Jesse James – Don’t Nobody Want To Get Married

Jesse James - Don't Nobody Want To Get Married

So, seeing as last week’s update was a very uptempo piece of instrumental funk I thought I’d take things down a little with today’s selection. What we’ve got here is a mid-tempo touch of funk released on the rather colorful Zea label in 1971 courtesy of Jesse James.

There were a couple of soul artists in the 6os with this same name, though this one shouldn’t be confused with the singer from Philly. Jesse James (or Jessie James as the name he originally recorded under) was part of the famous (or should that be infamous) group, The Royal Aces. Probably what put the group on the radar of the funk & soul collectors was the fact that they featured a very young guitarist named Sylvester Stewart (aka Sly Stone). Some say that this was Sly’s first ever recording though it’s believed that his first actual appearance on record was way back in 1952 as part of the Stewart Four. Nonetheless, the Royal Aces single “Cha Cha Minnie” released in 1961 has become a pretty sought after and hard to come by 45.

And so on to Jesse James. After a number of solo releases it was this track that was to become his biggest hit reaching the top 20 in the r&b charts. I don’t know whether it was the subject matter that resonated with people or just the groove and cool drum break but either way this is a nice little piece of wax that I’m sure you’ll all dig! Oh, and if you’d like a copy for yourself I’m sure you’ll be able to pick one up for a reasonable price…

Sly & The Family Stone – Remember Who You Are

As we head towards our 2nd anniversary here on Gazfunk (where has the time gone?) I’ve always been keen to try and feature the lesser known names in the funk & soul world. Occasionally though we have featured some of the big hitters but sadly this has mainly been down to their untimely passing. Today’s update brings into focus one of THE most important figures in funk history and someone who is long overdue a feature on the blog.

Those who know me will know that I have little time (or love for) funk & soul music of the 80s. In my humble opinion this is where it lost it’s way. Gone were the uptempo sounds of Motown & Stax and the rawness & gritty sound of 70s funk delivering a message about the streets and in it’s place was this over produced, cleanly packaged schmaltzy “soul” as popularised by artists like Alexander O’Neill & Luther Vandross amongst others. One just needs to listen to the output of soul legends like Smokey Robinson & Stevie Wonder (particularly tracks like “Being With You” & “I Just Called To Say I Love You”) to see where soul music was going horribly wrong.

However just before this style of soul/funk became de rigueur in the early eighties, one man was still making records that continued on with his much loved (and highly regarded) musical style. That man was Sly Stone. Listen to this track taken from his 1979 comeback album (one of many!) “Back On The Right Track”  and this could easily sit alongside any of his great works during the previous decade. So let’s all raise a glass to Mr Sylvester Stewart as he certainly remembered who he was!