dimanche 26 décembre 2010

The Leopard Lounge At The Movies (Warner Classics & Jazz - 2007)

Despite its ugly cover, this Leopard Lounge serie volume is devoted to nice rare exotica and easy listening covers of famous movie tunes. If it is not a surprise to find the usual lounge compilation suspects, Burt Bacharach (Alfie) or Henry Mancini tunes (Moon River Cha Cha, Daktari, Latin Golightly), some covers are a bit more suprising. Quartette Très Bien take on Exodus or Les Baxter interpolation of the Theme From Lawrence Of Arabia give a radical lifting to rather melodramatic and symphonic originals. Some of the artists featured are not all boxing in the second division of pop music as you find herbie Mann, Esther Philips, Jimmy Smith or even Young-Holt Unlimited. Enjoyable work.

Download => The Leopard Lounge At The Movies

samedi 25 décembre 2010

Siesta Party ! #1 (Nova Records - 1999)

After decades of ostracism, 90's dee-jays suddendly discovered that easy-listening records of their grand-parents were hiding fabulous pop and electronic gems. They even invented its 90's equivalent, trip hop. Trip hop was the kind of music made to buy ridculously expensive drinks and meals in posch bars. All this ended with awful lounge compilation and people finally threw the baby, the water and the bath far away. Easy-listening went back into relative obscurity and now that CD's don't sell anymore, nobody dares to release compilation like this one. Due to French infamous DJ's Jean Croc and Johnny Begoude and released by Nova Radio own label, Siesta Party ! gathers 17 excellent gems with no fillers. Cannonball Adderley, Sergio Mendes, Lalo Schifrin, Astrud Gilberto, Stanley Turrentine, Percy Faith, Jean-Jacques Perrey: the greatest names of the genre give their best to make your life sounds better. Sometimes elevator music can be liked for itself and not for kitsch post modern reasons.

Download => Siesta Party ! #1

samedi 18 décembre 2010

Kool Moe Dee - Greatest Hits (Jive - 1993)

Largely forgotten now, Kool Moe Dee had his share of success in the 80's as member of The Treacherous Three. When they disbanded, Kool went for solo and was one of the first rapper to use a long term feud with a fellow rapper, LL Cool J, to gain publicity. The 15 tracks compiled here are from his four albums released on Jive in the second half of the 80's: Kool Moe Dee, How You Like Me Now, Knowledge Is King and Funke, Funke Wisdom. The production swings from average to really good, especially when Teddy Riley is involved but the overall flavour is definitely old school. Kool greatest assets were his lyrics and his charisma on the mic and both still resonate today. An underated old school master.

Download => Kool Moe Dee - Greatest Hits

jeudi 9 décembre 2010

Mulatu Astatke - New York-Addis-London - The Story Of Ethno Jazz 1965-1975 (Strut - 2009)

Mulatu Astatke - New York Addis London The Story Of Ethio Jazz 1965-1975

Its music scene is not what comes to mind first when you think about Ethiopia. It brings more back dramatic memories of colonial wars, Emperor Haile Selassie or 80's starvings and Band Aid concerts. But Ethiopia gave as well birth in the 60's to one of the most prolific musical scene of Africa with a bunch of talented young musicians mixing African music music with Western influences. If you are intererested in this scene, the famous Ethiopiques albums serie is just for you. Educated in England and the US, Mulatu Astatke created his own quartet and ethio jazz, an hypnotic combination of traditionnal Ethiopian melodies with Western instrumentation. His records are still pretty hard to find and this compilation is blessing to get a hand on his best tracks. Mulatu Astatke recently acquired a new fame when Damian Marley sampled Yegelle Tezeta for his project with Nas, As We Enter. Oh No used that song as well on Great Oracle, a track released on his instrumental Ethiopian music influenced projet, Ethiopium. Backpackers Oddisee use the song on Khartoum. Mulatu Astatke traces (Kasalefkut Hulu) can be found on 8Ball's Pure Uncut and K'Naan's ABC. Other Mulatu songs have been used as well but you won't find them on this compilation.

