Monday, December 23, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #23

I thought I was going to get away with it, but no, the monthly bandwidth limit has maxxed out! Sorry about that. 

All that remains is for me to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, which is when this show will get back on the road (with a fresh bandwidth quota!).

I will bid you similar greetings from the Cabinet tomorrow.   

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #21

By 1984 when this Dayton 12” Remix was released my DJ days were well behind me and I had gone from 2-3 nights in a club every week to very sporadic visits as just another “punter”. I did miss the club vibe and walking into a club and hearing songs like this one used to make me want to get behind those wheels of steels again.

Joyous, uplifting, dance your troubles away music. It stands the test of time very well as does much of the Boogie music from the early eighties.

A great 20p find at a car boot sale this year.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #19

I’m not sure where I stand with Tania Maria. One problem is that I don’t speak Portuguese and more often than she sings in her native tongue on her records. As well is her tendency to go over the top with the scatting, at least to my mind.

That said every time I see a Tania Maria album I buy it. I like the Brazilian feel of her compositions, there tends to be a complex interplay between rhythm and melody, and many twists and turns. There is also, usually, at least one “killer” cut.

I picked up a copy of her 1978 outing “Brazil With My Soul” at a booter earlier this year and it was initially true to my expectations. I was a little disappointed, the vocals and scatting are much in evidence, but there were a couple of tracks that made me say “yes!”.  Since then I have given it a couple more plays and this has made me realise that her compositions are complex and therefore you do have to give them a chance. The more I listen the more I hear the more I like. Still struggle with the vocals though at times!

Side 2 really winds up the pace on the last two tracks. The first is instrumental  and to me qualifies as the “killer cut” with some great piano work from Tania, the other has Tania vocalising and… I like it too!

Although it has been released on CD I can’t find “Brazil With My Soul” currently available. It is available as an mp3 download though (which should improve on my slightly crackly copies!). 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #17


No further words necessary.

Alvin Robinson - Down Home Girl  1964

I was beginning to think I would never own a copy of this. Every Red Bird original I had found (all on line) was either that little bit too expensive or in questionable condition. So I was happy to grab this 1975 UK Charly release the other day. (Bought at the same time as the Ujima 45 featured behind an earlier door. Ujima was an auction win, the seller was only a few miles away so I said I would collect. When I got there he pointed out that my petrol cost was probably about equal to what the postage would have been. Which was quite true. But something told me the seller might have other records, and it turned out he did! I spent 20 minutes or so going through 3 boxes of, mostly, UK issue soul and funk and found this Alvin 45 and a couple of other things too. Result!)          

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #15

It's always a thrill to come across reggae out in the wild. It doesn't happen often, and when it does the record is often so trashed it is questionable whether it is worth taking a chance on it. 

For me, 2013 has been a particularly barren year reggae-wise. This 12", an original from 1977 on Phase One, is probably the pick of a very small bunch. I found it at a car boot sale in a suitcase full of, mostly, sleeveless 12 inchers and albums. As I started to go through them it was apparent that a high proportion of them were going to be reggae of one form or another so I was initially thrilled to the point I could hardly catch my breath. Unfortunately it turned out most of them seemed to be 90s and 00s Dancehall and Ragga, not my cup of tea at all. This coupled with the upfront entry price being £2 a pop and the questionable condition they were in had me deflated (to the point I was breathing easy again - now that's a strange contradiction!). In the end, after some serious sifting, I managed to amass five albums and two 12" singles that were in my era and free of deep gouges.

Visually the vinyl on this one is not pretty, but 12" platters are usually quite rugged and I was right to take a chance because this one plays much better than it looks. Beneath all the scuffs, scratches, and grime the grooves bear witness to the Chantells performing some wonderfully sweet rockers roots and, for those that like jam on their toast, some equally sweet toasting from U Brown.

Here you can read more on the Chantells short career, an unlucky episode (I mean, who wasn't?!) , and a sticky end.

Chantells - Children Of Jah  1977  


Friday, December 13, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #13

At a "booter" earlier this year there was no other record in the box that was remotely like this one. It's at times like this I can't help thinking 'what have I missed - has somebody got here before me and cleaned up?'. Don't get me wrong though, I'm grateful for whatever I can find.  

"From The Heart Of A Woman" is one of nine albums that KoKo Taylor (born Cara Walton and nicknamed KoKo because of her love of chocolate) recorded for Alligator records from the 70s through to the 90s. 
Side 1 of this album wins out over side 2 for me as it has a greater variety, side 2 being more in a straightforward blues vein.

Captured for the price of a chocolate bar.

KoKo Taylor - Something Strange Is Going On  1981

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #11

Someone who works in the warehouse at my place of work owns a bright yellow car. Yellow cars were commonplace in the Seventies but it is very unusual to see one nowadays. I was gazing out of the window the other day and saw him get out of his car - he was wearing trainers with bright yellow soles.

