Friday, 29 May 2020

For Pete's Sake, Dig These Crates!

Oh damn, it's Freaky Fifth Friday (FFF) again and you know what that means ... or ... do you!?

Since late last year, each Fifth Friday in a month, I've deferred from the Groovy Gumbo norm with some instrumental hip-hop. First the incredible Pete Rock, then Scottish crew Jazz Spastiks and I had something equally tasty in mind for today but have pushed it to the back burner (aka next FFF) to feature this recent project instead ... and for several reasons.

First, as many of you know, FFF was met with an overall indifference from most and down right hostility from a small few. It was also met with gratitude by some for which I am grateful. Now you know, I'm not one to pander to the pestilent but that said, I am for bridges over barriers. So bearing that in mind, this particular project was erected with that ethos at its core. We (as in everybody) need to find more common ground. It exists and the bloody time is now. Hopefully this will be viewed as a step in that direction as the details of this collection unfold.

Secondly, between these tumultuous times and this relentless effort in re-archiving, re-vamping and re-upping my collections, I get a little stressed out from time to time, and nothing soothes my soul like making mixes! Compilations ~ can't stop, won't stop! Born out of some unknown necessity and continuously perpetuated by my obvious obsessive compulsion. I've been addicted to the process since I could walk and talk and one thing I treasure most about it, ties directly back to that "bridges over barriers" ethos. My compilations have been bringing people into my orbit and together in general for damn near 40 years. I love making mixes with specific people in mind; or for them outright! I love making mixes with specific but unlikely criteria. The more stipulations the better ~ it makes it challenging. Thus more rewarding when quality results are achieved. This particular soul soother (pun intended) of a collection may not be my magnum opus but given the number of specific stipulations and criteria imposed, it's among the upper echelons of my efforts for sure.

Thirdly, given the majority of music in this collection is mighty damn funky, I thought it'd make a fitting closer for our first month of funk ... For Pete's Sake, Dig These Crates!

Yep ... For Pete's Sake, Dig These Crates! is yet another "passion project" dedicated to my adoration of Pete Rock. It's also a stride towards that common ground shared by the hip-hop heads and ol' soulies alike! It's a collection of super groovy 60s/70s funk, soul and jazz cuts, lovingly featured within the classic works of Pete Rock & CL Smooth. Most of the material here was overtly sampled and as such, will be immediately recognized by the hip-hop heads and have ya's reeling back to the days of jeep beats, baggy jeans and Spike Lee joints in no time flat. The material itself is comprised of many familiar floor favorites and as such, should have the ol' soulies dusting off  their old wool suits, polishing their hot steppers and cuttin' up rugs right there in their living room. I had a lot of fun amassing this collection. As someone who adores a lot of the source material as well as the music Pete Rock has created with it, there's a lot to love here from either perspective. It also serves as a look into the early influences of an artist I hold in high regard, and what it inspired him to do. Furthermore, it's always enjoyable to blend genre's for compilations, especially when it yields such positive results. With that said, it's a criteria that again reflects the pursuit of common ground. Two common threads binding the varied tracks of this collection are their shared use by one Pete Rock, but more importantly, their infectious grooves. It remains focused and consistent but also retains the diversity of its offerings and contains delightful surprises around every bend.

So with theme established, ethos embodied, material sourced (i.e. the basic criteria) the next challenge is arrangement and I gave my self some strict stipulations structurally speaking. It had to flow well (duh),  it had to be well balanced in terms of audibility. It had to be largely driven by funky instrumentals but partitioned well with key elements of jazz and a number of vocal soulful senders, both of the southern and northern varieties. It had to be balanced release-wise and chronicled, as pertaining to Pete Rock's usage of the material. As such, tracks 1-3 were used for sampling on the All Souled Out EP [1991], tracks 4-13 were used for sampling on the Mecca & The Soul Brother LP [1992], tracks 14-22 were used for sampling on the Main Ingredient LP [1994] and tracks 23-25 were sampled on further 'one-off' Pete Rock & CL Smooth collaborations [1998-2004]. The extensive criteria has been met and the accumulation makes for an eclectic collection of high caliber groovy goodness to say the least! I hope some of you enjoy this one even half as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

And finally, without any further ramblings ... For Pete's Sake Dig These Crates! 

