Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Jazz Funk Sikhs

I recently went to a wedding near Torquay and while i was there for the weekend managed to pop into Exeter at the weekend. I was obviously on the hunt for charity shops and even some record shops. The last time i was in Exeter was when i was 16 or 17 on a Geography field trip and remembered finding a few record shops then (i even bought a jungle record which i still have). But this was 13 years later and after walking around for a bit i couldnt even spot any charity shops. Eventually getting desperate i headed off down one of the alleys either side of the main drag which looked more promising. My spider sense must have been working as at the end of the alley i stumbled on a second hand shop. It was more of a rock shop but i managed to pick up a few pieces including a US 7" of Kraftwerk - Numbers and a original US Atco pressing of Jack Bruce - Songs For A Tailor. As i was leaving i enquired if there were any record shops in the city centre and was given directions to another but was told to hurry as the owner closed early on Friday. I got there in double quick time and emabarked on a bit of speed digging doing all the £1 boxes and then concentrated on the Soul and Funk racks. They mainly held reissues but dotted amongst them were a few original. I purchased a Julius Brockington LP and then the record i want to talk about here: Lonnie Smith - Keep On Lovin'.

I remember vividly that my mum and dad had a copy of this amongst their small stash of LP's and i also remember before i seriously got into records i absolutely trashed it. This was when i was about 12 or 13 and i remember then thinking what a load or rubbish the music was. So when i saw a copy in the shop in Exeter i knew i had to buy it. When i got it home i was mightly impressed and also realised there was a difference between the artist here and Lonnie Liston Smith who i had naively thought were the same person.

Lonnie Smith or Dr Lonnie Smith as he was also known is a jazz organist and pianist who came to prominence with collaborations with George Benson and Lou Donaldson in the 60's before forging a solo career which is still going strong (he was voted Organist Keyboard of the year 5 times in the last 7 years). In the mid 70's his output can be considered Jazz Funk and it was at this time he converted to Sikhism (did you wonder why he was wearing a turban on the sleeve above?). The Keep On Lovin' LP was released on the Groove Merchant label in 1976 and contains 6 superb tracks. I could only find a few on Youtube so here is one for your listening pleasure.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Black Rascals - So In Love

I'd never heard this before a few years ago but the pure soul of this piece of soulful vocal garage has elevated it right into my top 10 all time garage records. Released on Polar Records in 1993 the Black Rascals were 2/3 of New Jersey garage pioneers Blaze using vocalist Cassio James Vincent Ware II (yes apparantly this is his real name!) from Backroom Productions. The vocals are superb and heartfelt but it is the deep bassline and piano that really marks this track out as something special.

This the original press is as like most Blaze related releases not cheap and a mint copy will set you back in the region of £30-40. It was remixed (poorly i must add) and released on the italian D:vision Records label including the classic Shelter Mix and this copy shouldnt set you back more than £10 for a minter.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Jungle Jammin' For A Holy Grail

Holy grail is a term bandied round a bit too often if for example you peruse the pages of eBay on a regular basis but last month i acheived my first mythical status find in over 15 years of record collecting. An unassuming trip to Londons Music & Video Exchanges was going averagely (Notting Hill just isnt what it used to be) but i soldiered on and amongst the 50p section of Camden's bargain dance 12"s i spotted a record that looked out of place. I immediately pulled it out and onto my small pile and racked my brains to where i had seen or heard of it before. A quick check on Discogs via my mobile and i took a sharp intake of breath. Was it possible that one the rarest records of the early 90's was now in my grasp and what was the reception i would get if the guy at the counter had any kind of knowledge and spotted it. I carried on and finished flicking through all of the racks even pulling out a mint copy of Soma 1 and headed to pay. The Soma record was looked at inquisitively but the Jungle Jam record barely got a glance.

I knew i was onto a rare record but on checking at home that night after the irritatingly long journey home i found it had sold previously on eBay (albeit in slighty better condition than my copy which by the way was at least Very Good+) for £440 and 2 copies currently languished on Discogs for just under £300.

I doubt i will ever see this record again which makes keeping it slightly annoying as unfortunately to me the rareness doesnt equal greatness in this case. It is a very adequate warehouse tune sampling Derrick May's Wiggin' bassline but nothing to make me excited musically. Maybe i had to be there in 1990 or had listened to it on an nth generation Grooverider tape. And maybe im being too harsh but for now this beauty is going nowhere.

Soul and Jazz (Funk) Heaven

It's been a while again but im now vowing to get back and do a post a week. I've still been digging like mad and have had some crazy finds in recent months (one of them probably the best find ive ever had but more about that later) but today its time for one of my most recent purchases.

