via various FaceBook friends.
via various FaceBook friends.
Once again, I'll preface this post by saying if you like what you hear from Little Barrie, I suggest you buy their entire catalog and (definitely) go to a live gig if you have a chance. Their most recent release (King Of The Waves) is one of the great LP's of recent years, hands down!
We left off around the mid-'00's, and in 2005, Little Barrie's excellent debut full length (We Are Little Barrie) was released, containing a few tracks that had previously been released on 7" and a whole lot more. "Free Salute" was the single drawn from the LP, and the b-side is a SMOKING hot BBC version of "Didn't Mean A Thing", which itself was previously issued on the 'Memories Well" 45. This live version finds the band in top form. Just dig the tone, fire and taste of Barrie's guitar playing; it's the type of thing that seperates true talent from reheated, unispired blues licks.
"Burned Out" was an early (2002) single that made its way onto the Little Barrie debut LP, and DAMN is that track funky! DJ Nu Mark remixed it, and it takes the track into new terrain in the way that only an exceptional remix can (and adds a downright funny drum break section as well). Genuine Records released a cool white label promo 7" of the remix.
A few things first off- if you like what you hear from Little Barrie, I suggest you buy their entire catalog and (definitely) go to a live gig if you have a chance. Their most recent release (King Of The Waves) is one of the great LP's of recent years, hands down! Also, in the interest of full disclosure, Barrie's a good mate of mine; in fact, we became fast friends before I even KNEW of his amazing work (we met while on tour- him holding down the lead guitar slot with Primal Scream, me guitar teching with The Stooges). When I did hear what he was up to, I became a fan instantly, and it was a super cool instance of meeting a fellow musician as a pal first, then really digging the sounds in a big way!
While the lineup of Little Barrie has changed over the years, the power trio concept remains, and the focal point is Barrie Cadogan's blazing guitar work. Now, blazing guitar work only goes so far and thankfully Barrie's got the SONGS to match, and the vibe of the records and band have ingredients that include the intense swing of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the sparse electric blues of the likes of JB Hutto and Lightnin' Hopkins, a whole lotta soul and funk, and cooks it into something entirely original and REAL.
"Reply Me" is the b-side of the group's debut (2000), and it spells out from the get go that these guys are here to COOK. Over a slow burning groove, the band lays it out thick (at this time ithe trio was guitar-organ-drums) and the live feel sounds as if we're sitting in on something very private yet very appealing. So many records with a "jam session" vibes fall flat due to sheer boredom; not this record! It's one of those rare cases where 6 minutes goes by WAY too fast, and they could have easily stretched it out longer. Note to wise-enheimers; yeah, this record plays at 33 RPM. So what.
"Give Me A Microphone" is found on the b-side to Barrie's second 45 (2001), and starts out with a riff that sounds like a lost Eddie Hazel/ Funkadelic intro (yeah, it's THAT good) and introduces what came to be a Little Barrie trademark of duo call and response vocals (I think it's Wayne Fullwood here, and the role is presently handled by the amazing Virgil Howe on drums).
While the crop of old school sounds that have popped back into consciousness within the past ten or so years may be looked at as a revival or comeback, only a fool would say that soul music had EVER gone away.
Music has always been the center of my existence, and I remember back in the late 70's/ early '80's, TV commercials were full of reworked soul tunes (remember that floor cleaner using Robert Parker's 'Barefootin'?), and it's impossible to go anywhere in the world without hearing classic soul music, whether on the radio, piped into stores, etc. Not difficult to understand, as this music is LIFE.
Of the current soul groups, I really, really love Oakland, CA based Myron & E. They've released 4 great 45's in the past few years, and the first time that I heard 2010's 'It's A Shame" I was fooled for a moment and thought it was an early '70's bay area track that I'd never been hipped to before! The song has that perfect melancholy-but-swinging late '60's/ early '70's sound that's heard on records by the likes of The Natural Four, but adds a definite little bit of post hip hop flavor in a way that I can't quite explain. The duo vocals have a very unique vibe that's part hesitant, part confident, but 100% pure soul.
Turns out that Myron has been performing for 20+ years, and was one of the dancers on TV's In Living Color in the early '90's. He eventually relocated to the bay area, toured as a backing singer with Blackalicious which is where he met E (aka E Da Boss). E has been collecting soul records and DJing since his teens, and released a solo album as E The Boss. While on tour in europe, E recorded some tracks with The Soul Investigators group, and eventually realized that the tracks were perfect to collaborate vocally with Myron on.
The duo's debut LP is set to be released this July- preorder it from Stones Throw and get an immediate four song EP download (which is fabulous, by the way).
PLUS, I'm super excited to be sharing the stage with these fellas Saturday night in berkeley at the Starry Plough, with my band The Bang Girl Group Revue. The super cool New Love Soul Revue are also on the bill, and E will be joining me behind the turntables for some DJ action.
