Wednesday, September 05, 2007

PSS and Bill Dolan at D.C.'s Sept 6 2007

Hello Y'all,
So I broke away for a minute and wound my way to 12th Street to see my buddy Jared's new store (I was bummed his partner Steve was not in but like I said I only had a minute). It is a sliver of a store and packed with nothing but top notch cuts of grade "A" vinyl. I shot-the-shit, listened to a few things and grabbed what I could. Some things I never heard before (The Shelton's amazing take on Lalo Schifrin's already amazing "The Cat" ), some things I have wanted for a while and heard recently reminding me that I needed to pick up the search (Irene Reid's take on "Dirty Old Man") and a little bastard that has alluded me FOREVER (Oliver Sain's "St. Louis Breakdown"). Jared looked tired and as well he should. The place was hopping and I left shortly after 8PM when he was supposed to close. Who can say not to junkies itching for a fix so he stayed opened and satisfied their need?

- pat.

Primitive Sound System and Bill Dolan
Sticking their necks out with odd choices so you don't have to!
D.C.'s Tavern
505 8th Street
Hoboken, NJ
PH: 201-792-5550

(details and poster coming soon)

Big City Records - 521 East 12th Street NYC 212-539-0208

Da New:
The Firebirds - "Soul Sonata" b/w "I Just Don't Believe You" (Excello cat. 2307)
"Soul Sonata" is a Lounge track wrapped in a Funk instrumental. The intro is break heavy and you get all ready for some great rolling Funk walk and suddenly you find yourself at the door of a Space-Age Bachelor Pad. The drums are Purdie influenced and then the track winds its way into the Loungier moments of early Three Sounds. My head actually hurts at all the directions this little ditty goes in. One from column A, B, C, D and E. Yup, the more I listen to it the more I like it. "I Just Don't Believe You" is a mid tempo instrumental with a really interesting guitar sound. The drums drive along with a bit of aggression but the guitar has a lap-steel sleepiness to it. Nothing will hurry the guitar along but that sounds great to me. There are equally mellow horns punctuating the background giving the track a bit of a Stax sound. This one is s coin toss on what side gets spun.

The Lively Set / Jack and the Beans - "There's Nothing Like Coffee" Vocal b/w Instrumental (Straight Ahead Records cat. SB 10266 (pic sleeve))
Side A of this is a way to cheery ode to the greatest discovery of early man. COFFEE! The Lively Set comes on like a caffeinated Up With People. I bet that would be a great brawl, battle of the waspy cheerbags. The B-Side is an equally cheery affair but far more palatable as an instrumental. They leave out the coffee commercial music intro and rev things up a bit. The brand of coffee that used that riff somehow eludes me but I think it was Maxwell House. Hand claps and organ lead the way to the pot of joe but the guitar and drums seem to have gotten there first grinding away and accelerating tempos. This would make the best instrumental theme song for a TV show.

The Pacers - "Big Batman" b/w "Gotham City" (Razorback Records cat. R-125)
"Big Batman" is slow going with some really silly lyrics. Unfortunately this sounds like it was cut in one take and before the band got really familiar with the song. Don't get me wrong, sloppy and raw is what I love but this seems cautious and a little uninspired. The Pacers cut what is easily my favorite Garage Instrumental called "Skeeter Dope" so I know what they are capable of. "Gotham City" is a bit more in the vein of "Skeeter Dope" with very little of that signature Batman sound. Soulful and Garagey in all the right ways. The guitar is sharp and the piano is percussive. The drums and bass are rock solid making it very easy for everyone else to shine. The harmonica takes a solo towards the end and regardless of the dead stop ending I have a feeling people are still doing the Batdance in Gotham tonight.

The Sheltons - "The Cat" b/w ""Find It" (Dot Records cat. 45-17174 (audition copy))
I can't wait to play this for people. First off, Lalo Schifrin is easily one of my favorite composers, arrangers and musicians of all time. The man is a powerhouse and rarely misses the mark. The B-Side of this is pretty pedestrian and oddly the vocal track. If you heard it on the radio you would probably say that is a good Mitch Ryder type garage rocker. There are party sounds, people clapping hands and they even throw in a little James Brown to keep things going. This would make a good theme for the Yellow Pages. "You gotta find it...Find if you want it; Find it... Find it if you can." The A-Side revs up Lalo Schifrin's "The Cat" with Garagey organ sounds, shouts, moans, claps and wordless vocalese. The drums ride the rim the whole way through giving it that extra snap and a cowbell keeps the clave. The horns get mixed right in with the voices and percussion so the track sounds like it is just organ and drums drenched in atmosphere. The whole thing has an endless loop feel and could probably go on for 30 minutes before you either lost it or nodded off. Hypnotic and trippy all the while going to the Go-Go. Damn, damn, damn this is good!