01. James Brown - 1970 - The Funky Drummer [Parts 1 + 2] (King 6290)
02. S.O.U.L. - 1971 - Burning Spear (MusicorLP MS 3195)
03. O'Donel Levy - 1973 - People Make The World Go Round (Groove Merchant LP GM 518)
04. The Coasters - 1967 - Down Home Girl (Date 2-1552)
05. Simtec & Wylie - 1971 - Bootleggin' [Parts 1 + 2] (Mister Chand CHL 40001)
06. Five Stairsteps & Cubie - 1968 - Don't Change Your Love (Curtom 1931)
07. Freddie McCoy - 1971 - Gimmie Some (Cobblestone LP CST 9004)
08. Ohio Players - 1972 - Player's Ball (Players Doin' Their Own Thing) (Westbound LP WB 2015)
09. Backyard Heavies - 1971 - Expo '83 (Scepter 12314)
10. The Three Degrees - 1970 - You're The Fool (Roulette 7088)
11. Tom Scott & The California Dreamers - 1967 - Today (ABC LP AS-9163)
12. The JB's - 1971 - The Grunt (King LP KS-1126)
13. Ernie Hines - 1972 - Our Generation (We Produce LP XPS-1902)
14. Rufus Thomas - 1971 - Do The Funky Penguin [Part 1] (Stax STA-0112)
15. Harvey Scales - 1969 - Sun Won't Come Out (Mercury 72937)
16. Oliver Sain - 1972 - On The Hill (A-Bet LP 404)
17. Roy Ayeres Ubiquity - 1976 - Searching (Polydor LP PD-1-6091)
18. The Ambassadors - 1969 - Ain't Got The Love (Of One Girl On My Mind) (Arctic LPS 1005)
19. Mel & Tim - 1969 - Groovy Situation (Bamboo LP BMS 8001)
20. Young-Holt Unlimited - 1973 - Bumping On Young Street (Atlantic LP SD 1634)
21. Deodato - 1973 - September 13 (CTI  LP CTI- 6021-S1)
22. Detroit Emeralds - 1973 - You're Gettin' A Little Too Smart (Westbound 213)
23. The Vibrettes - 1973 - Humpty Dump [Parts 1 + 2] (Lujon 101)
24. The Emotions - 1972 - Blind Alley (Volt VOA-4077)
25. Jackson 5 - 1970 - 2-4-6-8 (Tamla Motown STMLP 11156)

**I've included an alternate tracklisting document in the zip, detailing the sample references.
**I made a jam pact 80min CD-R version for the car by omitting tracks 1, 2, 11 and 12   ;)

Monday, 25 May 2020

Metamorphic Malfunktions Vol. 02

With over 40 re-ups and several re-vamps last week alone, and about the same coming this week, we should be near flush again early into next month. Thanks again to all who are contributing with the process and thanks everyone else for your patience. Next month will feature a new installment of the Darling Dear series, however, it seems a little out of place here and now. Plus, I want you to get your fill of the funk while we're on the subject, so with that in mind, here's a second volume of  Metamorphic Malfunktions. Additional sporadic installments are anticipated!

