Gun Morgan – Hot Jungle

Gun Morgan - Hot Jungle

We’ve got something VERY different for you in the shape of this week’s selection and I hope you dig it. It’s still funky and kinda disco-y at the same time and has that afrobeat vibe about it too. The intro doesn’t really give you too much of an indicator of what is coming next, so stick with it as there’s some killer horns, drums, organ and wah-wah!

This 45 is by a rather obscure artist, who as far as I can tell, only released 2 45s and disappeared into obscurity. Released in 1974 under the name “Gun Morgan” this was by a guy whose real name was Jean Pierre Comoe. Therein ends anything I know about this record. Although pretty unknown to a lot of people, there are multiple copies knocking around and one in decent condition can be picked up pretty cheaply if you so desire.

For now that’s pretty much all I have for you, so until next time, have a good day!

Ikebe Shakedown – Hard Steppin

Ikebe Shakedown - Hard Steppin

I’ve spoken in the past about the fact that there are still many funk bands around today releasing great records and that the sound didn’t just die out around ’75/’76 as many people might think. Today’s selection is yet another example that there is plenty going on in the modern funk world – so if you (like me) are becoming increasingly frustrated with the sanitized over-produced rubbish that dominates the charts, not to mention 99% of the media, fear not as there is still quality music out there if you spend the time diggin’

Ikebe Shakedown hail from Brooklyn, New York and describe their sound as a mixture of cinematic soul, afro funk and boogaloo. Well with a description like that you know you’re onto a winner! The band had been knocking around for a few years in one guise or another until they officially formed in 2008 with the line-up you see today.

This week’s selection is the first release from the band cut in 2009 and released on the “Colemine” label. All of the elements that make up Ikebe Shakedown’s sound can be heard in abundance here. Think Curtis Mayfield having a drink with Fela Kuti whilst the JB’s are playing on the jukebox and you kinda get the idea. This track was to prove very popular among the world’s funk collectors and due to the low number of pressings became something that was cherished by those who had a copy and desired by those that didn’t.

I’ll have some news next week of another gig I have coming up in August (possibly more than 1!!) so stay tuned!

Simba – Louie Louie

Simba - Louie Louie

Simba – Louie Louie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every now and then I stumble across a track from an artist that I’ve never heard of and know very little about. This week’s selection is one such case. I don’t even remember when or exactly where I first came across this song, but as soon as I heard it I knew it was a winner and something that I would have to seek out to add to my collection.

I’m sure all of you have at some point in your life heard Louie, Louie – with so many versions of it over the years, I’d be amazed if you haven’t heard at least one of them. Far and away the most well-known of these has to be the Kingsmen’s version from the sixties. Now hands up who thought that was the original?

In fact the original version was written in 1955 by Richard Berry (although it wasn’t released until ’57). Despite the huge number of cover versions that were released (in fact it’s the second most covered song ever!), Berry never received any money after signing away his rights to the track in 1959. Berry has been very unfairly overlooked in musical circles because as well as many people not realising that he wrote & recorded the original, he also recorded another very well-known song that few people realise was his – “Have Love Will Travel” made popular by garage rockers The Sonics. We may well feature one or other of these originals at a later stage, but for now we’ll just focus on Simba.

As I said earlier – I don’t know too much about Simba. But what I do know is that they were formed out of two bands – cult Afrobeat band Assagai (best known for their excellent single “Telephone Girl” which is another song I’ll feature in the future) and Jade Warriors. This new collective only cut 2 singles (of which this is one) then disappeared without trace. So what does this version bring that others haven’t already? Well this is a heavy afro funk sound with psychedelic tinges and a slight latin feel to it – totally different to the hundreds of other versions I’ve previously heard and I’m sure you’ll appreciate the groove just as much as I do. 

Hugh Masekela – Home Boy

Hugh Masekela was born in South Africa in 1939 and first took up the trumpet at the age of 14. By 1956 he had been a bandleader in various different ensembles before settling with  Alfred Herbert’s African Jazz Revue. His early music was heavily influenced by his experiences as a young man living in South Africa and it was the daily struggles against apartheid, slavery & hunger that was to give him a writing platform that helped him connect with many people across his home country.

His first hit in the U.S. came with “Up, Up & Away” which later became a smash for The Fifth Dimension. However his biggest hit was to come a year later with the N01 smash “Grazing In The Grass” which again was to be covered by another well-known late 60s/early 70s soul group The Friends Of Distinction.

This selection has a fantastic groove, with Masekela’s trademark horn playing. I wouldn’t really call it afrobeat as such to my mind it’s more of a funky jazz sound. Anyway, whatever label you want to add to it the label I would add is quite simply – cool.