Bill Doggett and Orchestra - "Funky Feet" b/w "Blue Pint Of View" (Chumley Records cat. CHA-90001)
I had a copy of this a long while back but it was really messed up. I forgot how good it is. The sound is very clean and there is a modern-ness to it. It feels at any moment it could slip into the musical Black Hole known to the world as... Fusion but gladly it does not. Maybe it has that feel because the playing is so exceptional and tight. The horns are big and heavy as if it were a line of baritone saxes, the guitar tosses off a short funky solo but this is only an introduction for Doggett to just kill on the organ.

Kool & The Gang - "Kools Back Again" b/w "The Gangs Back Again" (De-Lite Records cat. DE 523)
I didn't buy too many Kool & The Gang 7-inches over the years because I was so obsessed with the LP's. I had a few but I never grabbed one of these. Just like all music, when you separate one from the herd it gives the track another life and even sounds different than the album cut. On LP "Kools Back Again" is "Kool Back Again." The two cuts on this 45 make up one longer track so it is nice to have them separated. These guys were as perfect as you can get right from the first note. They forged their own sound even though the worshipped James Brown and his bands. They seem to steal equally from the Meters, Stax, and the LA Bands like War yet in the end the sound was all Kool. Everything you could ever want in a Funk instrumental is here stabbing guitar, sharp horns, heavy bass, breaking drums, and vocals that are more about uncontrolled excitement than telling any story or even acknowledging the listeners.

Sammy Gordon and The Hiphuggers - "Upstairs On Boston Road" PT. 1 and 2 (Archives Recording Co. cat. AR 1-70)
I have held this 45 in my hands about a thousand times over the years but for some reason or another it never makes the cut. Listening to it through the headphones at Big City Records I declared myself an idiot and quickly dropped it in the take pile. This has that party feel I love in any genre but especially instrumentals. Heavy bass and drums punctuate the horns as the organ accents everyone in the most complimentary way. The guitars toss off leads and rhythm in equal measure as the tempos shift and the band moves from smooth to hard effortlessly. The percussionist beats the hell out of the cowbell in the breaks, the sax comes out of the break blowing like his life depended on it. Part two picks up not from where we left off but coming out of a break somewhere just after the fade on side one. The guitar takes a great Soul Jazz / Funk solo as the band seems to get even tighter and the groove more deep. The band is just too excited and jump back in before the guitar is finished and finish he will as he winds things up and pushes the tack right off the run out groove.

Oliver Sain - "St. Louis Breakdown" b/w "Comin' Down Soul" (abet cat. Abet 9445 (Juke Box Copy))
I have been looking for a copy of this since the first time I heard it. It is the reason I bought a copy of a compilation called The Big Cheese in 1993. I have looked for and bid on copies for a very long time. Of course there are always records that elude us which is why we continue to collect or better yet OBSESS. There is something about that quivering sax sound that Oliver Sain gets that separates him from the rest. "I want everybody to get up and do the St. Louis Breakdown." The bass gives this a similar sound to the great Bohannon Stop & Go record. Sain never seems hurried whether singing, rapping or playing. He is measured and Funky, Soulful and groovy. Bass, drums and organ keep things simple but never boring and of course downright Funky. Sain raps about all the people and places and things that should, could and would... Break it down. He eventually grabs a piece of the action, ever so briefly, with his horn but quickly gets back to his rap and passing the solo time to the drums who opts for a little break. The organ also goes for it but they are real close to the fade and he leaves you wanting more.

Gary Bartz Ntu Troop - "Drinking Song" b/w "Uhuru Sasa" (Milestone cat. MS - 701 (wht lbl promo))
Jazz 45's have always been an obsession of mine. Originally I was fascinated that they even existed at all. First off, I only wish I sat in the bar in the 50's and 60's that had a Juke Box spinning these gems. There is also a very odd choice in doing any Jazz song as a 7" considering the average Jazz composition contains each member taking a solo capped by the theme and the re-stating of the theme at the end. This common arrangement results in no songs shorter than five to six minutes. The obvious problem is, who do you cut out? What is considered not essential by the band and the producers? Who tells the eliminated player? Regardless, I love them. At this point I probably have over 600 of them.

