Posts Tagged ‘Lee Dorsey’

Buried Treasure: In Yo’ Face! Vol 1/2 – The Roots Of Funk

20 August 2009

[Today: Pioneers of Funk...]

Various Artists | In Yo Face, Vol 1/2 - The Roots Of Funk

The evolution of Funk from the wellsprings of soul and R&B was a gradual process that was kicked off by Mr. Dynamite himself, James Brown. With his hit singles ‘Out Of Sight’ (1964) and ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag’ (1965), JB and his band emphasized the bass, played on the downbeat, and pointed the way forward for black music. But more than any musical embellishment, Brown injected his tunes with the badass attitude (“Papa don’t take no mess!”) that would come to define Funk.

Not coincidentally, Funk began to develop during an era of Civil Rights marches and the rise of Black Power. Following the path cut by James Brown, and reflecting the confidence of a just cause, black artists began to make music with a swagger and strut that set it apart from R&B and soul. The first piece of Rhino’s excellent 6-disc history of Funk, In Yo’ Face! Vol 1/2 – The Roots Of Funk captures a cross-section of Funk from 1966-1973, and serves as a thorough primer on the early pioneers of the form.

While a little bit of soul seeps through on early tracks by Lowell Fulsom (‘Tramp’) and Don Covay & The Jefferson Lemon Blues Band (‘Sookie Sookie’), things get fully funky by the third track, when Dyke & The Blazers weigh in with ‘Funky Broadway’. Some artists compiled here are known commodities (The Meters, Wilson Pickett, Lee Dorsey) while others are more obscure (Paul Humphrey & His Cool Aid Chemists, Fugi, Soul Brothers Six) but they all share a common sound and funky purpose. The recipe for the genre may already have been set, but these songs are driven by the genuine enthusiasm of musicians leaping headlong into a new style.

By the early 70’s, Funk was the dominant black musical style, and soul was on the wane (even soul holdouts like The Temptations and The Four Tops eventually came around). More danceable Funk bands, like Kool & The Gang and Earth, Wind & Fire, would prefigure the rise of disco, while heavier artists who reported from the streets, like Curtis Mayfield and Isaac Hayes, set the wheels in motion for gangsta rap. But before all that, Funk was party music, set to a nasty beat, with a ton of bottom. And …The Roots Of Funk captures many of the folks who got the party started.

Listen: Tramp [Lowell Fulsom]

Listen: Some Kind Of Wonderful [Soul Brothers Six]

Listen: Mary Don’t Take Me On No Bad Trip [Fugi]

Listen: Mojo Hanna [Tami Lynn]

Weekend Playlist

20 April 2009

Here’s a sampling of some of the music The P and I got into over the weekend…

Various Artists | Superfly Soul
Various Artists | Superfly Soul

Chet Baker | In Paris: The Barclay Sessions 1955-1956
Chet Baker | In Paris: Barclay Sessions 1955-1956

Peter Tosh | Equal Rights
Peter Tosh | Equal Rights

Brazilian Girls | Brazilian Girls
Brazilian Girls | Brazilian Girls

ESG | A South Bronx Story
ESG | A South Bronx Story

Simon And Garfunkel | Bridge Over Troubled Water
Simon And Garfunkel | Bridge Over Troubled Water

Bonniwell Music Machine | Ignition
Bonniwell Music Machine | Ignition

Fela Kuti
Fela Anikulapo Kuti & The Africa 70 | Up Side Down
[cover not pictured]

The Black Keys | Thickfreakness
The Black Keys | Thickfreakness

The Cars | Greatest Hits
The Cars | Greatest Hits

Steve Earle | Washington Square Serenade
Steve Earle | Washington Square Serenade

Dillard & Clark | The Fantastic Expedition Of Dillard & Clark
Dillard & Clark | The Fantastic Expedition Of Dillard & Clark

Lee Dorsey | Yes We Can
Lee Dorsey | Yes We Can

Tony Joe White | Tony Joe
Tony Joe White | Tony Joe

Babe Ruth | First Base
Babe Ruth | First Base

HP Lovecraft | HP Lovecraft
HP Lovecraft | HP Lovecraft

The Meters | Look-Ka Py Py
The Meters | Look-Ka Py Py

The Clash | Live At Shea Stadium
The Clash | Live At Shea Stadium

Atmosphere | Seven's Travels
Atmosphere | Seven’s Travels

Nas | Illmatic
Nas | Illmatic

Random Propaganda III

14 May 2007

Bobo Motion - album
Willie Bobo * Bobo Motion

The P pulled this one out of the vinyl stacks the other day and we were totally delighted for two reasons: 1) It was a cheapo from the flea market and the surface of the record was severely scratched, but it plays like a charm, and 2) The version of ‘Evil Ways’ put down here precedes Santana’s better-known version by two full years and totally cooks, albeit at a slower broil. As it turns out, Bobo also played in Santana’s band during the 70’s. Word to the wise: this is some seriously funky latin-jazz-rock worth checking out.

