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Forward-looking, synth-heavy, pop-oriented soul, released in 1979. This album has Scott-Heron and frequent collaborator Brian Jackson closing out the decade that began with “Pieces of a Man” (feat. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”), and rounding the corner into the uncertainty of the 1980′s. Lyrics touch upon dark visions of the future (1980), fate, foible, and the musicians’ life (Corners, Late Last Night), the wisdom of nuclear power (Shut ‘em down), and the flow of immigrants over our southern border (Alien). This is driven by superb vocals, thoughtful lyrics, and demonstrates a serious commitment to songcraft on every track.
This initial 1971 offering from Indianapolis’ Funk Inc features wonderful interplay between organ, tenor sax, drums, congas, and guitar. Like so many “first” releases, tracks on this LP come loaded with a fierce, raw energy. “Kool is Back” (A1) is an epic funk journey that you’ll want to play again and again, while “Sister Janie” (B1) offers a more relaxed approach, and “The Thrill is Gone” (B2) has Steve Weakley channeling BB King and Stevie Ray Vaughn. The band put out 4 more releases on Prestige through ’74 before disbanding in 1976.
Interpretive: Funky situations, groovy syncopation. With gyrating hips, flailing arms, and stomping feet, greet your robot sex machine overlords.
Descriptive: This P-Funk spin-off is a female-fronted funk freakout for the whole family. “Ridin’ High” (A1) is a synth dance explosion sure to get you moving. “Huff-N-Puff” (B3) is a fun re-telling of the The Three Little Pigs vs. the Big Bad Wolf with spooky sounding keys, and showcases some solid musicianship. “You’re Leaving” (B2) is a vocal-led stomper that doesn’t seem to have a commitment to any key signature, but somehow works–I had to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong with my turntable for this song, but found it quite enjoyable when I just accepted this as fact. With sparse percussion and slinky bass work, “Don’t Ever Stop” (A2) is your sex jam. Warnings: “No Rump to Bump” (A2) is a snoozer, “Booty Snatchers” (B1) starts off with some odd vocals and has lyrics that don’t make a lick of sense.
Brief: It’s like Parliament, but they took the men out. “Par-let”
FCC: All tracks clean.
This all-instrumental 1968 LP is sort of the missing link between the cheesy-but-enjoyable organ dominated records that James previously recorded on Smash and the crucial funk sides the JBs would turn out in the ???70???s. While the Smash LPs were mostly a side project (and a means for James to get around his measly vocalist contract with King records), this one seems like something taken more seriously???yet for once James submerges his ego. While there are a few short organ solos from Mr. Dynamite, he mostly uses it as a rhythm instrument (remember, in his world everything???s a drum) and lets others solo. No personnel is listed but Maceo and the chickenscratch guitar of Jimmy Nolan come through loud and clear. There???s noodling and meandering and they???re not quite there yet, but it???s a nice stop along the way.
3rd solo album from Michigan multi-instrumentalist Christian Berishaj.
He writes and produces his records. He directs his own music videos.
Tracks dripping with soul grooves, lush string orchestrations,
the poetry of a hard life lived, longing and heartbreak. He has
a smooth voice, easy flow, decent falsetto, and is clearly very
talented. This record is sexy, melancholy, and quite beautiful.
A real panty dropper! I loved it! FCCs on tracks 3-7; 12
Overseen by San Antonio???s Abe Epstein ??? who had a hand in at least five other labels at the time ??? Dynamic ran for a little under three years in the mid 1960s, and put out in excess of 20 singles over its lifetime. Artists featured on the label include The Tonettes, Don & The Doves, Willie Cooper & The Webs, and Little Jr. Jesse & The Tear Drops. The closest the label came to a hit was 1966???s ???No Time For You???, performed by four-piece Commands. FCC FREE. Low riding and faith keeping.
Recorded live at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, Mahalia Jackson’s stunning voice goes straight to your soul. She sang in church, had a hit “Movin’ on up” in 1948, hosted a show on CBS radio starting in 1954, and later went on to sing at JFK’s inauguration and at Martin Luther King’s funeral. Fine gospel style piano and organ and bass accompaniment. Often considered the greatest gospel singer of all time and I would not argue with that. You might try “I’m going to live the life…” if you are not familiar with Ms. Jackson.