01. Little Jr. Jesse & His Teardrops & The Tears - 1971 - Funky Stuff (Metro-Dome 1003)
02. Herman Hitson - 1972 - Ain't No Other Way (Sweet Rose O-25-O-26)
03. Timothy - 1972 - K.C. Stomp (Shawn 0159)
04. Communicators & Black Experience Band - 1974 - The Road (Tri Oak 102)
05. Joyce Williams - 1972 - The First Thing I Do In The Morning (Act IV JW 45-101)
06. Roy Ayers - 1973 - Aragon (Polydor LP PD-5048)
07. Ray & His Court - 1973 - Soul Freedom (Sound Triangle 7780)
08. Kashmere Stage Band - 1974 - Getting It Out Of My System (Kram LP-107)
09. Lafayette Afro-Rock Band - 1974 - Malik (America LP AM 6137)
10. Boscoe - 1973 - Money Won't Save You (Kingdom Of Chad LP S-1001)
11. Willie Henderson & Soul Explosions - 1970 - Off Into A Black Thing (Brunswick BL 754163)
12. Marvin Holmes & The Uptights - 1969 - Ooh Ooh The Dragon [Part 2] (Uni 55111)
13. David Batiste & The Gladiators - 1970 - Funky Soul [Part 1] (Soulin' 547) (Instant 3308)
14. Enrique Olivarez y Los Vampiros - 197? - Arriba Tipo (Discos Vampiros LPS-1172)
15. The Meters - 1971 - Sassy Lady (Josie 1031)
16. Ann Alford - 1971 - Got To Get Me A Job (Hy Sign 2111)
17. Johnny Griffith w. Billy Sha-Rae's Band - 1970 - Do It (Triple 'B' TB003)
18. Michael Jay Coleman - 1976 - I'm A Lover, Not A Fighter (Sound Stage 7 2501)
19. Revelation Funk - 1972 - Bear Funk (Gold Plate NIL 1014)
20. Uptown Syndicate - 1972 - Uptown (Fat City 201)


Friday, 22 May 2020

Do You Dig It Man

Through the years I have already shared a handful of funk acts on these pages. Two of my favorites being Joe Tex and TSU Toronadoes, so let's wrap our first official month of funk with another 'class' act straight out of the Lone-Star State. Conrad "Prof" Johnson's Kashmere Stage Band were an elite performing unit of the student band at Houston's Kashmere High School. Between the late 60s to late 70s this revolving unit of young players were in a class all their own.

Born in Victoria, Texas, Conrad O. Johnson was nine when his family moved to Houston. Following studies at Yates High School, he attended Houston College for Negroes and graduated from Wiley College. He was an active member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He started his career in music education in 1941 and, following a thirty-seven-year career, retired from his position at Kashmere High School in 1978, but continued to remain active in shaping music in Houston by conducting summer programs and in-home tutoring. Johnson was a proficient musician in his own right and, at one point, played with Count Basie. Erskine Hawkins tried to convince him to join his orchestra, but Johnson declined, citing a love of teaching and obligations to his family. Kashmere High School is located in a predominantly black neighborhood known as Kashmere Gardens in Houston, Texas. Johnson attended an Otis Redding concert in 1967 and was inspired to translate the style of the concert into a program he could sustain at the high school in order to create opportunities for his student musicians, and thus the Kashmere Stage Band was born. During its time, KSB won national championships in high school band competitions and gained a reputation as being unbeatable. Johnson served as band director, arranger, and principal composer for the band and was inducted into the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 2000. KSB recorded eight albums during its life. The teenagers in the Kashmere Stage Band produced a sound equal to that of the contemporary funk bands the JBs and the Bar-Kays. Although lost for decades, since 2003 all eight KSB recordings have been released, some for the first time, on both vinyl and CD.  Stones Throw Records imprint label Now-Again Records released a remastered compilation of KSB material in 2006, Texas Thunder Soul 1968–1974. In February 2008, thirty original members of the Kashmere Stage Band, all in their mid-50s, reunited for the first time in over three decades to pay tribute to their legendary leader, Conrad "Prof" Johnson, who was 92 at the time and passed only days after the gala. The story of Prof, the exceptional music program he built, and the historic reunion of his former students was captured in a feature-length documentary film, Thunder Soul, narrated by Jamie Foxx.

Do You Dig It Man collects the the complete KSB discography. All eight albums, the Texas Thunder Soul 2CD compilation, a handful of tracks cut by KSB side-groups (Cold Fire Inc. and Black Rain) and as an added bonus, the Thunder Soul film. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs. Video file is mp4 and includes eng subs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.