Ive had the great fortune to meet a colleague of my housemate who has a great Soul and Jazz collection which he wants to dispose of. Literally 2 minutes walk from my house around 1000 LP's spanning the late 50's to early 90's. I knew this guy had great knowledge from meeting him a few times before but i was quietly suprised to see it backed up with an impressive record collection. I have been round to see him twice so far and so far bought 21 LP's for a very reasonable price (neither he or i know the exact prices for these records so i made offers and he seemed very happy to accept - hopefully knowing they would be going to a good home). I also have the bonus of taking home a handfull of LP's each week to listen to them which is invaluable as my knowledge on this type of music is some what limited.

So heres the list of what i have garned so far:

Roy Ayers Ubiquity - Lifeline
Grover Washington, Jr. - Soul Box Vol.1
Ramon Morris - Sweet Sister Funk
Lonnie Smith - Gotcha'
Lonnie Smith & George Benson - Europa Jazz
New Birth - Birth Day
Lonnie Liston Smith And The Cosmic Echoes - Visions Of A New World
Various - The Great March On Washington
James Brown - Sex Machine Today
James Brown - Everybody's Doin' The Hustle & Dead On The Double Bump
Creative Source - Creative Source
Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band, The* - In The Jungle, Babe
Larry Willis - Inner Crisis
Temptations, The - Cloud Nine
The Impressions - Three The Hard Way (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Lonnie Liston Smith - Live !
John Handy - Hard Work
Herbie Hancock - Flood
Jimmy Owens - Jimmy Owens
Booker T & The MG's - The Booker T. Set
Harold Vick - Don't Look Back

So the track i wanna showcase to you today is from an artist i'd not heard of before - Larry Willis. Full name Lawrence Elliot Willis born in 1940 he played piano and composed on a number of jazz , afro-beat and afro-cuban records in the middle to late 60's and early 70's during which time he was also a member of the blues and jazz rock group Blood, Sweat And Tears. I managed to purchase his first solo LP from 1974 on the classic New York label Groove Merchant. The track i want you to hear is "Out On The Coast" which starts the album off with some funky as hell drums, keyboard flourishes and some grooving horn action.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Its been a while

Haven't had much time recently at work or home to update this blog but ill try and get back on the case. Ive still been busy digging in the crates and even bought a few collections since my last entry.

I won a auction on eBay last month for 900 records which turned out to be pretty good once id gone through everything. My first impression was id been sold some crap as i only had 100 or so tunes to assess the auction before bidding and when you're spending £715 including delivery its not good when you have your first flick through of the records and you throw 200 records away for being completely knackered. Luckily it was all run of the mill late 80's pop and rap which doesn't sell well anyway. The saving grace was the hardcore and i found multiples of a few things (10 copies of Bass Ballistics - Remix E.P which should sell for £20-25 each for example) but i wasn't confident during my first perusal.

The charity shops have been offering up some nice pieces recently but a couple of the better shops have drastically reduced the amount of records they are holding. Ive even done a few boot fairs with some nice results too. More on this in a later post.

My best and most recent find though were at a local record fair not known for its dance vinyl attendance. I was there to buy of all things a Lily Allen CD for my friends birthday but i spotted halfway across the hall in a 4 crate section on one stalls 12" section some records sleeves that looked totally out of place. It was early on in the day and i doubt anyone would have looked through them yet so i got a first look and what a look it was. I couldn't believe my eyes as i pulled classic tune after classic tune all in a row out of the crates and into a massive pile of nearly 250 tunes by the time id finished the four crates and the back up stuff the guy had behind. After checking condition and checking out the tunes i wasn't sure of i whittled my pile down to 150 records and negotiated a deal for £225. Maybe i could have got it cheaper but when one of the records is this (Spiral Tribe - Black Plastik) then you know you don't have to worry about making your money back especially as they were all in stunning condition. The records were a mixture of acid techno, trance, bouncy techno and gabba which is not common sight in South East Kent.

The only problem now was getting home (and affording the Lily Allen CD) but my back was saved by a passing friend in his car. Cheers Erin and Chris.