Spike Priggen (AKA "Cookie" of Bedazzled.tv and Scopitones.com) will be DeeJaying at Sidecar on 5th Avenue in Brooklyn every other Thursday starting January 10th. I'll be "spinning" everything from Freakbeat to Dub, up to and including Glam, Bubblegum, Pop-Psych, Sunshine Pop, Garage Rock, Girl Groups, British Invasion, Punk, New Wave, Northern Soul, Ska, Funk, Soundtracks & other great musics of the 60's, 70's, 80's and beyond. Also expect to see some obscure Mod Retro Video action, courtesy of Bedazzled.tv on the monitors. Link to FaceBook Event page.
While Fontella Bass will always be thought of as one of the preeminent Chicago soul artists (thanks in part to her massive hit, the brilliant 'Rescue Me") her roots and earliest recordings were in St Louis, MO. Fontella's third release (1963), finds her backed by Tina Turner & The Ikettes, and in my opinion is one of her finest records; the personification of sass and power! While in St Louis, Fontella also sang in the Little Milton band, and began an association with Bobby McClure that continued on after her move to Chicago.
Bass relocated to Chicago in late '64, and cut her first duet record with Bobby McClure ('Don't Mess Up A Good Thing') which was released in early '65 and became a minor hit. A second duet disc was released in the summer of '65 which was only a minor r&b hit. However, late in the same year 'Rescue Me" was released and became a massive hit; the song is still heard everywhere (a staple of commercials as well) and for very good reason- it's the type of song and performance that will live on forever. Fontella's followup disc, "Recovery" (early '66) is a lovely song and another mighty fine performance, but it failed to match the massive success of the big hit. further bitterness ensued when Fontella claims she was cheated out of her share of songwriting credits on "Rescue Me" (she eventually won co-writer credit in the 1990's). While Fontella continued on making a few more great records through the '60's, she, along with her husband, avant-garde sax man Lester Bowie (Art Ensemble Of Chicago) moved to Paris. Her vocals grace the incredible Art Ensemble track "Theme De Yo-Yo". Fontella Bass, R,I.P (1940-2012).
Also from Missouri (Kansas City), Marva Whitney (born Marva Ann Manning) had one of the brassiest, funkiest, most powerful voices in all of soul music. Like so many soul singers, her singing career began in the church, and she was a member of family band The Manning Gospel Singers, and at age 16 joined the Alma Whitney Singers (where she met future husband Harry Whitney). Her gospel career ended in 1967, when she joined the James Brown Revue, although the testifying power of her voice always remained fully in the church. James Brown began producing her records in 1968 (beginning with the incredible 'Unwind Yourself") and the godfather certainly helped in unleashing the funk power of sister Marva's voice.
"It's My Thing" (You Can't Tell me Who To Sock It To)" (1969), an absurdly funky answer to the Isley Brothers "It's Your Thing" is not only something of Marva's signature track, but is also a feminist call to arms. James Brown's band vamps furiously behind her, while Marva asserts her place in the world and tells the man that she doesn't NEED him, taking the freedom aspect of The Isleys' jam to a whole other level.
No One To Love Clinton, along with the great J.J Barnes fully realized the soul potential found in the Beatles "Day Tripper" when this groundbreaking record was released in late '65, and they cut a VERY hard driving version to wax in '66. J.J's career, which begain in 1960, never achieved the fame that this exceptionally talented singer (and songwriter) so deserved.
This week's entry picks up more or less where I left off last week, though I'm not *exactly* in chronological order as I present these; merely arranged in a way that I feels tells the story of thse amazing records that in effect, show the birth of the P-Funk empire!
While J.J Barnes 1968 version of "Our Love (Is In The Pocket)" is the more revered version, the original take (1966) by Darrell Barnes is practically just as good! This is the b-side of Banks' debut single, and the song was co-written and co-produced by George Clinton.
Pat Lewis' second solo release was written and produced exclusively by Clinton, and Pat's vocals reach a new level of sultry and sexiness on this recording. This track was also recorded by The Parliaments in 1968, and while it's a cool version, it does not COME CLOSE to Pat Lewis' magical performance of the song.
High-school girl group The Debonaires knocked their 1967 recording of "Headache In My heart" into another galaxy! This moody, stomping track is one of Clinton's finest, and the influence of psychedelia is certainly seeping into the potion by the time of this recording. The track was later re-worked by Funkadelic s "Some More" on their 1970 LP "Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow". My UK copy shown here was issued a few years later when the demand for obscure American soul records was starting to become massive and fanatical. Too bad they couldn't be bothered to find out who wrote the track! Headache In My HeartClinton used the expressiveness in Pat Lewis' voice to great effect; not only could Pat completely OWN an uptempo number, but she on "I'll Wait" (the b-side of "Warning", a classic with no Clinton involvement) she shows off her abilities with a moody, almost bluesy number.
There's more great sides coming next week!