The Soulful Strings – Burning Spear

The Soulful Strings - Burning Spear

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!

Until next time – stay funky!!

 

 

Johnny Sayles – Lilly Mae

 

Johnny Sayles - Lilly Mae

Today’s selection is a little bit different from what I normally bring you here on Gazfunk. Released on the iconic Chess label by Johnny Sayles, this track combines the blues with a funkier edge that you know we love. It’s all-round grooviness is increased by the fact that the legendary Monk Higgins produced it.

Sayles story began in 1937 in Texas and in 1955 at the age of 18, left the family home and relocated to St Louis. Whilst there he joined Ike Turner & His Kings Of Rhythm singing vocals before forming his own band who often played at Chuck Berry’s Paradise Club. By the early 60s he had begun touring with the Five Du-Tones Revue which took him around the U.S. including to Chicago where he settled and signed for Chess Records.

In spite of cutting a number of 45s, commercial success eluded Sayles. However, “I Can’t Get Enough (Of Your Love)” and “Anything For You” proved popular on the Northern Soul scene in the U.K. By the 1970s, Sayles had given up on music and got himself a job working as a prison guard, a role he fulfilled until the late 80s (a kind of reverse Sharon Jones if you will). Sadly, Johnny died in 1993 but left a legacy as a mean live performer who some observers compared to James Brown – high praise indeed!!

Eve Barnum – Please Newsboy

Eve Barnum - Please Newsboy

Before I talk about this week’s update I just want to chat a little about last Friday’s Soul Party! radio show. I was delighted to be joined by the super talented Mr Adam Gibbons aka LACK OF AFRO who swung by for a chat and played a couple of exclusive songs from his forthcoming new album “Hello Baby”. Adam also treated us to some of his personal favourite funk/soul/mod jazz tracks ahead of his gig in Belfast that night which sounded great.

If you missed the live show, please check it out again at http://livestream.com/belfastunderground/tv/videos/114689376 where you’ll be the first people anywhere in the world to hear the upcoming Lack Of Afro single “I’ve Got The Rhythm” due for digital release on April 1st, with the limited 7″ due on April 15th. The new album should be released sometime around the end of April/start of May, but I’ll let you know when I have the date confirmed.

All of which brings me nicely on to today’s selection. This record was the opening track on Friday’s Soul Party! show and is as good a slice of funky sister soul as you’re likely to hear. Released on the fantastic Checker label in ’69, it has that feel of Aretha/Etta James at their funkiest and is an absolute steal at around £10 for a decent quality copy, so do yourself a favour and grab a copy if you can!! 

 

Jesse Anderson – Swing Too High

Jesse Anderson - Swing Too High

I’ve been beavering away at Gazfunk HQ over the last week organising a number of different things which I hope to be able to bring you in the next few weeks. I’ve got our latest guest contributor lined up and almost ready to go, so with a bit of luck I’ll be able to feature their selection next week, and I’m sure it’ll be a track that you’ll all dig.

I’ve also been busy working on a number of guest dj slots in December. I can’t bring you the details as yet as I’m still agreeing dates with the venues/promoters but suffice to say there will hopefully be a number of dates that will form a tour in some very exciting and far away places – so watch this space!!

Before all that though I must bring you this week’s selection – and what a track this is (even if I do say so myself). There’s nothing better in my opinion than those funky soul tracks that have great production and that uptempo dancefloor sound and oh, has this record got it in spades!

Jesse Anderson was a Chicago musician who played his way through all of the “black” sounds from the late fifties through the 70s. Starting out as a bluesman (with his most well-known song “I Got A Problem” which was covered by the likes of Buddy Guy), moving through soul and into funk, Anderson has done it all. Funk fans will probably best know him for his version of “Mighty, Mighty” which was made popular by the legendary Baby Huey.

Today’s track starts with a fantastic piano intro, quickly joined by a great guitar riff before the pounding drums kick in. There’s also some great bass and horn work going on there, not to mention the JB style screaming vocals. I have to say that this record has it all and that it’s a shame that it has mostly lay undiscovered. Enjoy!!