samedi 4 décembre 2010

Pharoah Sanders - Karma (Impulse! - 1969)

Pharoah Sanders - Karma

Difficult to comment a record that has been already described numerous times by jazz specialist and for very good reasons like a masterpiece even for a soul and funk head like me. Karma is made of only two songs: a 32'42" psychedelic ride called The Creator Has A Master Plan and the only 5'37 long Colors. With the help of Leon Thomas on vocals and percusion and Lonnie Liston Smith on Piano, The Creator Has A Master Plan starts like a sultry repetition of the soulful main theme built around Pharoah Sanders saxophone. Then the voice of Leon Thomas comes in before the song falls into noisy bruitist and abstract chaos for several long minutes to finally come back to the main theme. This shit just grabs your mind, even if you're not high and definitely propels you into another world.

samedi 27 novembre 2010

The Zapp & Roger Anthology - We Can Make You Dance (Warner Bros./Rhino - 2002)

The Zapp & Roger Anthology CD 1

The Zapp & Roger Anthology CD 2

If the Troutman brothers wouldn't have existed, nor P-Funk nor West Coast gansta rap would have been the same. Discovered by, guess who, Georges Clinton himself, the band led by Roger Troutman, rapidly acquired a major status amongst funk players. Zapp live shows, for those lucky to watch them, were unique moments of funky madness while their infectious singles, even if not that successful outside the R&B charts, set the definition of black music for the next decades: a strong emphsis on the drum and bass lines, the use of talkbox, easy texts and infectious chorus. Sounds kind like the definition of R&B today right? Zapp and Roger have been so much sampled, especially More Bounce To The Ounce, that using their songs is now the ultimate music production cliché. Dre gave to Cesar what belongs to Cesar revitalizing Roger career by offering him the chance to sing the hook of 2Pac's hit California Love in 1996. The saddest thing in Zapp glorious story is the end with the violent and mysterious death of Roger and Larry Troutman in 1999 by gunshots. This anthology selects the 29 best tracks from Roger Troutman's various incarnations: The Human Body, Zapp, Roger and H-Town. This is a must.

dimanche 21 novembre 2010

In The Pocket With Eddie Bo - New Orleans Rock&Roll, R&B, Soul & Funk Goodies 1955-2007 (Vampisoul - 2008)

In The Pocket With Eddie Bo

Getting a hand on Eddie Bo recordings for a decent price a rare experience. During 50 years, Eddie Bo was a funky hurricane, one of the go to guy from New Orleans funk and soul scene. He wrote, recorded, produced or arranged hundreds of records for a good dozen of different labels, mostly 45s, and staid a lot of times uncredited. It was really time to rehabilite this guy and its storming recipe: raw drums, tick bass lines and a catchy hook, enhanced from time to time by horns or strings. The 28 songs on In The Pocket With Eddie Bo features Eddie Bo under his own moniker or the numerous bands and artists he worked for: Barbara George, The Barons, Eddie Lang or Chuck Garbo & The Soul Finders. Raw swampy sweaty shit but it's just to bad this records lacks what is probably Eddie Bo's most sampled song and used breakbeat, Hook And Sling.

dimanche 14 novembre 2010

Slave - Slave (Cotillion - 1977)

Slave - Slave

After years of hiatus, Slave lead singer, Steve Arrington, is back in business, collaborating with new school funk master Dam-Funk and Stones Throw Records. I had the chance to hear one title released with a French newspaper and the result is quite good even if far away from Slave best days. Probably one of the greatest funk band to come from Ohio, Slave signed the stellar single Slide, which stormed the charts even before any album was even recorded. This single alone allowed Slave to tour intensively and they only had a few days to record their first album, Slave. It explains probably the raw energy and the live feeling of every track, the emphasis being on the bass and drum lines and less on the melody or the arrangements. For the record, Public Enemy A Tribe Called Quest, Success-N-Effect and Professor Griff used Slide for respectively Can't Truss It, Go Ahead In The Rain, Feeze and Pawns In The Game.

