Hello good folk of the interweb! I haven’t forgotten about you all (you wish), I’ve just had a lot of stuff to deal with over the last few weeks but I’m definitely not leaving you for good so no need to worry.
I last featured today’s artist a couple of years ago and any regular readers of the blog will know that Stevie Wonder is my numero uno musical hero. What put Stevie in my head for this week’s update was the reminder that I caught him live at Hyde Park 2 years ago today, so in tribute to the great man I thought he would be a welcome return to my blog updates.
There’s been many things written about Stevie Wonder over the years (some of them by me) so I’m not going to repeat anything about his history, childhood, Motown etc as I’m sure you’ve read most of that stuff before, and let’s be honest, if that’s all news to you, you’ve probably arrived on the wrong website!!
All I will say is that the record I’ve selected today is probably a little bit underplayed given that it was a 45 release during one of Stevie’s most successful/prolific periods and reached number 22 in the UK charts. Released in 1967, this was paired with the also excellent “Every Time I See You I Go Wild” which seemed to be the better known of the 2 tracks – I think this always goes to show why you should flip over those 45s as there’s often great (and at times better) tunes on the other side. I hope you’ll dig this fantastic slice of Stevie history.
Just to note, I’m working on a few other things at the minute including interviews etc, so keep checking in as there will be some very interesting features over the next few weeks/months.
As I’m bringing you this update on a Sunday I thought I’d go for something a little more “spiritual” today. I’m sure many of you are aware that Barrett Strong recorded Motown’s first big hit with “Money” way back in 1959 and recorded right through until the early 80s. However, more than any of his other releases, Strong was probably better known for his songwriting alongside Norman Whitfield. Together they would pen legendary hits like “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, “War”, and most notably much of the Temptations’ late 60s/early 70s output.
Today’s choice vinyl cut sees Strong at his most funky, with the largely unknown but super cheap 45 “Stand Up And Cheer For The Preacher”. It’s no surprise when listening to this record that you can hear a lot of the similar sound to the Temptations at this period. I don’t know who all played on this track, but that guitar sound certainly sounds like Dennis Coffey. There’s some great strings on here as well as nice backing vocals and much like The Isley Brothers you’ll appreciate the journey from the late 50s r&b sound to the early/mid 70s funky vibe that they both progressed to. Stand up & cheer indeed!!
Hello ladies and gentlemen, I’m finally back! I know this is my first post in some weeks so apologies to those of you who were eagerly awaiting my updates but found none forthcoming. Annoyingly, my domain registration expired and the straightforward (or so you’d think) process of renewal proved to be anything but. Better late than never, eh?
Today’s update comes courtesy of Cadet’s house band who featured Phil Upchurch and Charles Stepney among it’s members. Other musicians who played with the band included Donny Hathaway and Dorothy Ashby. The song I’ve picked for you has had a number of different versions recorded over the years including releases by Kenny Burrell, S.O.U.L. and a minor chart hit for a late 90s UK “dance” act called eta. There’s a real groove going on with this one especially with especially with that flute! If you haven’t heard any of the other versions I mentioned above, they are all definitely worth checking out!
I’ve got something very, very different for you to get your ears round this week. This one comes from Venezuela and was released in 1976. It’s quite a hard one to categorize – it’s funky, it’s latin, it’s psychedelic and it’s certainly unique!
As you’re probably aware, I dig many sounds from many countries as long as they’re funky and this one certainly hits the mark for me. Ok, so it’s not straight out funk (but then, I do feature loads of that anyway) but it definitely has a groove to it with those bongos.
There is a whole scene of funky records from Central and South America from 68-78 out there and a lot of it seems to have passed under the radar, though people like Quantic and Gilles Peterson have featured some great sounds in the past. So I hope you enjoy this one (those of you who are a little more open-minded) and maybe feel inspired to delve a little deeper into this wonderful world of psychedelic latin funk. Ciao!
I’m back with a nice little cheapo instrumental groove for you to enjoy this week. A.C. Jones cut two 45s (to my knowledge) this one featuring the Soulettes and another with The Atomic Aces. I don’t know much about Jones other than the fact that he came from Florida.
The record I feature for you today was released in 1965 and as I mentioned earlier has an instrumental groove with some real nice guitar work on it. I have to say that I don’t recall ever hearing this track played out anywhere but I’m sure some of you guys own a copy. Anyway, I hope you dig it and I’ll try my best to be back next week with another funky little piece of wax for you to get down to.