Friday, December 11, 2009

It's a Wonder I forgot this one . . . Stevie Wonder's "Sugar"

Stevie Wonder - Sugar
I really can't believe I forgot this tune when selecting some of favorite lesser-known Stevie jams. Most people look to "Music of My Mind" as the first "funky" Stevie album and for the most part they're right, but before that album there was the mixed bag of "Where I'm Coming From" which hinted at a more experimental, bugged-out Stevie on funky keyboards and big drum sounds. But the song we have here is an album track off of his previous album, "Signed, Sealed & Delivered" from 1970. Sure, most of the album is soul-pop like the title track and that would probably be the description too for this cut, but listening to the drums (played by Stevie) and how prominent they are in the mix you can't help but think Stevie knew what was going on and you can feel that he was chomping at the bit to get out from under the Motown machine and let loose a funky maelstrom. I give you "Sugar". Tastes so sweet!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bay Area Peeps: Wonderfull - This Saturday @ Mezzanine with DJ Spinna & Bobbito and more

I've been meaning to get to one of these Wonderfull events since I first heard about it years ago back in NYC and for some stupid reason I just have never been able to make it, but this time I'm gonna break the curse and get my ass down to Mezzanine this weekend. And in honor of that I have some of my favorite Stevie Maravilha (his Brazilian nickname) deep cuts and cover tunes for your listening pleasure. Also, check out P-R-O-P-S radio for a killer set of Wonderfullness. Not much on commentary here and no albums covers (too many songs here and it's busy here at work), so just hit play on the yahoo media player and Stevie and friends take you on a trip through music of Stevie's mind . . .

Stevie Wonder - Christmas Greeting
Couldn't pass this one up given the time of year. I want a whole album of keyboard based Christmas funk from 'Lil Drummer Stevie.

Stevie Wonder - Love a Go-Go
This is one of the first album track/deep cuts that I sought out and as a result was even further inspired by the breadth and depth of Stevie's genius. I think this was big in the UK/Norther Soul thang . . .

Syreeta - I Love Everything About You

Possibly my favorite Stevie version ever . . . and all-time favorite song. period. when I first got this album I listened to this one track on repeat for two days straight. seriously.

Tamiko Jones - Creepin'
Who woulda thought you could fuck with Stevie & Minnie dueting on the original version? I'm not saying it's better, but its damn good!

Ray Charles - Living For the City
The most recent Steviania acquisition . . . so dope. Nobody (aside from Stevie) does Fender Rhodes so nasty and raw as "The Genius".

Ellen McIlwaine - Higher Ground
By far those most left-field cut here . . . you can't deny Ms. McIlwaine's mastery of this song. The way she does it, you can imagine that she wrote it. For me, this speaks to the universality of Stevie's tunes.

Main Ingredient - Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing
Main Ingredient have a long history of doing Stevie tunes, but this has got to be my favorite.

Stevie Wonder - Signed, Sealed, Delivered (Live)
A somewhat rare early-seventies live recording from an Jazz/R&B festival from 1974. I posted the whole album awhile back, but have since taken the songs down.

Sister Sledge - As
I can't say this holds a flame to the original, but it's such a great song that I could tolerate some less than perfect cover versions. This one is from the Sisters Sledge right before their Chic-produced breakout album. This one was recorded in Germany with the masterminds behind Silver Convention, Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay.

Laso - Another Star
Here we have a latin instrumental take on another Songs in the Key of Life classic. Laso was a Joe Bataan side project that sounds very much like an MFSB or Vince Montana release from the same time. New York Latin Disco, Yeah!

The Gary Byrd Experience - The Crown (Instrumental)
I feel a bit like a racist posting the instrumental version of this song and by default ommitting the social-conscious lyrics of Prof. Gary Byrd, but honestly his rap sucks and the best part about this song is the "Good Times"-esque bass line and Stevie's one verse about 1/2 way in. He just kills it!

Stevie Wonder - All I Do
Thanks to my brother Charlie for hipping me to this tune early on. I honestly thought Stevie was done with Songs in the Key of Life until I heard this joint. This is some superb soulful mid-tempo disco. I forgot to bring it, but I also love the previously unreleased version of Syreeta doing this tune from back in the late 60s in a straight-up Motown cookie-cutter formula (and I don't mean that in a bad way) cause it sounds like a totally different song in that style, tempo and from a female perspective.