samedi 6 novembre 2010

The Soul Searchers - Blow Your Whistle - Original Old School Breaks & Classic Funk Bombs (Vampisoul - 2007)

The Soul Searchers - Blow Your Whistle

Everything is said in the title about the content of this record. Blow Your Whistle gathers tracks from the two LPs Go-Go music king Chuck Brown's Soul Searchers cut for Sussex in 1972 (We The People) and in 1974 (Salt Of The Earth). This nice Vampisoul release is the cheapest and easiest way to get inalterable heavy funk break classics like Salt Of The Earth or Ashley's Roachclip, largely sampled and used by the hip hop godfathers of the late 80's (Eric B & Rakim, LL Cool J, Run DMC, Public Enemy and co).

vendredi 5 novembre 2010

Jorge Benjor - The Definitive Collection (Wrasse Records - 2002)

Jorge Benjor - The Definitive Collection

Mainly specialized in African music, British label Wrasse Records released excellent anthologies of Brazilian music. After Gilberto Gil, Elis Regina, Maria Bethânia and Gal Costa, it is the turn of pop genius Jorge Benjor (aka Jorge Ben). The record concentrates on his 60's and 70's career with 19 excellent tunes. All his absolute classics are here, from bossa classic Mas, Que Nada to his samba disco stormer, Taj Mahal, a song so infectious that once you listen to it, the melody of the chorus is still printed in your head one month later. For the story, Taj Mahal was plagiarized by Rod Stewart for his biggest hit to date, Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?. The Scottich singer was sued, condemned and consequently didn't make any money out of it. Jorge Benjor made another version of the song, even better, for his Acustico MTV album released in 2002.

dimanche 24 octobre 2010

Blue Brazil - Blue Note In A Latin Groove (Blue Note - 2004)

Blue Brazil - Blue Note In A Latin Groove

Blue Brazil gathers seventeen rare Brazilian songs released in the 60's and 70's on EMI-Odeon Brazil. All the songs are in a jazzy/samba/bossa note but some of them are very danceable. This is particularly the case of Homenagem A Mongo, a Cesar Mariano written tribute to Latin percussionist Mongo Santanisuis performed by Som Tres and which starts with a storming breakbeat. This is the only track on this compilation that makes it deserve its title Blue Note In A Latin Groove. Marketing guys at Blue Note probably found it clever to call it that way to appeal to both Brazilian music and Latin music lovers. The last ones will be dispointed but the first ones will get definitely a run for their money. This is always an exquisite pleasure to find Joyce's best song ever, Aldeia De Ogum, among other gems.

samedi 23 octobre 2010

Letta Mbulu - Naturally (Fantasy - 1973)

Letta Mbulu - Naturally

Naturally is the kind of album that can change your life forever and goes directly to your desert island playlist. Benefiting from the help of Cannonball and Nat Adderley, Letta Mbulu mixes perfectly well deep soul with her south african jazzy roots. This is just amazing that this album didn't enjoy any success when it was released and staid ignored for so long. I consequently give all the respect due to BGP for bringing back this pure moment of magic from the vaults.

dimanche 17 octobre 2010

Sunnyview - Fresh Beats (Hi & Fly Records - 2007)

Sunnyview - Fresh Beats

Sunnyview is born on the ashes of Miami TK Records at the begining of the 80's. TK founder Henry Stone associated with Moris Levy to reissue TK catalogue and explore the possibilities of a new musical trend of synthetic music, electro funk. Exploring all the possibilities of keyboards and drum machines, electro funk can be divided in numerous schools, all represented on this compilation. From hip hop to freestyle, from funk to minimalist instrumentals, from Pretty Tony to Newcleus, all the subgenres and its underground heroes are here represented. Hi & Fly is a reissue label with pretty bad reputation. If all its compilations are excellent, there no editorial work to create liner notes, tracklisting is erratic and I'm not sure if they paid artists their due share of royalties. Anyway, with Fresh Beats it's breakdancing time again and it will make you start crazy move like the windmill, the back-spin, a couple of freezes and the thomas.

