Monday, November 21, 2011
|Blurred snapshot of a portion of my cd collection|
|Blurred snapshot of a small selection of my 45's|
The first track is the title track off of jazz drummer Billy Cobham's 1975 release A Funky Thide of Sings. Great funky jazz, with some crazy synths and guitars included, the title track would've sounded perfect on a film straight from the 70's.
I'm a big Roy Ayers fan, so I was excited when I stumbled upon Cincinnati's own RAMP, and their only release, Come Into Knowledge. Come Into Knowledge was released in 1977, and Ayers produced this album, and wrote some of the songs as well. "Everybody Loves The Sunshine" is one of my favorite tracks by RAMP.
I picked up a classic hip hop album by Oakland's Souls of Mischief, 93 'Til Infinity. Released in 1993, I don't know how I slept on those cats for so long, when I have most of the essential hip hop releases from the 90's. Somehow, 93 'Til Infinity has been on my list to buy for years but have never gotten the chance to do so. I decided to scoop it up and glad I did, as it's one of those staples of 90's essential hip hop albums, well worth picking up. Here's the track and video for "Never No More".
Lastly, I felt like including a James Brown track off of Black Caesar, which I actually picked up over a week ago while visiting Portland for the weekend. JB released his soundtrack to the blaxploitation flick Black Caesar in 1973. It seems as though every major soul artist was creating a soundtrack to a blaxploitation film during this time (Curtis Mayfield Superfly, Isaac Hayes Shaft, Marvin Gaye Trouble Man, Willie Hutch The Mack, and Edwin Starr Hell Up in Harlem, to name a few of the best), and Brown doesn't disappoint with this soundtrack. I have about a dozen James Brown albums, and have always wanted to pick up Black Caesar, so I was stoked to find this for $5. Very groove-heavy instrumentals, as much of James Brown's albums were during this time. Good stuff, though in terms of James Brown's 70's albums, I like The Payback, and In The Jungle Groove better.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
The Soul Excursions household is a big fan of anything Michael Jackson related, so anything by Jackson 5 (the first five albums up through Lookin' Through The Windows), The Jacksons (everything, with the exception of Victory), and early Michael Jackson (the Motown solo years through Thriller) is played anytime, and often. "Ben" is the track off of Michael's second solo album, and is played often in my household, as it is the song that helps soothe my 1 1/2 year old son to sleep. However, one of my favorite tracks from The Jacksons is "Blame it on the Boogie" off of Destiny. You can tell MJ and company were beginning to perfect that disco-soul sound, and "Blame it on the Boogie" doesn't disappoint. Somewhat of a precursor to "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" off of Off The Wall, released one year after The Jacksons Destiny album. Love the video too, as MJ always succeeded in his videos, from The Jacksons through his solo albums.
Regarding Eddie Holman's "Hey There, Lonely Girl", what else can I say about it other than it is perfect soul perfection, one of those perfect singles. The falsettos, the oohs and aahs backing vocals, and the lovely accompanying orchestration make this such a treat. Holman didn't record any other songs nearly as sublime as this.
Finally, I wanted to throw out something modern, which I rarely do these days. Recently dove into Jersey's own The One & Nines, as I recently listened to their recent 45 release "Tell Me/Make It Easy". Released in October 2011, The One & Nines almost sound as if they stumbled out of a Stax Records session in Memphis, which is partially true, as this 45 was recorded in Memphis. Stax influenced (I hear the keys come in on "Tell Me" and I'm reminded of Booker T and the MGs), yet also at the same time it also reminds me of Junior Walker (may be the driving horns), both "Tell Me" and "Make It Easy" work on a level where it appeals to the 60's/70's soul fan, yet they make it sound modern and original enough that it's interesting, and not the least bit retro-boring. Hopefully they make their way to Seattle in the near future! In the meantime, here's a youtube clip of them peforming "Tell Me" live.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
It's interesting to hear Leon Ware's version of it, later released on the remastered version of Musical Massage. Minnie Riperton sings with him on the track. I don't like it as much, even though I like both Ware and Riperton (together and individually as soul singers), mainly because nothing tops Marvin Gaye.
Here, My Dear is a brilliant Marvin Gaye album, possibly my second favorite of his behind What's Going On. Released in 1978, this album was released after the messy divorce from his first wife, Anna Gordy (Motown founder Berry Gordy's sister). In the divorce proceedings, the judge ordered Gaye to give the profits of his new album to his ex-wife. Hence, the title Here, My Dear. It's lyrically almost painfully too direct, while also bitter, sad, and tormented. However, the album also has moments where Gaye is getting as funky as he's ever been. Listen to "Anger", with the driven, funky percussion and guitar. It probably sounded somewhat out-of-place when released among the swirling sounds of disco on the radio during that time, as the funk of "Anger" almost sounds like an underground funk band from the early 70's. Good stuff!
I also love both of the albums Marvin Gaye recorded with Tammi Terrell, as well as some of his early singles from the 1960's, and even Trouble Man is a solid sountrack that Gaye released after What's Going On (his answer to Superfly and Shaft?) and is very underrated as well.