Monday, September 22, 2008
I've been wanting to make a compilation of Blaxploitation tracks for a while... here it is!
I looked as deep as I could to uncover some of the rarest and most fantastic epic car chase jams and kung-fu-esque beats. No Shaft or Superfly on this one, but some amazing tunes by some of the genre's greatest!
Curtis Mayfield, James Brown and Marvin Gaye haven't been forgotten of course, but you'll also run into to some much harder to come across gems. First of which: the main theme for "Black Belt Jones" the soundtrack to the classic kung-fu/blaxploitation movie starring bad-boy Jim 'Dragon' Kelly and Gloria Hendry. Composed by Dennis Coffey and Luchi de Jesus, with some serious scat backing vocals and lush string and horn arrangements...
Harlem Underground's "Smoking Cheeba Cheeba" is another monster groover, from a band we know very little of. The cover of the record states that George Benson was part of line-up, which has yet to be proven. Often sampled killer tripped-out funky $hit from 1976!
You'll also hear a great cover of Gil Scott Heron's "Home is where the hatred is" by Ester Phillips, and the incredible break beat DJ favorite "Funky Mule" by Ike Turner.
Among the tracks that actually were film soundtracks, we have: Quincy Jones' main theme for "They Call Me Mr. Tibbs", James Brown's track "the Boss" for the movie "Black Caesar" and his theme for "Slaughter's Big Rip Off" and Marvin Gaye's "T Plays it Cool" from the movie "Trouble Man".
Some Europeans are also featured here: Franco Micalizzi "L'Italia A Mano Armata", a huge horn driven poiice movie theme, was recently featured in Tarantino's movie "Death Proof" for the final car chase! Also from Europe, Tony Barthele recorded for the French Library Label "Patchwork", and Memphis Black was just a stage name for a German organ player called Ingfried Hoffmann. His heavy drum break/ organ tune BOMB "Why Don't You Play The Organ, Man" is totally in the blaxploitation feel and deserves being featured here.
Other great tracks featured here include Roy Ayers "He's a Superstar", Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson's "Ain't No Such Thing As Superman", 9th Creation "Learn-N to Live", 24 Carat Black's "Ghetto Misfortune's Wealth" and Donald Byrd's "Stepping into Tomorrow". Unfortunately Isaac Hayes was left out of this one, due to some pretty fierce competition, let's say this post is dedicated to his memory. ENJOY!
01. Dennis Coffey & Luchi de Jesus - Black Belt Jones Theme, 1974
02. Ike Turner & His Kings of Rhythm - Funky Mule, 1969
03. Esther Phillips - Home Is Where The Hatred Is, 1971
04. James Brown - The Boss, 1973
05. Quincy Jones - They Call Me Mister Tibbs, 1970
06. Curtis Mayfield - (Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Going To Go, 1970
07. Marlena Shaw - Woman of the Ghetto, 1969
08. Marvin Gaye - You're the Man, 1972
09. Harlem Underground Band - Smokin Cheeba Cheeba, 1976
10. James Brown - Slaughter's Theme, 1973
11. Roy Ayers - He's a Superstar, 1972
12. Gil Scott Heron - Ain't no Such Thing As Superman, 1974
13. 9th Creation - Learn-N-To Live, 1975
14. Franco Micalizzi - Italia a Mano Armata, 1976
15. 24 Carat Black - Ghetto Misfortune's Wealth, 1973
17. Tony Barthele - Harlem Bass, 1974
18. Memphis Black - Why Don't You Play The Organ, Man, 1969
19. Marvin Gaye - T Plays it Cool, 1972
20. Donald Byrd - Stepping Into Tomorrow, 1975
Get your blaxploitation fix here
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I'm back with some more incredibly rare funk tracks, most of them from European Library releases and soundtracks.
Once again, the spotlight is put on Paris-based composer/arranger Janko Nilovic, with the amazing "Sacha Pacha". A vibrant and theatrical masterpiece with multiple layer orchestration and one of the nastiest bass lines I've ever heard.