Ok here's the full list of my finds:

100% Acidiferous - Tank / 303 State
100% Acidiferous - Worldisorder / Nu Horizons
2 Puissance 30 - Le Trou Normand EP
Alex Galiver - Travel
Alien Race - 2nd Sighting
Altered State - Eternal Sleep E.P.
Antares - Master Control Unit E.P.
Armaguet Nad - The Dark Side Of My Brain
Atom-X - Neutron 5 EP
Automata - Chaosphere E.P.
Bazeman, The - Can You Feel The Baze
Boom Terrorism - Gabberhouse (Remixed By The Inferno Bros. From PCP DJ Squad)
Brain In A Box - F%@#ing Soft Volume 002
Brainkiller (2) - Brainkiller
Brixton - Untitled
Brothers In Crime - Let Me Suck Your...
Butler & Wilson - Deliverance
Cenobyte - Tales From The A-Side
Choose* - Creative Perceptions
Concrete Pain / Invaders (6) - Cold Blooded Split E.P. # 2
Cosmic Trigger - Marauder / Ghost Of Acid
Cosmosis - Cosmology
Cosmosis - San Yacid / Morphic Resonance
Critical Mass - Psychotic Break, The Remixes
Crusher, The - Redlights / Kill Me
Cyberia - Mr. Chill's Back
Cyclopede - Chemical Warfare
CZ 101 - Neurotrancer
D.J. Ricci* - 1995
D.O.M. - Acid War / Z-Head
Damon Wild & Tim Taylor - Bang The Acid
Delta Nine* - Wehrmacht
Dentist, The - Pulp Fiction
Department Of Dance - Vol. 1
Dextro N.R.G.* - Stomp!
Digital Age - Sex EP
Disasta Blasta - Risk 1
Distortion Bastardz / GunMen - Bullet Proofed Split EP
Disturbed Genitals - EP Vol. 1
DJ Dano & Liza N Eliaz* - Energy Boost
DJ Edge - *15
DJ Hell* - Sprung Aus Den Wolken / Butter Såure
DJ Isaac - Bad Dreams
DJ Isaac - Fucking E
DJ Manu Le Malin* - Memory
DJ Obsession - Bern City Hardcore
DJ S.I. One - Space Planet 303 Part 1
DJ Webster - The Race EP
DJ X (2) - Welcome To The Underground
Dr. Fernando! - Ppsycho EP
Dr. Mindfuck - Wo Ist Der Doktor
Emmanuel Top - EP
Enfusia - Enfusia Anthem
Eternal Basement - Nerv
Flamman & Abraxas - Drugs
Formalities - Simple Form EP
Freddie Fresh* - Gnarl EP
Fuckin Hostile - Fucking Hostile
Global Electronic Network - Rolleiflex - Weltron
Gravital Force - Diffraction / Pewter Grey
Hardfloor - Funalogue
Har-Ell* - Brain Flower
Highrollers - #2
Holographic - Untitled
Holographic - Untitled
Hybryd 55 - Experience Of A Total Eclipse
Hysterical Systems - Hysterical Systems EP
Ian Pooley And Alec Empire - Pulse Code E.P.
Infarct - Nuclear Fission
Inphobia - 000-EP
Interphaze (2) - Mindflip E.P.
Jack Master - Basement Trax Vol. 1
Kleine Boiz - Eine Kleine Nacht Musik
Koenig Cylinders - Koenig Cylinders
Koenig Cylinders - Koenig Cylinders II
Lenny Dee & DJ Cirillo* - Untitled
M Phaser* - Amtraxx
M.B. Ant - First Session / Second Session
Martin Cooper - Fly In The Rajasthan / 303 Keops
Methylizer - Wodka
Mind Controller* - Trance
Mooses On Acid - One Day In The Woods
Morpheus (16) - Disconnected
Nasenbluten - 100% No Soul Guaranteed
Never - Singe
Nico - Livewire EP
No Soul - No Soul
Olivier Le Castor - In Deep EP
Placid K - Acid Factory E.P.
Plank - Acid Wars
Play Dead - Straight Into Your Face
Powdered Toastman - Powdered Toastman E.P.
Power Glove, The* - Acid Baby / Toxic Land
Powerstation Holocaust - 30 Years After The Holocaust ...
Prānā* - Scarab E.P.
Pressure Generator 1 - Trancendental Warfare
Producer, The (2) - Caution! EP
Profile X - No Speed Limit
Protozoa - Chameleon
Rave Creator - A New Mind (Remixes Part 1)
Reyes - No Escape
Reyes - Squeez To Dead E.P.
Riot Squad - II
Rob Acid - Why?
Rubicon Massacre Ltd. - Mondokane / Piccadilly Circus
Scotchman, The - Bang The Drums
Scotchman, The - Happy Vibes
Solar Quest - A+B = C In D#
Son Of A Bitch - Brandon On Acid
Son Of A Bitch - Peak Devils E.P.
Son Of A Bitch - Polio 800 E.P.
Sons Of Ilsa - Pulsingers Nacht
Soylent Green (3) - Trip To Mekka
Speed Freak, The - Never Surrender
Speed Nova - Acid Instinct / Impulse
Speedloader - Fucking Speedloader
Spiral Tribe / Persons Unknown* - Black Plastik
Star Power Meets Sinus Iridium - Sonar / Bay Of Rainbows
Steve Stoll / Arenatrex - RED 03 - 93
Stormin' Norman* - The Big Deal
Sunbeam - Outside World E.P.
T.urbulence* 'N' T.errorists* - Demolition Party (2 copies)
Technohead vs. Elvis Jackson - Untitled
Total Output - 100% EP
Total Output - Clip Lite E.P.
Tri Pax* - Tri Pax Volume 1 (TP1)
Tumor (2) - Tumult EP (2 copies)
Unknown Artist - Haze 1
Unknown Structure / Psycapocalyp / Zekt - Untitled
User1 - Certificate Of Conformity EP
Various - Code White E.P.
Various - Dead End 1
Various - DochSchon E.P.
Various - Hardcore Hell 2
Various - Techno Nations - The Beginning (Part 2)
Various - Technohead - Mix Hard Or Die
Various - Technohead 2 - Harder And Faster
Various - Technohead 3 - Out Of Control?
Various - The World Of Delirium... Volume 1
Various - Thunderdome VII - Injected With Poison Various - Tidbits - A Blast Of 12 Gauge
V-Tracks - Mental Flow / Subway 26
Wavelan - It Will Stand
Woody McBride - Balance
X-Cusiver - Armageddon
Zig Zag - Global Subject / Juno Transportation

