With its super funky organ and steady guitar I can definitively state that Mary Alice's version of "Wade In The Water" is the best one I've ever heard. The web runs dry on any further information about McCall or this obscure record label. I'd love to learn more about either, but in the meantime have a listen.
"Hold On I'm Coming" is Jerry Lee Lewis's heavily suggestive interpretation (complete with his trademark honky tonk drawl and cat purring) of Sam & Dave's Memphis soul classic. It's taken off his 1973 comeback opus Southern Roots and accompanied by the MGs who recorded the original version for STAX records back in 1966. Truth be told the song title originates, innocently enough, from Dave's response to Issac Hayes after taking too long during a bathroom break.
It should be noted that Southern Roots, as the name implies, is a distinctively southern album. It was the collaborative sum of about 42 musicians, all of them born, bred and educated south of the Mason Dixon Line. Credits include all the MGs, the Memphis Horns, the Memphis Beats, Carl Perkins and my personal favorite Tony Joe White on guitar. Enjoy!
Perhaps best known for writing "Polk Salad Anne" and "Rainy Night In Georgia" Tony Joe White also epitomizes everything that's bad-ass about country funk. His vividly southern songs have become successful hits for Elvis Presley, Tina Turner and Dusty Springfield to name a few. At 67 years old he's outlasted nearly all of his musical contemporaries. In fact, Tony Joe is still tapping on his stompbox, cutting records and touring around the world. Not bad for an ol' swamp fox.
"Don't The The Door Hit You In The Butt" was released in 1974. The single isn't available on any of his other LPs which makes it somewhat of a rarity. Enjoy.
"Rain Rain Go Away" is featured on big band crooner Bob Azzam's 1968 LP New Sounds. It's a groovy little, woeful number with some much sought after drum breaks. I don't know where this Egyptian born, Lebanese singer found the inspirational weather to record such a dope version of a children's rainy day nursery rhyme. However, after hearing his funky makeover any extra precipitation seems slightly more tolerable.
Singer/songwriter Peter Gallway, along with some top-notch session musicians, produced an album of jazzy "country" rock in 1971. The album has a noticeable wild west theme with songs such as "Abigail Archer" and "Give Me John Ford". "Calamity Jane" has an edgier sound than the other, more folkier tracks. It's the song that brought me back to rediscovering Ohio Knox. Enjoy.
Both the wickedly funky "Evil Woman" and the karaoke crowd pleasing "Rhinestone Cowboy" come from Larry Weiss's Black & Blue Suite LP. He's a relatively unknown country singer with an uncanny knack for writing hit songs. (Spooky Tooth's "Evil Woman", American Breed's "Bend Me Shape Me", The Animals "Help Me Girl"). Everyone from Neil Diamond to Nat King Cole to Marvin Gaye have performed a Larry Weiss penned song sometime in their careers. Speaking of people covering his music, Lou Rawls recorded my absolute favorite version of "Evil Woman". Hands Down.
Hank William's crossover hit "I Saw The Light" is given the hillbilly funk treatment courtesy of Rusty Dean. Rusty Dean was the collaborative alias between Gary S. Paxton (Monster Mash producer) and Clarence White (The Byrds). They recorded three secular "hits" albums together in addition to 1970's folk-tinged Country Gospel LP. Let the good Lord make you funky and enjoy track that closes out side one.
DC Sound LTD was a long since defunct Washington based record label. They only waxed a few 45s back in the late sixties. Interestingly enough, all the production credits go to Gene Dozier of The Brotherhood's "Hunk Of Funk" fame. "They Call Me Jessie James" may clock in at only two minutes, but it sure makes for one steam-powered, funkomotive ride. Extra attention goes to The Dreams for the tight train whistling harmonies heard in the background.
This entry is short and sweet because I know absolutely nothing about Nell Aspero, The Second. Her groovy interpretation of the Drifter's "On Broadway" was an inexpensive curiosity, and secondary addition to a bulk order from years ago. I was pleasantly surprised by my two dollar gamble with obscurity. Enjoy.