Stevie Wonder - Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away
My favorite sleeper Stevie track from Fullfillingness First Finale. This is the kind of religious music I can get down to.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Goodwill Girl Groups

These are three of the eight records I got last week for $7.98 at the Goodwill near where I work. I don't go too often, but each time I manage to find something interesting. Last time it was a David Axelrod produced Lou Rawls joint. I've been assessing my purchases and found these three great tracks in the process. The Pointer Sisters jam some of you probably know and I was aware of it before copping the album, but these other two were pleasent surprises. Enjoy!

Pointer Sisters - Don't It Drive Your Crazy

Softouch - Please Be True

Hot - Just 'Cause I'm Guilty

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Inter-American Dialogue: The Leon Ware - Marcos Valle Connection

This is what blogs are for. I've been fascinated by the collaboration between Marcos Valle (left) and Leon Ware (below) for years now, ever since I read on Dustygroove that Marcos had written some songs on Leon's "Rockin' You Eternally" album. A deeper look reveals that their collaboration was a two-way street and the songs they wrote together are peppered across several albums of Leon's and Marocs'. Sure, I could try and write a proper article about this phenomenon, but the blog format seems ideally suited for this topic. I recognize that not everyone will be intrigued by this side alley of popular music, but for those who are, I'll dissect this collaboration in depth.
I've collected some (but not all) of the songs and recordings of the Ware-Valle partnership in this blog post, beginning with a song that was written by Marcos Valle and Robert Lamm (of Chicago) which Leon recorded for his 1979 album "Inside is Love."

Leon Ware - Love Is a Simple Thing
As far as I can tell, this is the first published intersection between Leon and Marcos, though Marcos is not playing on this record. It's strange to think that Marcos Valle and late-seventies Chicago were grooving to the same sounds, but it was a different time and when you really think of it they both come from similar backgrounds: jazz-influenced, blue-eyed pop soul.

Leon Ware - Rockin' You Eternally
For me, this is really the crowning achievement of the inter-American songwriter duo. The title track of Leon's first of two album on Elektra, "Rockin' You Eternally" is quintessential quiet-storm funk. Leon's clearly spearheading the lyrics on this one, but the music has got the unmistakable Marcos Valle touch, especially in the (and I'm not very expert in describing musical concepts) way the song changes keys in the chorus. You'll not that same chord progression in a Marcos song below that otherwise sounds nothing like this tune. I wonder if there is a recording somewhere of Marcos doing this tune in Portuguese or a Leon Ware - Marcos Valle demo . . .

Leon Ware - Baby Don't Stop Me

Here we have the first example of a song that both Leon and Marcos recorded in different, but very similar versions. Leon's is clearly rooted in an early-80s quiet-storm boogie mode with hardly a trace of Brazil in the mix.

Marcos Valle - A Paraíba Não É Chicago
I've been listening to this album non-stop for the past few days and it just doesn't get old. The whole thing is great, without a weak song among the bunch. This is the lead-off track and as you can hear, it's Marcos' version of "Baby, Don't Stop Me" with that exact chorus being sung by Chicago' Peter Cetera. This song and "Sei La" were the only two songs recorded in LA, I'm guessing, before Marcos returned to Brazil to stay and finish the album.

Marcos Valle - Velhos Surfistas Querendo Voar
This is the real sleeper on the album and took a dozen or so listens to really grow on me. This is also the tune that reappropriates the chord-progression from "Rocking You Eternally", but that's about where the similarity with the latter song ends. This song is where the album title comes from too.

Marcos Valle - Não Pode Ser Qualquer Mulher
This is a beautiful tune composed by the duo, with lyrical assistance from Marcos' go-to lyric writer, Paul Sergio Valle (his brother).

Marcos Valle - Bicho No Cio
Before I even knew about the Marcos Valle - Leon Ware connection I got this Brazilian promotional 7" single with four songs and this was one of them. I immediately dug the slow, funky groove and began my search for the album it came from. This is also the second song, like "Baby Don't Stop Me" that both artists did in similar versions.

Leon Ware - Got To Be Loved
Here we have Leon's version of "Bicho No Cio". I love Leon's work throughout his career, so I mean no disrespect when I say that aside from "Rocking You Eternally", I prefer Marcos' versions over Leon's and this song is no exception.