Ive still got to sort out what im keeping for myself which sometimes is the hardest thing to do but im definitely quids in on this find.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Manu Dibango - New Bell

I scored some really interesting records at the weekend all thanks to South Eastern trains. Circumstances meant i was in the right place at the right time as the train to my initial destination of Herne Bay was replaced by a bus service so i hopped on the train to Canterbury instead. After id gone through the stock that was already in the racks in my local shop including some World music LP's and better than average collection of 60's singles a couple walked in from the street carrying 4 bags of LP's. This "collection" had belonged to a relative from Switzerland and these records had travelled around a bit. They must have been a dance teacher as the majority were ballet records but there was a very healthy smattering of blues, soul, reggae and jazz along with a few disco 12"'s. I didn't recognise too much but took all the interesting records that were in good nick.

One i did recognise was Manu Dibango's - Soul Makossa LP from 1972 from the title track. Credited as being one of the first "disco" tracks after being picked up by David Mancuso for play at his legendary Loft club, this mid tempo jazzy breaks led number has influenced many artists in the preceding years including Michael Jackson and more recently Rihanna. A stone cold classic basically.

The track i want you to hear though is the first track on the B side of the LP - New Bell. Starting off with a wicked funky guitar riff and simple but funky as hell bassline the drummer and congo player let loose after a series of African chants. Its then time for Manu Dibango's saxophone underpinned by some nice jazz keyboards. And that's it. A pure groove from a tight as hell band. This is the definition of Afro-funk.

Manu Dibango - New Bell

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Family Of Eve - Please Be Truthful

First appearing into collectors wants list after appearing on Keb Darges's first Legendary Deep Funk compilation the Family Of Eve originated from Pittsburgh, USA and released their debut 7" single on Jeree Records circa 1979/80 and a limited 50 copy blue vinyl repress on Full Sail Records shortly after. They also released a follow up single on Full Sail called Having It So Bad/I Don't Want To Pay and that is all the extent of the information i can find online about them.

Incredibly rare and collectable the songs have also the bonus of being superb tight pieces of soul which is realised in the prices the rare copies that have entered the market have sold for. The Jeree 7" has gone for $825 online and the Full Sail $565. Even the 2006 repress on
Lotus Land Records regularly goes for $40+ but the cheapest way to pick it up is on the BBE release from 1998 which shouldn't set you back more than £10.

repress on the Full Sail label (I'm not sure if this is genuine or a bootleg) appeared in 2007 but this contains a different extended version of the track and I haven't been able to track down a sound file to compare.

A final note is that it is a true crime against music that a track this good with a singer and musicians at the top of their game made no indent into the scene at the time when it is clearly obvious that this would have kicked the shit out of 99% of any other chart release. It has taken over 20 years for this to find its market and still 99% of the listening public probably couldn't give a damn.