Rex Garvin & The Mighty Carver's "I Gotta Go Now" is an infectiously funky floorfiller. As the record implies this pleading dance anthem will beckon your feet to boogaloo. The hand-clapping, the soulful saxophone and organs, and the encouraging back-and-forth banter all create an inviting party atmosphere that's impossible to ignore.
Mad Dog & The Pups were an early seventies funk band based in Detroit. One of the pups was none other than Ray Parker Jr. of Ghostbusters fame. They scored several regional hits on the Magic City label, but this record is the funkiest of their 45 litter.
Here's a super fly cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Hard Times". Gene Chandler renamed his party starter "In My Body's House". This record, dating back to 1969, is the very definition of funky 45. It doesn't sound anything like Mayfield's slow churning original, or the often sampled Baby Huey & The Babysitters version featured below.
The Chantels released this brassy single back in 1966. They forego their standard doo-wop sound with "Indian Giver", and instead deliver a satisfying, floor-filling jazz number. Maybe this stylistic departure was an intentional deviation after switching records labels to Verve. Either way the results were extremely rewarding.
"Since The Days of Pigtails & Fairytales" was the b-side to Chairmen Of The Board's breakout single "Give Me Just A Little More Time". I discovered the 45 a few years ago as part of a random grab bag of miscellaneous cheapie records. Why such a soulful goldmine was stacked in between a Cat Stevens and Peter, Paul & Mary record is a mystery to me. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do.
Here's a killer hand clapping record from 1965. Johnny Sayles started out with Ike Turner before turning solo and waxing some gritty Chicago style party funk. "My Love's A Monster" is a must have on your next Halloween playlist. Beware, and enjoy!
These 60s darlings went through a rock n' roll transformation in the early seventies. The Hollies, and their cutesy pop reputation, needed a hard rock makeover if they expected to compete with their heavier sounding contemporaries (The Who, Status Quo, etc.). When "Hey Willy" was released in 1971 and was unlike anything they had ever recorded before. This track stands toe-to-toe, or platform-to-platform, with the best bowiesque glam music being produced at the time. Enjoy.
Larry Jon Wilson's "Sheldon Churchyard" brings the eerie swamp funk in his 1976 LP Let Me Sing My Song To You. Rumors of witchcraft and voodoo haunt an old Carolina township in this spellbinding example of southern gothic storytelling.
Here's a great version of the often covered "Spooky". The obscure groove was released in the late sixties, without lyrics, by Mike Sharpe and Harry Middlebrookes JR. Sadly, information is scarce regarding this particular 45 by Decca label's Sasperella.
"Where Evil Grows" is a deliciously sinister slice of bubblegum pop from the 1971 LP Poppy Seeds. The song, which is rumored to have been inspired by the Manson murders, has a creepy coolness that I particularly enjoy.
Peggy Lee's "Sneakin' Up On You", from her 1965 LP Pass Me By, might be the cutest stalker song ever recorded. Several versions were released in the mid-to-late sixties (including Elaine Delmar's slinky and seductive, ultra-groovy recording below), but what places Peggy Lee's version on top? Simple. She playfully incorporates cat purring into the chorus. Enough said.
Louisiana born Bobby Rush invented, and personifies the blues style known as Folk-Funk. His brand of music blended the Chicago blues, southern soul and finger plucking funk into some scandalously enjoyable 45s. "Mary Jane" is the 1971 flip to his breakthrough hit "Chicken Heads". File under stoner mix and enjoy.
"You Made A Believer Out Of Me" is the 1969 single from Ruby Andrew's 1972 "Black Ruby" LP. It's got some killer sisterfunk with tight drumbeats to match. Old school De La Soul fans might recognize the groove from their breakout "3 Feet High And Rising" album. If you enjoy powerhouse soul you can't go wrong with this little R&B gem.
On an interesting side-note for True Blood fans : Ruby's first recording name was Stackhouse.