I listened to the CD first, then read the booklet. Hamer’s rich, soulful voice recounts memories of songs her mother sang to her at various times, such as while the family picked bale after bale of cotton. Hamer was the 20th child of a sharecropper family in Mississippi, but really she was so much more–she used the songs her mother taught her to shore up spirits and rally support for civil rights. She was a crucial participant in Freedom Summer activities, and she worked tirelessly to achieve voting rights for blacks, despite the retaliation and threats of white supremacists. She ran for Congress, she sang, and she spoke at mass meetings. Some of those speeches are included here. This is a must-listen, a slice of African American history that needs to be told. Inspiring and horrifying at the same time.
What started as a house band for Columbia College audio engineering program in Chicago, grew to be a dissertation for seventh year senior and band leader Andre Gibson. The tapes went missing for over twenty years, and then surfaced to give life to this album.
Stylish spacey R&B jazz, with a very healthy side of funk, soul, and African rhythms. These are longer full-length tracks taken from the 2011 repressing session of the rare 1977 Brighter Days. Lots of groovy snakey horn and winding bass lines. Spacey and spiritual vibes for sure.
There’s a certain something about the 1970′s that makes me get all giddy. If it is soul, funk, Black Power and synthesizers, I’m knockin’ you over and pushing to the front of the line. This Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson album, Bridges, from 1977, is what that is all about. Scott-Heron and Jackson are best known for the song “The Bottle” and we know all about it blah, blah, blah. But these guys put out around ten albums in the mighty decade of the ’70′s and this one is not taking a back seat to any bottle.
SOLID! What else can I say? Well you know I’m going to go on, but just remember….. SOLID.
Yep, it’s James Brown. What else can be said about the Godfather of Soul? We all know it. Yet there always seems to be another piece of the puzzle found somewhere. This singles series, of which this is volume 9, really probes deep into the Brown archives, focusing on the singles from 1973 to 1975. By this time, Brown had already established himself as a force in music. He had hits. He had the 1962 and 1968 “Live at the Apollo” albums which established himself as a superstar. But then the ’70′s hit, psychedelic instrumentation had pushed into soul, funk was becoming the lead style on the r&b soul charts, disco was around the corner, women’s liberation and the sexual revolution hit hard: Brown had to keep up with the times even though he was getting older. He had clout at Polydor Records and could do just about anything with them, so one of the things was to release singles he had recorded and had been sitting on the shelf as well as pulling the select single from recording sessions. He released 5 albums between 1973 and 1975, therefore there was a wealth of material, including remakes of previous hits. The booklet that comes with this collection is full of in depth information that follows this period.
C’mon. It’s Rufus. What else can one say? Well just a bit, okay. This is Rufus, Chicago based funk outfit which launched the career of party girl vocalist supreme Chaka Khan. Their bio is familiar. It is the classic story of a group already working hard to establish themselves. Along comes an unknown replacement vocalist who has the chops, captures the industry’s attention, helps to land the group a contract with a big record company, and… BOOM…hello gold and platinum records and hello Grammy. Bitterness, tension, folks leave, solo career is started with increasing success, jealousy, contractual recording obligations, bombed recordings without the star. Oh, and don’t forget the drugs. That nasty white powder. Classic HBO mini-series. This album, “Rufus”, by Rufus is at the beginning of this oft told story.
This is quintessential 1973 sound. Steeped in Chicago soulfulness and rhythm and blues, hard southern gospel, and the ever tight sound of nightclub funk, “Rufus” introduces us to what is to come while showing us where it started. I like good beginnings and this beginning is an explosion of amazingness. From the first choral opening notes of “Slip N’ Slide”, the listener knows they are in for some fun. That evangelical gospel beat used for the song about going down to a roadhouse lets us know what are the roots of this group. For the next nine tracks Rufus gives a sort of musical tour of all that is happening soulfully in 1973: upbeat love songs, down and quiet love songs, funky love songs, soulful love songs (with electric piano and flute —- it doesn’t get anymore ’73 than that), songs about brotherhood and sisterhood
What can I say but….. HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!! George Clinton’s Family Series says it all. Released in 1993, this is the third in Clinton’s Family Series and it is killer. It has the familiar faces of Parliament and Funkadelic as well as Bootsy. That means bass heavy funk reaching down deep into your inner Funkateer funkstressness. There are some surprises like Jessica Cleaves doing Paul McCartney’s “My Love”, with Minnie Ripperton vocal stylings and oh soooooo good cheese electric piano 1990′s style. “Think Right” by Parlet and the Brides gets the jam going nonstop. Infectious beyond a doubt. Jimmy G does “Shove On” which may be my current favorite thing to say: and it is Clinton’s younger brother. Shove on!!!!! The Brides of Funkenstein add there first recording. BUT really I wanna ask, can you say TRAYLEWD? Traylewd’s song “Personal Problems” is THE song. Just listen and try to think otherwise. Track 13 is an interview with Clinton and family who are reviewing the whole album, telling tidbits about each song. Track 14 is Bootsy and Clinton doing commercials. Essential. And remember “all I wanna do is funk with you baby, all I wanna do is funk.” So, really, where are volumes 1 and 2?