samedi 16 octobre 2010

Skyy - Inner City (Salsoul - 1984)

Skyy - Inner City

Inner City
is Skyy last Salsoul album and the last album ever released on Salsoul. Created in 1974 by The Cayre brothers in 1974, Salsoul was one of disco era most celebrated label. When disco age faded away and soul music entered in a tunnel that ended only at the end of the 90's, Salsoul stopped all operations. The mid 80's were a pretty bad time for African American music lovers. Black music seemed to have lost its mojo. After 20 years of charts domination and trendsetting, R&B charts were devitalized by two vampires that attracted all the light: Prince and Michael Jackson. Things in fact were still bubling in the underground: hip hop was a couple of years away from the begining of its golden age, freestyle was preparing what will be R&B 90's sonic revolution and house and garage were getting ready to take over European dancefloors. But for mainstream ears, radio was boring like hell. Skyy was created in 1970 and was Randy Muller's creature. Randy charted hits all over the 70's and 80's with Skyy or his other dancing machines like BT Express, Brass Construction, Funk Deluxed or Rapheal Cameron. Kenny Dope released a pretty good compilation of his best tracks on Plaza records in 2005. Inner City is probably one of Skyy most overlooked album and is clearly inspired by the freestyle sound of the time. It is one of the album of that era that aged the best. Dancin' To be Dancin', close to what Jellybean Martinez did for Madonna, is still able to full up a dance floor everytime it is played.

samedi 9 octobre 2010

Manzel - Midnight Theme (Dopebrother - 2004)

Manzel - Midnight Theme

Midnight Theme is a compilation gathering instrumental tracks composed between 1973 and 1978 by a US army lieutnant, Manzel Bush, and some of his friends in small Kentucky studios. Manzel Bush never got signed by a major label despite his producer, a guy named Shad O'Shea, efforts and only three of his songs, Midnight Theme, Space Funk and Jump Street were indepentely released as 45 rpm. 30 years later, Midnight Theme is one the most sampled breakbeat of hip hop, being used by the likes of Golden Age legends Eric B & Rakim, Cypress Hill, De La Soul or Grand Puba. Manzel sounds a bit like what the Mizell brothers did for Blue Note in the 70's or Roy Ayers albums of the same period: a very cool spacey jazz funk. This 2004 reedition was supervised, mixed and remixed by Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez himself for a top notch result.

dimanche 3 octobre 2010

David Axelrod - Heavy Axe (Fantasy - 1974)

David Axelrod - Heavy Axe

I know, I know, another David Axelrod post for the third time in less than a month. Even if Heavy Axe is not as good as Songs Of Experience or Song Of Innocence, it's still a very good effort from David Axelrod, with one certified masterpiece, the last track, Everything Counts. Everything Counts is the closest song on the album to what you can expect from an Axelrod track: killing breakbeat, a heavy bass, a scorching production with a melancolic twist and tearjerking strings. The rest of the album is more in an easy listening/jazz/soft R&B mode, with the help of Cannonball Aderley on the saxophone. Curiously the later is featured on the worst tracks, especially a cheesy cover of Stevie Wonder, Don't You Worry About A Thing.

dimanche 26 septembre 2010

Donna Hightower - This World Today Is A Mess b/w Dreams Like Mine (Decca - 1972)

Finding informations about Donna Hightower on the internet is not that easy. Maybe because This World Today Is A Mess is her only real commercial success. It's a nice piece of uptempo, singalong, feel good, easy listening soul song, despite lyrics that are not that optimistic. The B side, Dreams Like Mine, is a gorgeous soul downtempo number.