Harvey Scales (minus his band the Seven Sounds) offers some hard hollering advice on "Leave It For The Trashman". The next time you've got heartbroken garbage that needs cleaning up I'd recommend listening to this funky 45. Enjoy.
There are too many groovy mod 45s out there to mention, however James Royal's funky number "House of Jack" tops my ever-expanding list of personal favorites. The grand introduction sounds like something from an epic Tarantino showdown. The rest of this 1969 party anthem has an undeniably delightful "good time or bust" vibe throughout. Listen for yourself and see if you don't get hooked.
I never would have guessed "Delta Dawn" could be sung with such deep southern soul until I heard this obscure cover from Clifford Curry. It's got some great funky blues breaks which work surprisingly well. Also, purely for aesthetic reasons, I should highlight that this 1972 pressing was released on gorgeous, ruby red, translucent vinyl. Enjoy it, monoside style.
Queen Esther Marrow and her booming vocals were discovered by Duke Ellington back in 1963. "He Don't Appreciate It B/W Mama" was a seven inch single from her debut record Newport News,Virginia. The full LP showcases her powerful gospel belting on nearly every song, but "He Don't Appreciate It" is my favorite example of Marrow's sonic-soul range.
Kenny Rogers once said that former First Edition bandmate ,Kin Vassy, could sing " higher, harder and longer than anyone else".Vassy, along with Alex Harvey, Tony Joe White and Jim Ford, is another one of the lost country & western greats. Here's his 45 cover of the Cat Stevens song "Bitter Blue". It's got an edgier, more twangier sound than the original. Enjoy.
Slim Harpo was a rocker's bluesman. Everyone from The Stones to Z.Z. Top have been influenced by this harmonica maestro. His nickname ,Harpo,was actually derived from popular harmonica slang. "I've Got My Finger On Your Trigger" isn't one of his better known songs, but it should be. It was released on Excello Records in 1969 along with another superb 45 of "Folsom Prison Blues".
Black Affairs was a roots reggae band from the Dominican Republic circa 1970s. "Sound Of Music" is their striped down, standout stoner track off the LP Ca Waké. Clocking in at under seven minutes it's not exactly radio friendly, but man is it one sweet, sweet groove. Lay back to the lo-fi goodness and enjoy.
"At The Hotel" is one of those rare, slow-burning, soul ballads that can't be replicated. Eunice Collins's lovelorn pleading is so authentically genuine that it breaks my heart everytime I give it a listen. It's an impressive example of a torch song that actually manages to sear itself into even the most hardened of psyches.
James Anderson's "The Tracker" is a forgotten funk oldie produced by Huey P. Meaux (A.K.A. The Crazy Cajun). Huey was credited with huge hits like "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" in addition to also running the mighty SugarHill Recording Studios back in the 1970s.
**side note this 45 calls their A-Side the Plug Side instead**
Jimmy Gilford's "Nobody Loves Me Like My Baby" is a hard doo-woppin', hook-heavy oldie. The original 1962 pressing still fetches a hefty price tag in the hundreds of dollars. To my knowledge this song has never been reissued or compiled on any mix album. That's a pity too because the record pops with pleasure from start to finish. Enjoy.
Here's another tight 45 single from 1968. Calvin Arnold's "Funky Way" is dedicated to all the good guys that have been funked over by an unappreciative woman. "Ain't that a funky way to treat somebody".
Mel Tormé's 1968 title track from "A Day In The Life Of Bonnie And Clyde" recounts the outlaw couple's fateful demise as seen through the eyes of a rollerskating witness. The Velvet Fog may not have been an illustrious rat packer, but he was one of the cooler jazz cats around. And man could that daddy-o scat! Other groovy songs include "Cab Driver" and his surprisingly upbeat depression anthem "Brother Can You Spare a Dime". Why this record hasn't been reissued is beyond my comprehension.