Larry Graham: original member of Sly and the Family Stone, bassist for Betty Davis, collaborator and converter of Prince to Jehovah’s Witness, originator of the “slap bass” style which revolutionized funk and later, rock. Larry Graham, founder of Graham Central Station, a sort of rotating funk/soul super group. From 1974, “Release Yourself” is GCS’s second release and it works his gospel revival meets funk crossroads style that really, really works. Larry and his top notch bandmates know how to get the funk out, even when praising the Lord. If you were’t aware of the angle GCS was coming from, you’d think from the song titles that this was a classic mid 70′s funk album about, what else?, sex. “Feel the Need”, “Release Yourself”, “Got to Go Through It to Get to It”. Come on. It just screams sexy funk. But this is all about being saved AND DON’T LET THAT TURN YOU AWAY!!!! GCS takes their seven songs and funks themselves out, slapping the bass, hitting it on the one, gospel revivaling and mastering vocal interplay that takes the listener to a new place. The musicianship is the best. You know they mean it when they sing out “come on and feel it, feel it, feel it.” Just let go and let Larry. You know you want to.
“The Isaac Hayes Movement” is Isaac Hayes’ third LP, out in 1970, and continues his work with long, orchestrated soul pieces. This is a year before “Shaft” came out which would change popular music. This is almost two years before Hayes would twist the heads off of Americans when he performed “Shaft” at the Academy Awards wearing no shirt and a gold floor length chain vest, singing with a group of dancers in soul hippie garb and the most outrageous afros seen on prime time. “The Isaac Hayes Movement” is a much more subdued, yet rich album. Hayes already had a full career coming out of the Memphis sound and working with Stax Records as a musician, composer and arranger, so his knowledge was solid. This album took his skills in arrangement and orchestration as well as his interest in reinterpreting other composers songs and twisted them to make them most definitely his own. While Barry White’s deep voice and pulsing rhythms are the music you want to have sex to, Hayes’ sonorous vocals with his lush instrumentation make him the guy you want to have sex with, while listening to his music. Listen to the first five minute monologue he gives to his best friend’s fianc??, telling her how much he loves her, before he breaks into the lyrics of Jerry Butler’s “I Stand Accused”, and try and tell me you don’t want to let Isaac take you away. In four songs, two sides, Hayes turns George Harrison’s “Something”, Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” and Chalmers and Rhodes “One Big Unhappy Family” into a new kind of soul, one rich and varied, taking time to explore with full on orchestrations that sweep and dip through and around Hayes’ vocals that melt the heart. So smooth and rich. A pure joy. And the man knows how to wear a zebra print coat, pants and matching hat. Natch.
First I thought this was rap. Then funk. Then jazz. Then I looked at the label and saw that it’s soul, which makes sense. But really, what it is, is cool rhythms and fun beats and dancey fare guaranteed to make you move. I really liked this.
There is a scene in Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini’s notorious film “Salo” where the fascist guards force the naked teen innocents to eat from a boiling pot of human feces. Listening to “The Next Step” is the auditory equivalent of watching that scene. And like trying to watch the movie, I had the experience, when listening to this, of cringing in shock but still wanting to hear it all the way through to it’s phenomenally excessive conclusion. Could it really get more superbly excruciating? Yes and I love it for that. I like James Brown, or maybe I like the idea of James Brown 40 or more years ago. The problem with “The Next Step” is that he is still trying to use the old signature style and mix it with contemporary 2002 sounds. Even though the album sounds more like 1985.
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