Santa’s Funk & Soul Christmas Party

  We wish you and your families Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year 2015. Peace and Blessings!  One of the coolest Christmas compilations we’ve seen in years – a package that’s filled with rare funk and soul singles from the 60s and 70s – all of which have a Holiday theme! Almost all the tunes on the set are original numbers – which means that the songs are totally fresh, and not just reworked versions of Christmas standards – and all the tracks come from tiny independent labels, which means there’s an extra gritty edge to the whole thing – hardly the sort of sleepy Christmas record you might know from your youth! The funky 45 label Tramp put the whole thing together, with the same energy they usually bring to 7″ vinyl.   Tracks A1 Detroit Junior -Christmas Day 2:16 A2 Lee Rogers – You Won’t Have To …

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Rufus Thomas – 1972 – Did You Heard Me?

One of the best funky LPs by Rufus Thomas – recorded in the early 70s with backing by The Movement and The Bar Kays, and with a good raw Stax sound on most cuts! Rufus is certainly in the “funky ” mode here – doing a formulaic approach to funk that has him taking a theme for a song, and pushing it to the max by shouting and grooving it over and over again. Fortunately, the style still works well here – without the cliches of later albums, probably thanks in part to the album’s tight funky backgrounds. The record features three tasty two-part single tracks – “The Breakdown (parts 1 & 2)”, “Do The Push & Pull (parts 1 & 2)”, and “Do The Funky Penguin (parts 1 & 2)” – all of which stand as some of Rufus‘ most-collected funky singles. Tracks A1 (Do The) Push & Pull …

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Carol Woods – 1971 – Out Of The Woods

A rare 70s soul set from Carol Woods – a singer who’s done a fair bit of work on the musical stage, but who has plenty to offer in this obscure debut album! The record was mostly cut in New York, yet only issued in the UK – which is part of the reason for its obscurity – and the sound is full, proud, and plenty darn soulful – almost a post-Supremes sort of vibe, but with a hipper 70s approach – very well put together by producer Beau Ray Fleming, who’s probably better known for his later work with Mandrill and Sun. Woods‘ vocals are full and rich, but never overdone – and she reminds us a lot of some of her other 70s contemporaries who’d worked the stage, but could slide into a soul session equally well – such as Melba Moore. Tracks A1 Bigger Than I 2.11   …

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Jay Dee – 1974 – Come On In Love

 Review by Mark Brian Mathew The Maestro pulling strings and much more in the background, yet again. With Jay Dee’s one-off album “Come On In Love” there’s another rare and highly collectable piece of work indeed worth having it on the player if one loves a touch of soul so familiar and great in the early to mid-seventies. And yes, it has Barry White written all over it, with up-tempo funky soul rhythms in smooth contrast with all the lush orchestration expected from the Walrus of Love. Tracks A1 Jay’s Theme 2:30 A2 Strange Funky Games and Things 6:51 A3 You’ve Changed 5:34 A4 I Can Feel Your Love Slipping Away 4:00 B1 Come On in Love 4:46 B2 I Can’t Let You Go 3:45 B3 Your Sweetness Is My Weakness 3:29 B4 Thinking of You 2:35 B5 You’re All I Need 3:10   As for Jay Dee, alias Earl Nelson, …

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Barbara Lynn ‎– 1968 – Here Is Barbara Lynn

A fantastic album of soul from Barbara Lynn – an oft-overlooked gem in the crown of Atlantic during their glory soul days in the 60s, and a singer with a raw soulful style that really deserved greater exploration! The album’s filled with wonderful original tunes, written either by Barbara or arrangers Cliff Thomas, Ed Thomas, and Bob McRee – and there’s an overall style that’s nicely free of some of the more familiar Atlantic Records modes of the time – quite possibly because the set was recorded at the Grits & Gravy Studios in Clinton, Mississippi by Huey P Meux – who mostly did more obscure indie work at the time. Whatever the case, the whole thing is Barbara Lynn’s lasting tribute – and it’s filled with great titles that include “You’ll Lose A Good Thing” which crossed over to the pop Top 10. Tracks A1 You’ll Lose A Good Thing …

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O.V. Wright ‎– 1977 – Into Something (Can’t Shake Loose)

A stone killer from OV Wright – a record that’s got all the raw, deeply soulful vocals we love in his early work – mixed with some wicked 70s Hi Records production from Willie Mitchell! Imagine an Al Green record, but with rawer vocals, and you’ve got a good idea of the feel of this one – a perfect setting for OV’s massive talent, and a great way for him to reach out to a wider audience too! The sound is impeccable – about as classic as you can get for Hi – and titles include a number of great Willie Mitchell originals. Tracks A1 Into Something (Can’t Shake Loose) 4:22 A2 I Feel Love Growin’ 3:47 A3 Precious Precious 3:30 A4 The Time We Have 3:00 A5 You Gotta Have Love 3:05 B1 Trying to Live My Life 2:39 B2 Medley 12:46 a. God Blessed Our Love b. When …

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Charles Cherell – 1974 – For Sweet People From Sweet Charles

A supremely fantastic album, and one that’s always woefully overlooked in discussions of James Brown’s incredible People label! Sweet Charles, Charles Sherell, was a great lost soul vocalist who had a voice that was warm and mellow, with a sweetness that was often missing from James’ singing – but which sounded great with his arrangements and production. Fred Wesley and Dave Matthews arranged this one and only album, and the record’s a great blend of sweet soul tracks, funky numbers, and other stellar grooves. There’s a killer version of “Soul Man“, that begins with a very tasty break; the monster “Yes, It’s You“, which has a sweetly sliding intro that’s ripe for sampling; the righteous political “Why Can’t I Be Treated Like A Man“‘; and lots of other nice ones too! Tracks A1 Strangers in the Night 3:32 A2 Soul Man 2:57 A3 Dedicated to the One I Love 3:55 …