Monday, 18 May 2020

GGG Presents Goodie Grab Bags Volume 48

Now all of these artists are fairly, if not outright funky but none of them sound even remotely similar to each other and I really dig that. I would however, like to put some emphasis on The Equatics in particular. Their re-issued, initially independently released holy grail of a hidden gem stands up to any of the top ten funk releases of the same year, and in my opinion, surpasses most of them. This is top shelf funk that sadly got shuffled into the bottom drawer. Shame, the world could have used at least a few more albums from these talented young players.

Judy Green - Discography 1970-72 [4sides]

01. Judy Green - 1970 - I Can't Get Along Without You (Klondike 2232)
02. Judy Green - 1970 - Come On Out Of The Crowd (Klondike 2232)
03. Judy Green - 1972 - I Still Love You So (Aware 028)
04. Judy Green - 1972 - Face To Face (Aware 028)

The Politicians w. McKinley Jackson - Discography 1971-72 [12sides]

01. The Politicians w. McKinley Jackson - 1971 - Love Machine [Part 1] (Hot Wax 7102)
02. The Politicians w. McKinley Jackson - 1971 - Love Machine [Part 2] (Hot Wax 7102)
03. The Politicians w. McKinley Jackson - 1972 - Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic (Hot Wax LP HA 711)
04. The Politicians w. McKinley Jackson - 1972 - The World We Live In (Hot Wax LP HA 711)
05. The Politicians w. McKinley Jackson - 1972 - Church (Hot Wax LP HA 711)
06. The Politicians w. McKinley Jackson - 1972 - Free Your Mind (Hot Wax LP HA 711)
07. The Politicians w. McKinley Jackson - 1972 - Everything Good Is Bad (Hot Wax LP HA 711)
08. The Politicians w. McKinley Jackson - 1972 - A Song For You (Hot Wax LP HA 711)
09. The Politicians w. McKinley Jackson - 1972 - Speak On It (Hot Wax LP HA 711)
10. The Politicians w. McKinley Jackson - 1972 - Funky Toes (Hot Wax LP HA 711)
11. The Politicians w. McKinley Jackson - 1972 - Politicians Theme (Hot Wax LP HA 711)
12. The Politicians w. McKinley Jackson - 1972 - Close Your Big Mouth (Hot Wax LP HA 711)

The Equatics - Discography 1972 [9sides]

01. The Equatics - 1972 - What They Doin (No Label LP RI3580)
02. The Equatics - 1972 - Walk On By (No Label LP RI3580)
03. The Equatics - 1972 - Merry Go Round (No Label LP RI3580)
04. The Equatics - 1972 - Santana [Part 1] (No Label LP RI3580)
05. The Equatics - 1972 - The Touch Of You (No Label LP RI3580)
06. The Equatics - 1972 - Santana [Part 2] (No Label LP RI3580)
07. The Equatics - 1972 - Ain't No Sunshine (No Label LP RI3580)
08. The Equatics - 1972 - Cisco Fare (No Label LP RI3580)
09. The Equatics - 1972 - Where Is Love (No Label LP RI3580)

Darker Shades Of Black - Discography 1972-74 [4sides]

01. Darker Shades Ltd. - 1972 - Tracking Down Jody [Part 1] (ARC 7241)
02. Darker Shades Ltd. - 1972 - Tracking Down Jody [Part 2] (ARC 7241)
03. Darker Shades Of Black - 1974 - And Then You Came (S.E.X. 13500)
04. Darker Shades Of Black - 1974 - Nothing Like Love (S.E.X. 13500)


Friday, 15 May 2020

Think It Over

I recently found my new favorite funk guitarist in Oakland's Marvin Holmes. I'm sure funk aficionados are no stranger to this genius' music but based on a lack of online info, I'm guessing most mere mortals are completely in the dark or like myself, have only caught the briefest of glimpse from varied appearances on compilation albums. In the Bay-Area, Holmes is a local legend and the formative figure-head of the funk community and through his outfit, 'Marvin Holmes & The Uptights', enjoyed national success with their first pair of singles and full length album recorded in the late 60s. He never quite repeated the same success in terms of sales but Marvin Holmes was making great music as far back as the early 60s and he's still at it today.