Leon Ware - Somewhere
This is an interesting tune that shows Leon getting into a Brazilian groove unlike any other recording of his I've heard. That would be Flora & Airto on vocals and percussion.

Marcos Valle - Dia D
Here's the last tune in the set, a one-off collaboration in a funky party mode. This album features one other tune with co-writing credits from Leon, but its a pretty mediocre slow-jam. This is a fun song from a seriously under-rated album. Actually, my next post will likely pull the song "Fogo de Sol", which I just discovered is the vocal version of one of my favorite Marcos Valle tunes, "Adam's Hotel" from the Deodato album "First Cuckoo".

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Argentinian Fire From Egle Martin

I picked up this rare 7" single in Curitiba, Brazil back in 2004 at a record store run by a very nice dude named Julio. I was buying a fair bit of stuff so he just sorta threw it in as a bonus and because it was a Uruguayan (turns out its an Argentinian record - I could be wrong again but it would appear that Egle's from Argentina, but the band is from Uruguay - correct me if you know differently) record he wasn't even sure what it was worth. It's since become a favorite of mine and a few friends I've shared it with.

But then last night I dropped it in my set at Dalva (word up, Toph One) and it became the clear runaway hit of the night. I'll be scanning the cover and uploading for all to see, but here are the two tracks, both great, but the intro to the first one is so dramatic and jazzy . . . then the smokin' latin beat drops!

Egle Martin - Dombe BariloEgle Martin - El Dombe

There's an Argentine pressing here on eBay.
This is what that eBay seller had to say about the record:
Egle Martin (a.k.a. La Negra) was sorta like La Lupe from the south of the southern hemisphere. She was deeply involved into the Afro-Latin American culture, and especially the underground Uruguayan and Brazilian scene (experiencing the Bossa and Candomble, often with her Brazilian friends, Maysa and Luiz Eca, among others, and skilled Uruguayan musicians). The Dombe was a rhythm inspired by the afro-Uruguayan Candomble, of her own creation, which also mixes American Funk, Boogaloo and Latin Jazz. Dombe Barilo is a KILLER track in its own right, with those fantastic bongo drums, brass sections, horn arrangements, funky bass-n-drums, plus Egle's vibrant manner of singing, with some lush and intense scat vocal in parts. El Dombe, is the track which gives its name to the rhythm, and is equally good. Both tracks have cool lyrics, and they mainly refer to the dance, and this rhythm.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Intergalactic Space Funk: Phase I: Launch

The Ambassador - Intergalactic Space Funk: Phase I: Launch
As promised a few months ago, here's the newest installment of the SPACE FUNK. This is part one of several future chapters of Space Funk. To be honest, I messed up the mix shortly after this section was completed and that seemed like a good enough reason to break these up into sections and thematically it works too. This first "Phase" is about leaving earth and journeying into space. The mix starts off with some general funkiness with plenty of spacy keyboards and then slowly builds until you are blasting off into space. The next phase will find our intrepid space funkateers on the Moon and beyond.

This mix was re-inspired by my Friday night activities at San Francisco's "Ghetto Futuristic Psychedelic Funkadelic Electronic Erotic Dance Party happening" aka "Future Shock". Big ups to Freddy, Marky, Jason & Stefan for throwing a great party and inspiring me to complete phase I and beyond . . .

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Count's California Count-Down - Side A & B

UPDATE: Now both sides of the mix are up for your listening pleasure!

Happy Monday, Soul Spectators!

This quick little post is part one two of a mix I made this weekend for some friends who are about to embark on a West Coast Tour. Chris and Dan are gonna be escorting the Taiwanese indie-rock/pop band Won Fu on their first US tour. I was trying to imagine them bopping along the I-5 to some groovy tunes and that was my inspiration. I also wanted to use some of the great interludes from this Sesame Street record I recently copped. Keep in mind that all of the interludes used were put together with David Axelrod's help. Sure, they are not mind-blowing like his normal output, but they're pretty sweet nonetheless.