Donna Hightower - This World Today Is A Mess b/w Dreams Like Mine

samedi 25 septembre 2010

David Axelrod - Songs Of Exprience (Capitol - 1969)

David Axelrod - Songs Of Experience

Songs Of Experience is the second part of David's Axelrod homage to William Blake after Song Of Innocence, record I posted last week. Songs Of Experience is a little less dark and slightly more cinematographic, heavy on a rich psyche and sexy instrumentation and a bit less on breaks. It reminds me a lot of soundtracks Ennio Morricone made at the same time. This album stays as well as one of hip hop producers favorite samples mine, especially DJ Shadow who largely used parts of The Human Abstract to make his masterpiece, Midnight In A Perfect World.

dimanche 19 septembre 2010

David Axelrod - Song Of Innocence (Capitol - 1968)

David Axelrod - Song Of Innocence

What to say about this record? This is the kind of album that made me want to start this blog. Just to make it discover to someone that never heard of it. It is so good that it's hard to say which song is the better. Song Of Innocence is a pure breakbeat paradise. Each single track has been sampled a gazillion of times, especially Holy Thursday. Song Of Innocence was thought as an hommage to William Blake, the 18th century poet. But you will find no classical music here. It's an instrumental psychedelic funky jazzy trip. Strings and horns are used in a very cinematographic way, aswering to funky drums and a jazzy bassline with from time to time an electric guitar. Play it and you'll be hooked to the last single note.

samedi 11 septembre 2010

Herman's Hermits - Both Sides Of Herman's Hermits (Columbia - 1965)

Herman's Hermits - Both Sides Of Herman's Hermits

Herman's Hermits have a shitty reputation. They haven't any psyche freakbeat, garage or proto punk scorcher to their palmares. Instead, despite their working class scousie origins, they drag a reputation of a commercial family friendly pop band, singing first degree love songs that wouln't scare or even offend Midwest and Bible Belt TV watchers. This is pretty unfair: those guys were maybe not the definition of rock'n'roll but they were in fact just doing the job the best they could. They had no personnality, no artistic vision, but clearly just wanted a decent living from their music. They didn't break any barrier but let behind them a handful of good songs. For Love is one my personnal favorite and you can find it on this album, Both Sides Of Herman's Hermits with a few B sides and cuts from their 1967 Columbia release, Herman's Hermits X 15.

samedi 4 septembre 2010

Syndicate Of Sound - Little Girl (Bell - 1966)

Syndicate Of Sound - Little Girl

Syndicate Of Sound was created, according to bassist Bob Gonzales in the liner notes of this Sundazed CD edition, "to make money, have fun and meet girls", which is basically the aim of 99,9% of teenage bands in the world. Hailing from San Jose, California, Syndicate Of Sound vanished carbonized after only one album and one Top 10 hit single, Little Girl. If British Invasion influences can obviously be heard throughout the entire album, they are mixed with that raw energy and that minimalism only particular to US garage bands of the time. Definitely more than a curiosity.

samedi 28 août 2010

Chocolate Milk - Action Speaks Louder Than Words (RCA - 1975)

Chocolate Milk - Action Speaks Louder Than Words

Session band from Allen Toussaint, Chocolate Milk (strange name isn't it, not that far away from Strawberry Pancake when you think about it), is a jam band, at their best live on stage and not necessary in the studio. Not that Action Speaks Louder Than Words is a bad jazz funk album, but you feel that the energy of the band transcends the lack of real songwriting skills and allows this album to be an afrocentric breakbeat paradise. The title song has been sampled numerous times by Eric B & Rakim (Move The Crowd), Stetsasonic (Don't let your...) or the Geto Boys (Action Speaks Louder Than Words). The demonstration of what I write lies here bellow with two versions (album and live) of Action Speaks Louder Than Words.

mardi 24 août 2010

Nigeria Afrobeat Special: The New Explosive Sound In 1970s Nigeria (Soundway - 2010)

