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.

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