Black Heat – The Jungle

Black Heat - The Jungle

The Jungle by Black Heat is one of those 45s that often gets overlooked in my collection, rather unfairly. There’s definitely a nice groove going on in this one and it has a kind of tempo that could still work earlier on in a club. Unfortunately when I dj these days it tends to be with tracks that are quicker and with heavier drums so there are plenty of great funky 7″ records that get passed by in the sifting process that are great tracks in their own right. This is one such example of that…

Black Heat were a funk group out of NYC who recorded 3 albums from ’72-’75 and then disappeared into obscurity. However in spite of not being too well-known, they did manage to have a “hit” on the Billboard Black Singles chart with a song called “No Time To Burn” but that was to prove to be their only success single wise. However some years later crate diggers who were searching for samples for hip-hop records came upon the band and their long forgotten music was given a new lease of life on tracks by Schooly D, Wu-Tang Clan and The Notorious B.I.G.

Let’s hope today’s feature might lead some of you on to more of the group’s music as there is still plenty left to get your groove on to!

Z.Z. Hill – Think People

Z.Z. Hill was born in Naples, Texas in 1935 and began his music career in the late 50s as a gospel singer in a group called The Spiritual Five who recorded a number of singles on the Nashboro label. In 1963, Hill decided to fly solo and released his first single “Five Will Get You Ten” on Mesa Records. Over the next 6/7 years he cut a number of other 45s (mostly on the Kent label) though found very little commercial success.

The record I have chosen to feature for you today was released in 1971 and showed something of a shift in sound for Hill away from the slower soulful sound to a faster socially aware funk banger. Most of his output after this followed on with the slower love song vibe but, if you’re looking something a little funkier and uptempo, check out his “I Think I’d Do It” from around the same time – if you dig “Think People” you’ll certainly enjoy it too.

Sadly Hill was to die in 1984 as a result of health issues arising out of a car crash that he was involved in a few months earlier. He was 48. I hope you enjoy this funky nugget and the rest of your week and I hope to catch up with y’all for another update over the weekend. Till then, peace my brothers and sisters.

Trade Martin – Sixteen Tons

 

Trade Martin - Sixteen Tons

Today’s selection is a record that has been in my collection for quite a while but has very infrequently been aired during my dj sets. Those of you who regularly feature the blog and my dj adventures will know that many of my recent dj gigs have featured around more funk sounds – certainly the last 5 years or so. This track is one that is more suited to a soul club or indeed a “mod” event hence it’s rare appearances in public.

Trade Martin has been an extremely busy man since he broke into the music business in the late 1950s. He was responsible for launching the Rome Records label and played all the instruments on the vast majority of the label’s output. His own solo career started way back in 1955 with the release of “My Song Of Love” but it wasn’t until 1962 that his solo career took on a more prolific nature. From then until 1969 he released 9 singles including a great cover of “Work Song” in 1966 which also features in my collection.

As well as his solo career, Martin worked as a producer for 30 years and recorded a number of film scores. Oh, and he also won a Grammy award for B.B. King’s “Peace To The World”. Quite a musical legacy then! The song I feature for you today is his take on the classic Tennessee Ernie Ford track “Sixteen Tons”. Whilst there have been a number of versions over the years, this is my own personal favourite with some great arrangement. I hope you agree!!

Warm Excursion – Hang Up (Part I)

Warm Excursion - Hang Up

As I’m sure you’ve noticed today is Sunday and therefore not Saturday (regular readers will know I kinda designated Saturday as the day for me to bring you the funk). Of course, the last few days were super busy for me meaning that this update was pushed back by a day, but hey no-one’s gonna sue me right?

So not to delay things any further I’m going to cut to the chase with today’s selection. I’ll be honest here – I don’t know who Warm Exclusion were. You’ll notice from the label scan that it says “Terrible Three” after their name but that doesn’t shed any further light on the band. Nonetheless, I can say that this 45 released in ’69 was one of 2 records that the band cut (the other being “Phut Ball” issued on the Watts USA label) before disappearing back into obscurity¬†(were they ever anything but obscure?)

The Pzazz label was originally set up as a jazz label in L.A. but did release 45s in other genres including funk. This record straddles both jazz and funk, though I would be hesitant to call it “jazz funk” (excuse the pedantry here!). Either way, what you get is a funky organ workout with horns aplenty. This track featured on a compilation called “California Soul” released on BGP a few years and may explain why it’s become popular with a lot of UK funk heads recently. Anyway, enjoy the selection and I’ll catch up with you all next week (certainly a day that ends with the letter “y”!!)