The Ambassador - The Count's California Count-Down - Side A
The Ambassador - The Count's California Count-Down - Side B

Friday, October 16, 2009

Balanço Brasileiro

There's Baile Funk, Samba Funk, Funky Samba, Brazilian Soul, Roots Samba, Bossa Nova and dozens more sub-genres of Brazilian music that swing, but today we're gonna focus on just that, the SWING. In Brazilian Portuguese, the term is "Balanço". Now, there's no real specific definition of "Balanço" but like the term suggests, its more a feeling, the way a song moves. I think this term became popularized in the early-to-mid sixties when the instrumental Bossa Jazz trios were in swinging in full fore, such as Tamba Trio, Jongo Trio, Bossa Três and many others. These groups were melodic, but they also SWUNG HARD.

Around this time you also have "dance music" purveyors, like Ed Lincoln with his organ and his swinging dance records. One of Ed's main men and occasional vocalist was Orlandivo, who first started recording in the early 60s. He made a couple albums in the early-to-mid sixties and then not another solo record until the 1977 album he did with João Donato (see below). He was a vocalist, percussionist and song writer.

One of Orlandivo's best known songs is featured today in four versions, "Tamanco No Samba". The direct translation means "Clog in Samba", but clog like the wooden shoe, not what's backing up your drain. If someone knows what this is referring to, please chime in. A quick glance at the lyrics suggests the song is about the sound a woman makes when dancing the samba wearing clogs - a bonus percussive element to the samba. Works for me.

Anyways, this is a sleeper favorite from Orlandivo's 1977 album, which is chock full of great tunes and then I found it retitled as "Samba Blim" from the Tamba 4 album of the same name on A&M from 1968. The drummer from Tamba 4, Helcio Milito, often appears alongside Orlandivo on various album credits throughout the years, so I'm guessing they go way back. Next, I heard another cover on the beautiful 70s bossa vocal jazz album Aquarius and then my main man Cal Tjader covered the tune with help from Airto on his "Amazonas" album. And with that, I bring you "Tamanco No Samba."

Tamba 4 - Samba Blim
I picked up their first A&M album "We and the Sea" awhile back but it was when my initial bossa binge was waning, so I failed to appreciate this top-shelf band making full use of the American recording environment. This, their second and final record for A&M (though rumors have it there was a third recorded - the promo single only "California Soul" being from those sessions) is really solid. They were such a versatile band for three (occasionally four) members including the singing bassist, Bebeto. I discovered this tune after knowing and loving the 1977 Orlandivo version and realized it was the same song with a different title, which was not uncommon for US releases of Brazilian tunes.

Aquarius - Tamanco No Samba
This is an extremely rare record that has more than a little in common with the criminally underrated duo of Burnier & Cartier. Cartier is absent on this one, but Octavio Burner and his wife Sonia are all over this and the sound is very similar to their albums and then there are two of their compositions on here. Overall, this is a lovely mid-seventies Bossa Nova album with stunning production. You can download it here from Quimsy's blog.

Orlandivo - Tamanco No Samba
One of the best albums of the 70s for my money. Orlandivo's songs and laid-back vocal style combined with a top-shelf band including João Donato on arrangements. Loronix has the album here.

Cal Tjader - Tamanco No Samba
Cal knew his Brazilian music and on top of that he had Airto produce this mid-seventies outing so you knew he was gonna have the Brazilian beat dialed in to perfection. This joint was recorded walking distance from where I work in Berkeley, CA.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Great Songs (Now With Lyrics!)

I am certain there are a million and one other examples of this phenomenon (classic instrumental songs getting new lyrics), but this post stems from my relatively recent fascination with jazz vocalist Mark Murphy. I never in my boringest dreams thought that I would have anything resembling a fascination with a "jazz vocalist." Sure, I showed my sensitive side in college with my "best of" Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday CDs and how can you not like a little Frank Sinatra now and then, but somehow these icons escape the labeling of "jazz vocalist". Partly, I think it's the fault of all those too-smooth (Al Jarreau), silly (Bobby McFerrin) crappy-ass jazz vocalists that are ruining it for the truly artistic and inspired examples out there still doing their thing (check out Jose James).