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Isaac Hayes – 1976 – Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak)

Review by Mark Brian Mathew Whenever reading about Isaac Hayes and his discography this is the album that seems to inspire most haters, and it took a turn for the worst, when this long out of print album was reissued on CD in 2009 along with the 1971 remasterd “Black Moses” album. Critics had a field day in quickly stating that “Juicy Fruit” lacks the cohesiveness of “Black Moses” and sounds phoney in compared to Hayes other works. Furthermore it has aged poorly and not a single track on this album was good enough to garner chart interest even back in 76. Oh, and yes, it would have been nice if “Juicy Fruit” were a worthy addition to Hayes’ catalog, but in reality it’s pretty forgettable. Mr. Hayes traded in his smooth and funky signature sound for watered down dance floor beats, and this album especially proves how the frivolity …

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The Baby Huey Story – 1971 – The Living Legend

With a psychedelic brand of soul and a vocal style that drew comparisons to Otis Redding, the 300-400 pound Baby Huey was set to break out of the Chicago scene with the release of his debut album. Unfortunately, his weight and taste for drugs resulted in a fatal heart attack that prevented him from seeing the release of the disc. Featuring Curtis Mayfield’s Hard Times and Mighty Mighty Children plus a cover of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come,Baby Huey’s lone album (recorded in 1970 and released in 1971) has become a sought-after collectible among soul fanatics. Tracks A1 Listen to Me 6:35 A2 Mama Get Yourself Together 6:10 A3 A Change Is Going to Come 9:23 B1 Mighty, Mighty 2:45 B2 Hard Times 3:19 B3 California Dreamin’ 4:43 B4 Running 3:36 B5 One Dragon Two Dragon 4:02 Huey, a Chicago native, was a protege of Curtis Mayfield (who …

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The Politicians Featuring McKinley Jackson 1972

Jackson was a long standing member of Motown’s sessions band, playing trombone on dozens (if not hundreds) of Holland-Dozier-Holland recording sessions for the label.   That would certainly explain how Jackson and company ended up releasing one of the first album’s on the trio’s post-Motown Hot Wax imprint.  Musically the album featured a collection of ten largely-original instrumentals ranging from hardcore funk (‘Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic‘ and ‘Funky Toes‘), to a radio friendly ballad (‘A Song for You’).   Technically these guys were pretty amazing, easily measuring up top Motown’s Funk brothers, Hi Records’ Hodges Brothers, or The Memphis Horns.  Unfortunately, the absence of a singer clearly limited their audience.  Still, it’s one of the better releases on the Invictus/Hot Wax roster. Tracks A1 Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic 3:48 A2 The World We Live in 4:21 A3 Church 3:15 A4 Free Your Mind 2:50 A5 Everything Good Is Bad 4:14 B1 A Song for You 4:34 B2 Speak …

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The Four Tops‎ – 1973 – Main Street People

Review by Mark Brian Mathew Whatever happened to the days we met on Main Street? “Main Street People” kicks off with familiar street sounds, smooth vocal riffs and deep harmonies, all combined within a short introduction of the title track that leads with ease to the next song, the poignant mid-tempo “I Just Can’t Get You Out Of Mind”. Nine tracks further down the road the album finishes off nicely with the full-length rendition of “Main Street People”. What one can find inbetween is a flawless mix of R & B and pop, offering each song either; a cool arrangement, fine elements of lush orchestration, forceful soul rhythms, funky wah-wah guitars or smooth ballad vocals. Never neglecting the group’s trademark left-of-center harmonies and always matched by a skilled backing band in full swing, including the likes of Wilton Felder on Bass or Paul Humphrey on Drums. Tracks A1 Main Street …

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Joe Tex – 1965 – Hold What You’ve Got

Rip and Research by Mr.Moo Posting and additional info’s by Nikos For the most part, this early long-player from Joe Tex favors the goofier side of his musical personality rather than the home-truth moral lessons which often dominated much of his work. While “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show”, “You Better Get It” and the title tune all offer heartfelt advice on love and life, the Caribbean-flavored “I’m Not Going To Work Today” and the Roger Miller-turned-hawk anthem “Are We Ready” both aim squarely for the funny bone, as does the exasperated “You Can Stay”, a rant against noisy neighbors, while the slinky “You’ve Got What It Takes” confronts a seriously sexy woman with an appreciative smile. Of course, being the country boy that he was at heart, Joe Tex’s comic numbers are still seasoned with friendly advice on living a better life, but Tex’s warm, emphatic delivery and the easy-going but potently …

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The Lost Generation – 1972 – Young, Tough and Terrible

They’re young and tough – and especially wonderful too – easily one of the most compelling harmony soul groups to ever hail from the Windy City! The set’s a Chicago soul gem from the early 70s – recorded with a laidback, slightly tripped-out vibe that’s different than the tighter styles of other groups from the same scene – definitely righteous at points, with some of the superbad modes you might hear from an east coast lineup like The Delfonics or Soul Generation, especially when they were trying to get a bit more conscious in their message. Arrangements are great – handled by Tom Tom Washington, Eugene Record, and Cliff Davis – very much at the best Brunswick mode, but again with a deeper sort of vibe too. The title cut’s a monster, and a very fitting follow-up to their earlier “Sly, Slick, & Wicked” track – and the album features …

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