Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ain't No Greens In Harlem - The Vibrations

After a few months absence I'm back with a fresh crate of funky soul, starting with the Vibrations "Ain't No Greens In Harlem". Normally I'd file this ripe 45 under forgettable novelties except it's just too damn funky to overlook, and as a vegetarian, I can relate to jonesing for urban produce. The song eventually caught the attention of Groovy Rotations darlings the Coasters, who covered it several years later, although not with the same degree of success. Bon appetit!

Ain't No Greens In Harlem

The Vibrations are best known for giving the McCoys their hit " Hang On Sloopy", which was a renamed and sanitized-for-white-audience version of "My Girl Sloopy", released in 1964. Can you guess which one I prefer?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Got What You Need - The Fantastic Johnny C.

Here's a slice of philly soul from the aptly named Fantastic Johnny C. 1968's 'Got What You Need' didn't chart higher than his breakout hit 'Boogaloo Down Broadway', but it's just as groovy, if not more so. Enjoy.

Got What You Need

Live footage of Johnny Corley ( aka Fantastic Johnny C.) is sparse, but I did find this dance contest set to ' Boogaloo Down Broadway'.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Wear Your Love Like Heaven - Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt has been described as many things by many people. Anything from "the most exciting woman in the world" by Orson Welles to "an arrangement designed to unhinge men's minds" by a member of the House of Lords. One thing is for certain, Eartha has one of the most unique and distinctively seductive vibratos ever recorded.

A few months ago I discovered this 1970 LP that features three psychedelic Donovan covers, all transformed by her feline vocal prowess. Enjoy.

Wear Your Love Like Heaven

Hurdy Gurdy Man

Catch The Wind

Eartha Kitt starred as the queen of criminals, the princess of plunder and yours untruly, Catwoman.

In the chilly hours and minutes of uncertainty...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tomorrow's Gonna Be A Brighter Day - Jim Croce

I picked up mustachioed spliff extraordinaire, Jim Croce's 1972 LP at a record fair bargain bin. I wasn't searching for soft hits like 'Time In A Bottle', instead I was intrigued by his other country folk tracks like 'Box # 10' and 'Rapid Roy'.  However, after multiple listens I keep getting stuck on the apologetic promise of  'Tomorrow's Gonna Be A Brighter Day'. Enjoy.

Tomorrow's Gonna Be A Brighter Day

Box # 10

Jim Croce's shooting star was cut short when his plane crashed into a pecan tree. He was just thirty years old when he died, one year after this album was released.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) - Cher

Sonny Bono originally wrote this often covered song for Cher back in 1966. 'Bang Bang' was one of her first and earliest hits. Having discovered this song while watching Tarantino's Bill Kill, I just assumed it was more of an exclusive Nancy Sinatra standard. Boy, was I wrong. There are more than a few versions that I prefer, such as Terry Reid's guitar heavy adaption and Betty Chung's Chinese cover. This melancholy recording is a little scratchy, but worth listening for the cinematic violin accompaniment. Enjoy.

Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)

My Kinda People B/W God Bless - Wolfmoon

'My Kinda People' is an uplifting 45 written and produced by Swamp Dogg and preformed by Wolfmoon (a.k.a. Tyrone Thomas). The single is actually a response song to Swamp Dogg's 'These Are Not My People' and serves as a funky tribute to all the down-home "kind, kind people that make a better, kinder world".

My Kinda People

'God Bless' is a cute bedtime prayer as imagined by a child and witness by his father. Little Johnny, the son, has a very thorough list of blessing requests and eventually include his ease-dropping parent.

God Bless

Thursday, July 26, 2012

You Can Be Replaced B/W Going Down Slow - Little Sonny

'You Can Be Replaced' is a 1972 seven inch from the "New" King of Blues Harmonica, Little Sonny. The single features some hard barrelhouse blues using the old standby 34b. I'm very particular about my blues harmonica. If you can't feel it don't play it (cough...Blues Traveler and any other contemporary band with blues in its name..cough) and Little Sonny could certainly feel it.

You Can Be Replaced

Going Down Slow

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Funky - Chamber Brothers

The Chamber Brothers are most known for their hit 'Time Has Come Today'. Unfortunately, most listeners, myself included for many years, confused them with the Rolling Stones. The four Mississippi brothers (plus one white drummer) definitely had southern soul roots, but I was surprised to also learn of their friendship with Pete Seeger and participation with the Newport Folk Festival.