As, I mentioned, there really isn't much available info out there for Marvin Holmes. Every site that boasts a bio, references another site that it no longer active. Shame. This will be brief but I'll do my best with the few tid-bits I've found. In the mid 60's Little Stanley Lippitt's outfit, The Five Brooks, were the Bay Area's premiere soul, funk and blues combo but when young Marvin Holmes was getting his act together, Lippitt was eager to join him, jumped ship and was lead vocalist on Marvin's "Ooh Ooh The Dragon (And Other Monsters)" LP, released on the Uni label. Lippitt soon met Willie Hoskins and the pair quickly forged a writing/producing partnership. Wilhos Productions and Boola Boola Records featured many well known local artists including The Natural Four, The Pacesetters, Eugene Blacknell and Marvin Holmes among others. Stanley wrote and arranged many of the releases on the label and this relationship lasted throughout the seventies. The Uptights, however, did not. By 1971 Holmes was on to his next project ... Marvin Holmes & The Rush Experience. Despite never releasing music, this outfit did record and preformed extensively around the Bay Area. Their sound was an explosive, bass laden blend of funk, soul, jazz and the blues. Probably my preferred outlet for Holmes' dynamic, driving guitar sound. But like most good things, The Rush Experience lived up to their name in more ways than one and were not long for this world. By early 1973 Marvin was back at it with yet another project. Marvin Holmes & Justice carried the torch passed on from its predecessors with their debut LP, Summer Of '73, released on Holmes' independent label, Brown Door Records. Through Brown Door Records Mavin Holmes produced a number of singles for local artists, further singles and a second full length for Marvin Holmes & Justice as well. Honor Thy Father, released in 1975, doesn't abandon Holmes' earlier creative genius but it embraces the disco sound a bit too much to bear the same impact as previous offerings. For the remainder of the decade and into the early 80s, Holmes continued to write and produce through Brown Door but I don't believe he recorded too much at all after that. Holmes has continued to be a key figure in the Bay Area funk community through various roles such as producer, event co-ordinator, session musician and general go-to mentor for the emerging local artists. Holmes has been laying down hot guitar licks for Oakland rapper, Too $hort going on two decades now and contributed extensively to Cheryl Fabio's bio-film "Evolutionary Blues ~ West Oakland’s Music Legacy".

Think It Over collects the thick of it. We've got just about everything recorded between 1967 and 1975. The album, singles and an unissued track by Marvin Holmes & The Uptights, both albums and singles by Marvin Holmes & Justice and from between both ... the unissued 1971 album by Marvin Holmes & The Rush Experience. I'm sure you will be hearing many of these cuts featured on future installments of Metamorphic Malfunktions. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.

Monday, 11 May 2020

GGG Presents Deep Dish Delicacies Vol. 34

Just want to re-voice my appreciation to Bill, mfarkas2 and Loofer for helping to Lighten The Load recently. Hopefully this spirit of generosity will continue to spread, it's the best kind of infection. Here's the latest installment of the Deep Dish Delicacies series, it focuses on the 70s, features a few funkier cuts for sure and one of my very favorites from the late, great Betty Wright. Enjoy.