In his car I imagine him having this album by Breakwater on permanent play (on his auto-reverse cassette player).

Finding this amongst all the usual dross in the charity shop record corner was a nice surprise.

“Say You Love Me Girl” is probably the killer track on this album – “Splashdown” - but the track that follows it will put a smile on your face and a skip in your step too. Breakwater sounding very much like Earth, Wind & Fire here.

Monday, December 09, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #9

Leave no 45 unturned is my motto.

In the Sixties many a Soul 45 would pair an uptempo attention grabbing A side – insert your favourite style here: gritty R&B mover, “Northern” stomper – with a ballad style B side. Many of those B sides are deep soul gems and to my ears are far superior to their DJ friendly A side.

Jump forward in time around 10 years and although R&B in its original incarnation, and deep soul, may have both been things of the past it seems the general A/B idea hadn’t.  This 45 is a good example. It was released (in the UK) in 1976. The A side, “Keep On Rolling (Disco Train)” leaves you in no doubt what to expect: and yes, it’s an uptempo track aimed fair and square at the Disco floor, it leaves the station but doesn’t really go anywhere and is ultimately very dull. The B side though is something else entirely. A really well arranged ballad, on the sweet side, but by no means too sweet. This has been on the turntable a lot in the last few days.

Dig deep, and turn those 45s over, and the gems are still there to be found.

Ujima – Still Hooked On You  1975 (1976 in the UK)  

Ujima is an African term meaning "collective work and responsibility". Ujima, the group, came from Richmond VA. You can read more about them here.              

Saturday, December 07, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #7

It was a quick midweek lunchtime dart out of the office, to post a letter or something similarly mundane. I didn’t really have time but something told me I should just pop in to a charity shop before I went back to work. There, amongst the Mantovani, My Fair Lady, and Marti Webb…. was an early Millie Jackson album! That I didn’t already have!    

This is not an easy album to find, so to come across it in a charity shop, on an unscheduled digging trip, was a big surprise.  A nice original US release too. An extra thrill (sad, I know) was to see a paste on back cover, ’73 was quite late to see that on a relatively major label release I think. Really love the lettering style too.  

Millie Jackson has always done it for me. I like to think that connection led me to this record.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #5

A true vinyl junkie (yes, I admit it) will find all sorts of reasons to buy a record that don’t necessarily have anything to do with what maybe hidden in the grooves: 
love that cover, is that a dog under her arm?; 
ah! a label I’ve not seen before; 
oh! interesting dead wax markings there;
it’s a 10”!; 

As a bonus the grooves of this particular 45 contain the “write” stuff.

I felt this 45 dated later, but ’62 is right as you can read here

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The 2013 Advent-ure #3

I have found myself listening to more and more jazz and jazz-fusion in recent months. I have blown hot on jazz more than once before in my life, so my desire for it may wane again but right now I can’t see that happening this time.

This renewed interest has been partly fuelled by some great albums picked up in charity shops and car boots this year. Here’s a case in point.

Caldera were a short lived group, active in the latter half of the Seventies, recording four albums.

The album I picked up earlier this year, “blind”, was their third “Time And Chance”. Their sound certainly carries influences from Return To Forever and Weather Report (who also found their way into my collection this year), with a strong Latin edge. Also, one track on this album – “Shanti” - could very easily have appeared on an Earth, Wind & Fire album, but that is no surprise really as Larry Dunn was involved in it. It was probably meant as the commercial “in” to the album. I’m going to go with a track that represents the latin tinged jazzier feel that is most prevalent on the album, the appropriately named “Mosaico”. 

I have noticed that the track times on the label do not match in any instance with those on the cover (the sort of minutiae that only a true vinyl addict would notice, I guess!) , all I can say is this one is 7 minutes long or thereabouts and is worth every minute.


Sunday, December 01, 2013

The Annual Advent-ure

It’s December already! Here we go then. This is the third year I have been doing this so I guess it can be called a tradition now. A post a day from now until Christmas. This year every record posted will be something I have acquired this year, mostly at car boot sales or charity shops. In truth, the majority of records I pick up in such places don’t fall into the soul/funk/jazz/reggae category, but many are worth sharing, so this year I am going to alternate the daily posts between Feel It and my, to date, very occasional other blog The Hi-Fi Cabinet Of Curiosities. So you will find the usual brew here and “everything/anything else” in the Cabinet.

First up is Jess(i)e Anderson on his True Love Express. This one was actually a mailbox find.  Chess and Cadet 45s can suffer more than most from poor pressings but this one is a really good quality one, and nice and thick vinyl too.

I can find no really concrete information on Jess(i)e other than he started singing in a group called Willie Wright & His Sparklers – great name.

Chicago again! File under stone groove.

All aboard the Feel It Advent-ure.

(PS: sorry about the fuzzy picture).