Zilla Mayes – All I Want Is You

Zilla Mayes - All I Want Is You

I’m a day late this week and thus my update will be a little bit shorter than normal. Things have been getting much busier in my personal life recently which has left me with very little time to dedicate to digging for new sounds and in turn bringing you my weekly post. I’ve toyed with the idea of only providing content every 2 weeks but I’ll endeavor to continue as is until it’s not longer feasible, but hopefully it doesn’t come to that.

Anyhow, we’re staying in New Orleans for another week with today’s selection. Zilla Mayes was actually an artist who mainly recorded in Atlanta – in fact her recordings date back to the mid fifties but it was with Allen Toussaint (like many others) where we at Gazfunk really took an interest. My man Brian Poust (a previous guest contributor) probably knows a lot more about Zilla than I could ever write due to his connections with Atlanta. So I’m signing off for now and I’ll leave you to enjoy this tremendous slice of New Orleans Sister Funk.

Gazfunk is 4!!!!

Ladies & gentlemen, this week marks the 4th anniversary of the Gazfunk blog. It seems like no time at all since I decided to share some of my record collection with you all and the support I’ve had over the years has been fantastic, so a big thank you to everyone who has read the blog and continues to follow what I do. I do this purely for the love of the music and whilst there are some costs in keeping a blog like this functioning, rest assured I will never ask for your money to help with keeping the site going, nor will I allow ads on the site to pay towards my costs.

To celebrate this anniversary, I had planned to put together a special event with some of my other dj pals who love funk & soul, however due to my injuries (a broken arm & damaged knee) it proved to be impossible so I’ll just have to leave that for another time. However, I have not 1 but 2 great tracks for you to enjoy this week, both courtesy of the queen of New Orleans soul – Betty Harris.

Harris was born in 1939 and her first hit was to come in ’63 with a cover of the Solomon Burke song “Cry To Me” (which was to be one of 3 hit singles she recorded alongside “His Kiss” & “Nearer To You”). The 2 songs we feature for you today were cut during her move to the Sansu label and were produced by the legend himself, Allen Toussaint.

Betty Harris - Mean Man

The first of these records is “Mean Man” which was the b-side of a 1968 single “What’d I Do Wrong”. This is probably my favourite funky soul record of all time! From the opening to the last bar, it’s a work of genius. The guitar in this is just so damn catchy and the overall production is a thing of beauty – you can listen here:

Betty Harris -There's A Break In The Road

The 2nd selection of our Betty Harris dual play is another fantastic piece of funky soul – “There’s A Break In The Road”. This single was to be Harris’ last when it was released in 1969 and showcases her at her funkiest. Again, this track was produced by Toussaint but where this one differs a little is the heavy, heavy drums throughout – it really is perfect for sampling as a drum break. Despite Harris retiring from the music industry in 1970, her legacy lives on and a lot of her singles (including these two) are heavily sought after by Northern Soul & funk djs around the world. She occasionally still performs live and in fact toured Europe & the US in 2007 to promote her new album “Intuition”.