Friday, December 16, 2016

Put It On The Hawg


No great missive today. Sometimes it's enough to let the music speak for itself.

Some great funky blues here from Jimmy Dawkins.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Simon and the amazing dancing drums

So there I was mulling over whether I could really commit to another year of “Advent-ure” here (i.e. a post a day in December up to Christmas) and then I blinked and it was already the 9th! So no then!

Work has continued to be too all consuming lately. Maximum frustration. You have a computer system that, although not perfect, has served you well for many years, then a new one comes along (in the guise of the great common groupwide system)... and despite many months of testing and “support” from our lauded central team is clearly not configured properly in some areas. I expect many of you have been there so I won't bang on. As a result is all I seem to want to do when I get home in the evenings lately is to sit down in front of the tele and vegetate.

I'm telling myself now there is light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm not sure. Enough of that.

I confess to never paying Joe Simon much attention before. Passed by on the other side of the street. His voice has never grabbed me and I suppose my entry point initially had been 1972 and I maintain his output by then was a bit lame. Anyway I stumbled across this 1970 Sound Stage 7 track of his recently - I Got A Whole Lot Of Lovin' - and was blown away. The track MOVES. Locked down by an insistent bass line and punctuated by some great brass Joe puts in a great performance but it's the drums that really stand out. They are simply amazing. GIVE THE DRUMMER SOME!

I cannot stop playing this – and it's a B-side!



This has caused me to start delving into Joe's catalog and I think I can find some more of his 45s to put on the wantlist. Not long after acquiring this SS7 45 I was at my local little record fair (the mainly R&R) one, more on which anon) and found another Joe Simon 45. When I'm Gone on Vee Jay From earlier in his career and now also in my collection. It's on the Deep side and is also right up my street, and I'm crossing over to the same side of the road as Joe now, it seems.

Swap the drums for some great guitar on this one. 



PS Apologies if you were looking forward to another Feel It Advent-ure (I was and I wasn't), all I can say is “I got a whole lot of lovin' just for you, a whole lot of making up to do” :)


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Mellow magic


It's been pleasant outside today, not cold considering the time of year. The early morning trip to the car boot sale was fruitless on the record front but the drive to it was worth it – the sun came up and made the yellows and oranges on the trees really glow and, with the mist lying on the fields between, it was a beautiful sight. Later in the morning I busied myself around the garden tidying and planting up some winter pots with some cheerful violas. After that Mrs Darce and I went for a stroll and kicked the leaves around. A late lunch (or was it an early dinner?) followed and then before we knew it it was dark outside. All in all I'm feeling very mellow today, and now with the curtains drawn I'm sitting down letting the warm and lovely sound of Blue Magic wrap itself around me like a cosy blanket. 

I have always had a soft spot for Blue Magic. In a way this is odd because I generally had a bit of an aversion to high falsetto singers when I was younger. That didn't stop me buying a few of their singles back in the 70s though, at least a couple of which have featured here at Feel It down the years.
Until last month I had not owned any of their albums. But now I am in possession of a copy of their 1974 album The Magic Of The Blue and I can certainly say it lives up to its name – there is plenty of magic to be heard.

Let these two tracks wrap you up.



Monday, October 31, 2016

A northern dig


Northern as in up towards the Arctic, not Soul.

So we were more than two weeks into our “trip of a lifetime” to Canada and Alaska, and I had not had a sniff of vinyl apart from this, which we stumbled across in a coffee shop in Canmore, Alberta on our first day


Withdrawal symptoms had set in, so I jumped up and down as if I had just spied a grizzly juggling salmon when I saw this in Ketchikan, Alaska...


Yes, a Sally Army thrift store! – and it had some records!! Two boxes of albums to be precise, which included a fair amount of mid 70s jazz-funk of the smooth variety – George Benson, Quincy Jones, Roy Ayers, that sort of thing- something I wouldn't have expected in deepest Alaska to be honest. Quite a few of the albums I already have in the collection, but I happily picked up three that I didn't for the princely sum of $2. For the record they were Bob James One, Material's Memory Serves (which is very good), and some live jazz in the form of Eastman Jazz Ensemble, Live!


Eastman is a highly regarded School of Music founded in 1921, based in Rochester NY, and still going strong. It offers degrees in many forms of music. In the jazz world Steve Gadd and Chuck Mangione are just two of the more well known names I picked out of their alumni list on Wikipedia.

This album collects some live performances made by college students at the Eastman Theatre during their '75 – '76 season. There are a mix of styles represented, although it is basically a big band. The small group Auricle, a jazz-fusion group who went one to have two releases on Chrysalis, is also featured on one track. It is rather good throughout. I was impressed by fidelity of the sound too, the vinyl is quite heavy. Not bad for 66c!

