Friday, October 30, 2009

counting down

"Mrs Darce" is 50 today!

We're having a party.

Guests due to arrive in 2 hours time (except for those still stuck on the M25!).

Here's something to ease us gently into the proceedings...

... and something that will be perfect for about 4 o'clock tomorrow morning!

Little Beaver - Get Into The Party Life 1975

(Music delivery at the party will be very retro - vinyl in the geeks' room and CD and cassette(!) is set up in the kitchen. Not an Ipod in sight.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Funk, Jazz-, British

From Brit Reggae to Brit Jazz-Funk. Something to dance around the kitchen to on a Friday evening.

I've stumbled across a few blogs and forum threads extolling the virtues of British Jazz-Funk recently. It seems somehow strange to see twenty-something Californians (for example) "going mad" for a sub-genre of music that had gone to ground before they were even born. Warms the cockles of the heart though - I seem to remember it got more than its fair share of bad press at the time.

This was Atmosfear's second single, following on from their debut "Dancing In Outer Space". DIOS was a sizeable hit and this single too, amazingly, exercised the lower reaches of the charts in 1980.

This is a UK 12" but I notice that "U.S.A." appears, apparently randomly, on the label. Was this done to make it appear as a US import and so appeal all the more to all those DJs who had to have the latest sound (er, maybe I was one of those).

I also notice Elite's address was Craven Park Rd. in London. A road that was home to many a British Reggae label as well. Appropriate as "Motivation" in particular has a dubby feel to it in places.

As The Peoples Choice once urged us to do - jam jam jam all night long... now - I wonder - have I still got those blue shoes somewhere?

(Put your 'phones on for a head expanding experience).

My favourite of the two and it clocks in at under 6 minutes:

Atmosfear - Extract 1980

This one is a mighty 8:43, those were the days:

Atmosfear - Motivation 1980

Buy "En Trance"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

RIP Louisa Mark

Feel It received a big jump in hits today, all directed to an old post of mine on Louisa Mark. I wondered why. It turns out to be for the worst of reasons. It has been reported that Louisa Mark died yesterday (17th October 2009) of food poisoning. She was 49.

RIP Louisa.

Louisa Mark / The Bush Rangers - 6 Six Street 1979

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Keeping a promise - anyway

Raggedy featured Sam Dees a while ago and I said I would post a track of his. I've finally got around to it. On reading Raggedy's post again I now realise she mentioned this track in her write up - doh! I missed that on first reading. So this may not turn out to be such a treat for Raggedy as she is evidently already familiar with this track, but hopefully it will be a treat for you.

For those that know, Sam Dees is recognized as one of the jewels in Soul music’s crown. He is probably primarily known as a songwriter – see “S.Dees” in a writing credit and you are pretty much guaranteed a quality song. Sam has also released a number of records as a performer. His 1975 “The Show Must Go On” is recognized as one of the greatest Soul music albums of all time, criminally it has never received a CD release.

After a gap of a few years Sam was back in the recording studio in the late 80s. One of the results was this bitterest of bitter tales of a man finding himself in the divorce courts and in a state of disbelief at the proceedings.

In an old post of mine I featured Roszetta Johnson and two tracks of hers – one written by Sam Dees and the other by Lillian Dees. I described them as man and wife in that post. On checking I cannot find the source of that assertion but, if true, for Soul aficionados that was a marriage made in heaven as Lillian Dees was also a talented songwriter. Cheating – “slippin’ around” – and break ups are a common theme in songwriting and Sam has written his fair share on those subjects throughout his career. He is also adept at writing songs from a woman’s point of view. Part of the songwriters’ craft is to be able to put themselves into a situation and write from that point of view. Maybe that is all Sam Dees was doing when he wrote this song, but listening to this track you have to wonder if he is singing about the break-up of his own marriage.

We have some good friends who would appear to be in the middle (early stages?, near the end? – who am I to say?) of a break-up at the moment. It’s sad to see what appeared to be a happy and cohesive family unit descend into the stuff of soap opera. It happens in real life all too often, I know, and likening it to soap opera might sound like I’m trivializing it. I assure you I’m not, and realise this is a deadly serious business. Maybe – in the long run - it will be for the best if they do break up, but if they do I just hope for their sake it can be an amicable split and the sort of situation portrayed in Sam Dees’ song can be avoided.

Sam Dees – After All 1989

Friday, October 09, 2009

Parish Notices #7

It was one of those weeks. Both of our chicks disappeared off to University so we were temporarily buried under piles of transient belongings. The chaos then continued in the empty nest as we had all the windows in our house replaced. Diana Ross’ “Upside Down” and the Jackson Five’s “Lookin’ Through The Windows” would have been obvious tracks to play in the circumstances, but we all know those well enough already I think. Nothing else with a topical title immediately springs to mind and, anyway, that was last week.

So where did this week go? I’m not sure to be honest. But I do know last night I saw Eilen Jewell and her band at St. Bonaventures (a cosy local church/school social club buried in the middle of a maze of residential streets in Bristol. They consistently attract acts that represent the best of the Americana scene and I often wonder what these performers think when they turn up at St. Bons – once they’ve finally found it of course!).

Eilen and her band were hugely enjoyable with their mix of folk (as a rule I can’t abide the “full on” English variety, but American is OK), country, blues, rockabilly, and even a touch of jazz. Eilen has a great personality too, and struck up a real rapport with the crowd – I love her sense of humour. Truth be told after this performance I think I love her full stop! If the Eilen Jewell Band are appearing in a town near you soon, don’t miss them!

I should also leave you with something in a soul vein for the weekend. Here’s something I picked up recently that has an obvious country link (don’t tell me you don’t know “Jolene”). Gloria Ann Taylor was just plain Gloria Taylor in the late Sixties/early Seventies when she cut some straight up Soul/R&B singles on a variety of labels. One of those labels was Glo-Whiz. A great name, I’ve always thought, and it has just dawned on me how it came about because it transpires that Gloria Taylor was(is still?) married to the producer/arranger Walter Whisenhunt. Walt was an ever present credit on Gloria Taylor’s singles and , I’m guessing, was the genius behind the altogether more weird and off the wall (one could go as far as to say disturbing) arrangements on her later Seventies Selector Sound outings. (I thank Soul Sides for tipping me to this link which features a very rare 12” from the wonderful couple).

Gloria Ann Taylor - Jolene 197?