Sunday, October 28, 2007

Summer's ended

Right, I think I’ve changed all the clocks in the house now. It’s easy to forget in the aftermath of a drunken Saturday night!

Have you remembered?

Incognito – Summer’s Ended (mp3) 1980

Buy Incognito's debut album "jazz funk" reissued and including Summer's Ended.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Parish Notices #1

Feel It continues to pootle along in the slow lane. A lot of general stuff had been filling up the days and getting in the way of this labour of love, but now I can’t really use that excuse anymore.

So now what’s stopping me turning up the heat here? Well, for one, my owl like tendencies (always late to bed, but rubbish at getting up in the mornings) seem to have temporarily deserted me – and late at night is when I seem to be at my best throwing together things here at Feel It.

Then there is the constant distraction of all the other audioblogs and various other sources of music out there in the ‘net. I can’t keep up, but I spend a lot of time trying.

It’s been a while since I added anything new to the blogroll, so that’s been put right. I used to highlight the new entries by tagging them with *NEW* in a different colour but since moving to the new Blogger interface that doesn’t seem so easy to do, so you still get the *NEW* but not in a different colour. All these have recently found there way onto my click circuit, some are well established, some are new blogs on the block some have kindly linked this blog – thankyou, all are well worth a visit. As I’ve said before - so much music, so little time.

It’s been on the blog roll for a while but, in case you’ve missed it, The Great Unknown is well worth a visit too. Dave not a frequent poster, but when they appear his posts are always a great and eclectic selection of old and new.

Also, I’m a few weeks off the pace, but have just noticed that Sir Shambling has recently been adding new featured artists again to his excellent site. If you haven’t already, you should pay him a visit and play catch up.

I’ve been thinking recently of randomly re-uping (a new word?!) some of my older posts. Traffic has built up a bit since I started this thing so I thought some of you may like to hear something you may have missed first time around. Then a request came in for something I posted last year – Sil Austin – so that made my mind up. I’m not encouraging requests, and won’t necessarily respond to them should they appear, but in any event, Sil Austin seems a good place to start. Just follow the RE-UP label and from time to time you will find some of my older posts will magically have had their mp3 temporarily reinstated.

I can’t pin this notice to the board without leaving you with some aural delights. Following on from my previous post here’s some more Joe Tex for you. “If Sugar Was As Sweet As You” is a great track of his from 1966 (only a B side). I don’t know why but this doesn’t seem to get as much as attention as I think it deserves. This is another soul record that the late great John Peel turned me on to. JP of course famously referred to his wife as “The Pig” so what better to follow up “Sugar” with than “Looking For My Pig” which dates from 1964 and was the follow up single to the stellar “I Wanna Be Free”. I can’t find “Pig” on any compilations but you can find the flips of both of these sides (“The Love You Save” and “Say Thank You” - both are in a slower vein, and beautiful in their own way) on Kent’s “Dial Records Southern Soul Story” (scroll down aways and you will find it for a good price).

Joe Tex – If Sugar Was As Sweet As You 1966

Joe Tex – Looking For My Pig 1964

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gotcha again

Joe Tex had a number 1 Billboard R&B hit in 1972 with “I Gotcha”, a rambunctious
hunk of funky R&B if ever there was one. If 1972 was before your time then you may have come across it in Reservoir Dogs. If you are a regular visitor to the particular sector of the blogosphere that I guess this blog resides in – i.e. all things soulful and funky – then you will also have probably come across it. Larry over at Funky16Corners featured it last year for one.

So it’s a bit lame of me to feature “I Gotcha” here today isn’t it? Ah, but this is a different “I Gotcha”.

In 1977 girls the length and breadth (no pun intended) of the country were building handbag mountains at the local disco and dancing around to Joe’s “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More With No Big Fat Woman”, a track laced with Joe’s trademark humour (although in this instance written by Buddy Killen). The inevitable album followed – “Bumps & Bruises” to be followed by another in 1978 “Rub Down”. A copy of this album has languished, unloved, in our house for over 20 years now. My wife had bought the album originally and I had never listened to it,thinking that, as it came from the Bump No More era, it would be too light and commercial for my tastes.

I finally gave it a listen recently, and to a large extent my suspicions were correct. Many of the tracks on “Rub Down” sound like leftovers from the “Bumps & Bruises” sessions, following a now tired “Bump No More” template. And it contains a reworking of Joe’s ‘72 hit “I Gotcha”, I thought. Then, on playing that track, I realised it was a completely different song – and I really like it. It is sort of schmaltzy, but Joe is in fine voice and a feeling of real warmth and sincerity comes through. From what I’ve read about Joseph Arrington Jr (or Yusef Hazziez as he was privately known after becoming a Muslim around the time of his ’72 “I Gotcha” hit) he was a genuinely nice guy, and on this 1978 “I Gotcha” I think the feeling it exudes underlines that fact.