Gamble Rogers is a fascinating folk singer. Gamble's engaging ballads and humanistic insight influenced performers like Jimmy Buffet and his early troubadouring ilk. In addition to being a regular commentator to NPR's All Songs Considered (during the late 1970s) he's also credited with creating a sub-genre known as Southern Gothic. That's not surprising since some of his best material leans toward the macabre side (The Great Maitland Turkey Farm Massacre of 1953, Blood Mountain, etc.). In 1991 Rogers died heroically while rescuing a little girl's drowning father off the Florida coast. The park was later renamed the Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach in his honor.
"Black Label Blues" is from his 1977 God Gave Me Grace, The Devil Gave Me Style LP. It's a whiskey sippin' story that I'm intimately familiar with. Enjoy.
1966's Bag Full of Soul is my favorite Jose Feliciano record. It's somewhat of a grab bag (hence the title) loaded with some truly dazzling tracks that cross a wide spectrum of popular genres. However, the so-called 10 finger wizard steals the show with "If I Really Bug You Then You Don't Love Me". It's a short and sweet album opener with a nifty guitar tickling solo. Dig it.
Margie Hendrix takes Lavern Baker's 1950s "Jim Dandy" and adds some hep-jivin', soul-stompin' funk twenty years later. Margie Hendrix's claim to fame was that she supported Ray Charles as his lead Raylette in hits like "Hit The Road Jack". Her character figured prominently in the biopic Ray, however it wasn't until discovering her solo records that I garnered R-E-S-P-E-C-T for this forgotten singer of roots driven R&B. Perhaps it's the curse of the Hendrix name (although she's not related to Jimi), but Margie's life was cut short by a drug overdose in 1973. Luckily for followers of big, brassy soul she left behind an amazing legacy.
Eddy Mitchell delivers a thundering version of the Rolling Stone's "Satisfaction" on his 1966 EP for Barclay Records. In his native France Eddy was considered somewhat of straitlaced square, but that reputation didn't prevent him from cranking out one of the best Stone's covers, ever. "Rien Qu'un Seul Mot" checks positive on all my satisfaction boxes - pounding drums, crackling guitar fuzz, no holds barred vocals, and a little tambourine jingle jangle thrown in for good measure.
Rabbits & Carrots was one of the funkiest Mexican bands of their time in the late 60s & early 70s. They've covered numerous artists while adding their own instrumental knack for funky horns. In fact, many praised them as being a Latino version of the mighty Meters. "Destruye El Vino" was released on their 1971 self-titled EP. It's got all the summer swagger of the original with extra spice included.
French glam, punk-crooner Alain Kan coupled the deviantly delicious "Nadine, Jimmy Et Moi" alongside his 45 single for "City Palace" back in 1975. Alain was huge on the French rock scene, having founded one of the country's first punk bands, the legendary Gazoline. David Bowie was heavy influence on his career, and sexual expression. In fact, Alain Kan is considered to be the first of his peers to openly sing about his homosexuality. However, the most fascinating aspect of Alain Kan's biography is that he literally disappeared off a Parisian train station in 1990, and was never seen or heard from again.
Jerry "Lynn" Williams serves up one of the heaviest cowbelling rock tracks I've ever heard on "Crazy 'Bout You Baby". It was released as another brilliant b-side throwaway which, for some reason, was never included on his 1972 self-titled LP. I don't listen to too much rock n'roll nowadays, but when I do it usually sounds something like this.
The Cimaron's were the UK's first truly indigenous reggae band. They formed back in 1967 and made their fame by backing all the Jamaican giants who introduced Britain to this new rocksteady sound. "Wicky Wacky" is actually a Fatback song produced with the Cimaron's own English island flair. Funky all the way.
I don't normally care for early doo-wop R&B, but this 1961 single from former Drifter Clyde McPhatter is that rare exception. "I'll Love You Til The Cows Come Home" is a nifty little composition with a flirty title and a great down home groove. What can I say? I'm a sucker for simply stated, sweetly delivered golden oldies. Enjoy.
1964's "Listen To The Drums" by unknown singer/composer Richard Caiton has been a standard favorite of mine for years. It's another neglected b-side that had the simple misfortune of being attached to a merely mediocre, and chartless single, "You Look Like A Flower".