Funky16Corners Presents 45 Fingers of Death An hour of Deep Crates Style Kung Fu
Complete with liner notes!
Always be sure to stop by the Funky16Corners blog at http://funky16corners.wordpress.com/
Also if you are in the New Jersey area, be sure to drop by the Asbury Park 45 Sessions (at the Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, NJ) this coming Friday, 6/12. You can catch Mr. Funky16Corners live.
BW Souls – Marvin’s Groove (Round) Billy Davis – Stanky Get Funky (Cobblestone) Richard’s People – Yo Yo (Tuba) Eldridge Holmes – The Book (Deesu) Different Strokes – Sing a Simple Song (Okeh) Rufus Thomas – Do the Funky Penguin (Stax) Johnny Otis Show – Country Girl (Kent) Other Brothers – Hole In the Wall (Modern) David T Walker – Watch Out Dynamite! (Revue) Little Royal & the Swingmasters – Razor Blade (Trius) Lee Moses – Day Tripper (Musicor) John Paul – I’m a Bad Son of a Gun (Philips) Funky Four – Plus – The Bomb (Golden Hit) Joe Hicks – Home Sweet Home (Scepter) Aaron Chico Baily & the Family Affair Band – The Point Pt 2 (Kris) Soul Tornados – Crazy Legs (Westwood) Andre Brasseur – The Duck (Palette) Diamond Joe – The ABC Song (Deesu) African Echoes – Big Time (Phil LA of Soul) Maceo & the Kings Men – Got To Getcha (House of the Fox) Emperors – Mumble Shingaling (Brunswick) Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers – I Gotta Go Now (Up On the Floor) (Like)
A short while back PJ asked me to cook up a guest mix for Galactic Fractures (the first was a couple of years back). After a fair amount of consideration (since I’m always working on mixes for Funky16Corners) I walked into the record room and started to pull out 45s. I decided on a solidly funky vibe, with plenty of breaks, but also lots of soulful grit.
Things get started with what I consider to be one of the truly great funk 45s, which doesn’t really get the shine it should because it is also one of the most affordable, ‘Marvin’s Groove’ by BW Souls. I’ve never been able to track down any info on the group, though the California-based Round label also featured classic soul, R&B and other excellent funk 45s in its discography. The opening drum and bass intro never fails to blow my mind.
Billy ‘Guitar’ Davis’s ‘Stanky Get Funky’ is a blazing love song, sung from a man to his guitar. This is an example of a truly funky 45 that has a following on UK Northern Soul dance floors.
If you get a chance, fall by Funky16Corners for the piece I wrote about Richard’s People and ‘Yo Yo’. The first time I heard this record I knew I had to have it, and after a few years I finally scored a copy. It’s a great mix of heavy, breakbeat funk and pop-inflected Latin soul on Detroit’s Tuba label (also home to Johnny Lytle and Derek Martin).
Eldridge Holmes was probably the greatest New Orleans soul singer you’ve never heard of. Between 1962 and 1972 he recorded R&B, soul and slamming funk, almost always under the aegis of Allen Toussaint. ‘The Book’, written by Leo Nocentelli of the Meters (who backed Holmes on the crate digger’s fave ‘Pop Popcorn Children’) was one of Holmes’ last 45s, and also one of his best.
Different Strokes is another band that remains a mystery. They recorded one 45 for Okeh – both sides Sly and the Family Stone covers – and nothing after that. The fact that their name is also a Sly reference makes them all but un-Google-able. Their take on ‘Sing a Simple Song’ starts out slow, but dig those drums.
I’ll go ahead and assume that if you’re listening to Galactic Fractures you already know who Rufus Thomas is. 1971’s ‘Do the Funky Penguin’ sports one of the truly great breakbeats, which is why it’s been sampled by everyone from Biz Markie to a Tribe Called Quest. No self respecting DJ should ever hit the decks without two copies of this one.
Johnny Otis is one of the true past masters of rhythm and blues, laying down burners for over 50 years. ‘Country Girl’ is another cut in the style of ’Watts Breakaway’, in that it features both Johnny and Shuggie Otis as well as vocalist Delmar Evans. I love the lyrics on this one, as well as that deep, deep guitar/piano sound.
The Other Brothers is a recent discovery for me. The tune ‘Hole In the Wall’, credited to the Packers but actually laid down by a combination LA/Memphis group, has a long and interesting history. I had no idea until recently that a vocal version had ever been recorded. I haven’t been able to find out who the Other Brothers are, but their take on ‘Hole In the Wall’ is solid, funy soul. Dig the Batman and Gunsmoke namechecks.