Stalling - album
The Carl Stalling Project * Music From Warner Bros. Cartoons 1936-1958

Stalling scored cartoons for Warner Brothers during their heyday and his looney tunes are every bit as enjoyable as Bugs and friends. The song titles alone paint a vivid picture of the sounds: ‘Porky In Wackyland’ ‘Hillbilly Hare’ and ‘Dinner Music For A Pack Of Hungry Cannibals’ are just a few of the titles that tip you off to what’s in store. Not an album you’ll want to fire up everyday – or listen to from start to finish – but it’s a fun addition to any collection.

Fred Eaglesmith - album
Fred Eaglesmith * Lipstick, Lies & Gasoline

Fred Eaglesmith has a voice that sounds like it was marinated in broken glass and left to dry in the hot desert sun. And it’s ideally suited for these songs about losers lost on the long highway of life. ‘Alcohol & Pills’ takes harrowing roll-call of the rock legends who’ve succumbed to that mixture, although the song is centered around Hank Williams. It’s difficult to imagine a voice more perfectly suited to rendering the image of Williams being pulled dead from the back of his Cadillac. Ten thumbs up.

Lee Dorsey - album
Lee Dorsey * Yes We Can/Night People

This two-fer disc collects Dorsey’s classic 1970 album Yes We Can with his next release, 1978’s Night People. A New Orleans funk legend, Dorsey is remembered as much as anything for his backing band (The Meters) and main collaborator (Allen Toussaint). AllMusic.com calls the former ‘the best overall album Dorsey ever made’ and the latter ‘pleasingly laid-back’. These albums don’t represent the funk that Dorsey is best known for, but it’s a terrifically groovy set.

Wag The Dog - album
Mark Knopfler * Wag The Dog Soundtrack

I’ve always preferred Mark Knopfler’s guitar playing to his singing, and consequently, Wag The Dog is one of my favorite Knopfler-related albums. No, it isn’t representative of the music from the film, (songs by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard were inexplicably left off) and it’s short (8 songs and 24 minutes), but taken on its own merits, it’s a nice collection of instrumental guitar tracks that grow on you rather than growing old.

Tom Dowd - dvd
Tom Dowd & The Langage Of Music (Palm Pictures DVD)

Tom Dowd was the house engineer at Atlantic Records for more than three decades, and helped shape the sound of musical titans such as Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, John Coltrane, Eric Clapton, The Allman Brothers, and many many more. Dowd’s musical achievements are remarkable, but they’re overshadowed by the joy he exudes for his work throughout the film. Whether working with a superstar act or unknown band, Dowd brought the same passion, enthusiasm, and encyclopedic knowledge of his craft. Be forewarned, he passed away just before this documentary was completed in 2003 – a sad ending to an otherwise uplifting story.

Atmosphere - album
Atmosphere * Seven’s Travels

MC Slug and DJ Ant hail from Minneapolis, but they make Hip-Hop that hits as hard as anything on either coast. Hot track ‘Trying To Find A Balance’ bleeds cheerful aggression and rhymes like “See, I’m not insane, in fact I’m kind of rational/When I be askin’, ‘Yo, where did all the passion go?'” Seven’s Travels has plenty of good raps, and no shortage of passion.

David Ruffin - album
David Ruffin * The Unreleased Album

This ‘lost’ album by the former Temptations’ star is pure gold. Finding a version of it on any tangible format will cost you an arm and a leg, but here’s a little tip: it’s available for download from the iTunes store for $11.99. And trust me, it sounds just as great without the cover art.

Uneasy Listening - album
DJ Z-Trip & DJ P * Uneasy Listening: Against The Grain Vol. 1

A cornucopia of sound collisions and perhaps the greatest mash-up album of all-time. Procure a copy or die trying…


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