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.