In the same cinematic vibe, the next track "Ophis le Serpentaire" by Vincent Gemignani is filled with abstract hip-hop beats and eerie choir arrangements - music that will make your mind travel.
Then comes Serge Gainsbourg, with arrangements by Michel Colombier, on the "Breakdown Suite" a dark and worrying funk piece, from the Sound Track for the film "Si j'étais un espion" directed by Bertrand Blier in 1967.
Piero Piccioni's "L'Italia Vista dal Cielo" is another funk track for a movie score, less dark than the previous one, with a loungy-easy listening feel. Then come a couple of French libray tracks, all with very distinguishable psych-pop string and percussion arrangements.
Another highlight in this selection is the track "Cha Tatch Ka" by Bernard Estardy. A musical experiment that falls in no category whatsoever. Hypnotizing drum and guitar loops, psychadelic synth licks and what seems to be a 1 year old baby beatboxing over all this madness. Believe it or not, this was recorded in 1967 - far ahead of its time.
Bruno Spoerri was a swiss composer in the 70s, who recorded music to promote various industrial products. "Les Electroniciens" for instance, is a PR disc for a company that sold fork lift trucks - an astonishing slab of funk concrete with fast looping bass and heavy drumming. You can even hear the fork lift truck in full operation!
"Tema de Soninha" by IRP-3, was a soundtrack for an obscure Brazilian movie "Soninha Toda Pura" (Soninha all pure). The movie was quite controversial because of it's lesbian theme and sexual content, and the music arranged by Erlon Chaves was released in very small quantities on a 7" single. Performed by the obscure IRP-3, this is a pure gem with a high speed organ solo and a swelling break beat throughout the song.
These two songs as well as "Ophis le Serpentaire" were recently compiled and reissued by the excellent Jazzman Records, a UK based label specialized in uncovering and re-releasing rare quality funk music.
The other tracks selected are all just as good, if not even better. Harlem Pop Trotters, Jacky Giordano "Pop in... Devil's Train", Ivan Jullien, Ben & the Platano Group "Paris Soul", Vincent Gemignani "Modern Pop Percussion" are some of the most desirable and sought after French funk records ever recorded.
The album "Hörselmat" by Svenska Löd Ab!, was recorded in Sweden in 1971. Only 200 copies were pressed which makes this another collector's most wanted, full of improvisational jazz riffs and skilled musicianship. The man at the guitar is no other than Janne Schaffer, who later becam the studio guitarist for the band Abba.
01. Janko Nilovic - Sacha Pacha, (Pop Impressions - 1970)
02. Vincent Gemignani - Ophis Le Serpentaire, (Modern Pop Percussion - 1970)
03. Serge Gainsbourg - Breakdown Suite, (Si j'étais un espion - 1967)
04. Piero Piccioni - L'Italia vista dal cielo, 1968
05. Raymond Guiot - Bass Dancing, (Basse Contre Basse - 1972)
06. Guy Boyer - Bongos & Sound, (Vibra Conception - 1966)
07. Hervé Roy - Pop Vibes, (French Pop - 1970)
08. Disco 12 - Pink Champagne, (The Disco Tramps - 1975)
09. Stefano Torossi - Sixth Dimension, 197?
10. Steve Gray - Winning Is Easy, 1973
11. Harlem Pop Trotters - Mocassin, (S/T - 1975)
12. Jacky Giordano - Don't be Cool, (Pop in... Devil's Train - 1974)
13. Bernard Estardy - Cha Tatch Ka, (La Formule du Baron - 1967)
14. Michel Colombier & Ivan Jullien - Talk, (Pour Danseurs Seulement - 1968)
15. Svenska Löd Ab! - Den Dan Vi Sket I Hugo, (Hörselmat - 1971)
16. Ben & the Platano Group - Arte Pino Pasta, (Paris Soul - 1971)
17. Bruno Spoerri - Les Electroniciens, 1973
18. Vincent Gemignani - Liberalia, (Pop Impressions - 1970)
19. IRP-3 - Tema de Soninha, (Soninha Toda Pura, 1971)
20. Vladimir Cosma - Ultra Pop-Op, (Ultra Pop.Op, 1970)
Get it here!