The track featured here is a Chick Corea composition. The sleeve notes tell us: “This chart is the sort of deft group piece that would seem to defy through its very intimacy any big band treatment. But drummer Ron Wagner turns it into a dynamic vehicle for a band that has the technique and time-sense to handle it. Soloists are graduate student Nelson Hinds on trombone, undergraduates Norman Rax on tenor and Rick Braun on trumpet. John Serry on piano and Ron Wagner on drums.”


Friday, October 21, 2016

It's so good for me

I was going to share a track from one of the albums I picked up in Alaska on my recent holiday but that will have to wait a bit.

Instead as it's Friday it is the return of the Friday Double Header - in which I feature a 45 where one side cannot in truth be posted without the other.

The A side (at least I believe it's the A side) of this 45 has nudged Phyllis Hyman's One Thing On My Mind off the turntable to become my latest earworm, and the other side is mighty fine too.

More and more Gene Chandler 45s are finding their way into the collection, this is the latest. Scary to think this one is more than 50 years old. 53 years old this month to be precise.

JohnnyPate gets the arranger credit on this one, and what an arrangement it is.




And here's the other side, which got the play X from the DJ who received this particular advance copy.



Gene Chandler – From Day To Day 1963

Friday, October 14, 2016

One thing on my mind - reprise


To say the last couple of months have been full on is something of an understatement.

It started with our trip to Canada and Alaska which is now already starting to feel like a distant memory. Mrs Darce and I, together with eight other friends, took in Calgary-Banff-Jasper by road, boarded the Rocky Mountaineer to Vancouver, spent a few days in Victoria, then cruised into Alaska, and finished off in Vancouver. Fantastic scenery, bears, whales, glaciers, and almost uninterrupted sunshine – we were so lucky with that. “Just wow” was an often used expression. A trip of a lifetime... but maybe we will do New Zealand next!

I returned to an intense three weeks at work as a new computer system was implemented. A lost weekend, and plenty of late evenings. Still snagging now.

During the new system shenanigans I managed to get way with Mrs Darce for a day as we celebrated our 30th(!) wedding anniversary. Then, last weekend, we drove our daughter and a car full of her belongings over to Germany.

Stop the world! I want to blog!

While we were in Vancouver I managed to slip away for an hour or two and dip into a couple of record shops – I was lucky that they happened to be only 10 minutes walk from our hotel. Vinyl and Beat Street are both on West Hastings. Vinyl was, frankly, overwhelming. Crammed with record bins crammed with records and seemingly every available floor space also covered in more stacks of records. Much of it was actually filed by genre – and micro genre – but in the end I still didn't really know where to start. It needed more time than I had so I decided to withdraw gracefully. A block up was Beat Street which had a good selection. It was there I found an album in the right condition and price I had been on the look out for a while – Phyllis Hyman's debut album from 1977. I have waxed lyrical about Phyllis before, and have been a fan for many years. I had overlooked her debut album until recently though. It has plenty of strong tracks, One Thing On My Mind is the one that initially drew my attention though, it was written and originally performed by Evie Sands. I featured Evie's version here some time ago... just a minute, when was that? Exactly one year ago to the day! Spooky!

Phyllis' life story is a sad one, she was diagnosed bi-polar, and ultimately took her own life in 1995.

She was a beautiful woman blessed with an equally beautiful voice, in fact I'm sure she would have matured into a superb jazz singer. But you could hear her pain, there was a deep melancholy in her voice I think, and I am often moved to tears when I listen to her. (Looking into her eyes there is a sadness there too isn't there?)


Press repeat!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Never leave me


If it's Friday it must be a double header 45. At least for a while here, and now and then, that holds true.

About time for another one.

For a long time I was only aware of Thelma Jones through her tortured and superb 1976 single Salty Tears, which has featured here before. I have since familiarised myself to a degree with her earlier output. The House That Jack Built for example is a favourite on the mod/scooter/Northern scene and is a stormer.

Until recently I didn't have any other records of hers, but now this, a copy of her first 45, is safely tucked away in the collection. Stronger I knew, it's a good driving dancer, although a little repetitive. The attraction for me is Never Leave Me. I had not heard this track until a few months ago. Something of a deep soul gem, it is right up my alley. Thelma takes it to church, although to be more precise I am sure she took it straight from church where I just know she must have been singing just before she recorded this in late 1966. A time when the slow, deep side would still take the A, with the dancer relegated to the B. That would soon change, and the trend continued to the extent that the dancer always seems to get the push now whether it was an A or a B side – as I said I knew Stronger but it has taken nearly 50 years to hear Never Leave Me, and now it will live up to its title. Thelma Jones is one helluva singer who deserves to have a deeper catalog.




PS: Mrs Darce and I are off to Canada for three weeks next Friday. I will try and fit in another post, although packing panic may well set in. So this may be the last post until later in September.