I first heard Mark Murphy on a mix made by my man Greg Caz. The song was "Sunday in New York" and no doubt the slightly funky rhythm section, hot horns and because I lived in NYC at the time allowed me to listen deeper. After a few listens it was all about Mark's vocal style and delivery. I've been tracking down his catalog ever since. Something I noticed on a few of his albums was how he would take a classic jazz track and write lyrics for it so that the listener could immediately relate to the tune, but now there was a new element, a new soloist doing their thing in an unfamiliar way over a familiar song. Sure, there's "Watermelon Man" with its latin/vocal version by Mongo Santamaria (though there aren't many words to this lyric, "Hey, Watermelon Man!") or Carmen McCrae's vocal take on "Take Five", but Mark picks some tracks that clairvoyantly speak to the hip-hop generation as they are classic sample cuts. But before we get into some "serious" jazz music, I asked my co-worker, Eric, for any ideas on this theme and he suggested this classic lyrical interpretation of a familiar instrumental tune:

Mark Murphy - On the Red Clay
This is a killer album, possibly my favorite of Mark's so far and it took me getting out-bid a couple times before I secured my own copy. While the Freddie Hubbard version (below) is not the one that Tribe sampled (that was Jack Wilkins), it's a great tune and I feel Mark really captures the energy of the song taking only the title and extrapolating from there.

Mark Murphy - Canteloupe Island
A more obvious choice, but a great song nonetheless and Mark's lyrics seem to fit the tropical mood painted by Herbie's original version.

Mark Murphy - Sly
This was a strange choice I thought as "Sly" was not an obvious pick from Herbie's classic "Headhunters" album, but Mark really finds a bouncing vocal style to play around with Herbie's musical structure. This is from another great album my Mark Murphy that features one of the best versions of Tom Jobim's "Waters of March". Please chime in on the comments if you have any favorite instrumentals-turned-vocal tunes.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Jerry Butler: Should I Stay or Shoul I Go?

Here are two tracks from a recent acquisition of mine. I'm not a huge Jerry Butler fan, but I generally flip over his records when digging through the stacks, mostly to find that album with the Method Man sample. This is not the one, but while scanning the back cover I saw two other names that I know and adore: Donny Hathaway and Terry Callier. Donny arranged "Sail Away" and Terry wrote "Windy City Soul." By this time in 1971, Donny was already on his way to fame and Terry was just getting started and both were probably honored to be working with Jerry Butler, Chicago soul royalty.

These two songs make for nice bookends as one longs for an escape from one's locale and the other is about a homecoming.

Jerry Butler - Sail Away
Jerry Butler - Windy City Soul

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Trip Around Brasil - A New Brasil Mix

O Embaixador - Viagem Pelo Brasil
Just made this mix last night and it's far from perfect, but I think you might enjoy it. I started out with a few songs I was planning on including, but then it just kinda became a stream of consciousness style mix. Notable on this mix is the three-in-a-row Brasilian tunes by way of A&M records including some promo only Tamba Trio and Sergio Mendes. We also have some funky northeastern tunes, before delivering a dose of samba and then some Brasilian boogie before coming back home to samba. I might be convinced to create a track-list if enough people wanna know what's what. I hope you dig it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Barry Good Music

Barry White is one of those musicians that I never really followed too closely because his music was already so ubiquitous, I assumed that I had already heard it all. Sure, I definitely liked some of his stuff a lot and even got down to some greatest hits CD when I lived in Indonesia and was starved of good music. But it wasn't until lately that I realized what a wealth of music he was responsible for beyond his own records.

I have been rocking the Love Unlimited record below for a couple years now and managed to track down the My Sweet Summer Suite 12" a while back, but honestly I was thinking these tracks were just one-offs. Then, more recently, I came across the Gloria Scott record and then the Jay Dee single (also featured on the $20 Worth of Soul Mix and I realized that there really is something to this Barry White dude beyond the hits.

Gloria Scott - What Am I Gonna Do?
This album is awesome! It's kinda like the first Love Unlimited album, but with a more soulful solo female vocalist. Most of the songs are mid-tempo and really emotionally-charged, but man the arrangements and the hooks are sooo good! This is the first track of the disc, but honestly I coulda picked one of 5 others that are just as good. Pick up the reissue CD or LP at dustygroove.

Love Unlimited - I Can't Let Him Down
This is a later Love Unlimited jam that I absolutely love. The intro is soaring and then the beat just drops and the song is on its way. This song shows Barry in a more rare fast-paced groove.

Love Unlimited Orchestra - My Sweet Summer Suite (12" Version)
I initially liked this one for its tropical, cuica-filled intro, but the groove is just great.