01. Ted Taylor - 1970 - I'm Glad You're Home (Ronn 46)
02. Bobby Byrd - 1970 - I'm Not To Blame (King 6308)
03. Doris Allen - 1970 - Hanging Heavy In My Mind (SSS Int. 820)
04. Joe Wilson - 197? - Nothing From Nothing (Leaves Nothing) (Unissued)
05. Wilson Williams - 1971 - I've Got A Whole Lot To Be Thankful For (Unissued)
06. Carolyn Veal - 1972 - Your Love Is Like A Chain Around My Heart (Phil L.A. Of Soul 353)
07. Lou Pride - 1972 - We're Only Fooling Ourselves (Gemco 118)
08. Stacy Lane - 197? - Lifetime Of A Man (Unissued)
09. Eddie & Ernie - 1972 - A Man To Love A Woman (Unissued Loadstone)
10. The Demands - 1973 - Let Me Be Myself (Clem 7101)
11. Willie Hightower - 1973 - Don't Blame Me (Mercury 73390)
12. Betty Wright - 1974 - Value Your Love (Alston A-4622)
13. Bobby Williams - 1974 - Teach Me (REW Records LP 330)
14. Bachelor Brad & The Black Experience Band - 1975 - People Can You Hear (Kris 8098)
15. Ruby Wilson & The Blue Chips - 1975 - I'll Be Right Here (When You Return) (Glades 1725)
16. Vivilore Jordan - 197? - What You Gonna Do (Boblo 313)
17. Blues Brothers #1 - 1976 - Letter Of Regret (Eclipse 104)
18. The Meadows - 1977 - I Wanna See You Right Now (Radio LP RR 19305)
19. Jimmy McKee - 1978 - Drown In My Own Tears (Champion LP 8083N5)
20. Miami - 1978 - I've Been Loving You Too Long (Drive LP-105)
21. Geater Davis - 1979 - Wherever You Are (Sun Belt 7179)
22. Bobby Story - 1982 - I've Got To Forget You (Proud LPPR-1001)
23. Charles Pryor & Kream Band - 1980 - I Want To (Change Your Mind) (Detroit Gold LP no#)
24. Little Milton - 1981 - Eight Men And Four Women (Stax LP 8514)
25. Ray Brooks - 1979 - I'll Take Care Of You (Castle LP CA 7082)


Friday, 8 May 2020


Kicked off the month of funk in continental fashion, now for something a little closer to home. The American mid-west has long been a breeding ground for exceptional and eccentric musicians of all genres, and home to one ... Harvey Scales. Once called Milwaukee's "Godfather of Soul" by a local reporter, Scales credited James Brown and the sound of "funk" for influencing his music career. Scales had been active in the music industry as a singer, songwriter, and producer since the early 60s, later composing songs for groups such as The Dells, The Dramatics, and The O'Jays. He is particularly notable for his co-authorship of the songs "Love-Itis" and "Disco Lady". In his early years, Scales displayed ample diversity and delivered with conviction, regardless of approach. One thing that especially impresses me about the early work is that there are nearly no double-siders. With the exception of "The Yolk" bw "The Funky Yolk", Scales never wasted wax with a 'part one and part two'. Each and every side was a fresh cut ~ a bit of a rarity in the realms of funk and an additional testament to the man's talents if you ask me.

Scales was born in Osceola, Arkansas, and grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin  where he attended Roosevelt Middle School and North Division High School. He was well known in Milwaukee, before his big break as a national songwriter. He was known as "Twistin' Harvey", in the early 60s. In 1961, he and his longtime friend Albert Vance, formed Harvey Scales & The Seven Sounds and the group went on to record a string of singles throughout the 60s and early 70s. Harvey Scales & The Seven Sounds initially recorded for Cuca Records, and later for Magic Touch Records, a Wisconsin-based label owned by Lenny LaCour. The band's one hit was "Get Down", backed with "Love-Itis", which reached No. 32 on the R&B charts in 1967. The band signed with Chess Records in 1969, recording for the Cadet Concept Records division, with LaCour continuing as producer. In 1970, the group had a regional hit with the LaCour-produced "The Funky Yolk". Through his familiarity with producer Don Davis at Chess, Scales met singer Johnnie Taylor, who was at the time recording for Stax Records. Scales then moved from Cadet Concept to Stax, releasing several singles. Scales even followed Taylor when he moved to Columbia Records. Scales received national recognition for co-writing Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping single for Johnnie Taylor, "Disco Lady". "Disco Lady" was the very first platinum single in the history of the Recording Industry Association of America, selling over two million copies. It was certified platinum on April 22, 1976. As a result, Scales is the first songwriter of a platinum single in America. Scales is also notable as being the co-writer of "Love-Itis", which later was covered and was a hit for the Canadian band Mandala in 1968, the J. Geils Band in 1975, and of course, The Sonics in 1967. Scales also co-wrote, with Bunny Sigler, "Once Is Not Enough", recorded by The O'Jays and, as sole composer, "Be For Real With Me", which was recorded by The Dells. The success of "Disco Lady" enabled Scales to obtain a recording contract with Casablanca Records. At Casablanca, Scales recorded the first two albums of his career, Confidential Affair (1978) and Hot Foot: A Funque Dizco Opera (1979). Scales didn't release another album for eighteen years, when he released Somebody Else's Somebody on Four Sight Records. In 2009, a compilation album of material by Harvey Scales and The Seven Sounds, recorded for Magic Touch Records, was released by Soul-Tay-Shus Records as Love-Itis: All the Rare & Unissued 45's from the Vaults of Magic Touch: 1967-1977. Harvey Scales died on February 11, 2019, at the age of 78.

