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SINGULARLY FUNKY...

Wednesday, 27 October 2010 19:59 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

james_brownHip-O Select have just released the ninth volume in their epic cataloguing of JAMES BROWN'S singles output. This new 35 track double CD, covers the years 1973- 1975 and the music includes 'The Payback', 'Stoned To The Bone' and 'Funky President', which could well be the most sampled tune of all time!

The album also features music from LYN COLLINS, and FRED WESLEY and the JBs as well as a smattering of cuts that, though scheduled as singles were never officially issued, like 'I Got A Good Thing' which is an early version of 'Stoned To The Bone'. BROWN collectors will be delighted that the duet with LYN COLLINS, 'Let It Be Me' is also here. BROWN had previously recorded the old EVERLY BROTHERS' song in 1970, but here he imbues it with the Latin rhythms that were fascinating him at the time. Equally intriguing is the B-side of that single –a quirky version of the IMPRESSIONS' 'It's All Right' – included – naturally.

The album comes complete with a deluxe booklet, full of evocative archive pictures, full track annotations and a thoughtful essay from ALAN LEEDS – a BROWN staffer who supplied the bulk of the pictures too. As ever Hip-O Select show the way in how reissues should be handled!

JAMES BROWN; 'THE SINGLES, VOLUME 9' is released on November 1st.

 

TOTALLY TROPICAL...

Monday, 25 October 2010 09:29 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

quanticThe latest release in the Nascente label's 'Funk Experience' series is a life-affirming 16 tracker of rare Latin American music. 'Quantic Presents Tropical Funk Experience' – as is obvious from the titling – has been put together by top DJ/producer/all-round muso QUANTIC (aka WILL HOLLAND). HOLLAND who now lives in Colombia, where he has his own studio, has recorded prolifically, most notably as QUANTIC and THE QUANTIC SOUL ORCHESTRA, and working with NICKODEMUS he constructed 'Mi Swing Es Tropical' which was used successfully as a world–wide iPod advert in 2007.

This new compilation focuses on rare and vintage70's sounds from (chiefly) Columbia and Panama and the rhythms are irresistible throughout. Soul collectors will readily identify and enjoy three cuts in particular. 'Soul Cucaracha' from THE SOUL FANTASTICS is a lazy, loping tune, with hints of Memphis and New Orleans about it; LITTLE FRANCISCO GREAVES' 'Hiko Iko' is a wonderfully rustic treatment of 'Iko Iko'; and 'Getting It Together' from MAURICE SMITH sounds like WAR – only funkier ... with the bonus of some fine sax work.

'QUANTIC PRESENTS TROPICAL FUNK EXPERIENCE is out now on Nascente Records.

 

NOVEMBER JAZZ....

Sunday, 24 October 2010 17:24 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

millerFor the last twenty years Argentinean-born guitarist DOMINIC MILLER has been a mainstay of STING'S band – both on the road and in the studio. He's always worked closely with the ex-POLICE man and co-penned 'Shape Of My Heart' with him.

MILLER, though, has a tandem solo career and has in fact just released his eighth solo set – 'November' on German label, Q-Rious. Known for his delicate acoustic nylon string playing, the LP represents a gentle change of direction for MILLER. Several tracks feature electric guitar and with bassist MARK KING and drummer IAN THOMAS driving things along there's a real funk-rock feel to tracks like 'W3' and 'Ripped Nylon' while 'Marignane' (complete with fine sax solo from STAN SULZMAN) is an almost funerary blues. There's still, though, plenty of MILLER'S ethereal, chill out sound – notably on the title track and 'Still'. For more information go to www.dominicmiller.com

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 October 2010 17:32

 

TESS HENLEY... VERY APPETIZING

Friday, 22 October 2010 08:40 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

tesshenley2Discerning soul fans will fondly remember TESS HENLEY'S 2008 album 'Easy To Love'. The long player was a pleasing mix of subtle soul and smooth jazz delivered with sincerity and embellished by the lady's understated piano playing, but what impressed the critics most was the quality of the young Seattle artist's own songs.

TESS is currently working on a new album but in the meantime there's a new five track EP available via the usual outlets – most notably CD Baby and i-Tunes. The collection is tantalisingly called 'The Appetiser' and – surprisingly, given TESS' gift for song writing, there are two covers on the set – and they are both rather splendid. First up there's a lovely version of BOB MARLEY'S 'Is This Love', to which TESS gives a delicate CAROLE KING (circa 'TAPESTRY') arrangement; then there's a sparse organ-led cover of BOBBY CALDWELL'S 'What You Won't Do For Love' . This one is a duet with MYCLE WASTMAN and it's already doing great things on the UK modern soul scene, where the crowd love a revitalised oldie.

Of the new tracks there's a remix of one of the 'Easy To Love' songs, 'Understand It's You' and two reflective, thoughtful songs – 'Boy In The Window' and 'Which way To Hollywood' – both slated as the A & B sides to promote the new album. Find out more at www.tesshenley.com

Last Updated on Friday, 22 October 2010 08:52

 

THE SOUND OF MOTOWN....

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 20:05 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

motown_bookOnly the most avid Motown anorak will be aware of RUSS TERRANA. So, a few details. TERRANA and his family – of Italian descent - came from Detroit and at high school - along with his twin brother RALPH and some school pals, RUSS formed a band called THE SUNLINERS. They made some recordings in the legendary Motown Snake Pit before signing with the other big Detroit set up Golden World. There they suffered the same lack of success so young RUSS quit the band and went back to the GORDY fold as a sound engineer... he did, by the way, have a degree in engineering ... and, a second by the way, THE SUNLINERS too also eventually went back to Motown, but with a new name – RARE EARTH.

At Motown, RUSS TERRANA engineered countless classics – including THE SUPREMES' You Can't Hurry Love', THE JACKSON 5's 'I Want You Back', SMOKEY'S 'The Tears Of A Clown' and THE TEMPTATIONS' 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone'. As important maybe is the fact that when Motown decamped to Los Angeles, TERRANA went as one of the engineering bosses in the new West Coast set up.

TERRANA'S story is kind of told in a new book – 'Russ Terrana's Motown', written by his twin brother RALPH. I say the story is 'kind of told' because the slim volume doesn't really tell a story. It's more a series of anecdotes telling how RUSS worked with and interacted with people like BERRY GORDY, LEVI STUBBS, DIANA ROSS, STEVIE WONDER, FRANK WILSON and PERRY COMO! Yes – Mr. T engineered for the Italian crooner and, we're told, he got PERRY to pen a nice little note for his mother – who was a big fan... aah!

And sadly that's the problem with the book. It's all a bit trivial. Despite the TERRANA brothers being real Motown insiders, they don't tell us too much that we don't already know. There are no new insights and few revealing details. Rather the book is simply one brother lavishing praise on his sibling and as such is worthwhile only to those Motown anoraks I mentioned in my first sentence.

'RUSS TERRANA'S MOTOWN' by RALPH TERRANA is published by Bank House Books and is out now.

 

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