Gary Bartz' LP Harlem Bush Music: Uhuru Sasa is easily my favorite by this incredibly talented and prolific artist and "Drinking Song" has always gotten a lot of attention. "Feed - your - mind... while - there's - time." Andy Bey is a unique vocalist and always a standout on any session and here is not difference. The band lays back and lets Bey get his message out but as soon as he allows them space the band Rocks and pounds the groove in hopes to keep us sober and attent, "Never be a revolution; while your drinking wine...." Bartz can make his sax sing, wail, cut or heal just as Bey does with his voice and words. The band is heavier than your average Jazz outfit and the recording favors the rhythm unlike most Jazz LP's. This goes somewhere in the top ten of those 600 plus 45's.

Heartstoppers - "Court' In Mama" b/w "Marching Out Of Your Life" (All Platinum cat. AP-2341)
In the past few years I started taking more notice of the dynasty created by Sylvia and Joe Robinson. My curiosity was peaked in 1999 after a very disturbingly funny phone conversation I had with Mr. Robinson regarding the Skull Snaps. While compiling The Vital Organs Vol. One we figured we should line up as many tracks for future releases considering we were in the middle of our research and certainly on a roll. I only had two, let's call them, difficult phone conversations during the entire process. One was when Marshall Sehorn did not remember our almost hour long conversation just one week prior. Of course this was on the sad side of disturbing since it was obvious poor Mr. Sehorn was experiencing memory loss. The other was speaking to Joe Robinson. Basically Joe did all the speaking. I only laid out how we were doing the compilation and that was enough to elicit a lecture filled with cliches and curses that lasted about 20 minutes. Our favorite line from that conversation was, "Son I don't know what "business' you are in but I am in the Music Business." Well, I wish no harm or ill will to anyone but suffice it to say I heard from John at Scorpio Distribution that Joe went bankrupt not long after that conversation. Maybe he was ripped apart by the inevitable or maybe he just did business in this way and it finally caught up to him. All I know is we would have put about $1500 in his pocket and he could care less.

Side one of this 45 is about as disturbing as the aforementioned conversation. I gotta tell you the truth, I almost don't want to listen again to figure it out. It sounded pretty creepy. "Marching Out Of Your Life" is a raw Soul burst of defiance. Basically a "You suck, I'm gone, you lose" song. The backing is more raw than the vocals which has a great effect. The singer has a high pitched voice that can be smooth and still cut like a knife. Bass, organ, drums and guitar are all you need with male and female backing vocals filling in the gaps. The song is uncomplicated and direct and can definitely shake your shoulders.

Irene Reid - "Dirty Old Man" b/w "Just Loving You" (Old Town Records cat. 2004)
Not taking anything away from the amazing talents of Delaney and Bonnie but Irene Reid kicks the crap out of this tune. The band is hard and Ms. Reid is harder. Heavy piano, screaming guitar and way out front drums beat, punch roll and rip the Dirty Old Man a new one while Ms. Reid tells us all how it is. What this is, is a great Southern sounding Funk tune which I know I will play quite often.

Eldridge Holmes - "Pop, Popcorn Children" b/w "Cheatin' Woman" (Atco Records cat. 45-6701)
So this has been way high up on my want list for a very, very long time. This copy is an unplayed store stock copy that I got for a very reasonable price. I could write a book about this track. The excitement builds right from the first introductory guitar notes and the little drum rolls that immediately follow tell us we are definitely in for a ride. Mr. Holmes has a voice with that similar sandpaper raspiness that makes Dyke so appealing. The band (The Meters) is as tight and funky as always. One of the tracks best features is that instead of going for the obligatory break the band decides (or Allen Toussaint, who produced it) to break down in half time in an almost comical fashion (Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah). The line descends and falls off the tune ever so briefly but only enough so that you feel a bit dizzy. They catch themselves just before they hit the floor and wind it up again. It doesn't hurt to have the best timing and feel of any band that ever entered a studio. Holmes keeps coaxing everyone to Popcorn and gives a few raw screams and yells. Through the pounding there is a sound like hardware hitting the floor, cymbals with rivets maybe. I picture the equipment and the studio falling apart from the aggression and rawness of the playing.