David T. Walker is a soul jazz guitarist who recorded a grip of LPs under his own name, as well as having countless session credits. ‘Watch Out, Dynamite!’ is a funky, stop-time burner that came out on 45, but also appears on his 1969 ‘Going Up’ LP.
Not much needs to be said about Little Royal and the Swingmasters’ “Razor Blade”. This is what I like to refer to as funky ass funkity funk. If you’re just starting to build up your crates, know that Little Royal 45s are cheap and plentiful, and of course essential. The drum and bass breakdown in the middle of this one is a classic.
Lee Moses is a cat with a huge following in the collector world. He recorded heartbreaking, wailing soul ballads, as wells as mind bending instrumental heat. A fine example of the latter is his blazing version of ‘Day Tripper’, one side of one of the greatest funk 45s ever created (the other side is his break-laden take on the Four Tops ‘Reach Out I’ll be There’). This 45 does not come cheap, but a single listen will make it clear why.
John Paul is another performer who’s common name and seemingly brief discography make tracking down information almost impossible. Of course you could always just grab yourself a copy of ‘I’m a Bad Son of a Gun’ (it’s not expensive), and soak up the soulful vocal and the opening breakbeat.
‘The Bomb’ by the Funky Four-Plus is just the backing track (and B-side) to James Barnes and the Agents ‘Good and Funky’. It’s also the same track used by JJ Barnes (who, oddly enough is not James Barnes) for ‘Don’t Bring Me No Bad News’. In all likelihood this is a Motor City studio assemblage, composed of any number of Funk Brothers and other likely suspects. I love the recurring piano/vibraphone motif.
Joe Hicks was a Sly Stone protégé, recording a couple of 45s for different labels before heading to Memphis in 1973, recording an LP for the Stax subsidiary Enterprise. ‘Home Sweet Home’ pre-dates his Stone Flower 45s, and likely features backing by the Family Stone.
Aside from the fact that Aaron Chico Bailey and the Family Affair Band recorded in LA (home to the Kris label), I haven’t been able to find out anything about them. ‘The Point Pts 1&2’ is a great, rambling bit of jazzy funk, with oddly ominous voice-overs.
Ohio’s Soul Tornados – billed variously as the Soul Toronados and Soul Toranodoes – recorded a couple of absolutely burning, Hammond funk 45s. They had releases on the Detroit Burt and Magic City labels, as well as Ohio’s Westwood imprint. ‘Crazy Legs’ (not the Donald Austin tune) is a killer with a nice fat break in the middle of the record.
Unless you’re a Hammond collector, or Belgian, you may not know the name Andre Brasseur. Brasseur recorded a number of excellent organ 45s, one of which ‘The Kid’ was a minor hit in the States. ‘The Duck’ is by far his funkiest 45s and never fails to get the crowds moving.
Diamond Joe is another great, unsung New Orleans soul singer. Like Eldridge Holmes he recorded almost exclusively with Allen Toussaint. He only waxed seven 45s between 1961 and 1969, but a couple of them (especially ‘Gossip Gossip’ on Sansu) are certifiable classics. His final 45, ‘The ABC Song’ is his only funk side, and (likely featuring backing by the Meters) it’s a banger.
The African Echoes is a group that I always assumed – thanks to the fact that their 45 was released on Phil LA of Soul – was from Philadelphia. This was until I discovered that the very same 45 had originally been released on the Ovide label (from Texas), and may have featured some or all of the TSU Toronados. ‘Big Time’ is an excellent, horn-heavy funker.
Maceo (Parker, natch) and the Kings Men were of course the JBs. ‘Got To Getcha’ is a heavy funk 45, with some crazy hoodoo lyrics (‘I need a turtles egg to make her beg’?!?) and some wonderful guitar.
‘Mumble Shingaling’ was the last – and funkiest – 45 by Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s Emperors (and their only 45 on Brunswick). The group best known for their version of ‘My Baby Likes To Boogaloo’ on Mala (as well as a couple of other hot 45s) later regrouped as Emperors Soul 69 for a very rare 45.
The mix closes out with one of my personal Top 5 45s in any genre, ‘I Gotta Go Now (Up On the Floor)’ by Rex Garvin and the Mighty Cravers. Best known for ‘Sock It To Em JB’, Garvin recorded through the 60s and early 70s with and without the Mighty Cravers, leaving behind a number of excellent 45s and one complete LP. ‘I Gotta Go Now (Up On the Floor)’ is one of the slammingest 45s ever laid down by anyone, and has positively explosive effects on any dance floor.
I hope you dig the tunes, and that you’ll head on over to Funky16Corners when you get the chance.