Friday, September 5, 2008
This one is for all the jazz funk lovers out there. For those of you who are mad for the frantic drum beats, funky bass, warm Fender Rhodes keys, flutes all over the place and sax and trumpets galore. This selection of rare tracks, known mostly to the record collecting community - stuff you'll probably never hear on the radio - is made up of the work of some of the most brilliant instrument players, composers and producers ever to grace the world with their music. A lot of these have been sampled by house and hip-hop producers, but deserve to be featured in you music library as stand alone tracks.
Many of these musicians are tied together in some way: Eddie Russ formed a band called Mixed Bag, with whom he recorded his first album "Fresh Out"; a jazz funk gem from 1974 which gave us the first track of this selection "The Lope Song". Larry Nozero, flutist and sax player was part of the Mixed Bag, and plays the flute on "The Lope Song". His following track "Tune for L.N." is a hypnotic trip, filled with wah guitar, mystical flute phrases and lifting choirs.
Then comes the wonderful "Windy C" by 100% Pure Poison, and its very distinctive drums/bass/guitar/rhodes intro, sampled by everyone, from Pete Rock to Saint Germain, to Nas... The whole song is an amazing pre-disco piece of soulful jazz from 1974, recorded for EMI in... Chicago? Detroit? No, in Germany by American servicemen on the leave.
Then come the Europeans: Vincent Gemignani and his sculptural jazz funk, from the utra rare album "Modern Pop Percussion" originally composed as a "pop" version of Shakespeare's Midsummer night dream, featuring the finest French session jazz players. Marc Moulin and his band Placebo come next with the track "Aria" from the 1971 album "Ball of Eyes". No need for any further introduction, it's at least the 4th time I put up a Placebo song on this blog.
"Party Time", from Roy Porter's album "Jessica" is another amazing jazz funk gig, and another song from this album already made it on this blog too :) Then Ray Bryant, and the banging piano and drums on "Up above the Rock" will have your heads nodding for more. More is coming of course, with 2 HUGE tracks: Frank Strazzerri "Cloudburst" and Kenny Barron "Spirits". Straight up Jazz Funk madness with all the Rhodes solos you can dream of.
One of my favorite pieces from one of my favorite producers David "the Axe" Axelrod follows: "Mucho Chupar", and Martial Solal "Un Drôle d'Escalier Roulant" (A Funny Elevator). Then some great tracks from Seatrain, Mixed Bag (again!), Jeremy Steig, a couple of tracks featured on the excellent "Dusty Fingers" series ("On the Hill" by Oliver Sain, and Sammy Nestico's "Shoreline Drive" - sampled by Krs1 on "Mc's Act Like You Know").
The last track is from one of my very favorite studio jazz producers: Janko Nilovic, which I've featured numerous times on this blog. "Xenos Cosmos" from the album "Rythmes Contemporains" is a baroque suite of jazz moves, with an amazing orchestration, mind-shifting choirs, and a cinematic dimension that will blow your mind away to finish off this musical voyage.
Track list is:
01. Eddie Russ - The Lope Song, 1974
02. Larry Nozero - Tune For L.N., 1974
03. 100% Pure Poison - Windy C, 1974
04. Vincent Gemignani - Insidieusement les Elfes, 1970
05. Placebo - Aria, 1971
06. Roy Porter - Party Time, 1974
07. Ray Bryant - Up Above the Rock, 1968
08. Kenny Barron - Spirits, 1975
09. Frank Strazzerri - Cloudburst, 1976
10. David Axelrod - Mucho Chupar, 1974
11. Martial Solal - Un Drôle d'Escalier Roulant, 1974
12. Seatrain - Flute Thing, 1973
13. Johnny Hawksworth - Jazz Rule, 1970's
14. The Mixed Bag - Shark, 1975
15. Jeremy Steig - Goose Bumps, 1975
16. Sammy Nestico - Shoreline Drive, 1982
17. Oliver Sain - On the Hill, 1972
18. Janko Nilovic - Xenos Cosmos, 1974
Get you groove on right here