Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Night Fever

 For all those cats crusin' the streets tonight, here's a little Johnnie Taylor for ya...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Late Late Party

I'm really liking this Light in the Attic Records compilation featuring some great tracks from Charles 'Packy' Axton and his many bands.   Packy was the son of Estelle Axton, co-founder of Memphis's famed Stax Records.  Packy was an integral part of many different bands from the Memphis instrumental soul scene, and participated in many bands of which are featured on this comp.  Some of the tracks remind me of The Meters, or Booker T and the MGs (not a suprise since a few of the MGs played in many of Packy's bands prior to the MGs success).  However, I'm somewhat suprised how much I enjoyed this comp, as a few years ago I read Peter Guralnick's Sweet Soul Music, which portrayed Packy as somewhat of a no-talent scenester, and a drunkard who was living off of his mom's name and success at Stax Records.  Regardless of his talent, it's apparent that he hooked up with some great bands throughout the 1960's in Memphis.  I thoroughly enjoyed Charles 'Packy' Axton Late Late Party and highly recommend it.  Here's a clip from one of Axton's bands, The Pac-Keys, called "Stone Fox", one of my favorite tracks off of Late Late Party.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Organ Grinders

I'm always listening to Jazz, mainly from the 60's and early 70's, and have been specifically focusing on some of the funky fusion sounds that feature organ players.  While I love the organ featured in Jazz, it seems fairly limited in terms of sounds it can create.  It's funky, soulful, and jazzy, which is cool and I love it, but you don't hear many ambient Jazz albums that feature the organ, for example.  The organ--it is what it is, and I love it, but it's not for everyone.  The above photo is of Charles Earland 1972 released Black Talk! album, one of my favorite of the featured Jazz organ genre.  Take a listen to Earland on the cut "Black Talk"

One of my favorite Jazz organists is Jimmy McGriff.  I featured him on an earlier post regarding the album Electric Funk.  While I love that album, my favorite McGriff album is this:
Dig the sexy 70's blaxspoitation cover!  Nevertheless, it's such a wonderful album, a groover from beginning to end and I possibly my favorite Jazz organ-based album.  Here is a track off of Jimmy McGriff 1971 released Soul Sugar album, titled "Sugar Sugar":

I really dig Lonnie Liston Smith's organ work as well, and have some albums of his that I enjoy, like Expansions.  However, some of my favorite organ work of Smith is off of Lou Donaldson's Alligator Bogaloo album. 

Alligator Bogaloo is a great album, and truly an all-star affair that features Lonnie Liston Smith on organ, and a young George Benson on guitar.  Released in 1967, here is the classic cut "Alligator Bogaloo" which shows Smith at his best on the organ.  Of course, Lou Donaldson is in top form with his saxophone on this cut as well.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Duke

I was supposed to leave for New Orleans in a few days, but had to abruptly cancel the trip.  It would've been my first time there, and it's a bummer but I know I made the right decision.  There are a few main reasons of which I won't go in to detail here, but the idea of New Orleans approaching made me nostalgic for New Orleans based music.  I've been pulling out the early Allen Toussaint albums, Aaron Neville, and Irma Thomas albums, as well as a great comp off of Soul Jazz called New Orleans Funk.  Duke Ellington isn't from New Orleans, he was born in Washington D.C., but he released a marvelous late-Ellington period album called New Orleans Suite, which brilliantly captures the essence of New Orleans (at least in the eyes of one who hasn't been there).  Before I go into Ellington more, let me just say that I'm a huge fan of the Duke.  From his early Okeh Recordings, through his recordings with the Blanton-Webster Band, through his collaborations with John Coltrane, and Charles Mingus (the later featured on the 1962 release Money Jungle, one of my favorite Ellington albums).  The Duke can do no wrong in my opinion.  I wanted to feature a clip off of the 1970 release New Orleans Suite, mainly in honor of New Orleans, and The Duke.  This clip is titled "Blues for New Orleans", it's seriously swings, and it's wonderful.  Here's to The Duke, or Mr. Ellington to you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back In The Day, It Was All Good

The Fat Boys in their hayday
 I'll contribute a more lengthy post later in the week when I have the time and energy, but in the meantime, enjoy one of my favorite videos of all time.  Always a riot, The Fat Boys were the inspiration for my horribly attempted beatboxing back in the day as an impressionable 12 year old after seeing them for the first time on Yo! MTV Raps! many, many years ago.  I still pull out the occasional Fat Boys track on a rare occasion...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Coffey Is The Color--Exploring The Work of Dennis Coffey

Dennis Coffey...One of the Funkiest White Boys Ever
One of greatest guitar players ever to walk the face of the Earth, Dennis Coffey was a major part of the funky sounds of Motown as he joined the fold as a session player for the label in the late 1960's.  In fact, Coffey was the guitar player on the classic Temptations track "Cloud Nine".  Solo-wise, Coffey had some great instrumental albums that were extremely funky, jazzy, and soulful (and ended up being sampled by a million hip hop artists over the years).  I recently picked up a compilation of Dennis Coffey called Absolutely The Best of Dennis Coffey, which pulls together some of Coffey's best tracks from his first four solo albums.  Below, I have included a few of Coffey's essential tracks, like "Scorpio", "Getting It On", "Theme from Enter the Dragon", and "Big City Funk".  There's plenty more where that came from in terms of Coffey's catalog, as this is just a sampling of the guitar great!