Jay Dee - Strange Funky Games and Things
Another Barry White side-project, Jay Dee is a decent singer but what we have here is really just prime Barry White arrangements and playing from Love Unlimited, Barry's ever-present ensemble. I'm sure there are other individuals responsible for these excellent tunes: the Love Unlimited singers, Jay Dee, arrangers such as the legendary Gene Page and Webster Lewis, but the one thing all these tunes have in common is the larger than life . . . Barry White.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New All-45 Mix: $20 Worth of Soul

The idea behind this mix is to demonstrate what can be accomplished with $20, some patience, record cleaning solution and some elbow grease. Two weekends ago I went down the street for my regular dig at the Alemany Flea Market. I ended up getting records from two different vendors, neither of which specialize in vinyl. I convinced the vendor at the first spot to sell me a stack of 25 sleeveless and dusty 45s and one Stacy Lattislaw LP for $20. The mix you are listening to was constructed from 18 of these 25 45s a day or two after I got'em. You'll notice that there's a bit of surface noise on some of the cuts, but (speaking for myself here) the mix is pretty darn listenable.

A lot of these tracks are songs I have on album, but I was psyched to find them on 45, like the Faze-O, the Johhny "Guitar" Watson and the Rufus cuts. The scores as far as I'm concerned are the Fred Wesley jam and the Jay Dee tune. Not a bad way to spend $20 I would say. I hope you get some value out of it too.

The Ambassador - $20 Worth of Soul
1. Johnny Nash - You Got Soul
2. Gene Chandler - A Song Called Soul
3. The Joneses - Hey Girl, Part 1
4. Jay Dee - Strange Funky Games and Things
5. The Isley Brothers - Work To Do
6. Rufus - You Got the Love
7. Earth, Wind & Fire - Evil
8. Suede - Everybody Must Pay
9. Sly & the Family Stone - Loose Booty
10. Muscle Shoals Horns - Born To Get Down
11. Jimmy "Bo" Horne - Gimme Some
12. Shirley & Company - Shame, Shame, Shame
13. Slave - Just a Touch of Love
14. Fred Wesley - House Party
15. Johnny "Guitar" Watson - Superman Lover
16. Faze-O - Riding High
17. Rance Allen Group - Ain't No Need of Crying
18. Garnet Mimms - A Quiet Place

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Disco Monster #8: Recent 12" Acquistions

Hello folks, another Disco Monster for you here with no common theme between these two songs other than they are AWESOME and I got them recently and had had them on my want list for a minute. I hope you dig them.

Odyssey - Going Back To My Roots
This songs been covered a few times and each version is great. The original comes from Lamont Dozier from his "Peddlin' Music on the Side" album from 1977. According to "The Afro-centric disco hit "Going Back to My Roots" was co-arranged by Hugh Masekela and has a message that most can relate to: "zipping up my boots/ going back to my roots/ to the place of my birth/ back down to earth/ ain't talkin' 'bout no roots in the land/ talkin' 'bout the roots in the man." The 12" version of "Going Back to My Roots" is a collectible and the song was a 1981 disco hit for RCA Records group Odyssey ("Native New Yorker")." Richie Havens also has a dope version from the early eighties that is well worth checking out.

El Coco - Cocomotion '79
I had a crappy rip of this tune for years and only just copped the original and ripped it for your listening enjoyment. El Coco was the front for disco music producers Laurin Rinder and Michael Lewis. This song is basically a spacy remix of their 1977 disco hit "Cocomotion". The "Coco" that is not so suitably referenced in many of the "group's" songs is a not-so-subtle reference to the preferred disco-era narcotic. I really like this later version for its dubby production and subtle jazzy arrangements.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gotta Be a Do-Right Man

The new "ball & chain" making sure I play all the right records at the wedding party

Now that I'm a married man friends and strangers feel obliged to 1) ask me if my life is different now that I'm married; and 2) offer advice about surviving and prospering in married life.

So far, the answer to the first one is, "not yet" as we lived together for 2+ years before tying the knot. For the second bit of unsolicited info, I'm happy to receive suggestions as god knows I could use the help. The best piece of wisdom, received just moments ago was "choose your battles." My coworkers aren't the only ones with pearls of romantic wisdom . . .

Bobby Womack - Woman's Gotta Have It
The Poet of R&B here with his ode to "keepin' your thing together." Not only does this song have one of the baddest basslines in the history of music, but the lyrics are 100% truth.