Bootleg bundles both late 70's albums with the near entirety of Scales' previous singles. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.

Harvey & The Seven Sounds - 1967 - Monkeytime '67 (Cuca J-1311)

Monday, 4 May 2020

Metamorphic Malfunktions Vol. 01

The number of compilations I've assembled throughout my life must be astronomical! In less than three years, through this site alone I've posted over a hundred. And I believe I made mention earlier this year of introducing a few new anthology's and rolled out the Darling Dear series to start. Now into a month of funk, we're at a fitting interval for this newest series. Metamorphic Malfunktions marks uncharted territory ~ it's my first affair with the funk and I've flirted with with a wide array here. Most major American regions are represented with an eclectic blend of funk, ranging from deep and dirty to light and lifting. With splashes of jazz funk, blaxploitation, proto disco and afrobeat. I don't expect this series to be greeted with the same overall enthusiasm as previous anthology's but a few of you asked and I hope it was worth the wait!

01. Melvin Sparks - 1975 - Get Ya Some (Westbound LP W-204)
02. Joe Payne - 1977 - Sweet Thang (New World 77010-101)
03. The Propositions - 1973 - You've Been Chose (Unissued LP) (Luv N' Haight LHLP 002)
04. Betty Wright - 1973 - Let Me Be Your Lovemaker (Alston A-4619)
05. The Spirit Of Atlanta - 1973 - Down Underground (Buddah BDS-5135-ST)
06. Kashmere Stage Band - 1971 - Keep On Doing (Kram LP-103)
07. Soul Partners - 1969 - Spead (Bell 792)
08. Ebony Rhythm Funk Campaign - 1973 - Get It On (UNI LP-73142)
09. Renaldo Domino - 1970 - Let Me Come Within (Twinight 139)
10. Art & Ron - 1977 - I'm Your Man (Happy Fox LP HF-1101)
11. Mighty Groove Makers - 196? - Let's Dance Some Mo' [Part 1] (Spidel 0005)
12. Frank Penn - 1972 - Gimme Some Skin [inst] (Penn PLP-002)
13. The Montereys - 1971 - Get Down (NGC 001)
14. Darker Shades Of Black - 1974 - Nothing Like Love (S.E.X. 13500)
15. Machine - 1972 - Headhunter (All Platinum LP AP-3010)
16. James K-Nine - 1972 - Live It Up (Federal 12572)
17. Mongoose - 1975 - King Cobra (Smoke 0273)
18. Manu Dibango - 1973 - African Carnaval (AMI LP 33.011)
19. The Impressions - 1970 - Check Your Mind (Curtom 1951)
20. Billy Larkin & The Delegates - 1978 - Funky Fire (Kola Shanah 7007)

Friday, 1 May 2020

What You Need

Bio's rarely pack the the kind of intense, up-down-all-around ride you might find on a roller coaster, but when it comes to the Lafayette Afro Rock Band and/or Ice, best buckle up because these cats bounced around. Between 1971 and 1977 this outfit was at the forefront of funk music, creatively speaking but spent their career in relative obscurity. They released full length albums under at least five different monikers during their fairly brief run. Their early sound is Uptown meets Afro-funk where the latter is more straight forward deep funk, with thick disco overtones.

