Guest Contributor – Shane Walsh

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It’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to bring you a guest contributor and I’m delighted to put that right with this week’s update thanks to a storming bit of gospel soul courtesy of Mr Shane Walsh.

Shane Walsh is an original vinyl collector and DJ from Dublin, specialising in Soul, Funk, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, Reggae and Ska. He can be heard doing his thing at clubs like Pow City, For Dancers Only, Reggae Got Soul, B Sides and Afterglow amongst others. He also hosts a regular radio show and podcast called Twine Time.  Check out the best of the Twine Time radio show here…. https://www.mixcloud.com/shane-walsh2/  As if that’s not enough he plays drums with Dublin beat combo Beatfink who gig regularly. Busy man indeed! But that’s enough from me – over to you Shane….

Bobby Lee Fears

I’d like to thank Gazfunk for asking me to review a record for his blog, and my choice is Bobby Lee Fears- Exodus, on the Forward label. I picked it because it’s a recent purchase of mine and it’s on heavy rotation at the moment. I was lucky enough to find it with its original company sleeve too. I do trawl the internet looking for new (to me) Soul, Funk and Reggae tunes, but I first heard this one in a club spun by SteveBohs and I was straight up to the decks asking about it. I fall in love with tunes the most when I hear them played on the big speakers. It sounds like a live recording, but it may not be, there’s crowd noise at the start which adds to the “preacher man” effect. It sounds like a 1971 record; it’s a very big sounding record quite typical of its time. There’s a nice flowing funky beat, with a bell ringing in the background (which being a drummer myself instantly drew me in), there are congas, brass stabs, guitar solo and a beautiful choir which make the record sound Gospel right from the start.

At the moment I am listening to a lot of the early 7t’s hard edged Gospel tinged music, probably as a direct result of the type of clubs I’m attending lately. I buy a lot of records because I like the music, but I rarely know anything about the artist or industry facts about releases etc, so this has prompted me to do a bit of homework.

Bobby Lee Fears vinyl

Ok, Bobby Lee Fears. Who is he? I have to do a search to find out. According to Discogs he only released two solo singles, one of which was Exodus on Forward records and the other one is Let’s Get Together on Bell, and that he died in January 2007. They also suggest that he recorded under the names Bobby Brown and Bobby Dixon, but not a huge outfut there either. I had never realised that he sang with Ohio Players in the 6t’s, while they were on the Compass label, and Ohio Players were in fact part of the Compass label house band. I assume he sang on the Soul Club classic “You Don’t Mean It”, and that the deep lead vocal belongs to him.

In a nutshell; I can’t provide a huge amount of information on Bobby, and that is kinda typical of me anyway. I rarely know too much about the singers of my favourite records, and then when I’m asked to look for some information, I can’t find any!

However, this marvellous slab of Gospel Funky Soul is a great tribute to the man. Enjoy! 

 

 

 

Guest Contributor – Greg Belson

It’s been a little while since I’ve been able to bring you a selection from one of our funky friends but we’re back with a bang this week as our latest guest contributor is the one and only, Mr Greg Belson.

Greg Belson

Greg began collecting records in 1984, initially exploring the “Hip-hop” genre with artists like Public Enemy, Tuff Crew, D.O.C., Just Ice & Schooly D dominating his record collection. It was always gonna be a natural progression to investigate where the samples actually came from so by 1988, soul, funk and jazz had properly taken flight. Labels like Blue Note, CTI, Kudu & Strata East, artists like Minnie Riperton & The Rotary Connection, David Axelrod & Eddie Bo all became instant mainstays. In 1990 he started the much lauded “Urban Soul” sessions with DJ Vadim (Ninja Tune/Jazz Fudge/BBE). By 1994, Greg & Keb Darge joined forces to launch the legendary club session that has become a brand name in “Deep Funk”.

After around 15 years of dj’ing across the U.K. Greg relocated to Los Angeles in 2006 where he regularly spins at “Funky Sole” at The Echo on Sunset Boulevard. DJ appearances around the States include the “Emerald City Soul Club” in Seattle, “Soul Togetherness” in Chicago, as well as dates in New York, Detroit and all across California. 2011 saw the launch of “The Divine Chord Gospel Show” which has gained a global fanbase with dedicated listeners tuning in worldwide. Greg has continued funking floors all around the globe for the best part of 25 years and in 2014, he embarked on a 46-date European tour taking in nights all over the U.K., as well as Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Holland and Italy.

We’re delighted that Greg has taken time out of his busy schedule to dig into his collection and showcase a brilliant piece of rare black music with us. Mr Belson, it’s over to you…

“Thanks so much to Gary for giving me the opportunity to write some words about a funk 45 that’s currently residing in my playbox.

I’ve been exploring the world of gospel and it’s harder more soulful, funk oriented recordings for the last 20 and some odd years. It was a conscious decision I made after hearing DJ Snowboy play Clarence Smith’s ‘Sometimes I feel like a motherless child’ on Gospel Truth, back in 1993. The moment totally stayed with me along with the thought of starting to explore more gospel recordings that could certainly crossover into clubland territory.

And so it began.