And anyone who writes songs with titles such as “You Might Be Digging The Garden (But Somebody’s Picking Your Plums)” and “Be Kind To Old People” is OK in my book.

You could visit Red Kelly over at the B-side for more on Joe Tex. In his piece he also links to more excellent pieces by Rob at Brown Eyed Handsome Man, and ends with a quote from Joe that also concludes the essential “Sweet Soul Music” by Peter Guralnick (You haven’t read that yet? You really should).

Joe Tex – I Gotcha 1978

Friday, October 05, 2007


Wot’s this? Darcy’s serving up some prog rock? Looking at this picture of Jess Roden you might be forgiven for that thought. But don’t be fooled, for what lies in the grooves of this 1974 album is a uniquely soulful and bluesy concoction.

As far as I remembered, I first came across this album in 1979. John (and his lovely wife Valerie), bar managers at a club I used to DJ at, brought it in one night and said "listen to this". I was playing a lot of jazz-funk at the time and John thought Jess’ version of “On Broadway” would go down pretty well with my crowd. He wasn’t wrong. I loved the whole album and recorded it onto a good old TDK SA90 cassette before returning it.

Over the years, that was a tape I often dug out to play in the car. But in all that time I had never seen a copy of the album anywhere. Then, a couple of years ago, in one of my local crate digging haunts, what should I find – TWO copies of said album. I would have bought both, but one had a pretty dodgy looking scratch.

Then just a few months ago, at my parents house, I unearthed a folder full of concert programmes, flyers etc from my teenage days. One of the programmes was from Roxy Music’s 1974 UK tour, and the picture of Jess Roden you see above (obviously from the same photo shoot that provided the front cover of the album) was staring out at me from inside the back page of the programme. So Jess Roden was support for Roxy Music on that tour. I was at the concert (Bristol Colston Hall) but don’t remember Jess! Of course in those days an important part of concert going was getting to the bar to get a drink, and that meant the support act was often overlooked. If that was what I did on this occasion then it was my loss.

And here’s another thing. As I cast around t’internet looking to find out more about Mr. Roden’s career I came across this reference to a John Peel session from August 1974. It rings a bell, in fact the more I think about it the surer I am that I listened to that session on my little blue transistor radio, snuggled under the bed covers.

The strange thing is I don’t recall being aware of my 1974 brushes with Jess Roden when John lent me his album in 1979, or whenever it was.

The even stranger thing is that on the back cover of the Jess Roden album I finally picked up a couple of years ago, written in small letters in blue ink, are the names “John and Valerie”.

(WARNING: most of my musings here maybe a bit garbled, but have a firm basis of truth. The final sentence however is complete tosh! It would have been great if had been true, though).

Jess Roden arrived on the music scene as lead singer with The Alan Bown Set in 1967. His tenure there lasted until the end of that decade. Back in his home town Kidderminster he teamed up with old friends and formed Bronco. Two of those old friends were Kevyn Gammond and Paul Lockey. They had previously rubbed shoulders with Robert Plant and John Bonham in Birmingham UK band The Band Of Joy. After two albums a serious road accident effectively ended Bronco. After a period of session work Jess joined up with ex Doors John Densmore and Robbie Krieger as The Butts Band. America didn’t suit Jess though so he returned to England. On the way back though he stopped off in New Orleans and recorded with Allen Toussaint and The Meters (as you do!). Four of the eight tracks on his 1974 album “Jess Roden” are from that recording session, the rest of the tracks were recorded in London with musicians whose work he enjoyed. Jess recorded as The Jess Roden Band with some success throughout most of the rest of the seventies. Since then it would appear that he has flitted in and out of the music scene. (Apparently he did backing vocals on Grace Jones’ 1981 Nightclubbing).

Lots of name dropping there! And here’s another one – Harry Robinson. Who? He was responsible for the strings on “On Broadway” and another great track on this album “I’m On Your Side”. I'm a sucker for string arrangements such as these. Incidentally, he was also responsible for the hauntingly beautiful strings on Nick Drake’s “River Man”. You can read more about “Harry” here, and see an extensive list of his credits here (I would love to know which track(s) he produced on “Dawning Of A New Era: The Roots Of Skinhead Reggae” – if, of course, it really is the same Harry Robinson). The other track featured here “Feelin’ Easy” is one of the four recorded in New Orleans, and all the NOLA crowd are on it.

Jess Roden – On Broadway 1974
Jess Roden – Feelin’ Easy 1974

The CD of the original album "Jess Roden" can be found here.