Mary Love – Born To Live With Heartache

Last week as I was bringing you my latest update I became aware of the death of yet another two soul legends – Mary Love & Bobby “Blue” Bland. I couldn’t let this week pass without paying some sort of tribute to such great artists.

Bobby Bland

I’m sure many of you have heard of Bland and there has been plenty written about him over the years – and certainly in more depth than I could match so I’ll keep my comments quite short. For me, Bland deserved his place amongst the greats and alongside Ray Charles was one of the most important figures in the early r&b sound. Like Charles, he didn’t just stick to one style of music. Originally his music would probably have been thought of as blues, but he was to fuse this with soul, r&b and gospel. Some of his later works also had quite a funky edge to them showing his versatility as a singer. His influence was such that artists like Van Morrison, Steve Marriott and even Mick Hucknall tried to base their vocal style on Bland (in fact Hucknall recorded a tribute album to him in 2008)

Sadly Bland was to pass away after what his family had described as an ongoing illness – he was 83.

Mary-Love

Mary Love was somewhat lesser known than Bland, but still a very talented singer in her own right. She was very highly regarded amongst soul fans and collectors and was especially popular on the Northern Soul scene. Like Bland she never achieved any real success on the “pop” charts but did have minor hits on the r&b charts. Sadly, Mary passed away on 21 June at the age of 69. Today’s song selection is one of my personal faves and is one of my favourite examples of what many would describe as “Sister Funk”

I should also give a brief mention to Jim Kelly who starred alongside Bruce Lee in “Enter The Dragon” and who was to perform the leading role in one of my favourite blaxploitation films “Black Belt Jones” (which had a fantastic soundtrack courtesy of Dennis Coffey). Jim passed away a couple of days ago after a battle with cancer. Gazfunk would like to share our condolences with the families & friends of Bobby, Mary & Jim. R.I.P.

On a lighter note, I’d just like to remind everyone that I will be dj’ing this Saturday at the Mostly Jazz Festival in Birmingham. The festival will feature the likes of Chic, Candi Staton, Soul II Soul, Haggis Horns, Smoove & Turrell & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble among others. I can confirm that the tickets for Saturday have now SOLD OUT! Hope to see some of you there…

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Cha Cha Hogan – Grit Gritter

We’re bringing you something quite obscure here on Gazfunk this week. This selection brings an artist that I know very little about.

After zooming around on the internet trying to find more dirt on this guy, it turns out that Cha Cha Hogan is a little known actor who appeared in the American tv show “Sanford and Son”. His singing career was mainly as an opening act for many different artists (including the Four Tops) and this allowed him the opportunity to travel the world.

This cut is a nice midtempo slice of piano funk, quite similar in style to Ike Turner (particularly some of the tracks off “A Black Man’s Soul”).

Dig!

Danny White – The Twitch

Well, it’s about time we all went on another little trip to funky, funky New Orleans.

Danny White was born in New Orleans in 1931 and was a member of the legendary Huey “Piano” Smith’s band. His first solo release was in 1961 on the Dot label called “Give A Take”. He went on to release a further 15 singles but gained little commercial success. However his 1966 release”Cracked Up Over You” became a massively popular floorshaker on the northern soul scene showing that despite his lack of chart success, he still found fame amongst soul fans in the North of England. 

With the release in 2000 of the excellent Soul Jazz Records compilation “New Orleans Funk” and the subsequent follow-up “Saturday Night Fish Fry”, White and many other New Orleans’ artists little-known gems were brought to the public’s attention.

This week’s cut, was selected for the New Orleans Funk Vol 2 compilation that was released a few years ago. The track itself was recorded in ’63 and as you would expect has more of an r&b groove, rather than the northern soul/funk sound that he was noted for.