Average White Band - T.L.C.
This gem from AWB's under-appreciated first album (with this cover and a later pressing called "Put It Where You Want It") sheds some light on how a lady likes to be treated . . . in the bedroom.

Now, if I had put more thought into this before leaving the house with only these two MP3s I woulda showcased something coming from a more respectable source, say a woman. My first thought would be Aretha's "Do Right Woman", but then I remembered that that song was written by two white, southern gentlemen, Dan Penn & Chips Moman. I guess that'll have to do for right now and anyhow it's pretty darn honest & accurate. I can say that because it's one of my wife's favorites.

This classic soul staple is a brilliant song this is because it can be sung by both man or woman and is equally poignant and powerful. Just check the lyrics below to see for yourself. Here's Etta James' version, recording in 1967 but not released until 1993.

Take me to heart
And I'll always love you
And nobody can make me do wrong
Take me for granted
Leaving love unshown
Makes will power weak
And temptation strong

A woman's only human
You should understand
She's not just a plaything
She's flesh and blood
Just like her man

If you want a do right
All days woman
You've gotta be a do right
All night man

Yeah, yeah
They say that it's a man's world
But you can't prove that by me
And as long as we're together baby
Show some respect for me

If you want a do right
All days woman
You've gotta be a do right
All night man

A woman's only human
This you should understand
She's not just a plaything
She's flesh and blood
Just like her man

If you want a do right
All days woman
You've gotta be a do right
All nights man
You've gotta be a do right
All nights man

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wax Poetics - Brazil Edition - Tim Maia

Not a lot of time here today, but wanted to let everyone know that the new Wax Poetics is out and includes my newest feature on legendary Brazilian Soul Godfather, Tim Maia. I culled some awesome video clips together of the legend that you can peep over at Soul Spectrum Videos. I also found a download to one of my favorite Tim Maia albums, his 1976 album on Poydor. You can find it here on the Bossa Blog and check out Loronix for some other Tim Maia albums 1970 & 1973.

Monday, August 03, 2009

3, 2, 1 . . . Space Funk to the Future!

I've been thinking about "space funk" for quite awhile. In fact, I have a special record box where I keep space-related records and obvious space funk gems for the day when I make the long awaited space funk mix. Given my dedication to the subgenre its a bit surprising that it's taken me this long to commit a Soul Spectrum post to the topic. No doubt that this will be the last, today we're just gonna dip our toes into the milky way of intergalactic funk.

I don't think many people would argue that George Clinton and his P-Funkateers were the first conquistadors of the interplanetary funk, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. What I find interesting and will surely comment on in a more detailed post (maybe accompanying the long-delayed Space Funk mix) is how for a solid decade or more (let's say 1968-1983) SPACE was a big inspiration for musicians, artists and civilians alike. Space represented a whole number of things. To some, like Manzel, it was an excuse to play with some pretty crazy keyboards. For Marvin, Space was a romantic getaway where you take a group tour and maybe do some space drugs ("no, this thing I got it ain't classified as dope, stuff I got from Venus, I had it all week, it's gettin' old, come on and try this new stuff with me baby") or take a spin in some futuristic sex machine (I'm thinking the "Orgasmatron" from Woody Allen's "Sleeper"). For some, like Marty Moore, or is it Maxwell - it's not clear who the artist is on this 45 - Space represents a scarier place where technology runs amok and we're stranded to deal with the "fall out." I love how the dance involves that "everybody, fall out!"

Don't underestimate the Space Funk as Dr. Funkenstein once said:

Funk upon a time
In the days of the Funkapus
The concept of specially-designed Afronauts
Capable of funkatizing galaxies
Was first laid on man-child
But was later repossessed
And placed among the secrets of the pyramids
Until a more positive attitude
Towards this most sacred phenomenon,
Clone Funk,
Could be acquired

There in these terrestrial projects
It would wait, along with its coinhabitants of kings and pharoahs
Like sleeping beauties with a kiss
That would release them to multiply
In the image of the chosen one:
Dr Funkenstein.
And funk is its own reward.
May I frighten you?

Manzel - Space Funk (extended version)

Maxwell (Marty Moore) - Radiation Funk

Marvin Gaye - A Funky Space Reincarnation (alternate extended mix)