, most of the tracks featured here also include the drumming of Idris Muhammad. For a nice introduction to Grant Green's work, I recommend the compilation Blue Break Beats .

This cut, Down Here on the Ground, is from the album Alive! It is featured on Droppin' Science and was sampled by A Tribe Called Quest.

I have to include this one as it is an amazing cover of Mozart!!!

These last two cuts are featured on the rare and funky album called Carryin' On. If you ever see this album, you should buy it immediately. Hopefully it will be reissued sometime soon on CD making it more accessible. The above cut is called Cease the Bombing. Below is a cover of the Meters track Ease Back. It is one of my favorite Grant Green cuts and it is featured on both Blue Funk and Blue Break Beats.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hey Everybody, It's been a While

I know...I haven't posted in a long time, I am still having some technological issues and I am in the middle of midterms(over tomorrow YAY!!!), but I will soon be on Spring Break. Once I have some more time and a computer, I will be sure to put up a killer post or two and I will add the playlists from my last few radio shows. In the mean time, i encourage you all to dig Clarence Wheeler and the Enforcers. They are a soul jazz combo who recorded two albums for Atlantic Records in the early 70s. The above cover of the Beatles' "Hey Jude," is off of there first release Doin' What We Wanna. The song below, "Right On," is is also off of their first album. It features the vocal stylings of Cissy Houston (mother of Whitney Houston) who was also a featured vocalist with Aretha Franklin around this time. The track is also featured on the wonderful What It Is compilation released last year by Rhino Records. Also, if any of you need some new reading material, you should check out the new issue of Waxpoetics that hit stands yesterday. Among other great articles is a tribute to Oscar Peterson and an article about Eddie Harris. The Cover article is about Grand Master Flash. If that doesn;t excite...WHAT WILL?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

New Posts Coming Soon!!!

I apologize for not yet posting the playlists from my radion shows. I have been really busy as I have a few exams next week and my computer also decided to stop working, so I can no longer work on my blog from home. I will post some things for all of you as soon as I have some time. In the mean time I will leave you with Robert Walter's Super Heavy Organ to help you get your groove on. I saw him play with the Greyboy Allstars and he is something else. Enjoy.