Nigeria Afrobeat Special: The New Explosive Sound In 1970s Nigeria

Everybody is so much about afrobeat these days... Each week, a new white boys band from Brooklyn releases an album claiming their deep love for afro rhythms. Blog house bangers even all have (maybe had, I haven’t checked since a few monthes, which is equal to centuries in blog house time scale) even the same neo tribal beat directly inspired by afrobeat magic drummers. Original afrobeat records, all acquired directly in dusty warehouses in Nigeria or Ghana by greedy crate diggers, can now be found for the price of a kidney in London or New-York vinyls spots. I have nothing against artists getting at least the recognition they always deserved. But I have the sensation that those same artists only received a tiny percentage (if they receive any money at all) of the loot that is made out of their work. Western world loots not only Africa natural ressources but also its cultural ressources. I know that writing this is a bit hypocrital, especially in the post of a blog that offer free illegal copies of albums. But don’t tell me that the guy that sells afrobeat vinyls 200$ a piece, only do so to promote Nigerian music. Fortunately, the guys at Soundway seem honest. Their catalogue is pretty good and Nigeria Afrobeat Special make no exceptions. The tracks are really excellent, the liner notes well documented, the sound restoration work nearly perfect. I just can’t avoid to feel a bit annoyed, especially when you consider that the tracklistings are not the same between the vinyl and on the CD versions of this record. You’ll find here the link for the CD version. This was my blogger goes political day.

vendredi 20 août 2010

Ronn Matlock - Love City (Cotilion - 1979)

Ronn Matlock - Love City

The guys at Rhino made a really nice work for this 2007 CD reedition. The liner notes, signed by Charles Waring from MOJO, are really complete and make you learn anything about the genese of Love City. Ronn Matlock was already a seasoned Detroit songwriter for the Motown or Invictus imprints when he got signed on Atlantic subsidiary, Cotilion via his long time songwriting partner Michael Stokes’ production company, Skytower Music. The recording process of Love City was not really long. Ronn Matlock started writing songs in 1978, hired his top notch studio musicians pals (Funk Brother Eddie Willis on guitar, Johnny Allen on strings arrangements, Michael Stokes on piano) and Love City was ready to rumble in 1979. It unfortunately flopped on the charts, Ronn Matlock regreting a lack of label support and a bad single choice, the average disco stomper Let Me Dance. The strongest points of Love City, what make of this album a rare groove connoisseurs all time favorite, are indeed the mid tempo tracks, especially I Can’t Forget You. I Can’t Forget About You sounds, with Ronn Matlock baritone voice, like a very good Barry White song not sung by Barry White and is absolutely outstanding with other cuts like Take Me To The Top (Of Your Mountain) and You Got The Best Of Me . Uplifting and inspiring, Love City deserves plainly its classic status.

dimanche 15 août 2010

Kay-Dee Records - Volume 2 (Kay-Dee Records - 2008)

Kay-Dee Records - Volume 2

When Kenny Dope and Keb Darge associates to create a rare groove label you obtain one hell of a label, Kay-Dee. Kay-Dee is mostly specialized in vinyl reedition of Kenny and Keb soul and deep-funk obscure favorites but it also released two excellent compilations of their gems for the (relatively) not initiated, Kay-Dee Records Volume 1 & 2. On Volume 2, all the songs have been mixed, edited or remixed from the original master tapes by master Kenny himself and except a Kashmere Stage Band song already resurrected by Now Again, are rather rare and sure killers. The master at work mixed the compilation as well.

samedi 14 août 2010

Gwen Guthrie - Padlock (Garage Records - 1983)

Gwen Guthrie - Padlock

I’m back from well deserved summer vacations with the satisfaction to see that more and more good music lovers are visiting this blog. This is a personal satisfaction and gives me the energy necessary to continue posting. So today I exhumed this wonderful Gwen Guthrie 12”EP, Padlock, recently reedited in CD. I made a post a few month ago about the fantastic Strut compilation, Funky Nassau, that shedded light on the music produced at the end of the 70’s and the beginning of the 80’s at Compass Point studios in the Bahamas. Padlock was recorded over there combining the magic touch of reggae moguls Sly & Robbie with the voice of soul diva Gwen Guthrie, all of them feeling in a disco mood. It was then released on the Paradise Garage own label, Garage Records, and mixed by Larry Levan himself, anouncing the house and garage revolution to come. Surprisingly, the album that was supposed to follow the release of the EP, called Portrait, never enjoyed much success.

