Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Leavin Here

I'm heading out of town for a week and gettin hitched. I'll be back next week with daily updates and some really great stuff.

Be easy.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday Singles Club!

Betty Wright - If I Ever Do Wrong (from the album - Explosion)

Sides A+B:
If I Ever Do Wrong

Alston Records, 1976

Welcome to the first installment of the Saturday Singles Club. The name is rather self-explanatory, so I'll spare you details. I am going to be posting links to the songs, whenever possible. Some of this stuff may be hard to find, so if something you're in to is not shared, I apologize in advance.

Betty Wright was at the forefront of the disco movement in the early 70's in Miami. Starting her career in 1968 (at 15 years old!!) with the album "My First Time Around", Wright didn't begin gaining success until the early 70's. Being part of the legendary TK Records stable, Wright rode the massive wave of Miami disco to wider acclaim and peaked with a Grammy for "Where Is The Love?" in 1975.

As for the song, its on the Art Laboe/Quiet Storm late night slow jam tip. A brilliant horn+piano intro leads in to a torchy, sublime vocal from Wright. Some almost doo-wop backing vocals pepper the song throughout. Well known for her skills in the upper registry (she's been an oft used backing singer), Wright shows some real restraint on a song that is a bit of a departure from her disco-heavy output. Your standard RnB themes of infidelity and love show up lyrically and the unintentional humor is great. She's basically saying "Hey, if I cheat on you take heart that I put some thought in to it. But I'll try my best to be good". Its a morality play on wax.

This song is a gem, one of the hundreds of great soul ballads from the golden age. Sunny enough to accent a summer BBQ, dark enough for a rainy day. Enjoy.

Get Some

Availability: Not too rare

Legendary/Tragic Aspect: Betty sued and won 35% of the royalties from Color Me Badd's massive hit "I Wanna Sex U Up" for non-clearance of samples.

RIYL: Soul, Sunshine, Art Laboe, Philadelphia, Motown, Stax, Aretha

Friday, June 19, 2009

Heavy Metal Kids - S/T

Heavy Metal Kids
ATCO, 1974

Track list:

Side One
1. Hangin' On
2. Ain't It Hard
3. It's The Same
4. Run Around Eyes
5. We Gotta Go

Side Two
1. Always Plenty of Women
2. Nature Of My Game
3. Kind Woman
4. Rock N Roll Man
5. We Gotta Go (Reprise)

Los Angeles is such a fucked up place. We've had some seriously legendary radio stations and record stores...but LA has that well worn reputation for not only lacking history, but preferring to bury it. I picked up this KMET play copy at Aron's Records, apparently at some cosmic intersection of tradition and obsolescence. Sad face.

There's a handwritten description on the back of the jacket, yet another idea once common and now missing, "combination of Humble Pie + Silverhead"...which sums up what you're getting in this record better than my ramblings could hope to. This is some serious British Boogie Rock, with singer Gary Holton doing his best to channel Steve Mariott/Paul Rodgers and the band bouncing around from Glam to Blues Riffs. There's some solid, backable jams like "Hangin' On" and "Nature Of My Game". And then there is a horrible reggae(?!?) sounding ballad, "Run Around Eyes" that should be played for every college student with an acoustic guitar. It would be like holding up a mirror to their Sublime-covering soul, the brutal honesty shaming them in to never attempting to filter a style built on reefer, sunshine, and poverty through their hands again. Put down the Bob Marley records, Chad...you just aren't getting it.

Legendary/Tragic Aspect: Singer Gary Holton died of a morphine/alcohol overdose in 1985.

Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KMET_(FM)

Availabilty: Easy to find on CD and Vinyl.

RIYL: Humble Pie, Boogie Rock, Sweet, Free, Sam Velde, England

Lee Morgan - Cornbread

Lee Morgan
Blue Note Records, 1965

Track list:
1. Cornbread
2. Our Man Higgins

1. Ceora
2. Ill Wind
3. Most Like Lee

I figured I would start with a classic for my first post and this Lee Morgan jewel for Blue Note is definitely that. Lee Morgan was something of a trumpet prodigy, turning in stints with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and Dizzy Gillespie's Big Band before turning 21. 'Cornbread' is one of Morgan's post-heroin comeback records for Blue Note and showcases his hard-bop style well, especially on 'Our Man Higgins'. My favorite track, however, is 'Ceora'. It's an almost Bossa-nova piece, with Herbie Hancock's delicate yet evocative playing providing the highlight of the album.

This is a record you could easily define as swinging, in the original sense of the term. Rather than "swinging" in the shitty, retro, taking the movie "Swingers" literally sense...Or the weird sexual dalliance sense either, although this wouldnt be the worst soundtrack ever for that. Ahem.

Legendary/Tragic Aspect: At 33, Lee Morgan was shot in the chest and killed by his old lady between sets at a club.

Availability: Easy to find on CD or Vinyl.

RIYL: Jazz, Miles Davis, John Coltrane (check out Morgan's solo on 'Blue Train'), Warmth, Tone, Style