Thursday, June 25, 2009

R.I.P. M.J.

Thanks for all of the music!

Michael Jackson is the king of the dance party, now and forever.

You will be missed.

Promo Only! These jamz are not for sale.

Here are two great sides from A&M of the Brazilian variety that for whatever reason never made it out as a commercial release. The promotional only white label release is an interesting thing as the reason for its limited release can be a result of a number of different situations. Maybe they tested them out as promos to see if there was interest and there wasn't . . . Maybe the group switched record labels, which could be the case for both of these as the Sergio track was supposedly recorded during the sessions for the "Primal Roots" album on A&M and the following album, Love Music, came out on Bell in 1973. Tamba 4 released two albums on A&M before moving back to Brazil and while I have no idea when this single came out, I think it was after their two albums as the song "California Soul" didn't see the light of day until 1968 when the 5th Dimension and Marvin & Tammi recorded it. We may never know why these records were never released commercially, but I think it's fair to say it wasn't because of poor quality.

Sergio Mendes & Brazil '77 - The Crab (Karan - gai - jo)
This song is great for a number of reasons: 1) It's a Joao Donato original tune that was far as I know was never recorded by anyone other than Sergio's troop; 2) It comes from the sessions for one of Sergio's most underrated albums "Primal Roots" which saw Sergio getting back to roots and its the one album that actually sounds like some other stuff being released in Brazil from the same time period; and lastly, 3) It's freakin' weird. Listen to that strange scream in the background!

Tamba 4 - California Soul
Sure, there's no shortage of cover versions of "California Soul", but how many feature whispy portuguese accented vocals and strange organ sounds? Just this one.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Grab Bag Across the Soul Spectrum

It's been awhile . . . apologies. I'm gonna blame it on wedding planning, but not sure that really explains it. To make it up to you I'm giving you a grab-bag of 45s I've picked up around San Francisco at a Ricky's in the Lower Haight and a garage sale in Glen Park of all places. Enjoy.

Harvey Scales & The 7 Sounds - Get Down

A bit beat up, but still very listenable. This one must have been during that "freeze" dance craze. I love that "freeze" breakdown. "Don't move a muscle!"

Maxayn - Check Out Your Mind

The classic Mayfield cut done by the strange gender and racially mixed Maxayn. Interesting fact: The disco auteur Mandre, was the brains behind this band.

J.J. Jackson - I Dig Girls
I don't know anything about this guy, but I LOVE this song. A simple message that I can relate to.

Hugh Masekela - Gettin' It On
Man, this one blew my socks off. Talk about early Afro-funk, this takes James Brown's chicken- scratch and pairs it with Hugh's layered horns. money.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Sweet Samba from the Cow's Hoof

It's Friday and we could all use a little sweetness to get the weekend started right. Proper. I remember picking up this album from a used record shop in a Rio de Janeiro Galleria. I was just starting to dabble in samba and this looked like as good a place as any to start. I was right. This album is from an old war-horse of rootsy samba. Manoel Conceição aka Mão De Vaca, which means cow's hoof, is ferocious guitar player who's been active since the 1950s, though finding any info about him's difficult. He released this album more than a decade earlier (I love this 1963 version of a fly girl in her short shorts - how scandalous!).

Manoel Conceição (Mão De Vaca) - Disse Me Disse
I absolutely love the production on this record. The whole thing swings like crazy, but it also sounds very clean. Like J Thyme says on his blog, "A real jewel in the crown of the RCA sound." Particularly, I love the female chorus, so sweet.

Manoel Conceição (Mão De Vaca) - Não Põe A Mão
The title of this one says, "Don't Lay a Hand" on my guitar. During the breakdown about 2/3 through Mão De Vaca says something like, 'you can dance the samba with my lady, but please don't touch my guitar.'

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Peter Thomas Brasileiro

Not the German Peter Thomas, but the Brazilian organist. Sure, he looks old, white and decidedly un-funky, but listen for yourself. This guy made his name churning out 1960s organ dance records much like Ed Lincoln, but it wasn't until after he played keys for Tim Maia in the studio, that he really turned the funky corner.

The LP that these two tracks are drawn from is one of those impossible to google albums. It's obscurity is compounded by the artist sharing the same name with tens of thousands of other Peter Thomases, but also with a much more famous German Peter Thomas musician.

I might add a photo later if I can remember, but the cover to this one is awesome in that cheap-o photoshop style: an early 1970s keyboard, maybe an organ, floating in the deepest darkest space and the words: O Melhor do Peter Thomas (The Best of Peter Thomas). That's it. The whole album rules with these standout instrumental tracks leading the charge. The rest of the album is more samba flavored with that great female vocal chorus sound I love so much.

Peter Thomas - Afrikan Bossa

Peter Thomas - Pan-Latino