The Sound Stylistics - "Soul Dynamite" b/w "The Players Theme" (Freestyle cat. FSR7033)
Super groups are usually not... super, but in the case of The Sound Stylistics everything more than came together for these super stars (in a very, very small scene). The original session was recorded in 2002 for the Burton Library (a prestigious sound library company based in the UK) and unfortunately never saw the light of day. Thanks to the flawless minds of Freestyle Records we are treated to two 7" "must haves." The band is truly stellar made up of easily some of the best musicians to grab onto New Funk and make it as genuine and real as the originators. Pick up literally any record by any one of the members of The Sound Stylistics and you will see why this was such a powerful and talented mix. The band is made up of James Taylor (James Taylor Quartet (JTQ), The New Jersey Kings), Jim Watson (Incognito), Mark Van der Gucht (Galliano], Eddie Roberts (New Mastersounds), Neil Robinson (JTQ), Simon Lee (Dr. Seuss), Andy Ross (The Herbaliser), Mike Smith (Jamiroquai), Nichol Thompson (Brand New Heavies), and Snowboy.

Joe Cuba Sextet - "El Pito (I'll Never Go Back To Georgia)" b/w "Arecibo" (Tico cat. T-470)
I love to whistle when I walk. No shit. I really do. I find air drumming is really dumb looking and I don't need any help with that so... I whistle. One of the songs I find myself whistling more than any other is "El Pito" I have looked for this 7" for a very long time but most are really messed up. I understand that because it is so good I will probably play this until it is worn out as well...oh yeah, and you can whistle to it. Turns out the 7" is quite a find because "Arecibo" is just as good as "El Pito."

Jackie Edwards & The Soul Makers - "Che Che" (Daran Recording Co. cat. 0112)
"Che Che" sounds like it could have been on the Gabor Szabo LP High Contrast which features Bobby Womack. It has that Black Jazz feel or better yet the sister track to Booker T & the MG's "Melting Pot.". "Che Che" is where Soul meets Jazz regardless of whatever the band cut (I think they are more Chicago Blues / Soul band) prior or after this soulful track. I assume Edwards is the guitarist considering the amount of time the guitar is featured on side one but the organ weighs in pretty heavily on side two enough so that I would say it is also featured.

The Pac-Keys - "Stone Fox" b/w "Dig In" (Hollywood Records cat. 1108)
Holy crap! This is one great instru-fucking-mental! Slow and low with a nice heavy break to get us rolling (similar to the Chakachas "Jungle Fever"). Medium to slow tempo adds to how heavy this sounds. bass, guitar, horns, organ and drums are only lightened by the piano touches throughout. The guitar takes a plucked solo and the organ sounds like it is being wound up just as the solo ends. The organ and drums keep things heavy even into the fade.

Long Playing Records:

Beastie Boys - The Mix Up (Capitol / Music From EMI 0946 3 94085 11)
The Beastie Boys take a far more mellow route on this collection of instrumentals than their first all instrumental release "In Sound From The Way Out." Weirdly this LP is advertised as their first all instrumental release but I guess they mean first all instrumental record composed as such. Each song has that very large studio sound that were prevalent on previous songs like "Groove Holmes" and "Bobo On The Corner." Of course I don't mean big as in budget or technique but big as in the sound of the room. Disturbingly even now the Beastie Boys don't seem to get the credit they deserve as musicians. Simply put, these boys can play and certainly know their way around a composition. Rick Rubin recently said in a New York Times article that when he started Def Jam he wanted to make sure that composition was the most important aspect putting an LP together. Well the Beastie Boys were obviously great students.

Let's Dance with The Villains!! - The Batman and Other Dance Hits For Villains and Good Guys!! (Somerset "The Wondrous World of Stereo Fidelity - The Entire Sound Spectrum" cat. ALBUM SF - 25000)
"Best gosh darned dance program since The Beatles - Gee Whiz!!" The Batman Chase - Zoink! Wap! Fiends A Go-Go!! Give 'em Zap Old Chap - Fruggin' the Riddle - Pow! Zop! Wham! The Livin' End - Golly Gee Whiz!! What a Beat!!! And that is just the descriptions on the cover! So I got back looking for more Batman stuff this year. I had stopped somewhere around five 45's and ten LP's. I have found some real winners this year and this is definitely NO exception.


cicodelico-obscure-grooves said...

hello ,heres mike from
cicodelico-obscure-grooves blogspot.
first i have to say that you have a fantastic blog , good work and fantastic taste in groovy sounds.
i found your blog cause i search for this 7''
the sheltons - the cat
cant find it in the web,is it possible to hear this tune????
maybe you can send it???
im sure you find some inspiration for more obscure 7'' on my blogspot.
thank you very much

Primitive Sound System said...

I will certainly send you a copy. It is an amazing track. I have recently begun scanning labels and making sound files.

Please email me to remind me. I love your blog. Great stuff.

- pat.
patjameslongo at gmail