Anyway, 1970's 'Funky' is decidedly not folky, not in the slightest. It's an unconventionally groovy, goodtime track that's been on my crate digging radar for some time. Enjoy.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Funky Like A Train - The Equals

Before rocking down to Electric Avenue, Eddy Grant fronted a reggae cross-over band named The Equals. They released several blogworthy singles, but right now 1976's 'Funky Like A Train' is the song that keeps clanking around the tracks in my head. All aboard!

Funky Like A Train

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It Must Be Love - Labi Siffre

The first time I felt compelled to collect music was after listening to Madness in 1981. I treasured my first childhood 45s, 'Our House' and 'It Must Be Love'. I may have even slept with them, very delicately. No stuffed animals for this kid! It wasn't until decades later that I discovered Labi Siffre's version from 1971. There's no ska horns, runaway funeral processions, big birds or killer whales, but I love the original ballad just the same. Enjoy.

It Must Be Love

Notice Labi's cameo towards the end of the video?

Friday, April 27, 2012

I Want Some B/W Darling, Darling I Love You - Johnny Soul

What a cracking good slab of double-sided vinyl! Seems like every song on Groovy Rotations is either about gettin' some, wantin' some or keepin' some. This 1970 release from Johnny Soul is no exception. Both sides are rootsy northern soul numbers, somewhat reminiscent of Otis Redding. Enjoy!

I Want Some

Darling, Darling I Love You

Friday, March 23, 2012

You Could Have Been A Lady B/W Bad Side Of The Moon - April Wine

There's nothing overly sophisticated about April Wine's Hot Chocolate and Elton John covers. It's just straight up classic rock with a Bachman-Turner Overdrive vibe. Do all Canadian rock bands sound so interchangeably similar? Just asking. Regardless, this double-sided serving of seventies rock....well, rocks.


Hot Chocolate's YCHBAL was a disco hit worthy of hot pants and and expressive facial hair.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Tide Is High - The Paragons

Thirteen years before Blondie introduced "The Tide Is High" to a new wave audience it was a relatively obscure rocksteady single from John Holt's mighty Paragons. The original 45 dates back to 1967 and this Treasure Isle reissue certainly reveals the dodgy recording technology of that era. However, if you're anything like me you'll find the hep harmonies and sweet violin solo more than make up for any technical shortcomings. Enjoy.

The Tide Is High

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mr. Fix It Man - Sisters Love

"Mr. Fix It Man" was on heavy rotation on my turntable years ago. Sisters Love comprises of former Ray Charles backup singers, the Raelettes. The most famous ex-Raelette was Merry Clayton, who's powerhouse vocals are featured on The Rolling Stones "Gimme Shelter". Anyway, enjoy this 1972 single and if you're feeling like a second helping of sister soul power check out Merry Clayton's solo work, or anything by the funktastic Jackson Sisters.

Mr. Fix It Man

Sister Merry's take on "Gimme Shelter" rivals Mick Jaggers.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Working On A Building - Mylon Lefavre

Normally, I'm not one for bible-thumping, christian rock, however when an album is produced by Allen "Can Do No Wrong" Toussaint, and features Little Richard on guest vocals, and Dr. John on piano I'm inclined to look beyond the proselytizing and appreciate the music at faith, err face value. Personally, I'm fascinated by Mylon Lefavre's story - aspiring and auspicious rocker who has a drug overdosing epiphany and devotes the rest his life to preaching gospel (see video below). Regardless, 1972's Over The Influence is a great southern rock record. The religious subject matter can be overlooked because songs like "Working On Building" and  "Waymaker" kick so much ass. There's even an Elvis cover of "Blue Suede Shoes" that's worth a listen. Enjoy.

Working On A Building


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Super Duper Love (Parts 1 & 2) - Sugar Billy

Much like seasonal wardrobe, today's gorgeous preview of spring weather motivated me to switch out my winter vinyl for more playful grooves. Does anyone else reorganize their record collection according to seasonal moods? No? Okay. Anyway, Sugar Billy's 1974 love declaration, "Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin' On Me)" was so funky that it required both sides of the 45! Now let's pretend that faux soul diva Joss Stone never ruined this super duper track and stick to diggin' the original as it was meant to be dug.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

8 Days On The Road - Howard Tate

I've been meaning to post a Howard Tate tribute since his death two months ago. Having already heard "8 Days On The Road" from an American Oxford magazine years ago I knew this 1972 single was the record to share. There's also a groovy cover of Dylan's "Girl Of The North Country" on the flip. Enjoy.

