The Three Degrees – Collage

The Three Degrees - Collage

So you’re probably seeing this week’s featured artist and are a little surprised that I’d feature The Three Degrees, especially given the type of sounds that I normally bring you. Well, much like last week’s selection today’s is another example of a new-found appreciation (well I say new-found, but it does go back more than 10 years ago!) of someone who I had previously written off for being a bit cheesy and disco.

The Three Degrees were probably best-known for their 1974 UK Chart Topper “When Will I See You Again?”, a song that makes me slightly nauseous if I’m honest. That kind of over-produced soul-pop cum middle of the road sound really doesn’t do it for me, but Gamble & Huff were more than happy with it as it earned a gold record and went on to be one of their biggest selling releases – so what do I know?.

“Collage” was released in 1970 and goes for a different sound altogether. It’s kinda funk, slightly modern, a little psychedelic and ultimately a lot darker than what the group were known for both before and after this single. It’s quite slow as well (something else that I’m not exactly known for playing) but it has that extra something about it and has been sampled in a few hip-hop records over the years. I hope you all dig it. Cheers!

Candi Staton – Never In Public

Candi Staton - Never In Public

Today I’m returning to an artist that I first featured on Gazfunk a couple of years ago, Candi Staton. The record I featured back then was “I’d Rather Be An Old Man’s Sweetheart…” and was released on the Fame label down there in Muscle Shoals.

Today’s selection is on a similar vibe and in fact was cut around the same time as “I’d Rather Be..” (perhaps even the same session). There’s obviously great production on this (as you would expect) and the trademark fantastic vocal style which I’ve come to appreciate. In fact, when I was younger and before I started to delve into the world of funk and soul music, my only exposure to the work of Candi Staton was via “Young Hearts Run Free” a song that I’ve never liked and to this day still don’t (in fact I’m still not really a fan of “disco” music at all).

As my record digging progressed I found myself listening to thousands upon thousands of songs that were (to me at least) “new”. There were many ways I consumed this music, some via radio (both online and by old fashioned means), going to more clubs and by listening to as many soundclips on the web as was humanly possible! As a result of this dedication to find new tracks that I hadn’t heard before, it led me to hear songs by artists who I had previously discounted – let’s call it the naivety of youth! Once such artist was Candi Staton and since then I’ve had a newfound respect for her, especially when listening back on her output during the Fame sessions.

Anyway I think this goes to show that preconceptions about an artist can certainly be wrong and with most artists, if you give them a second chance you might just find something that you really dig (apart from One Direction of course!!). Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I’ll catch up with you all next week.

Shorty Long – Here Comes The Judge

Shorty Long - Here Comes The Judge

I’m returning to an all-time classic today in the shape of Shorty Long’s “Here Comes The Judge”. Released on the Soul label (which was part of Motown) in 1968 this record was one of a number of “Judge” tracks cut around the same time. The first of these came from comedy singer Pigmeat Markham also in ’68, although today’s “version” is different, it was undoubtedly inspired by Markham’s “original”.

I’ve got a number of these different “versions” by various artists but I still have a fondness for Shorty’s version as it was the first one I heard and although somewhat overplayed now, it’s still just a fun, great danceable record. I hope you enjoy the track and it brings back a few memories for you (like it did for me)

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.