Searching for 45’s that often never found the light of day out of their own local ministry, let alone had any kind of state wide distribution. The hallowed nationwide distributed recordings were saved for the select few like The Staple Singers or artists that made it into the Peacock, Checker and Songbird labels. In an attempt to grab a bigger audience, many artists would take a popular secular song of the day, and essentially ‘gospelize’ it. Some tracks like Florida Spiritualaires ‘I remember when’ on Ernie’s Record Parade, basically took the entire riff of The Intruders ‘Cowboys to girls’ on the Gamble label, and repackaged it for a gospel market. There are countless examples of this occurrence and the harder you dig, the more you’ll discover.

Shirley Finney - Everyday People

My offering here is one such recording by Shirley Finney…..her version has stayed pretty true to the original recording by Sly & the Family Stone, written by Sylvester Stewart. This take was released by a gospel label out of New York circa 1971, by a gospel oriented artist. The production is rough and ready and includes a mighty, mighty drumbreak for the dancefloor. Shirley had recorded a few singles prior to this release, which were issued at the beginning of the Jas catalogue around 1968. As a label, Jas were starting to wind down by 1971, and by the following year, they had closed up shop entirely. This release is heading towards the end of an era, but yet, it really is as tough as they come.

Ms Finney later went on to record some incredible discs for the much famed and far larger co-operation, Savoy label. Let Google be your friend and have a look around for some of her work on those two LP’s released in ‘76/’77. Whilst the production is distinctly more modern and some might say disco, the tunes are powerhouse dancefloor cuts worthy of any forward thinking club”. 

Larry Birdsong – Every Night In The Week

Fatshoolaces

Greetings all! I’m slightly later than normal this week but hopefully today’s track as brought to you by our latest guest selector will make it worth the wait! So who is this guest contributor? It’s none other than Mr Fatshoolaces Wayne.

I’m guessing if you’ve ever done a search on youtube for pretty much anything funky, chances are you will have found your chosen song on his “Fatshoolaces” channel such is the depth of songs and variety contained within. As well as running one of the most popular funk & breaks channels on youtube, he can be found frequenting and dj’ing in dark, gritty rare funk & soul clubs like the excellent Empty Bottles and Different Strokes. But where did his musical journey start? Let’s hear from the man himself…

A fully fledged vinyl addict since the mid 80s, I first started collecting rap which soon progressed to rare groove, funk and then onto B-boy breaks. With a background in pirate radio, sound systems and DJ’ing at local club nights, It was a natural step to move into audio production, which is what I spent my time doing through most of the 90’s. Producing various artists and the resultant digging and hunting down of ‘new’ samples to use, all on original vinyl, led me deeper into the world of rare and obscure grooves… And that’s exactly where I am right now – Hopelessly addicted to searching out and championing lesser known sounds. It’s all about collecting and sharing great records for me, regardless of genre. As long as it’s tough and funky, I’ll be all over it!

After receiving a surprise invitation from Mr Gazfunk to feature a track on his most excellent blog, much frantic rifling of crates ensued! There are so many tunes that I would love to share but when I pulled out this particular 45, I just knew it was the one…

Larry Birdsong - Every Night In The Week

My choice is the 1967 remake of Larry Birdsong’s ‘Every Night In The Week’. Transformed from the original 1958 number into a funk/soul burner, it’s been a huge fave of mine for a while now and deserves more recognition in my humble opinion. It ticks all my boxes of what a mid-tempo funky should be: A full-on vocal, a bass line that shakes the floor and a horn section that can crack windows. Plus it gets right on down to the raw bones of the groove in the middle. The Buford Majors Band nail it. Perfect! I hope you dig it.

(Larry Birdsong’s output included various Doowop, Rock and Roll, R&B and Soul tracks from the mid 50’s to the early 70’s. Despite recording with various labels including Excello, Vee-Jay, Ace, Sur-Speed and Ref-O-Ree, major success seemed to elude him. His ‘Pleadin’ For Love’ (Excello) peaked at no. 11 on Billboard’s R&B charts in July 1956 but was sadly the only real dent he ever made). 

Latin Blues Band Feat Luis Aviles – Take A Trip

It’s been a little while since I’ve passed the reins over to one of my friends to dig into their collection and share a little gem with you so it’s my pleasure to introduce you to our next guest contributor – Mr Gary Love.

Gary Love

For those of you who don’t know him, Gary has been a long time “face” on the Scottish mod scene and in recent years has developed a thirst for all things latin (quite like myself in fact!) This passion has led him to create one of the finest club nights in Scotland – Somethin’s Kookin’ https://www.facebook.com/somethins.kookin?hc_location=timeline  The music policy features (as you would expect) latin interspersed with some northern soul, dancefloor jazz and rocking r&b. The great & the good of Scotland’s mod scene have all enjoyed guest slots at one time or another and this has afforded Gary the opportunity to guest at various other clubs across the country.

Gary’s selection for us this week is a lovely piece of latin soul from the Latin Blues Band who may be best known for their track “I’ll Be A Happy Man” which is basically a vocal version of Dave “Baby” Cortez’s “Happy Soul With A Hook” that gained some popularity a few years ago when it was sampled on Christina Aguileria’s smash hit “Ain’t No Other Man”. Gary, it’s over to you…

Take a trip on me…Speed Records. Avilés and his musicians were backed by some of the finest session players in the New York scene – most notably, Bernard Purdie on drums. His funky touch is especially noticeable on “Take A Trip”.” Bobby Marín points out that the unison horns that dominate the track were typical of Louie Ramírez’s genius.

Latin Blues Band - Take A Trip