8 Days On The Road

At the peak of his popularity even Janis Joplin was influenced by Howard Tate's music.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

If You Didn't Hear Me The First Time I'll Say It Again - The Sandpebbles

"If You Didn't Hear Me The First Time I'll Say It Again" is a 1968 single from the gospel-turned-secular trio, The Sandpebbles. It's some serious high voltage, sister powered soul. I've discovered a few funky versions of IYDHMTFTISIA, but still think the Pebbles continue to say it best. Enjoy.

If You Didn't Hear Me The First Time I'll Say It Again

The Sandpebbles apparently took their name from the Steve McQueen movie of the same name.

Teddy Vann, the Pebbles producer and writer, also sung one of my favorite Christmas songs.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Crumbs Off The Table- Laura Lee

 Admittingly, I was introduced to "Crumbs Off The Table" via Andy Smith's third Document album. Since then I've collected a feast of her funky singles, but I always keep coming back for more "Crumbs". Her niche is often described as women's soul music, recognized for being fiercely proud and demanding emotional consideration, but in a much sexier way than Helen Reddy's feminist roar could have ever been sung. Enjoy.

Crumbs Off The Table

Sound familiar?

Released in 1971, A year before "Crumbs Off The Table", I view "Women's Love Rights" as the soul sister's "I Am Woman".

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I Want Some Satisfaction - Betty Bibbs

Betty Bibbs produced a few brassy singles from the mid to late sixties. "Pounds of Soul", "Who's Gonna Take Care of Me" and this 45, "I Want Some Satisfaction", are all perfectly suited for strutting on the dancefloor. Solid soul. Enjoy.

I Want Some Satisfaction

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Teenage Sonata - Sam Cooke

Here's a sweet mash-up of Sam Cooke Vs. Studio One (The Motown of Jamaica). Released in 2006, "Teenage Sonata" is great listening for soaking up new memories or reflecting on old ones. All rhythm and blues originates from Sam Cooke's angelic, gospel-honed voice. Sam Cooke is to soul music what Buddy Holly is to rock, or Hank Williams is to country. He embodies everything that's honest and pure with roots R&B. An appreciation of Cooke's discography is as relevant as an appreciation of the Beatles library, in my most humble opinion. Enjoy.

Teenage Sonota

I've said it before and I'll say it again, "there never will be another voice like the Sam Cooke".

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jimmy Bowman Swings At The Golden Fox

It comes on in a clean, sharp arc of sound. The soul-encompassing beat of yesterday's jazz plus echos of sweet nostalgia...whipped into the perfect musical mixture by the Jimmy Bowman Duo. These are merely three songs, but it's all here, as played at the Golden Fox in Minnesota. Jazz rhythms rock deep, powerful and haunting. Calypso is a special , joyous sound. So pour yourself your favorite cocktail, sit back and relax to these ultra-groovy, retro beats.

Jimmy Bowman Swings At The Golden Fox

Jimmy Bowman covered some premium tracks on this 60's lounge LP. "Calypso Blues", "Spinning Wheel", and Bobby Darin's "Long Line Rider" are all uniquely smooth interpretations. "Mama Look A Boo Boo" is particularly enjoyable for any Harry Belafonte fans. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Choking To Death From The Ties That Bind - Swamp Dogg

Swamp Dogg (aka Jerry Williams Jr.) went from 11 year old piano-playing prodigy to becoming one the most eccentric blues singers of his generation, or any for that matter. His progressive style was slightly ahead of its time, like a freaked-out Frank Zappa of funky blues.
Plus Dogg has a penchant for absurdly titled songs such as "I've Never Been To Africa And It's Your Fault", "The 1965 King Size Nicotine Blues" or this 1973 single "Choking To Death From The Ties That Bind". Perhaps that's because, according to Swamp Dogg,  "Black music didn't start 'til 10 at night until 4 in the morning and I was in bed by then.. . . If you strip my tracks, take away all the horns and guitar licks, what you have is a country song." Enjoy.

Choking To Death From The Ties That Bind

My musical highlight of 2011 was seeing Swamp Dogg and William Bell perform at the Smithsonian Folk Life Rhythm & Blues Festival last summer. It's nice knowing that some of the greats are still alive and grooving.