The group first formed as the Bobby Boyd Congress in Roosevelt, Long Island, New York circa 1970. In addition to Boyd, the band included guitarist Larry Jones, bassist Lafayette Hudson, keyboardist Frank Abel, horn players Ronnie James Buttacavoli and Arthur Young, drummer Ernest "Donny" Donable, and percussionist Keno Speller. Jones was later replaced by Michael McEwan. Upon deciding that the funk scene in the United States was too saturated for them to viably compete, they relocated to France in 1971. When Boyd split from the group and returned to America, the remaining band members briefly renamed themselves Soul Congress and then settled on the name ICE. After regular performances in Paris's Barb├Ęs district, an area made up primarily of North African immigrants, they caught the eye of producer Pierre Jaubert and became the house session band at his Parisound studio. The influence of their surroundings led Ice to increasingly weave African rhyme schemes, textures, and beat tendencies into their established funk style. The album Each Man Makes His Own Destiny was released in 1972 under the name Ice, after which the band changed their name to Lafayette Afro Rock Band to reflect their expanded influences. Now under the name Lafayette Afro Rock Band, they released the album Soul Makossa (also known as Movin' and Groovin' in the United States) in 1973. The title track was a cover version of Manu Dibango's international hit, "Soul Makossa". Though it failed to chart, the album made an impact years later. Its standout song, the oft-covered "Hihache", has been widely sampled by artists as diverse as Janet Jackson, Biz Markie, LL Cool J, De La Soul, Digital Underground, Naughty by Nature, and Wu-Tang Clan. The band's 1974 album Malik prominently featured the Univox Super-Fuzz and liberal usage of the talk box. This album was equally influential in subsequent decades, with a sample of the song "Darkest Light" being featured prominently in Public Enemy's "Show 'Em Whatcha Got". The original saxophone solo on "Darkest Light" was played by Leroy Gomez, who later became popular as the lead singer of the disco group Santa Esmeralda. Mal Waldron, an American jazz and world music composer best known as the long-time accompanist for Billie Holiday, collaborated with Lafayette Afro Rock Band in 1975, employing them to back him on his unreleased Candy Girl album. Shortly later, blues pianist Sunnyland Slim sought out the band's services, resulting in the collaborative album Depression Blues. The group subsequently reverted to the ICE moniker and also used the names Captain Dax and Crispy & Co. on various releases. The 1975 album 'Tonight At The Discotheque' was released as a "various artists" compilation but actually consists of songs recorded by the same band under multiple monikers. Under the name Krispie & Company (the European spelling of the alias Crispsy & Co.), the band achieved two hit singles in the UK with a cover of "Brazil" reaching no. 26 in 1975 and "Get it together" reaching no. 21 in 1976. After success faded in Europe the band found luck in Japan. After scoring with the mildly successful single "Dr. Beezar, Soul Frankenstein", released under the name Captain Dax, the albums Afro Agban and Funky Flavored were released under the names ICE and Crispy & Co. respectively. Despite several releases in 1977, nothing saw the charts so the band members returned to America and broke up in 1978. Later that year, French record label Superclasse released the album Afon: Ten Unreleased Afro Funk Recordings. In 1999 the same label released Darkest Light: The Best of Lafayette Afro Rock Band, which rekindled interest in the group two decades after they disbanded. More compilations followed, including The Ultimate Collection in 2001 and the 2016 album Afro Funk Explosion! Lafayette Afro Rock Band toiled in obscurity during their years of activity, but have become of interest to critics and music historians due to their characteristic break beats, which in turn influenced future hip-hop and R&B artists. Due to their obscurity, unfortunately, few copies of their studio albums have survived.

What You Need is just that! Not quite the entire kit and caboodle, but pretty damn close. This LARB/ICE collective collects their debut recording as Bobby Boyd Congress, the five albums as ICE, the three albums as Lafayette Afro Rock Band, the Crispy & Co. album, the two best compilation albums and of course my own hodge-pode addition with obscure singles and rarities, recorded under numerous monikers. I even threw in the solo Bobby Boyd album from 1976 for the hell of it. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.