vendredi 23 juillet 2010

The Orchestra And Chorus Of Henry Mancini - Dear Heart And Other Songs About Love (RCA - 1964)

The Orchestra And Chorus Of Henry Mancini - Dear Heart And Other Songs About Love

If you don't like choirs and easy-listening, pass this one. Dear Heart And Other Songs About Love is devoted to choral arrangements conducted by the master Henry Mancini. You'll find of course soundtracks cuts (Dear Heart, Soldier In The Rain, Man's Favorite Sport), a show theme (How Soon), a vocal version of Mr Lucky and a couple of covers (The Girl From Ipanema, Can't Buy Me Love). Designed for early 60's suburban interiors, you'll hardly find any break or anything psyche in it but it will nonetheless make your newborn sleep in no time.

mercredi 21 juillet 2010

Paul Revere & The Raiders - Greatest Hits (Columbia - 1967)

Paul Revere & The Raiders - Greatest Hits

Paul Revere & The Raiders were The Black Lips of the 60's: a band of clowns playing a perfect garage rock'n'roll that took no prisonners. The band, headed by Paul Revere (which was his real name and became later the name of a Beastie Boys song) and Mark Lindsay, liked its shit raw even if they were TV Shows regulars. Mark Lindsay voice sounded definitely punk while the band played well crafted songs with an unmatched and inflammatory spontaneity. This Greatest Hits album serves them very well: 11 songs, 4 bonus tracks and 40 minutes of unmatched rock'n'roll that never slows down.

samedi 17 juillet 2010

Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons - My Eyes Adored You & Other Hits (Flashback - 2001)

Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons - My Eyes Adored You & Other Hits

If you read Frankie Valli bio, you might get scared at first. Born Francis Stephen Castelluccio in New Jersey, Frankie Valli was the frontman of the 4 Seasons, a pop band he created with three other Jersey italo-americans, Tommy De Vito, Nick Massi and Bob Gaudio. But believe me or not, those guys and especially Frankie Valli are not mob affiliated wannabe Frank Sinatra for your grandma for three reasons. Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons benefited at first of Bob Gaudio and producer Bob Crewe brilliant songwriting habilities. The pair knew well how to craft a blue eyed soul song and use big ass production techniques. Secondly, those guys could sing anything and didn't sound corny, form tear jerking ballads (My Eyes Adored You) to disco (Decembre, 1963 (Oh, What A Night) covered and burned out by cheesy French disco singer Claude François). At least, Frankie Valli acting career lead him to play Rusty Millio in, what else, The Sopranos. And that itself deserves the uppermost respect.

mercredi 14 juillet 2010

Rolf Kühn - More, More, More & More - The Artist's Selection (MPS/Universal - 2008)

Rolf Kühn - More, More, More & More - The Artist's Selection

German clarinestist, Rolf Kühn was a big band musician before rolling solo. He supervised himself More, More, More & More, a selection of what he considers his best extracts from the 6 albums he realeased for MPS in the 70's. If his music sometimes goes into an abrupt free jazz dimension, especially his early 70's pieces, it then incorporated soundtracks and funky influences. This is especially the case on 1979 Symphonic Swampfire and 1980 Cucu Ear. The best track is La Canal, which sounds like a mix up of Isaac Hayes and François de Roubaix.

dimanche 11 juillet 2010

Bohannon - Disco Stomp b/w East Coast Groove (Brunswick - 1975)

Bohannon - Disco Stomp b/w East Coast Groove

Session player for Motown, Hamilton Bohannon didn'it follow the label to Detroit, signed to Brunswick but enjoyed only limited solo success. I never understood why. East Coast Groove and Disco Stomp are two hypnotic scorchers based mainly on the bassline, a big disco beat and a funky guitar riff. No lame lyrics or cheesy orchestration on that 7" but only raw funky rythm.

