SOUL – Tell It Like It Is

SOUL - Burning Spear

Today’s selection has to be up there as one of my favourite ever funk records. This is a track that took me quite a while to find a copy of – as far as I can tell it was only “released” as a promo and that would probably explain why it took me so long to get my hands on one. I think this is something that may have escaped under the radar of a lot of collectors, which thankfully for me, has meant that it was quite an inexpensive purchase!

SOUL – or as it’s more commonly spelt S.O.U.L. (which stands for Sounds Of Unity & Love) were a funk act who formed in Cleveland back in 1970. The band’s first big break was to come when they won first prize in a battle of a bands contest and scooped £1,000 as well as a record deal with Musicor Records. Their debut single entitled “Down In The Ghetto” was released the following year but it was to be another 2 years before they were able to cut their 1st LP – What It Is. This record featured covers of well-known funk, soul & jazz songs including Get Ready, Express Yourself and the song they became most known for amongst funk aficionados,the highly collectible Burning Spear.

They managed to record another LP before their split in 1975 (Can You Feel It) and it was this album that today’s pick comes from. This LP achieved small success and it saw the band start to write their own compositions with just 1 cover version – Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour”. After the split some of the band continued working in music, with one of the members writing for Earth, Wind & Fire whilst another was to join The Platters.

Joe Quarterman & Free Soul – I'm Gonna Get You

This might be my last post for a few weeks as I’ll be in NYC next week and probably won’t get the opportunity to provide an update. Don’t worry though – I’ll do my best to squeeze one in if I get the chance.

This week’s pick takes us back to straight out old skool honest to goodness funk. Joe Quarterman is probably best known to you all for his classic funk staple “I’ve Got So Much Trouble In My Mind” as comped on many funk collections as well as being used in various video games.

This selection is somewhat less-known though. I first came across this song many years ago as it was sampled by New York rappers “3rd Bass” on a track called “Oval Office” (from their fantastic 1989 album “The Cactus”). I Got So Much Trouble On My Mind was also sampled on this track.


The Mohawks – Baby Hold On

This week we’re gonna take you on another little trip down Hammond Street. The Mohawks should be well-known to you all by this stage given that they are one of THE most sampled artists ever, largely due to “The Champ” (the flip side of this record incidentally).

The Mohawks were fronted by the legendary British hammond organ player, Alan Hawkshaw. Hawkshaw was responsible for many theme tunes in the UK including The Dave Allen Show, Grange Hill and Countdown (currently featuring the lovely Rachel Riley). As The Mohawks, he recorded a number of singles and albums featuring many session musicians including Keith Mansfield & Brian Bennett (of The Shadows fame)

This particular selection, recorded in ’68, opens with crashing drums before Hawkshaw’s trademark funky hammond sound  kicks in and a “borrowed” horn section from Etta James’ “Tell Mama” as well as proper 60’s go-go dancer sounding backing vocals.

The Chambers Brothers – All Strung Out Over You

Hello there! Apologies for missing out on updating the blog last week  -it’s been a bit of a hectic week or so, though normal service has now been resumed, thankfully!

This week’s choice may sound familiar to some of you – that’s because it was sampled by Fatboy Slim on his massive hit “Weapon Of Choice” (as well as Sly Stone’s “Into My Own Thing” in case you’re interested)

Anyway, back to the song. The Chambers Brothers originally started out (like many of the great black soul acts) as members of a local gospel choir in the early fifties. However, it wasn’t until the mid sixties that they started to gain any sort of recognition. Their sound developed massively over the years to include elements of rock and psychedelia culminating in arguably their most famous song – “Funky” released in ’71.

This selection was released in ’66 but made no impression on the pop or r&b charts at the time and was only a minor local hit. However don’t let that put you off – this is as funky a track as you’re likely to find from anyone in ’66.