lundi 5 juillet 2010

Psychedelia At Abbey Road - 1965-1969 (EMI - 1998)

Psychedelia At Abbey Road - 1965-1969

This excellent compilation gathers 22 rare psyche gems all recorded at Abbey Road studios between 1965 and 1969. If you can find some usual suspects (Donovan, Pretty Things, Syd Barrett), I must admit I didn't know the majority of the bands featured, from The N'Betweens to The Koobas passing by The Mandrake Paddle Steamer. For a compilation released by a major, this one is really well documented, complete and very good. Break diggers will even find interesting things to sample, especially the soul infused 10.000 Years Behind My Mind by Focus 3, 10.000 Words In A Cardboard Box by Aquarian Age or the brilliant horns that take Mr Armegeddon of Locomotive into an unexpected stratospheric direction.

samedi 3 juillet 2010

Barry 7's Connectors 2 - 17 Rare Italian Library Tracks (Lo Recordings - 2002)

Barry 7's Connectors 2

ADD N To (X) was a bad ass electro band created by Ann Shenton et Barry Smith aka Barry 7. Barry found time to release 2 compilations of library music. Here is the volume 2. Don't believe that because it is library music, you'll find second hand material. We are here talking of songs composed by the like of Giuseppe De Luca or Ennio Morricone. Eerie choruses, melodies and instrumentation inspired by classical music, electronical experimentations, funky psyche breaks: all your favorite Italian soundtracks ingredients are gathered for the best.

mardi 29 juin 2010

Mato - Hip Hop Reggae Series Vol 2 (Stix - 2010)

Download => Mato - Hip Hop Reggae Series Vol 2

The second instalment in the mixtape serie Hip Hop Reggae is due to producer Mato. The principles are the same, blending hip hop acapella classics on fresh reggae riddims, often interpolating the original theme. Not as good as the first volume of the serie, the reggae treatment of originals by The Fugees, The Beastie Boys The Pharcyde, Warren G or Michael Jackson is still very enjoyable. Even if you don't like mash-ups, you'll love those ones.

samedi 26 juin 2010

Heatwave - Too Hot To Handle (Epic - 1976)

Heatwave - Too Hot To Handle

What's the difference between British disco funk and American disco funk? If you listen to Heatwave, they ain't any. Maybe because Heatwave was a multicultural combo (4 American guys, one Brit, one Czech, one Spanish) and they all spoke fluently the funk language.Too Hot To Handle, their first album, grooves from the begining to the end and never sounds corny or near anything cheesy. The harp intro, the strings and chorus on Boogie Nights are by example closer to jazz than to a suburbian hotel nightclub. It is just the perfect kind of album you can listen to very loud while driving your car all glasses opened and still don't look like a perfect idiot.

mercredi 23 juin 2010

New Order - Movement (Factory - 1981)

New Order - Movement

I just watched French filmmaker Olivier Assayas fantastic film about 70's left wing terrorist Carlos and it made realised that New Order signed with Dreams Never End, largely used in the film, one of the best guitar and bass lines played crescendo as introduction to rock'n'roll song. I write that being not that much a big New Order fan. I definitely respect their legacy, the way they reinvented themselves and pop music after Joy Division, their open minded ears, what they brought to clubland with the Haçienda, all what made their legend. But I don't particularly find their albums that good from the start to the end. Movement is no exception. In fact the music and Martin Hannett production are innovative and annouce the best of the 10 years to come. But I find Peter Hook voice is a bit embarrasing. OK, it is a cold wave album, it's not that important but the guy actually can't sing!!!

lundi 21 juin 2010

Rose Royce - Car Wash b/w Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (MCA - 1976)

A/ Car Wash

B/ Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

I just found this original 7" at a yard sale and I couldn't resist to post it, even if the vinyl cracks a little bit. Produced by Norman Whitfield, Car Wash and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is are both classics for one damn good reason: they have that raw funky groove. that make you smile anyway, anytime. I never saw the movie Car Wash and I don't know if the trailer really makes me want to try the adventure.